Paying it Forward
| USF News
George Morgan, the retired COO of US Oncology, was at the Bulls Big East basketball tournament in New York City in March when a business lunch put the wheels in motion for a move from retirement back to active corporate leadership. Less than eight weeks later, the USF alumnus (BA '76) was named president and CEO of Minnesota-based Virtual Radiologic (vRad), a national radiology practice and the largest telemedicine company in the world.
"This feels so energizing," says Morgan, from his new office near Minneapolis, Minn. "I am very excited about our company and what we can do to improve healthcare delivery."
Just five years earlier, after a successful career serving the healthcare industry, Morgan and his wife, Jane, had returned to their dream home on Sarasota's Siesta Key, looking forward to a busy and fulfilling retirement. "I was very happy golfing, fishing and supporting USF as my main activities," Morgan says. "It was not an empty life."
Quite the contrary. As he reconnected with his alma mater, and in particular, the College of Business, Morgan remained committed to giving back to the institution he credits with enabling him to be successful. Today, he sits on the advisory board of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship, is a member of the boards of the USF Foundation and the USF Research Foundation, and chairs the executive advisory council for the dean of the College of Business.
"Being involved at the various levels allows you to get better insight into the university — the issues challenging it, and where USF wants to go," he says. "Foundation fundraising is essential to USF's future."
It was that insight that helped steer the couple's decision to pledge a $2 million gift in the early phase of the USF: Unstoppable campaign. Half of the planned gift is earmarked for scholarships in the College of Business, and half for USF Athletics.
It wasn't their first major gift to the university. In 2002, during a football game in Houston, George and Jane learned about the program's greatest needs from former USF athletic director Lee Roy Selmon and development officer Joe Tomaino. While giving Tomaino a lift back to the airport, they pledged $50,000 to establish the university's first endowed football scholarship.
Jane, an active Florida State University alumna (BS '82), says it was paying for her own college education that helped foster her belief in the concept of paying it forward — a belief she shares with George.
"We strive to repay the many blessings we received from our respective alma maters by helping others achieve success through a college education and lifelong friendships," she says. "Our time as students was just the beginning of our relationships with both institutions — the sense of family among faculty, students, alumni, administration and other professionals, as well as within the donor community, is a very rewarding part of our daily lives."
As they relocate to the Twin Cities, making Florida their second home once again, George looks forward to the opportunity to reach out to and re-energize some transplanted Bulls.
"We all have priorities in our lives, and first is family. But we should also step back and see what and who influenced us to be able to give back to the place that helped us succeed," he says. "While it may not be time now to do something financially, there's always a way to get involved and contribute."
"Campaign Chair Les Muma often says 'Life is about learning, earning and returning.' I think it's time we get back to that."