The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award honors an individual for leadership and service to St. Thomas, the community and in his or her field of endeavor. This year’s recipient is Mary K. Brainerd ’79 MBA, a national expert in the health-care industry. For 15 years as president and CEO of HealthPartners, Brainerd led the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health-care organization in the country.

For more than three decades she held senior-level positions at HealthPartners and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. As a founder and former chair of the Itasca Project, which brings together government, civic and business leaders to address long-term regional issues, she demonstrates her ability to guide others in seeking to advance the common good.

“People might have a building or a facility, but I hope my legacy is my culture and values at HealthPartners,” Brainerd said. “It takes a huge village to shape a culture that has a strong set of values around compassion, is member centered and has integrity in the way we work.”

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