Eric Batch ’97, Distinguished Professional
A long-time friend and college roommate of Batch’s says he continues to be inspired by the fact that Batch does not define success by titles, income or status, but by the number of lives impacted and improved as a result of his leadership … and that Batch continues to apply this principle in his life to this day.
For the past 10 years, Batch has managed the Government Relations Department for the American Heart Association’s 10 Western States - a position he earned because of his resourcefulness and understanding of policy issues. Batch has been instrumental in leading successful state and local legislative campaigns, and has played a key role in driving policy around physical activity, nutrition, tobacco control, access to health care, and more.
Over the years, Batch has worked on campaigns that have successfully removed soda and junk food from California schools, banned trans-fat in restaurants and bakeries, and launched clean indoor and outdoor air campaigns across the western region. He and his team have also passed legislation in multiple states requiring pulse oximetry screenings for newborn babies prior to being released from the hospital, and requiring high school students to learn CPR prior to graduation. Batch’s vision, leadership and desire to serve has earned him numerous community and professional awards, including the American Heart Association’s Award of Excellence, the highest award given for advancing the objectives of AHA.
Batch is, however, someone who does not look to take credit for his contributions. In fact, friends say he tends to shy away from the spotlight as much as possible, instead focusing on the outcomes of his work. A former AHA executive says Batch constantly seeks out and pursues any opportunity that promises to improve cardiovascular health, particularly of the underserved. For that, and for leading by example, he is well respected by his peers.
After graduating from Southwestern with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Batch went on to earn a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Southern California, where he is now an adjunct professor teaching a graduate course on leadership. A perfect fit for someone who has become, in one former Southwestern staff member’s words, “such an outstanding nonprofit leader.”
Batch’s leadership has been recognized many times with awards over the years. Most recently, he was honored by the 100 Black Men of Orange County for his efforts to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans.
Batch’s friends and colleagues use words like intelligent, honest, clever, warm, funny, astute and generous to describe him. One of his Southwestern professors, whom Batch credits for sparking his love of political science, says it was his good fortune to have been one of your advisers and says, “Thanks to Eric’s generosity of spirit, enormous heart and dynamic energy, he treats people right every day; he fights the good fight (for those people); and he puts positive energy out into a world full of negativity.”
As the selected alumni speaker for Southwestern’s 2014 Matriculation, Batch encouraged the incoming class to “lead lives that are significant.” In turn, President Ed Burger told the audience that Batch “beautifully represents what we are trying to accomplish here at Southwestern.”
In addition to his career and his alma mater, friends have quickly learned how important Batch’s family is to him, and he is also known as a wonderful husband and father. Batch’s own father shares that he is extremely proud of him, and he thanks Southwestern for helping mold his son into the fine man he is today.
Not only for his outstanding professional achievements, but also for his heart for service and family, and his gift of friendship, The Association of Southwestern University Alumni presented Eric Batch with a 2014 Distinguished Professional Award.