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Hendrix to Award Odyssey Medals to Guinn, Nichols, Robertson

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CONWAY, Ark. (October 12, 2018) – Hendrix College will award its 2018 Odyssey Medals on Thursday, October 25, during a special reception in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center. Alumni receiving this year’s honors are Patricia (Tricia) Guinn ’75 for Professional and Leadership Development; Len Nichols ’75 for Research; and Mark Robertson ’79 for Special Projects. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with the presentation of medals at 6 p.m.

The Odyssey Medal is presented to alumni whose life achievements exemplify the ideals of the Hendrix Odyssey Program. Medalists are selected by the Hendrix Board of Trustees for their accomplishments in one of the six Odyssey categories: artistic creativity, global awareness, professional and leadership development, service to the world, research, or special projects.

Tricia Guinn is a member of the board of directors of Reinsurance Group of America, Inc., one of the largest global life and health reinsurers, and is the interim Chief Risk Officer of Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advising, insurance brokerage, and solutions company with more than 40,000 employees in 140 countries. Guinn is also an Association Member of BUPA, an international healthcare group serving more than 22 million customers in over 190 countries. She began her career as a consulting actuary and became one of the premier professionals in her field, consulting to prominent insurance companies worldwide on a wide range of risk and strategic issues. For more than a decade, she headed an $800 million global business for Towers Watson that spanned insurance consulting and software, reinsurance brokerage and investment services. She returned to the company after its merger with Willis for her current role. Her career has been marked by her commitment to integrity, professionalism, and helping others achieve their potential.

Guinn has been selected as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board’s 2019 Technical Panel on Assumptions and Methods, and has received a number of awards recognizing her service as a director and leader in insurance. She is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst.

Len Nichols has been the Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE) and a Professor of Health Policy at George Mason University since 2010. After graduating from Hendrix, he earned an M.A. in Economics from the University of Arkansas, then his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois. He taught at Wellesley College from 1980-1991, where he became Associate Professor and Economics Department Chair. His service as Senior Advisor for Health Policy at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Clinton Administration led to his involvement in healthcare reform debates, policy development, and communication with the media and policymakers. He has testified frequently before Congress and state legislatures, published widely, and spoken to hospital associations, physician groups, and health policy forums around the country. Nichols is often asked to provide technical expertise to members of Congress, governors, state legislators, and other policy officials. He has consistently sought to add moral arguments to the technical health policy debate. 

After OMB, Nichols became a Principal Research Associate at the Urban Institute, Vice President of the Center for Studying Health System Change, and Director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation. He serves on the board of the National Committee for Quality Assurance and as an advisor to the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, and is now the payment reform advisor to the Virginia Center for Health Innovation as it leads Virginia’s State Innovation Model effort. As he focused more on payment and delivery reform, he became an Innovation Advisor to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS, and is now the Principal Investigator on Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) evaluation studies, as well as on more general ways to use payment and delivery reform to achieve triple aim of health equity goals. Nichols was recently appointed to the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) by the Comptroller General of the United States.

Mark Robertson joined ABC News in April 1994, as a New York-based editorial producer at-large. He had previously worked in the public relations counseling profession as a Senior Vice President in Hill & Knowlton’s Washington office. From 1980 until 1982, he worked on staff in Senator David Pryor’s Washington office, handling scheduling and writing speeches.

Robertson is now a Senior Executive Producer with ABC News, and was a member of the team that received Daytime Emmys in 2009, 2014, 2016, and 2017 for Outstanding Morning Program for Good Morning America. He also was part of a team nominated for a 2012 Emmy Award in Outstanding Interview for “Jaycee Dugard: Her First Interview.” In 2016, Robertson’s team was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Interview and received the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University School of Journalism Award for “Bruce Jenner: The Interview.” He has worked with Diane Sawyer for 24 years.

Established in 2004, the Odyssey Program requires all Hendrix College students to complete three Odyssey experiences or projects during their undergraduate careers, in three of the six Odyssey categories. The program ensures that students look beyond the classroom to experience educational opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit