Distinguished Alumni Award

Stephen L. Ummel 65MA

2007 Service Award

Stephen L. Ummel, 65MA, is regarded as something of a miracle worker in the complex and challenging healthcare industry.

Born and raised in Iowa, Ummel came to the University of Iowa as a graduate student, earning his M.A. in hospital and health administration in 1965. He began his career as assistant administrator for Ohio Valley Hospital in Steubenville, Ohio, before moving on to become vice president for administration and chief operating officer of Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Illinois. In 1973, he returned to the UI as associate director and chief operating officer for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC).

In this role, he provided exemplary support for John W. Colloton, UIHCs longtime executive director and CEO. Former UI president Willard Sandy Boyd says, In his professional career at the University of Iowa, Steve was a key partner with John Colloton in planning, funding, and accomplishing the rebuilding of UIHC. I consider that physical and funding accomplishment an administrative miracle.

Following subsequent positions as president and CEO at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, and Memorial Health Services in Long Beach, California, Ummel was appointed in 1989 as president and CEO of Lutheran General Health System (LGHS). One of Americas most highly regarded regional systems, LGHS includes more than 70 hospitals, clinics, and other service units throughout the Chicago area.

During Ummels six years in this role, his reputation as a successful leader grew steadily. His strategic thinking and leadership skills were pivotal in the consolidation of LGHS and the Evangelical Health System to create Advocate Health Care, which is now ranked consistently as one of Americas finest integrated healthcare systems.

In 1996, Ummel was recruited by Ernst & Young—one of the worlds largest consulting firms—to the newly created position of principal and national advisor on integrated delivery systems. Then, in 2003, Ummel was invited to join PricewaterhouseCoopers, which recruited him for a leadership role because of his unique balance of successful executive experience and proven consulting skills.

Despite the demands of his career, Ummel has maintained a strong commitment to higher education and to the University of Iowa. Since 1984, he has served as an adjunct faculty member in the UIs Department of Health Management and Policy in the College of Public Health, and as a founding member of the colleges board of advisors.

In addition, he has published numerous articles and given dozens of formal presentations on varied healthcare topics. For decades, he has served as preceptor for summer internships and post-graduate fellowships for students in health services administration, including UI graduates. As a mentor for many students starting out in his profession, Ummel is respected for his attentiveness and for his belief in honesty, integrity, and hard work.

Regarded as a transformative leader willing to challenge the status quo, Stephen Ummel has touched the lives of many people—from the patients he has helped to the students he has mentored. He clearly embodies the best of Iowa: a strong commitment to excellence, deeply held values, and a sincere interest in others.

Ummell is a bronze-level member of the UI Alumni Associations Old Capitol Club.

About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.

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With the start of a new year upon us, it's time to look back at your favorite University of Iowa stories from 2018. Here are Iowa Magazine's top 10 most-read articles of the year: The Nomadic Life (spring 2018) Hawkeye football favorite Paki O'Meara (10BA) finds ultimate freedom in backpacking around the world, taking photos that inspire a sense of wonder. PHOTO COURTESY PAKI O'MEARA Kinnick at 100 (summer 2018) This past summer marked two historically significant dates for Hawkeye fans: the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nile Kinnick (40BA), and the 75th anniversary of his tragic death. In memory of Iowa's favorite son, scholar, and Ironman, we look back on his life and legacy. Ahead of the Game (spring 2018) The Iowa football team becomes the first in the nation to equip the majority of its players with a state-of-the-art new helmet designed to improve player safety. PHOTO: MARK STASTNY Hollywood U (fall 2018) Alumni success in TV and film shines the spotlight on Iowa's? flourishing screenwriting program. ILLUSTRATION: FABIEN GILBERT / ARTISTIQUE INTERNATIONAL Mountain Roots (spring 2018) Nearly 80 years ago, an unlikely UI mountain-climbing club emerged from the cornfields of Iowa to become one of the most active in the world. Now the next generation of outdoorsmen continue in their Hawkeye family's footsteps. PHOTO COURTESY EBERT FAMILY The Secrets of Sleep (fall 2018) UI doctors and researchers work to shine light on the third of our lives we spend in the dark. Illustration: John Emigh Fry's Dream Team (fall 2018) FRYFest honors Hayden Fry's legendary 1983 coaching tree. PHOTO: UI ATHLETICS Going the Distance (spring 2018) UI-trained dentist Deb Carneol (92DDS) completes seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. PHOTO: MARK CONLON/WORLDMARATHONCHALLENGE.COM At 105, Our Oldest Hawkeye? (spring 2018) Catherine Shaw Shors (35BSC), who earned her business degree from Iowa more than eight decades ago, celebrated a milestone birthday in May. 1936 HAWKEYE YEARBOOK A Heroic Homecoming (spring 2018) Avengers: Infinity War director Joe Russo (92BA) receives a superhero's welcome at his alma mater. PHOTOS: Justin Torner

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