Present and Future

UTHSC Graduates 700 Health Care Professionals

Memphis, Tenn. (May 10, 2010) - On Friday, May 28, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will graduate 700 health care professionals.  The spring graduation ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. at FedEx Forum, 191 Beale Street.  Steve J. Schwab, MD, interim chancellor of UT Health Science Center, will preside over the ceremony.  Jan Simek, interim president of the University of Tennessee, will confer the degrees.

Harry Jacobson, MD, former Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and former CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, will deliver the commencement address to the graduates and their families.  His remarks are titled, "Health Care is a Team Sport." Dr. Jacobson, a nephrologist and health care entrepreneur, retired from Vanderbilt in 2009 after more than 12 years as CEO.  He has been described as an out-of-the-box thinker, an inspiring leader with the ability to energize people, and a visionary physician-scientist who is as comfortable in the corporate boardroom as he is in the laboratory.

During his tenure as CEO, Dr. Jacobson pursued an ambitious, multi-pronged strategy that has been summed up in one word: growth.  Under his leadership, Vanderbilt Medical Center (VMC) cut costs, negotiated better reimbursement rates for patient care, and the center quadrupled its annual research funding to more than $400 million.  VMC's performance reportedly exceeded expectations by almost every measure - annual net revenue, the number of faculty and staff, space for research and patient care, and national rankings.  He was also instrumental in establishing a $10 million "Chancellor's Fund," which in conjunction with the university's technology transfer office, helped launch 18 companies.

Dr. Jacobson earned his medical degree at the University of Illinois in Chicago.  He continued his training through a nephrology fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas.  Recruited to Vanderbilt in 1985, within a decade he had moved up to the executive suite as deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs. Along the way, he held more than $1.5 million in active grant support, published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and a textbook on kidney disease, served on and chaired national advisory committees, and explored the corporate side of medicine through such companies as Nashville's Renal Care Group, which he co-founded.

The 700 graduates who will receive Dr. Jacobson's commencement message are from all six of the UT Health Science Center's colleges and from the UT College of Social Work.  The College of Social Work reports to the UT Knoxville campus, not to UTHSC, but a branch of the college is located in Memphis.  The number of graduates from each UTHSC college are: