About the Medical College of Wisconsin

Medical College of Wisconsin Honorary Degree Recipients

An honorary degree is one of higher education’s most significant accolades. It is the guiding principle of MCW to award honorary degrees on a selective basis to distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for genuine achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the mission of the institution. Only the MCW Board of Trustees may authorize the award of an honorary degree.

2024 Recipients

Christine K. Cassel, MD | Doctor of Medical Science

Christine K. Cassel, MDDr. Christine K. Cassel is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, and Senior Advisor for Strategy and Policy, where she is working on biomedical ethics and the role of technology in healthcare. She leads an ethics and governance core for the UCSF Clinical Translational Science Institute, co-chairs a working group for the University of California Health System task force on health data governance, and serves on the standing AI Council for the President of the University of California.

In March of 2018, Dr. Cassel completed her term as Planning Dean for the new Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, based in Pasadena, California. From 2013-2016, she was the President and CEO of the National Quality Forum, and prior to that served as President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation.

Dr. Cassel was one of 20 scientists – and the only physician – chosen by President Obama to serve on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). She chaired or co-chaired PCAST reports on health information technology, scientific innovation in drug development and evaluation, systems engineering in healthcare, technology to foster independence and quality of life in an aging population, and safe drinking water systems.

Dr. Cassel is a leading expert in geriatrics and policy for an aging society, bioethics, and professional standards and quality of care. In her academic career she has served as Dean of the School of Medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University, as Chair of the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and as Chief of General Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago. Among her many professional achievements and honors, Dr. Cassel was elected to membership of the National Academy of Medicine in 1992, and has served on or chaired influential reports such as To Err is Human, Crossing the Quality Chasm, Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End of Life, and Addressing Burnout: A Systems Approach to Improving Care by Enhancing Clinician Wellbeing.

Dr. Cassel was the first woman President of the American College of Physicians and, subsequently, first woman Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. She has served as Chair of the Board of the Greenwall Foundation (a national foundation for bioethics), and President of the American Federation for Aging Research, and was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Cassel’s other board service includes the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Premier, Inc, and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Dr. Cassel currently advises a number of start-up companies using information science to advance healthcare quality. She has received numerous honorary degrees and is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Medicine of England and Canada. She also is author of more than 200 articles and author or editor of 11 books, including one of the leading textbooks in geriatric medicine, and Medicare Matters: What Geriatric Medicine Can Teach American Health Care.

Dalvery Blackwell | Doctor of Humanities

Dalvery BlackwellFor the last 15 years, Ms. Dalvery Blackwell has served as a Co-Founder and Executive Director of the African American Breastfeeding Network (AABN). Her career is dedicated to improving maternal-child health outcomes, championing breastfeeding equity by advocating for system/policy changes, and partnering with community-based, family-centered, culturally tailored health education and support services. Before founding AABN, she worked in different capacities in public health. As a program coordinator for the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, Ms. Blackwell was instrumental in leading the efforts to make Wisconsin one of the first states in the country to create legislation banning smoking in public places. Soon after marrying and having her first child, Ms. Blackwell committed her work to addressing breastfeeding disparities. Her first stop on her public health journey was a job with the Milwaukee County’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children as a breastfeeding peer counselor. Soon after, in 2011, she became an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.

Under Ms. Blackwell’s direction, AABN has worked to enhance and improve maternal and infant health by providing breastfeeding education, support, and services, especially for families at risk for prematurity and adverse birth outcomes. AABN was created to normalize breastfeeding by eradicating stigma, providing support, and increasing self-efficacy and knowledge of breastfeeding rights in public, professional, and educational settings. Culturally relevant programming from AABN begins with prenatal education and support and extends through the postpartum period for the entire family. In 2019, the Board of Directors led the mission change to include advocating for breastfeeding equity and championing maternal-child health.

The many accomplishments of AABN as a reproductive justice community-based organization has enabled it to receive consistent funding from local and national foundations, donors, organizations, and government sources. In 2020 and 2021, AABN received $500,000 in funding to form the WeRISE Doula program, intended to provide labor and delivery support and protection from COVID-19 to Black birthing families in southeastern Wisconsin. In 2022, AABN received another $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which brought the nationally acclaimed, evidence-based, trauma-informed care doula training from HealthConnect One to the WeRISE Doula Initiative. In 2023, Ms. Blackwell joined Drs. Anna Palatnik (Contact PI), Jessica Olson, Joni Williams, and Julia Dickson-Gomez (MPIs) as a Co-Investigator on the ASCEND Wisconsin Initiative, a seven-year, $10 million NIH-funded proposal which aims to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in maternal morbidity in southeastern Wisconsin through equitable partnerships and commitment to policy-level change.

Through Ms. Blackwell’s leadership and vision, AABN has built eminent goodwill in the community. The organization has been recognized and highlighted in local, state, and national media, including Essence Magazine's “Top Ten Things People Are Talking About,” and the CDC “Breastfeeding Report Card.” Ms. Blackwell is a recipient of the Wisconsin Public Health Association’s Award for Excellence in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health’s Women of Commitment Award, and the Milwaukee Community Journal’s Year of the Child: A Game Changer Honoree.

Kathy Kelsey Foley

Kathy Kelsey FoleyKathy Kelsey Foley and her husband, Ernie, have made Wausau their home since 1997, having previously lived in the community for five years beginning in 1986. Kathy has the distinction of serving as director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum twice, her tenures separated by her family’s time away from the community. She returned to the helm of the Woodson in March 1998, retiring in December 2022. In recognition of Kathy’s service, the Museum’s Board of Director’s awarded her the title of Director Emerita and renamed the Rooftop Sculpture Garden in her honor.

Kathy received her undergraduate degree in art history with departmental and general honors from Vassar College and a Masters degree also in art history from The Johns Hopkins University. Her museum training and professional and corporate experience include stints in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; curator at The Dayton Art Institute; founding director of Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art; and the Gap, where she served as manager of corporate internal communication.

During Kathy’s Woodson tenure, the Museum was one of only ten 2017 recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Federal agency. Kathy was inducted as a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in April 2014, and received the Association of Midwest Museums’ Distinguished Career Award in November 2020.

Since 2009, Kathy has served Aspirus Health in a variety of capacities. She is currently Vice Chair of the Aspirus, Inc. Board of Directors and Chair of the system Quality Committee. She is passionate about ensuring the accessibility of high-quality healthcare for the community and broader region and educating and nurturing the next generation of physicians and advanced practice providers to support healthy outcomes and robust quality of life for all who call north central Wisconsin home.

Kathy and Ernie are the parents of two daughters, who reside in Colorado with their families, which include two grandsons and a granddaughter.

Howard Fuller, PhD | Doctor of Humanities

Howard Fuller, PhDHoward Fuller’s career includes many years in both public service positions and the field of education. Dr. Fuller recently retired from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he now is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

Immediately before his appointment at Marquette University, Dr. Fuller served as the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Dr. Fuller received his BS degree in Sociology from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin; his MSA. degree in Social Administration from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; and his PhD in Sociological Foundations of Education from Marquette University.

Dr. Fuller has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years, including four Honorary Doctorate Degrees: Doctorate of Humane Letters from Carroll College; Doctorate of Laws from Marian College, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin; Doctorate of Business and Economics from the Milwaukee School of Engineering; and Doctorate of Humane Letters from Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Fuller also is a member of the Charter School Hall of Fame of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; the Athletic Hall of Fame at North Division High School and Carroll University; and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Dr. Fuller was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in 2020, and was the recipient of the Marquette University 2023 Service Award.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy.

His memoir, No Struggle No Progress, was published in 2014.

David C. Leach, MD | Doctor of Medical Science

David C. Leach, MDDavid C. Leach, MD, was born in Elmira, New York. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and his training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He received additional training in Pediatric Endocrinology at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For nearly thirty years. Dr. Leach practiced endocrinology at Henry Ford Hospital, taught University of Michigan medical students, and was a teaching hospitalist. In the early 1980s he became the Director of Medical Education and Transitional Residency program director at Henry Ford. He also became seriously interested in how resident physicians acquire competence, and in 1997 was recruited to lead the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) as it shifted toward a competency-based model of accreditation. At that time, the ACGME accredited more than 6,000 residency programs in 120 different specialties that in aggregate housed more than 110,000 residents. The Competency Initiative was designed to use the leverage afforded by accreditation, the assessment tools developed by the community, and partnership with the certifying boards to ensure that programs were producing graduates competent in the practice of their discipline. During Dr. Leach’s tenure duty, hour restrictions also were addressed when it became evident that changes in the practice of medicine had negatively impacted both patient safety and resident well-being.

Dr. Leach has served on the boards of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement; the National Center for Healthcare Leadership; the Picker Institute; the Rosalind Franklin University; and the Mercy Health System (now Bon Secours Mercy Health). In 2007, he received the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Award for Excellence in Medical Education (formerly called the Flexner Award). He also was given the Good Samaritan Award by Michigan’s Governor John Engler for 25 years of volunteer service at the Cabrini Clinic, a free clinic in downtown Detroit.

