PITTSBURGH, PA, March 27, 2023 – Grant Verstandig, a leading entrepreneur in the healthcare, national security, and technology fields and a philanthropist whose support created The Ruth O’Block Grant Endowed Scholarship at Seton Hill University, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and offer remarks at Seton Hill’s Spring 2023 Commencement on May 6, 2023. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Salvitti Gymnasium of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Recreation Center.
Verstandig, of Washington, D.C., is a Co-Founder and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Red Cell Partners, an incubation firm building and investing in rapidly scalable technology-led companies that are bringing revolutionary advancements to market in national security and healthcare, as well as Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Zephyr AI, DEFCON AI, and TARA Mind, all Red Cell portfolio companies.
Verstandig is the grandson of the late Ruth O’Block Grant, a Seton Hill alumna and the Immediate Past Chair of the Seton Hill Board of Trustees, who died last year. In 2018, as part of Seton Hill’s Centennial Celebration, Verstandig, with his parents, Toni and Lee Verstandig and through the Verstandig Family Foundation, made a seven-figure leadership commitment to Seton Hill to create The Ruth O’Block Grant Endowed Scholarship Program.
Grant Verstandig’s entrepreneurial efforts began in 2010 when he founded Rally Health, a consumer centric digital health company. The inspiration for Rally came from Verstandig’s own personal experience after he underwent multiple knee surgeries while a student at Brown University – surgeries that ended his lacrosse career but set Verstandig on the trajectory of serial entrepreneur and dedicated public servant. Frustrated by individuals’ lack of autonomy when it came to their own health, he founded Rally to empower people with the tools to better engage in their personal health care journey. In 2017, Rally Health was acquired by UnitedHealth Group; Verstandig became the company’s first Chief Digital Officer and currently serves as Senior Advisor to the CEO.
“Grant Verstandig’s Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Seton Hill acknowledges his work as an outstanding entrepreneur and informed risk taker who has focused his time on solving problems that impact people, particularly in the healthcare sphere,” said Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger. “Grant took a devastating injury during his time as a student-athlete, recognized that there was a better way for people to be more informed and involved in their own healthcare, and built a company to offer a solution. His personal story of resilience will serve as an inspiration to our graduating seniors to always look to make a difference in the world as they embark on their futures.”
“I am humbled to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Seton Hill University – the alma mater of my grandmother, Ruth O’Block Grant,” Grant Verstandig said. “My grandmother was an innovator and a devoted community advocate. She served as an inspiration and mentor to me, and I am proud to honor her legacy by endowing this scholarship program in her name that has mentorship at its core. I look forward to speaking to Seton Hill’s Class of 2023 in May, and I hope to encourage them to work to find solutions that make an impact on their communities.”
Grant Verstandig is the second member of his immediate family to receive an honorary degree from Seton Hill. His mother – and Ruth Grant’s daughter – Toni Verstandig received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in May 1999 during her service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.
The Ruth O’Block Grant Endowed Scholarship Program was created to honor Ruth O’Block Grant ’54, a determined entrepreneur and a tireless advocate for education. She served her alma mater for 22 years as a member of the Board of Trustees and as Trustee Chair from 2017 to 2019. Ruth, along with her late husband, Louis A. Grant Sr., co-founded Louis A Grant Inc. and led the business for 54 years, growing the company to a multi-million dollar international corporation that became a major disruptor in the steel and aluminum industries.
ABOUT GRANT VERSTANDIG
Grant Verstandig is a Co-Founder at Red Cell Partners and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is also the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Zephyr AI, DEFCON AI, and TARA Mind, all Red Cell incubations.
Mr. Verstandig is an accomplished entrepreneur, venture capital investor, and seasoned executive who has founded and scaled numerous businesses including Rally Health, a consumer centric digital health company acquired by UnitedHealth Group; Epirus, an AI-enabled power management company focused on directed energy defense applications; Spycraft Entertainment, a production company focused on intelligence and military operations, and Zephyr AI, a high-growth healthcare technology company committed to radically reshaping traditional approaches to drug discovery and precision medicine . From 2017 to 2021, Mr. Verstandig served as Chief Digital Officer of UnitedHealth Group where he was responsible for the strategic direction, governance, and performance expectations of digital platforms and capabilities; he now serves as Senior Advisor to the CEO.
Mr. Verstandig is a civic leader, philanthropist, and advisor to many public, nonprofit, and government organizations. He serves as a senior advisor to the National Security Agency on advanced analytics, technology, and artificial intelligence and holds several patents in these fields. Mr. Verstandig is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity Group, the nation’s leading cross-sector public-private cybersecurity forum that aims to translate pressing cybersecurity topics into action. He is a member of the National Council for American Enterprise and serves on the boards of Third Option Foundation, the International Spy Museum, and the Greater Washington Partnership, where he is a founding member. Mr. Verstandig is an active supporter of the Greater Washington area hospitals: Children’s Hospital, Inova, and MedStar-Georgetown. He is the Founder and Chairman of Verstandig Family Foundation (VFF) which has been a longtime supporter of VETS®, Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions, Seton Hill University and the Grant Scholars Program, The Aspen Institute’s Foreign Ministers Program, and the new Aspen Global Digital Program.