WMU News

Distinguished hospital CEO addresses fellow English majors

April 13, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University alumna Sandra Bennett Bruce, whose distinguished career as a hospital administrator spans more than 30 years, will speak at the Western Michigan University Department of English awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Room 1021 of Brown Hall.

Thursday's program also includes the presentation of awards honoring the outstanding students in the English department during the past year. A reception follows the program, and both are free and open to the public.

Bruce earned a bachelor's degree with majors in English and history from WMU in 1967 and was named a Distinguished Alumni by the English department in 2004. She also holds a master's degree in health administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Bruce is the president and CEO of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, a 381-bed regional referral and trauma center serving about 500,000 people in southwestern Idaho, eastern Oregon, and northern Nevada. Saint Alphonsus is currently engaged in a $161-million effort to build the Center for Advanced Healing--a nine-story tower that will be one of the more advanced clinical environments in the Northwest United States.

Saint Alphonsus is a member of Trinity Health, the third largest Catholic health care system in the nation, with corporate offices in Novi, Mich.

In 1968, Bruce began her career in health care as a social worker at Berrien General Hospital in Berrien Center, Mich., and within five years, she had been promoted to assistant administrator. At age 27, she was named chief administrator, becoming one of the youngest, female hospital CEOs in the nation. After 20 years at Berrien General, she held two more positions as president and CEO at Michigan Health Systems and was elected chair of the Michigan Hospital Association, which represents nearly 300 hospitals and other providers.

Bruce is a former president and CEO of Mercy General Health Partners in Muskegon, Mich., a combined health care system formed through a joint operating agreement between the Muskegon Mercy Community Health Care System and Muskegon General Hospital. Mercy General Health Partners is now also a member of Trinity Health.

A board member of the Catholic Hospital Association, Bruce is one of five hospital CEO members of the American Hospital Association's 25-member Commission on Workforce, and chaired the AHA Section for Aging and Long Term Care Services. She is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives, the American College of Health Care Administrators, and the American Society for Aging.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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