Dr. Leach now lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, with Jackie, his wife of almost fifty years, and spends his time noticing beauty, practicing gratitude, and embracing patience.

Amy Lovell | Doctor of Humanities

Amy LovellA passionate service-driven leader who is committed to creating and supporting a trauma-responsive community, Ms. Amy Lovell co-founded two of southeastern Wisconsin’s preeminent organizations that address mental health and wellness.

Ms. Lovell co-founded REDgen (Resilience EDucation for a new generation), a nonprofit organization that works to bridge systems to promote resiliency in the lives of our youth and families. She currently serves on the organization’s board of directors.

REDgen is a peer-to-peer resiliency program that builds a foundation for all youth to move from surviving to thriving at school, home, and within their communities. There are approximately 30 REDgen chapters in participating middle and high schools in the greater Milwaukee area. The program has developed more than 400 student leaders and impacted more than 17,000 youth.

Ms. Lovell also co-founded Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM) with her husband, Marquette University President, Dr. Michael R. Lovell. SWIM is an organization that drives community-based collaboration to help prevent and respond to trauma and create a resilient Milwaukee. Through education, training, and wellness and resilience services, the organization equips community members with the tools they need to understand their own trauma, heal, and build resilience.

SWIM programs provide wellness and resilience services and teach SWIM’s workplace training program, which helps organizations build awareness of the role of trauma in the workplace and develop policies and procedures that respond to trauma.

In recognition of the Lovells’ tremendous leadership to address mental health at Marquette and across Milwaukee and the region, the third and fourth floors of the wellness tower within the Marquette University’s new Wellness + Helfaer Recreation facility will be named the Lovell Center for Student Well-Being. The Lovells were named the 2018 Community Leaders of the Year by BizTimes Milwaukee for their commitment to building a healthier, more productive Milwaukee.

In 2020, Ms. Lovell was honored by the Milwaukee Business Journal as a Woman of Influence.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a licensed pharmacist in New York, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania prior to moving to Milwaukee in 2008. She and Dr. Lovell are the parents of four adult children.

Michael Lovell | Doctor of Humanities

Michael LovellDr. Michael R. Lovell was named Marquette University’s 24th President in March 2014. Under his visionary leadership, Marquette focuses on innovation, entrepreneurship, and community renewal and development – all consistent with the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission. Marquette delivers students a transformative education and prepares them for fulfilling carers and purposeful lives, and to be men and women for others.

Working with business and community leaders in Marquette’s neighborhood, Dr. Lovell helped create the Near West Side Partners, a nonprofit focused on strengthening economic development, housing, neighborhood identity, and safety. He also played a key role in launching several other important initiatives in Milwaukee, including the Midwest Energy Research Consortium, The Commons, Scale-Up Milwaukee, The Water Council and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute.

Dr. Lovell and his wife, Amy, founded Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM), an organization that drives community-based collaboration to help prevent and respond to trauma and create a resilient Milwaukee. They were named the 2018 Community Leaders of the Year by BizTimes Milwaukee for their commitment to building a healthier, more productive Milwaukee.

Since being diagnosed with sarcoma in August 2021, Dr. Lovell has been very active in raising funds for cancer research and support programs. He presently serves as the Co-chair of the Wisconsin chapter of CEOs Against Cancer, a program of the American Cancer Society. The Lovells co-chaired the 2023 Stronger than Sarcoma Soiree for Research. Dr. Lovell was featured in the October 2023 Rare Storytellers program presented by Harmony 4 Hope in partnership with the Linda T. and John A. Mellowes Center for Genomic Sciences and Precision Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The fourth-longest serving president in Marquette’s 143-year history, Dr. Lovell serves on the boards of The Water Council; the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities; the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars. He is a member of the executive committees of the Higher Education Regional Alliance; the Greater Milwaukee Committee; and the Big East Conference; and co-chairs the Council on Competitiveness’s University Leadership Forum.

Prior to joining Marquette, Dr. Lovell served the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee as Chancellor and, earlier, Dean of its engineering college. He previously held academic and research leadership positions at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Lovell holds three mechanical engineering degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He has received awards from the National Science Foundation, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and numerous other organizations; is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and National Academy of Inventors; and holds U.S. and global patents.

The Lovells are the parents of four adult children.

