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John Paul '72

John Paul '72

When John Paul was a student at IUP, he never imagined he would one day be named a Distinguished Alumnus.

“It’s a great honor,” Mr. Paul said. “I’m truly humbled.”

A 1972 cum laude graduate of IUP with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics, Mr. Paul continued his studies in the Executive MBA program at the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz School of Business and graduated with honors in 1984.

Mr. Paul remembers the impact Donald Robbins ’67, one of his IUP Accounting professors, had on him.

“Mr. Robbins definitely piqued my interest in accounting and business,” he said. “He made the course work fun and intriguing.”

Mr. Paul is a pioneering and visionary health care leader, and in more than 30 years with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he helped to build the UPMC system. He oversaw its hospitals and developed UPMC’s health insurance subsidiary.

Mr. Paul served as UPMC’s executive vice president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer before retiring in 2003 and working as a consultant to various health care organizations. In May 2011, Highmark named him president of its Provider Division and executive vice president of Highmark, Inc.


Just days after he accepted the Distinguished Alumni Award, Mr. Paul was named CEO and president of the newly established Allegheny Health Network, a marriage between Highmark and numerous regional hospitals.Sandra Hoover Diefenderfer ’67 nominated Mr. Paul for the Distinguished Alumni Award because she believes he has played a major role in the growth and development of the health care industry in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“Career dedication to one industry is rare in the business arena,” Ms. Diefenderfer said. “John has done this, as well as reach a high level and wide scope of achievement.”

In addition to his career, Mr. Paul has been involved in many charitable organizations in western Pennsylvania, in particular the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia, from which he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.

“A board member of the foundation invited me to become a member,” Mr. Paul said, “because they were having difficulty raising money and he thought I could help.”

Mr. Paul helped revitalize the program by changing the focus of fund-raising and expanding the foundation’s venues.

“We were able to generate significant sums of money,” he said.

In his rare moments of relaxation, Mr. Paul enjoys golfing and spending time with his family.

A lifelong resident of western Pennsylvania, he lives in Presto with his wife, Cindy. They are the parents of three children: David, 19, who attends Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and Andrew, 17, and Laura, 16, both of whom attend Eden Christian Academy in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Paul believes his education at IUP helped to prepare him for a successful career.

“My professors, particularly Mr. Robbins, emphasized that details are important,” he said. “At IUP, I received a strong foundation for business and also how important it is to give back to the community.” 

Profile published on 6/11/13 

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