2014 Outstanding Alumni Award

John Bartholomew

John Bartholomew 1960
Saunders College of Business

Shortly after A. John Bartholomew ’60 (business administration) graduated, a Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity brother asked him to volunteer for his alma mater.

The job was calling other alumni and asking for money for a new campus that was going to be built in Henrietta.

Bartholomew admits that the task wasn’t his favorite volunteer assignment, in part because records weren’t always complete in the ’60s. But it did set in motion more than 50 years of giving of his time and talent to RIT.

Bartholomew will be honored for his ongoing support with the Outstanding Alumnus of 2014 award at the Presidents’ Alumni Ball on Oct. 17 during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend.

“Knowing some of the past recipients, people I admire a great deal, I am very proud to be associated with them,” he said.

As a high school student in Webster, N.Y., Bartholomew planned to attend Syracuse University and play football.

“My senior year of high school, I stopped growing. I was really, really small, so that went out the window.”

He applied to RIT’s business school instead and was accepted, he said, because the dean was impressed he had been an Eagle Scout. After college, he began selling office equipment, medical supply equipment and insurance before joining his family in the senior health care field.

He is now in his 51st year as a nursing home administrator, owner and operator of the Bartholomew Health Care Group, a network of four senior communities in Western New York.
In 1985, the New York State Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators named him Nursing Home Administrator of the Year.

“I like to say I have forgotten more than most nursing home administrators ever knew,” he said, laughing. “That’s the problem, I have forgotten it.”

Bartholomew has been active with RIT’s Nathaniel Rochester Society for more than 30 years, has served on the Saunders College of Business Advisory Board and continues to be involved with his fraternity. He and his wife, Mary, also have developed a scholarship program with the college. In 2011, he was recognized as a Saunders College Distinguished Alumnus.

He is also active with the local Alzheimer’s Association and EquiCenter, which provides therapeutic horseback riding. Horseback riding is his hobby. He thanks his wife and son, John Bartholomew II, who will be taking over the family business, for giving him time to volunteer.

As part of his duties on the NRS executive board, Bartholomew still helps RIT with fundraising. But there’s a big difference this time: “They don’t make me use the telephone anymore.”