Dr. Michael Lovell passed away on June 9, 2024, after a three-year battle with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He was 57.

Catherine R. Lucey, MD, MACP | Doctor of Medical Science

Catherine Lucey, MD, MACPCatherine R. Lucey, MD, MACP, leads the robust research enterprise and highly ranked academic programs at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), as Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. Dr. Lucey works in close collaboration with the Chancellor and the leadership team to develop and implement campus priorities and vision, maintain the University’s status as an international leader in health sciences education and research, and oversee external partnerships representing UCSF’s best interests across the University of California system, at the UC Office of the President, and beyond. Renowned for her leadership, Dr. Lucey was Vice Dean for Education and Executive Vice Dean for the School of Medicine, reporting to Dean Talmadge E. King, Jr. In these roles, she directed the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education programs of the School of Medicine and the Office of Medical Education.

A champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Lucey also was on the executive management team for the School of Medicine’s Differences Matters Initiative and oversaw other strategic projects across the campus.

Her national portfolio of work has included membership on the National Academy of Medicine, the Board of Directors of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American Board of Medical Specialties. Additionally, she served as Chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. In these roles, she has worked to influence the direction of academic medicine and the continuum of medical education in ways aligned with UCSF’s approach to education, culture, and community.

Dr. Lucey joined UCSF in 2011 from The Ohio State University, where she was Vice Dean for Education for the College of Medicine and Associate Vice President for Health Sciences Education for the Office of Health Sciences. She completed her residency in internal medicine at UCSF, including service as Chief Resident at the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco General Hospital (now named Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center).

Dr. Lucey earned her medical degree from Northwestern University School of Medicine.

Dr. William and Mrs. Sandra Schneider

Bill and Sandy SchneiderDr. William and Mrs. Sandra Schneider have been pillars of the Green Bay, Wisconsin, community for nearly 60 years. For over a decade, the Schneiders have been valuable friends of and partners with the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Their support and dedication to the school have been unwavering.

Dr. Schneider completed his undergraduate work at Marquette University and received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1960 from the Marquette University School of Medicine – MCW’s predecessor institution. Mrs. Schneider received her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Marquette University in 1959. The Schneiders were married on October 3, 1959, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and Mrs. Schneider interned at the Milwaukee County Hospital. Together, Bill and Sandy raised the couple’s six children.

Dr. Schneider interned at the United States Air Force Hospital Lackland in San Antonio, Texas, from 1960-1961 and the Brooks Air Force Base School of Aerospace Medicine in 1961. Dr. Schneider served as a flight surgeon with Strategic Air Command, Loring Air Force Base in Maine, from 1961-1963. The family then returned to Milwaukee, where Dr. Schneider completed an Orthopaedic Surgical Residency at Children’s Hospital, County Hospital, Woods Veterans’ Hospital, and Columbia Hospital from 1963-1967. In 1967, Dr. Schneider began a solo practice in orthopaedic surgery and founded the Orthopaedic Associates of Green Bay. He continued to practice orthopaedic surgery until 1995 at St. Vincent’s, St. Mary’s, and Bellin Hospitals. Dr. Schneider also founded and co-owner of Geneva Capital Management in Milwaukee from 1988 to 2011.

Dr. Schneider’s memberships in professional organizations have included the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Midwest Orthopaedic Surgical Society, Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Diseases; Milwaukee Orthopaedic Society; Wisconsin Orthopaedic Society; State of Wisconsin Medical Society; and Brown County Medical Society. He also served as Chief of Surgery at St. Mary’s and St. Vincent’s Hospitals and on the Regional Planning Board for Fairview Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Dr. Schneider’s service to MCW-Green Bay has included membership on the MCW Regional Campus Location Search Committee and the Regional Application Advisory Committee. He also taught physical examination classes to the MCW-Green Bay medical students in the early years of the campus.

The Schneiders have been involved in a multitude of community activities in Green Bay over the decades. A few examples of Dr. Schneider’s significant community service have included membership in the Bishop’s Crosier Society, Weidner Center, Botanical Garden, Abbot Pennings Foundation, St. Joseph Academy, Heritage Hill Foundation, Peninsula Art School, and Unity Hospice Community Development Board. He also has been a Walter Zeit Fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin since 2000.

