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Creighton Recognizes Faculty, Staff at Convocation

As usual, this year’s Convocation was an opportunity to honor the remarkable excellence in teaching and research among Creighton faculty, and the extraordinary work performed under challenging circumstances by University staff. This year’s award ceremony saw 13 honors bestowed, including seven endowed chairs, four distinguished service awards and two Distinguished Educator in Teaching as Scholarship Awards.

Michael Del CoreMichael Del Core, MD, is the new holder of the August H. Bergman, MD, Endowed Chair in Cardiology. Del Core is chief of the Division of Cardiology and associate director of medical education in the School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship program.

Nicole Piemonte

Nicole Piemonte, PhD, is the new holder of the Peekie Nash Carpenter Endowed Chair in Medicine. Piemonte is assistant dean for medical education in the School of Medicine. Her research in the field of medical humanities includes her first book, Afflicted: How Vulnerability Can Heal Medical Education, which offers a critique of dominant practices and beliefs in health care, using the experiences of providers, patients and families. A second book, Death and Dying, is scheduled to publish later in 2021.

Rachel Mindrup

Rachel Mindrup, MFA, is the inaugural holder of the Richard L. Deming, MD, Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities. Mindrup, assistant professor of drawing and painting, received her BFA from the University of Nebraska – Kearney, continuing with atelier studies at the Art Academy of Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Her current painting practice involves the study of the figure and portraiture in art, and its relation to medicine, healing and identity.

Rev. Roy Pereira, SJ, PhDThe Rev. Roy Pereira, SJ, is the new holder of the Charles and Mary Heider Endowed Jesuit Faculty Chair. As the Heider Chair, Fr. Pereira will join the School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, while also contributing his experience and expertise in international and study abroad programming with Creighton’s Global Engagement Office.

Diane UchimiyaDiane Uchimiya, JD, LLM, is the new holder of the Connie Kearney Endowed Chair in Clinical Legal Education. Uchimiya joined Creighton in 2020 as the new director of the School of Law’s Milton R. Abrahams Legal Clinic, leading the University’s provision of free legal services to underserved and underrepresented populations.

Michael KimMichael Kim, MD, is the new holder of the Tenet Healthcare Endowed Chair. Kim is a professor in the School of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine. He earned his medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and his Master of Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.

The Rev. Kevin FlanneryThe Rev. Kevin Flannery, SJ, is the new holder of the Waite Chair in Jesuit Education. Fr. Flannery is a Cleveland native who joined the Society of Jesus in 1977. He has since become prominent in Jesuit academics, having taught the history of ancient philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; serving as a member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, also in Rome; and being appointed a Consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2002 by Pope St. John Paul II.

Len GordyLeonard Gordy is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Staff Award. Gordy has been with Creighton for almost 30 years, currently serving as a student and community outreach advisor and the diversity and inclusion officer for Creighton Athletics. He previously spent more than a decade as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team.

Renuga VivekanandanRenuga Vivekanandan, MD, is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Faculty Award. As an associate professor in the School of Medicine and an infectious disease specialist with CHI Health, Vivekanandan has worked tirelessly to keep our community safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Distinguished Service Administrator Award was presented to two staff members instrumental in leading Creighton’s response to, and protocols for, the COVID-19 pandemic. Their hard work was certainly a reason that Creighton has been recognized locally and nationally for its COVID-19 response.

Recipients are Tanya Winegard, PhD, vice provost for Student Life and chair of Creighton’s Critical Incident Response Team, and Tricia Sharrar, JD, vice provost for Academic Administration and Operations and chair of the COVID-19 Strategy and Implementation Team. Both participated in the ceremony virtually.

Distinguished Educator in Teaching as Scholarship Awards, which recognize excellence in teaching, were conferred upon Brian Kokensparger, PhD, associate professor of computer science, and Lori Rusch, PhD, RN, associate professor of nursing.

Brian KokenspargerKokensparger has taught in the Department of Computer Science, Design and Journalism for over 22 years, using his creative talents and background in computer science to influence the integration of assessment practices in his department, college and the University.

Lori RuschDuring her 16 years at Creighton, Rusch has significantly impacted the practice of nursing education. She has published and presented nationally on the Dedicated Education Unit Model and strategies for developing students’ clinical reasoning skills, interprofessional education and learning through peer mentorship.


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