Geza Bruckner, PhD, program director and professor of clinical nutrition at the UK College of Health Sciences, is retiring after dedicating more than 38 years of distinguished leadership, research, and teaching to the college.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Botany and a Master of Science and Doctorate in Animal Sciences at the University of Kentucky, Bruckner furthered his education at Cornell University as a post-doctoral fellow in nutrition. Following his time at Cornell, Bruckner returned to UK as an assistant professor in clinical nutrition.
Like his mentor Dr. Paul Thornton, Bruckner was honored with the Kingston Award for Excellence in Teaching during the 2002 - 2003 academic year for his innovative curriculum, outstanding contributions to the clinical nutrition program, and consistent excellence throughout his research. In 2016, he was awarded the Thornton Distinguished Professorship to provide resources to expand the clinical nutrition program. He currently holds this professorship.
After spending seven years as Chair of the College of Health Sciences Clinical Sciences Department, Bruckner was later asked to serve as the director of the Division of Human Health Sciences (HHS) and Clinical Leadership and Management (CLM), where he lent his vast expertise to develop these new undergraduate programs.
“Helping create the HHS and CLM programs is one of the highlights of my career,” he said.
Bruckner helped grow human health sciences and clinical leadership and management to the largest undergraduate programs in the college. After this accomplishment, he then turned his focus back to research and teaching.
Although his grant funding and research spans many areas, most of the work in Bruckner’s laboratory for the past 25 years has been focused on lipid metabolism and cardiovascular function and disease, and he has published more than 100 publications over the course of his career.
But, research has always led him back to his first love of educating the next generation of researchers and health care practitioners.
“I have so many wonderful memories of my doctoral students,” Bruckner said, “It’s satisfying to see so many who continued along the nutrition path. Many students felt like my teaching style was what sparked their interest in different areas. This is the highest compliment given to you as an educator.”
Within the past few years, Bruckner has interpreted his interactive teaching styles for both undergraduate and graduate-level courses, and converted them to virtual formats, which he plans to continue for his undergraduate students post-retirement.
Retirement won’t slow down Bruckner’s heart for discovery. He plans to stay engaged in the scientific research community along with exploring the great outdoors with many planned fishing trips. He has been married for 50 plus years to Beverly and has two children, Marcie and Kimball, and four grandchildren. Retirement will give him more time to spend with family.
Bruckner’s storied career is the perfect example of how one great mentor can change the course of your life. “Paul Thornton was that person for me,” he said.
Bruckner would like to leave his students with these parting words of inspiration: “Do something you’re passionate about, and if you’re not passionate about it, then don’t do it.”