Research Bench Lab

Honorary Degree Recipients

2021 Recipients

Michelle L. (Hinton) Ford, MBA | Doctor of Humanities

Michelle L. (Hinton) Ford, MBAMichelle L. (Hinton) Ford, MBA, is a servant leader and dedicated philanthropist. She is a woman of many diamond-studded hats. As a holder of several philanthropic and executive leadership positions amongst a broad spectrum of thriving organizations, she has left her pink and green stiletto print on an ever-changing world. Ford has more than 20 years of executive leadership, change management and fund development experience across several industries, including corporate, non-profit, healthcare and foundations.

As the Director of Impact, Population Health and Well-Being at Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ford is responsible for positioning the Alliance and its Strategic Action Network, as a central resource and authority to advance Population Well-Being research, through building organizational capacity to contract with the health industry, best practices, and necessary systems and respective policy change. While working with Alliance leadership and network organizations, Hinton sets the Alliance’s health agenda and priorities by identifying patterns in data and evidence to shape the Alliance’s impact strategies and public policy agenda.

She previously served as the Executive Director and CEO of the United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM), where she worked with Milwaukee settlement houses to foster the spirit of collaboration to strengthen communities through collective impact. Prior to joining UNCOM, Ford served in state and regional leadership roles with the American Cancer Society (ACS), such as the Director of Regional Corporate Relations, where she executed a region-based strategy for corporate account management, while raising significant dollars for ACS. She was the primary relationship manager for a portfolio of priority corporations, foundations and numerous CEOs and C-Suite executives. She also served as the Senior Director of Community Engagement, and Wisconsin State Director of Health Equity. Ford has held other leadership positions at Aurora Health Care Foundation, Children’s Health System, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. She successfully executed fundraising campaigns that generated millions of dollars and community engagement initiatives that impacted the lives of families and children in Milwaukee's urban communities and in southeast Wisconsin.

Ford holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alverno College and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, where she served as an adjunct instructor in the College of Business and Management. She serves as a national thought leader working on several advisory boards, including the Morehouse School of Medicine's National Resiliency Network, Camden Coalition’s National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, Field Coordinating Committee, Social Interventions Research Evaluation Network (SIREN), Root Cause Coalition and the Expert Advisory Group for Raising The Bar through the National Partnership for Women and Families. Ford is an active servant leader in the greater Milwaukee area and dedicates her time and talents to several local and national organizations including the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., African American Women's Fund, Milwaukee Rotary, and the Board of America's Black Holocaust Museum. Her passion for building generational wealth in the black community led her to launch the Ujamaa Investment Club. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and spending time.

Eve M. Hall, PhD | Doctor of Humanities

Eve M. Hall, PhDEve M. Hall, PhD, serves as President and CEO of the Milwaukee Urban League. She is a native of Milwaukee with work experiences in Wisconsin, Florida and Washington, DC. Previously, she served as the President/CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, where she led the renewal of the organization.

Dr. Hall earned a Bachelor of Science degree in educational psychology, educational certification in learning disabilities from Florida A&M University, a Master of Science degree in administrative leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a doctorate in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. She also is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Hall's focus is on economic vibrancy for African Americans and other underserved communities through education, employment, advocacy and economic self-reliance and development. Along the way, she has had many professional and public service affiliations, including as Co-founder of the African American Women's Project Fund, created to support organizations that promote the well-being of women and girls.

Dr. Hall has been recognized by Milwaukee Business Journal as a “Woman of Influence” in 2013 and one of 16 “Business Executives to Watch in 2016,” as well as a “Powerbroker” in 2017 and 2019. In 2015, she was recognized as “Woman Executive of the Year,” by Milwaukee Biz Times for her work in reviving the chamber and as a “Notable Minority Executive” in 2021. Madison 365 listed Hall as one of the 35 “Most Influential Black Leaders” in 2017. In 2018, Professional Dimensions presented her the “Sacagawea Award” for community leadership and contributions. Most recently, Dr. Hall was recognized by Milwaukee Business Journal as “one of their “Executives to Watch in 2021,” and she was recently inducted into their “40 Under 40 Hall of Fame .”

