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OU Alumni News & Milestones

If you have news, an award or honor, life event or obituary to share, please email Bill Moakley, Director of Alumni Communications,

OU College of Medicine Graduate Named to ACOG Post

courtney bowline

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced the election of Thomas Gellhaus, MD (’83), of Iowa City, IA as President Elect.

Dr. Gellhaus is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. He graduated from Yankton High School in Yankton, South Dakota, received his bachelor of arts in Chemistry from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and his doctor of medicine from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Following residency, he entered private practice in Davenport, Iowa and after 20 years in private practice, he returned to academic medicine at the University of Iowa.

“As exclusive physician specialists for women and leaders in women’s health, obstetrician gynecologists must continue to work together to promote positive change for our patients and specialty,” said ACOG President John C. Jennings, MD. “I congratulate ACOG’s new officers, who represent the best of our profession and look forward to their continued dedication and service to our organization.”

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Gellhaus has served in many ACOG positions at the local, regional, national and international levels. His interests are in the areas of health care advocacy and policy.  He has also been very involved and active in global healthcare. He has completed the McCain Fellowship, a month long in-depth experience in advocacy, at ACOG in Washington, D.C. in 1999. In 2001, he was a Primary Care Policy Fellow with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has remained active in Advocacy and Policy as a member of ACOG’s Government Affairs Committee and the Ob/Gyn PAC.

Dr. Gellhaus has also been very active in leading groups on short-term medical and surgical mission projects for the last 20 years.  He has done numerous presentations about these short-term medical and surgical mission projects throughout the United States.


Akande Named President of Westminster College


Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D, (’84, ’90, ’95) has been named the 21st president of the 164-year-old Westminster College in Fulton, MO.

He will take office July 1, succeeding Dr. George B. Forsythe, president since 2008, who is retiring after 10 years at Westminster.

“We’re proud to introduce Dr. Akande as president of Westminster College,” said Wallace L. Head, chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees. “We’ve achieved our year-long goal of finding the most qualified person to lead Westminster and to continue executing our strategic plan.

“It includes developing leaders for a global community by establishing one of the country’s most internationally diverse colleges, and maintaining a graduate placement rate that exceeds 95 percent,” he added.

Dr. Akande, a Nigerian-born American citizen, serves as a professor of economics and Dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St. Louis. He also leads Webster’s global Office of Corporate Partnerships.

Raised in Nigeria, Dr. Akande came to the U.S. to attend Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma, and completed his post-doctoral studies at Harvard and Oxford.

Head said Dr. Akande was selected for his academic and administrative qualifications and because “he’s a results-oriented leader with strategic vision and proven experience in the areas of global strategy, marketing, and leadership.”

Akande said he proudly accepts this new challenge and looks forward to continuing Westminster’s mission.

“Westminster offers a distinctive destination for undergraduate education focused on student achievement and diversity, which are critically important,” he said. “We must prepare graduates to live and work in a world that is far more diverse and richer in new opportunities than ever before.”

Dr. Akande also recognized Webster University’s administration and faculty for the support and opportunity they provided the past 15 years.

Westminster College is the nation’s eighth-highest ranked small liberal arts college for percentage of international students. Westminster’s nearly 1,000 students are from 28 U.S. states and 76 countries worldwide.


Bailey Honored by NAPW For Leadership in Business


The National Association of Professional Women has inducted honors Kelly Bailey (’01), Ph.D, as a 2015-2016 member of its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She has been recognized for prestigious distinction for leadership in business.

Bailey earned her master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University and doctoral degree in education from Walden University.

The CEO of Sweet Adelines International, Bailey oversees an organization of 23,000 female members across five continents as it advances the musical art form of barbershop a cappella harmony through education, competition and performance. Three years ago, she stepped down as a vice president at a prominent private university to take on this challenging role. Her responsibilities include managing a worldwide staff and volunteers, creating and implementing the organization’s short- and long-term vision, forming and enacting best practices, establishing a culture of efficiency and effectiveness, and acting as a direct liaison between the board of directors and staff.

Bailey has cultivated a culture of cost savings for the nonprofit, establishing new policies and procedures that have saved the organization over $1 million. Additionally, her creative means of strategic fiscal planning have increased non-dues revenue.

