Answering the call defines the career of Maryalice Morro, ’83 BSN, MSN, RN who recently assumed a new role after retiring from 29 years of naval service where she achieved the rank of captain. She is global director of Quality and Training for the TRICARE Overseas Program for International SOS based in Trevose, Pa. Whether her service led her to land or sea, regardless of coordinates, she views Villanova as home. It is here she serves on the College’s Board of Consultors and the Villanova University Alumni Association Board.
Following graduation from Villanova and the Navy’s Officer Indoctrination School, Morro began her nursing career at Naval Hospital Bethesda where she was quickly recognized for her leadership and management potential. Her interest and expertise in ambulatory care, health promotion and emergency nursing care were significant through her career, for instance, in the planning and implementation of safety programs for the Brigade of Midshipman at Annapolis and for medical support for NASA in Spain and a Royal Air Force training unit at Mt. Kilimanjaro. Morro was the division officer for the surgical wards aboard the USNS Comfort during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and special assistant to the Commander for Homeland Security at the National Naval Medical Center.
Morro advanced her education through a Johnson and Johnson Wharton Fellowship for Nurse Executives and earned her master’s degree in nursing in community health management from Catholic University of America and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington. She also served as a legislative intern on Capitol Hill. “The College of Nursing instilled a commitment to lifelong learning, and every step of my career in nursing has included some level of learning. I think this keeps me focused, current and always looking for new or better ways to deliver care,” she says.
Morro had a large-scale impact on patient care, for which she received the College of Nursing’s Medallion for Distinguished Leadership in Administration of Nursing and Health Care Services in 2009. She was the first nurse to be appointed to serve as the commanding officer (CEO) of Naval Hospital Pensacola, was the senior nurse executive for patient services at Naval Hospital Yokosuka in Japan, and was executive officer (COO) at Naval Hospital Lemoore in California.
“Villanova laid the foundation for my career in nursing. The commitment to the Augustinian values of truth, unity and love was evident in the academic curriculum, campus life and was embraced by the student body,” Morro recalls. Her education led to her variety of roles in healthcare. “I have enjoyed every job I ever had in nursing and healthcare and would not have attained the success and satisfaction without that foundation,” she offers.
Her unique career benefits the College. Morro summarizes, “I am thrilled to be able to link my experiences over time back to academia to help shape the future of nursing education and practice and I can’t think of a better place to do that than the University that helped launch my career.” She values the Villanova commitment to its family, linking her to “old and new friends around the world.” Her own family is one of Villanovans including her sister Kate who worked on campus as brother Bob does currently, her sister Meg-- a Villanova nursing alumna at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia-- and her sister Susan who is a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Morro, a loyal sports fan, loves the school just as much as its teams. Games draw her back as does service to her alma mater. Aside from assisting the College of Nursing, the retired captain happily notes that “Probably my favorite reason to return is to talk to the ROTC students....it is rewarding to meet some of the future men and women of the U.S. Navy. Their enthusiasm and desire to serve has never been better!”