2018 Alumni Awards Recipients

Distinguished Alumni to be Recognized at Annual Awards Banquet

Kenneth J. Shouldice Alumni Achievement Award

One of the many hallmarks of the Laker experience is how the University embraces students from small communities who would not be comfortable in a mega-campus setting and provides a transformational educational and social experience that launches our alumni fully prepared into their respective fields with potential for successful and enriching careers.  This year’s Shouldice Professional Achievement Award winner came from a very small high school graduating class in the Northern Lower Peninsula, graduated from the smallest public university in Michigan and advanced on to attain truly big goals nationally in the field of medicine.

Julie Ann Vincent, M.D. is the 2018 recipient of the Kenneth J. Shouldice Professional Achievement Award. She earned a bachelor of science in medical technology from Lake Superior State College, graduating summa cum laude in 1983, and was awarded her doctor of medicine degree by the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1988. Now Julie is chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, a professor of pediatrics and the Welton M. Gersony Professor of Pediatric Cardiology Endowed Chair at Columbia University in New York. From 2010 to 2014 she also directed the pediatric cardiology fellowship program there.

Julie VincentPrior to her service at Columbia, from 1999 to 2002 Dr. Vincent was an assistant professor of pediatrics and director of cardiac catheterization research in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; from 1997 to 1999 she was an assistant professor of pediatrics at Wayne State University; and from 1995 to 1997 she was an assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford University.

Concurrent with these academic appointments, Dr. Vincent actively practiced medicine at various hospitals. From 1995 to 1997 she was director and attending physician of the pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory of Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford, Cal.  From 1997 to 1999 she was director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory and attending physician at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in the Detroit Medical Center. From 1999 to 2002 she was associate director and attending physician in the cardiac catheterization laboratory of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. From 2002 to 2006 she was the director and consulting physician of the pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. At the same time, she was also director and attending physician of the cardiac catheterization laboratory of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she was responsible for overseeing the development of the first state-of-the-art pediatric hybrid catheterization lab in the southwest. In 2007 she spent a year as the section chief of pediatric cardiology at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. From 2008 to 2014 Dr. Vincent was the director of the pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory & pediatric interventional cardiology at New York Presbyterian in the Komansky Center for Children’s Health in New York City. Since 2008 she has been the director of pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratories and pediatric interventional cardiology at New York Presbyterian and Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York.

Dr. Vincent received her medical training at Wayne State University, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. She taken multiple courses in leadership training and holds numerous medical licenses and board certifications. Dr. Vincent belongs to numerous professional organizations and societies, she consults nationally and internationally, and she is a reviewer for several medical journals. She has written successful grant proposals and advised and mentored junior faculty and post-doctoral trainees. She has written a variety of professional education materials and helped to direct multiple clinical trials of various medical devices. She has authored or co-authored dozens of peer reviewed publications, as well as case reports, abstracts and posters. She has lectured and moderated at numerous cardiology conferences, regionally, nationally and internationally. Dr. Vincent belongs to numerous professional organizations and has received copious awards and honors.

Julie tells her own story:

I grew up in a very small town in northern Michigan.  There were 40 students in my graduating class of 1978 from Central Lake High School.  In those days, (at least from my school), it was not a “given” that students would go on to college.  In my junior year our school counselor asked us what we wanted to do after high school.  I wanted to be a teacher and a basketball coach, as it had been teachers and coaches through the years that had inspired and mentored me.  My father, Floyd Vincent, had been a very popular high school teacher and subsequently the superintendent in the Clarkston School systems (Clarkston, MI) in the 1960s when I was young.  He was my first inspiration to being a teacher.  He died when I was 10 years old of pancreatic cancer.  It was my eighth grade biology teacher in Central Lake, MI, Chet Budzynski, who piqued my interest in biology and the sciences.  He and his wife Patricia were two of my first coaches.  Chet became the principal of my high school when I was a freshman.  He was instrumental in my decision to actually go to college.  Two other teacher/coaches who played a significant role during my formative high school years were Dennis Richardson, my mathematics teacher and Coach Gary Johnson, my high school basketball and softball coach. 

            My decision to attend Lake Superior State College (LSSC) was made after one of my closest high school friends and teammate, Brenda Adams (Ryder), had enrolled at LSSC a couple years prior and joined the Women’s Basketball team there.  When I was a senior in HS, Brenda had Gunile Myers, then the Women’s basketball coach at LSSC, come to watch one of my games.  Coach Myers offered me room and board to come play basketball at LSSC, so in the fall of 1978 I headed north across the Mackinac Bridge to LSSC. 

            Coming from a small town and growing up on a farm, I was nervous about going off to a “big city” college (or to any college for that matter)!  It was my housemates and teammates at the then “Laker Hall” who helped me navigate life through my college years.  Though most of them do not even know it, my LSSC basketball teammates were as instrumental as any of my teachers or coaches, in me becoming the person I am today!

