Strong ties to the community
Thornton employs experience to help guide system’s growth
James Patrick “Pat” Thornton has had a life-long passion for St. Vincent’s Healthcare, dating back to 1935 when he was born at the Jacksonville, Fla.based system’s flagship facility. Since then, he has filled a variety of roles at the two-hospital organization. As a 12-yearold boy, he sold newspapers at St. Vincent’s Medical Center Riverside by going from room to room. His loyalty continued as an adult— all of his children and most of his grandchildren were born there.
He also has a formal connection. Thornton, 76, joined the board of directors of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Foundation in 1986, serving as chairman from 1995 to 1996. He also served on the board of St. Vincent’s HealthCare from 2002 through 2011, including a term as chairman from 2009 to 2011. He still attends meetings, offers advice and is an honorary member of the foundation.
Throughout his years on both boards, Thornton relied on his business acumen, which he honed as a developer of rental apartments, to nurture the foundation and the health system, which is part of St. Louis-based Ascension Health.
“His knowledge of the issues and the problems and the challenges is invaluable,” says Moody Chisholm, president and CEO of St. Vincent’s Healthcare.
For all of his accomplishments, Thornton has been selected as the 2012 Trustee of the Year representing not-for-profit healthcare systems.
When Thornton joined the foundation board in 1986, it had been in existence for only two years. That is why Thornton and the other board members set aside 10% of the money raised each year in an endowed fund; the remaining 90% was earmarked for specific projects.
Thornton’s leadership also helped guide the health system board.