Mrs. Schneider’s many community activities have included being a Brownie leader, Parent’s Club Officer at St. Francis Grade School, aide in the Library and Learning Center at Notre Dame Lower School, Docent and member at Neville Museum for Early Wisconsin History and Art; English as a Second Language Teacher for Vietnam Families sponsored by St. Francis Parish; and memberships on the Service League of Green Bay, St. Joseph’s Academy, Brown County Medical Auxiliary, Bishop’s Crosier Society, Weidner Center, Green Bay Botanical Garden, New Rose Society, Antiquarian Society, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Brown County Medical Society Alliance, and President’s Councils at Marquette University and St. Norbert College.

The Schneiders live in De Pere. In addition to their six children, they have 19 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

2023 Recipients

Alberta Darling | Doctor of Humanities

Alberta DarlingSenator Alberta Darling was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1990 and to the State Senate in 1992. A resident of River Hills, she represented Wisconsin’s 8th Senate District before retiring on December 1, 2022.

Senator Darling entered public service with a commitment to protecting, educating and improving the lives of children.

Milwaukee Magazine named Senator Darling one of the “Most Influential People” in Milwaukee, declaring her as “arguably the most powerful woman in state government.”

For more than a decade, Senator Darling served as the Co-chair of the State's Joint Committee on Finance. Her leadership helped turn the Wisconsin’s finances around from a multi-billion dollar deficit to a multi-million dollar surplus.

Senator Darling remains dedicated to creating an economic climate that retains and attracts high-quality job opportunities for Wisconsin workers and their families while remaining fair and responsible to taxpayers. She most recently chaired the Senate Education Committee, where she continued to be a leader in helping students succeed.

A former teacher, Senator Darling is a leader in education reform. She helped create the first school choice program and created a turnaround school model for failing Milwaukee schools – a program which will create a better learning environment and improve standards for children.

Senator Darling also was a leader in healthcare reform and public safety reform.

On a personal level, her husband, Dr. William Darling, passed away in the spring of 2015. She and Dr. Bill have two children, Liza and Will, and three grandchildren, Charlie, Andie and Liam.

Julie A. Freischlag, MD, FASC | Doctor of Medical Science

Julie FreischlagJulie A. Freischlag, MD, is the Chief Academic Officer and Executive Vice President of Advocate Health, Chief Executive Officer of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at Wake Forest University.

As Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Freischlag oversees research and discovery for the entire Advocate Health system, including all educational and research programs at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Atrium Health Cabarrus College of Health Sciences and Atrium Health Carolinas College of Health Sciences. As CEO of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Dr. Freischlag has the overall responsibility for the health system’s clinical, academic and innovation enterprises and its annual operating budget of more than $4 billion.

Dr. Freischlag served as the Dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine from 2018 until February 2023 and previously was Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis.

Dr. Freischlag has helped to drive change in academic medicine with a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion. For more than 15 years, she has led education and training programs at top medical schools in her role as Professor and Chair of Surgery and Vascular Surgery departments.

Dr. Freischlag also has more than 30 years of experience leading patient-care services as Chief of Surgery or Vascular Surgery at nationally ranked hospitals. She served as Professor, Chair of the Surgery Department and Surgeon-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

She led initiatives to expand research, add specialty clinical services, improve patient-centered care and patient safety, redesign the surgical training program and enhance academic career paths for faculty. Her national leadership includes serving as a former Governor and Secretary of the Board of Governors and a Regent and Past Chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons. Additionally, Dr. Freischlag is the immediate Past President for the American College of Surgeons, Past President of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Society for Vascular Surgery Foundation, and Past President of the Association of VA Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Chairs. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for American Medical Colleges and will become Chair-elect in November 2023.

Dr. Freischlag was the editor of JAMA Surgery for ten years and currently is a member of the JAMA Oversight Committee and the editorial boards of the Annals of Vascular Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, British Journal of Surgery and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Freischlag is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome, which can require a specialized surgical procedure. She continues to evaluate and treat thoracic outlet syndrome patients and evaluates their results in a registry. Dr. Freischlag has received numerous teaching and achievement awards, including an Achievement Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2015, and in October 2021, was inducted into the Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.

Dr. Freischlag mentors students, residents and young faculty, and is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from her expertise in vascular diseases, teamwork and patient safety, leadership and work-life balance, to women succeeding in health professions.

Dr. Freischlag has dedicated her career to serving as a role model for her students, a respected colleague across health professions, a strong community leader and a national voice for improving health and healthcare.

Brian & Sandy Gumness

Brian GumnessFor the past 25 years, Brian and Sandy Gumness have led the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation in its mission to provide opportunities for growth for the people of North Central Wisconsin.

