Randy Peterson’s Retirement

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Matthew L. Self

For the past six years, Stormont Vail has been headed by CEO and president Randy Peterson, but that will change next year as  Peterson announced his plans to retire at the end of March in 2019. Peterson is the fifth CEO to serve Stormont Vail since its inception in 1949. His announcement was met with much sadness as many in the local community have benefitted from his passionate leadership, including the athletics and nursing programs at Washburn, which he has been associated with since he became CEO of Stormont Vail.

Peterson’s experience and reputation for strong leadership led him to Topeka where he has improved greatly in terms of healthcare for Kansas and is recognized for extending the hospital’s number of participants to over 200,000 across central and eastern Kansas.

The Stormont Vail board of directors has announced that Peterson will be succeeded by Robert Kenagy, M.D., the current vice-president at Stormont Vail, and their Chief Medical Office will take the reins of leadership at the hospital in April. Many on Washburn’s campus and those who serve at Stormont are feeling positive about this change, as Kenagy brings an impeccable record of service to healthcare in the local community that extends from his previous experiences as CEO of Wichita’s Via Christi.

Peterson’s announced retirement plans leave some uncertain as to how the relationship between Washburn’s Athletic and Nursing departments will change with Stormont Vail when Kenagy takes over, as his background is different from Peterson’s.

Monica Scheibmeir, dean of the nursing department, expressed her appreciation for Peterson’s ability to solve problems and bring people together. Both are qualities she believes are much needed in today’s leaders.

“What I really appreciate about him is he was able to cut through all the stuff in a meeting and say ‘how can we make this a win-win for everybody?’ and I really appreciated his even-handedness. He has always been a supporter of the Allied Health Programs. He has made sure that the door is always open for us to use those sites as training sites,” Scheibmeir said.

Peterson has also helped to reshape the athletic programs at Washburn. In 2017, Washburn University and Stormont Vail agreed to a coalition that made Stormont the official sports medicine provider for Washburn athletics which was formally announced by an agreement between President Farley and Peterson last year.

“In Topeka, sometimes we struggle a little bit with community pride,” he said. “There’s two things in this town that are really, really good, and that’s education and health care. I think it’s ironic today that those two pillars are coming together in this kind of a partnership” Peterson said.

Scheibmeir went on further to explain how Peterson has affected Kansas and Washburn in a positive way.

“Mr. Peterson has strengthened Stormont Vail’s commitment to the local community. That has an indirect effect on campus and our programs because it helps provide consistent health services to the population that Stormont serves as well as Washburn”  Scheibmeir said. “He’s been a wonderful partner. Because he has a background as a physical therapist he also has a great appreciation for the importance of having good clinical training sites.”

While Peterson will be missed, his dedication has earned him the opportunity to retire.