The Washington Cornhuskers have a long tradition of support for scholarships to UNL through the University of Nebraska Foundation. Washington Cornhuskers members who have a student who attends or will be attending UNL should contact Lynne Cobb, scholarship chair through our contact page.  All our members’ UNL students will be considered for our local club’s scholarships!

Our chapter’s focus on scholarships was started by Jan Lightner and Roxy Elliott in 2000. We now have two fully funded scholarships, so the funds we add to them only increase the amount or number of scholarships given each year. In 2012 we funded our first Legends Scholarship and have continued to do so most years. Legends scholarships are given to freshman, to recruit the best & brightest to UNL, and all our scholarships are given to deserving Washington State student who are attending UNL. Below are more details of the three scholarships we support and past recipients:

1. Robert & Ruth Paine Scholarship – started in 2000

The late Bob Paine was an early leader of the Washington Cornhuskers in the formative years of the club. He was a retired USAF Lt. Colonel before he went to work for Boeing. As an undergraduate, he was president of his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, and a member of Innocent’s Society. His wife Ruth is still active with the group.

Recent recipients include:

  • Megan Pecha, Bellevue, WA, studying Bio-Engineering
  • Sophia Podhaisky, Richland, WA, studying Marketing
  • Paige Tiedeman, Maple Valley, WA, studying Marketing
  • Kara Swenson, Lynda, WA, studying Dental Hygiene
  • Elizabeth Miller, Tacoma, WA, studying Nursing
  • Anastasia Hummel, Sammamish, WA, studying Nursing
  • Jillian Rivera, Bellingham, WA, studying Political Science
  • Madelaine Grahn, Kent, WA, studying Nutrition & Health Sciences
  • Mindy Widdowson, Spanaway, WA, studying Natural Science

2. Jan & Gene Lightner Scholarship – started in 2011

Jan Lightner recently stepped down as our first Scholarship Chair. She led us to where we are now with three scholarship funds. Both Jan & her late husband Gene received the Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska Alumni Association. Gene Lightner was a Chemical Engineering major at UNL, where he received his BSc and MSc. He was active in his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, and AIChE. He served in the USArmy and received his first patent (it’s what is now called FoamCore) in 1964. He went back to school (University of Idaho) for his Ph.D. and has been involved in research ever since and currently holds ~40 US plus several foreign patents.

His most recent ones involve alternative fuels from bio-mass. He decided several years ago to donate his patents to the University of Nebraska Foundation. They offer them to professors for further development. He is recognized as a Senior Member of the Instrument Society of America, he won an IR 100 Award, he won the Alumni Achievement Award from NAA, he participated in Master’s Week at UNL (sponsored by Mortar Board and Innocents), and has served as President of UNL alumni chapters in St. Louis, MO, and Philadelphia, PA.

We look forward to our first recipient with this scholarship for the 2017-18 school year!

3. Nebraska Legends Scholarship – 2013 and forward.


  • Megan Pecha, Bellevue, WA, studying pre-engineering
  • Bren Pfeifer, Fife, WA studying Athletic Training
  • Sophia Podhaisky, Richland, WA, studying Marketing
  • Lauren Phillips from Seabeck, WA, who is studying Criminal Justice

17  Official Nebraska Alumni Association Chapters supported 37 total Legends scholarships in 2013-14. We are proud to be a part of this program!

The 2015-2016 class was the 5th Legends class:
2011-2012: 79 Legends Scholars
2012-2013: 132 Legends Scholars
2013-2014: 393 Legends Scholars

2011-2012: 92.4%
2012-2013: 96.2%
*All-University retention rate for freshman class: 84%

Average GPA:
2011-2012: 3.22
2012-2013: 3.458
*All-University Average GPA for 2011-2012 was 2.992

All of the Legend’s classes have had students representing all nine undergraduate colleges at UNL

Over 150 total registered student organizations are represented by the Nebraska Legends Scholars
This number will likely grow significantly as the class went from 132 to 393
The average involvement per Nebraska Legends student is 3.2 organizations