Jack McGurk

'66 Biology

Jack McGurk (‘66, Biology) spent 30 years working in the California Department of Health Services. He served as chief of the Environmental Management Branch and oversaw eight environmental health programs, including medical waste management. Jack was crucial in developing the California Medical Waste Management Act legislation. His innovative medical waste reduction and pollution prevention program was honored with 2002, 2003, and 2004 Champion for Change Awards from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded him the 2004 Region IX Environmental Award for outstanding achievement in leading those efforts. As the owner and president of Systems Improvement Initiators, Inc., he offered expertise and guidance to businesses and hospitals to help improve operations and implement cost-effective environmental solutions. Jack assisted hospitals in reducing healthcare-acquired infections through improved cleaning techniques.

Jack's commitment extends to education, as he serves as the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation Vice Chair and created two Cal Poly Humboldt scholarship endowments for nursing and marine biology students, totaling $500,000. Inspired by his wife's battle with cancer, the nursing scholarship honors those who provided their family with exceptional care. McGurk's dedication to positively impacting Humboldt students’ lives is evident in all his endeavors.

2022 Distinguished Alumni Winner Jack McGurk