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Alumni Spotlight

We are pleased to shine a spotlight on our outstanding alumni.

Connie Stopper

Connie Stopper, PhD'13, will join the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, as chair of its Department of Nursing. "Dr. Stopper's experience, appreciation for grounding nursing education in the liberal arts and her collaborative nature will make her a true fit for the University of Mount Union community," said Dr. Jeffrey Breese, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the University at Mount Union. Read more.

Richard Weinshilboum

Richard Weinshilboum, MD'67, will be honored during KU's 146th Commencement ceremony on May 13. Dr. Weinshilboum is a Mayo Clinic scientist and a pioneer in the field of pharmacogenomics - the study of how drugs respond to a person's genetics. Read more

Nicholas Tejeda

Nicholas R. Tejeda, MHSA'07, FACHE, was named Market CEO The Hospitals of Providence.  Nico brings a wealth of experience to his new role, with a strong focus on the patient experience and delivering high-quality care to every patient. As Market CEO, Nico will continue to expand healthcare services and quality of care for the El Paso region. Read more.

Sherri Kirkpatrick

Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD'88, RN, FAAN, is President and Co-Founder of HealthEd Connect, a not-for-profit organization. She co-founded HeathEd Connect in 2006 and it is active in four countries: Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nepal. They train and support volunteer health workers in these countries who provide invaluable services within their communities. In 2017, these women monitored over 20,000 babies in Malawi, provided safe deliveries for more than 2,500 moms in DR Congo, supported 1,300+ orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia, and provided emergency services during the floods in Nepal. Details are available at

Amy Mize

Amy Mize, PhD'00, was recently named the Vice President of Business Development at KCAS Bioanalytical and Biomarker Services. Dr. Mize brings to KCAS critical skills in process development and implementation as well as sales and operation planning. She has built systems and processes around demand generation, capacity utilization and forecasting. Read more

Wendy Hildenbrand

Wendy Hildenbrand, PhD'16, MPH'02, OT'89, was chosen to be president elect of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Presidents of AOTA hold special reverence for their work and commitment to the profession. Her three-year term will begin July 1, 2018. Congratulations, Dr. Hildenbrand!

Dan Conyers

Dan Conyers, MS, RRT, RC'77, FAARC, has received The University of Kansas Health System's Award for Excellence in Leadership, an annual recognition of an extraordinary leader.  Health system executives credit Dan, Director of Respiratory Care, for his lifelong commitment to the organization, education, his profession and the community.

"Dan is one of those individuals who is passionate about patient care and the staff who deliver that care," says Bob Page, president and CEO.  Read more

Jean Giddens

Jean L. Giddens, N'81, PhD, was selected to receive the Mary Adelaide Nutting Award for Outstanding Teaching or Leadership in Nursing Education from the National League for Nursing. In addition, Dr. Giddens will be inducted as a Fellow of the NLN Academy of Nursing Education.  

"I am truly honored to be recognized for this award and humbled to be in the company of such distinguished past recipients," Dr. Giddens said. "This award really represents the collective efforts of nurse educators across the country who make a difference." Read more. 

Mark Wiegand

Mark Wiegand, PhD, PT'81, was appointed Vice Provost at Bellarmine University. He is also a Professor of Physical Therapy. His research interests are in the role of service and experiential learning and professional development in health sciences education. His scholarly activity includes over 70 presentations, publications and reviews in journals, books and at national and international meetings. Read more

Judy Bielby

Judy Bielby, MBA'95, HIM'87, RHIA, received the 2017 Making Dreams Come True Distinguished Educator Award from the American Health Information Management Association. Recognized for her creativity and innovation in teaching, Bielby received the prestigious award at the group's Assembly on Education Symposium/Faculty Development Institute in Anaheim, CA. Congratulations!

