By the Lincoln Journal Star:

Crete, the Doane College Board of Trustees has recently added two new members. Judi gaiashkibos and Dr. Thomas F. Tonniges will both contribute their expertise and leadership skills to the board of trustees.

Judi gaiashkibos has always strived to use her voice for a purpose. She is a member of the Ponca tribe, and grew up in Norfolk. Because she is Native American, gaiashkibos endured discrimination and hardships growing up. Since then, she has worked hard to make sure that her voice, and the voice of other Native Americans, are heard.

Appointed in 1995, gaiashkibos was named the executive director of Nebraska Commission of Indian Affairs (NCIA). In 2012, she was the recipient of the Sower Award in the Humanities, nominated by former Sower Award recipients Chuck Trimble and Don Pederson.

Trimble sang gaiashkibos’s praises saying that gaiashkibos had transformed the Indian affairs commission “from an office-bound little bureaucracy to a dynamic organization advocating and maintaining positive State-Tribal relations, and reaching out to promote interracial harmony and good community relations.”

Already a member of the Doane community, gaiashkibos received her bachelor’s degree in human relations and master’s degree in management with a leadership emphasis from the college.

Gaiashkibos has also served as past president of the Governor’s Interstate Indian Council, and currently she serves on several nonprofit and state advisory boards.

In 2009, gaiashkibos was awarded the Gate Keeper Award in recognition of her “opening new doorways in the spirit of unity, equality and understanding.”

Not only does she work with Native organizations, but also non-Native organizations and has worked on projects throughout the nation. Specifically, she has contributed to various areas of Indian history, culture, law and protocols.

She has two children, Katie and Jacque, as well as her first grandchild.

Dr. Thomas F. Tonniges has over 25 years experience working in the medical field, as well as special ties to the Doane community. Tonniges is a nationally renowned lecturer on community pediatric programs and has served on Doane’s Board of Trustees for 13 years previously, from 1991-2006.

During his time in the medical field, Tonniges has led the Department of Community Pediatrics for the American Academy of Pediatrics in Elk Grove Village, Ill. Locally, he developed a pediatrics and adolescent private practice in Hastings for 18 years.

In terms of higher education, everything began at Doane for Tonniges. He received his bachelor of science degree from Doane College and went on to receive his doctor of medicine from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha. Later he would go on to become an adjunct professor at Kearney State College and Hastings College, as well as clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).

Not only is Tonniges dedicated to the medical community, but he has also found ways to give back to the community using his talents. In July 2012 Tonniges was named medical director of Arbor Health Plan, a mission-driven medicaid-managed care plan that serves Nebraska’s rural population. He also serves as the American Academy of Pediatrics director of international and interprofessional activities.

Tonniges serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Live Well Omaha Kids. The committee was designed to bring together a combination of leaders to address childhood obesity in the community.

He is also a national board member for Family Voices, an organization dedicated to achieving family-centered care for children and youth with special healthcare needs and/or disabilities.

Tonniges has also excelled in the eyes of those he has helped, shown by his high satisfaction rating on, a patient-rated site that examines client experiences.

Tonniges is married to wife Jane Tonniges, and has three children.

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