Alumni Weekend 2013

October 04, 2013

It's always exciting each year when the "Welcome Alumni" banners go up on the Kansas City campus. This weekend, we are hosting more than 450 visitors who graduated from our excellent schools and their guests. We are so proud of them.

Our KU Medical Center Office of Alumni & Community Relations, led by Kim Huyett, has put together a weekend of intellectually stimulating and socially engaging activities. It started with the Gold Medal Breakfast this morning, celebrating our classes of 1963 - our 50-year class - with alumni attendees receiving gold medal pins. We planned a lively discussion, with Dean Karen Miller facilitating a panel discussion with guests Mario Guastello (MD'63), and Jenean Sears (N'63), current medical student Dustin Silverman and current nursing student Jackie Nelson.

Kim and her team have arranged for our alumni to tour the Georgia Holland REACH lab and The University of Kansas Cancer Center labs; hear presentations on the changing health care landscape and what it takes to operate a medical school campus in rural Kansas; attend cooking classes in the Healing Foods Kitchen; and attend the Jessie Ball Lecture, hosted by the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science - this year's speaker is alumna Camilla Wilson, former chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Wichita State University. (A full schedule of events and a list of scheduled attendees is available here.)

Friday is the day we honor our Alumni Award winners - two categories of actual alumni (distinguished and early career achievement) and a third cohort of honorary alumni who we are claiming as our own. As always, the awardees are an amazing group of people who have made profound contributions to the University of Kansas Medical Center's education, research, patient care and service missions. Please join me in congratulating:

Distinguished Alumni

Health Professions: Kathleen G. Davis, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, KU Medical CenterMedicine: Richard Weinshilboum, Mary Lou and John H. Dasburg Professor for Cancer Genomics Research; Chair, Division of Clinical Pharmacology; Professor of Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and Medicine, Mayo ClinicNursing: Monica Scheibmeir, Dean, School of Nursing, Washburn University

 Early Career Achievement

  • Health Professions: Sandra Anne Billinger, Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, KU Medical Center
  • Medicine:Ted M. Burns, Vice Chair, Neurology Department; Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor in Neurology; Director, Neurology Residency Program; Director, Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship, University of Virginia
  • Nursing: Jill Peltzer, Clinical Instructor, School of Nursing, KU Medical Center


  • Health Professions: Debra K. Sullivan, Professor and Chair, Dietetics and Nutrition, KU Medical Center
  • Medicine: Roy A. Jensen, Director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center; Director, Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute; William R. Jewell, MD - Distinguished Kansas Masonic Professorship in Cancer Research; Chief Executive Officer, Midwest Cancer Alliance
  • Nursing: Janet D. Pierce, Professor, School of Nursing, KU Medical Center

Capping Friday's activities is a reception in memory of Stata Norton Ringle, former Dean of the School of Health Professions and professor emeriti of pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics, and David A. Ringle. In July, the KU Endowment Association announced that the Ringles had made a $10 million estate gift to create scholarships for students in our School of Health Professions and provide support for our Clendening History of Medicine Library and the Kenneth Spencer Research Library in Lawrence. The Ringles also donated their collection of medical and scientific books to the Clendening Library.

The collegiality continues on Saturday with breakfast, lunch and dinner events for specific classes. And some brave medical students, faculty, staff and alumni will be joining me for the JayDoc Golf Classic tournament at Painted Hills Golf Club, with all proceeds going to the JayDoc Clinic.

As I wrote back in August, KU Medical Center's alumni are serving the world (that edition of the newsletter includes a link to the "Where in the World is KU Medical Center" graphic depiction of our global reach). As an academic medical center, our strength is a reflection of our exceptional faculty, the dedication of our students and the support of many others in our community who choose to invest their time and resources in advancing our mission of education, research, clinical care and outreach. That continued excellence also depends on our alumni - our former students who not only give back to our institution financially, but who continue to stay involved to spread the word about the incredible things happening every day at KU Medical Center.

To all of our alumni who could not make it to Kansas City this weekend, we are grateful for your continued commitment to the health of all. To our faculty, staff and students in Kansas City, please extend your warmest welcome to our alumni when you see them. It's a great weekend at KU Medical Center.

Last modified: Oct 04, 2013