Jon Jackson honored for career in healthcare

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Verona graduate honored for 34 years with KU Medical Center

Jon Jackson, son of the late Vedas and Edith Jackson of rural Monett, has been inducted into the University of Kansas Medical Center Hall of Fame.

A 1970s graduate of Verona High School, where his father served many years as principal, Jackson was a graduate of Southwest Missouri State College and earned his masters degree from Truman State before beginning a career in hospital administration.

A member of the KU Med Center system since 1983, Jackson served in many capacities. His roles have included legislative architect, statehouse negotiator, vote wrangler, construction guru, board recruiter, marketing strategist, art advocate and all-around visionary. He even sketched the design of the new Bell Sanctuary on the back of a napkin.

According to notes in the induction ceremony program, "No matter the responsibility, Jon approached each challenge with calm, candor and consistency. With no playbook to follow, he helped to craft ó and re-craft ó the volumes of legislation allowing the system to break from the state. He persuaded legislators and gathered votes to establish the University of Kansas Hospital Authority.

"The hospital was reborn Oct. 1, 1998. It had to be able to stand on its own, a challenge for a facility worn by lack of resources. Operationally and administratively, it was a start-up business, albeit a nonprofit with thousands of employees caring for sick people. Jon was part of a team that developed procedures, implemented systems and recruited an independent board of directors."

Over the following years, Jackson championed the University of Kansas Health System brand, raising national awareness. He managed construction of the Center for Advanced Heart Care, Medical Office Building, Indian Creek Campus and Cambridge North Tower. He also selected artwork, including the quote by physician Simeon Bell, used in the main hospitalís lobby.

"Well known for his vast knowledge of wine, Jonís career might carry this label: 'One of a kind and confidently bold, infused with a thoughtful yet complex intensity, this remarkably dry vintage pairs well with a variety of situations, leaving a lasting impression.'"

Jackson is the brother of Susan Thomas in Easyville and Ann Hall of Purdy. He retired in February but remains with KU as a consultant on the Cambridge North Tower construction project, on which he has worked for several years.

This was the seventh year inductees have been entered into the University of Kansas Medical Center Hall of Fame, recognizing individuals and organizations for leadership, advocacy and philanthropy. Jackson was the only recipient of the Legacy Award and the only one to receive a standing ovation from the 375 people present at the ceremony.