Matthew F. Heywood | Doctor of Medical Science

Matthew F. HeywoodMatthew “Matt” Heywood joined Aspirus as President and Chief Executive Officer in June 2013. Prior to joining Aspirus, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina (2008-2013), where he was responsible for the operation of the 769-bed regional referral center. Prior to that, he held the positions of Chief Operating Officer at Delray Regional Medical Center in Delray Beach, Florida (2004-2008), and various senior management roles with Riverview Regional Medical Center in Gadsden, Alabama (2002-2003) and Deloitte Consulting in Detroit, Michigan (1994-2002).

Matt received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College in Government Relations and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan – School of Business in Business Administration and Management.

Throughout his career, Matt has served on various boards and committees in the communities in which he has lived. He currently serves on the United Way of Marathon County Board of Directors, Woodson YMCA Foundation Board of Directors, as well as the Wisconsin Hospital Association Board of Directors.

George P. Hinton | Doctor of Humanities

George P. HintonGeorge P. Hinton is the CEO of the Social Development Commission (SDC). As Wisconsin’s largest Community Action agency, SDC serves tens of thousands of people each year through numerous programs focused on improving the quality of life for Milwaukee County’s low-income residents. SDC offers five core service areas that include employment, family strengthening, education, training and support services.

Hinton has diverse work experience. He’s served as Executive Director for INROADS, Inc. – Wisconsin. He has held several leadership positions with the Children’s Health System of Wisconsin. For more than a decade, Hinton held various executive roles within the Aurora Health Care system, including as President of Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee.

He also is the founder of the Hinton Group, a healthcare and business consulting firm that works with private and non-profit organizations.

A native of Milwaukee, Hinton attended Washington High School. He is an alumnus of the Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Lubar School of Business. Hinton earned his master’s degree in health administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran.

Hinton serves on several boards including the All of Us Research Program, Curative Care Network, The Center for Veterans Issues and the Washington High School Alumni Association. Hinton is the chairperson of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP). He was a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Richard N. Katschke | Doctor of Humane Letters

Richard KatschkeRichard N. Katschke, MA, is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s past borne from his deep interest in history and his 35 years of dedicated service to MCW.

Katschke, MCW’s Chief Historian, authored Knowledge Changing Life, a recently published comprehensive history of MCW from 1893 to 2019. In 1990, he edited Norman Engbring, MD’s An Anchor for the Future, the first book published on MCW’s history. As chief historian, Katschke has conducted more than 150 oral history interviews with MCW trustees, faculty, staff, students, executives, alumni and community leaders.

Katschke joined MCW in 1985 as Director – and subsequently as Assistant Vice President and then Associate Vice President – of Public Affairs. Over a 30-year span, he led the Public Affairs Department’s development of MCW’s strategic and crisis communications plans, creation of MCW’s website, expansion of external and internal communications programs, and development of joint communications planning initiatives with MCW’s major teaching hospitals. When he transitioned to become MCW’s Chief Historian in 2016, he was the nation’s longest-serving medical school communications leader.

In 2015, Katschke received MCW’s Distinguished Service Award, the institution’s highest faculty or staff honor. He was named the 2019 Honorary Alumnus by the MCW/Marquette Medical Alumni Association. He also has received awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Wisconsin Association for Biomedical Research and Education.

In the community, Katschke has been a member of the Board of Directors of Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove and the Waukesha Civic Theater. He was the Midwest Regional Chair of the Association of American Medical College’s Group on Institutional Advancement and served on communications planning committees for the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the ill-fated 1992 Chicago World’s Fair. He also served as a judge for the Chicago International Film Festival.

Before joining MCW, he was Director of University Relations for Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Director of Public Relations for OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois, and Public Affairs Specialist for the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine.

Katschke received his Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and Master of Arts degree in communications from Northeastern Illinois University. He is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.

Katschke and his wife Vickie live in Franklin. They have three adult children and a grandson.

