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Seven-Figure Gift to Endow The Ruth O’Block Grant Endowed Scholarship Program at Seton Hill University

Grant Verstandig of Washington, D.C., grandson of Seton Hill University Board of Trustees’ Chair Ruth O’Block Grant and Founder and CEO of Rally Health, has pledged a seven-figure gift to Seton Hill to create The Ruth O’Block Grant Endowed Scholarship Program to support entrepreneurship, business, health and technology.  The gift reflects the extraordinary commitment of Ruth Grant and the Verstandig family to Seton Hill. 

Commenting on the magnitude and largesse of the contribution, Seton Hill President Mary Finger said, “Ruth Grant and the Grant and Verstandig families are cherished friends of Seton Hill.  Ruth is a Distinguished Alumna of Seton Hill, and Toni Verstandig, Ruth’s daughter and Grant’s mother, is a Seton Hill honorary doctorate recipient.”  

Finger said, “We deeply value this magnificent gift from Grant Verstandig and the Verstandig Family Foundation.  It will ensure Seton Hill students benefit from the mentorship and guidance of our alumna, Ruth Grant and enhances a toolbox for their success. The gift honors in a profound way Ruth’s life’s work as an innovative entrepreneur, business leader, and community advocate. This tremendous leadership commitment will be a major catalyst for our Centennial Campaign for Scholarships, which is launched officially today.”  She added, “The creation of The Ruth O’Block Grant Endowed Scholarship Fund aligns beautifully with the pioneering spirit of our founders, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, as it will help us prepare Seton Hill students, in the words of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, “…for that world in which they are destined to live.”

Grant Verstandig said, “It is breathtaking for me to consider all that my grandmother has accomplished in the business world and for Seton Hill. While she remains a pragmatist, always asking the tough questions and diving into the details, she is an inspiration and mentor to me. I engage in conversations with her which have enhanced and allowed my entrepreneurial spirit to soar.”  Verstandig continued, “It is my absolute pleasure to honor such an extraordinary entrepreneur and leader—my grandmother, Ruth Grant.”

Grant Verstandig added, “My greatest hope is that this gift will enable generations of Seton Hill students to find their passion, seek opportunities, take informed risks, and ultimately become leaders willing to work hard to bring about positive change in the world.”

Mary Finger said, “I am especially delighted that The Ruth O’Block Grant Scholarship will provide student recipients with a comprehensive program to advance leaders in the areas of entrepreneurship, business, health and technology.  Select sophomore, junior, and senior students will be identified for their leadership ability and academic achievements and participate in distinctive opportunities.”  

Toni Verstandig, Executive Vice President at The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace said, “We are pleased that Ruth O’Block Grant Scholars will benefit from the mentorship and guidance of exceptional leaders, like my mother, Ruth, in the business, technology, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors.  In this way, Grant Scholars will perpetuate Ruth Grant’s legacy and be well prepared for success in graduate school, their careers, give back to their communities and remain engaged and supportive of Seton Hill.”

About Ruth O’Block Grant

Ruth O’Block Grant distinguished herself as a world-class entrepreneur as President of Louis A. Grant, Inc., a multi-million dollar corporation, and developed business relationships that spanned the globe.

A champion for public service and community leadership, Ruth Grant has offered her intellect and expertise to numerous governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations throughout the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.  Her business acumen and commitment to education earned Ruth an invitation to serve among an elite group of Western Pennsylvanians to assist Governor Tom Corbett’s Transition Team.  She also served on the Governor’s Education Committee working with state leaders to formulate policy, recommend key personnel, and examine ways to cut costs. In 2015, she received the YWCA Tribute to Women Leadership Award in acknowledgment of her leadership in fostering dialogue at local, state and national levels.  In the best cases, that dialogue has led to rich conversations, listening sessions and ultimately action that brought forth something favorable for our community, our Commonwealth, our nation—and of great importance—our students.  

