SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac Receives Marian University Economic Development Award

For more than 127 years, SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac has played an instrumental role in offering quality, compassionate care close to home, while giving back to the community through donations to non-profit organizations or planning how to address unmet health needs with community partners. 

Those years of caring service, as well as SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac’s overall impact on the many communities its team serves, was recognized with an Economic Development Award as part of Marian University’s 42nd annual Business and Industry Awards on October 25. 

Established in 1981, the Business and Industry awards honor area businesses with Marian University’s awards for entrepreneurship, economic development, special achievement, and commitment to community. Traditionally, more than 200 individuals from area business communities celebrate the awards. 

Other awards given were Business of the Year, Community Collaboration Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, International Business Achievement Award, Special Achievement Award, and the George Becker Business Spirit Award. 

Katherine Vergos, SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital president, accepted the Economic Development Award. Vergos is a nurse by training, an officer in the United States Navy, and a Marian alumna. She was recognized as part of this award for being a clear and thoughtful communicator sharing hard truths, while displaying great empathy. 

“As you know, SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac has an incredible 127-year history, starting with the courageous action by Mother Agnes Hazotte and the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) who opened St. Agnes Hospital at the urging of Dr. Frank Wiley,” Vergos shared during her remarks. “Being a teaching order by tradition, Mother Agnes recognized the need for additional medical care in the area and pledged the sisters’ time and effort in making the hospital a reality.”   

Over the years, many past leaders, CSA leaders, boards of director members, and others have perpetuated the sister’s vision and dedication to help shape who SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac is today.  

“During our rich history, our teams have stepped forward countless times to find solutions to health concerns that directly impact our residents and their families,” according to Vergos. “It’s quite amazing to think back over these milestones, both past and current. Many of these endeavors we completed with community partners.” 

Through ongoing investment in technology, provider and staff resources, facilities, and much more, SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac has worked diligently to offer as many services close to home, knowing that people heal more quickly when surrounded by family and friends.  

“We offer many services that you would expect from larger cities that we have mastered and provide right here many which are quite innovative,” Vergos explains. “SSM Health Treffert Center and now SSM Health Treffert Studios, SSM Health Dale Michels Heart & Vascular Care and SSM Health Cancer Care are among a few examples. These services are further complemented by our larger provider resources through the SSM Health Fond du Lac Regional Clinic – from primary care to specialty care – a caring mission for more than 107 years.” 

As the second largest employer in Fond du Lac County – now employing nearly 3,000 people – SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac’s total annual impact is $914 million. Within that figure is SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac’s tax impact is $17 million.  

“Through our teams and employees and providers who live in this community, our operations spending impact is $135.8 million,” Vergos says. “Annually, we give $1 million to support various programs that directly benefit our community. Philanthropy is core to our mission as part of a non-profit, Catholic-based ministry. 

“While we do all this work because it is the right thing to do, we are very grateful for this recognition,” Vergos adds. “We don’t plan to slow down. We will remain front and center in helping to identify unmet health and wellness needs and working to introduce new and innovative programs and services to meet these.”