Buena Vista University

Alumni Awards 2013

Sep. 30, 2013

The Buena Vista University National Alumni Association honored four individuals over Homecoming weekend for their service to the university and to society.

Those honored were:

Dr. Cary Murphy, Class of 1994, of Des Moines, the recipient of the 2013 Keith Briscoe Award. The award is named in honor of BVU’s 16th president, who led the campus from 1974 to 1995 and recognizes recent graduates for their past student achievements and present career success.

Dr. Murphy graduated from Buena Vista University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. After graduation, he attended the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine where he received the Teaching Resident of the Year and the House Officer Research Award.

Presently, Dr. Murphy is a Neonatologist for Pediatrix Medical Group at Des Moines’ Mercy Medical Center where he serves as Medical Director of the Variety Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Mercy Hospital’s Director of the Neonatal Transport Service. Dr. Murphy is one of the top neonatologists in the Midwest.

Keith Kerkhoff, Class of 1977, of Manning, the 2013 John Fisher Award winner. Established in 1970 and named in honor of the University’s 14th president, the John Fisher Award recognizes a BVU graduate who possesses a consistent and persevering dedication to the qualities for which the University stands.

As a defensive tackle on the BV football squad, the Beavers were conference champions, made the conference playoffs and won the 1975 Boot Hill Bowl in Dodge City, KS. After his football career, Kerkhoff returned to his family farming operation. In 1980 he joined his father and uncle in their auctioneering and real estate business. He was inducted into the BV Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987.

Kerkhoff joined another investor to resurrect the Templeton Rye brand and has turned the once legendary bootleg beverage into a legendary success story. Templeton Rye consistently sells out in all markets and has become a phenomenon in the spirits industry.

Mary (Dixon) Jensen, Class of 1968, of Franktown Colo., the recipient of the 2013 Henry Olson Alumni Award. This award is the highest honor presented by the BVU Alumni Association. The award is named in honor of the University’s 13th president and recognizes former students who have made significant contributions to society and/or the University, and for their exceptional effort, dedication and self-sacrifice in service to others.

Jensen earned a bachelor’s degree in art education and started her career in Sioux City. She taught elementary, junior high and high school art classes and developed a system to aid teachers in applying art concepts while teaching more technical subjects.

In 1981 Jensen relocated to Colorado with her husband, Erik, where they enjoy equestrian sports with their family on their farm. In 1998 she partnered with her daughter, Kristina, and opened the home furnishing store and design studio, Ampersand. As a Junior League member, she was instrumental in the founding, development and initial leadership of the Historical Society of Douglas County, Colorado.

Dr. Rick Wilkerson of Spencer is the recipient of the 2013 Wendell Halverson Outstanding Friend Award. The award is named in honor of BVU’s 15th president and recognizes individuals who, although not alumni of the University, have demonstrated a commitment to Buena Vista University and its students.

Dr. Wilkerson is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with a specialized certification in orthopedic sports medicine. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines and Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver, Colo. In 1989, Dr. Wilkerson joined Dr. Bill Follows to form Northwest Iowa Bone, Joint and Sports Surgeons PC, which has since grown to include eight surgeons. He sees patients in Spencer, Storm Lake and Primghar.

Since 1989, Dr. Wilkerson has volunteered as the team physician for Buena Vista University.  During this time he has also been a team physician for USA Wrestling and a volunteer physician for the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has worked with Health Volunteers Overseas in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, and Uganda, and with his wife Barbara, founded a charitable foundation, “Love Takes Root”,  where they are completing their first-ever project in Haiti.

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