Robert Pastor II, two-time alumnus and CEO of Rainy Lake Medical Center, will receive the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award in a virtual opening ceremony on May 22, officials from Henry Ford College (HFC) announced this week.
“HFC has been at the core of all of my success,” said Pastor, who lives in International Falls with his wife and two children. “I want to thank all of the great HFC educators and staff who have helped me embark on such a fulfilling personal and professional journey – one that brought me back to life today.”
The award is presented by Shai James-Boyd, Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Relations at HFC.
“I am delighted to present Mr. Robert L. Pastor II with the Distinguished Alumni Award 2021,” said James-Boyd. “HFC is fortunate to have thousands of alumni who make remarkable contributions to their professions and communities. Beginning each year, we recognize one of our outstanding alumni for particularly notable accomplishments and lasting contributions that impact the college and, most importantly, our students. “
Pastor is from Detroit and graduated from Southgate Anderson High School in 1990. He attended HFC and earned two associate degrees. He graduated with an associate degree in liberal arts with summa cum laude in 1994 and an associate degree in nursing with magna cum laude in 1996. While at HFC, he was vice president of the Student Nurses Association.
In 2001, Pastor graduated summa cum laude from Cleary University in Ann Arbor in business administration. In 2006 he graduated from the University of Texas in the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas with an MBA in Business Management. Also, Pastor is a Green Belt in Six Sigma. He received his certification as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives – the highest certification in health administration.
At first, Pastor thought about going to medical school. He thought a nursing degree would give him a taste of health care to make sure it suits him well. Soon after, he learned that he was working in the medical field – but as a nurse, not a doctor.
“Nursing is a very advanced field. It can give you a lot more options than medicine usually, ”said Pastor. “I come from a working class family. My grandfather was a very worker who encouraged me to go into nursing because of his many opportunities and the fact that nurses are always needed. You can always get a job as a nurse, he told me. “
Pastor began his nursing career with Oakwood Health System, now Beaumont Health. He was soon promoted to supervisor. Pastor continued to develop in the organization and eventually became assistant director of nursing.
“Leadership was my real calling,” said Pastor. “I chose a bachelor’s degree in business administration because I needed to know more about the management and leadership side of the subject.”
After six years at Oakwood, Pastor assumed increasingly responsible leadership roles in Texas, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Wisconsin before assuming his current reign in 2018.
“When I walked out the door of HFC in 1996 with a two-year RN degree in my hands, little did I know that 25 years later I would be serving as CEO of an entire hospital amid a major global health crisis,” said Pastor.
According to Pastor, education enables people to be more flexible and adapt more easily, especially as the world has become more complex in the 25 years since graduating. Tenacity and resilience are the two characteristics that the class of 2021 must embody in order to meet the requirements of a new global scenario.