Students demonstrating academic excellence in the Sloan Program in Health Administration in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy will benefit from a new $1 million endowed scholarship, the largest gift in the Program’s long history.
The estate gift commitment comes from Reginald M. Ballantyne III, MBA ’67, a graduate of the Sloan Program. An Arizona-based health care executive and consultant, Ballantyne has served in senior leadership/principal roles with Tenet Healthcare, Vanguard Health Systems, PMH Health Resources, and as chairman of the American Hospital Association.
“In retrospect, I cannot imagine what my pathway would have been had it not been for Cornell and the Sloan Program,” Ballantyne said. “To be guided to and through important topics with respect to health care policy, an understanding of the subsets of the health care arena, the preparation for addressing patients and the broader community, and a unique exposure to results and impact of informed health care leadership…. was not only a blessing but also a first-rate introduction to the incredible and ever-changing world of health care.”
In a career spanning more than 40 years, he has consistently pushed the health care system to recognize the humanity of patients and the importance of the human touch even as technology improves efficiency. The human touch is also evident as he describes the scholarship fund: “It is my hope that the estate commitment opens the door so that academically qualified students who may have need for financial support can participate in the Sloan program. These students will not only reach full academic potential, but also upon graduation lead and enhance the oversight and operation of health care systems and improve health of the communities where they serve.”
Ballantyne’s gift will ultimately support numerous scholarships for deserving students and help the program maintain the momentum of its efforts to recruit more students from underrepresented groups.
“We are grateful beyond measure to Reg for this transformational gift in support of the Sloan Program,” said Colleen L. Barry, Inaugural Dean of the Brooks School. “It will greatly enhance our ability to prepare a diverse next generation of health care leaders. In turn, they will transform the lives of patients and their families in the U.S. and around the world.”
The first of its kind in the U.S., the Sloan Program prepares graduates with strong management skills and a deep understanding of the health care industry. It offers both a two-year residential master’s in health administration degree and an executive master’s through a hybrid learning approach.
“Reg is an example of what is possible with a Sloan degree,” said Sean Nicholson, director of the Program. “He is one of the nation’s foremost leaders in the health care field and he has combined that with an impressive record of public service and philanthropy. We deeply appreciate his financial support but at least as valuable is the example he sets for our students of patient-first, community-first excellence.”
In addition to leading health care corporations and enterprises, Ballantyne has held positions on national boards including the Board of Commissioners for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and Chairman of the AHA Committee of Commissioners. A Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Ballantyne is a recipient of the ACHE Gold Medal Award for management excellence. In addition, he received the Institute for Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee and the Hope Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and served as a state senate-confirmed member and then president of the Arizona Board of Education.
Ballantyne has also supported Cornell and the Sloan Program in a variety of ways. In 2013, he delivered the keynote address for the annual Wagner Memorial Dinner that is a highlight of Sloan’s graduation celebration weekend on campus.
Now he has another message for alumni: “I encourage Sloan and Cornell alumni to revisit the enormous benefit of the education they received as incentive to assist the next generation of students and alumni. It cannot be a secret that some students will be challenged to secure the funds necessary to cover the costs to attend an excellent academic institution. An increasing number of students are wary of taking on debt. Scholarships ensure that these students can manage the costs while receiving an excellent education. Not only will you be investing in the students, but also you are providing a legacy for those who follow.”