The late Dr. Theodore Heimarck always inspired his healthcare administration students to go above and beyond. The Concordia professor was known by his students and colleagues as a caring mentor, wise adviser, loyal friend and knowledgeable teacher.
Now some of his former students want to continue that legacy by starting an endowed chair in his name.
Heimarck may have never known how much his vision and program would influence the future of business at Concordia. His legacy is a part of the foundation on which the Offutt School of Business is being built.
“Dr. Heimarck was ahead of his time in shaping this program,” says Rebecca Rizzio, gift officer. “As a result, Concordia College’s Offutt School of Business stands poised to remain and excel as a frontrunner in educating leaders in healthcare.”
Heimarck founded the healthcare administration program in 1966. He mentored more than 500 graduates before retiring in 1998.
Many of his students have attained high-level, respected positions in healthcare management in the Upper Midwest. One alumnus is the CEO of Altru Health System. Another is the president and CEO of Fairview Red Wing Health Services. Still others are administrators, presidents, executives and CEOs at Boulder Community Hospital, St. Luke’s Health Network and Longmont United Hospital, among others.
One of these graduates, Chris Rustad '87, a Mayo Clinic Health System administrator, was profoundly impacted by Concordia’s mission statement, words he says Heimarck demonstrated.
“There are four key words that really impacted me: ‘influence,’ ‘thoughtful,’ ‘informed’ and ‘dedicated,’” he says. “Heimarck embodied all four of these words.”
Rustad remembers Heimarck teaching him the importance of being involved in the community.
“He taught that the more diverse your experiences, the more informed you will be when facing new challenges,” Rustad says.
Heimarck was Brenda Kirpach’s adviser. A 1990 graduate, Kirpach is an international project manager at the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research, Minneapolis. She remembers that Heimarck had so many resources on his desk that he would have to move a stack to have a conversation with her when she visited his office.
“He always had time for you and encouraged you to seek out information,” she says.
She also remembers how Heimarck looked after her needs when she had a family emergency. He called her at home to make sure she was OK and to tell her that he had taken care of all of her class work.
“It was very impressionable to me that he took personal time to reach out,” Kirpach says.
Heimarck died in 2007. The $2.5 million endowment in his name will be used to fund expenses for the healthcare administration program that Heimarck started.
“One man’s vision is seldom as inspiring and transformative as this man’s vision,” says Dr. Greg Cant, dean of the Offutt School of Business. “Let’s honor it.”
Those interested in giving to the endowment can contact Bruce Anderson, associate dean of the Offutt School of Business and director of the healthcare administration program, at (218) 299-3489 or Rebecca Rizzio, gift officer, at (651) 387-6047.
Story: Danielle Hance
Photo: Sheldon Green