Honoring Family Ties

Dennis Diederich, M.D., devoted himself “one thousand percent” to the cause of kidney transplantation. And a gift establishing a professorship at the University of Kansas Medical Center will ensure that his dedication to that cause will live on in perpetuity. 

A gift commitment from Diederich, a longtime KU Medical Center faculty member, and his wife, Alice, will endow a professorship in the Nephrology and Hypertension Division of the Internal Medicine Department within the KU School of Medicine. The professorship will be awarded to a faculty member specializing in nephrology or renal transplantation.

The Diederichs, who live in Overland Park, met while they were students at Benedictine College. Dennis graduated from the St. Louis University School of Medicine and then did his residency at KU. 

The fund, named the Benedict Diederich Family Professorship, honors Dennis’ father, Benedict, who lived in Greenleaf, Kan., until his death in 1991. Benedict and his wife, Vivian, had 10 children. The family worked hard to make sure that all the children went to college. 

Dennis said that his family’s dedication to his and his siblings’ educations is the inspiration behind the gift.

“The professorship is named for my father but also honors my mother and siblings, recognizing that they all contributed to my education,” he said.

Dennis joined the Nephrology Division in the Department of Internal Medicine in 1969, when the kidney transplantation program first began at KU Medical Center, and he was instrumental in building the program. He retired in March 2017. Dennis conveyed his gratitude toward his many colleagues and his faith in director Dr. Alan Yu’s course for the Kidney Institute. 

“I’ve been surrounded by great people my entire career, and Dr. Yu is no exception,” Dennis said. “He is a wonderful mentor who will choose the right person for this professorship.” 

Yu expressed his appreciation for the gift and the positive impact it will have on the study of nephrology at KU. 

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift from the Diederich family,” Yu said. “The professorship it establishes will allow us to recruit leaders in the field of nephrology and kidney transplantation — clinicians, educators and scientists who can advance the care of patients with kidney disease and inspire the next generation of nephrology trainees.”

MICHELLE TEVIS