Thad Wilson

Thad Wilson, PhD'96, recently joined Research College of Nursing as the new president after a 40-plus year career in nursing. Dr. Wilson has plans to grow the school's 400-student population to meet the need for more nurses in the Kansas City area. Previously, Dr. Wilson was executive associate dean at the University of Iowa's nursing school, before opting to return home to Kansas City for a new challenge. "I see it as a wonderful challenge and opportunity. (The college) is nimble enough to try some things that larger one might not be able to," he said. Read more

Timbi West

Timbi West, MSN'94, was named the Outstanding Alumna at Fort Scott Community College. She's currently an advanced practice registered nurse at Schmitz Family Practice in Charleston, AR. She's described as a "role model and mentor to less experienced nurses." Read more

Tom Geraghty

Mission resident and city councilman plastic surgeon Tom Geraghty, MD'72, started Medical Aid for Children of Latin America (MACLA) after a trip to the Dominican Republic in 1985. Every February since then, Dr. Geraghty has taken medical/surgical personnel for two to three weeks to the Dominican Republic to see as many patients as they can. Dr. Geraghty recruited colleagues from all over the country to go on these trips and over the years, more than 800 physicians, nurse anesthetist and nurses have volunteered. Dr. Geraghty with his surgical team has performed over 8,000 operations with MACLA. "The surgeries have been the most challenging I have ever done, and the most interesting," Dr. Geraghty explains. "I love the fact that I get to perform these operations. I only wish we could stay longer." Read more

robert freelove

Robert Freelove, MD'00, R'04, was selected as the 2017 Kansas Humanitarian Award recipient by the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. He serves as the chief executive officer and chief medical officer of Salina Family Healthcare Center where patients are seen regardless of their ability to pay and serves as the residency program director training future physicians at Smoky Hill Family Medicine. Dr. Freelove said his work provides "an awful lot of reward that's not financial. I've been given an opportunity to do something that I love to do that is meaningful and has impact on a large scale." Read more


Louann Hudgins, MD'84, FACMG, is the new president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. "This is an amazing time for the diagnosis and treatment of genetic conditions," said Dr. Hudgins. "A great opportunity now and in the future comes from the improved ability to identify the underlying molecular causes for genetic disorders." Read more.

Luther Fry

Luther Fry, MD'67, was named as one of three Humanitarians of the Year by Governor Brownback and Lieutenant Governor Colyer. Dr. Fry of Garden City is an ophthalmologist who has provided extensive charity care, ensuring none of his patients have been denied eye care because of their inability to pay. Congratulations, Dr. Fry! Read more

julie larson

Julie Larson, MD, R'16, has a passion for working with children with disabilities. She recently wrote a book titled I Have A Doll Just Like You that helps explain amputation and limb deficiency to children. In addition to the fictional story, it contains a "letter to parents/teachers" about how to react in situations when children point, stare and/or ask about someone who looks different than they do. Proceeds from Dr. Larson's book will be donated to send children with limb differences to amputee camps. 

Tammy Kielian

Tammy Kielian, PhD'98, professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Pathology and Microbiology, has been named the 11th UNMC Scientist Laureate. This is the highest honor UNMC bestows to researchers and Dr. Kielian is described as a "spark" who is passionate about research. Read more

Oneita Taylor

Oneita Taylor, MD'81, FACR, was granted the designation of Fellow of the American College of Radiology during the Convocation ceremony held in Washington DC on May 15, 2016. According to the American College of Radiology, one of the highest honors the ACR can bestow on a member is recognition as a fellow of the ACR.  Fellows demonstrate a history of service to the College, organized medicine, teaching or research.  Approximately 10% of ACR members achieve this distinction. Congratulations, Dr. Taylor!                                                                   

Barbara Holcomb

Maj. Gen. Barbara Holcomb took the reins at Fort Detrick in Maryland as the first female installation commander this summer. Holcomb comes to Fort Detrick as the first nurse to serve as commander of the medical command, according to spokeswoman Chelsea Bauckman. Holcomb previously served as a deputy commanding general at the U.S. Army Medical Command at Joint Base San Antonio. Read more

Donna Sweet

Donna Sweet, MD'79, received the first honorary doctorate that Wichita State University has given in 27 years. She also received the university's President's Medal and delivered the fall commencement address. "It is not overstating the matter to say that Dr. Sweet has changed the world with her scholarship and her heart," WSU President John Bardo said in announcing the honors. "Her outstanding achievements and visionary leadership in the battle against AIDS make her an excellent recipient of this award." Read more.

Robert Gibbs

Robert C. Gibbs, MD'98, has been selected as president-elect of the Kansas Medical Society (KMS), a two-year pathway to becoming the organization's president. Dr. Gibbs is the medical director of radiology at Labette Health.  Dr. Gibbs has been a member of the KMS since 1994.

Would you like to be featured or do you know a KUMC alum who would be a great candidate for the Alumni Spotlight? Please email us at


Last modified: Aug 25, 2018