Spring 2011 College of Health Sciences Commencement Speaker Announced

The College of Health Sciences is honored to announce Richard G. Sparks, President and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare Systems, Inc., as speaker for the Spring 2011 Commencement Ceremony. Commencement will be held at 1:00pm on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at Holmes Convocation Center.

RICHARD G. SPARKS, FACHE, President and CEO
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Inc.

Mr. Sparks is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. He has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Watauga Medical Center in Boone since 1989. He received his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University in Health Care Management in 1976 and in 1978 obtained his MBA from ASU. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and served on the ACHE Council of Regents from 1996 to 2000.

Watauga Medical Center, Blowing Rock Hospital and Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital make up an innovative team that is Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Working together, the hospitals are enhancing health care services available in the High Country while providing high quality, compassionate healthcare for the mountain region of northwest North Carolina and northeast Tennessee.

Mr. Sparks is Chair of the John A. Walker College of Business Advisory Council. He received the 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award from ASU, and in 2010, received the University’s Outstanding Service Award.

He served two terms on the policy committee for the North Carolina Hospital Association and a 3-year term on the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Hospital Association. In 1994 he was appointed by Governor Hunt to the North Carolina Health Planning Commission Committee on Community Health Districts. He also was selected by the Duke Endowment in 1994 to study the British National Health Service in London and Oxford, England.

He has served as Chair for the March of Dimes Boone March for Babies in 2007 and 2008, President of the Boone Rotary Club, Chair of the Watauga Chapter of the American Red Cross, and as a member of several community boards including the High Country United Way and trustee on the Board of Grandfather Home for Children. Mr. Sparks received the 2002 Alfred Adams Economic Development Award and in 2008 the distinguished Alfred Adams Leadership Award from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. Currently, he serves on the local Wachovia Bank board, and in 2009, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina School of Science and Math.

Mr. Sparks is regularly asked to speak to community leaders and healthcare professionals about the opportunities to work together as our healthcare delivery system changes. The College of Health Sciences is honored to have Mr. Sparks speak at the Spring 2011 commencement ceremony.

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