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Northeast names new room after longtime supporter G. Tom Surber

Northeast names new room after longtime supporter G. Tom Surber

NORFOLK, Neb. – A longtime Norfolk physician, who for more than 40 years has been a steadfast supporter in advancing the mission of Northeast Community College, is being recognized for his service and generosity.

On Thursday, a new conference room in the College’s Lifelong Learning Center was named the G. Tom “Doc” Surber, MD Conference Room. The space will be used to host regular meetings of the Northeast Board of Governors, academic advisory boards, public use and other educational needs. 

Leah Barrett, college president, unveiled a plaque in the new room that reads, “This room is dedicated to Doc Surber in gratitude for distinguished and unselfish service and commitment to Northeast Community College, its students, and the emergency medicine program. We will be forever grateful for the impact he has made.”
“For all those you have touched – students, instructors, colleagues – and most of all the countless lives you have helped save, thank you,” Barrett told Surber. 

Surber was instrumental in establishing the Emergency Medicine program at Northeast Community College. Over a 30-year period, he has served two stints on the Northeast Foundation Board of Directors. With his wife, Susan, the Surbers have supported Northeast Community College financially with scholarships and a special emergency fund for students, Doc’s Emergency Needs Endowed Fund, which was established in 2021. 

Surber, in coordination with the Norfolk Fire Division, was also responsible for the development of the Paramedic program at Northeast. He has been actively involved as the medical director for both the Paramedic and EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) programs since their inception. He was an integral part of helping the Paramedic program become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Furthermore, Surber visits the classroom regularly to provide additional education, assists students who are having difficulty, and evaluates both students and instructors.  

Surber has fond memories of the many hours he has spent in the Lifelong Learning Center where he has attended many meetings, classes and events. He said he is humbled and honored with the conference room name recognition.

"I do and will do what I can, both here at (Northeast) and at Norfolk Fire Department. Overall, I am proud of what I have done and achieved and very pleased to be recognized for that work."

In his remarks, Surber focused on community service and giving back to the community. He said without “givers” many organizations, charities, non-governmental organizations, and politicians could not exist.

“Sure, a few of us can give money. There is only room for a few to interact on a personal level. It remains best for each of us to interact locally in our local communities,” Surber said. “And while there are many well worthy community colleges, we have one of the very best right here, Northeast Community College. Thus, I have elected to support Northeast Community College. I know how my gifts are being distributed. I can see the local results of my time, effort, and money. I am especially pleased to be honored in this fine community building.” 

Surber – known affectionally as “Doc” to his students and colleagues – graduated from Norfolk High School, earned his undergraduate degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and his doctorate in medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  

Surber joined Dr. Joe David in practice in Norfolk in 1975, eventually becoming part of the Norfolk Medical Group. He concentrated on family practice, but also worked in occupational medicine and emergency medical services. He retired from the practice of family medicine in 2011.

Medicine is not Surber’s only interest. He was actively involved in Boy Scouts and was a member of the Norfolk Kiwanis Club for many years. For 30 years, he was the pianist for the Northeast Area Jazz Ensemble.  Surber also served as chairman of the Norfolk Tree Advisory Board. 

In 2011, Surber received the city of Norfolk’s Edward I. Vrzal Award, and he was recognized as a Hometown Hero that same year. In 2022, Northeast presented him with its Distinguished Service Award. 

The G. Tom “Doc” Surber, MD Conference Room is in a newly renovated area of the Lifelong Learning Center. The renovations have been designed to bring multiple areas of administration together in one building on the exterior of Northeast’s Norfolk campus to allow more space for educational programming in the academic core.


                                                                                                   PHOTO CUTLINE 

Dr. G. Tom Surber speaks during a dedication ceremony Thursday in a new room that bears his name at Northeast Community College. The new G. Tom “Doc” Surber, MD Conference Room in the College’s Lifelong Learning Center will be used to host regular meetings of the Northeast Board of Governors, academic advisory boards, public use and other educational needs. Surber was recognized for his years of dedicated service to Northeast.