Mark Gustafson has been selected to receive the Nebraska Builder Award -- the highest non-academic award granted by the University of Nebraska. University Board of Regents policies specify that the award be given only to individuals who have literally been “builders” of the university or the State of Nebraska. Gustafson will receive the award during commencement ceremonies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Saturday, May 8.
“Those who know Mark Gustafson recognize him as an effective leader who can help an organization move forward and achieve an objective,” said Chuck Hassebrook, who nominated Gustafson for the award last November. “He has the ability to see the broad picture, bring issues into sharp focus, and build consensus.” Hassebrook is the director of the Center for Rural Affairs and a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Past winners of the award include businessman Roy A. Smith of Omaha, Scottsbluff banker Henry D. Kosman, and the late Don Clifton of Lincoln, who was chairman of the Gallup Organization.
Gustafson is a Nebraska representative to the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and is a member of that organization’s Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching. He also serves on the University of Nebraska President’s Advisory Council, the UNL Chancellor’s Committee of Visitors, and the Citizen’s Liaison Committee for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Agriculture Research and Development Center. He has served on the Agriculture Builders of Nebraska (ABN) board since 1992, chairs the ABN legislative committee and is currently serving his third term as ABN president. He has been active in the Nebraska LEAD program. He has served on the Mead Board of Education and on a variety of committees for Marietta Township and Saunders County.
Gustafson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from UNL and his doctorate -- also in agricultural economics -- from the University of California, Berkeley. He was recently elected to the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement. He and his wife, Dianne, own and operate a farm near Mead. They have two children.