A graduate of Seton Hill, Ruth Grant’s service as a dedicated Trustee and election as Chair of the Seton Hill University Board of Trustees represents the culmination of her decades-long commitment to the University.  She has made generous financial commitments that continue to enhance the Seton Hill experience for students. Her wise counsel as member of the Farrell Advisory Board for Business, the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education Advisory Board, the Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal Honorary Planning Committee, and as Co-Chair of the Seton Hill Planning Committee for the Installation of Mary C. Finger as Tenth President was instrumental in advancing Seton Hill. 

About Grant Verstandig

Grant Verstandig is an entrepreneur who has developed exceptional capability and relationships in the worlds of social networking, online gaming and healthcare.

Grant Verstandig is founder and CEO of Rally Health, a digital health company he founded in Washington, D.C. in 2010. The inspiration for Rally Health came from personal experience after he underwent 12 knee surgeries while a student at Brown University – surgeries that ended his lacrosse playing days.

During that time, Grant Verstandig was frustrated by the disconnect between individuals and their own health and healthcare. He founded Rally Health to empower people with the tools to better engage in their health care.

Through several internships with high profile medical professionals, like Dr. Marston Linehan, a leading expert on urologic malignancies; Dr. Kenneth Lee, Cardiac Surgeon at Washington Hospital Center; and Dr. Roger Packer, Chief of Neurology for Children’s National Medical Center, he was able to develop a keen understanding of the challenges within the healthcare system.

Rally Health’s products include Rally Engage, which provides personalized recommendations for wellness behaviors and is available through employers or insurers; Rally Connect, which enables consumers to comparison shop for doctors, treatment facilities, specialists, and other care providers; and Choice, which tackles the most obvious and readily fixable industry inefficiency: its over-reliance on paper and fax. 

In 2017, UnitedHealth Group purchased Rally Health, which now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Optum, a group within the healthcare corporation.

Rally Health was named one of CNBC’s Most Disruptive Companies in 2013, one of the Best Places to Work in 2013 by Washingtonian Magazine, and the No. 1 Healthiest Employer in Washington in 2013 by Washington Business Journal.

Grant Verstandig was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2012 and Bisnow’s 40 Under 30 lists in 2013.

He is a member of the Greater Washington Partnership, which strives to keep the region from Baltimore to Richmond one of the best places to live, work, and build a business.

About Toni Verstandig

Toni G. Verstandig is currently the Executive Vice President at The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. From November 1994 until January 2001, Toni Verstandig served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department. In this capacity, she directed and coordinated U.S. bilateral relations and overall policy developments concerning Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, as well as U.S. economic and commercial policies in the Middle East.

Toni Verstandig worked directly with the Secretary of State and the Special Middle East Coordinator, as a member of the Peace Team where she participated in bilateral and multilateral Middle East peace negotiations. She has a particular expertise in economic, civil affairs and water issues. She also chaired the bilateral Committees on Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Prior to joining the Peace Team, Toni Verstandig served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, where she coordinated the Bureau’s relations with the congress. In that capacity, she was also responsible for the development and management of U.S. bilateral relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen.

She also served for 17 years as senior staff to the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives where she specialized in international terrorism policy, aviation security issues and U.S. military assistance programs.

Toni Verstandig is a graduate of Boston University and Stephens College, and also holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Seton Hill University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the Board and Executive Committee of Children’s National Medical Center, the Board of the University of Denver Korbel School for International Affairs, the National Advisory Board for the Catholic Center for the Study of the Holocaust, the Board of Trustees of the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center, and of the Center for Global Development.

Photo: The Most. Rev. Edward C. Malesic, Bishop of Greensburg, Seton Hill alumna and Board of Trustees Chair Ruth O'Block Grant, Sister Catherine Meinert, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill and Seton Hill University President Mary C. Finger at the Seton Hill University Centennial Kickoff Celebration on Friday, January 26, 2018 on the University's campus.



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