Paula Lucey, PhD, RN, MN | Doctor of Medical Science

Paula Lucey, PhD, RN, MNPaula Lucey has worn many hats in healthcare, mental health services and social services in the Milwaukee area. Before her current role as Program Director of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) School of Nursing master's degree program, Dr. Lucey created, implemented and led the General Assistance Medical Program, a national model for caring for uninsured patients. She also ran the Milwaukee County Paramedic Program in partnership with all 17 of the municipalities in Milwaukee County. Dr. Lucey was tapped to be the Director of Health and Human Services of Milwaukee County by then County Executive Scott Walker until she temporarily retired.

Dr. Lucey then began to work in the mental healthcare field. She started in the private sector as an Executive Director for an organization providing the full spectrum of services to adolescents, including education, residential care and outpatient care. Later, she was recruited to return and lead the Milwaukee Behavioral Health Center in its service redesign. Dr. Lucey began teaching part-time for UWM while still working for Milwaukee County and has taught in the areas of leadership, policy and professional roles.

Dr Lucey is a founding board member and was the longtime chair of the Consortium on Public and Community Health overseeing the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW). Dr. Lucey brought her knowledge of the community and ability to move an agenda forward to the formative years of AHW and the Consortium. Under her leadership, AHW and the Consortium evolved from a focus on awarding grants to take a proactive role as leaders catalyzing innovative partnerships to improve the health of Wisconsin citizens.

Dr. Lucey has a PhD in leadership from Walden University in Minneapolis-St. Paul, a Master of Science degree in nursing administration from Marquette University and is an alumna of the UWM College of Nursing, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow - Cohort 1999.

Lilly Marks | Doctor of Medical Science

Lily MarksLilly Marks served from 2010-2020 as Vice President for Health Affairs for the University of Colorado and as Executive Vice Chancellor of the University's Anschutz Medical Campus, which is home to the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, College of Nursing and Graduate School, as well as the University of Colorado Hospital and Children's Hospital Colorado. Prior to her leadership of the university's health campus, Ms. Marks spent two decades as both CEO of University of Colorado Medicine, and as Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration at the School of Medicine.

In addition to her university leadership responsibilities, Ms. Marks has held numerous governance roles on both state and national levels.

Currently, Ms. Marks serves on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She has served as chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Medical Colleges as well as the Association of Academic Health Centers. Ms. Marks also served as chair of the board of the University of Colorado Hospital and as a board member of the University of Colorado Health System and of Children's Hospital Colorado. Additionally, she served on the Advisory Board for Clinical Research of the National Institutes of Health. She is a trustee of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes Research Foundation and the University of Colorado Foundation. She also currently serves on the corporate board of directors of Orthofix Medical, Inc.

Among numerous recognitions, the University of Colorado Board of Regents awarded Ms. Marks the University Medal for her transformational contributions to the University. Ms. Marks is a past recipient of the Denver Business Journal's Outstanding Woman in Business Award. She has also been recognized by both the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce and 5280 Magazine as one of the most influential people in Denver and the state of Colorado. In 2019, the publication Women Inc. named Ms. Marks as one of the nation's most influential corporate board directors.

Ms. Marks is a frequent national speaker regarding medical school economics, health care policy and economics, clinical practice management, women's professional development and leadership issues in academic medicine.

Cory L. Nettles | Doctor of Humanities

Cory L. NettlesCory L. Nettles is the Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital, Inc., a private equity fund focused on buyouts and providing growth capital to small businesses and lower-middle market companies in the upper Midwest. Mr. Nettles is formerly of counsel at Quarles & Brady LLP in the Corporate Services and Government Relations groups. Mr. Nettles also served as secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

As secretary of commerce, Mr. Nettles was the “point man” on business and economic development for the state of Wisconsin. Mr. Nettles managed a wide range of duties, including negotiating a $500 million venture capital package, negotiating banking and commercial lending legislation, and negotiating regulatory reform legislation. Mr. Nettles currently serves as a board member for several corporate and nonprofit organizations, including Weyco Group, Inc., Robert W. Baird's Baird Funds, Inc., the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee World Festival, Teach For America, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the University of Wisconsin Foundation, Usher’s New Look Foundation and Associated Bank, among others.

