Alumnus and U.S. Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, 43rd Army Surgeon General, to Be Speaker at Pitt Commencement April 29

Issue Date: 
April 2, 2012
Patricia D. HorohoPatricia D. Horoho

U.S. Lieutenant General Patricia D. Horoho (NURS ’92G), the 43rd Army Surgeon General and the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, will be the featured speaker at the University of Pittsburgh’s 2012 Commencement on April 29. She became the first woman and the first nurse to hold these positions when she was sworn in on Dec. 7, 2011, following her nomination by President Obama and her confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

The ceremony, which will include the presentation to the Army Surgeon General of an honorary doctoral degree, will begin at 1 p.m. in the Petersen Events Center, with doors opening at 11 a.m. Horoho was honored as a 2012 Distinguished Alumni Fellow during the University’s annual Honors Convocation on Feb. 24, an event that inaugurated Pitt’s 225th anniversary celebration, which continues through Homecoming Weekend in October.

“Lieutenant General Horoho cites as one of the models for her inspirational lifetime of leadership in military health care her Pitt trauma instructor, Pitt alumnus Elizabeth L. Noroian Graham,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “We, in turn, believe that the new Army Surgeon General will be an inspirational speaker for our graduating students, their families and friends, and Pitt faculty, staff, and alumni in the audience. A respected national leader who serves as a model for aspiring women of achievement, Patricia Horoho is emblematic of what an individual with a passionate mission, tireless persistence, and intense personal dedication and integrity can attain with a Pitt education. It will be a privilege to welcome this distinguished Pitt nursing alumnus back to campus as our University’s 2012 commencement speaker.”

From the position of U.S. Army staff nurse in 1982, Horoho has risen to serve in many leadership roles, including commander of the Western Regional Medical Command in Fort Lewis, Wash; commander of the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.; commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System; and commander of the DeWitt Health Care Network at Fort Belvoir, Va. She also was deputy surgeon general in the Office of the Surgeon General and 23rd Chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and she was deployed to Afghanistan as special assistant to the commander.

While holding the rank of colonel, Horoho became the first woman and first nurse to command the Walter Reed Health Care System. She coordinated the health care needs of approximately 150,000 service personnel, family members, and retirees in the national capital area and oversaw an integrated health system that included its hub, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and 10 military facilities in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

When two aircraft collided in midair at Pope Air Force Base in 1994, Horoho was one of the first medical personnel to respond and triage the wounded, leading the emergency responders who cared for the critically injured soldiers. She also took charge of the wounded when terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and was honored by Time Life Publications for her actions on that fateful day.

Horoho, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., and now a resident of Virginia, enrolled in Pitt’s School of Nursing when she came to Pittsburgh to serve as nurse counselor of the 1st Recruiting Brigade. In addition to receiving her MS degree from Pitt, Horoho earned her BA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a resident graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where she earned a second MS degree in national resource strategy.

A Pitt 2007 Legacy Laureate, Horoho is a highly decorated officer of the armed services, with such honors as the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit [2 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC)], the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (6 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In 2002, she was among 15 nurses selected by the American Red Cross and Nursing Spectrum magazine to receive national recognition as a “Nurse Hero.” She was named 2009 USO Woman of the Year in recognition of her distinguished service. In 2010, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences appointed her as Distinguished Professor in its Graduate School of Nursing, and she was awarded the Margaret Cochran Corbin Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution for her achievements and influence on women leaders. She also is a member of the Uniformed Services University Board of Regents.