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Radiologic and Imaging Sciences alumni return to campus 50 years after beginning their training

When it comes to education at Indiana University School of Medicine, it’s not just the training that can last a lifetime but also the connections that students make with their peers. Recently, the Radiologic and Imaging Sciences Undergraduate Programs welcomed five alumni back to campus after nearly 50 years since their graduation from the program.

The visiting alumni included Karen Retzner, Joan Burton, Marty Perkins, Wendy Ross and Lorraine Woodard, all of whom graduated from the radiography program back in 1973. Since their graduation, the group has stayed connected through thick and thin, with many of their children growing up with one another. After their graduation, the group began an annual gathering where they reunite for a day of fun activities to commemorate their education on the IUPUI campus. As this year marks 50 years since they began their training, they decided it would be extra special to return to the program that helped establish their careers and begin their lifelong friendships.

“It was heartwarming to be a part of their visit,” mentioned Donna DeVault Clark, MPA, MA, undergraduate programs specialist. “The reminiscing and love for their profession was evident in their eyes and smiles.”

During their visit, the group connected with current students, staff and faculty, including  Marti Reeser, EdD, assistant dean of Health Professions and Pre-Doctoral Programs at IU School of Medicine, who shared his congratulations with the group on celebrating their milestone.

As the visiting alumni explored the campus, they even returned to some of the same halls they walked when they were in the program themselves. They also toured other facilities where students train and uncover the latest innovations in radiology, including new equipment in the Nuclear Medicine Technology and Ultrasound labs. A highlight from the day was when the group swapped stories during a visit with current second-year students, proving though the training has changed through the years, the comradery and lasting connections gained through the program have remained the same.

“It’s encouraging to have the alumni visit and see how the campus and program have changed,” said Kellie Cranfill, MSRS, RT (R)(BD), director of the Radiologic and Imaging Sciences Undergraduate Programs. “I hope our current students can look at these remarkable women and see how they can also achieve just as much one day.”

Among the alumni who visited, three stayed in the field of radiology throughout their careers—both in hospital and outpatient work— while others also pursued careers outside of radiology. Retzner, who helped organize the event, is currently a practicing nurse in Indianapolis but kept her radiography licensing active until last year. For her, as well as the other alumni, the program helped open doors to opportunity throughout Indiana, especially in health care and continuing her education.

“With the extensive training the program offered me, I never had to search for a job.  They always found me,” said Retzner.

The Radiologic and Imaging Sciences Undergraduate Programs at IU School of Medicine has grown substantially since the early 1970s. In addition to new modalities like Medical Imaging Technology, the program now trains students in multiple hospitals throughout Indianapolis and across the state. As the program continues to grow, it’s introducing more students to radiology each year, allowing them to understand the significant role radiologic technologists play in health care.

The alumni returning is a testament to the exceptional training and the comradery that the program enabled 50 years ago and continues to support to this day—building bonds on campus that can last a lifetime. 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sonder Collins

Communications Coordinator

Having joined IU School of Medicine in 2016, Sonder uses a poetry and theatre background to help bridge the academic world with the creative. A graduate of University of Evansville, he works with faculty and academic staff to formulate unique, marketing ideas that engage the public with innovative research at IU School of Medicine. From writing stories on groundbreaking equipment to orchestrating digital marketing strategies, Sonder collaborates with experts across the school to help departments thrive in their marketing and communication ambitions.