Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest president announces retirement

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) After a 35 year career in healthcare, Glenn Robinson, the president of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center for the past 12 1/2 years, announced Friday he plans to retire in July.

After a 35-year career in health care, Glenn Robinson, the president of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center for the past 12 1/2 years, announced Friday he plans to retire in July. (Courtesy photo)

"After a lot of thought and prayer, Rhonda and I feel like it's a good time," Robinson told KWTX.

"I've been blessed to work in healthcare more than 30 years and I've seen so many changes but this is the right time for us and we're looking forward to it."

Robinson most recently led the hospital's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and says while it's no doubt added to his plate it wasn't the major factor in his timing.

"I would definitely say it is a part of the equation," he said.

"But we were already talking about this, already thinking about this."

Robinson says the deciding factor was turning 65 and wanting to spend more time with his grandchildren, including a brand new addition added just this year.

"We have not seen our grand-babies in a long time. Our newest was born in January and lives in South Carolina and we have not been able to go but just once."

Robinson says he's proud of the way his staff is handling the unprecedented public health crisis, which made his decision both more difficult and a little easier because he knows they're prepared.

"I'm so proud of our team at HIllcrest where we have prepared, our hospital is ready , our community is ready and our community has done a great job," he said.

"We began to talk about it even in January and as we began to prepare during January (and) February our folks just embraced it and they said 'you know we got this.' And we began to set up a separate COVID unit that we have fortunately used very little because our community has done such a great job of sheltering-in-place and following the guidelines of hand-washing and social distancing."

"I'm so proud of our mayor. I'm so proud of our county judge of making bold decisions that at the time were not very popular and I think that we have seen low numbers because of our courageous leadership in our community and so I feel very good about leaving that facility in just great hands, we have a wonderful team."

Robinson, who was once a television news anchor in Mobile, Ala., took a marketing position at what’s now USA Health University Hospital in the gulf coast city.

He joined Baylor Scott & White in 2007 after serving as CEO of Mary Black Health System in South Carolina and was quick to engage with the community, serving as an adjunct professor at Baylor, joining the boards of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and Proper Waco.

He’s leaving a hospital that’s a much different place than when he first came on board.

In April 2009, he helped oversee the construction of the new hospital along Interstate 35.

The same week, Hillcrest became partners with Scott and White Healthcare and then in October 2013 Robinson and his team joined the newly merged Baylor Scott &White Health system.

The McClinton Cancer Center was constructed under Robinson's watch.

So was the the Getterman Sports and Orthopedic Center.

He's been there for run-of-the-mill days and he had a front row seat when Hillcrest became the center of worldwide news as the hospital took in scores of Central Texans injured in the West fertilizer plant explosion in 2013, a day he says will forever be etched in his memory.

"An amazing fact that evening, our community cared for more people that night than the Boston bombings that occurred that very same week in Massachusetts. We actually cared and treated for more patients among our two hospitals than the entire community of Boston so those are proud moments."

"Our lives changed in this community as a result of that. I never will forget walking into the hospital and seeing our amazing team gowned and gloved ready to take care of what was about to come."

Robinson says the greatest memory he'll take with him are of the people with whom he’s worked.

Pat Currie, president of hospital and clinic operations, says filling Robinson's shoes will be tough.

"In my 35-year administrative career, I have had the opportunity to work with many healthcare leaders. Glenn Robinson personified all the characteristics that one searches for in an exceptional leader," Currie said.

"Glenn is well-respected and well-liked not only by his peers, but by the employees and community members that have the pleasure of working for him and with him."

The search for Robinson's replacement will begin immediately and Robinson is confident the right person will be found.

"Great institutions are institutions that are larger than ourselves. Great institutions have seasons and for the past 12 1/2 years this has been my season, Rhonda's season of being able to serve the Waco community. I have no doubt the person who comes and sits in that seat next will be the person to take it to the next level and they will not have a bigger cheerleader than me. "

Robinson's retirement will be effective July 3.

He plans to continue teaching through the Baylor MBA program, but he’ll also spend some time on the road visiting the grandchildren.

Waco will remain home, however.

"Rhonda and I are proud to call Waco home," Robinson said. "This will continue to be our home and we are proud to retire right here in this great city."