Recognized for his commitment and contributions he has made to healthcare and the community through his leadership, Rich Boals, retired President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree by Northern Arizona University (NAU) at the college’s spring 2019 commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2019, in the university’s J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome.
Alongside three additional honorees, the prestigious degree was presented to Rich amidst a graduating class of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate students within the College Arts and Letters and the College of Health and Human Services Rich delivered a keynote speech highlighting pivotal decision points in his life to the room of nearly 1,000 students.
Boals served as Chief Executive Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, Inc. from April 2003 to July 2017. Mr. Boals joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in 1971 and served in a variety of capacities, seeing it through numerous years of stability and success. Mr. Boals also served as Chief Operating Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield
“Growing up in blue-collar Ohio I would never have thought I’d be standing here today, much less conferred such a prestigious honor,” told the crowd of 10,000 students, faculty, parents, and guests.
Boals has received numerous awards related to his business and community leadership, including the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations and Centennial Leadership Awards, the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award, ASU Alumni Leadership Award, the Greater Phoenix Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award, and the Maricopa County Community College Foundation’s Heroes of Education Award.
About Northern Arizona University
Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University is a public university centered on students. Our academic programs, research, public service, and creative endeavors enrich lives and create opportunities in Arizona and beyond. We develop solutions to challenges and drive innovation in a supportive, inclusive, and diverse environment.