Past students of Dana College were honored Saturday during homecoming ceremonies at the Gardner-Hawks Center, but so, too, were Legacy Scholarship recipients.

Dana Homecoming Ceremony

Class of 1992 member Jennifer Sparrock speaks at the podium Saturday during the Dana College Homecoming Ceremony. Sparrock was the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

Graduates Jennifer Barabas Sparrock, class of 1992, and Benson Henderson, class of 2006, were honored with the Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Youth Alumni Awards after Dana College Foundation President Bob Coffey announced three young students just starting their college careers. The students — Matthew Finney of Waukee, Iowa, Mikayla Carlson of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Carly Renken of Gretna — were the inaugural Legacy Scholarship recipients, which are worth $2,500. The funds were raised by alumni and other donors.

Finney is studying at Creighton University and is the son of Shawn and Sherri Finney, Dana graduates.

Carlson is attending Saint Olaf College in Minnesota. She is the granddaughter of three Dana graduates, Kay and Lyle Schjodt, and Rhoda Schjodt.

Renken, meanwhile, is the daughter of Dana grad Tyler Renken and granddaughter of Doug Renken. She is attending Augustana University in Sioux Falls.

Later, Sparrock was introduced by professor Jan Potter, who said she was the embodiment of what Dana is all about.

“Jennifer is an authentic human being,” Potter said.

Sparrock is currently the social work manager at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She's presented workshops to mental health professionals, represented her church on service missions and mentored social workers.

Shad Beam, meanwhile, introduced Henderson, a champion in mixed martial arts, while Ernie Abariotes inducted former Dana wrestling coach Steve Costanzo into the Athletic Hall of Fame. For more on the former Vikings, see the story in today's Sports section.

The ceremony closed with a performance by the Dana College Alumni Choir, which was led by 2006 graduate Kori Kay Archbold. Sandra Jensen hosted the event, while Rev. Kathy Gerking and Gary Madsen of the Danish American Archive and Library also spoke at the podium.

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