Fraternal Order of Eagles Investiture Ceremony

“It’s a funny feeling to have an endowed chair named after you when you are still alive.” E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, most-recent director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) was present for the investiture of Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, as the the E. Dale Abel Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Chair. Rahmouni, professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, is current co-director of the FOEDRC and one of three diabetes researchers to be recognized with endowed chairs in an investiture event recently on the Carver College of Medicine campus. The other two endowed chairs–the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Chair and the Verna Funke Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Chair–were conferred on Sue Bodine, PhD, and Ayotunde Dokun, MD, PhD, FACE, respectively.

In addition to Abel, now-chair of the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and executive medical director of the UCLA Health System’s Department of Medicine, University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement Lynette Marshall, and other notable guests, including leaders within the Fraternal Order of Eagles organization, were in attendance. Colleagues, friends, and family of the honorees filled the seats of Prem Sahai Auditorium.

Wilson and Marshall each addressed the audience noting the importance of the work that the FOE have enabled with their remarkable initial donation of $25 million to launch the FOEDRC nearly ten years ago. Carver College of Medicine Executive Dean Pat Winokur, MD, drove the point home by distinguishing between the kind of research that typical federal grants fuel and the kind of research that endowments can produce. Grants like those funded by the National Institutes of Health are time-limited, narrowly focused, Winokur said, and by necessity build on incremental gains. Whereas the kinds of endowments that these three new chairs represent can allow a researcher to take risks, to stretch farther, and to ultimately make larger breakthroughs.

Bodine, Dokun, and Rahmouni were each introduced by those who know them well and have worked alongside them long enough to develop an understanding of their strengths and how their work is changing the way we understand, diagnosis, and treat diabetes. Pre-recorded messages came from Andrew Norris, MD, PhD, professor of Pediatrics and co-interim director of the FOEDRC, and from Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, professor in Cardiovascular Medicine and interim chair and DEO of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Each of the honorees were also given a chance to speak, offering their gratitude to the FOE for this specific honor and to mentors that have made significant impacts on their careers and development over the years. After the presentation of the three medals, Wilson presented a fourth medallion to Brian Rogers, Grand Worthy President of the FOE, in recognition of his leadership and the organization’s nationwide generosity toward diabetes research.

Following the formal ceremonial investiture, guests were invited to the fourth floor of the Pappajohn Biodiscovery Building for a reception just outside the labs where so much of this work takes place.


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