“The most exciting thing about my job is to be able to see an idea come to fruition; to think of a strategic plan, to work out the details among some of the most talented people in the business and then work through the details to see the plan become reality and ultimately change lives,” Bailey said.

Bailey hopes to grow the nonprofit to 50,000-plus members and to complete an ASAE “Certified Association Executive” progran. She also enjoys speaking to groups about the power and potential of women in the workplace, creative problem solving, team building, leadership development and understanding the power of individual contribution.

 “I’m pleased to welcome Kelly into this exceptional group of professional women,” said NAPW President Star Jones. “Her perseverance, work ethic and leadership qualities are an inspiration to all women.”

NAPW is the nation's leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting more than 700,000 members and over 200 operating Local Chapters.


If you have news, an award or honor, life event or obituary to share, please email Bill Moakley, Director of Alumni Communications,

If you have a life event to share with us, please email Bill Moakley, Director of Alumni Communications,

Charlene Sennett ('86)

Charlene Sennett (’86), MD, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Chicago Medicine and a highly respected clinical specialist in breast imaging, died at the medical center on March 23, 2015, after months of illness. She suffered a stroke while awaiting a heart transplant.

She was  1986 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

Sennett, 62, was well known throughout the Chicago area as a thoughtful and talented clinician, dedicated educator and fierce advocate for her patients.

"She devoted her professional life to patient care," said Gillian Newstead, MD, director of global breast imaging at the University. "She was diligent in her work. She inspired many residents to become breast-imaging specialists."

"No one was happier than Charlene when an early cancer diagnosis led to a good patient outcome," said colleague Robert Schmidt, MD, professor emeritus of radiology. "But whenever she received a compliment she would brush it off, saying 'I will try to do better next time.'"

Sennett was a co-author of multiple studies focused on the acquisition and computer-aided analysis of diagnostic images. She contributed to scientific presentations, invited lectures, publications and collaborative grant projects, all focused on breast cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and therapy. She was a principal or co-investigator on many studies evaluating new breast cancer imaging techniques or efforts to combine multiple imaging and diagnostic technologies, such as ultrasound, mammography and MRI.

"She was an exceptional doctor and person," said Greg Karczmar, PhD, professor of radiology and director of magnetic resonance imaging research at the University of Chicago. "She was wonderful with patients—kind, helpful, conscientious and sweet. But she also shared her extraordinary expertise on clinical breast imaging with the research team. When she spoke, we paid attention."
Sennett was an effective and popular teacher for medical students, radiology residents, research fellows and established physicians. From 2005 to 2013, she helped train 18 clinical and research fellows, four of whom are now faculty members at the University. She was a frequent guest speaker at University of Chicago continuing medical education events.

"She was a great clinical collaborator, capable and hardworking, polite yet clearly direct," said Maryellen Giger, PhD, the A.N. Pritzker Professor in the Department of Radiology and the Committee on Medical Physics, and director of the Biological Science Division's Imaging Research Institute. "She made sure that the breast-imaging service was on top of the national quality standards—a demanding task—but was always willing to take time to help the medical-physics students and her research-oriented colleagues understand how their work intersected with clinical care."

Born September 25, 1952, in Crawfordsville, Ind., Charlene Annette Sennett studied to become a nurse at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. She earned her BS in nursing with "high distinction," followed by a, MS in cardiopulmonary physiology from the University of Washington in 1977.

She practiced as a nurse for several years, and continued to work as a nurse in an acute cardiovascular unit while attending medical school. Colleagues noted that her training and clinical work as a nurse prepared her well for a central role in patient care.

After her residency, she spent 11 years as a staff radiologist with a private group at St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, IL. She returned to the University of Chicago in 2002 as an assistant professor of radiology. She was promoted to associate professor in 2011, and served as interim section chief of breast imaging from 2011 through 2014. During that time, her team was designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Sennett is survived by her husband, H. Rodney Holmes, PhD; their daughter, Robin Holmes, MD; and son, Kyle. A service was held on Saturday, March 28, in Wingate, Indiana.

The family has requested, in lieu of flowers or gifts, that donations be made to