Donald Grant: 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Donald Grant
Major, US Army, Retired

Donald Grant’s career is closely tied to safety and outcomes.

As a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, he served multiple combat deployments and developed training plans focused on soldier safety and quantifiable results, earning him two Bronze Star medals for service in Iraq and an Army Commendation Medal for service in Uganda.

Donald Grant PhotoIn his 25 years in the health care industry – as compliance officer and director of strategy and implementation at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, director of managed care at US Oncology and most recently as senior financial analyst at UnitedHealth Group – he has focused on organizational performance and patient-centered care.

Grant credits Harper College for setting his trajectory.

“Harper really was a catalyst for lifelong learning,” the Prairie Grove resident said. He admits he wasn’t focused or motivated after graduating high school, but Harper College helped him change course. “I was exposed to classes I hadn’t seen and classes that were much more interesting to me.”

At Harper, Grant was drawn to the “breadth and depth” of subjects such as geology, anthropology, philosophy, logic and German. He served as vice president of the Young Corporate Achievers, a student group that ran a dental supply company that was gifted to the school. Grant considered the experience a “fascinating” look at business.

After earning an associate degree from Harper in 1989, Grant received a bachelor’s in German from Northern Illinois University. It was there he joined ROTC for a “formal study of leadership,” initiating his relationship with the military. He went on to complete an MBA with a focus in economics from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a Master of Jurisprudence in health law from Loyola University, along with graduate coursework from University of Oxford, Northwestern University and the Naval Post-Graduate School.

Grant has an idea of what connects his various and seemingly disparate pursuits: “The real commonality is learning for the sake of learning, learning for an applied sense and leveraging that knowledge to drive quality and performance,” he said.

In 2017, Grant retired from the Army at the rank of Major. He uses his knowledge to counsel members of Harper College’s Student Veterans Association, a group advised by his wife Susan Grant, an assistant professor and former U.S. Army nurse.

Grant said he’s “absolutely honored” to be a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. For him, the trick has been to take risks and lean into learning and says, “I’m still actively taking courses to this day.”