Mr. Nettles also served as a senior advisor to Baird Private Equity and on the boards of Lawrence University and The Private Bank-Wisconsin. Mr. Nettles graduated magna cum laude from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, in 1992 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 1996. He has received several awards and distinctions, including the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship (post-graduate research in Africa and the former Soviet Union), University of Wisconsin-Madison LEO Fellowship, Dean's List, Ethel Brown Award, Mathys Memorial Award for Appellate Advocacy, Abe Sigman Award for Scholarship and Character, North Milwaukee State Bank Trail Blazer Award and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Connection 2003 Trail Blazer Award. Mr. Nettles also was named a “Wisconsin Super Lawyer Rising Star 2007,” and he’s a 40 Under 40 Award recipient.

Mr. Nettles is married to Michelle S. Nettles. Michelle is the Chief People and Culture Officer for ManpowerGroup. They live in Milwaukee.

Tim Sheehy | Doctor of Humanities

Tim SheehyTimothy R. Sheehy is President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC). Prior to being named President, he served as Executive Vice President. He also serves on the Board of the Milwaukee Development Corporation, an MMAC affiliate.

He is a Past Chair of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Sheehy serves as Chair of the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation and as a Director of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. He also serves on the Boards of Milwaukee College Prep, Rocketship Community Schools, Teach for America, City Forward Collective, School Choice Wisconsin, Milwaukee Succeeds and the Badger Institute, and is a past Board member of Summerfest. He has been appointed by three Wisconsin Governors to serve as Chair for various state commissions.

Prior to joining MMAC, Sheehy was Legislative Assistant to Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner and a recipient of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Internship. He also served as a Ford Foundation Fellow on Regional Sustainable Development. He is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management and a Certified Chamber of Commerce Executive. Sheehy graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was a scholarship member of the University’s Division One baseball team.

He is married and has three children.

Larry Weyers | Doctor of Humanities

Larry WeyersMr. Larry Weyers has served on the Community Advisory Board of MCW-Green Bay since its inception. He has a wealth of experience in corporate operations, leadership and governance. In March 2010, he retired as Chairman of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (previously WPS Resources Corporation), a holding company with operations providing products and services in regulated and nonregulated energy markets. Previously, he served as its Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer from February 1998 to December 2008, having joined Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a utility subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc., in 1985. Prior to joining Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Mr. Weyers was employed as a Management Consultant in the Energy Practice of Towers Perrin.

From July 2010 to July 2015, Mr. Weyers served as Vice President and Lead Director of the Board of Directors of the Green Bay Packers, Inc., on which he has served since 2003. He is currently an emeritus member. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Green Bay Packaging, a privately held company. Mr. Weyers has served on boards in banking, hospital administration, electric transmission, the paper industry, industrial manufacturing and insurance.

Mr. Weyers has served on numerous not-for-profit Boards including Bellin Health, Green Bay Partners in Education, Forward Wisconsin, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Competitive Wisconsin, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and Downtown Green Bay Inc. He is past chair of the Boy Scouts’ “Scouting For Food” campaign and served on an advisory board for the YWCA.

Recently, Mr. Weyers has directed his attention to several entrepreneurial enterprises including MCW-Green Bay. He is a committed advocate of the medical school. Mr. Weyers was a key thought leader in garnering support for the Green Bay Packers Student Scholarship fund. Mr. Weyers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Doane College in Nebraska, a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from Columbia University in New York, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University. He is a registered professional engineer.

