The Board of Trustees elected April Anthony as its first female board chair during its quarterly meeting Saturday.
Named the 2018 Outstanding Alumna of the Year, Anthony works as the CEO of Encompass Home Health & Hospice and Homecare Homebase. She and her husband, Mark, donated one of the single largest gifts in university history, $30 million, $15 million of which went to Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium. She will take the role of board chair in February, succeeding Dr. Barry Packer.
Anthony said her company often has to create solutions for handling rate cuts and reimbursement challenges because most of the company’s funding comes from Medicare.
“I think a lot of the things I’ve had to do in my career are going to have a lot of alignment with the things ACU has to do,” Anthony said.
Anthony graduated in 1989 with an accounting degree, and in 1998 she founded Encompass, the fourth largest provider of Medicare-certified home health care services in the nation, according to a news release from the university. Anthony received several awards for her work, including the Innovator Award from the Healthcare Leaders Conference in 2015, and the Dallas Business Journal top CEO for large companies in Dallas and Fort Worth in 2013. She became a trustee in 1998.
“April has demonstrated tremendous leadership on our board for nearly two decades,” said Packer, the current board chair. “Her experience in governance and skills as an innovative business leader will bless the university in many ways in years to come.”
Anthony is the first female trustee to be elected as board chair. According to the Abilene Reporter News, McMurry University recently elected it’s first female board chair, while Hardin-Simmons University elected it’s first female board chair in 1999. Anthony said she doesn’t think about gender in her leadership a lot. However, she said she was inspired by Mary Clark, a 1944 graduate and the first female trustee ever admitted to the board.
“I think we’ve come a long way … and we’re just trying to pick the person we think can lead effectively,” Anthony said.
Several members of her family have been involved in the university: her daughter, Ashlyn, graduated in 2017, and her son, Luke, plays on the football team as a freshman redshirt quarterback. Anthony’s father-in-law, James Anthony, was also on the board of trustees from 1979-97. She said as a trustee, she wants the university to fulfill it’s mission for education and co-curricular activities that enhance each student’s experience.
“I think, ‘What do I want for my kids?'” Anthony said. “I want them to have a great education, a great experience that’s a lot of fun, where they grow to be better stronger people of faith, people of passion for what they’re going to pursue vocationally in their lives.”
The board of trustees sets policy for the university and makes decisions that affect the long-term direction of the school. Anthony said the trustees make sure the university fulfills promises to students, parents, alumni and donors -all roles she has played for the university.
“It’s the responsibility of the trustees to hold the university in trust,” Anthony said. “When we look at the mission, it’s our job ultimately to make sure that the mission is being delivered upon.”