Celebrating Carol Swarts, MD, at 90th birthday party

Carol Swarts, MD

Carol Swarts, MD

UNMC and other University of Nebraska System leaders, scientists and colleagues came out in force in October to celebrate the 90th birthday of Carol Swarts, MD, longtime supporter of UNMC and the University of Nebraska.

Dr. Swarts greeted guests as they came into the event, held on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. Her decision to position herself by the door, to greet each new arrival personally, was indicative of what several guests mentioned about Dr. Swarts – her passion for engagement.

See photos from event.

Howard Gendelman, MD, who also played the accordion during a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Dr. Swarts, talked about calling her constantly to discuss ideas and problems.

He recalled her advice during one difficult time: “This is only part of the journey to success.”

“Carol is not just a supporter and sometimes even a collaborator,” he said. “More importantly, she is a friend and a mentor. She’s been with us, supported us, guided us, and made a lot of our discoveries not only real, but also practical and successful.”

Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, said he was pleased to attend the event and to celebrate and thank Dr. Swarts.

“Dr. Swarts has been such an incredible inspiration,” Dr. Davies said. “Not only is she one of the smartest people I know, she’s also been incredibly supportive of so many different programs at UNMC, including endowed professorships, our E-Learning Program, scholarships – I could just go on and on. I love her spirit and how, at the age of 90, she can outhike most 60-year-olds.”

Ali S Khan, MD, MPH, dean of the UNMC College of Public Health, said Dr. Swarts has had a profound impact on the college since its founding.

“She has made generous, major gifts to the college for scholarships, professorships, lectureships,” he said. “She is actively engaged in her philanthropy, which I think is the nicest part. She’s actively engaged with the students she helps support. One of the critical aspects of her giving in her active engagement.”

The event, Dr. Khan said, recognized Dr. Swarts’ broad-based impact “in the community, in Nebraska and across the multiple campuses that are represented here.”

Former University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green, PhD, also came to celebrate Dr. Swarts, who he called a close friend. She had recently established an endowed chair in his name at UNL.

“Carol has been a major supporter of a number of different programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,” he said. “I got to know Carol even before I was chancellor. She just continues to give, and I know she’s done a lot at UNMC as well.”

Angela Pannier, PhD, who holds the Swarts Family Chair of Biological Systems Engineering at UNL, said she was excited to help celebrate the milestone birthday.

“I am so thrilled we got to celebrate Carol and her 90th birthday, though no one night of celebration is enough for someone who has impacted so many people through her work and philanthropy,” Dr. Pannier said. “She is my role model, in her humility, her accomplishments, and the way she leads her life and put others before herself. What an honor to know and celebrate someone like Carol!”

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, lauded Dr. Swarts’ impact at UNMC and across the NU System.

“Carol has been an agent for change in the state of Nebraska throughout her career and beyond,” Dr. Gold said. “Her impact is incalculable. We thank her, and we wish her the best in her adventures ahead.”