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Five alumni to be honored for outstanding achievements

Five University of Minnesota Medical School alumni will be honored for their work in the service of the medical profession at a banquet on Friday, October 28, at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center.


The lifetime achievement Harold S. Diehl Award is granted to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the University of Minnesota Medical School, the University as a whole, and the community. It was established in honor of the Medical School’s fifth dean, Harold Sheely Diehl, M.D.

John H. Kersey, M.D. As founding director of what is now known as the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Kersey has not only proven himself as a compassionate doctor and researcher but also as a skillful listener who excels at bringing people together to work toward a common goal. The forward-thinking Kersey, a 1964 Medical School alumnus, also led the team that performed the world’s first successful bone marrow transplant for treating lymphoma. Since he stepped down as Masonic Cancer Center director in 2007, he has returned to the lab to pursue his lifelong research into the causes of and cures for acute leukemia and lymphoma.

Mark E. Nesbit Jr., M.D. Described by his peers as an astute clinician, researcher, teacher, and advocate, Nesbit is a pioneer in the treatment of acute leukemia. His work has set the standard of care for children who have leukemia — one that has been used as a model for treating other pediatric and adult cancers as well. Nesbit, who completed his residency and fellowship training at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s, also served as the first board chair of Children’s Cancer Research Fund, a nonprofit organization that has invested nearly $60 million in pediatric cancer research at the University.


The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes University of Minnesota Medical School alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their communities — at the local, regional, or national level — through medical practice, teaching, research, or other humanitarian activities.

Donald R. Schimnoski, M.D. A 1946 Medical School graduate, Schimnoski has tirelessly and compassionately served the Three Rivers, Mich., community as a family practitioner since 1957. The 90-year-old Schimnoski, known by many as “Dr. Don,” still sees patients at his office, the hospital, and even at their homes, and he has no intention of retiring. A great listener, superb diagnostician, and enthusiastic supporter, Schimnoski continues to act as a mentor to new health professionals and encourages all people to pursue their dreams.

Paul A. Severson, M.D. Severson’s career can be characterized as one of service — to his alma mater, to his local community, and to the people of Haiti. A 1978 graduate of the Medical School, Severson is president of Project Haiti, Inc., a charitable nonprofit organization he founded in 1992 that provides humanitarian relief to the impoverished people of rural Haiti. He codirects the Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, Minn., and also directs a surgical fellowship. He makes time to teach at the Medical School’s Duluth campus, where he started his medical education, and is a clinical instructor for the school’s Rural Physician Associate Program.


Additionally, for the second time, the Minnesota Medical Foundation will present its Alumni Philanthropy and Service Award to an alumnus who has made significant contributions to medicine and to the Medical School through philanthropy.

Martin A. Segal, M.D. A member of the Medical School Class of 1944, Segal has been a loyal benefactor of the University since 1979. He has supported medical students through the creation of the Martin A. Segal Family Scholarship, and he helped to establish the Minnesota Psychiatric Society’s Gloria Segal Award in Psychiatry in recognition of his late wife’s significant contributions to the care of the mentally ill. Dr. Segal, who retired in 1992, spent the last 36 years of his career as a pathologist at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn. He also has committed to establish the Gloria Segal Chair in Psychiatry.

For a complete list of past award winners, visit

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