2020 Recipients

Victor & Dawn Barnett | Doctor of Humanities

Victor and Dawn Barnett

Victor Barnett is Founder and Executive Director of Running Rebels Community Organization. In 1980, as gangs were beginning to form in Milwaukee, Victor saw a void that needed to be filled. He wanted to provide something that would deter youth and focus them in a different direction. Victor believed that the right relationships and activities would keep them from gangs, violence, substance abuse and other negative behaviors. At 19 years old, Victor founded the Running Rebels Community Organization (RRCO). He started out by organizing basketball teams that incorporated not only the fundamentals of the game, but also the elements that strengthen character both on and off the court. Victor also made sure that education played an important part in the Rebels programming. Players had to bring their report cards so he could personally see the areas in which they needed additional help. In those early years, hundreds of young men got to know Victor as a mentor, a brother and a friend.

“Vic”, as he is fondly called by both Alumni and current Rebels, believes that there is a calling in his life to keep young people away from the negativity around them and to help make Milwaukee a better city. In addition to receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications in 1982 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Victor has received several local, regional and national honors: Channel 12’s “Twelve Who Care” award; 2005 Black Excellence Award; Robert Starms/Milwaukee Frontiers Community Service Award; 2005 Community Brainstorming “Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things”; YMCA’s Lincoln Gaines Award (Strong Kids Award); 2008 UNCF Youth Organization Award; Visit Milwaukee’s 2008 Standing Ovation Award; Milwaukee Public Schools’ 2012 Excellence in Education Award; and, the 2013 Doug Jansson Award.

Dawn Barnett is the Co-Executive Director for RRCO. Dawn has worked with her husband, Victor Barnett, since 1997. Dawn works alongside Victor to provide services and programs to Milwaukee’s youth and families. With over 24 years of experience working with at-risk youth in the areas of crisis stabilization, mentoring, secondary therapy, music education, job coaching, personal leadership and life skills, Dawn Barnett is also a trained facilitator for JCIP (Juvenile Cognitive Intervention Program), Community Works, Restorative Justice and Nonviolent Communication. She also uses her musical interests to raise awareness to human issues. Dawn currently serves on the Secretary’s Advisory Council on Youth Justice for the State of Wisconsin and, as a senior facilitator for the Community Building Institute, has trained leaders throughout the US and Europe in the Community Building Workshop process. In 2018, Dawn was named a Woman of Influence by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Together, Victor Barnett and Dawn Barnett have guided the organization’s growth from a basketball-based mentoring program to a full-service agency with 143 staff members serving over 3,000 youth each year through its EPIC Mission of: Engaging the community, youth and their families; Preventing involvement in gangs, drugs, violence and the juvenile justice system; Intervening and guiding youth by assisting them with making positive choices; and Coaching youth through their transition into adulthood. Dawn and Victor accomplish this through building relationships with youth and providing the resources and skills necessary for them to become thriving, connected and contributing adult members of our community.

With services including juvenile justice programming, athletics, academic support, recreation, scholarships, mentoring, and afterschool/summer programming, RRCO prides itself on being able to connect to some of the most underserved populations in the City of Milwaukee.

Together, Dawn and Victor have led RRCO with wisdom, vision and an unfailing commitment to Milwaukee’s young people.

Renee Chapman Navarro, PharmD, MD | Doctor of Medical Science

Renee Chapman Navarro, PharmD, MDRenee Chapman Navarro, PharmD, MD, is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care. In 2010 she was appointed as the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) inaugural Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach. She is the first African American woman and first anesthesia faculty member to be appointed to the Chancellor’s executive leadership team at UCSF.

Dr. Navarro completed her Doctor of Pharmacy education and training at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. She obtained her pharmacy license and worked in both community and hospital pharmacy practices.

Dr. Navarro made the decision to attend medical school and, subsequently, complete her residency at UCSF. Dr. Navarro joined the anesthesia faculty and conducted research focused on the physiologic properties of inhaled anesthetic agents. After several years, she transitioned her academic focus to issues of patient access, quality and safety.

As a faculty leader and educator, her career at UCSF has progressed rapidly. She has held several leadership positions at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, including Chair of Pharmacy and Therapeutics and the Risk Management Committees, and Acting Chief of Anesthesia. She served for 10 years as the Medical Director of Perioperative Services and was elected by her peers to serve as the Chief of the Medical Staff.

