Nebraska’s Big Birthday

By Governor Pete Ricketts

Do you know the connection between the last official document signed by President Abraham Lincoln and Nebraska?  It’s a little known fact that the last official document President Lincoln signed right before his death reappointed Nebraska’s territorial Governor.  That document is on display at the Nebraska State Historical Society.  This and other fun facts about Nebraska’s history will be highlighted through one of four new initiatives unveiled ahead of Nebraska’s sesquicentennial birthday.


Get ready to celebrate because Nebraska’s big birthday is right around the corner!  On March 1, 2017, we’ll be celebrating 150 years of statehood for the Good Life.  Over the past two years, my wife Susanne has been working with Nebraskans across the state to put together 13 programs and events to help us celebrate all year long.  In their planning, Susanne and her team had three major goals: bridge communities, connect Nebraskans, and enhance state pride.  This week, Susanne and I hosted a launch event for the sesquicentennial at the State Capitol where we unveiled four web-based programs to get the celebration underway.


The first program is the Nebraska Impact Initiative, which challenges Nebraskans to volunteer 150 hours or more either as an individual or as part of a group in 2017.   Utilizing an online platform, the initiative allows participants to register, discover volunteer opportunities, connect with other Nebraskans, and track progress.  Through the website and social media, the Nebraska150 Celebration will recognize Nebraskans who participate and highlight communities, schools, and non-profit organizations that are impacted.


This initiative is a partnership between the Nebraska150 Celebration and ServeNebraska, the state’s commission focused on encouraging service and volunteerism.  This year, Nebraska ranked sixth in the nation for volunteerism, and the commission has set a goal of making Nebraska number one.


Second is the Nebraska150 Challenge, an online fitness program that strives to make fitness fun by motivating and assisting Nebraskans to reach the goal of moving 150 miles or more in 2017.  Through an interactive website,, individuals and groups will register and document miles for walking, running, biking, swimming, kayaking, skateboarding, jump roping, or almost any type of exercise.  An online physical activity converter helps participants easily turn their preferred exercise into miles.  Participants will track their progress and earn virtual badges at certain milestones.


Our family is participating in the fitness challenge together.  I regularly ride my bike and Susanne is a runner.  Along with the kids—and even Olive, our family hedgehog—we are logging our miles.  We hope you will do the same!


The third program we launched is a series of engaging video shorts on our state’s history called “Now You Know Nebraska.”  Throughout the course of the school year in 2017, Nebraska150 Celebration will release 174 videos, which educators, families, and all Nebraskans can utilize to learn more about our state’s rich history.  Each video will be one to two minutes, and will showcase some of the state’s most compelling, entertaining, and appealing stories and facts.  The videos will be released at and via YouTube.


Finally, we launched “I Am Nebraska,” an oral history project that invites citizens of all ages to share their Nebraska experience via social media.  Participants can record a short video and upload it to their own Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts under the hashtag “I Am Nebraska” (#IAmNebraska).  The Nebraska150 Celebration will pull together submissions and feature some on its website,  Participants can find instructions on how to produce their videos at those sites as well as watch sample videos.


At the end of the year, highlights from the submissions will be shared with the Nebraska State Historical Society for preservation.  I’ve recorded my own video, which you can watch by


Susanne and I invite you to join our family in participating in these challenges and activities.  This is just the beginning of the celebration—there is a lot more in the works!  This anniversary is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the entire state to come together to celebrate how much the Good Life has grown over the last century and a half.  Throughout 2017, follow updates on the sesquicentennial celebration by visiting


As always, you are welcome to contact my office by or by calling 402-471-2244.  In the New Year, my administration will continue our efforts to help Nebraska grow and thrive as the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.  We value your feedback!


About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: