New public health scholarship is established

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | November 28, 2017

Image with caption: Celebrating the establishment of a new scholarship for public health students, from left, Keith Swarts, Jayme Nekuda, Ph.D., Ali S. Khan, M.D., M.P.H., and Carol Swarts, M.D.

Celebrating the establishment of a new scholarship for public health students, from left, Keith Swarts, Jayme Nekuda, Ph.D., Ali S. Khan, M.D., M.P.H., and Carol Swarts, M.D.

A new scholarship for public health students was established in the name of two long-term UNMC employees at a dinner on Oct. 23.

The Keith D. Swarts and Jayme D. Nekuda Scholarship in Public Health was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Keith's cousin, Carol Swarts, M.D., a 1959 alum and longtime donor to UNMC.

"Dr. Swarts´ generous endowment of a scholarship will support our students and help them achieve their dreams to be exceptional public health practitioners and champions," said Ali S. Khan, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health. "Keith Swarts and Dr. Jayme Nekuda have lived a life of excellence and service in our community. They are great role models, along with Dr. Swarts, for our future public health leaders."

The couple has been a pillar of the UNMC community for decades, working to expand the campus, and establish wellness and international programs.

Keith Swarts, special assistant for international programs, Asia Pacific Rim Development Program, has been at UNMC for 43 years. He was the director of Business Services at UNMC for 40 years and it's often been said that "if you ask him for help, you can consider it done."

He has provided staff support and conducted special projects that had manpower and financial implications for both day-to-day and long-range planning for UNMC. In addition, he was responsible for the auxiliary business departments including bookstore, rental property, risk management, property acquisitions, travel and employee and campus safety.

Swarts served as the liaison between outside legal counsel and UNMC for property acquisitions and medical malpractice lawsuits. He published several articles and served on such national and local boards as the Ronald McDonald House and National Business Travel Association. He also was a participant in Leadership Omaha.

He was nationally recognized for the implementation of cost-saving and revenue-generating programs at UNMC as well as for the entire university system. He served as a mentor for graduate students selecting independent study during their final semester.

For the past five years he has served as the interim associate vice chancellor for business and finance as well as the interim director of the Asia Pacific Rim Development Program. Additionally, he and his wife, Dr. Nekuda, have coordinated UNMC's participation in the annual International Student Research Forum for 12 years.

Dr. Nekuda, associate director, human resources, oversees benefits, the wellness program, the child development center, the employee assistance program as well as the campus fitness facility.

She joined UNMC in 1996 as the wellness leader and oversaw wellness programs and the Center for Healthy Living. From 1997 to 2007, she also served as an adjunct professor at Nebraska Methodist College in Health Promotion. She transferred to human resources in 2008 and became associate director in 2015.

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JP Raynor
November 28, 2017 at 7:11 PM

Congrats Keith!

Barbara Brey
November 28, 2017 at 4:38 PM

This is so great to see! Congratulations and thank you for all that you do for UNMC.

Tom O'Connor
November 28, 2017 at 3:41 PM

Nobody deserves this recognition more than Keith and Jayme. Mega thanks to Carol for making it happen!

John Hauser
November 28, 2017 at 2:51 PM

What a great way to honor and recognize the contributions of both of you. You both have had a tremendous impact upon the campus and the lives of those who work here and come here to learn.

Aileen Warren
November 28, 2017 at 1:32 PM

This is awesome. Congratulations to the both of you!

Rick Blum
November 28, 2017 at 1:04 PM

Congratulations to both of you! Your contributions and impact at UNMC go well beyond the bio information given, for sure!

Audrey Paulman
November 28, 2017 at 12:54 PM

Congratulations, Keith and Jayme! Thanks Carol! Again, your family has made a commitment to the future well-being of our UNMC family.

Clarence Ueda
November 28, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Very cool, man! The honor and recognition are well deserved for both of you. Congrats!

Lisa Spellman
November 28, 2017 at 10:33 AM

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

Kai Fu
November 28, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Congratulations to Keith and Jayme! Carol, thank you for your continue supports to UNMC.

Linda Johnson
November 28, 2017 at 10:16 AM

What a great way to honor two fantastic people who have greatly served the UNMC organization. Thank You Dr Carol Swarts for providing the support for the scholarships for future leaders.

Frank J Rutar
November 28, 2017 at 10:14 AM

This is such a well deserved honor! These are two dedicated individuals who truly care and do their very best for both UNMC and the community. Congratulations!

Rick Boldt
November 28, 2017 at 9:20 AM

How Fantastic for you both!! You both so deserve this honor!! Carol Thank you for your ongoing support to UNMC! UNMC is so Blessed!!

Patricia Hageman
November 28, 2017 at 8:38 AM

What a delightful and generous gift to support the University as well as honoring two individuals I admire greatly.

Rebecca Rae Anderson
November 28, 2017 at 8:24 AM

A welcome gift from a treasured friend, in honor of two fine people. What could be better?

Amy Lamer
November 28, 2017 at 8:17 AM

Keith and Jayme both value and encourage education so this is the perfect recognition. I'm grateful to have had the privilege to work with them and call them personal friends for many years. Congratulations!

Patty Davis
November 28, 2017 at 6:54 AM

Great thing to do for the students!

Carol Russell
November 28, 2017 at 6:54 AM

Carol, I sat next to you at the Neuroscience Dinner. You are such a delight and so generous to the Med Center. I also think Keith is a terrific person and giving to the COPH is outstanding. Thank you for all you do. Carol Russell