On June 29, Robert L. Vogelzang, MD, was invested as the Albert Nemcek Professor of Interventional Radiology Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In the formal ceremony, held at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, Dr. Vogelzang was joined by fellow honoree Albert A. Nemcek Jr., MD, for whom the professorship was named, as well as several generous philanthropists who made the creation of this endowed position possible, including alumnus Lee F. Rogers, '59 MD, professor emeritus of Radiology and chair of the department from 1974 to 1995.
"Not only do endowments like the Nemcek Professorship offer great stability and flexibility for the recipient, they also provide confidence for the future," said Eric J. Russell, MD, the Drs. Frederick John Bradd and William Kennedy Professor and chair of the Department of Radiology, who served as the evening's emcee.
"These perpetual funds help us as a department and as an institution to more effectively reach our goals of excellence in research, education, and clinical care for our patients," said Dr. Russell.
The initiative to name and endow the Nemcek Professorship was started by the Department of Radiology and was largely funded by colleagues as well as the many trainees and fellows who were mentored by Dr. Nemcek over the years. Dr. Rogers, who shaped and led the department for 20 years from 1975 until 1995, was a chief contributor to this fund. Major donors also included the C. R. Bard Foundation, Merit Medical Systems, Inc., and B. Braun Medical, Inc.
"Thanks to each of you for taking care of the department that I started all those years ago," said Dr. Rogers. "You have made it even better than it was."
Two Distinguished Honorees
The Nemcek Professorship was named after Dr. Nemcek and in honor of his many accomplishments in interventional radiology. "In Al Nemcek, we see a rare kindness that you don’t always come across in medicine," said Howard B. Chrisman, MD, MBA, professor of Radiology and Surgery and president of Northwestern Medical Group, who spoke as the official extoller of Dr. Vogelzang.
Dr. Nemcek came to Northwestern in 1987 as a fellow in interventional radiology, and has served in the Department of Radiology for over 25 years, with a secondary appointment in Organ Transplantation in the Department of Surgery.
Dr. Vogelzang completed both his residency training and fellowship at Northwestern. His career, research, and academic interests have paralleled and mirrored the dramatic evolution of interventional radiology, a field he terms "the most elegantly simple method in the history of medicine." He has been prominent as a national leader in interventional radiology, is a past president of the Society of Interventional Radiology, and has had the privilege of training more than 160 interventional radiology fellows, including Drs. Nemcek, Chrisman, and many others who went on to become leaders in this field.
"Bob Vogelzang is one of the great interventional radiologists of his generation," said Dr. Chrisman. "He is truly singular—a great leader, who believes in advancing the careers of others. Bob, I am proud to call you teacher, mentor, and, most importantly, friend."
"I am proudly and completely a product of Northwestern," continued Dr. Vogelzang. "It has been a wonderful place for me to grow, all while the institution itself continues to grow."
Dr. Vogelzang thanked all those who made the “milestone” Nemcek Professorship possible, including Dr. Rogers. He closed by quoting Dr. Rogers: "'To our patients, some of whom may have suffered that we might learn.' They entrust us with their most valuable possession: their lives and health. It is their care that drives us all and, hopefully, it is their well-being that will benefit from our efforts to advance the science of medicine."