Robert E. Larsen (J.D. ’73)
School of Law
From working as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office to serving on the federal magistrate bench to teaching at his alma mater, Judge Robert Larsen has dedicated his career to public service. Before being appointed to the bench, Larsen helped prosecute the case of the 1988 deaths of six Kansas City firefighters and the case of the pharmacist who was charged with selling diluted cancer treatment drugs. Larsen also successfully prosecuted for mail fraud and tax fraud, James Lewis, the man suspected of lacing Tylenol capsules with poison.
In addition to many legal and general publications, Larsen is also the author of Navigating the Federal Trial. Among his many contributions to the community, Larsen served as commissioner and chairman of the Missouri Mental Health Commission, as chairman of the Metropolitan Kansas City Task Force on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, as a regent for Rockhurst College, a board member for YouthNet, the Good Samaritan Project, Kansas City Consensus, Della Lamb Community Services, and was board co-chairman of Harmony in a World of Difference’s Law & Justice Committee.
Marianna Martin Sockrider (M.D. ’83)
School of Medicine
For Marianna Martin Sockrider, a childhood dream of becoming a teacher came true when she became an M.D. “I realized that doctors are teachers in many ways, too,” she says. “Working with chronic disease and helping families learn to control it became a passion for me.” Now an associate professor of pediatrics in the Baylor College of Medicine, Sockrider has received both a Fulbright and a Jaworski Excellence in Teaching Award. She’s also chief of pulmonary medicine clinics for the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and has served on the National Asthma Educator Certification Board. She also serves as chair of the American Lung Association’s Children’s Lung Health Committee in the San Jacinto Region.
Sockrider was honored with The Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson Jr. Presidential Award for Excellence in Education, and she was named to Inside Houston Magazine’s Best Women Doctors list. She even helped create an interactive multimedia self-management game for children with asthma.
Lois Hopson (B.A. ’74, B.S.N. ’83, M.S.N. ’98)
School of Nursing
Upon graduating from the General Hospital School of Nursing in 1969, Lois Hopson knew her ability to help patients deal with social concerns would hinge on integrating her nursing background with psychology and sociology. She went on to earn psychology, sociology and nursing degrees, and integrated that knowledge into her career as a nurse practitioner and educator.
“I love teaching, formally or informally,” she says. “My favorite part is after the class has ended and the students can look back and see the rationale behind the objectives, and how much more comfortable they are for having taken the class. And they’ve figured out that you can’t fake knowledge.” Hopson has served as a board member of the UMKC Nursing Alumni Association and on the advisory board of the Penn Valley College Nursing department, and she has given back to the community by volunteering for the Black Health Care Association, the Samuel Rogers Health Center and the American Heart Association.
Benjamin Bluml (B.S.P. ’84)
School of Pharmacy
A career path that started with a ham radio in junior high, continued through a high school job at a local pharmacy and to the UMKC School of Pharmacy, has culminated in Benjamin Bluml’s present position as vice president for research of the American Pharmacists Association Foundation. A pioneer in pharmaceutical software, Bluml has developed groundbreaking software applications for surgical operations, diabetic self-management and the first national health outcomes tracking database. Bluml serves UMKC as an adjunct clinical faculty member and as a member of the School of Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Council.
Bluml was a founding participant in the development of the Pharmacy Practice Activity Classification, and he served on the White House Roundtable on the National Pharmaceutical Supply Chain. Bluml has authored more than a dozen journal publications and has received numerous honors, including American Druggist 50 Most Influential Pharmacists and the DuPont/Merck Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award from the Missouri Pharmacy Association.