Distinguished Professorships

Endowed faculty positions:

The tradition dates back to the Roman Empire when the first endowed chairs were created. In the 1500s this practice was then adapted by the modern university system with the establishment of endowed chairs in England at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.  Fifty years later Henry the VIII established the first endowed professorships in medicine and basic science.

This is a rich tradition and one that is commonly practiced in American universities and colleges still today. Endowed chairs and professorships give us the opportunity to honor our outstanding faculty and award supplemental funding to help advance a faculty member’s work.

Chaudari Kommineni, DVM, PhD Professorship of Pathology Fund
Recipient: Tammy L. Kielian, PhD - July 1, 2014 to current

Dr. Choudari Kommineni was a 1972 UNMC College of Medicine graduate, who received his PhD in Pathology. Over his career, he furthered the field of Public Health through his work with the American Board of Toxicology, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). He was considered a great mentor and prolific writer, penning more than 50 scientific publications over his lifetime.  

Choudari Kommineni, DVM, PhD obtained his PhD from the University of Nebraska after completing his graduate studies in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology.  Dr. Kommineni went on to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree followed by a distinguished career in pharmaceutical sciences.  It was his specific wish that his legacy professorship would support an outstanding researcher seeking to develop new therapeutic measures for life-threatening diseases.  The Chaudhari Kommineni, DVM, PHD Professorship of Pathology Fund was established on March 12, 2013.  Shortly thereafter, Dr. Kommineni passed away while in India, the country of his birth.  His daughter, Maya Kommineni, is also in the medical profession and she was consulted in the process facilitating the selection of the first Choudari Kommineni.  In keeping with Dr. Kommineni’s wishes we identified Dr. Tammy Kielian as an outstanding match for the goals of the Kommineni Chair.

James Linder, MD Residency Director Distinguished Professorship/Chair
Recipient: Scott R. Lauer, MD - Juy 1, 2019 to current

Dr. Jim Linder, a 1980 College of Medicine graduate, is a professor of pathology and microbiology at UNMC. He is also the Chief Strategist of the University System and President of the University Technology Development Corporation.  In 2014 he served as Interim President for the University of Nebraska.  Since 2018 he has been CEO of the Nebraska Medicine Health System, the major clinical education partner for UNMC. Dr. Linder has received multiple national honors, including a “Distinguished Teaching Award” from the UNMC College of Medicine and the “Award for Excellence in Medical Publications” from the American Medical Writers Association.  The James Linder, MD Residency Director Distinguished Professorship/Chair was established in September of 2011.  Geoffery A. Talmon, MD, Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology received this honor on November 1, 2013 and held the honor until June 30, 2019. 

Amelia F. and Austin L. Vickery, Jr. Faculty Endowment for Pathology
Recipient: Timothy C. Greiner - July 1, 2014 to current. 

Amelia was the wife of Dr. Austin Vickery Jr.  Dr. Austin Vickery was a 1943 graduate of the Nebraska College of Medicine and became a world-renowned pathologist specializing in surgical pathology and thyroid pathology.  The Amelia F. and Austin L. Vickery, Jr. Faculty Endowment for Pathology was established on April 13, 2005.  Wing-Chung (John) Chan, MD received this award in April of 2011 and held the honor until June of 2013.     

David T. Purtilo Distinguished Chair of Pathology
Recipient: Rodney S. Markin, MD - November 1, 2004 to current.

Dr. Purtilo became Chair of the Department of Pathology at UNMC in 1981. During his tenure, the research capabilities of the department were expanded, and it attained worldwide recognition. His tenure also saw the merging of the Department of Microbiology, creating the current Department of Pathology and Microbiology. Dr. Purtilo remained Chair of the department until his untimely death in 1992.  On May 31, 1990 the David T. Purtilo Distinguished Chair of Pathology was created in his honor.   

Havlik-Wall Professor of Oncology (formerly, Sylvia L. Havlik Centennial Professorship of Oncology)
Recipient: Samuel M. Cohen, MD, PhD - November 1, 1985 to current

The Sylvia L. Havlik Centennial Professorship of Oncology (renamed the Havlik-Wall Professor of Oncology) was created on March 2, 1983 to commemorate the life of Sylvia L. Havlik and her interest and concern in improving the lives of Nebraskans through cancer research.  The professorship is given by the direction of the Dean of College of Medicine at UNMC.  

Miss Havlik lived her entire life in Nebraska.  She grew up in the town of Ravenna in Buffalo County where both her parents were homesteaders.  Miss Havlik lived most of her adult life in Hastings as an executive secretary for Metz Bakery.  During her lifetime, she had suffered from cancer and had undergone surgery several years before her death.  In October of 1980 her cancer returned.  Sylvia Havlik passed away six months later in Omaha, Nebraska.   

Stokes-Shackleford Professor of Microbiology
Recipient: Steven H. Hinrichs, MD - March 1, 2003 to current

The Stokes-Shackleford Professorship was established in 1980 and is funded by a trust received by the University of Nebraska Foundation from the estate of Bertha Shackleford Stokes Little.  The minimum duration of the professorship is five years.  It is to commemorate the lives and contributions in the field of medicine and surgery by two dedicated physicians who supported research and clinical efforts at UNMC, Drs. Stokes and Shackleford.  Recipients are selected by a committee consisting of the chancellor or other chief executive officer of the University of Nebraska; the president of the Board of Regents, University of Nebraska or other chief executive officer of the governing board; the president of the University of Nebraska Foundation; the dean of the College of Medicine and one member of the faculty of the College of Medicine, selected by the dean.

Dr. Arthur C. Stokes (Mrs. Little’s first husband), was a native of Canada, graduated in 1899 from the Omaha Medical College, which later became UNMC.  In September of 1917, Dr. Stokes organized and headed Nebraska Base Hospital No. 49, a unit that served in France in WW I.  He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.  After his return from military duty, Dr. Stokes remained active in Red Cross programs.  He was a member of the University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents and served as medical director of Guarantee Mutual Life Insurance Company and consulting surgeon for the Missouri Pacific Railroad.  A professor of surgery at the College of Medicine, UNMC, Dr. Stokes helped raise the $100,000 for the first building erected on the new College of Medicine campus in 1911.  In addition, he donated adjoining land next to the campus to the university. 

Dr. Shackleford, a native of Kentucky, became a doctor in Ohio and moved with his family to Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1860s.  He was the grandfather of Bertha Shackleford Stokes Little.