Long one of Towson University’s most loyal and respected supporters, alumnus Francis
“Fran” Soistman ’79 will receive an honorary doctor of human letters degree during
the College of Business and Economics’ winter commencement ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m.
Soistman earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Towson and later
graduated from The Stanford University Executive Program. He credits both programs
as the foundation for his success.
As executive vice president of Aetna and president of the Government Services segment,
Soistman is responsible for driving growth in the company’s Medicare, Medicaid and
public and labor businesses, including the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
business. He was previously executive vice president, chief operating officer and
co-founder of Jessamine Healthcare, a firm focused on strategic investment opportunities
in the health-care industry. He also held several leadership positions with Coventry
Health Care, including executive vice president for the Individual Consumer and Government
In 2004 he received the Ernst & Young Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the
Healthcare Technology/Services category.
His relationship with Towson University has included a variety of volunteer roles:
an appointment to the Board of Visitors, vice president and member of the Towson University
Foundation Board, and member of the Athletics Advisory Board and the Athletics Solutions
Committee. He also serves as a member of the University System of Maryland Chancellor’s
Advisory Council, as well as the University System of Maryland Foundation Board of
“He approaches complex issues with the university’s best interests at heart—unfailingly
thoughtful, inclusive and focused on the ultimate goal,” the honorary degree language
His philanthropic support for Towson University is notable for its scope as well as
its beneficence. He established the Francis S. Soistman Endowment for Top Ten Scholars,
which defrays the educational expenses of economically disadvantaged students from
Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The Endowment Fund for Faculty Excellence and
the The Fran Soistman and Family Endowment provide scholarship support to students
in the College of Business and Economics.
In addition, when the university was fundraising to name its new stadium, Soistman
offered the idea of soliciting donors to make a $19,000 contribution to honor the
Baltimore Colts’ No. 19, Johnny Unitas, and he became the first to pledge and pay.
Soistman also provided the lead gift to establish the Center Court Club for men’s
basketball and took the lead in helping Athletics raise more than $150,000 in a few
days to support the Tiger football team as it traveled on the road to the Football
Championship Series (FCS) playoffs.
The Towson University Alumni Association recognized Soistman’s professional and philanthropic
achievements with its 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.
View more information: https://www.towson.edu/news/2015/soistmanhonorarydoctorate.html