Alumni Updates

Thomas F. Fisher, PhD, OTR, CCM, FAOTA

IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, BS, 1977

It’s said that recognition by your peers is the highest form of flattery. That is certainly true for Thomas Fisher, who was recently awarded the 2014 School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award for his life’s work in promoting the occupational therapy (OT) profession. A graduate of the IU OT Class of 1977, Dr. Fisher has worked tirelessly as a practitioner, educator, researcher and local/ national advocate for occupational therapy. His tenure with the Indiana OT Association has overseen dramatic improvements to the OT scope of practice, including the 2014 Indiana House Bill 1045. Dr. Fisher’s efforts have also been felt at the national level in the American OT Association, in which he has served various committees and an appointment as vice president. As chair of the IU Department of Occupational Therapy, Dr. Fisher has built the academic program into the top 15% of OT programs nationally; with students consistently score above the national board examination average.

James T. Burns

IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, J.D. 1975

James T. Burns received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law alumni association. A magna cum laude graduate of the law school, he currently works as senior counsel at Ice Miller LLP. Before going into private practice, he spent 28 years at Eli Lilly and Company, retiring as the company’s assistant general counsel. He also served as general counsel at Elizabeth Arden, Inc., and at Elanco Products Company in New York City. He has been active as an alumnus of the school, volunteering his time to work with students. He also has been instrumental in coordinating the annual CLE program, which generates scholarship funds. Burns has been a member of law school’s Board of Visitors since 1999, and has served as the board’s chair.

Gil Holmes

IU McKinney School of Law, J.D. 1999

Gil Holmes received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law alumni association. Well before attending law school, he served in the United States Army and is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He also worked as director of personnel for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Department Head for Transportation Services in the Human Resources Division at Methodist Hospital, Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and Chairman of the BMV Commission, Second Vice President and Director of Facilities and Services for Corporate Procurement for Lincoln National Corporation in Fort Wayne, President and CEO for IndyGo, and Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. He also is the founder and president of Gil Holmes Associates, a management consulting firm. Holmes was honored for his career in public interest law by the IU McKinney student group Equal Justice Works in 2011. In addition he was named a Kentucky Colonel in 1989 and a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1996.

Nicole D. Harper, PhD

IU School of Informatics and Computing, BS, 1999

Nicole Harper is currently a Director of Revenue Management at St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis, Indiana covering areas including Training & Development, Process Improvement, Clinical Documentation Improvement and Case Management. Dr. Harper has over 15 years of experience in the health care field with specific focus in Health Information Management and Revenue Cycle Operations. She holds certifications as a registered Health Information Administrator, Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Office, and is certified in Clinical Documentation Improvement. She is also trained in Lean Six Sigma and Adaptive Design Methodologies.

Nicole serves on the board of the Indiana Health Information Management Association (IHIMA) as the President Elect and has enjoyed her time as an approved AHIMA Trainer for ICD-10 as well as adjunct faculty for the Health Information Technology Program at Ivy Tech, ITT Technical College, Martin University and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

Jane Chu Ph.D. 2012

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Jane Chu serves as the 11th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent agency of the federal government that has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. Prior to her position at NEA, Chu served as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing a $413-million campaign to build the center. As the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Kauffman Center has hosted more than one million people from all 50 states and countries throughout the world since its grand opening in September 2011.

She was a fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City from 2004 to 2006, and vice president of external relations for Union Station Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. Previously, she was vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation from 1997 to 2002. Chu also served as a trustee at William Jewell College and on the board of directors of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Chu was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, but was raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied music growing up, eventually receiving bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University and master’s degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds a master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University, as well as an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Jennifer Walthall

IU School of Medicine, MD, 2000

IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, MPH, 2013

Dr. Walthall was recently named the Deputy Health Commissioner, Director for Health Outcomes in the Indiana State Department of Health. Walthall graduated from the IU School of Medicine in 2000, and is currently an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, as well as the Division Chief for Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the Program Director for the Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at Riley Hospital for Children. After working in clinical medicine for a number of years, she applied to the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health’s graduate program, earning her Master in Public Health in 2013. Walthall believes her combination of clinical medicine and public health training made her an ideal candidate for the Deputy Commissioner position, and they will be instrumental in her success in the job.