Sorrell receives development service award, Whitted volunteer award from foundation

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Sorrell receives development service award, Whitted volunteer award from foundation

Physicians Michael Sorrell and Peter Whitted are the 2017 recipients of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s two highest awards for service and dedication.

PHOTO: From left, Dr. Peter Whitted Dr. Michael Sorrell received the 2017 University of Nebraska Foundation’s highest awards for their dedication and service to the university. Mark Chronister, immediate past chair of the foundation’s board of directors, and Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the foundation, presented the awards Oct. 13.

The University of Nebraska Foundation has announced the 2017 recipients of its highest awards: the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service and the Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service. The recipients were recognized at the foundation’s annual meeting of trustees on Oct. 13, 2017.

Michael Sorrell receives Harlan J. Noddle Award

Michael Sorrell, M.D., a University of Nebraska Medical Center physician who’s world-renowned for liver disease, liver transplantation and gastrointestinal disorders, is this year’s recipient of the Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service.

The Noddle Award honors longtime University of Nebraska advocate Harlan Noddle of Omaha, who served as chair of the NU Foundation board of directors, among many other volunteer roles. Noddle died in 2005, and the award was created in his memory by his family and the university to recognize university employees who assist with fundraising efforts on behalf of the university and who exemplify Noddle’s initiative, honesty, integrity, compassion, commitment, foresight, tolerance and diligence.

VIDEO: See video honoring Dr. Michael Sorrell

Dr. Sorrell was selected for the award for his role over the years in securing private gifts to advance the mission of UNMC, which is mostly credited to his relationships with others, outstanding commitment to patient care and betterment of the community.

In helping to announce the award, UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said, “I would say the rate of change, the degree of excellence that has been fostered over the decades of his leadership has been truly remarkable.”

Dr. Sorrell has contributed in helping UNMC become home to one of the world’s leading liver transplant programs and is responsible for recruiting some of UNMC’s top physicians and researchers. His work has been funded the past 30 years by NIH and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“While at UNMC he has recruited for the programs that have really been instrumental in helping it to stand apart in cancer and transplantation,” said Amy Volk, senior vice president for UNMC development at the NU Foundation. “He played a key role in bringing community leaders to campus to help them see what could be — to capture their imagination.”

UNMC benefactor Ruth Scott said Sorrell has such a passion to help UNMC become even better.

“East of 42nd Street [in Omaha] would look a lot different if it wasn’t for Mike Sorrell being our doctor, because he really instilled in us a belief that we all needed to work together to make it an absolute first-class medical center,” she said.

Dr. Sorrell is a 1957 graduate of UNL and a 1959 graduate of the UNMC College of Medicine. He served as a general practitioner before pursuing additional training and joining UNMC’s faculty in 1971. He was named the chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine and later stepped down to become medical director of the liver transplant program and chief of gastroenterology and hepatology.

Peter Whitted recipient of Perry W. Branch Award

Peter Whitted, M.D., J.D., a three-time graduate of the University of Nebraska – receiving an undergraduate, law degree and medical degree there – is this year’s recipient of the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service.

The award is named for Perry W. Branch, the first employee of the NU Foundation, and serves to commemorate the importance of volunteers to the organization. The foundation was founded in 1936 during the Great Depression and was an all-volunteer organization for the first several years of its operation.

VIDEO: See video honoring Dr. Peter Whitted

Dr. Whitted, a physician-partner with Midwest Eye Care, P.C., in Omaha, has been a volunteer trustee of the foundation for 17 years and was elected to the foundation’s board of directors in 2005. He served as chair of the board from 2011 to 2013 and has also chaired nearly every board committee.

“Even though Pete’s term as chair of the NU Foundation board of directors ended four years ago, I sit down with him today and he’ll still ask questions about donors or share ideas about other prospective donors and people who we can be building relationships with,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the NU Foundation.

While serving on the NU Foundation’s board, the foundation and university launched and completed the successful Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities.

Pete Whitted is a special kind of volunteer leader, said J.B. Milliken, president emeritus of the University of Nebraska.

“I don’t think I’ve worked with anyone else who has approached the task with more integrity and selflessness and resolve,” Milliken said. “Pete has an enormous level of respect and affection for the university and the foundation, and it was evident in everything he did.”

In addition to his volunteer service to the university, Dr. Whitted has enjoyed providing philanthropic support of the university. He has made significant contributions to the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, the Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation and other areas of UNL and UNMC.

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