Award for Global Engagement

2007 Recipient

Vernon E. Weckwerth

Dr. Vernon E. Weckwerth, professor in the School of Public Health, has made it his life's work to improve the delivery of health services throughout the world. He is motivated by the fundamental belief that health is a basic human right and that a healthy society is a peaceful society.

A pioneer in the field of global education, he developed the University's ISP Executive Study Programs in health care administration in 1969, the first of its kind for the field. The ISP enhances health care leadership throughout the world by engaging top-level health care executives who are unable to take time away from their professional careers to attend an on-campus educational program. The curriculum is offered almost entirely abroad, under the philosophy that networking and mentoring in the student’s home region is of the utmost value. Under his leadership, the program has built outstanding leaders in more than 150 healthcare organizations on five continents. Professor Weckwerth’s students have risen to great heights in their careers, becoming hospital CEOs and even national health ministers.

His students have described his devotion to the ISP program as inspirational, passionate, humble, and selfless. For each student he has recruited from abroad, he has ensured that each student received exceptional support and ongoing personal contact. He is an influential mentor and teacher. Each year he conducts ISP International Regional Seminars in up to a dozen countries, to allows ISP students to attend the regional seminars without having to travel to the U.S.

Over the past five decades as a University faculty member, Professor Weckwerth has not lost his pioneering spirit. In 2005, he launched the Hong Kong-based ISP Asia to meet the needs of executives in the booming Asian health care sector. The success and stability of hospitals and health care systems around the world can be traced directly to Professor Weckwerth and his critical role in educating locally based healthcare administration professionals.

Professor Weckwerth spent his entire educational career at the University of Minnesota, where he started out as an undergraduate (math and education ’54) and continued on to earn his master’s (biostatistics and math ’56) and Ph.D. (biostatistics and public health ’63). He has served as a faculty member in the School of Public Health for 53 years. In addition, he hold appointments in the Medical School and adjunct appointments in the Humphrey Institute, College of Pharmacy, and School of Nursing. He has represented the University in many professional organizations, including the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, attending every annual meeting since 1969.