BankFirst establishes scholarship in memory of Acklie

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by jamesc  12/16/2016 9:12:13 AM -- 

NORFOLK – A Norfolk financial institution has established a scholarship in the memory of one of the original founders of the business. BankFirst created the scholarship at Northeast Community College in the name of Duane Acklie, who also served as the bank’s chairman of the board.

Clark Froehlich, BankFirst president, said they wanted to establish the scholarship to recognize Acklie’s contributions to the region.

“I learned a lot from Duane in the time I worked for him. He was very easy to work for as he always allowed us to be decision makers. Duane very seldom missed a meeting and remained active on the board until he passed away…as he always liked to know what was going on in northeast Nebraska,” Froehlich said. “He was a very generous, humble and caring individual who truly believed in giving back to the community.”

Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president, said he is grateful that BankFirst established a scholarship in Acklie’s name.

“We hear the remarkable stories of our students every day. They aspire to attend Northeast Community College, but many times - through no fault of their own – they run into roadblocks in achieving their dreams,” Chipps said. “Mr. Acklie was a generous individual who gave of his time and talents to ensure that students like ours succeed in achieving their goals and dreams. We are appreciative of BankFirst’s endorsement of Northeast Community College through the Duane Acklie Scholarship.”

Acklie, who passed away in September 2016, was born and raised just south of Norfolk. He graduated from Madison High School and then Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College. He then attended the University of Nebraska where he obtained a law degree. Following college, he enlisted in the military and went on to serve active duty as an US. Army officer in counter intelligence.

Engaged in private practice of law from 1957 to 1972, Acklie left for the business of trucking and banking and served as chairman of Crete Carrier Corporation, Bank First and related enterprises. He also served 20 years as Nebraska Republican National Committeeman and at local, national, and state levels from 1960 to 2016. 

Acklie’s many professional memberships and other boards included Chief Executive Organization, Nebraska Bankers Association, Nebraska State Bar Association, Nebraska Trucking Association, and Rotary Club No. 14, and the Round Table.                          

Acklie’s previous boards and appointments included Nebraska State Highway Commission, Nebraska Economic Development Commission, Student Loan Marketing Association, Chairman/Board member - U.S. Mission to the United Nations Senior Advisor, Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation, Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska Foundation, Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., Advisory Board- Duncan Aviation, Inc., and FirsTier Financial, Inc.

Acklie is survived by his wife Phyllis of Lincoln, NE and Naples, FL.

Northeast Community College Foundation works with private organizations, corporations and individuals to offer students a number of merit-based and need-based scholarships. Last year, over 700 students applied for scholarships while 368 awards were made. For more information on assisting a student in reaching their educational goals, contact Dr. Tracy Kruse, Northeast Community College Foundation, at (402) 844-7056 or via email,

For more information on Northeast scholarships, go online to For most of the scholarships offered at Northeast, just one online scholarship application is required. The 2017-18 online scholarship application deadline is March 1, 2017.



Posted In -- Norfolk, O'Neill, Press Releases, South Sioux City, Students and Alumni, West Point

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