Faculty members share UNMC memories

April 19, 2019

Image with caption: From left, David Dunning, Ph.D., Rita Kay Schmitz, and Myron Toews, Ph.D.

From left, David Dunning, Ph.D., Rita Kay Schmitz, and Myron Toews, Ph.D.

A total of 144 faculty members, celebrating service milestones of either 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 or five years, will be recognized during the Annual Faculty Meeting on April 23 at 3 p.m. in the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

Below, three 30-year colleagues share their favorite UNMC memories.

David Dunning, Ph.D., professor, oral biology, College of Dentistry
My favorite memories of working at UNMC include teaching and coaching students as they transition into private practice, and developing close friendships with colleagues and working with them on teaching and research projects. I've also greatly enjoyed representing UNMC and the College of Dentistry in a variety of professional roles, including teaching in Jamaica.

Rita Kay Schmitz, assistant professor, College of Nursing-Lincoln Division
For the first several years I worked for the UNMC College of Nursing, we were housed on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Even though our buildings were older and over time falling apart, I have very fond memories of walking on campus to teach class or to the student union to purchase a coffee or lunch, walking in the afternoon around the loop to the football stadium and viewing the beautiful plants and flowers around the library and surrounding buildings. When we moved for a few years we were located in a former bank building in downtown Lincoln. Now, the College of Nursing in Lincoln has come full circle. We are back on the UNL campus and are able to do many of the same activities. The one huge difference is that we are housed in a beautiful state-of-the-art building. I feel so blessed and grateful to be part of the past, present and future that was a long time in the making, but will truly impact the lives of nursing students and the citizens of the state of Nebraska.

Myron Toews, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology/experimental neuroscience, College of Medicine
My best times at UNMC were the early years after moving here, working with my friend and collaborator David Bylund to enhance pharmacology research while maintaining strong teaching. These were years of steady funding and good students, which led to my lab's discovery of lysophosphatidic acid as a lipid mediator and its importance in pulmonary fibrosis. This work was part of productive collaborations with Steve Rennard and Deb Romberger that are still ongoing. Teaching highlights include becoming the Grammar Hammer, initiating and then leading the NIH-funded Integrative and Organ Systems Pharmacology short course program, and finally figuring out how to effectively teach the pronunciation of my last name to new students. And, of course, being the best human ice bowling ball at UNMC. Perhaps the most memorable moments are yet to come.

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Catherine Mello
April 19, 2019 at 8:31 AM

Congratulations on the 30 year service anniversary Rita!