Wagner Receives Honorary Ph.D.

[by Phyllis Shaikun]

Henry C. “Hank” Wagner, former CEO of Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services, received an honorary Ph.D. in Public Service from the University of Louisville on September 16. Now living in Florida much of the time, Wagner was both pleased and honored to be recognized by the university, along with former governor, Paul Patton, for their work on the Bucks for Brains project that continues to bring outstanding researchers to the local community. 

University President James Ramsey was secretary of finance under then Governor Patton at the time the program evolved and was able to determine how bonds could be used to underwrite the costs. Wagner also made it clear that current Jewish Community of Louisville Transition CEO, Ron Greenberg, who headed the Council on Higher Education at the time, was also instrumental in making the program happen.

“It was a wonderful day,” said Wagner. After having lunch with famed heart surgeon Layman Gray, M.D. at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (CII), there was a robing ceremony at the University Club followed by a processional led by Ramsey to the School of Music. Approximately 500 people, including the full faculty, were in attendance. A reception followed at the University Club and a dinner party was held later in the evening at Amelia Place, Ramsey’s home on Longest Avenue.

“I found the event nostalgic and humbling,” said Wagner. He and his wife, Donna, were benefactors of the Conference Center at the CII, which was named in their honor. The citation accompanying his degree reads in part: “To Henry C. Wagner for your relentless commitment and untiring dedication to the development of a health care consortium where education, medical research and business would come together to provide medical discoveries and quality patient care for all citizens of our community demonstrating the visionary leadership you provided to Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville for more than three decades…

In recognition of your unwavering dedication to accessible quality health care for the public, the University of Louisville takes great pride in awarding you the degree of Doctor of Public Service (honoris causa).

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