Ed was the visionary whose generous donations created the J.D. Edwards Honors Program and built The Kauffman Academic Residential Center, named after Ed's mother-in-law, Esther Kauffman. In addition to the portrait of Esther in the Great Hall, the Raikes School proudly displays in our main office a picture taken of Esther holding a card prepared by Raikes School students celebrating her 100th birthday. Esther passed away this past January at age 103. A tribute to Esther was carried by the Omaha World Herald.
In addition to his donations creating the J.D. Edwards Honors Program/Raikes School, Ed offered wise advice to former Director David Keck. For example, it was Ed who requested that the Program establish an Advisory Board to provide insights and connections to the Director. Both Dave and current Executive Director, Steve Cooper, have greatly benefitted from the Board's input, feedback, and support.
Ed was as proud of his company’s culture as he was the benefits of the solutions delivered. The memorial service video reminds of us his “five cardinal virtues – truth, compassion, goodness, work, and creativity.” The Raikes School still reflects those virtues that have defined our unique academic culture from the beginning. We use slightly different words now for guidance, but the concepts and culture remain the same. Ed would sometimes describe his company culture more concisely as “no jerks allowed,” but always with a big grin!
After nearly 15 years of limited contact, this past January Ed reached out to former UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman to reconnect with the Raikes School. We made arrangements to host Ed and his daughter Kylee in February. Ed and Kylee were planning to talk about their new company Nextworld of which Kylee is the CEO, which offers a modern cloud-based ERP platform. Their plan was to recruit some Raikes School students to work at Nextworld as interns and employees. Sadly, Ed was not well enough to travel, and their visit needed to be cancelled.
Our hope is that the Raikes School continues its relationship with the McVaney family through connections with Nextworld. There are today far too few tech companies with strong values and we at the Raikes School hope that Nextworld will find some talented interns and future employees at this fall's career fair!
Thank you, Ed, for making our School possible and rest in peace.