Cleveland Clinic’s Toby Cosgrove, renowned heart surgeon and 13-year hospital CEO, named Case Western Reserve University’s 2018 commencement speaker

Photo of Toby CosgroveToby Cosgrove, MD, the innovative health care leader who extended Cleveland Clinic’s reach from Abu Dhabi to London in 13 years as CEO, will address Case Western Reserve’s graduates May 20 as the university’s 2018 commencement speaker.

Cosgrove, who now serves as the hospital’s executive adviser after stepping down as CEO Dec. 31, also grew the hospital system here into the state’s largest employer, with more than 50,000 caregivers. He launched Cleveland Clinic’s office of patient experience, transformed a traditional departmental model into one featuring related fields in interdisciplinary institutes, and focused relentlessly on improving patient outcomes.

“Toby Cosgrove’s impact on patients, Cleveland Clinic and our broader community cannot be overstated,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “His experiences and achievements make him ideally suited to inspire our graduates as they embark on their own journeys.”

Cosgrove came to Cleveland Clinic in 1975 after serving as a surgeon in Vietnam and training in Boston and London. During his career he performed 22,000 operations and secured 30 patents for products to improve surgical experiences and results. Cosgrove led the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery for 15 years—10 of which saw U.S. News & World Report rank the program the best in the country.

On his first day as CEO in 2004, Cosgrove handed out hundreds of buttons with the saying, “Patients First”—his own philosophy of health care.

During the next 13 years, Cleveland Clinic effectively doubled its revenue (from $3.7 billion to $8.5 billion), research funding (from $121 million to $260 million) and number of physician-scientists (from 1,800 to 3,400). Under Cosgrove’s direction, Cleveland Clinic increased its patient visits from 2.8 million to 7.1 million, opened new medical facilities in Florida, Nevada, Toronto and Abu Dhabi, and raised more than $2 billion in philanthropic support.

Cosgrove will address roughly 5,000 graduates, guests and university officials during Case Western Reserve’s convocation at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 20, in the Veale Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center.

For more information, including parking, shuttles, ceremony schedules, how to volunteer and more, please visit case.edu/commencement.