As longtime members of the Marathon County area, the Greenheck’s had a strong desire to give back to the community. Established in 1998, the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation was a means in which Sandy’s parents could show their appreciation for the people who supported Greenheck Fan Corporation since 1947.

Sandy Gumness proudly took on the role of Foundation Manager until 2007, when Esther’s health began to fail. With the desire to spend time with her mom, she passed the role on to her husband Brian.

Sandy GumnessThrough both of their tenures at the helm of the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, they, along with the Board of Trustees have funded Arts, Education, Health, Economic and Social Development knowing that all of these areas help to make a well-rounded community.

Grants awarded to the Performing Arts Foundation, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and the Center for Visual Arts have enhanced the rich cultural experiences for not only residents of Marathon County, but for those who visit as well.

The Foundation’s funding history with The Medical College of Wisconsin, UWSP-Wausau & North Central Technical College have added significantly to the diverse educational opportunities in our area.

The Aspirus Anya Marie Jackson NICU, named for Brian and Sandy’s beautiful granddaughter, helped meet the need for specialized care for critically ill newborns. Construction of a Therapeutic Pool at North Central Health Care has directly benefited over 5000 area residents in their path to recovery. JoJo’s Jungle has become a destination for families in need of an all-inclusive, safe place for children to enjoy.

Organizations like The Women’s Community, Boys and Girls Club & The Neighbor’s Place have been serving people in need for many decades. The B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation proudly supports these nonprofits in the work they do.

The Foundation also supports The Wausau Curling Club and Monk Botanical Gardens. These are two of the area’s premier destinations that draw thousands to our community every year.

In their philanthropic work, Brian and Sandy have both sat on various boards and committees in the community such as the Center for the Visual Arts, Arts/Block design committee, UWMC Foundation and the Community Arts Grant distribution committee.

Most recently, Brian was instrumental in making Community Partners Campus a reality, providing a hub for the vulnerable members of our community. Community Partners Campus provides food, medical care, shelter, housing assistance and more with seven non-profits under one roof.

Brian and Sandy enjoy spending time with their children and seven grandchildren, as well as their beloved Golden Retrievers. While they enjoy traveling, Wausau is where their heart is.

Jason Hansen, MS, JD | Doctor of Humane Letters

Jason Hansen, MS, JDJason Hansen, MS, JD, serves as the Director of State Affairs for the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). In this role, Jason serves as ASA’s principal state advocacy staffer. His department provides strategic guidance, message development, and research assistance to component societies for their state legislative and regulatory initiatives.

Jason’s experience in government and related legal affairs spans nearly twenty-five years. During that time, Jason has worked with such organizations as the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the New York City Department of Health, and the American Pharmacists Association.

Jason graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s and master’s in Political Science and earned his juris doctor from DePaul University College of Law.

Geneva Johnson | Doctor of Humanities

Geneva JohnsonGeneva Johnson is a volunteer, philanthropist and former Trustee of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital and the Froedtert Hospital Foundation, and former Co-chair of the MCW Cancer Center Advisory Board.

Ms. Johnson also is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Service America, Inc. and Families International, Inc., and served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Long-Range Planning and Public Policy at the United Way of America and as Executive Director of the Women's Leadership Institute at Mount Mary College.

Ms. Johnson began her career in the human services field as Program Director at the Houston (Texas) YMCA and was a psychiatric social worker at the State Hospital in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. She held supervisory positions with the Children’s Aid Society of Berks County (Pa.) and the Children’s Services of Berks County, and then became Assistant Executive Director of the United Way of Berks County – the first in a series of local and national positions in the United Way organization.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Albright College (Reading, Pa.) a Master’s degree in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Certificate in Executive Management from the Harvard Business School. Ms. Johnson also received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Albright College and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Alvernia College (Reading, PA).

Ms. Johnson was elected a Fellow in the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Science and Letters and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She has received numerous recognitions and awards and has served on many local, regional and national boards including the Wisconsin Energy Board; Wisconsin Electric and Power; Vitas Healthcare; US Bank; PAVE; Greater Milwaukee Foundation; Drucker Foundation; and Volunteers of America. In 1985, Savvy magazine named her one of the top 12 nonprofit executive women in America, and in 1990, Business Week magazine named Ms. Johnson as one of the top five best managers in the United States in the social services field.

Ms. Johnson has served as a consultant to the Council of Jewish Federations; YMCA; United Auto Workers of America; National Fellows Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; National Urban League; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; and NAACP. She served as the keynote speaker, along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on Ethics in Higher Education at the Stollenach University in Capetown, South Africa; and as a keynote speaker in Seoul, South Korea, for the establishment of the Peter Drucker Society of Asia.

