2016 2016: Liberal Arts Alumnus Succeeds in Science Management

2016 2016: Liberal Arts Alumnus Succeeds in Science Management
Liberal Arts Alumnus Succeeds in Science Management

Michael Souza values the skills he learned as a liberal arts major, and he shares how they help make him successful today.

Mike Souza

Alumnus appointed as president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island

Two years ago, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI) Board of Trustees appointed Michael R. Souza as president of HARI. A 1996 UMass Dartmouth graduate with a bachelor's degree in Humanities and Social Science (HSS), Souza oversees the day-to-day operations of the association, as well as advocates for Rhode Island hospitals and helps to influence public opinion and legislative outcomes.

"The association collaborates with all Rhode Island hospitals and helps advocate for them on many local and state issues," Souza said. "For example, we help the hospitals deal with and fight budget cuts proposed by the governor."

His path to the top

Mike began fighting budget cuts and working with RI hospitals in 2009, after he had earned his Master of Science management degree from Bridgewater State College.

At the time, he was the vice president of finance and senior vice president, who had the experience the association needed. "Mike's background and skills in hospital finance and reimbursement have strengthened the association," said the HARI Board of Trustees. "He brings vision, determination and a sense of humor to his work."

A UMass Dartmouth commuter from Fairhaven 

Mike's vision and determination began long before his work with HARI. Mike, a roll-up-your-sleeves type of guy, attended UMassD as a commuter from Fairhaven, MA.

He worked part-time, owned a landscaping business, and went into property management. "I had the drive to do the best that I could and try to see the big picture," Souza said. "You can get so stuck in the weeds that you forget to see your goals." Just like his goals, Mike's undergraduate education helped him stay focused and successful.

Mike values his liberal arts skills

Twenty years later, the skills Mike learned as a Humanities and Social Science major (now called a Liberal Arts major) allow him to be an effective president.

"In the liberal arts, it's not just about being able to write appropriately," he said. "It's about being able to take a large amount of information and make it smaller, it's about being able to summarize a 5-page document into bullet points, and it's about taking what you've put on paper and communicating that to others."