This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.


July 28, 2003

Medical Researcher, Aetna CEO
Named Board Chairman

Gov. John G. Rowland has appointed Dr. John W. Rowe, one of the nation's outstanding medical researchers and academic leaders and chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc., chairman of the University of Connecticut's Board of Trustees.

Rowe's six-year term on the Board became effective July 1. He succeeds Roger A. Gelfenbien.

Image: Dr. John Rowe

Dr. John Rowe

A native of Jersey City, N.J., Rowe is a graduate of Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. He received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1970. During his career, he has served as clinical associate at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; research clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School; professor of medicine and founding director of the Division on Aging at Harvard Medical School; and chief of gerontology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

From 1988 to 1998, Rowe was president of The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and from 1998 to 2000, president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai NYU Health.

He has authored more than 200 scientific publications, mostly on the physiology of the aging process, and a leading textbook on geriatric medicine. Rowe has received numerous academic honors and awards, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

As chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc. since 2000, he heads one of Connecticut's and the nation's leading corporations. For the past year, he has served as a member of the UConn Health Center Board of Directors.

President Philip E. Austin expressed his appreciation to the Governor for this appointment. "Dr. Rowe brings an extraordinary wealth of academic and business experience to the leadership of the Board," Austin said. "At this critical moment in the University's history, as we continue our progress on multiple fronts, his guidance will be of tremendous value."

In accepting the appointment, Rowe said, "UConn has made dramatic investments to renew the University, and I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with those who have been at the forefront of these positive changes."

Gelfenbien, who became chairman of the Board in 1997, was a tireless advocate for the University. During his tenure, progress continued on UConn 2000; and 21st Century UConn, the $1.3 billion program to continue the transformation of the University and its campuses was enacted. Both public and private fund raising grew dramatically, as did student enrollment.

Another departing member of the Board, Claire Leonardi, also played a significant role in the University's recent progress. During her tenure, among other positions, she chaired the Board's Financial Affairs Committee, and later the Health Affairs Committee. Following creation of the Health Center Board of Directors, Leonardi became its chair. She will continue to serve as a member of the Health Center Board.

Rowland also appointed Thomas D. Ritter, the former Speaker of the state House of Representatives, to the Board. Ritter is a 1977 graduate of the UConn School of Law.

Austin said Ritter is a "longstanding friend of the University. As a legislative leader, Mr. Ritter was instrumental in securing passage of UConn 2000, and in the years since then he has continued to play an important role at this institution, most recently as a member of the University of Connecticut Foundation Board of Directors."

Austin said he is "delighted and grateful that the Governor has chosen two of Connecticut's most outstanding citizens to serve on the Board."

Ritter has been a staunch proponent of education. A champion of UConn 2000, he received a University Medal in 1999 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001.

A New Haven native, Ritter served six years as Speaker of the state House of Representatives. He graduated from the UConn School of Law in 1977. He is a partner in the law firm of Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels.

Three trustees were reappointed by the Governor: Louise Bailey of West Hartford; Linda Gatling of Southington; and David W. O'Leary of Waterbury. All will serve a term that expires June 30, 2009.