LOS ANGELES – The University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development has honored Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder, FACHE, with the 2007 Guardian Award for alumni service in recognition of his visionary leadership in the community he serves. Van Gorder earned his master’s in public administration from USC in 1986.
The award, which was presented Oct. 9 at the second annual Alumni Guardian Awards dinner recognizes USC’s “Guardians” – three alumni – who Plato described in The Republic as leaders who were “lovers of truth, wisdom, and all knowledge,” and who would govern for the common good.
“I am sincerely honored to receive this recognition for alumni service,” said Van Gorder. “Careers are built with lots of help – I am grateful for the university’s faculty and community leaders for providing the opportunities which allow me and fellow alumni to give back and mentor others.”
Van Gorder, a former police officer and EMT, volunteers his time and skills as a reserve commander with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Unit. In 2006, he volunteered more than 1,000 hours to search and rescue efforts in San Diego County, and he assisted in 26 out of the 33 total recorded rescues. He also assists the search and rescue team with training new volunteers. In addition, as an instructor for the Red Cross, he certifies Scripps employees in CPR, first aid and emergency response.
In 2005, Van Gorder formed the Scripps Medical Response Team and led 70 Scripps physicians, nurses and support staff to Houston at the request of the U.S. Public Health Service to provide medical aid to displaced survivors of Hurricane Katrina. He also has established a Scripps office of disaster preparedness to commit the organization to sustained emergency planning. He began his career as a police officer in Los Angeles County.
The SPPD Alumni Association created the Guardian Awards to recognize alumni and friends of USC whose personal and professional achievements advance the mission of the school to help improve public problem solving and to make practical contributions toward the betterment of communities.