Three decades at UI Health Care: A look back in photos

Susan McClellen received her first camera in high school. Her father built a darkroom for her under their basement steps.

Photographer Susan McClellen is shown on campus with her portable studio on wheels.

“The process of photo printing was fun,” says McClellen, UI Health Care photographer. “Putting a piece of paper in the developer tray and having an image appear was magical.”

In 1987, McClellen brought her skills and talent to UI Health Care. Anyone who has had their portrait taken has met McClellen. Her illustrious career at UI Health Care comes to a close on May 5, 2021.

During the course of her 34-year career, certain images have stayed with her. McClellen shares 14 of these below and says, “I’ve been a witness to so many discoveries and events, and I’ve met so many wonderful people.”

Women surgeons: Shot for a web story about women in medicine

President Barack Obama on a visit to the university Field House in 2010.

ECMO team: shot for a Medicine Iowa story.

Part of a series of recipes prepared by Chef Hib (Hilbert C. Stoelk Jr.) for our Health at Iowa publication.

Surgeon James Howe, MD, in the operating room.

Nurses in the CVICU: shot for nurse recruitment.

Medical Education Research Facility in the snow.

Photo shoot at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for the Annual Report.

Cassim Igram, MD, and Andrew Pugely, MD, shot for our website.

Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) Student Reception, 2017.

UI Crystallography facility.

Pharmacist speaking with a patient.

Cardiac step-down nurses, shot for nurse recruitment.

Biochemistry Professor Maria Spies, PhD, in her lab with students, shot for the future of biochemistry program.



  1. Susan! So happy for you and your upcoming retirement. I have a feeling, picture taking will never end for you. I remember my high school photography classes and winding the rolls of film into the development canisters then doing the three step process once the ‘right photo’ was selected to make it into our ‘year book’ for the school. It was also a great place to ‘hide’ by turning on the red light so no one would come in! 😉 Thank you for your UI Health Care contributions and being such a joy to work with. Have fun!

  2. Susan, Thanks so much for all your help over the years. Always cheerful, always there. I’ll miss you so much! Hope you enjoy retirement. Carol

  3. Congratulations Susan on your retirement. You have been amazing and will leave us with so many wonderful memories. We will surely miss you. All the best in the coming years.

  4. Thanks for the great pictures for this story and for all the other great pictures you have taken over the past decades.

  5. Congratulations Susan. I’m sorry to see you go! I hope retirement is a new, exciting chapter for you!

  6. Thank you Susan! It was a pleasure working with you at UIHC and personally. Enjoy your retirement – you deserve it!

  7. Congratulations on your retirement, Susan. I always appreciated your professionalism and skill.

  8. Congratulations on your retirement, Susan! I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you and pleased that your many contributions will live on through your wonderful photography. Be well and enjoy every moment! Best, Karen

  9. Congratulations Susan! Enjoy your retirement. Your pictures were always beautiful and meaningful.

  10. Congratulations, drive careful, wear that mask in public, and make sure you and yours keep healthy and above all sleep well!

  11. Congratulations Susan! It has always been a pleasure working with you on ELA portraits. I hope retirement treats you well!

  12. Our favorite photographer, from way back when it was called “Med Photos”! Congratulations on your retirement. We will miss you!

  13. Susan, you are one of the great professionals of UIHC! Many, many times you came to the operating rooms with the big lens to get the needed pictures over the drapes. How many patients and physicians have had their lives and career advanced by your expert photography? Too many to count. Thanks for your constant smile, always in focus!

  14. Susan…all the best in your retirement. You are the consummate professional, highly skilled at what you do and just an all-around great person. You will be missed. Thank you for all you’ve done!

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