Dave KeckAfter 21 years at the University of Nebraska, as Executive Director of the J.D. Edwards Honors Program, followed by Executive Director of the Raikes School, then followed by data science Professor of Practice, Dr. David Keck is retiring in May. Much has changed over these past 21 years, Dave’s commitment to the excellence of the Raikes School has not. During those 21 years, the school was transformed from an honors program to an important academic unit of the university. 

In 1998, Ed McVaney had donated money to build the Kauffman Center and to launch the J.D. Edwards Program. By 2001, UNL had gone through two interim directors during the first search for a director, which failed. (Trivia question: name the two!) The university then decided to retain a second recruiter that knew the high-performance computer industry to find a permanent director to lead the program (at the suggestion of the Computer Science and Engineering chairman.)  

After having spent more than two decades in industry working in the US, Japan, and France, Dave was excited to give higher education a try. Dave made numerous changes to the program. He focused on undergraduate education (the J.D. Edwards Honors Program started at the Master’s level) and designed and built an undergraduate program. He and the faculty designed the Design Studio capstone (modeled after a similar, albeit one-year, program at Harvey Mudd College), obtained funding to hire staff and faculty, and set the curriculum focus to be at the intersection of design thinking, model thinking, and innovation. He successfully navigated several internal challenges to build the relationships with campus partners that exist today. Working with the NU Foundation, he created the Corporate Advisory Board that has become a key advocate of the School!

Throughout the changes that have happened at the Raikes School and, indeed, at UNL, Dave has been able to maintain an upbeat view of the future. He always has a strategic and positive plan for how to move forward. When the Raikes School staff took Gallup’s Clifton Strengths assessment, it was not surprising that Dave’s top-five strengths are in the strategic category!

While Dave is going to be retiring from his teaching duties, he will stay with us in other ways. We are currently seeking Professor Emeritus status for Dave to keep him a part of the Raikes School even after he enters retirement.

The Raikes School is hosting a celebration for Dave on Wednesday, May 4 from 4:30-6:30 pm in the Kauffman Center's Great Hall. All alumni are invited to attend. Submit your RSVP by Friday, April 29

Alumni are also encouraged to share their good wishes and favorite memories of Dr. Keck in videos or notes sent to raikesschool@unl.edu by Monday, May 2. We will share all notes and videos with Dave at the May 4 celebration. Dave has spoken at many senior celebrations and alumni events sharing his favorite memories of his time with you. We can now turn the tables and share our memories with him!

Alumni may also reach out to Dave directly to send him a note of congratulations for a successful second career at the Raikes School/J.D. Edwards Program. Email him at dkeck@unl.edu or david@keckmail.com