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Executive Leader of the Year Celebration Raises $300K for Scholarships

September 15, 2023

UHart honored Hartford HealthCare CEO Jeffrey Flaks at a Hursey Center reception on Sept. 8

Jeff Flaks headshot

A celebration at the University of Hartford honored the leadership of Hartford HealthCare CEO Jeffrey Flaks and raised $300,000 in scholarships to support students across all academic programs.

The Executive Leader of the Year Award reception on Sept. 8 drew more than 200 people from prominent businesses in the region, corporate partners, the health care industry, and the UHart community, and was held in the Hursey Center, the University’s newest academic building. 

The UHart event, now in its fifth year, honors a professional who has guided their organization and their industry with expertise and vision. Flaks was recognized for his many accomplishments within HHC and the health-care field, and is known as a pillar in the local business community who’s made a difference for UHart students and the state. He’s especially known for his steady leadership in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While he's in the health-care field, Flaks shared how important education has always been to his family. He noted that his parents were teachers, and reflected on his grandfather's experience as an immigrant to the United States who worked all day and earned his undergraduate degree at night for an entire decade as the first in his family to pursue higher education.

"That’s what this is about. It happened in the 1920s and it happens today. Higher education is the pathway for prosperity in this country, and higher education opens the doors for people who need opportunities, who are less fortunate. And I’m not standing here today if I didn’t have somebody who made unbelievable self-sacrifice," Flaks said.

"When I think about how we’re going to rebuild our state, create our future workforce, attract people to come to Connecticut, stay in Connecticut, and invest in Connecticut, having these cornerstone educational systems is absolutely crucial, and it’s why it's so important, and it’s why we continue to support all the educational systems, and in particular the University of Hartford, in this amazing project. This facility is worldclass."

UHart students have benefited from Flaks’ vision and generosity over the years, as HHC has provided and continued to expand experiential learning opportunities for the University’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions. The organization’s support also led to the creation of the Hursey Center’s Hartford HealthCare’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation—which Flaks toured during the reception. ENHP students gave demonstrations with lifelike mannikins that are a hallmark of the simulation suite.

Guests had an opportunity to tour the Hursey Center as well, from the nursing simulation space, to the robotic engineering lab, to the high bay which features a 20-ton crane, and meet students who study within those programs. 

When I think about how we’re going to rebuild our state, create our future workforce, attract people to come to Connecticut, stay in Connecticut, and invest in Connecticut, having these cornerstone educational systems is absolutely crucial, and it’s why it's so important, and it’s why we continue to support all the educational systems, and in particular the University of Hartford, in this amazing project. This facility is worldclass.

Jeffrey Flaks, president and chief executive officer at Hartford HealthCare

Scholarship Support for UHart Students

UHart Acting President Stephen Mulready M’77 expressed gratitude for the $300,000 in gifts raised in Flaks’ honor for scholarships, sharing that the funds will support the next generation of leaders, including some heading into the health-care field.

“The success of our students would not be possible without the support from all of you. These scholarships are transformative to so many of our students, and we are all eager to see where their career paths will lead beyond the University,” Mulready said. “Jeff, I’d like to personally thank you for your consistent support of UHart and our students. We are thrilled to be recognizing such a progressive and innovative leader in a technology-rich space built to support the growing careers of our students in engineering, technology, nursing, and healthcare.”

Don Allan ’86, chair of UHart’s Board of Regents and CEO and president of Stanley Black & Decker, noted that students must be career-ready when they graduate—both for their own success, and to support needs of the community in Hartford and beyond. Programs at UHart, with the support of local partners, make that possible.

Flaks says partnership is a foundational belief of HHC, and his organization is happy to contribute to the educational experience students receive today.

"From a Hartford HealthCare perspective, our ambition is to be force multiplier for good. I grew up in this state. This is the privilege of a lifetime to be in this role," he told guests. "I don’t want to waste a single day because I have an opportunity to try to work with the most amazing, brilliant people to advance healthcare, to advance the economic health of the community, and to advance the prosperity of so many people."

Take a look at the interactive networking event.