UNMC advocate to receive Horatio Alger, NEBRASKAlander awards

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | February 18, 2010

Richard "Dick" Holland -- an Omaha business leader and philanthropist and ardent supporter of UNMC -- will soon receive a pair of prestigious awards, including the Horatio Alger Award.

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Richard "Dick" Holland
Holland will join several national figures, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as honorees at the Alger award ceremony in April in Washington.

Also, on Feb. 27, Holland will receive the Distinguished NEBRASKAlander Award from the NEBRASKAland Foundation at a ceremony at the State Capitol (see sidebar).

"Dick Holland's contributions to society are immeasurable," said UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D. "He has been a leader and an advocate in many important issues at local, state and national levels. It is wonderful to see him receive these honors. He is most deserving."

The Alger award, presented by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, recognizes Americans who have risen from humble beginnings to achieve personal and professional success.

About the NEBRASKAlander and Horatio Alger

The Distinguished NEBRASKAlander Award is given for service to the state's social, historical, cultural or economic well-being.

Horatio Alger Jr. was the author of more than 100 books that inspired young people from the post-Civil War era through the end of the 19th century. His novels of courage, faith and hard, honest work captured the imagination of generations of young Americans and gave them a model of hope and promise in the face of hardships.

Past recipients include Ed McMahon, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Colin Powell and the late Chuck Durham, also a strong supporter of UNMC.

Holland contributed financially to the construction of the twin research towers at UNMC that bear Durham's name. He also helped found the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, which promotes and supports life-saving research at UNMC and throughout Nebraska.

Holland is a retired CEO of Holland, Dreves, Reilly advertising agency in Omaha. In 1979, it merged with a Lincoln agency and became Swanson, Rollheiser, Holland, Inc., which eventually became Omaha's second-largest advertising business.

Aside from his support of UNMC, Holland and his late wife, Mary, also led a variety of initiatives, projects and programs designed to enrich the community, including the establishment of the Holland Center for Performing Arts.

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