A liberal arts education opens the door to many professional pathways, including business, law school, public health school, and more. Sometimes, it can connect those multiple places in unexpected ways and lead down an exciting new path to inspire the next generations. Such was the career of Joe Impicciche ‘80, who pursued a law degree, then a Master of Healthcare Administration degree, and ultimately becoming the President and CEO of Ascension.

Impicciche came to Wabash as a Lilly Scholar from Crawfordsville High School. During his time here, he was part of the WNDY college radio station and played intramural sports. “Several factors influenced my decision [to come to Wabash],” Impicciche said. “For one, I grew up in Crawfordsville and was very familiar with the College’s excellent reputation. I also attended the OLAB summer program and had the opportunity to get to know several faculty members and experience how committed they were to their students. So when I began looking at schools, Wabash was already on the top of my list.”

As President and CEO of Ascension, Impicciche works at the intersection of law and healthcare. He credits his time at Wabash with preparing him to succeed in his career.

Impicciche attributes his graduate school success, and then his later success as a lawyer in healthcare to his time at Wabash. “In many ways, Wabash was more impactful and intense, and certainly more formative,” Impicciche said. “I felt extremely well prepared for postgraduate studies. […] I am fairly certain if it weren’t for the caring and focused attention of several Wabash faculty members, I wouldn’t be who I am today. In addition to a myriad of other life lessons, they taught me the importance of being well-rounded and curious and to strive for excellence in everything you do.”

In fact, it was the legendary Wabash Professor Ed McLean H’08 that helped Impicciche settle on going to law school. “Dr. Ed McLean was a big influence on me,” Impicciche said. “He made me want to become a lawyer. So that’s why I went to law school. Later, after I had become a lawyer and joined a law firm that specialized in healthcare, I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in Health Administration. I believed having a deeper understanding of the healthcare industry would come in handy one day – and as it turned out, it certainly did!”

“Life is all about the journey. Don’t become so preoccupied with your career that you miss out on what’s really important.”

Joe Impicciche ‘80
Impicciche meets with Pope Francis to discuss the ethical implications of Ascension’s healthcare mission.

Though his career path has been unique, it very much helped prepare him to get started with Ascension when it was formed. “I was a practicing lawyer for approximately 18 years and had the opportunity to do work for a number of health care clients, including at the time St. Vincent Hospital (now Ascension St. Vincent) in Indianapolis and its owner, the Daughters of Charity National Health System,” Impicciche said. “When Ascension was formed as the result of the merger of the Daughters of Charity Health System and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System, one of my law partners became Ascension’s first General Counsel, and I was fortunate to serve as one of its outside lawyers. A few years later, my law partner retired from the role, and I was asked to succeed him.” In July 2019, Impicciche became the President and CEO of the very same hospital network, after almost two decades of service to the company.

In many ways, one of the key takeaways from Impicciche’s career is that life is a journey – a lesson that Impicciche himself had to learn. “Years ago I took my family to Hawaii and we spent a day ‘on the road to Hana,’ which is a long stretch of country roads that wind through Maui,” Impicciche said. “What I remember most about this experience was how singularly focused I was on reaching the destination and how disappointed I was when Hana turned out to be just another small, Hawaiian town. I completely missed the point of the experience! The road to Hana isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey. That would be my best advice: life is all about the journey. Don’t become so preoccupied with your career that you miss out on what’s really important.