Three to Enter Natural Science Hall of Fame at Southwestern

Three Southwestern College graduates will be inducted into the Southwestern College Natural Science Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m., in Deets Library on the campus of Southwestern College.  

The new members are Hal Tretbar, Tucson, Ariz; Mark Turrentine, Indianapolis, Ind.; and Belinda Vail, Prairie Village. The plaques will be on display prior to the 5:30 p.m. dinner in the Deets Library.  The induction ceremony will begin at the conclusion of the meal, at approximately 6:15 p.m.  

The hall of fame honors Southwestern College alumni who have made significant contributions to the natural science world.

“The 2014 Natural Science Hall of Fame honorees are impressive in their accomplishments, and continue the long-standing high level of achievement that has been evidenced in past inductees.  We are proud to recognize these outstanding individuals and their work,” says Susan Lowe, director of alumni programs at Southwestern.  

Inductees include:
•    Hal Tretbar ’52 grew up in a family of doctors. His father, brother, uncle, and two cousins were doctors. Tretbar graduated from the University of Kansas Medical School in 1956. He practiced at the Tucson (Ariz.) Clinic from 1965 until his retirement in 1998. Board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology, he co-founded a Section of Rheumatology at the University of Arizona Medical School, was an arthritis consultant for four hospitals, and started an arthritis clinic at the Veterans Administration Hospital where he was a weekly consultant for 25 years. In addition to being hospital chief of staff, he was board chair for 10 years, taking an HMO from concept to function.  He has combined his career in medicine with varied interests that include travel and photography, and he climbed Mr. Kilimanjaro on his 65th birthday.

•    Mark Turrentine ’79 is chief of the Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at IU Health, director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency Program at Indiana University School of Medicine, and surgical co-director of the IU Health Heart Transplant Program. He specializes in heart surgeries, mechanical heart support, heart and lung transplantation, and limited access surgical approaches. Since 1998, Turrentine has been involved with mission work through the Palestinian Children’s Relief Organization, Gift of Life International, and Rotary International. These groups brought children with congenital heart defects to the United States for surgeries they could not have at home. After several years of being limited to the number of children that could be sponsored, Turrentine organized and led the first Riley Heart Mission team to Amman, Jordan. The team has since participated in 18 trips to Jordan, Uganda, and China, performing over 100 life-sustaining heart surgeries. 

•    Belinda Vail ’76 is David M. Hueben Endowed Professor and vice chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Her clinical practice includes women’s health, procedures, maternity, and inpatient care. She teaches students in all four years of medical school, nurse practitioner students, and family medicine residents and has received numerous teaching awards. She served as residency director for the department for 11 years. She has been instrumental in helping the KU chapter of Women in Medicine and Science become a national model for women’s organizations at medical colleges. She has presented over 250 national and international lectures on topics including women’s health and contraception, pediatric diseases, immunizations, skin diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Vail also is medical director for Community Living Opportunities, a residential facility for developmentally disabled adults.  

Richard Cowlishaw, interim chair, division of natural sciences and mathematics and professor of biology at Southwestern, will serve as the master of ceremonies.  Prior to the hall of fame inductions, there will be introductions of the Mastin Scholars, internship participants, and the Tri-Beta officers.

For more information about the Natural Science Hall of Fame, contact Susan Lowe, director of alumni programs at Southwestern College, at (620) 229-6334.


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