Sept. 16, 1997

Story by Kirsten Bosnak


LAWRENCE -- Dr. James Enns was just 25 when he completed his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan., in 1950. He left with a deep appreciation for the mentor who had encouraged and inspired him there.

"Al Lemoine was the best teacher I ever had," Enns said. "He always had time to stop and teach you something, whenever you had a question, in spite of his busy schedule. During my surgical training in ophthalmology, he had a way of giving me all the confidence in the world."

Now, nearly 50 years later, Enns and his wife, Shirley Bull Enns, of Estes Park, Colo., have decided to honor Albert Lemoine. They have made a gift of $50,000 to the KU Endowment Association toward the Albert N. Lemoine Jr. Education Fund for the KU Department of Ophthalmology.

Lemoine, who was its chairman from 1950 to 1980, joined the KU Ophthalmology Department in 1947 and became professor and chair three years later. During his 30 years as chair, the department grew in scope and reputation.

The Albert N. Lemoine Jr. Education Fund supports the department's residency training in many ways. It provides resources for fellowships, visiting lecturers and resident travel to academic meetings. It also helps pay for computers and training equipment, as well as materials for the library.

Dr. John D. Hunkeler, ophthalmology department of the department, said the Ennses' gift came at a key time. "The importance of such generosity is magnified in these days of reduced government support for education and research, as well as cost containment efforts in clinical health care," he said. "On behalf of the department and its residency program, we are deeply appreciative of this generous gift from Jim and Shirley Enns. Jim practiced good ophthalmology and has remained a loyal supporter of the department."

The KU Medical Center holds many memories for James and Shirley Enns: They met there. Shirley Enns earned a nursing diploma from KU in 1948 and worked as a community mental health nurse and in her husband's office. James Enns graduated from KU with a bachelor's degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1945 and a degree from the School of Medicine in 1947 before earning his ophthalmology certificate in 1950.

After his residency at the KU Medical Center, Enns served two years in the U.S. Navy. He practiced ophthalmology in Newton until his retirement in 1980. He shared an office with his brother, Eugene K. Enns, who graduated from the KU School of Medicine in 1940.

The Ennses are members of the Kansas Alumni Association. They have four children, two of whom graduated from KU. Their daughter, Jane Enns Sturgeon earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from KU in 1972 and is nurse coordinator for the Women's Reproductive Center at the Medical Center.

The gift is being administered by the KU Endowment Association, an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management foundation for the university. Founded in 1891, the Endowment Association is the oldest foundation of its type at a public university in the United States and one of the largest.


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