Dr. Navarro has served as an examiner for the American Board of Anesthesia. She is a mentor, clinician educator and academic leader. She has served the UCSF Department of Anesthesiology on committees regarding resident selection and advising, finance, merits and promotions, and has served as a member of the department’s executive committee. Within the School of Medicine, Dr. Navarro served as the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs as well as an Advisory College Mentor, an Introduction to Medicine Leader and Anesthesia Career Advisor.

In 2007, she became the first Director of Academic Diversity at UCSF and was charged with coordinating the University’s strategic goal of nurturing the diversity of faculty through targeted outreach, campus policy, procedural changes and ongoing education.

Nationally, Dr. Navarro has continued her strong leadership and advocacy for equity and inclusion. She served as a member of the White House Fellowship Selection Committee, NIH Advisory Group to the Director’s Working Group on Diversity, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Committee on Professional Diversity and the ASA Professional Issues Education Committee. Dr. Navarro is committed to public service, serving on the San Mateo Commission on the Status of Women and the San Mateo Commission on Disabilities. She also was the founding Chair of the Group on Women in Medicine and Science for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). She now serves as Chair for the AAMC’s Group on Diversity and Inclusion and is leading the UCSF Action Collaborative to address gender harassment and sexual misconduct in academic medicine.

The UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach has significantly impacted the university and community for which it received the 2016 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from Insight into Diversity magazine.

Dr. Navarro has received numerous awards including a mentorship award from California Assemblyman Leno. Her impact on health equity and service has also been recognized by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown’s Proclamation of J. Renee Navarro Day in San Francisco.

James C. Rahn | Doctor of Humanities

James C. RahnJames C. Rahn serves as President of the Kern Family Foundation. He joined the Foundation in late 2007 and has served as President since February 2008. In that role, Mr. Rahn has served Drs. Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, the Kern family, Foundation board and team in pursuit of the Kerns’ philanthropic vision.

The Foundation’s mission is to empower the rising generation of Americans to build flourishing lives anchored in strong character, inspired by quality education, driven by an entrepreneurial mindset, and guided by the desire to create value for others. Its investments are focused on initiatives that have long-term, systemic impact. Thus, the Foundation strives to build movements that impact important dimensions of American culture.

The desire to build culture-changing movements has led the Foundation to invest in the creation, identification and nurturing of networks, and overlapping dense networks of leaders and institutions that are aligned around a common set of ideas and a shared vision. It is this approach to movement building and culture change that led to investments by the Kern family and Foundation that launched the MCW Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education and the Kern National Network for Caring and Character in Medicine.

The Foundation views its relationship to its grantees as one of partnership versus patronage, investor versus charitable contributor. Thus Mr. Rahn and the Foundation team take an active, co-creative role in working with grantees and affiliated networks. Sometimes, this includes assuming a role as a board member. Currently, Mr. Rahn represents the Foundation by serving on the boards of the Charter School Growth Fund, Project Lead the Way and the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Beyond his service to the Foundation, Mr. Rahn is an active leader in the education reform movement. He is co-founder and board chairman of Open Sky Education (OSE) which operates networks of charter schools (EAGLE) in Phoenix and St. Louis and private schools (HOPE Christian Schools) in Wisconsin. OSE also operates Compass Educational Programs which provides Christian faith wrap-around programs on school campuses and the Character Formation Project, a licensed set of character formation content and programming. He is also the co-founder and first director of the Center for Urban Teaching, headquartered in Milwaukee.

Prior to his work at the Foundation, Mr. Rahn spent two decades as a Lutheran educator and administrator at the K12 and college levels. He earned a BSE from Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota, and an MA in school administration from Concordia University – Chicago. Mr. Rahn was also awarded a Doctor of Business and Economics (honoris causa) from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Solomon H. Snyder, MD | Doctor of Medical Science

Solomon H. Snyder, MDBorn in Washington, DC, on December 26, 1938, Dr. Snyder received his undergraduate and medical training at Georgetown University. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1962. Dr. Snyder trained as a Research Associate with Dr. Julius Axelrod at the National Institutes of Health from 1963-1965. He conducted psychiatric training at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1965-1968. In 1966, he joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology. Dr. Snyder was promoted to Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry in 1968 and to Professor in 1970. In 1980, he established the Department of Neuroscience and served as Director from 1980-2006. He is presently Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry.

