President Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. St. Luke’s Health-Memorial has long been served by influential men and women who volunteer their time to serve on the Board of Directors, leading the organization through transition with wisdom and grace, and providing the more than 1,500 employees across East Texas with what they need to care for the communities they serve. After more than a decade of dedicated service, Jack C. Sweeny will retire from the St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Board of Directors.
Beginning in 2004, Sweeny helped strengthen and lead the organization to its position in East Texas as an outstanding community partner and a leader in state-of-the-art, quality health care.
“Jack was instrumental in the expansion and improvements of the hospital. He always strived to do what was best for the hospital and for our community, and his passion for providing quality health care for East Texas is unsurpassed,” said former board member Jay Shands.
Sweeny, retired Group Vice President of Building Products for Temple-Inland, Inc., served on the hospital’s Board of Directors for 12 years, including the Executive Committee. He was named 2nd Vice Chair in 2007 and 2008; 1st Vice Chair for 2009 and 2010; and Chairman of the Board for 2011 through 2014.
His guidance was evident during the strategic planning process which ultimately aligned the four-hospital system with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI).
When the letter of intent was signed to transfer ownership of Memorial to CHI in 2014, Sweeny said, “We didn't want to be an average hospital that provided average care. We wanted to be the best.” And that mentality and perseverance is what stands out when colleagues speak of Mr. Sweeny.
“Jack has provided multiple contributions to the hospital over the years he has served on the board, but it was his leadership while we were looking for a partner for the hospital – which ultimately led to our affiliation with St. Luke’s Health – that was critical to the current and future success of the hospital system,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors Jay Glick. “Jack always kept the local community at the forefront of his thinking as we’ve aimed to position the hospital to provide enhanced, more leading-edge healthcare to the people of East Texas.”
“Jack’s excellent business experience and sound judgment were always helpful in bringing a sound financial focus to the board's planning efforts,” Glick said. “He worked closely with the board and with CHI to make sure all parties were pleased with the final outcome.”
“I am grateful for Jack’s service as Chairman of the board when we began our partnership with Memorial,” said Kevin E. Lofton, Chief Executive Officer for Catholic Health Initiatives. “The time and effort he gave to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the hospital system, East Texas community and CHI cannot be overstated.”
“Jack has an obvious passion for his community and for making sure the people of East Texas have quality, affordable health care,” said Michael Covert, Chief Executive Officer for St. Luke’s Health. “He understood the challenges of the ever-evolving health care landscape and helped position Memorial to be an enduring community partner for years to come.”
In his professional life, Sweeny was known as a successful businessman with the formerly named Temple-Inland, Inc. He served as Group Vice President of Building Products; President and Chief Executive Officer of Temple-Inland FPC., a subsidiary of Temple-Inland Inc.; Vice President of Forest Operations of Temple-Inland FPC; and Executive Vice President of Forest. He then bestowed that expertise on the Memorial board.
“Jack served as Memorial Board President during a critical period in the hospital’s history,” said Ellen Temple. “Two of the leadership qualities Jack possesses—loyalty and courage— were just pivotal at that time. He was totally committed to the hospital’s non-profit mission and he had the courage to focus on that mission and see it through.”
Also during his time of service, Memorial opened its doors to the Temple Imaging Center in 2004, the patient tower and Medical Arts Pavilion buildings at Livingston in 2007, and the area's first and only dedicated heart and stroke care facility in 2009. Additionally, millions of dollars were invested in capital improvements and state-of-the-art technology, including three robotic surgical systems and the new linear accelerator in the Temple Cancer Center.
St. Luke’s Health-Memorial and the Board of Directors wishes to thank Sweeny for his time, knowledge, experience and foresight and wishes him well in his retirement.