SLH Building Named for Former President Acker

Sixteen years of leadership are recognized during a building naming dedication ceremony in Canton.

Apr. 30, 2024 3   min read

St. Lawrence Health’s (SLH) Regional Administrative Campus in Canton was recently named after former SLH CEO & Canton-Potsdam Hospital President David Acker. Speakers at the event consisted of Physician Enterprise Medical Director Jan Close, MD; SLH Board Chair Ed Mucenski; SLH President Donna McGregor; and Massena Hospital Board Member Michael Maresca, MD. David and his wife Linda Acker are shown in the center.

David Acker served as the Chief Executive Officer of St. Lawrence Health (SLH) and President of Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH) for 16 before he retired in 2022, and the organization as a whole agreed the naming of one of its buildings would be a fittng tribute to their former leader. The David B. Acker Regional Administrative Campus at 6196 Route 11 in Canton was officially named during a recent dedication ceremony.

SLH Board Chair Edward Mucenski commented on the fact that he was among the members of the Search Committee who hired Mr. Acker all those years ago.

“In 2007, the Board was completing a very extensive search for a new Chief Executive Officer and David’s name rose to the top of the list very rapidly. Upon arrival, he immediately assessed our status and found many of the residents of our community went outside the county for medical care that could and should be available here,” Mr. Mucenski said.

“He then proceeded to bring providers in the fields that were needed and specialty providers that we never thought we’d be able to attract. He restructured the hospitals and made them into successful entities and started a dialogue with the providers here in St. Lawrence County to bring about a relationship with healthcare that would survive in the North Country,” he added. “And finally he led us through the process of seeking a senior affiliation with Rochester Regional Health, which has worked out very well.”

Turning to Mr. Acker and his wife Linda, Mr. Mucenski said, “David, I want to thank you on behalf of the Board for your strong and on-point vision that has ultimately made our communities healthier places to live, work, and raise our families. Linda, I want to thank you for 16 years of patience. You have been an unwavering advocate and served an essential role in all of our successes, and for that we are grateful.”

SLH President Donna McGregor is Mr. Acker’s successor, and she noted she was acutely aware that she had some big shoes to fill when she was promoted into her Presidential role from SLH Chief Financial Officer.

She pointed to just a sampling of the accomplishments made under the watch of her predecessor, including:

  • 2008 at CPH:
    • Emergency Department expansion
    • Construction of new inpatient rooms
    • Consolidation of cancer care
  • 2010 Helen Snell Cheel Medical Campus opens at 49 Lawrence Avenue, Potsdam
  • 2011 Center for Cancer Care opens at CPH
  • 2013 St. Lawrence Health System is established
  • 2013 Gouverneur Hospital (GH) affiliates with CPH, and both come under the newly established St. Lawrence Health System
  • 2014:
    • Primary Care Center opens at GH
    • Urgent Care opens in Potsdam
    • Observation Unit is added to CPH
  • 2016 St. Lawrence Health Medical Campus opens at 6196 US Highway 11, Canton
  • 2017 at GH:
    • New Emergency Department opens
    • Detoxification Services relocate to GH from CPH
  • 2019:
    • Massena Hospital joins St. Lawrence Health
    • Leroy Outpatient Center on the CPH campus opens in Potsdam
    • CPH Critical Care Unit is completed
  • 2021: SLH becomes an affiliate of Rochester Regional Health
    • Inpatient Detoxification opens at MH
    • Behavioral Health wing opens at GH
  • 2020-2022 David Acker leads the whole of SLH through the COVID-19 pandemic

Mr. Acker addressed those in attendance by thanking them for the honor they bestowed upon him.

“There are not too many people who are fortunate enough in their life time to have a building named after them. This is a tremendous honor,” he said.

Mr. Acker pointed to the Board of Directors, members of the medical staff, and his fellow leaders who worked along-side him for all those years, noting a leader goes only so far as the people working with him/her. He spoke of their dedication to the hospital, the system, and the communities in which they represented.

“People ask if I miss working, and when I think about that question I know working (for St. Lawrence Health) was a great experience; it was challenging, rewarding, and exhilarating. There were some really terrific moments,” he said. “But as we (he and his wife Linda) ready ourselves to drive 2,000 miles across the country, I know that what I miss are the people. Those memories will stay with me forever.”

St. Lawrence Health departmental offices housed at the David B. Acker Regional Administrative Campus include Accountes Payable, Compliance, Human Resources, Information Systems, Patient Finance, Quality, and Recruiting. It also includes an auditorium where board meetings, seminars, and presentations are conducted.

NEXT STEPS SLH Through The Years

It started with CPH, then GH joined in and SLHS was formed, which added MH. SLHS became SLH under the affiliation of RRH.

Learn About the Journey
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