Citation for Alumni Achievement Award

The Citation, inaugurated in 1949, is presented at each UNO commencement. The UNO Alumni Association’s highest honor encompasses career achievement, community service, involvement in business and professional associations, and fidelity to the university.



Lou Anne Rinn, J.D.
Lou Anne Rinn, J.D. graduated from UNO in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors with majors in both Economics and Political Science. Shortly after completing her Juris Doctor degree at Columbia University in 1980, Rinn joined the Law Department at Omaha’s Union Pacific (UP) Railroad Company. She held multiple positions including assistant vice president–investor relations and associate general counsel before her retirement in 2017.  

During her 36-year tenure, Rinn represented UP before the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and its successor Surface Transportation Board (STB). She also represented UP in federal and state courts and in arbitration in contract disputes. Her expertise included advising clients on regulatory and contract matters, analyzing proposed legislation and developing alternative language.  

Rinn served as regional vice president, member of the Executive Committee and secretary of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals (ATLP), the bar association of those who practiced before the ICC/STB. She also chaired the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Economic Regulation Working Group (ERWG) from 2003-2017.   

Rinn’s service extended to the Omaha community as she chaired the Finance Committee and served as vice president and president of the Stephen Center Board of Directors from 1997-2003. She also served on the Nebraska Legal Aid Board of Directors from 2013-2017 and the Community Alliance Board of Directors from 2014-2017. Rinn served on the UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2009 to 2013, acting as legal counsel for the association’s board and liaison to the College of Arts and Sciences.  

Rinn believes deeply in supporting students and faculty and has generously established the UNO College of Arts and Sciences Cross the Finish Line Scholarship and the UNO College of Arts and Sciences Rinn Returning Student Fund and has generously supported OER (Open Educational Resources). She has also been a University of Nebraska Foundation Trustee since 2020.  

In 2012, Rinn was honored as the inaugural UNO College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumna. 


Mark Steele 
For more than 35 years, Mark Steele has been a dynamic force in establishing and growing businesses across the Asia-Pacific region for global enterprises. His expertise lies in general and operations management, new business development and marketing. 

In November 2009, Steele founded Planet Water Foundation – a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to providing access to safe drinking water to under-resourced communities worldwide. Under Steele's leadership as CEO, Planet Water has implemented water filtration systems and hygiene education programs in over 2,000 communities, touching the lives of more than four million people across 28 countries. The foundation's success is bolstered by support from major corporations such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, JP Morgan Chase, Xylem and Microsoft. 

Before Planet Water, Steele served as the Chief Operating Officer of Tele Atlas in Singapore from March 2006 to November 2009. In this role, he was instrumental in expanding Tele Atlas’ presence in the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions, establishing operations in 10 countries. 

From November 1993 to March 2006, Steele held several management and executive positions at ITT Corporation with his latest role as President of the company’s China operations, based in Shanghai, where he oversaw all corporate functions and nine production facilities with 10,000 employees and annual revenue of $500 million. 

Earlier, he worked at GM Hughes Electronics in Irvine, California, as the Director of Marketing, managing global marketing communications, market research and new product launches. 

Steele graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1990 with a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies with specializations in International Marketing and Japanese. He also attended Shizuoka University in Japan on a Monbusho Scholarship focusing on Japanese and Japanese business studies. Internships during his time in Japan included positions at the U.S. Embassy - U.S. Department of Commerce and at General Motors in Tokyo. 
Steele has also been actively involved with the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, where he served on the Board of Governors and chaired the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. 

Steele currently resides in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Kristen of 12 years, and is a proud father to Spencer and Sabrina who live and work in Omaha.  

His adventurous spirit has led him to remarkable feats such as skiing to the North Pole, crossing the Patagonian and Greenland ice caps, exploring the lower reaches of Mount Everest and running a 150-mile footrace across the Sahara Desert. Steele's career and personal achievements exemplify a blend of business acumen and humanitarian effort.

Praveen Neppalli Naga

Praveen Neppalli Naga takes UNO’s core values of integrity, inclusion and Maverick spirit to heart – and it’s evident in all he’s done throughout his time at and after UNO.

Naga grew up in southern India and moved to the U.S. in 2002. With a strong work ethic and positive attitude, he overcame adversity, embraced change and made his way to the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he earned his master’s degree in computer science in 2005.

His first job was at BHMI (Baldwin Hackett & Meeks, Inc.), an Omaha technology company. He then went on to hold leadership roles at Bank of America, eventually moving to LinkedIn, where he spent seven years building the company’s early products and data infrastructure, setting the company up to grow into the massive success it is today.

After his time at LinkedIn, he joined Uber in 2015, starting as a senior engineering manager and working his way up to the executive engineering leadership team. Naga currently serves as vice president of engineering at Uber. He leads the global mobility and enterprise business – an organization that includes more than 1,000 employees worldwide focused on giving the best experience for the riders while building a platform for drivers and couriers to earn flexibly. While his work is focused on the end user, Naga is also a strong advocate for employees and setting the standard for engineering excellence.

Outside of his career success, he is passionate about giving back to his community. Naga is an executive sponsor for the Women Employee Resource Group within Uber and a dedicated mentor helping employees learn and grow. He helps guide and support empowering women with experiences that further their advancement and development into strong leaders and advocates.

Naga is a proud parent of a special needs child and is extremely passionate about helping other parents with special needs children.

Naga lives in Silicon Valley with his wife, Anusha, and two sons.