One of the functions of an organization, of any organism, is to anticipate the future, so that relationships can persist over time.
– Kevin Kelly
Last fall’s conference was the Child Neurology Society’s 40th annual meeting and our second visit to historic Savannah. Few of us these days were present when the Society began, but many of us have watched the Society, and the profession, grow and come of age. Only 360 people attended the 1981 annual meeting in Minneapolis, my first Society meeting as a child neurology resident. This is roughly a third of the number of people who have attended recent meetings. Over the years we have grown from a small group of friends and colleagues into a thriving professional organization that most child neurologists consider an indispensible part of their professional lives.
One constant during the Society’s 40 year existence has been Ms. Mary Currey, who for many members has represented the face and voice of the Society. She supported the Child Neurology Society from its beginning while working in the Neurology Department at the University of Minnesota, then became the Society’s full-time Executive Director in July 1989 while Marvin Fishman was the Society’s President. Most organizations do not have this kind of stable leadership.
The only inevitable thing, of course, is change, and Ms. Currey recently retired from the Society. After decades of loyal service, she certainly deserves some time to relax and pursue other interests. Unassuming as always, she declined our offers of public recognition at this year’s meeting. Ms. Currey will be particularly missed by many of the Society’s past and present leaders, who depended on her guidance and institutional memory. Our immediate past-president Dr. Donna Ferriero commented, “Mary Currey has been our guide and support through all these years. Her gentle laugh and quiet demeanor will always come to mind when I think of her contributions.” Another president, Dr. John Bodensteiner, echoed these sentiments. “The Society has changed considerably and grown over the years,” he said, “but Mary Currey has been a constant. From a personal standpoint, I could not have functioned as President of the CNS without her constant gentle guidance and encouragement.” We wish Ms. Currey a long and productive retirement, along with our gratitude.
Also retiring this summer is Ms. Leann Lewno, who has served the Child Neurology Society for ten years as a part-time bookkeeper. Like Ms. Currey, Ms. Lewno joined the University of Minnesota’s Neurology Department in the mid-1960s. There she worked for Dr. A.B. Baker, one of the legendary “Four Horsemen of Neurology” (the other three were Russell N. DeJong, Francis M. Forster, and Adolf Sahs) who are credited with founding the American Academy of Neurology in 1948.
With each change comes an opportunity to grow and to build upon past achievements. The departure of a long-standing director would represent a crisis for many organizations, but we are fortunate to have experienced leadership already in place. Mr. Roger Larson has accepted our offer to become the Child Neurology Society’s new Executive Director. Mr. Larson received a BA from the University of Minnesota in American Studies. He first worked for the Child Neurology Society in 1981 as a part-time employee while attending college. In 1995 Mr. Larson became the Society’s Associate Director. He has extensive experience with meeting planning and management, meeting-related fund raising, corporate and non-profit meeting exhibitions, and CME rules. For several years Mr. Larson has worked closely with the Scientific Selection Committee Chair to develop the Society’s annual meeting program. He has worked as a free-lance writer, and his writing and editing skills are clearly evident in our newsletters.
The Child Neurology Society facilitates research and training in childhood neurological diseases and enables us to better care for children with these conditions. The people who help to oversee the Society’s operations contribute greatly to these missions, and for this they deserve our thanks. Please join me in congratulating Ms. Currey and Ms. Lewno on their retirements and Mr. Larson on his new position. We are fortunate to have made such a smooth transition.