Mayo Clinic's Board of Trustees doesn't have a secret handshake. No rites of passage. But, according to Robert K. Smoldt, emeritus chief administrative officer, "Three words have been passed from one member to another, across the decades: 'Call Dale Rustad.' "
Dale began working at Mayo Clinic the year John Kennedy was elected president. His first job was with General Service, the frontline ambassadors of the Mayo Clinic Model of Care. Then, after working as a respiratory therapist, he was recruited to a series of positions that he infused with what Robert R. Waller, M.D., emeritus president of Mayo Clinic, describes as "Dale's exceptional passion for service."
One was managing the Mayo Foundation House from 1968 to 1996. Dale gave a personal greeting and ensured white-glove service to Mayo Clinic staff, spouses and distinguished guests. His attentiveness earned him the extra responsibility of administrative assistant to the Board of Trustees, where he set a record that no one will likely match: the longest term of service — 40 years — all with perfect attendance.
In 1996, Dale transitioned to development officer and manager of Benefactor Services and Trustees in Rochester. In 2002, Dale relocated to Arizona.
Over his career, his commitment has earned him many professional awards, including recognition from the National Restaurant Association, specialty training at the Culinary Institute of America and commendation from the Secret Service for supporting their protection of first families, heads of state and other prominent visitors to Mayo Clinic.
"In his role, Dale brought the same standard of excellence that our physician colleagues do in the medical setting," says James M. Hodge, vice chair of the Department of Development. "Benefactors made gifts in honor of Dale and said his dedication inspired their support."
Now, as he reflects on his retirement from Mayo Clinic — the people he has known and the values they represent — Dale says simply, "It's been an honor to serve."
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