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Walter Scott Jr., a successful businessman, influential Omaha billionaire, philanthropist and devoted contributor to the University of Nebraska, died Saturday, Sept. 25, at 90.

Scott was chairman and former CEO of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., his journey beginning there as a water boy, eventually becoming an engineer, chairman, president and then CEO. 

As successor to Peter Kiewit, Scott played an important role in instilling the guiding principles of the founders to the next generation, according to Kiewit Chair Bruce Grewcock.

“His contributions to the company, our communities and to the education of up-and-coming industry professionals set an example for all of us,” he said, “and his wisdom and guidance will be sorely missed.”  

Scott was dedicated to higher education and was the largest donor to his alma mater, Colorado State University.

He was also a large contributor to the University of Nebraska and left a lasting impression on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center. The Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation has given more than $220 million in support of the university and the University of Nebraska Foundation. 

“On behalf of the entire University of Nebraska, we send our heartfelt condolences to the family of Walter Scott who passed away today,” NU President Ted Carter said in a tweet on Sept. 25. “Mr. Scott was the best of all of us here in Nebraska. Smart, loyal and caring. No one was a bigger champion for our NU students. Rest in peace.”

Scott also provided full-ride scholarships to over 100 UNL and UNO students through the Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship Program. Scott Scholars are enrolled in programs associated with either the UNL College of Engineering or the UNO College of Information Science and Technology. 

“Walter Scott has literally helped thousands of young people pursue their dreams of making an impact in their communities with the scholarships his foundation has provided,” Wayne Watkins, the executive director of the scholarship program, said in an interview with UNO. “There is an entire generation of Scott Scholars who are in the workforce today – transforming Nebraska, and the rest of the world.”

At UNL, Scott's gifts funded the Walter Scott Engineering Center, named in honor of his father. One of the three campuses at UNO is officially known as the “Scott Campus,” in honor of the impact his generosity has had on the campus. Several facilities on UNMC campus have also been impacted by Scott and the Scott foundation.

"Walter Scott Jr. was a great engineer, businessman and philanthropist,” UNL College of Engineering Dean Lance C. Pérez said. “His investments in the city of Omaha, including the Scott Scholars program and the Peter Kiewit Institute, will have an impact on the education of students on the Scott Campus for generations to come." 

As an Omaha native, Scott and his wife Suzanne were highly involved in the community. Scott served as Board chair for Heritage Services, Omaha Zoological Society, Omaha Zoo Foundation, Joslyn Art Museum, Horatio Alger Association, and the Board of Policy Advisors for the Peter Kiewit Institute. 

“You cannot find a better model for a citizen than Walter Scott,” Warren Buffett, longtime friend of Scott, told the Omaha World-Herald in an interview on Saturday, Sept. 25. “He was basically a builder, whether he was building Kiewit and physical things or building his vision of Omaha or Nebraska. He was nonstop.”

news@dailynebraskan.com