COM Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni, Honorary Alumni & Early Career Achievement Award Recipients

2013 Recipients
Distinguished Alumnus Award: Richard A. Hranac, M.D. '73
Early Career Achievement Award: Sheila J. Sternberg Ellis, M.D. '92

Distinguished Alumnus Award: Richard A. Hranac, M.D. '73

Richard HranacRichard Hranac grew up in Cozad, NE and attended Cozad Senior High before pursuing his secondary education at Stanford University.   The son of a family practitioner in Cozad, he went on to pursue his medical degree at UNMC and graduated in 1973.  He completed his residency as associate chief resident in internal medicine at UNMC in 1976.

He went on to serve in the private practice of Internal Medicine and Nephrology as a member of the Platte Valley Medical Group in 1976 and this is where he practiced until May 1, 2013.  He now practices Medicine and Nephrology at the Good Samaritan Medical Group.   He was a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UNMC and has served as a preceptor to countless nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and family practice residents.

Dr. Hranac was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society in 1973 and made a fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1996.  Additionally, he was awarded the Physician Laureate Award by the American College of Physicians -American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) Nebraska Chapter in 2000.  The Laureate Award honors those fellows and masters of the College who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, research, and service to their community, their chapter and the ACP-ASIM.  This recognition is very prestigious in the field of internal medicine.

In leadership positions, Dr. Hranac served a four year term as “Governor” (president) of the Nebraska Chapter of the American College of Physicians and as president of the Good Samaritan Medical staff and is currently an active member of the board of directors of Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, NE.  He has participated in several clinical studies which have contributed to advances in medicine.  He has lectured in the areas of hypertension treatment and diabetes management, among others.

Dr. Hranac built his career around thoughtfulness and compassion in the care and management of his patients.  He has developed a reputation as a respected physician; a reputation developed by consistent patterns of impressive medical practice over a long period of time.  In doing so, Dr. Hranac has become a role model for future practitioners to learn the true art of caring for patients in a compassionate and educated fashion.  His desire to teach future practitioners the art of collegiality of medicine has enhanced students to become dedicated and loyal to patients.   

According to his nomination letter, “Dr. Hranac has always gone the extra mile to help a colleague or patient in need.  He always strives to follow the righteous path.  His character and moral fiber are above reproach.”  

Early Career Achievement Award: Sheila J. Sternberg Ellis, M.D. '92
Sheila Ellis graduated from the UNMC College of Medicine in 1992 with high distinction.  Upon graduation, she was awarded the Brad Paulsen Award for the “Outstanding Senior Medical Student Pursuing a Career in Anesthesiology.”   Sheila EllisDr. Ellis completed her internship and residency at UNMC in the Anesthesiology Department, where she served as chief resident.   When she completed her residency training, she was awarded the “Outstanding Graduate Resident” in Anesthesiology.   All throughout medical school and her residency, Dr. Ellis was recognized as a leader with the potential to achieve great accomplishments in medicine and the anesthesia specialty.

In 1996, immediately following her residency, Dr. Ellis was in high demand and joined the Anesthesiology faculty where she continued to take on additional responsibilities each year, including more administrative responsibility.  All while teaching medical students and providing outstanding patient care, Dr. Ellis was appointed director of Geriatric Anesthesia. Within one year of joining the staff, Dr. Ellis was appointed as one of the Department’s Clinical Directors with the responsibility of running the entire daily operating room schedule at University Hospital.  Her responsibilities only grew with the Nebraska Medical Center’s merger with Clarkson Hospital, and Dr. Ellis became Anesthesiology Service Chief.  Her rise continued when she was named Vice Chair of the Anesthesiology Department in 2007 and went on to serve as Interim Chair from July 1, 2008 to May 10, 2010. Her current responsibilities include: Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs, Director of PreAnesthesia Screening Clinic, and Director of Liver Transplant Anesthesia for the Department of Anesthesiology, and Chair of the Credentials Committee for The Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Ellis is consistently recognized as a leader.  She was nominated by then College of Medicine Dean John Gollan, M.D. and accepted into the prestigious Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; which she completed from 2011-2012.  The program of 100 emerging female medical leaders is dedicated to advancing women in medicine.  After completing the ELAM program, Dr. Ellis became part of a four person leadership planning team at UNMC that developed and executed a year-long faculty development program.  

While still young in her career, Dr. Ellis is active and recognized at both the state and national level in the anesthesia medical profession.  She has held all offices in the Nebraska Society of Anesthesiologists, including President.  She has participated as an Oral Board Examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology since 2004 and has held a seat on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Anesthesiologists representing Nebraska. 

Dr. Ellis is described by her colleagues as an excellent clinician and teacher, skilled administrator, and as fair, decisive and approachable in her demeanor.  She has high standards of ethics and she treats people as they wish to be treated.    As one colleague described Dr. Ellis’ quick rise, “I don’t know of any faculty member on campus at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who has risen to the leadership position that Sheila Ellis, M.D. has achieved so early in her 17 year career and as an associate professor.” 

Past Recipients
2012 John "Pat" O'Gara, MD '62 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Robert T. Binhammer, PhD Honorary Alumnus Award

William Thorell, M.D., '96, Early Career Achievement Award

F. William (Bill) Karrer, M.D., '56, Distinguished Alumnus Award

2011  David A. Crouse, Ph.D., Honorary Alumnus Award

John Gollan, M.D., Ph.D., Honorary Alumnus Award

Myrna Newland, '64 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Robert Wigton, '69 Distinguished Alumnus Award

J. Scott Neumeister, '95 Early Career Achievement

Michael F. Sorrell, '59 Distinguished Alumnus

2009 Scott C. Hofmann, '90 Early Career Achievement

2008 Paul R. Young, ’58

2007 Robert G. Volz, ’57

2006 No awards given

2005 James Christensen, '57, Peyton Pratt, '44

2004 John Goldner, '63, Rowen Zetterman, '69, and John Niemann named an Honorary Alumnus

2003 James Dunlap, ’50, Fred Ware, ’56 and Carol Angle, Honorary Member

2002 L. Thomas Hood, ’46, John C. Filkins, ’46, Edward Malashock, ’46

2001 James O. Armitage, ’73, Warren L. Berggren, ’55 and Gretchen M. Berggren, ’58 Charles W. Durham Received Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award, Harold M. Maurer Received Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award

2000 Richard B. Wilson, ’45, Doyt L. Conn, ’63

1999 Leland J. Olson, ’44, Wayne O. Southwick, ’47

1998 C. John Tupper, ’48, Donald P. Skoog, ’58

1997 George W. Loomis, ’47, Denham Harman, Honorary

1996 M. Lois Murphy, ’44, Harold A. Oberman, ’56

1995 William L. Rumbolz, ’44, Guinter Kahn, ’58

1994 Mike F. Sorrell, ’59, Joel T. Johnson, ’61

1993 J. Leonard Goldner, ’43, Austin L. Vickery, Jr., ’43

1992 Frederick F. Paustian, `53, Gail Walling, `61

1991 Robert L. Grissom, Honorary, ’41, Robert C. Rosenlof, ’51 Robert H. Waldman (Dean) Named Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award, Charles E. Andrews (Chancellor) Named Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award

1990 Merle M. Musselman, ’39 Received Alumni Service Award
Edward A. Holyoke, ’34 Received Alumni Achievement Award

1989 Harry W. McFadden ’43 Received Alumni Service Award
Stanley M. Truhlsen, ’44 Received Alumni Achievement Award