Kathleen H. Goeppinger James Turner

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., Midwestern University president and chief executive officer (right) presented the 2019 Shooting Star Award to Rev. James Turner (left) at the 2019 “Bright Lights, Shining Stars Gala.”

Midwestern University handed out  academic, healthcare, business and community leaders awards at the Oct. 12 “Bright Lights, Shining Stars” gala.

The gala, which recognizes and honors community service and leadership, was held at the University’s Glendale Campus at 19555 North 59th Avenue.

Dr. Kathleen H. Goeppinger, president and chief executive officer of Midwestern University, presented the 2019 COMET (Community Outreach: Motivating Excellence for Tomorrow) Award to PetSmart Charities and the 2019 Shooting Star Award to Rev. James Turner.

Phoenix-based PetSmart Charities is the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, providing over $400 million in grants over the past 25 years to groups supporting pets and their families. The organization has been a key factor in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s shelter medicine program development since 2014. 

With grants provided by PetSmart Charities, the college developed the Midwestern University Mobile Clinic, which provides surgical services, spays and neuters, and other basic medical care to shelters and rural locations and hands-on clinical experience for veterinary students.

Additionally, funding from PetSmart Charities has supported surgical training for second-year veterinary students, scholarship awards, and research and travel stipends for students researching One Health and shelter and community medicine topics.

Rev. James Turner recently retired as the pastor of Glendale’s St. Thomas More Parish. Father Jim has been a Catholic priest for 35 years and he founded the parish in 1997. He grew up in Long Island, New York and attended Syracuse University. 

Prior to entering the seminary, he worked at Northern Arizona University in secondary education. In his 35 years of service as a pastor, Father Jim worked in parishes in Flagstaff, Tempe, and Phoenix before founding St. Thomas More Parish in Glendale. 

“PetSmart Charities and Father Jim have shown genuine commitment to our students’ educational and personal well-being, and we truly value our wonderful relationships with them. On behalf of the entire Midwestern University family, I thank them for their generosity, as well as to those who attended the Bright Lights, Shining Stars gala to support our educational mission,” said Goeppinger.

Six Spirit of Service scholarships were awarded at the gala to students representing four Midwestern University colleges for the 2019-2020 academic year. Scholarship recipients include: Lauren Allison from the College of Veterinary Medicine; Kristen Drinkwater and Christy Tran from the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona; Kauionalani Fukuda from the College of Health Sciences Clinical Psychology Program; Austin Githens from the College of Pharmacy-Glendale; and Ross Groeschl from the College of Health Sciences Arizona School of Podiatric Medicine.

The Spirit of Service scholarship program recognizes outstanding Midwestern University students based on community service, leadership abilities, academic standing, and financial need.

The annual event, which raises scholarship funds for students in all of Midwestern University’s colleges, also featured a formal dinner, live band and silent auction.

Midwestern University is a private, not-for-profit graduate and postgraduate educational institution specializing in the health sciences with 12 colleges located on two campuses. The Illinois campus, located on a 105-acre site in Downers Grove, is home to over 3,000 students and the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Chicago College of Pharmacy, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Dental Medicine-Illinois, the Chicago College of Optometry, and the College of Graduate Studies.  

The Arizona campus, located on a 156-acre site in Glendale, is home to over 3,900 students and the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Pharmacy-Glendale, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona, the Arizona College of Optometry, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Graduate Studies. 

For more information, visit midwestern.edu or call 623-572-3215.