Larry and Sherry Montgomery

The Montgomerys are confident Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine can transform health care delivery at its core

By Mayo Clinic Staff

"The future of health care needs this focus," Larry Montgomery says.

Kohl's, the department store that has everything from clothing to housewares, is a business success story. Over the last 20 years, the company's annual revenue grew an average of about 25 percent a year to $18 billion (from $200 million). So, when Larry Montgomery, one of the driving forces behind this meteoric growth, says he's spotted another venture with enormous potential, he's probably right.

Larry and his wife of 27 years, Sherry, are early supporters of the expansion of Mayo Medical School to Arizona. The Arizona residents are investing their time and philanthropy into launching the new campus. The addition of a master's in the Science of Health Care Delivery is the type of innovation they believe will set a new course for health care in the U.S.

"We believe Mayo Clinic can lead the conversation on any health care matter in the country, and world for that matter," Larry says. The Montgomerys' experience with Mayo Clinic and the vision it laid out for the medical school's Arizona campus inspired them to support its future. "We want to do whatever we can to help advance Mayo."

"The difference in the care that you receive at Mayo is the spirit of collaboration," Sherry says. "Before you arrive in the exam room, the staff understands the reason for your appointment. They have your test results and blood work, and have reviewed them. The organization of both people and processes provides you with the sense of having a team of advocates for your well-being. It was very eye-opening to see how things work at Mayo Clinic."

"The future of health care needs this focus," Larry says.

As a member of Mayo Clinic's Arizona Leadership Council, an advisory and philanthropic group, Larry has had an insider's view of the clinic's operations. And as patients, the Montgomerys have experienced firsthand the difference of coordinated care.

"I like the Mayo business model because I've seen it at work more than others who have not had the opportunity," Larry says, comparing the model with those he helped build at Kohl's.

"You have to work with other people to get the job done. That is how we built our business at Kohl's. It is exactly what Mayo Clinic does every day."

Larry retired from Kohl's in 2010, but his life is anything but retiring. He and Sherry are pursuing shared passions they didn't have time for when Larry was running Kohl's and Sherry was raising their two children. Their five business ventures are perfect examples: a construction and remodeling company, a bottled water line, a private wine label, a coffee company, and a restaurant in Laguna Beach, Calif. They direct their endeavors as a team and enter areas they are both passionate about.

The Montgomerys have a similar approach to their philanthropy, focusing on where they have an interest and can make the biggest impact. They see the Mayo Model of Care as the ideal health care model and their support of the Mayo Medical School — Arizona Campus as a way to extend that model to more people. At the same time, their support will help provide the U.S. health care system with physicians who are equipped to lead positive reforms in the system. Ultimately, the new school will improve the lives of patients around the country.

"If you look at health care in the United States, Mayo actually delivers health care in a manner that the rest of the country can learn from," Larry says. "Graduating students with a master's in the Science of Health Care Delivery is unique and, we believe, the right direction for health care. We're excited to be part of that."