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Physicians Mutual president and CEO among 13 alumni recognized by Creighton University

Aug 30, 2021
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Robert “Bob” A. Reed, a 1961 graduate of the Heider College of Business at Creighton University, received the Creighton University Alumni Achievement Citation during the University’s annual Evening of Honors Celebration on August 27. This is the highest all-University award presented to a Creighton alumnus.

Bob Reed joined Physicians Mutual in 1964 and held a number of key management positions before being appointed president and CEO in 1974. During the following four decades, he led incredible growth for the company. In 2016, he was elected chairman of the company’s board, a position he still holds today.

A leader in his profession and in his community, Reed has devoted time to many local and national organizations including Creighton University. His vision, and that of Physicians Mutual, is always front-and-center: empowering people from all walks of life to enjoy the financial security they deserve. Reed willingly shared his insurance and financial expertise through his service with industry groups like America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Council of Life Insurers. He was inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame in 2015.

With his late wife, Betsy, the Reeds have been honored for their community service numerous times. A devout Roman Catholic and ardent supporter of parochial education, he and his family recently supported the creation of the Reed Family Early Learning Academy at their parish, St. Robert Bellarmine.

“I am grateful to our nearly 80,000 Bluejays living across the country and around the world who live the ideals of a Jesuit, Catholic education. Our alumni and friends are the heart of Creighton. We are honored to recognize their contributions to the University and to their communities,” Diane Glow, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations and University Engagement said.

As part of the Evening of Honors celebration, the University also announced its honorees for three other awards: the Alumni Merit Awards, which recognizes alumni from the University’s schools and colleges who have distinguished themselves in a way that is reflective of Creighton’s mission and values; the Recent Alumni Award, which recognizes significant professional achievement, personal responsibility, and service to Creighton and community by an alumna/us during their first 10 years following graduation; and the Friend of the University Award, which recognizes distinguished leadership and/or service to Creighton by a non-alumnus/a.

The 2021 Alumni Merit recipients are:

College of Arts and Sciences: Jane O’Keefe Addy, BS’74 A scholar and academic, Addy impacted the lives of generations of students during her service to the Omaha Catholic School community. Addy began her teaching career in 1974 and retired in 2005, having inspired young minds and mentored new teachers. The former teacher, as well as Omaha businesswoman, and volunteer, Addy has worked diligently to apply her philanthropic skills to support the causes closest to her heart. She has been involved with several Omaha hospitals and museums and held leadership positions with the Assistance League of Omaha, AKSARBEN Friends, Salvation Army, and the Omaha Symphony.

College of Nursing: MG (Ret.) Mary E. Link, BSN’83 In 1983, Link received her direct commission in the Army Nurse Corps where her work centered on health and wellness policy. As a senior Army Reserve mentor to all nurses, MG Link has been a force for positive change and patient-centered care. MG Link continues to uphold the values and traditions of Creighton by volunteering as Sentry at the Nebraska State Capital. She mentors future and current nurses through speaking engagements, ceremonies, forums and social media. She continues to serve as a nurse advisor to Senior Department of Defense Leadership for the Military Health System.

Graduate School: Jeffrey J. Gross, BSPHY’93, MS’95 Gross is the owner and CEO of Dynamic Controls Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a passionate supporter of his community, where he supports causes such as providing services to survivors of human trafficking and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. Gross holds a number of board positions, sharing his expertise and helping leaders grow stronger together to improve lives and businesses.

School of Dentistry: Eugene Low, DDS’67 After graduating, Dr. Low served in the United States Navy in San Diego and Vietnam. He was the only dentist aboard a 1,000-person combat ship in the Mekong Delta. In 1969, Dr. Low returned to Stockton, California, where he ran a successful private general practice for 35 years and provided free health screenings to seniors. He was past president of the San Joaquin Dental Society and an active member of the Stockton Symphony board of directors and volunteered at a local food bank. Dr. Low retired in 2004 and lives in Bellevue, Nebraska with his family.

