distinguished alumni award
Patrick Baird, 76BBA, serves as president and chief executive officer of AEGON USA, the fifth largest insurance company in the U.S., where he has received national recognition for his successes throughout his 20 years with the company.
Baird's achievements have extended to his support of the University of Iowa. A former member of Iowa's golf team, he was the driving force behind the AEGON Advantage Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $400,000 for the Athletics Hall of Fame and the renovation of the Finkbine Golf Course.
Baird's Iowa upbringing and education have served him well during his successful career. Raised in the small town of Vinton, he attended Vinton High School and practiced his leadership skills early as the manager of the Vinton Municipal Swimming Pool for two summers. After enrolling at the UI, he completed an accounting degree in 1976 and became a Certified Public Accountant.
He was soon hired at AEGON, where his hard work and business acumen helped move him quickly up the ranks. Baird served in various key positions including executive vice president and chief operating officer, chief tax officer, and chief financial officer. Since 1990, he has held responsibility for leading the major acquisitions of the company.
In 2002, Baird became president and chief executive officer of AEGON USA. In this role, he leads the U.S. operations, which generate 63 percent of the revenues for the entire worldwide operations of AEGON NV, one of the top ten insurance companies in the world.
While his accomplishments have lead to international success, some of his greatest business contributions have been to the UI and the state of Iowa. Under Baird's leadership, AEGON has opened career opportunities for many graduates of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business by recruiting them for AEGON's Leadership Development program. He has also been committed to bringing new business units and jobs to the Cedar Rapids area. AEGON employs 14,000 staff across North America, close to 2,300 of them in the Cedar Rapids offices.
Beyond his business contributions to his home state, Baird serves the community through his participation on numerous boards that share a common theme of making the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor a better place to do business and raise a family. Currently, he serves on the Waypoint board, the Kirkwood Foundation board, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Institute for Legal Reform, and the Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust board. Believing in the valuable lessons that young people learn through competition-and the recognition that the UI and the state receive from the university's outstanding Hawkeye teams-one of his priorities is supporting the UI athletics programs in which he once participated.
While Baird has gone far in his career, he remains close to the people he grew up with and to his alma mater, and his exceptional life achievements and long commitment to Iowa have made him one of the university's most valued alumni.
Baird is a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.