Mario J. Garner, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital in Pearland, will be inducted into the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction as Young Alumnus of the Year during ceremonies at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on March 4. The Young Alumnus of the Year designation recognizes alumni under the age of 40 who have attained professional prominence early in their careers.
Other distinguished alumni to be inducted are Roger W. Jenkins, president and chief executive officer of Murphy Oil Corporation; Sidney E. Fuchs, of Oak Hill, Va., president and chief executive officer of MacAulay-Brown, Inc.; Bernette Joshua Johnson, of New Orleans, chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; and Frank P. Simoneaux, of Baton Rouge, attorney and former state cabinet secretary and speaker pro tempore.
“I will forever cherish my years at LSU. It is the place where my road to adulthood began, my interest for servant leadership was heightened, my appreciation for the essentiality of friendship was strengthened and the trajectory for my career was established,” Garner said.
“Mario Garner’s selection as Young Alumnus of the Year is a testament to his professional leadership, personal and civic accomplishments and loyalty to his alma mater,” said Cliff Vannoy, president and CEO of the LSU Alumni Association. “He exemplifies the essence of a true Tiger, and we are delighted to honor him with induction into the prestigious Hall of Distinction.”
Garner served as LSU student body vice president in 2001-2002 and graduated from LSU in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. He earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Tulane University and a doctor of education degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston.
Before joining Memorial Hermann in 2015, Garner served for two years as the inaugural president and chief executive officer of New Orleans East Hospital, overseeing the re-establishment of a full-service inpatient hospital to serve the communities that were severely damaged during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Prior to that, he was chief operations officer at Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin, Ga.; chief operating officer/ethics and compliance officer at The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana in Lafayette, La.; and associate administrator at West Houston Medical Center.
Garner is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the National Association of Health Service Executives. He is a member of the LSU Department of Equity, Diversity and Community Outreach National Advisory Board; a guest lecturer for the LSU College of Science “Careers in Life Sciences” course; and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was an anchor/host of “Meet the Doctor” segments on WDIG TV in Dublin and hosted a radio talk show on WBOK radio in New Orleans. Garner has served the community as a Rotarian since 2011. He was selected for the Georgia Hospital Association’s 2012 Leadership Cohort. He currently attends Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston.
Garner was recently named the University of Houston College of Education’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2015, listed among 25 Rising Stars in Healthcare under age 40 by Becker’s Hospital Review and received the American College of Healthcare Executives Robert S. Hudgens Award for “2015 Young Healthcare Executive of the Year.” Other recognitions include the WittKieffer’s Modern Healthcare “2014 Up & Comer” Award; 2014 City of New Orleans Outstanding Millennial in Healthcare; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity New Orleans Chapter 2014 Citizen of the Year; and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Dublin, Ga., Chapter Omega Man of the Year for 2013 and 2014. He was inducted into Tulane’s Delta Omega National Public Health Honorary Society in 2010 and in 2006 was named an Ebony magazine’s Top 30 Leaders under age 30.
The 2016 gala marked the 50th anniversary of naming and LSU Alumnus of the Year. The first award was conferred in 1966; the Young Alumnus of the Year Award was established in 1999. Including the 2016 inductees, the LSU Alumni Association has recognized 285 individuals representing a cross-section of LSU graduates.