Juan Franco honored during homecoming events

Monday, September 25, 2017 Juan Franco honored during homecoming events

Student members of the Character Council march in the homecoming parade at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to honor Dr. Juan N. Franco.

Homecoming is a special, festive time on a college campus – and no one knew that better than Dr. Juan Franco.

Franco, who passed away in August, served as vice chancellor for student affairs at Nebraska for 11 years. Events throughout the homecoming week recognized Franco’s life and legacy.

Friends, colleagues and family attended a celebration of life on Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Wick Center. Speakers included Chancellor Ronnie Green; former Chancellor Harvey Perlman; Steven Jara, hall director of the Massengale Residential Center; students Valeria Rodriguez and Brianna Ridenour; and son Johnny Franco.

“First and foremost, Juan Franco was the student’s vice chancellor,” said former Chancellor Harvey Perlman. “He cared about each one as an individual. He engaged with them in their activities. He counseled them if requested. He visited them when they were sick or injured.”

“He was smart, knowledgeable, warm and genuine. He took issues but not himself seriously,” summarized Perlman.

In a letter to Franco, senior Valeria Rodriguez thanked him for the support and encouragement he provided to all students.

“I will keep my promise to you to continue making an impact on this university, like you did to me. Dr. Franco, you never passed away because you remain very much alive in our hearts.”

Franco’s family were honored as the grand marshalls for the annual homecoming parade on Friday, Sept. 22. Franco’s wife Elisa; their three sons Jimmy, Johnny and Fabian; and additional family members attended. Students from the Character Council, an organization Franco helped found to recognize students of integrity, marched in the parade holding a banner in Franco’s memory.

Homecoming events concluded with the Huskers 27-17 victory over Rutgers on Saturday. During the game, a brief video recognized Franco’s lasting impact on students.

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