Rice University football player Ken Simmons
Black and white photograph of Rice Owls football player Ken Simmons, accompanied by text headlining his achievement of the Distinguished "R" Award.Caption reads: One of KEN SIMMONS’ (class of 1963) favorite exhortations to anyone seeking advice is – “Whatever you do in life, run all the way across the finish line.” Although Simmons’ sport was football and not track, it is a maxim he followed throughout his very successful athletic, academic and business pursuits. As a three-year varsity letterwinner (1960-1962), Simmons has the distinction of playing in two bowl games in one year – the Cotton Bowl (Jan. 1961) and the Bluebonnet Bowl (Dec. 1961). Although football was a major activity for Simmons at Rice, he also served as Treasurer of Will Rice College and Undergraduate Representative to the “R” Association. He pursued academics as diligently as he pursued the goal line, appearing on the President’s Honor Roll more than once, earning his B.A. degree in economics. A serious student throughout his life, Simmons received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American Civilization from the University of Texas, where his field of specialization was the role of the business institution in American society. His dissertation, titled Managed Care: Right Idea, Wrong Rules, rules explores the history of the financing of health care in America. After graduating from Rice, Simmons went to work for the Prudential Insurance Company of America, where he rose rapidly in rank. At age 27, he became the youngest vice president in company history. In 1971, he was chosen to lead the company’s Health Maintenance Organization task force, thereby becoming a pioneer in this country’s revolutionary changes in the financing of health care costs, serving on numerous commissions aimed at broadening access to affordable health care for the American public. He was the first President of PruCare, Prudential’s national HMO company, and founder of PruCare-Houston – the first HMO in Texas. In 1985, Simmons became president, CEO and director of Peak HealthCare. His success there led to his appointment as chairman and CEO of United HealthCare Corporation, a Minnesota-based managed care company. As such, he led the company’s turnaround from the brink of bankruptcy to a market value of $2 billion in 1991 and earned the title of HealthCare Executive of the Year in 1989 by the Wall Street Transcript. In 1994, he faced the new challenge of creating a new managed care company. As chairman and CEO of The MetraHealth Companies, Simmons combined business units, corporate cultures and 25,000 employees of MetLife and Travelers to form the country’s largest managed health care company, ever. As a result of his lifelong desire to teach others, Simmons uses his experiences to mentor new CEO’s in the business until their companies are firmly established. Simmons and his wife Judith, also a Rice graduate, seek opportunities to participate in the Rice community and attend Rice football games whenever they can. Simmons has three children: Sean, Rachel and Seth. Rice is pleased to honor Kennett L. Simmons as the Distinguished “R” winner for 1997. Undoubtedly he will continue to find new finish lines to run all the way across.
Rice University Distinguished "R" Award (poor quality image)
Citable link to this pagehttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/64578
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