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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 4, 1998)
New dean looks to brag about NU law
Leader to focus
on alumni help,
By Lindsay Young
Senior staff writer
Nebraskans are “fairly modest.”
That is what native-Texan Nancy
Rapoport believes, but she wants to
change that in respect to the NU College
Rapoport, the new University of
Nebraska law college dean, said one of
her main goals as dean is to show the
nation what the college has to offer.
In her position, “I have time to brag
about it,” said Rapoport, who is the first
female law school dean in the state.
The college, she said, is “an incredi
bly good school,” with both nationally
and internationally-known faculty
Former law dean, Henry Perlman,
who began his position in 1983, is a
nationally known law expert, Rapoport
said. Perlman announced his plans last
September to resign as dean and return
to teaching full time at the university.
Also, the college is a technological
leader, she said. Innovative advances
\ include the use of computer-aided
fca&iifig and wireless keyboards in
Rapoport said those attributes and
others should encourage undergradu
ates to consider the college.
“What (the college) has is a bunch
of talented people,” Rapoport said.
A 360-degree view
To formulate a plan to continue this
kind of success, Rapoport is working
Willborn said as well as having
those attributes, the people in the law
college were satisfied with the choice.
“She was very well-received by the
students,” said Willborn, a professor of
“We’re all excited about her being
The last wooden board Rapoport
broke in tae kwon do sits on the counter
in her office in McCollum Hall on East
She also has various autographed
pictures from astronauts and a few from
some sports stars.
Ballroom dancing awards adorn the
top shelves of her desk, and a selection
of her compact discs sits next to her
computer, while a CD by Austin
Lounge Lizards, a Texan band, plays on
She is slowly setting up her collec
tion of Disney paraphernalia as well,
which she said represents relaxation and
nappiness to ner.
After growing up and living in
Texas for 21 years, Rapoport moved to
California to go to the Stanford
University law school in Palo Alto,
After graduating in 1985 from
Stanford, Rapoport worked as an associ
ate for a San Francisco law firm. In
1991, she went to Ohio State University,
where she was a law professor and asso
ciate dean for student affairs.
Rapoport wanted to work in
Nebraska because of the quality of the
law college, she said.
After her phone interview for the
dean’s position, she said, she told her
husband, Jeff Van Niel, she knew where
she wanted to go.
“What made me fall in love with
Nebraska was the people.”
NANCY RAPOPORT was appointed dean of the NU Law College this summer. She was previously a professor and
associate dean for student affairs at Ohio State University.
with a strategic planning committee.
The committee, which will be made
up of faculty members, staff and stu
dents, will decide where the college is at
and where it wants to go.
Rapoport said a 360-degree view
will make it easier to make decisions
regarding the college’s future.
She also wants to encourage alumni
to volunteer in the school, she said.
The volunteers would be like an
“army of recruiters,” Rapoport said.
The new dean also wants to concen
trate on fund-raising.
The law school plans to have an
addition to the building, said Steven
Willbom, who was chairman of the law
dean search committee.
When looking at applicants,
Willbom said, one criterion was the way
the applicant could work with alumni to
Another criterion the committee
looked for was the ability of the new
dean to be an academic leader.
Willbom said Rapoport was well
known for her scholarship and had won
numerous teaching awards while
employed at Ohio State University in
Rapoport received high recommen
dations from the dozens of people the
committee called, Willbom said.
Rapoport said qualifications she
had for the position included a strong
problem-solving ability, her experience
as an attorney and having “a fair amount
“Energy is not a problem for me,”
businesswoman relishes new CBA role
Dean will focus on having
stronger ties to community
By Jessica Fargen
When a subject piques her interest,
Cynthia Milligan pursues and reads
about it intensely.
Until she finds a new topic.
The new College of Business
Administration dean once read six vol
umes of a biography of Thomas
Jefferson just out of curiosity. Another
time, books about Saudi Arabia were
The close proximity of her second
floor office to Love Library impresses
her, because she’s constantly near to her
All those books - “It is perfect,” she
Her book smarts, coupled with her
academic, business and government
experience, led to Milligan becoming
UNUs first female CBA dean.
In June she replaced John Goebel,
who took the post in 1995.
A hands-on approach
Milligan wants to bring students
closer to the business community, so she
has spent time talking to Lincoln busi
nesses about how to enrich that relation
The 52-year-old also wants to know
For instance, she plans to invite
about 100 students from the CBA resi
dence hall learning community floors to
her home for dinner.
She went to Oxford University in
England, this summer to check out
UNUs business program that goes there.
She has been meeting with student
groups such as Students In Free
Enterprise and the CBA student adviso
Though Milligan enjoys meeting
students, she wants them to meet profes
sionals in the business community as
Milligan said one of her goals is
enhancing the student-business com
munity relationship through more
internships, guest lectures or job shad
“One of the greatest concerns is
how to have access for students to jobs,”
A winding career path
Pulling the business world and the
education world together is important
for Milligan, because she dwelt m both.
She has been active among
Lincoln’s businesses for 20 years.
She has been gaining work experi
ence since she earned her bachelor’s
degree in French from the University of
Kansas in Lawrence and her law degree
from George Washington University in
Washington, D.C., in 1970.
“I am interested in lots of different
tilings, wmcn nas lea to my career patn
being more varied than most people’s,”
Milligan practiced law for seven
years in Washington, D C., and for 10
years in Lincoln. She has been an
adjunct law professor at Georgetown
University in Washington, D.C., and at
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
She founded Cynthia Milligan and
Associates, a Lincoln banking consul
tant firm, in 1991.
On top of that, she was education
adviser to former Gov. Kay Orr and
director of the Nebraska Department of
Banking and Finance from 1987 to
“All (the jobs) have been challeng
ing and interesting and exciting and then
you bring to the next position all that
you’ve had,” she said.
Though it may seem Milligan is
CYNTHIA MILLIGAN, the College of Business Administration’s new dean, now oversees the college’s five main
areas - economics, finance, accountancy, management and marketing. Milligan, who became dean in June, for
merly worked at Cynthia Milligan and Associates, a local bank consulting firm she founded.
married to her career, she actually is
married to Bob Milligan - for 30 years.
Vice Chancellor for Academic
Affairs Rick Edwards said the college
was looking for a candidate who
demonstrated strong leadership and
“The main thing that attracted us
was her high level of aspiration for the
college and for what she wanted to see
the university achieve,” Edwards said.
“She’s very ambitious for her col
lege and has the vision and the energy
and determination to see great things
Milligan has been to more than
seven countries including Great Britain,
Israel and China. Edwards said her
experiences there will benefit students
and add to the several student programs
Milligan said she decided to take the
leap from business to education because
it is a rewarding profession.
“I think those who are involved in
education can know at the end of the day
that what they do makes a difference,”
Plus, Milligan just enjoys working
in a college atmosphere.
“A college campus is really a won
derful, vibrant place to be,” she said.
She cherishes the daily, routine
sights on campus, such as the NU
marching band scurrying to practice in
the morning or a student sitting in a
quiet comer reading a book.
Milligan is not the first of her fami
ly to play an important role at UNL.
Her father, Clifford Hardin, was NU
chancellor during the 1950s and 1960s.
Milligan said she wants to leave her
mark in the college as one who gave
opportunities to students.
“1 hope students come back and say
I opened the door for them in their
career,” she said.
“I hope students look back and say
the education we gave them here really
made a difference in their lives ”
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