Dr. Toby Cosgrove, MD, former CEO and current executive advisor to the Cleveland Clinic, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Science on Saturday, May 14 at Clarkson University’s Spring 2022 Commencement.
The degree was awarded “for his innovative contributions to the development of our nation’s health care system, his transformational leadership of the Cleveland Clinic, and his dedication to patient-centered service and quality of patient care.”
Cosgrove spoke about failure and told graduates that, “By this time, most of you should have sampled a little failure. For those who haven’t, be patient. It’s coming.”
“Failure is a great teacher. True failure comes when you fail to rise up and try again. Only those who dare to fail can ever achieve much,” said Cosgrove . “This is how you handle your failures that will define and determine your success. Dream a grand; pursue your dream tirelessly, and don’t be afraid of failure.”
Cosgrove also serves as Strategic Advisor to Care Centrix, Senior Consultant at Innova Health Partners, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, American Well and Hims & Hers. As an expert on health issues, he is a frequent commentator in national and international media.
As CEO and President of the Cleveland Clinic from 2004 to 2017, Cosgrove led the $8 billion organization to new heights of achievement and efficiency, ranking it as the #2 hospital in America by U.S. News & World Report. In his role as Executive Advisor, he is working with Cleveland Clinic leadership on strategies for national and international development.
Cosgrove graduated from Williams College and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brooke General Hospital in London. In 1967, he was a surgeon in the US Air Force, earning a Bronze Star.
Cosgrove joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1975, and chaired the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery from 1989 to 2004. He performed over 22,000 operations and earned an international reputation in valve repair. He holds 30 patents for medical innovations. As CEO from 2004 to 2017, he reorganized services, improved outcomes and patient experiences, and strengthened the organization’s finances.
He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. In 2016, he was the Fortune Businessperson of the Year (No. 14). He has been consulted by three consecutive Presidents of the United States on health issues.