Tersigni, Artist Brother Mel Meyer, Philanthropists Marvin and Harlene Wool to Receive Honorary Degrees
ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University will celebrate its 2011 commencement Saturday, May 21, at Chaifetz Arena. Dr. Anthony Tersigni, one of the most powerful and influential leaders in health care today, will address this year’s graduates.
As president and CEO of Ascension Health Inc., Tersigni oversees the nation’s largest Catholic health care system, and the third largest system overall. The St. Louis-based organization includes more than 113,000 associates, serving in more than 500 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
“Dr. Tersigni has made it his mission to transform health care one hospital at a time,” said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. “His vision stems from his own strong sense of purpose, his belief in God and his devotion to others, particularly those who are less fortunate.”
|Dr. Anthony Tersigni|
The system Tersigni leads is driven by a mission to provide the highest quality care to all, regardless of income. Last year, Ascension Health provided $1.08 billion in care to those who are poor. Equally committed to preventive care, Ascension Health announced plans earlier this year to conduct a nearly $3 million study to determine best practices to reduce or eliminate birth complications.
Tersigni was appointed to his current post in 2004. Prior to that, he served as Ascension Health’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. His illustrious career, which spans more than 25 years, also includes senior leadership positions with numerous other health care organizations, including the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems in Cincinnati.
Additionally, Tersigni is the chairman of the Catholic Health Association of the United States and serves on the boards of the Healthcare Leadership Council, the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care and the National Catholic Bioethics Center. He has been named one of Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” for five consecutive years.
Tersigni holds a doctorate in the field of leadership/organizational development from Western Michigan University and since 1985, has been a clinical professor of health and behavioral sciences at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
During the commencement ceremony, Biondi will confer honorary degrees upon Tersigni as well as St. Louis artist Brother Mel Meyer, S.M., and longtime SLU supporters Marvin and Harlene Wool.
Brother Mel Meyer, S.M.
|Brother Mel Meyer, S.M.|
Brother Mel Meyer, S.M., is a celebrated and prolific artist who has created more than 10,000 works of art, including a large memorial to Korean War veterans near the Jewel Box in St. Louis’ Forest Park. SLU is home to a number of his pieces as well, including sculptures in its Ellen Clark Sculpture Park. Meyer’s studio is located on the St. John Vianney High School campus in Kirkwood, Mo., where nearly 200 of his sculptures dot the property.
“The true magnitude of Brother Mel’s contribution to the world of art and the spirituality of Catholicism cannot be understated,” Biondi said. “His works have given us a fresh way of experiencing faith, nature and life itself.”
Meyer became a member of the Society of Mary in 1947, and he began his Marianist ministry as an English teacher. In 1958, the order asked him to design a stained glass window for the Chaminade College Preparatory School chapel in St. Louis and sent him to Paris for inspiration. Meyer spent the next year in Europe, traveling 14,000 miles on a motor scooter to visit cathedrals, chapels and art museums.
Although not every piece is commissioned for religious institutions, Meyer has said all of his work is religious in nature and credits his religious life as the source of his creative inspiration. Meyer’s works sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, and proceeds go to the Marianist order to further its religious mission. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Dayton University in Ohio and master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Marvin and Harlene Wool
|Marvin and Harlene Wool|
Marvin and Harlene Wool are noted philanthropists, whose generosity has enhanced educational, religious and arts institutions in St. Louis and beyond.
“Despite their countless achievements, accomplishments and accolades, the Wools choose to lead a quiet life — one centered on family, faith and community,” Biondi said. “This compassionate couple exemplifies SLU’s Ignatian spirit.”
A two-time SLU alumnus, Marvin Wool earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1948 and his MBA in 1956. He is the founder, president and CEO of DASH Multi-Corp., a diversified group of manufacturing companies, active in plastic raw materials, textiles and flooring products. The St. Louis-based corporation employs more than 700 people around the country.
The Wools have used their great success to benefit others. They are active supporters of the Jewish community. The campus of the B’Nai El Congregation in St. Louis County is named in their honor, and the Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center serves as the home of the New Jewish Theatre.
The Wools also are generous benefactors of Saint Louis University. On May 13, SLU dedicated the Marvin and Harlene Wool Center, which is home to a number of administrative and support units, to recognize the couple's generosity and longstanding loyalty to the University. Marvin Wool has been a member of the Saint Louis University board of trustees since 2006.
Saint Louis University’s 2011 commencement begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at Chaifetz Arena, One Compton Ave. on the SLU campus.
For more information about this year’s commencement activities, visit www.slu.edu/commencement.xml.