            I started out taking basic education and math classes preparing for a career teaching mathematics. Then I had my first course with the late Professor Steven J. Person.  What a superb teacher!  He took such an active role in his students’ education and career choices.  He made biology, anatomy, histology and all the many other courses he taught so exciting and interesting. I decided to change my major in my second year to get a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that degree but I knew that I wanted to take more of Dr. Person’s classes.  By my last two years of college, I had decided to get a degree in Medical Technology (as one of the school counselors told me it was a good job in the medical field “for a girl”).  Hmmm!  It was Dr. Person who encouraged me during my senior year to take the medical college admission test (MCAT).  I didn’t understand why he thought I should take this test as I had never ever considered going to medical school! Turns out I took the test in Marquette, this very weekend (Alumni Weekend) in 1982!    

            In any event, I ended up doing my internship for Medical Technology in Petoskey, MI.  Near the end of my internship year I realized that I still wanted to work with children and be in a healing type profession.  I decided that I would get my Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy and had gotten accepted to go to Grand Valley State College.  Ten days prior to moving to Grand Rapids, MI, my mentor, Dr. Lars Kleppe, a Clinical Pathologist at Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, MI asked me what I was doing?  He told me that instead of going to graduate school for three years to become a physical therapist, I could go to medical school and in “just one extra year” (4 years instead of 3) I could be a doctor! Dr. Kleppe hired me to work in the lab for another year while I applied to medical school.  It was eleven years later when I called Dr. Kleppe up to tell him that I had just accepted my first faculty position as an Interventional Pediatric Cardiologist at Stanford University in 1995!

            Now, you might think that Interventional Pediatric Cardiology is a long way from being a teacher and a coach but my career in medicine has been exactly that!  I have had the opportunity to teach parents, patients, medical students, residents and fellows about congenital heart disease!  It is my privilege to mentor and train subspecialty fellows and colleagues how to perform diagnostic and therapeutic catheter-based procedures for infants, children and adults born with congenital heart defects. In regards to coaching, over the years I have “coached” or directed teams caring for patients and performing procedures as Medical Director of Pediatric Cardiac Catheterizations at the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, CA; the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit; Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX and Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.  For the past 6 years I have had the privilege of “coaching” my team of faculty, nurses, administrative and clinical support staff as the Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons in NY. 

            When I was asked who I might want to present me with the Shouldice Achievement Award, I first thought of Professor Person.  It is because of his teaching and mentorship that I even thought about going into a science-based or medical profession.  Sadly, it was when I was trying to find his whereabouts to ask him if he would do me the honor of presenting me with this award that I found out he had passed away in February of this year.  I am so grateful for the role he played in my life.  My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and past students.  I am sure he had a similar impact on so many students’ lives and careers over the years!

            I always say that Pediatric Cardiology and caring for those with congenital heart disease is a TEAM SPORT!  It was my basketball teammates at LSSC who taught me the meaning of a team!  It was this group of women who modeled teamwork, collaboration, and what it meant to be a team player.  Together we learned how to compete; how to win and lose; how to lead.  We helped build each other’s confidence and self-esteem.  Together we learned how to navigate life and succeed! Again, though most of them do not even know it, my LSSC basketball teammates were as instrumental as any of my teachers or coaches, in me becoming the person I am today!  I can truly say that I have used and continue to use what I learned (both on and off the court) from my years at LSSC in all aspects of my adult life and career.  For these reasons, I would like to share this Achievement Award with my basketball teammates from 1978-1982 including Karleen Thompson Stephens, Lee Ann Huffman Wise, Linda Thompson Hula, Laurie Thompson Parker, Martha Wallace, Linda Putney, Susan Elzinga Whiteside, Cheryl Carlton, Margaret Olson Pollard, Elizabeth Bogue and Brenda Adams Rider.

            My life partner/wife of nearly 25 years, Christine Jones, grew up in Wisconsin where the Shouldice family was from.  Dr. Shouldice’s brother, Doug, was Chris’s Dad’s best friend growing up.  They actually joined the Marines together and fought in WWII.  Chris grew up calling Dr. Shouldice’s brother “Uncle Doug”!  It really is such a small world after all!

            I am most grateful to my wife, Christine, who has taught me how to love and be loved and is my faithful companion, partner and friend on this most adventuresome journey called life!

The Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award will be presented at the annual Alumni Awards banquet on November 2 during Great Lake State Weekend, LSSU’s homecoming. Tickets for the banquet must be reserved in advance and are available online or by phone from the Alumni Association 906-635-6219.

The Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award, established in 1994, is presented to alumni who have demonstrated significant success in their chosen professions. The award is named in honor of the school’s first chancellor and president, who is considered to be the “father of Lake Superior State University.”