Recent recognition for Ms. Johnson’s broad body of work has included the Medical College of Wisconsin’s President’s Diversity and Inclusion Award; the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s President’s Leadership in Philanthropy Award; and a Woman of Influence Award from the Milwaukee Business Journal.

David J. Lubar | Doctor of Humanities

David LubarDavid Lubar, MBA, joined Lubar & Co. in 1983 and currently serves as President and CEO. Lubar & Co. is a family office for the Lubar family and a private investment firm that invests in middle market operating companies with a focus on building private businesses over the long term.

Prior to joining Lubar & Co., Mr. Lubar was with Wells Fargo Bank (formerly known as Norwest Bank N.A.) in Minneapolis, Minnesota for five years, serving in the Commercial Banking Department.

Mr. Lubar is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Board of Directors of Ixonia Bank, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Baird Funds and many private companies.

Additionally, he is a former director of BMO Financial Corp. and the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Mr. Lubar is, or has served on, the Boards of several not-for-profit organizations, including Froedtert Health System (Past Chair); Greater Milwaukee Committee (Past Chair); Greater Milwaukee Foundation (Past Vice-Chair); Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce; Milwaukee Jewish Federation (Past Chair); United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County (Past Chair); University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Business Advisory Council (current Chair); University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Foundation; and others.

Mr. Lubar received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine) and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.

He and his wife, Madeleine, reside in Milwaukee.

Therese Pandl, RN, MN, MBA

Therese PandlTherese Pandl, RN, MN, MBA, is a healthcare executive with more than 35 years of progressive leadership in large, complex healthcare systems. She began her career as a Burn Intensive Care nurse at St. Mary’s Milwaukee Burn Unit, became a critical care clinical nurse specialist and served in multiple leadership roles as vice president, chief operating officer and CEO. Ms. Pandl served in Washington State and Wisconsin and earned Master’s degrees from both the University of Washington (Seattle) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ms. Pandl has been successful building integrated systems of care, advancing physician alignment and improving clinical delivery systems, as well as developing successful risk-based payment models. She has led strategic growth initiatives including multiple physician integration initiatives, alignment of independent hospitals, development of a provider-sponsored health plan and growth in service lines. Operationally, Ms. Pandl drove a division structure to improve quality, reduce redundancies and improve costs across the care continuum.

She is recognized for developing teams that produce significant results while maintaining effective board, physician and staff relationships. Ms. Pandl is passionate about coaching to enhance leadership capacity while driving improvements in safety, quality and affordability.

Ms. Pandl is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and has served on governing councils for the American Hospital Association and as Board Chair for the Wisconsin Hospital Association, receiving its Distinguished Leadership Award in 2019. She also was recognized by the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce with its Athena Award and by the Greater Milwaukee Business Journal as a Woman of Influence. Additionally, Ms. Pandl has served on numerous boards during her career, including Nicolet National Bank, Prevea Health and the MCW-Green Bay Community Advisory Board.

Now retired from full-time work, Ms. Pandl continues to enjoy executive coaching for C-suite leaders, traveling with her husband Jimmy and spending time with her growing grandchildren!

Randle Pollard, MD | Doctor of Medical Science

Randle PollardRandle E. Pollard, MD, was the first Black resident at the Marquette University School of Medicine – the Medical College of Wisconsin’s predecessor institution – from which he received his graduate medical degree in 1958.

Dr. Pollard was a pioneering Black urologist who, as a physician, entrepreneur and philanthropist, was dedicated to the betterment of his community. Dr. Pollard died peacefully in Milwaukee on October 13, 2022, at the age of 96.

Dr. Pollard was born in Evanston, Illinois, on March 28, 1925. As a young student, he showed an early interest in science and math. His college career at Prairie View A&M University (a public historically Black land-grant university in Prairie View, Texas) was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army during World War II, during which he served as a combat medic in Italy and was awarded two Bronze Stars and three Battle Stars. Dr. Pollard earned his MD degree from Meharry Medical College in 1951 and moved to Milwaukee in 1954 to begin his graduate medical training.

Dr. Pollard went into private practice in Milwaukee in 1958, becoming the first Black urologist in Wisconsin. The medical establishment that he encountered was a far different one for Black doctors than the one he left behind when he retired 38 years later – a credit to the efforts of Dr. Pollard and others like him.

