The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria honored two recipients with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award – Dr. Stephen Hippler and Dr. Keith Knepp – during a reception May 8.


Dr. Stephen Hippler graduated UICOMP in 1984. After completing his internal medicine residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, he returned to Peoria with a focus on clinical care and clinical research. He assumed increasing degrees of administrative responsibilities within OSF Healthcare from Vice President for Quality and Clinical Programs with OSF Medical Group to his current role as Chief Clinical Officer for OSF Healthcare. Dr. Hippler has authored or co-authored seven journal publication and while in full-time practice, he was actively engaged in clinical trials.


Dr. Keith Knepp graduated UICOMP in 1997. After completing his family residency in Peoria, he entered a family medicine practice in Eureka before returning to Peoria as a faculty member in the Family Medical Residency. In 2010, eh joined Methodist Medical Center and progressed through leadership roles from Vice President of Systems Integration to Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer when Methodist and Proctor hospitals began their affiliation with UnityPoint Health. Today he serves as Regional CEO for UnityPoint Health Central Illinois.

“The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria is proud of its role as part of the pipeline educating and training physicians for important work in their chosen disciplines and careers. This year we are honored to recognize two recipients with our Distinguished Alumni Award,” says Dr. Sara Rusch, UICOMP Regional Dean. Both have broadened their careers beyond the practice of medicine and advanced to become senior physician leaders within their respective healthcare organizations. With healthcare representing the largest sector of the Peoria-area economy, their leadership and talent are critically important not just to their respective organizations, but also to the health of patients in central Illinois and to the healthcare industry that is a core part of the economy of the greater Peoria area.”