But, like many who work in academic medicine, Keenan has a dual appointment.
Every day, and often multiple times a day, his peers in the PR department hear Keenan announce, "I'm going over to MMI," as he heads out on a half-mile walk to the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation. He's MMI's PR liaison.
"One might think he works full-time for both MMI and PR," said Karen Burbach, senior associate director, communication and creative services.
For his dedication to both entities, Keenan is the most recent recipient of UNMC's Gold U award.
At public relations, Keenan is known for a fierce work ethic.
At MMI, he shows his heart.
"He cares," said Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., director of MMI.
"Few would hesitate to step forward on his behalf as he has done for them time and time again," said MMI's director of community engagement Melonie Welsh.
Keenan said this is simply UNMC's -- and MMI's -- mission. "You feel like you are part of the mission even if you are not providing direct health care service," he said.
"MMI is doing wonderful things to help children and adults with complex health conditions and developmental disabilities. I'm especially invested in that mission because my son has a developmental disability and has received services at MMI," Keenan said.
Seeing other children's progress, seeing dedicated MMI staff and faculty stick with these patients through various life stages, is "very therapeutic for the parent of a boy on the autism spectrum," he said.
News never stops at the med center. There's a UNMC Today every day. But PR colleagues -- notably Tom Waples, Rich Watson, and his boss, Burbach -- support his ability to also give his all to MMI, Keenan said.
"UNMC is an inspiring place to work. All of these people are committed to the mission."
Being singled out for the award is disconcerting, Keenan said. "I feel like everybody I work with is working as hard as I am, both at PR and at MMI."
He's usually the one writing this story about the latest Gold U winner.
"Now I know why everyone always says, "I never expected this,'" he said.
A well-deserved honor, John !
Congratulations, John! Stay awesome!
Congratulations John! You are one of the most pleasant and humble human beings that I know. Your dedication to the University is undeniable. We'll deserved award!
How wonderful, John - Congratulations!! MMI is lucky to have you :)
John, I can't think of a person more deserving of this award. Congratulations on many, many jobs well done, and thanks for your continued dedication to all of us at UNMC who can't start the day without reading your work!
Well deserved! Thank you for all that you do, John. Congratulations!
You may not have expected it, but you certainly deserve it John!
Woohoo! Congrats, John!
Congratulations John, you are the BEST!
This is awesome. Congratulations, John!
Congratulations, John!! Very well deserved. Hope you're doing well!
Congratulations John! You certainly deserve recognition!
Congrats, John. Being editor of a daily newsletter can be a daunting task. You handle it with the utmost skill. Kudos to you on this great recognition!
Proud of you, John! Congratulations!
Congrats John - always enjoy working with you!
Congratulations John! Very well deserved, we appreciate all that you do!!
Congrats, John. Appreciate all you do!
John, congrats. Your willingness to assist me with my PR projects, regardless of how unusual, and without hesitation has always been much appreciated. Thank you for your great service and dedication. YOU ARE THE BEST!!!
Congratulations John! You do great work and this shows it does not go unnoticed.
Congratulations John: I am so glad you finally get to see how much everyone loves to work with you!
Congratulations John! You are the unsung (but not anymore!) hero in helping all of us get the word out to campus...and make us non-writers look good while doing it! Thank you for all the time, effort, and dedication.
Congrats! MMI is a special place and they are lucky to have you.
Way to go, John! You deserve it!
Congrats John!! Your passion and hard work make you a vital part of the UNMC team. I still enjoy reading UNMC Today.
Congratulations, John! You are so deserving of this recognition!
I always enjoyed working with you, John! Well deserved! Congratulations!
congratulations John! Well deserved!
Congratulations John! You are great to work with!
Congratulations John! Thanks for ALL you do for UNMC. No one has ever deserved this award more than John.
John, you are the best! Congratulations on this well deserved award!
Congratulations, John. So well-deserved!
I am so thankful for John and his professional skills and values! He is a major driver in making all of UNMC feel proud of our work, our workplace, and our workforce. This recognition is well deserved, for someone who is dedicated to UNMC and its mission.
Congratulations, John! I always enjoy getting to collaborate with you! Great article - hope you didn't have to write it yourself! :0
Congrats John! Very well deserved-I've enjoyed working with you over the past few years! :)
Congratulations!! Your commitment to your work and to UNMC values are extraordinary!
Congratulations John!! VERY well-deserved!!
John so well deserved. Congratulations
You are so worthy of this award because of all the time and effort you put forward for the Guild's Garden Walk and this years 50th Celebration. I know MMI is close to your heart as it is to mine because it is the voice for our special ones! Hip Hip Hooray for you, John!!!