Dr. Pollard opened an office in an area where most of his patients were Black men, many of whom likely had never seen a urologist before. Dr. Pollard recognized a need that he could fulfill – that Black men historically had the highest incidence of prostate cancer of any group in the country and therefore would most benefit from his services.

Early on, he understood the importance of taking on leadership roles in medical organizations in bringing about change. He was twice elected President of the medical staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center and served as President of the Milwaukee Urological Society, Cream City Medical Society and Wisconsin Urological Society. Dr. Pollard also was a founder of what became the R. Frank Jones Urological Society of the National Medical Association.

Teaching also afforded Dr. Pollard the opportunity to “give forward” to future generations. Among his many notable academic posts were Chief of Urology at Deaconess Hospital and Clinical Professor of Urology at MCW for 30 years.

Dr. Pollard’s accomplishments extended far beyond medicine. He invested in many Black-owned businesses, including a pharmacy and a nursing home. He co-founded the North Milwaukee State Bank – the city’s first full-service, minority-owned bank. His philanthropic interests ranged from the Milwaukee Urban League and NAACP to board membership of the Bradley Center and Second Harvest.

In 2002, Dr. Pollard established the Randle E. Pollard, MD, FACS, GME ’58 Endowed Urological Prize at MCW, which is awarded annually to a fourth-year medical student who displays an interest and aptitude in urology.

Dr. Pollard’s contributions to the profession and to his patients, especially his work to raise awareness about urologic diseases among Black men, cannot be underestimated.

Julia A. Uihlein, MA | Doctor of Humane Letters

Julia UihleinJulia A. Uihlein – known to all as “Julie” – is a retired Assistant Adjunct Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities and Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she earned her Master of Arts degree in Bioethics in 1999.

Ms. Uihlein served on the MCW Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2013 and received the title of “Trustee “Emerita” in recognition of her contributions. She also served as Associate Director of MCW’s Medical Humanities Program and on the Boards of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (now Children’s Wisconsin); the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin; and University School of Wisconsin. Ms. Uihlein was instrumental in bringing AmeriCorps’ City Year to Milwaukee and served as Chair of City Year Milwaukee.

Ms. Uihlein currently serves as Life Trustee of Northwestern University (her alma mater) and is a member of the Northwestern Medicine Committee.

Ms. Uihlein's areas of expertise has included ethical issues in pediatrics; medical education in pediatric ethics; narrative ethics; pain and palliation in pediatrics; and medical humanities. Her passion for medicine was a driving force behind the creation of MCW’s Master’s program in Bioethics. The Julia A. Uihlein Library Collection in bioethics and medical humanities is comparable in size to Georgetown University’s.

She and her husband, David, ran a charitable foundation for many years which is no longer operating. In 2020, Ms. Uihlein established an endowed deanship for the MCW School of Medicine, which is held by Dr. Joseph E. Kerschner, who also serves as MCW’s Executive Vice President and Provost.

Among her favorite quotes (by Abraham Verghese and others) is “And after all, what is medicine but life?”

Past Recipients


Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, FAMIA, FASA, FCPP
Doctor of Medical Science

Clare Helminiak, MD, MPH
Doctor of Medical Science

Katherine M. Hudson
Doctor of Humanities

Edward J. Lennon, MD, GME ’58 (Deceased)
Doctor of Medical Science

Susan Lubar
Doctor of Humanities

George MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh, FASHP, FNAP
Doctor of Medical Science

Bettie Sue Masters, PhD
Doctor of Science

Anthony S. McHenry
Doctor of Humanities

Ashok Rai, MD
Doctor of Medical Science

David J. Skorton, MD
Doctor of Medical Science

Jean C. Tehan
Doctor of Humanities


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

Eve M. Hall, PhD
Doctor of Humanities

Matthew F. Heywood
Doctor of Medical Science

George P. Hinton
Doctor of Humanities

Richard N. Katschke
Doctor of Humane Letters

Roger L. Duncan, III, MD, FASA
Doctor of Medical Science

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

Lilly Marks
Doctor of Medical Science

Cory L. Nettles
Doctor of Humanities

Tim Sheehy
Doctor of Humanities

Larry Weyers
Doctor of Humanities


Victor & Dawn Barnett
Doctor of Humanities

Renee Chapman Navarro, PharmD, MD
Doctor of Medical Science

James C. Rahn
Doctor of Humanities

Solomon H. Snyder, MD
Doctor of Medical Science

Tracey Sparrow, EdD
Doctor of Humanities


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 (Deceased)
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