Faculty members share UNMC memories

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | April 22, 2015

Image with caption: Byers Shaw Jr., M.D.

Byers Shaw Jr., M.D.

picture disc. picture disc.
Eric Fung, Ph.D. George Casale, Ph.D.
Fourteen faculty members celebrating service milestones of 40 and 30 years will be recognized during the annual faculty meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

Below, three honorees share memorable moments:

Byers Shaw Jr., M.D., professor, surgery, recalls his first impression of UNMC 30 years ago.

First off, I'm not done collecting favorite memories. They keep piling up every day. Our students are to blame. They are truly inspiring.

Chancellor to speak

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., will give his annual address to the faculty at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the Durham Research Center Auditorium as part of the annual faculty meeting. Faculty Senate President Gay Canaris, M.D., assistant professor, internal medicine, College of Medicine, will provide an overview of the year's activities. Following the address and the award presentations, Dr. Gold will host a reception in the center's foyer.

Awards will be presented for Outstanding Teacher, Spirit of Community Service, Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Graduate Students and Outstanding Mentor of Junior Faculty, as well as the University of Nebraska's Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA) and Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award. Faculty members also will be recognized for their 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of service.

That said, I doubt I'll ever forget my first visit to Nebraska in early December of 1984. I had already confessed to Bing Rikkers, the chair of surgery and a former mentor in Utah, that I had no interest in moving to Nebraska. I was here merely as a consultant. But I soon understood why Bing had moved here. He was surrounded by the most inspiring leaders I had ever met: Mike Sorrell, Jim Armitage, Bob Waldman, Bob Baker, and Charlie Andrews. Along with Dr. Rikkers, they clearly understood the risks they'd be accepting if I came here, and yet they were fully committed to helping me succeed. I gave surgery grand rounds on Saturday, Dec. 1 on how to start a liver transplant program. The next day, I sat at Eppley Airfield watching guys in orange jackets chase a herd of deer back and forth over the runways. The startlingly clear sky seemed so warm and friendly compared to the gray winter awaiting me back home in Pittsburgh, Pa., and I found myself wondering if it would really be that hard to convince my wife, Chris, Laurie Williams, Pat Wood and Bob Duckworth to come with me to Omaha.

George Casale, Ph.D., associate professor, surgery shares his favorite memory of UNMC 30 years ago.

A memory that continues to bring me joy is that of my work with a colleague in the College of Pharmacy, nearly 30 years ago, to rescue the career of a pharmacy student who went on to be an exceptional caregiver.

Eric Fung, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology, recalls his favorite memories from the past 30 years.

My most favorite memory was receiving the UNMC campus-wide Outstanding Teaching Award in 1992 and the UNMC Alumni Association Outstanding Educator Award in 2013. I enjoy the positive and constructive interactions with colleagues and students at the College of Dentistry. I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with a lot of people in different research projects.

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