School of Law: Felecia Turner Epps, JD’83 Epps is the dean of the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law. For 10 years, Epps served in the Marine Corps, holding a variety of positions as a certified Judge Advocate. While on active duty, she was awarded the Naval Achievement Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal, in recognition of her leadership and service. In 1993, Epps left active duty and became managing attorney of the Georgia Legal Service Program office in Albany Georgia. She began her career in legal academia in 1999 when she became Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law. In her current role, Epps helps young people from diverse backgrounds pursue their dreams in the legal profession.

School of Medicine: Jane M. Carnazzo, BSCHM’82, MD’86 Practicing primarily in the South Omaha area, Dr. Carnazzo has served her community through pediatric care and education advocacy for more than three decades. Through a number of local and national programs, Dr. Carnazzo is helping to shape health care. She has served on the executive committee for the Section of Infectious Diseases (SOID) and as president for the Nebraska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has worked on several task forces, including the Nebraska Medical Advisory Council for the Medicaid Medical Home Pilot Project. She presently serves on the Metro Omaha Medical Society public health committee and on the national AAP committee for development. She also is Co-editor for the SOID newsletter. Dr. Carnazzo contributes to the community, volunteering as a sideline physician for Gross Catholic football and as a member of their school board. She also serves on the Archdiocese Committee for Education.

Heider College of Business: Dennis L. Wiederholt, BSBA’75, MBA’85 Patricia Greco Wiederholt, BSBA’74 Dennis began his career at Union Pacific Corporation in Omaha. He held a variety of management and consulting positions until his retirement from the DLR Group where he served as CFO. Patty began her more than 30-year career at Northern Natural Gas Company and retired from full-time work at TransCanada in 2010. Throughout their careers, Dennis and Patty applied Ignatian values to their work and daily lives. Their contributions to Creighton, Catholic education, and to Omaha reflect their pay-it-forward attitude and support their strong community roots. They continue to support causes and community programs close to their hearts, including the Omaha Catholic Community, Marian High School and Mount Michael Benedictine School.

School of Pharmacy & Health Professions: Mary Wolpert-DeFilippes, PhD, BSPHA’63 Dr. Mary Wolpert-DeFilippes graduated from the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions in 1963. She graduated from the University of Michigan with her Master of Science and doctorate in pharmacology before completing her post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University. In 1971, she joined the National Cancer Institute in the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology. Five years later she transitioned to extramural positions in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, where she served the extramural research community until her retirement in 2015. Throughout her 44-year career, Wolpert-DeFilippes was known for her innovation and patient leadership. She served on several committees, including the National Institute of Health’s program leadership board. For her professional service, she was awarded a number of NIH Merit Awards. In 2012, she was made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The 2021 Recent Alumni recipient is: Hilary Wething, PhD, BS’11 In the last decade, Wething has made significant contributions to the world of economics and public policy. After graduating from the Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Wething worked as a research assistant at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., where she focused on topics including labor markets, inequality and living standards. In 2014, Dr. Wething was featured in Washington Life magazine as one the “visionaries, crusaders and innovators shaping Washington.” In 2020, she earned her Ph.D. in public policy and management and is now on the faculty of the School of Public Policy at Pennsylvania State University.

The 2021 Friend of the University recipients are: Macaela Smith and the late Bette Walker introduced to Creighton by Smith’s late husband, Roy Smith, an Omaha business leader and community activist, the three formed a friendship with Creighton’s 23rd president, the late Rev. John P. Schlegel, SJ. The Smiths worked tirelessly, serving and supporting numerous causes and non-profit organizations, including Creighton University. Since 1997, Macaela’s gifts have supported countless Bluejays through education, mental health support, and capital projects. She chaired the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary Board and received numerous awards and recognitions for her efforts on behalf of organizations serving the community. In 2020, she was honored as the Jaybacker of the Year for her years of dedication to Creighton Athletics. In Feb. 2021, Walker passed away at the age of 96, leaving behind a legacy of love for the Creighton basketball team, athletics staff and fans. Known for her generous heart, she cared deeply for the student-athletes, mentoring players and praying for their success. Devoted to her faith, she dedicated one hour of prayer every week for 25 years at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Bellevue, Nebraska.

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