Former World-Herald publisher endows orthopaedic surgery lecture

Next year, and for years to come, UNMC's graduating orthopaedic surgery residents will hear from the Andersen Lecturer, endowed by Harold W. Andersen, retired publisher and CEO of the Omaha World-Herald Company.

"But the payments start next year," Andersen said.

So this year he got someone who worked cheap. Himself.

picture disc.
Graduating orthopaedic surgery chief resident Nicholas Aberle II, M.D., left, greets inaugural Andersen lecturer Harold Andersen, center, as, from left, department chair Kevin Garvin, M.D., and visiting professor James Kang, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, look on.
Early appreciation

Andersen first became a great fan of Omaha's medical community when Dr. Herman Johnson -- who has a professorship named for him at UNMC -- operated on Andersen 60-something years ago.

"I thought he saved my life," Andersen said.

So he has a debt to repay. But his wife, Marian?

"Marian has a considerable debt."

Marian's patronage

It started with a few procedures in Arizona.

But then Michael Sorrell, M.D., told the Andersens he had a pretty good new man here at UNMC. That turned out to be Kevin Garvin, M.D., who is now the department chair.

"So Marian shifted her considerable patronage," Mr. Andersen said.

"Five hips?" Mr. Andersen asked.

"Seven," Mrs. Andersen said. "Oh, here? Five here."

Toe ... er, tall tales

"Andy" went on: "Two knees, two shoulders, one elbow. And at this stage, one toe cut off. A toe's sticking out, Marian, being very practical, she couldn't get on a pair of shoes she liked, she had it cut off."

"No," Marian said firmly, the way a wife does when a husband starts to tell tales.

A double-act

"She is now thinking of having another toe cut off because she's got a new pair of shoes," Harold said.

"And I think I'll get a discount on a pedicure," Marian said.

(Marian may have been sitting in the audience. But it was clear she was serving as co-speaker.)

Something about Mary

Mr. Andersen talked about the history of UNMC, about the role of philanthropy and of the Andersens' appreciation for the orthopaedic surgery department, and the people in it -- for example, specialty care nurse Mary Peterson.

"The only problem with Mary is she married an Iowa State graduate and she roots for the Cyclones when they play the Huskers," Harold said.

"No, I don't think she does!" Marian said.


He closed with a journalism lesson, going over recent health care headlines.

"Longer life spans not always good news," he read. Perfect pause.

"I can confirm that."

There was raucous laughter. The inaugural Andersen Lecturer was a rousing success, even if he had come cheap.


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Nicole Lindquist
July 06, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Great story! Go Cyclones :)