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A Time of Gratitude

November 28, 2018

Every fall when the leaves began to turn and the temperature started dipping, I’d receive a call from Earl Bakken’s office in Hawaii asking if the autumn issue of Mandala had been published. There was no more devoted reader than Earl. He would generally request 2 or more boxes of the magazine and would read each issue cover to cover. He would then act as our chief advancement officer —passing out issues to visitors and guests who visited him at Bakkenhale, his office and home on Kiholo Bay. Earl, the co-founder of Medtronic, who developed the first external, battery-operated transistorized, wearable pacemaker in 1957, died in his home October 21, 2018. Earl’s love for humanity had no bounds. His insatiable curiosity led to discoveries that have touched millions. While Earl is credited with launching worldwide the biomedical device industry, he also had a deep interest in healing and integrative health and medicine. He is quoted as saying “There is, after all, only one effective healing mechanism in the world, and that is the healing capability we have built into our bodies.” He referred to the body’s innate capacity to heal as a “marvelous capability” that needs to be turned on and not suppressed.

Last fall, President Kaler, Art Erdman, and I had the honor of traveling to Hawaii to celebrate the naming of the Earl. E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Earl E. Bakken Center for Medical Devices. It was a grand celebration of Earl’s legacy and hopes for the future. I am profoundly grateful for his visionary leadership that will continue to transform healthcare and the world and we will miss him dearly.

The Bakken Center has much to be grateful for as highlighted in many of the stories in this issue. A legacy gift from Mary Goepfert, M.D., a graduate of the University Medical School, along with gifts from other devoted supporters has enabled the Center to establish the Center’s first endowed chair. Researchers in our Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program are conducting breakthrough research on non-pharmacological approaches to pain management, an issue receiving heightened attention due to the opioid crisis. The story on our aromatherapy program highlights the contributions of retiring faculty member Dr. Linda Halcon and the energetic vision of incoming lead Dr. Jan Tomaino. I remain deeply grateful for the faculty and staff of the Center whose work inspires me and the many who benefit from our teaching, research, and service.


Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN Founder and Director

Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing


autumn18 mandala cover

Mandala is a biannual magazine produced by Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. It captures the core aspects of the Center: reflection, transformation, spirituality, creation, and the ongoing journey that continues to shape what we are to become.

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