Clara Gunderson Hoover receives award

The University of Nebraska-Omaha held its 2003 student honors convocation on Sunday afternoon, April 6, conveying some 17 major awards. Clara Gunderson Hoover, a 1960 graduate of Rolfe High School, was awarded the Helen Hansen Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship. Clara is a student in the UNO College of Education and plans to finish a doctorate in educational administration in December.

Thoughts about Clara

We feel an extra pride in Clara because she is the sister of Helen Gunderson, editor of the RHS alumni web site. We also suspect that Clara would be both proud and reticent for us to carry news of her award or say much about her. And admittedly, what we do say would either be biased or based on sketchy biographical information. But we will take a stab at telling a little about the award-winner.

We have also taken the liberty to post the following photos. One is from the ceremony, and we received it from Clara via e-mail with a disclaimer that it wasn't very good due to the low room light and the bright spot light on the podium. However the photo does give a sense of the prestigious nature of the day. The other photo is one we had on file from Clara's childhood. Isn't she cute. We've often been envious of her natural curls.

Clara is the oldest of six siblings in the Deane and Marion Gunderson family. They moved to a farm southwest of Rolfe in 1945 when Clara was almost three years old. She has always liked school and done well at academics. She was the valedictorian of her Rolfe class of some 30 students. She went on to Iowa State University and majored in English then went to Western Reserve University and earned a master's degree in library science. She returned to Ames and worked for the Ames High School and ISU libraries while her husband, Hal Hoover, finished his doctoral degree in engineering. The two then moved to Millard, a suburb of Omaha, where Clara was a high school librarian. (continued below)

Clara and Hal have continued to reside in Millard even though they are often on Interstate 80 back to Ames to attend Cyclone football and basketball games. They never did shift their athletic allegiances to UNO or the Cornhuskers in Lincoln.

Clara also continued to work as a librarian for the Millard high schools except for a hiatus to become an administrator with Hal's computer consulting business, Multi-Option Systems, Inc.

In recent years, Clara returned to the Millard schools as a high school curriculum coordinator. She earned a master's degree in English from UNO and took special interest in the life and writings of Nebraska-raised author, Willa Cather. Clara's doctoral dissertation is a qualitative study describing how and why high school foreign language teachers use technology in instruction.

Clara has been active for a number of years on a committee for the American Library Association, and she and Hal have often based their vacation plans around attending ALA conventions in large cities across the country.

Clara and Hal also used to play lots of duplicate bridge. Not so anymore. They do like to spend a couple of weeks each summer at the family cottage at Okoboji where they hole up with several grocery bags full of books and spend much of their time reading. Clara also walks daily.

As a child, Clara had both the responsibilities and privileges of being the oldest child. She has good-naturedly weathered the weight of that role and learned well to be supportive of her parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.

Clara has been loyal to Rolfe High School and several years ago compiled a booklet about her class. And in recent years, she was one of the main persons the RHS alumni web site editor turned to for help in proof-reading essays for the site and a subsequent book.

We're sure that if Clara sees this piece, she will have suggestions to make. Not only is she good at catching typos and grammatical errors, she also is an A-1 reference librarian and has often helped us nail down information. And she gives her suggestions in an affirming way.

So yes, we will modify this piece and incorporate suggestions that Clara sends us. And we know that this quickly thrown together review of Clara's life would never meet the muster of a doctoral committee. But then again, it is Clara who is getting the degree and who earned the award. The sibling writing this report has always been restless in academic settings and has sworn off ever getting another degree. That's the neat thing about some siblings. They can have different propensities and still love and respect each other.

Congratulations, Clara.


From the printed program for the award ceremony.

Helen Hansen Outstanding Graduate Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded to two graduate students who have completed at least 18 hours of graduate work, demonstrated excellence in performance and have been admitted to candidacy with a grade point average of 3.5.

Clara Hoover

Major: Educational Administration College of Education

Clara Hoover, a doctoral candidate in Educational Administration, has been described as an exemplary student, a "dream" to her professors and a "model" for her colleagues. She currently serves as a curriculum facilitator at Millard Public Schools. Hoover's dissertation explores how and why high school foreign language teachers use technology in instruction. The qualitative study she designed has been cited as a potential model for studying technology in schools and universities. "Clara is a team player, both at her job and as a student in our doctoral program," a nominator wrote. "She always goes out of her way to help and support other students and co-workers, which is why they have so much respect and admiration for her. " A lifelong learner, Hoover received her B.S. in English from Iowa State University, her M.S.L.S. in Library Science from Western Reserve University and her M.A. in English from UNO. She completed the endorsement program in Secondary School Administration and Supervision from UNO in 1998. Hoover has held leadership positions with a variety of professional library organizations throughout her career, including the Nebraska Library Association and the American Library Association Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board.