Remembering Bruce Lauritzen, visionary business and philanthropic leader

Bruce Lauritzen was the first chairman of the Nebraska Medicine Board of Directors. His and his family’s contributions to the Nebraska Medicine health system are profound. Lauritzen passed away this week. 

Nebraska Medicine CEO Jim Linder, MD, remembers his personal and professional contributions.

“I had the pleasure of working with Bruce Lauritzen for nearly 40 years. He was a friend, mentor and builder of the community. Bruce was a pillar of the family whose roots can be traced back to the early days of Clarkson Hospital — the first hospital in Nebraska and the foundation for what eventually became Nebraska Medicine,” Dr. Linder said. “We all will grieve his passing and look back fondly on his numerous contributions to the city of Omaha.”

Lauritzen led First National Bank, now FNBO, for many years. In an announcement on FNBO’s website, Lauritzen’s son and the bank’s current president and chairman, Clark Lauritzen, recalled his father’s 55-year career at the bank and his love and respect for the community.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, who succeeded Lauritzen as Nebraska Medicine board chair, remembers Lauritzen as a visionary business and philanthropic leader. Dr. Gold cited Lauritzen’s involvement with Omaha’s Heritage Services, the Clarkson Regional Health Services board and his own personal philanthropy.

“Our academic medical center has benefitted greatly from the visionary and generous support of our community; specifically, from a group of dedicated business and philanthropic leaders who had the vision and dedication to understand the critical future role that our medical center plays each and every day,” Dr. Gold said.

“Bruce Lauritzen was surely one of the very best, a dedicated, selfless and caring leader who time after time set the bar for excellence in ‘care and caring.’ He will be greatly missed by many as a huge loss to our community, to our medical center and to me personally, as he was instrumental in welcoming my family to this community.”

In 2014, Lauritzen was among the dignitaries who spoke at Dr. Gold’s installation ceremony as chancellor. Then in 2016, Lauritzen sat with Dr. Gold and then-University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen to sign the final governance integration documents that formally created Nebraska Medicine.

The Lauritzen Outpatient Center, which opened in 2016, bears the Lauritzen name in recognition of the longstanding leadership of the Lauritzen family and its long history of service and philanthropic interest in health care.

Lauritzen also was honored with the UNMC Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award. Recently, Bruce served with wife Gerry as members of the UNMC and Nebraska Medicine campaign committee for “Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future.”

Dr. Gold said Lauritzen was instrumental in building the medical center’s highly successful governance system and inspired “me and our entire med center family to be our very best.” Dr. Gold added: “He was a dear friend, and I miss him.”

Surgeon Jim Canedy, MD, Nebraska Medicine board member and president of Clarkson Regional Health Services, shares that sentiment and remembers Lauritzen’s mark on the partnerships that made Nebraska Medicine what it is today.

“I worked with Bruce for more than 25 years. On the best or worst days at work, he was a consummate gentleman who put a high value on partnership and collaboration,” Dr. Canedy said. “When he retired from Clarkson Regional Health Services, we committed to continuing on as a first-class health care institution respected by the community. His legacy and leadership will be felt for years to come.”

Bruce Lauritzen, at right, speaks alongside UNMC Chancellor and current Nebraska Medicine board chair Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, at the groundbreaking event for the Lauritzen Outpatient Center in December 2016.


  1. Carmen N Sirizzotti says:

    Condolences to his family and friends. Mr. Bruce Lauritzen leadership and grace will always be present at UNMC and other organizations he served.

  2. Stephen Peters says:

    Hard to imagine what the region economically would look like with out his impact. Hard to imagine what healthcare would look like without his impact.

  3. Mary Harter says:

    I had the privilege of working for John and Bruce Lauritzen. They were fine gentlemen and my condolences go out to their families

  4. Paula and Vince Lenz says:

    Sincere condolences to you Gerry, and your entire family on the passing of your incredible husband, Bruce. Thank you for all that you and Bruce and have done for our community. May God give you peace in all the beautiful memories that you have created ❤️🙏🏼 ❤️ together.
    Sincerely in Christ Jesus,
    Paula and Vince Lenz

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