Dr. Snyder is the recipient of numerous professional honors, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Research (1978), the National Medal of Science (2005), the Albany Medical Prize (2007) and the Warren Alpert Prize, Harvard University (2014). He has received Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Northwestern University (1981), Georgetown University (1986), Ben Gurion University (1990), Albany Medical College (1998), Technion University of Israel (2002), Mount Sinai Medical School (2004), University of Maryland (2006), Charles University, Prague (2009), Ohio State University (2011) and Johns Hopkins University (2018). Dr. Snyder also has garnered the Wolf Foundation Prize in Medicine (1983), the Dickson Prize of the University of Pittsburgh (1983), the Bower Award of the Franklin Institute (1991), the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research (1996), the Gerard Prize of the Society for Neuroscience (2000) and the Salk Institute Science Award (2016). He is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is the author of more than 1000 journal articles and several books including “Uses of Marijuana” (1971), “Madness and the Brain” (1974), “The Troubled Mind” (1976), “Biological Aspects of Abnormal Behavior” (1980), “Drugs and the Brain” (1986) and “Brainstorming” (1989).

Tracey Sparrow, EdD | Doctor of Humanities

Tracey Sparrow, EdDDr. Tracey Sparrow joined Next Door as President in 2015. She previously served as Vice President for Children’s Programs at the Milwaukee Center for Independence and as President of the Milwaukee Academy of Science charter school. Dr. Sparrow received her doctoral degree in education, leadership and service from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dr. Sparrow’s relationship with MCW began in the year 2000, when the Milwaukee Academy of Science opened. The school was a passion of MCW President Emeritus Mike Bolger as an effort to increase minority representation of medical students at MCW. Over the years, Dr. Sparrow has had the opportunity to form partnerships on behalf of her organization with a number of different departments at MCW, most recently with the new School of Pharmacy. The partnerships that have been formed between MCW and community organizations have strengthened work being done across the city of Milwaukee.

Past Recipients


Virginia K. (Ginny) Bolger
Doctor of Humanities

Robert David (Bob) Curry
Doctor of Humanities

Lisa Grill Dodson
Doctor of Medical Science

Thomas Kunkel
Doctor of Humane Letters

Bruce (BJ) Miller
Doctor of Medical Science

Stephen A. Roell and Dr. Shelagh M. Roell
Doctor of Humanities


Sharon and Larry Adams
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degrees

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Matthew L. Hunsaker, MD, FAAFP
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Michael S. Orban
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Roland A. Patillo, MD, FACOG
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Rebecca Page Ramirez
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Agustin A. Ramirez, Jr.
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Aaron Rodgers
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Mary Ellen Stanek, CFA
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Scott P. Stanek, DDS
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree


Donna M. Hietpas
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Ralph E. Hollmon
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Will Allen
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree


Billie Ann and Michael Charles Kubly, MD
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Gary H. Gibbons, MD
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Ricardo Diaz
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Timothy T. Flaherty, MD
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree


John Bartkowski
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Jon and Ann Hammes
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degrees

Lester L. Carter, Jr.
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Robert J. Lefkowitz
Doctor of Science Honorary Degree


Mary-Claire King
Doctor of Science Honorary Degree

Tim Size
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

William David Petasnick
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree


Jeffrey T. Laitman
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Robert A. Wild
Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree

Thomas A. Brophy
Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree


Cordelia Taylor
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree

Jan Lennon
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

T. Michael Bolger
Doctor of Medical Science Honorary Degree


Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Bryon Riesch
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Mary and Ted D. Kellner
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Michael Bliss
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree

Sheldon and Marianne Lubar
Doctor of Humanities Honorary Degree