When Spencer Way arrived as a freshman at Union College in the fall of 2008, he already knew he wanted to be a hospital administrator. The business degree he completed at Union in 2014 well prepared him to follow that dream.

Today, Spencer is halfway through a three-year administrative residency at Porter Adventist Hospital. Administrative residencies are designed to prepare recent college graduates for careers in healthcare leadership.

Under the direction of an executive preceptor, administrative residents attend and participate in executive level meetings, rotate in clinical and ancillary departments of hospitals and corporate departments, and assist in and direct projects pertaining to their future specialization. Graduate school is also a residency requirement.

Learn more about Adventist Health System’s residency programs.

Spencer is thrilled to have been chosen to participate in the residency program at Porter. He has progressed through the program under the guidance of executive preceptors Randy Haffner and Morre Dean, past and current presidents of the Denver-based hospital system.

“I can’t imagine a more amazing opportunity for a young person who desires to grow and learn how to manage a hospital,” says Spencer. “I get to attend high-level meetings. I’ve had direct exposure to all the inner workings of the hospital. I’ve spent time in the emergency department learning how they manage the flow of patients. I’ve sat in board meetings, and I’ve even learned how they make hash browns in the cafeteria.”

The most valuable aspect of the program, says Spencer, is having full access to leadership. “I am actually encouraged to ask tough questions—to look at processes and probe to try to figure out why things are done certain ways. I get to formulate ways to make things even better.”

When asked about his training at Union College, Spencer passionately responds, “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Union College. Union is a place where I was given the freedom to pursue my passion, along with the guidance to mold that passion for a broader experience.”

Spencer believes his experience at Union was especially valuable in two additional ways. First, Union’s intimate size made it possible for Spencer’s professors to invest in him personally and to address his unique areas of weakness, fostering personal growth in a safe environment. Second, he was able to take on campus leadership roles, including a stint as captain of the gymnastics team, which laid a solid foundation for his future career in healthcare leadership.

“I love the mission of Adventist Health System,” Spencer says. “I live it, work it, and support it every day. It’s a gift to be here, and I have nothing but gratitude for the opportunity to work in an institution that daily seeks to improve people’s lives. I wake up each morning excited to serve.”

This article was submitted by Stephen King, senior vice president for Rocky Mountain Adventist Health/Centura Health, where he serves the five Adventist hospital campuses in Colorado. It was written by Mark Bond.