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Apr 29, 2019 2019-04 Accountancy Alumni Business Administration Finance

Lillibridge to challenge graduates to reach new heights

Todd Lillibridge (FIN ’78) is no stranger to taking life to new heights. The featured speaker at the 2019 Gies College of Business Convocation is a mountain climber, who has ascended high-altitude peaks all across the world.

“Mountain climbing takes a great deal of teamwork, intensity, and risk,” said Lillibridge. “In a lot of ways, it mirrors business.”

Todd LillibridgeLillibridge would know – about both. He is the Founder, past President and Chief Executive Officer of Lillibridge Healthcare Services, Inc. The Gies College of Business alumnus created one of the nation’s largest medical office and outpatient facility companies, serving more than 400 of the top healthcare providers in the United States. In 2010, Lillibridge was acquired by Ventas, Inc., and in the years following, he led the company through extensive growth and institutionalized an entire asset class in medical real estate. In 2018, as part of a planned succession, Lillibridge stepped away from his namesake company and has gone on to create a new healthcare advisory company, TWL Enterprises.

“I’m so appreciative of what Gies Business has offered me in terms of my education and foundation for moving forward,” said Lillibridge. “When I was asked to speak at convocation, I was so honored and humbled. I’m looking forward to providing the graduates with a message that is both insightful and meaningful.”

His message to graduates will center around the theme of relentless humility – how to practice it, and what it has meant to his life and business career.

“I want to inspire them to be givers, not takers. Be mentors and tutors. Identify problems in their communities, and find solutions,” he said. “These graduates are the gold standard of Gies Business, and I want to encourage them to give freely of themselves, their time, and their wisdom.”

Lillibridge, who earned a BS in Finance with honors, comes back to campus often. When he visits, he usually spends time with a group of 15-20 freshmen, has lunch with MBA students, and teaches a class on entrepreneurship.

“Every time I visit, I’m always telling people how exciting and dynamic it is to go to campus and see how engaged the students are,” he said. “I probably get more out of it than they do.”

Lillibridge has contributed significantly to Gies College of Business over the years. In addition to his visits with students, he is a member of the College’s Dean’s Business Council, and he delivered the school’s annual V. Dale Cozad Lecture on Entrepreneurship in 2015. He says he has been amazed at the growth of the College’s online programs, and the combination of the leadership of Dean Jeffrey Brown and the College’s namesake Larry Gies is moving the school in the right direction.

“You want to invest in organizations that you see as winners,” he said. “Watching and learning about the strategy under Dean Brown’s leadership has been exceptional. I’ve been energized by the marketing efforts that are telling the world about the opportunity to get an unmatched education in Champaign-Urbana. Gies Business is building a lot of momentum.”