Gilg family establishes UNMC professorship
From left, Msgr. James Gilg, son of Clarence and Nelle Gilg; Dr. Gerry Christensen, husband of Mary Clare Haven; Mary Clare Haven, daughter of Clarence and Nelle Gilg; Karen Honeycutt, inaugural Gilg Professor; Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions.
UNMC's College of Allied Health Professions has named Karen Honeycutt, associate professor and program director of medical laboratory science education, the inaugural Clarence and Nelle Gilg Professor for Teaching Excellence and Innovation in Allied Health.
The professorship was endowed jointly by a fundraising effort led by Mary Clare Haven, the Gilgs' daughter and former associate dean of allied health at UNMC, and by the Charles R. O'Malley Charitable Trust.
The Gilgs were both children of immigrants, who had seen hard times on the Sandhills prairie, but whose work produced "sculptured hay stacks, healthy cattle, bountiful gardens and beautiful flowers," Haven said.
She said her father, "never touched a tractor he couldn't fix, a windmill he couldn't climb, a child he couldn't soothe or a geometry problem he couldn't solve." Her mother, "never met a 4-H club she couldn't lead or feed, a cellar she couldn't fill with canned goods, a story she couldn't write or a student to whom she couldn't teach the 3Rs."
Clarence and Nelle Gilg delayed indoor plumbing in order to pay for college tuition, Haven said, and the family produced five college graduates.
Clarence and Nelle died two weeks apart in 2003. Both were in their 90s.
Haven said the endowed professorship honors "my parents and the parents of those who contributed to this professorship."
Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., dean of the College of Allied Health Professions, said Honeycutt was an ideal choice for the post.
"Karen is the quintessential innovator," Dr. Meyer said. "She has literally changed the way medical laboratory science students are educated throughout the region."
The UNMC College of Allied Health Professions is home to 11 health professions programs with a total enrollment of approximately 500 students, and has recently expanded to offer several of its programs at the Health Science Education Complex on the University of Nebraska-Kearney campus.