Time out with T.O. - One last goodbye (times six)

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | June 28, 2013

Image with caption: Tony Yonkers, M.D., otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and Nancy Woelfl, Ph.D., at Dr. Woelfl’s retirement tea on Wednesday. (Photos by Teri Hartman)

Tony Yonkers, M.D., otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and Nancy Woelfl, Ph.D., at Dr. Woelfl’s retirement tea on Wednesday. (Photos by Teri Hartman)

I might seem a little jittery today.

I spent Wednesday afternoon going to three retirement teas. That's a lot of caffeine.

Or maybe what's causing my jitters is the realization that the face of UNMC is changing. We're losing some really good people.

Obviously, the exodus of baby boomers will only continue in the years to come. Warning -- we all need to be prepared for a tsunami of retirement teas in the next few years.

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Bob Wigton, M.D. with Nancy Woelfl, Ph.D.
Today, six good friends of mine will bid UNMC adieu. These are only the ones I know about. I'm sure there are others.

Before they head off into the sunset, I wanted to give a brief salute to each.

Pat Leuschen, Ph.D. - Dr. Leuschen is assistant dean for research in the School of Allied Health Professions. Pat lost her husband, Jim, in a tragic car accident in 1998. But, 14 years later, she created a professorship in his honor to provide research support for SAHP senior and junior faculty.

Mary McNamee, Ph.D. - Dr. McNamee wore two hats -- one in student services and one in nursing. I'll always remember Mary for working tirelessly to increase UNMC's student diversity by forming the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance in 2004, a unique project linking five historically black colleges and universities in Virginia with UNMC.

Myrna Newland, M.D. - Dr. Newland has graced UNMC's hallways as a student and employee for nearly 50 years. An anesthesiologist, Myrna led UNMC's gender equity program. She couldn't have been a better role model for other professionals on campus.

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Nancy Woelfl, Ph.D.
Elaine Ryan - I call her ER. For more than 30 years, she has been the administrative assistant for one of UNMC's legendary physicians, James Armitage, M.D. Just shows how smart Dr. Armitage is.

Bob Wigton, M.D. - An associate dean in the College of Medicine, Dr. Wigton is UNMC's unofficial historian. Nobody knows more about UNMC than Dr. Wigton. Before you leave, Bob, I'm going to need your cell phone number.

Nancy Woelfl, Ph.D. - Dr. Woelfl has been director of the McGoogan Library of Medicine for the past 26 years. Nancy took the library to new heights -- even when some people thought the Internet would make libraries obsolete -- and always with a smile on her face.

Six class acts. Let's hope the next generation can fill their shoes. Trust me, they are very large shoes indeed.

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Mary Haven
July 06, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Tom, Excellant article and I agree. Wonderful role models for whomever will follow. I have worked with all of them and outstanding is not even a sufficient adjective. Thanks for recognizing them.

John Schleicher
June 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Bravo T.O.! What a great article! Those folks are indeed six class acts! The "institutional memory" is going with them. I wonder how many years of service total? Probably over 200 years. John Schleicher, McGoogan Library