Richard J Stephenson, founder and chairman of Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), was honored on Friday, March 31, 2017 by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization that recognizes the achievements of outstanding individuals and encourages youth to pursue their dreams through higher education. Selected for membership in the 2017 Class, along with such successful individuals as NFL Hall of Famer John Elway, ABC News Correspondent Byron Pitts and Auto Racing legend Roger Penske, Mr. Stephenson is widely recognized for his philanthropic efforts, global business leadership, and establishment of a new standard in personalized cancer care. For the last 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admirable leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversity, and who are committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.
Mr. Stephenson grew up in Sheridan, Ind., a small farming town of 1,200, and was raised with his brother, Michael, by loving and devoted parents who taught him to understand and follow a morally centered and principled way of life. Much of Mr. Stephenson’s childhood and early adulthood was devoted to caring for his brother who faced many lifelong health challenges. His dedication to helping those around him remains a driving force behind everything he pursues. An entrepreneur from a very early age, Mr. Stephenson would help his father with his work at a pharmacy and later took on various jobs around town—mowing lawns, collecting trash, distributing milk and delivering newspapers. His business acumen expanded in college, as he created a handyman services and consulting company, hiring college friends as part-time employees. After graduating from Wabash College, he started his own merchant banking firm before receiving his juris doctor degree from Northwestern Law School.
Mr. Stephenson quickly developed a highly successful international merchant banking career, building businesses and employing many thousands around the world. While his business grew, his family always took center stage in his life. When his beloved mother, Mary, endured a lengthy battle with cancer before succumbing to the disease, he witnessed firsthand through her painful journey the failure of health care providers to listen to her needs and put her care and concerns first. He noted, also, the lack of comprehensive, compassionate, innovative and integrated treatment options that took the whole person into account, and he vowed to change the face of cancer care in his mother’s memory.
In 1988, he opened his first CTCA® hospital and committed this new chapter in his life’s work to delivering cancer patients and their families what he aptly coined the Mother Standard® of care; the kind of care you would want for your loved one. Today, CTCA is a nationally recognized network of five regional medical centers providing a personalized, clinically outstanding, patient-centered Mother Standard® of care throughout the United States.
“My fellow Horatio Alger Members and I are pleased to welcome Richard to the Association,” remarked Byron Trott, president, Horatio Alger Association, and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “His entrepreneurial spirit and passionate commitment to caring for others are traits that both Scholars and Members can appreciate and strive to emulate. Richard’s entire career has been devoted to helping others rise above a different kind of adversity - cancer - providing them with the support, care and comfort needed to face this life-threatening challenge. We are confident that Richard will lend that same heart and dedication to the Association and we look forward to working alongside him.”
Mr. Stephenson also founded and supports five unique charities in each of the regions where his hospitals are located. The Assistance in Healthcare Foundation provides millions of dollars in important financial support to families in need of simple relief from the stressful, everyday expenses at home (i.e. rent, food, utilities). He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout in America, a 33° Scottish Rite Freemason, and a dedicated global philanthropist offering his time and talent to many non-profit organizations with a focus on liberty, private property, free markets and individual freedom. Additionally, in 1991, Mr. Stephenson created Gateway for Cancer Research, setting out on a personal quest to transform cancer research and care by empowering patients with integrative therapies and innovative treatment options. With more than $75 million raised since its inception, Gateway has funded more than 140 breakthrough clinical trials and directly benefitted thousands of cancer patients around the globe. One man’s personal mission has become a transformative beacon of hope for those diagnosed with cancer.
“Receiving the Horatio Alger Award means a great deal to me and my family, and I am grateful,” said Mr. Stephenson. “My mother inspired my career and as a strong supporter of education herself, I know she’d be very proud as I receive this honor. The loving ‘wind beneath my wings,’ my five dynamite children, eight grandchildren, and beautiful wife, Dr. Stacie Stephenson, share in this pride. The Horatio Alger Association is all about lifting people up and providing hope and support during their most challenging times. This has been my life’s mission and I look forward to working with my fellow Members to provide support for young people as they work to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams.”
Through its Members, the Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded them by the free enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, the Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need. Scholarships are funded solely through the generosity of Association Members, Life Partners and friends.
Mr. Stephenson and the Member Class of 2017 were formally inducted into the Association on March 31, 2017, during the Association’s 70th Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.
For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2017, please visit horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, the Association awards more than $12 million annually in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada and provides college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit horatioalger.org.
About Cancer Treatment Centers of America®
Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global, Inc. (CTCA), headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., is a national network of five hospitals that serves adult patients who are fighting cancer. CTCA® offers an integrative approach to care that combines advancements in genomic testing and precision cancer treatment, surgery, radiation, immunotherapy and chemotherapy, with evidence-informed supportive therapies designed to help patients physically and emotionally by enhancing their quality of life while managing side effects both during and after treatment. CTCA serves patients from around the world at its hospitals in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. Reflecting our patient-centered approach to cancer care, our patient satisfaction scores consistently rank among the highest in the country for cancer care providers, and CTCA is also rated one of the most admired hospital systems in the country in national consumer surveys. For more information, visit cancercenter.com, Facebook.com/cancercenter and Twitter.com/cancercenter.