College of Health Sciences
Distinguished Alumnus in Physician Assistant Studies Award
James F. Ginter, MPAS, PA-C, H Sci '01
The most influential person in Jim Ginter's life was not a parent, teacher or inspirational figure from history. It was an ordinary man.
"It's the young man who died in July 1993 and donated his organs, allowing me to get one of his kidneys," Jim says. "That's the person who forever changed my life."
Jim was born with Alport Syndrome, a genetic disease that typically causes kidney failure by early adulthood. He was able to live a fairly normal life, he says, but often felt sick, particularly in his early 20s. Careerwise, he was planning to follow his father into sales.
Then, Jim says, "God intervened." Jim got a new kidney at age 27. And with it came a new point of reference.
"There's pre-transplant Jim and post-transplant Jim," he says. "They're two different people." Pre-transplant Jim was focused on himself. Post-transplant Jim was given the gift of life, and he wanted to pass it on.
Jim earned a graduate degree from Marquette and became a physician assistant at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, where he enjoys helping patients receive quality care. He also works with students as a guest lecturer in Marquette's physician assistant program and supports his peers as president of the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants.
James hopes to be on staff one day at Marquette, where a biochemistry class taught him a vital lesson.
"That class was the hardest thing I had ever done," he says. "Afterward, I knew there was nothing I could not accomplish if I put my mind to it."
Fun facts about Jim
The Marquette faculty member who had a great influence on Jim: Jim Schabla, who showed him it was OK to show and share emotions with patients