UHF is proud to present the Health Care Leadership Award to Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., in recognition of his personal leadership and TIAA’s role as one of the largest and most respected financial services providers in the world, with a special commitment to the health care workforce.

The health care sector accounts for one in seven jobs in New York State, making it one of the state’s economic drivers. Many workers in those jobs have entrusted their financial well-being to TIAA, the nation’s largest provider of retirement services in the nonprofit sector. 

Founded more than 100 years ago, TIAA is dedicated to the financial security of those it serves. It currently has over $1 trillion in assets under management and serves some 5 million active and retired employees at more than 15,000 nonprofits. One of its largest business sectors is health care, an industry that aligns with TIAA’s values of serving those who serve others with integrity and excellence. 

For the past 12 years, under the stewardship of President and CEO Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., TIAA has continued to expand its footprint in the industry. Today, TIAA counts 1,426 health care institutions among its clients. The firm also provides financing for health care real estate projects across the country, and its TIAA Bank has a $1.5 billion portfolio of loans and leases to around 1,100 hospitals and 3,600 physician practices and diagnostic and imaging centers nationwide. “TIAA is proud to help meet our health care clients’ financial needs, so that they can continue making a difference in the world through their work,” says Roger. 

Roger has had an illustrious career that spans both the public and private sectors. After earning a BA, law degree, and PhD in economics, all from Harvard University, he became an attorney with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, then a consultant with McKinsey & Company. In 1997, he was appointed to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and he served as Vice Chairman from 1999 to 2006. Before taking the helm at TIAA in 2008, Roger was head of financial services for Swiss Re. He later served on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. 

Throughout these varied positions, he nurtured a strong interest in service, and in health care—and for that, we can thank his aunt, Angella Ferguson, MD. Dr. Ferguson received her medical education at Howard University in the 1940s, a time when few Black women were accepted to medical school. She became a pediatrician and developed a ground-breaking blood test that could detect sickle-cell anemia at birth. She later oversaw the development of what is now Howard University Hospital. She retired after a 45-year career and is today, at age 95, the matriarch of the family. “She has been a wonderful and important role model throughout my life,” Roger says. “Her influence has always been a powerful example for me of how much health care matters.” 

TIAA’s customers—particularly the highly heterogeneous health care workforce—are as diverse as America, and Roger has embraced and furthered the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. On a personal level, he is grateful for the impact that the civil rights movement and those that preceded him had on his path. After attending a segregated elementary school in Washington, D.C., he received scholarships to attend high school and, later, Harvard. “I think of myself as a beneficiary of the work done, first and foremost, by the folks who fought for civil rights,” he says. “It’s important for me to give back, and I try to do that in many different ways, both philanthropically and through various kinds of service.” 

As part of that commitment, Roger founded the Healthcare Leadership Roundtable with UHF and has hosted it for the past decade. Each year the Roundtable brings together health care leaders from across the New York metropolitan area for an open and frank discussion on the issues facing hospitals and health care. “A strong and vibrant health care sector is essential to the overall health of the New York City metropolitan area,” says Roger. 

For the past 15 years, TIAA has underwritten UHF’s Distinguished Community Service Award, presented to individuals whose voluntary leadership is improving health and health care. Roger has also served since 2009 on the board of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he sees his role as helping to support research and treatment on the disease that took his mother’s life and that has affected the lives of so many others he knows. 

In recognition of his charismatic leadership and TIAA’s role as one of the nation’s most respected financial services providers, with a special commitment to the health care workforce, UHF is proud to present Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., with the 2020 Health Care Leadership Award.