A tragic accident involving a drunk driver took the life of Jessica Lutton Bedient, a beloved UNO employee, who is now being honored by the school for her commitment to public service.
The ceremony took place Thursday at the Community Engagement Center at UNO, now formally known as the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center.
One of the components of the facility is a new Student Resource Center and there was a very emotional ceremony Thursday dedicating that Resource Center to Jessica. Everyone wanted to remember that she lived her life dedicated to service.
Family and friends packed the room. Jessica's parents and sisters unveiled the new resource center. The facility allows students to quickly access volunteer and public service opportunities to get involved in their communities.
Jessica's father gave a touching speech reflecting on her impact at such a young age. Fighting tears, friends and colleagues said the ceremony was bittersweet but now they hope students can be inspired by her legacy.
Jessica’s friend, Lindsey Howe, said, “She wasn't somebody who wanted her name up in lights and she wasn't all about recognition whatsoever but when it comes to something like this, I think something that she was so deeply rooted in and so passionate about, this fits her perfectly."
Campus Director of Development, Lori Byrne, said, “The fact that one individual could make such a huge difference, I mean I think that's testimonial based on all the people that are here and cared so much about her. So if one person could do so much good, how much could a whole bunch of people?"
Byrne said in her speech that the Community Engagement Center was just in the works when Jessica worked there a few years ago, but she heard about the project and told her that she wanted in because, “It's who I am."