Lincoln (Neb.) - June 23, 1997 - When offered the post of executive director of the UNL Alumni Association, Ed Paquette said he didn't hesitate in deciding to accept.
"I didn't want to make the same mistake twice," Paquette said, explaining that late Nebraska football coach Bob Devaney had tried to recruit him out of Superior (Wis.) High School in the mid-1960s. Paquette instead opted to attend Northwestern University, where he lettered three times as a defensive end and earned academic All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1968.
"The University of Nebraska is a wonderful university and it has a real balance between academics and other facets of campus life that I really like," he said. "We have a chance to build the best alumni organization in the nation. I hope to get all alumni involved."
Paquette's selection was announced by UNL Chancellor James Moeser and Alumni Association President Dan Bahensky, a Kearney attorney. Paquette will join the Nebraska staff July 1 after four years as executive director of the Northwestern Alumni Association.
"I have both professional and personal reasons for coming to Nebraska," Paquette said. "From a professional standpoint, when I interviewed I had a chance to observe the chancellor closely, and the more I saw of him, the more I liked him. The fact that a chancellor at a public university cares as much as he does about alumni affairs is important. He had a lot to do with my decision. And in my discussions with other people on campus, I saw that they all want to tell the university's story - and that story is a lot more than football.
"At the personal level, my wife and I are both from small towns and we have a 13-year-old daughter. We live in a gated community in the northern suburbs of Chicago. It's not a friendly place and we were looking for a place with heartland values. When we visited Lincoln, people we didn't know said 'hi' to us. That doesn't happen in Chicago. We're really excited about being involved in a civic-minded community where the university is a big part of the community."
As chief executive officer of the 23,000-member Nebraska Alumni Association, Paquette will work closely with the university administration, deans, faculty, the athletics department, the NU Foundation, Nebraska communities, alumni chapters and constituent groups to promote alumni membership and generate alumni support for the university.
"Ed Paquette is a dynamic individual who understands the Midwest and has a great deal of experience in building strong alumni programs," Moeser said. "As executive director of the alumni association at a first-class institution like Northwestern, he has developed some wonderful ideas that will help us build an alumni program at Nebraska that will be second to none."
Bahensky said Alumni Association members who met Paquette were impressed by his experience and his success in alumni relations at Northwestern.
"He does very well in working both with groups and with individuals," he said. "He's truly the best person for the job."
Paquette earned his bachelor's degree (1969) in education at Northwestern, where he also lettered in track and field as a sprinter, long jumper and shot putter. He then earned two master's degrees at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., the first (1975) in guidance and counseling, the second (1977) in educational administration.
From 1969-71, he worked in sales and management for the A.B. Dick Co. in Chicago, then taught for six years at the Nichols School in Buffalo, where he also was dean of students, college counselor, coach and assistant to the headmaster. From 1977-86, he was headmaster and chief executive officer of Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy. He then spent seven years as president and headmaster at the Leelanau Center for Education in Glen Arbor, Mich., before going to Northwestern.
Paquette also served with the U.S. Army Reserve in Buffalo (1969-75) and was an adjunct professor at Canisius (1974-77). In 1981, he founded Educational Placement Associates Inc., a comprehensive educational counseling service in Northfield, Ill., which he sold in 1984.
He won a Phi Delta Kappa Achievement Award in 1983, a Northwestern Alumni Achievement Recognition Award in 1984, was named to Who's Who in the Midwest in 1986 and won a University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Recognition Award in 1990.
Paquette and his wife, Martha, have a son Derek, 24, and a
daughter, Patricia, 13.
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