WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, M.D., president and CEO, Cleveland Clinic, has been selected for membership in the prestigious organization. Dr. Cosgrove joins 12 other accomplished business and civic leaders from across North America in receiving this honor in 2016. Since its establishment in 1947, the Horatio Alger Award is annually bestowed upon recognized leaders who have succeeded, despite facing adversity, and who are committed to both philanthropy and higher education.
Dr. Cosgrove grew up in Watertown, NY, and struggled as an adolescent to earn C's and D's in his public school classroom. However, with determination and strong work ethic he was later able to attend Williams College, where he studied history. It wasn't until much later in life that Dr. Cosgrove was diagnosed with dyslexia, which he credits with helping him develop a knack for creative problem solving. After college, he applied to 13 medical schools and was only accepted to one – the University of Virginia School of Medicine, from which he graduated in 1966. Dr. Cosgrove was told during his residency that he did not "have what it takes" to pursue cardiac surgery as a specialty, but through hard work and perseverance, he would later become a world renowned heart surgeon, performing more than 22,000 operations throughout his career. Early in his career, Dr. Cosgrove served as a U.S. Air Force surgeon in Da Nang, Vietnam, and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal in honor of his service. In 1975, Dr. Cosgrove joined the Cleveland Clinic, a "nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education." In 1989, Dr. Cosgrove was named chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and in 2004, he was appointed president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. Under his leadership, the Clinic has been ranked as one of the nation's top hospitals for more than a decade, and 2015 marks the 21st consecutive year that its heart program has ranked as the best in the United States. Dr. Cosgrove retired from surgery in 2006 as one of the most distinguished and accomplished cardiac and thoracic surgeons of all time. He continues, however, to lead the Cleveland Clinic.
"Dr. Cosgrove exemplifies the principles upon which Horatio Alger Association was built," said Byron Trott, president and CEO, Horatio Alger Association and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "His determination to succeed – even after others told him his dreams were impossible – is inspirational, and his dedication to philanthropy and bettering the lives of others is admirable. We are proud to welcome such an outstanding individual as a lifetime Member of the Association, and I have no doubt that Dr. Cosgrove will serve as an exceptional role model to our Scholars."
As an active civic leader, Dr. Cosgrove believes that philanthropy is crucial to both the future of medicine and the nation. With his encouragement, the Cleveland Clinic supports hunger centers, local schools and apprenticeship programs in nursing and biology. He is a trustee at Dar Al Fouad Hospital, a healthcare facility that provides outpatient care to communities in Egypt and the Middle East.
In accepting this award, Dr. Cosgrove commented, "I have always believed that with hard work, one can overcome any obstacle. It is my honor to accept membership in an organization that is so deeply committed to helping deserving young people who show great promise in striving for their fullest potential. I look forward to meeting and interacting with the Association's Scholars and supporting them as they discover their own personal and professional paths to success."
Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced numerous challenges and have displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming them. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $110 million to students in need. Scholarships are funded solely through the generosity of Association Members, Life Partners and friends.
Dr. Cosgrove and the Member Class of 2016 will be officially welcomed into the organization during the 69th Annual Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C., from March 31-April 2, 2016. In addition to recognizing these tremendous leaders, Horatio Alger Association will also honor its 2016 National Scholarship recipients, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and learn from one another.
For more information about Horatio Alger Association and a full list of its Class of 2016, please visit www.horatioalger.org.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity and pursue their dreams through higher education. Thanks to their generosity, the Association awards more than $11 million annually in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada and provides college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $110 million in college scholarships to more than 22,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.
SOURCE Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.