James and Judi Herbert honored with Founders’ Award

Published: April 18, 2024

LANSING, MI – Community leaders Judith and the late James Herbert were recognized Wednesday with the 2024 Founders’ Award, the highest honor given by University of Michigan Health-Sparrow, for the incredible impact they’ve had on the health of Mid-Michigan.

The Herberts, both of whom battled cancer, not only helped fund the University of Michigan Health-Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center but also made dozens of other gifts over the past 40 years to improve the health of our community. The family made the largest single gift in Sparrow history when they created an endowed fund to support the growth of genomics for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 

“Giving back is our family’s legacy,” said Judi Herbert, “back to the community that we live in or that we’re a part of. It’s just important to us to see it grow and be successful.”

Judith and Melissa Herbert Founders' Award, April 2024

Judith Herbert (right) and her daughter, Melissa, pose with the Founders’ Award, the highest honor given by University of Michigan Health-Sparrow.

The Founders’ ceremony was emotional, following James Herbert’s death on March 16. Watch the video about the Herberts’ legacy below.

Margaret Dimond, Ph.D., regional president of University of Michigan Health, noted that “both Jim and Judi were cancer survivors. They took their experiences as patients and used them in the best possible way to bring hope and comfort to other cancer patients in the community. Their impact isn’t just having their name on the Herbert-Herman Cancer Center but it’s in sharing their stories about UM Health-Sparrow care and pushing, pushing, pushing to bring the most advanced cancer technology to Lansing.”

The award is given to a volunteer, community member, retired team member or physician who has made a positive impact on the health of the Mid-Michigan region through their involvement with UM Health-Sparrow. The Founders’ celebration honors the spirit of our founders, the 114 charter members of the Women’s Hospital Association. These women opened the hospital’s doors on March 18, 1896, and the Founders’ celebration is held near that date to remember their vision and dedication. Past recipients of the Founders’ Award include the late Michigan State University hockey coach Ron Mason, business leaders Dick Iding and Alton and Janice Granger, and last year’s winner, Debbie Harrison.

For more about giving at UM Health-Sparrow, go to UofMHealthSparrow.org.


University of Michigan Health-Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. Johns, as well as UM Health-Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Care Network, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. UM Health-Sparrow is part of University of Michigan Health. Through the dedication of our 10,000 team members, UM Health-Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and patient experience. For more information, visit UofMHealthSparrow.org.