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ACU alumna, board chair April Anthony honored as 2021 AACSB Influential Leader

April Anthony, Abilene Christian University alumna and board chair, is one of 25 business school graduates honored by AACSB International – the world’s largest business education alliance – in its 2021 class of Influential Leaders. The initiative recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited business schools whose work inspires the next generation of leaders. 

Anthony is CEO of Encompass Health – Home Health and Hospice of Dallas, Texas. She graduated from ACU in 1989 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, became a Texas CPA, and started her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1992, after transitioning to a controller job, she bought a failing home health agency in Fort Worth, Texas. Within a year she turned the company around, paid off the $150,000 loan she inherited, and squeezed out a $10,000 salary for herself. In time, Encompass Home Health and Hospice was born.

She began early putting employees and patients first, going on patient visits to homes and learning what employees needed to do their work well. As she implemented changes to meet the demands, the company thrived. Not only has Anthony used her business education to grow her company, but the ethical lessons she learned propelled her to exceed in areas not emphasized by competitors – the creation of a corporate culture that cares deeply for employees and patients. 

Seeing a need for a better way to manage records in the highly regulated healthcare industry, she formed Homecare Homebase and created a full-service electronic medical records system. The software’s efficiency and effectiveness have set the industry standard, and the system is used to power more than 35% of all home care and hospice services across the nation.

Anthony’s philosophy of putting employees first means patients are cared for well. Encompass Home Health and Hospice has been named to Best Workplace lists for several years in a row by Great Places to Work, Fortune magazine and Modern Healthcare. The company leads the home health care industry in clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, and boasts industry-leading employee turnover rates. Encompass Health – Home Health and Hospice has more than 325 locations in 31 states and territories.

Anthony has been generous with her time and money at Abilene Christian. In 2018, she became the first woman to serve as board chair, and she has donated tens of millions of dollars to her alma mater, from major buildings altering the campus landscape to the university’s ability to create new programs and opportunities for students.

“April embodies our mission,” said ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert. “She lives a life of service and leadership that inspires others to do the same. Our university would not be where it is today without her faithful commitment and generosity.”

Her service and philanthropy have been particularly valuable for business students. She has made investments in College of Business Administration faculty through endowed professorships for accounting, economics and marketing. She established a scholarship endowment providing students the opportunity to gain global economic and cultural insights through study abroad. In addition, the endowment for the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership secures her commitment to prepare the next generation of business leaders. A marquee offering from the Lytle Center is Leadership Summit, a one-week short course that brings together leaders of business, government and community to teach principles of effective leadership. 

“We are inspired by the efforts of business school graduates like April Anthony,” said Caryn L. Beck-Dudley, AACSB president and CEO. “ACU is developing leaders prepared to change the world, and AACSB is honored to recognize April for her positive impact on society.”

Read more about Anthony and other notable ACU alumni here.

The mission of ACU’s COBA is to educate business and technology professionals for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. 

Established in 1916, AACSB is the world’s largest business education alliance, connecting educators, learners, and business to create the next generation of great leaders. With a presence in more than 100 countries and territories, AACSB fosters engagement, accelerates innovation, and amplifies impact in business education. Learn more at

Now in its sixth year, AACSB’s Influential Leaders honorees include nearly 250 business school graduates who have created lasting impact in business and society. All honorees have earned an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree from one of the more than 870 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. Read more at

— Wendy Kilmer

Feb. 16, 2021

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