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75th Anniversary Celebration Highlights Success of Master of Health Administration

On Thursday, March 23, Saint Louis University’s nationally-ranked Master of Health Administration (MHA) program held an event to officially celebrate its 75th year.

The evening featured testimonials from alumni, community leaders, students and university leadership which highlighted the depth of global impact that the MHA program has had over nine decades. 

The event program sits on a centerpiece of flowers on a table. Launch SlideshowThe event program sits on a centerpiece of flowers on a table.

The program’s spirit of innovation, which continues still today, began in 1947, when Fr. John J. Flanagan, S.J., then Catholic Health Association (CHA) executive director, saw a need to train people to manage a quickly-expanding network of hospitals in the years following World War II.

Innovation was also a consistent theme through the evening from each speaker who represented a piece of the MHA program’s past, present, and future. From the program’s origins, the vision was to form values-based leaders who show how one’s gifts can be placed at the service of others. Speakers throughout the evening made note of the constant contributions that SLU MHA alumni have made to the landscape of healthcare throughout the St. Louis area, and beyond. 

The list of speakers included a blessing from Deacon Bill Kessler (MHA ‘68), speeches from Department Chair of Health Management and Policy Fr. Michael Rozier, S.J., Ph.D., student Gauri Kaushal (MHA ‘24), the College for Public Health and Social Justice’s Interim Dean Ellen Barnidge, Ph.D., President & CEO of SSM Health Laura Kaiser (MHA ’85), and a special presentation from Saint Louis University President Dr. Fred P. Pestello.

Phillip Edward Sowa (MHA ‘73) was awarded with the Alumni Merit Award for his significant contributions to growing healthcare administration in and around Saint Louis University while leading many systems, including Saint Louis University Hospital. Sowa also led hospitals during significant emergencies, including a San Francisco earthquake in 1989 and Hurricane Katrina’s landing in New Orleans in 2005.

The program’s long history means that it has one of the largest alumni networks in the country.

To learn more about the SLU MHA program and history, please consider one of the following.

Enjoy the 75th Anniversary Celebration: We’ve created a Flickr album with pictures from the evening, so please check them out. You can also take a look at a short video we made to celebrate this important anniversary.

Support the Program: Many alumni are celebrating the 75th anniversary by making a gift to support current and future MHA students at SLU. If you have not had a chance to contribute yet, please consider making a gift to the MHA 75th Anniversary Campaign or the HMP Case Competitions fund.

Stay in Touch: We plan to stay in more regular touch with all our alumni.  Please make sure we have your most recent mailing address and other contact information by updating it here and please consider joining our HMP alumni LinkedIn page, where we post quite a bit of news.

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States. Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the college offers nationally recognized programs in public health and health administration.