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Release: Dec. 29, 2000

UI Vice President John W. Colloton to retire Dec. 31 after 44 years at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- John W. Colloton will retire Sunday, Dec. 31 after serving in various roles at the University of Iowa over the past 44 years. Colloton has served in his current position, University Vice President for Statewide Health Services, since July 1, 1993.

Colloton is internationally recognized for visionary leadership as director and CEO of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) from 1971 to 1993. He is credited with developing the strategic concept and marshalling the resources -- both human talent and monetary support -- that enabled the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to develop from an institution whose service role was almost entirely indigent patient care into one of America's premier teaching hospitals.

When he departed the directorship in 1993, the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics had been transformed from a largely unknown institution to the "best of the best" Honor Roll of the nation's finest teaching hospitals as listed by U.S. News & World Report magazine. As a result, his counsel was sought by the U.S. government, national health associations, other colleges and universities, as well as Fortune 500 corporations.

"John Colloton brought great honor to our state," said Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. "His creativeness and tenacity in achieving a vision conceived in the early 1970s has left Iowans a health care resource that is envied everywhere in the nation. He is one of Iowa's most gifted leaders, and he has left a splendid legacy to future generations."

Under Colloton's direction, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics replaced 1920s era facilities with modern accommodations in a $500 million capital project that was phased over two decades. Incredibly, the replacement program was achieved without any state capital appropriation support. In 1982, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa named one of the new hospital buildings the "John W. Colloton Pavilion" in recognition of Colloton's leadership.

"We are fortunate that John Colloton invested his life and talents here at the University of Iowa," said UI President Mary Sue Coleman. "His contributions are already paying huge dividends to Iowans and their families, and that will continue well into the new century." Coleman added, "At a time when this state is focusing on retaining its young people, one only needs to cite the example of John Colloton -- a native of Mason City -- to illustrate the opportunity for Iowans to make significant, lasting marks in their home state after completing their collegiate education."

During his tenure as head of the UIHC, the number of patients served each year nearly doubled from 287,000 in 1978 to some 500,000 in 1993. Similarly, the number of staff at the UIHC more than tripled from 2,400 in 1970 to 7,500 in 1993. With this growth came the establishment of a remarkable number of new and highly specialized clinical services -- an average of 50 new services

per year, the investment of $150 million in state-of-the-art medical technology and substantial expansion of training and educational programs sponsored by the UIHC and the health colleges.

In addition to the massive capital projects and development of new state-of-the-art clinical services at University Hospitals, Colloton's tenure was marked by an emphasis on softening and humanizing the patient care environment. He helped create patient representative and volunteer programs to serve the needs of patients and their families that transcended health care. He was a catalyst for Project Art and other emphases on color and plants to soften the hospital's previously drab corridors and patient care areas. Separate facilities and patient care protocols for indigent patients were merged into one class of service for all patients, regardless of how the bill was to be paid.

In one of his several state and national leadership positions, Colloton was elected the first non-physician president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in 1988. In 1996, Dr. Robert G. Petersdorf, the highly renowned past-president of the AAMC in Washington, D.C., noted that "John Colloton was arguably the most effective hospital chief executive of his era. A brilliant administrator, he said grace over a $500 million phased building program, none of it at state expense, which left the UIHC with one of the best physical plants in the country. He was also a superb organizer, fund-raiser, politician and articulate spokesman for academic medicine."

Colloton served under nine university presidents, including three interim. At a celebration in 1999 establishing the John W. Colloton Chair in Health Management and Policy in the new College of Public Health, President Emeritus Willard L. "Sandy" Boyd, in commenting on Colloton's tenure, said "I learned early on that the best way to help John was to get out of his way. It was a pleasure to follow in his wake." Colloton served the Boyd administration from 1969 to 1981 and credits Boyd as the president who first gave him the opportunity to lead.

Colloton earned a graduate degree in 1957 from the UI Program in Hospital and Health Administration after completing an undergraduate degree at Loras College in Dubuque and serving two years in the U.S. armed forces in Germany.

"The University of Iowa provided me with first class graduate education in the emerging profession of hospital administration," said Colloton. "Fortunately for me, I also had an opportunity to work at the University of Iowa in its teaching hospital. I was privileged to serve with many highly talented individuals who united as a team. The challenge was exhilarating, and I am personally pleased to share in the pride of the collective accomplishments of many, many individuals. In addition to the superb education that my wife, Mary Ann (a College of Nursing alumna), and I received at the U of I, it is hard to imagine a more fulfilling professional and family life style than that which we and our three children have been privileged to live as part of the greater U of I family."

Honors and awards accorded to Colloton during what many call the "Golden Age" of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics include:

1979 He received the John F. Sanford Award of the Iowa State Medical Society for "leadership in development of innovative programs at UIHC and strengthening relations between the UIHC and the physicians of Iowa." He was also elected chairman of the National Council of Teaching Hospitals in 1979.

1982 The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, acknowledged his accomplishments in service to the state, the University of Iowa and the UIHC by naming a new $90 million hospital addition as the John W. Colloton Pavilion.

1983 He was appointed to the Congressional Office of Technology's Prospective Payment Assessment Commission.

1987 He was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

1988 The John W. Colloton Outstanding Student Award in the UI Graduate Program in Hospital and Health Administration was established. Also in 1988, Colloton was elected chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges, only the second non-physician in the 112-year history of the association.

1990 He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the American Hospital Association, the highest award of the AHA.

1991 He was elected as a Distinguished Service Member of the Association of American Medical Colleges

1994 He received the Iowa Hospital Association's F.P.G. Lattner Award "in recognition of his vision, foresight, and contributions to Iowa by his leadership in health care education, research, patient care and public policy through four decades of service."

1995 He received the American College of Health Care Executives Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Regents Award.

1996 He received the Loras College Distinguished Alumni Award for contributions in public service.

1998 He was inducted into the University of Iowa National Varsity Club and elected as an Honorary Letterwinner for "outstanding service and dedication to Hawkeye Athletics."

1999 The John W. Colloton Chair in Health Management and Policy funded with a $2 million endowment from contributions of Colloton's colleagues and friends was established in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Also in 1999, Colloton was the recipient of a University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award in Achievement for "significant accomplishments in professional life." Also in 1999, he was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from his undergraduate alma mater, Loras College.