2015 Speaker and Honorary Degree Information

Honorary Degree Recipient and Commencement Speaker

Madeline Bell


Madeline Bell is a senior health system executive with extensive experience in leading clinical operations and corporate services at the top ranked children’s hospital in the nation. Since 2007 Madeline has served as the President and Chief Operating Officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). In that role, she manages over 12,000 employees for the $2 billion a year health system. Over the past eight years in her role, she has led significant growth while maintaining the financial strength and clinical excellence of the organization.

As a nurse, Madeline began her career in pediatrics and moved from a variety of different nursing roles into hospital administration in 1989. During her time at CHOP where she has been since 1995, she has led the development of the ambulatory network, including home care, physician practice acquisition and community hospital partnerships; the expansion of a 2 billion square foot main campus; implementation of the electronic health record and the development of numerous nationally recognized clinical and family-centered care programs.

Madeline is a mission-driven and creative leader recognized internationally for innovations in pediatric operations management, public policy and family centered care. She is adept at driving change and instilling a culture of operations management discipline. She has special interests in urban planning, international healthcare and minority leadership development.

Madeline is a native of the Philadelphia area. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villanova University and a Master of Science in Organization Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. Madeline serves as a board member for the University City District, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council and the Children’s Hospital Association. In addition to her board positions, Madeline serves on the Villanova University College of Nursing Board of Consultors, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank Economic Advisory Board and the Public Policy Committee for the Children’s Hospital Association. She serves as an advisor to numerous international hospitals and frequently lectures on the topics of children’s healthcare and women in leadership.


Honorary Degree Recipients



Since 2007, Monsignor Paul Tighe has served as secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. This appointment allows him to draw upon his years of experience as a priest and teacher committed to engaging the voice of the Church in the public—an increasingly digital arena—and using the power of social communication to spread the Gospel message and address social issues.

Born in 1958 in County Meath, Ireland, Monsignor Tighe studied at numerous institutions, including University College Dublin, where he earned a bachelor’s in Civil Law in 1979; Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, Dublin; and Pontifical Irish College and Gregorian University, both in Rome. At the latter, he pursued postgraduate studies in Moral Theology from 1984 to 1990.

After being ordained in 1983, Monsignor Tighe taught at Ballyfermot Senior College and served as a parish chaplain. During the 1990s and early 2000s, he divided his time between being a college lecturer in Moral Theology—with a special emphasis on the interface of law, ethics, politics and religion—and continuing his pastoral work at various Dublin parishes. He also was a member of the ethics committees of various area hospitals and, from 2001 to 2004, served on the Diocesan Communications Advisory Committee.

Building on his experience as a teacher, moral theologian and communication adviser, Monsignor Tighe established and served as founding director of the Office for Public Affairs, Archdiocese of Dublin, in 2004. The office monitors public debates, policy formation and legal developments related to a variety of social issues; and communicates Church perspectives on these issues.

During this time, Monsignor Tighe also oversaw the re-launch of the archdiocesan website and managed the restructuring of its Communications Office. He worked closely with the director of Communications in liaising with local, national and international media.

In 2007, Monsignor Tighe was appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications of the Vatican. In collaboration with the management team, he has led the Vatican’s digital media strategy, including the launch of the news.va portal and @pontifex Twitter account. He also is also involved globally in the council’s promotional and formation activities of the Council.

Monsignor Tighe’s leadership and communications expertise continues to be recognized. In 2014, he was appointed executive secretary to the Vatican Media Commission, which is charged by the Council of Cardinals with developing a plan for the integration and reform of the Vatican’s media and communications activities.

M. Louise Fitzpatrick


M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, is the Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing of the College of Nursing at Villanova University.

Dr. Fitzpatrick was named dean of the College in 1978. During her tenure, the College of Nursing has developed into a premier nursing program, recognized by the National League for Nursing (NLN) as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.

Dr. Fitzpatrick is responsible for the expansion of the College’s academic programs, including initiating master’s and doctoral programs, as well as an accelerated BSN program for second-degree students. She developed distance learning strategies and clinical simulation laboratory initiatives, and focused on scholarship and research programs. During her deanship, three centers have been established: the Center for Nursing Research, the Center for Global and Public Health and the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education.

Deeply interested in international health care and nursing education, Dr. Fitzpatrick has sought to globalize the College of Nursing community through study abroad and health promotion experiences for students in such countries as England, Ireland, Poland, Japan, Peru, South Africa, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. In addition, she has emphasized multicultural experiences in underserved areas in the United States, including the Western Shoshone Native American reservation and the Texas-Mexico border. Dr. Fitzpatrick has also served as a global consultant for many years and has forged relationships bringing Omani and other international students to the College of Nursing.

A native of New Jersey, Dr. Fitzpatrick is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and received a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from The Catholic University of America. She earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and holds a certificate from Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management. She received a World Health Organization fellowship for study in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, and a Malone Travel Fellowship from the Committee on US-Arab Relations. Dr. Fitzpatrick is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and has served as a consultant to numerous schools of nursing and health agencies in the United States and abroad.

Prior to becoming dean of Villanova University’s College of Nursing, Dr. Fitzpatrick served as an associate professor in the Department of Nursing Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. In this capacity, she acted as major adviser for master’s degree students in curricu­lum development and community health nursing, directed doctoral study in nursing history and nursing education, and worked extensively with international students. Dr. Fitzpatrick also has been involved in higher education accreditation since 1972, serving as an accreditation visitor for the Middle States Association, the NLN and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Active in community and professional affairs, she has served as chair of the NLN’s Accreditation Committee and its Accreditation Appeal Panel, as well as president of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Schools Association. She is also a member of the External Advisory Committee, Rafic Hariri School of Nursing, at the American University of Beirut.

Dr. Fitzpatrick’s research preparation, scholarly interests and publications focus on nursing history and nursing education. Her book publications include The National Organization for Public Health Nursing, 1912-1952: Development of a Practice Field, Prologue to Professionalism: A History of Nursing, and Nursing in Society: A Historical Perspective, which she co-authored with Josephine Dolan and Eleanor Herrmann. Dr. Fitzpatrick also is a sought-after speaker. She has made numerous presentations and keynote addresses at regional, national and international conferences.

Among the many prestigious awards Dr. Fitzpatrick has received are the Global Citizen Award of the Pennsylvania Nurses Association in 1997, the National League for Nursing Award for Outstanding Leadership in Nursing Education in 2004, and most recently she was awarded the Legion of Honor Gold Medallion of the Chapel of Four Chaplains. Dr. Fitzpatrick is the recipient of distinguished alumni awards from The Catholic University of America; Teachers College, Columbia University; and The Johns Hopkins University. For her contributions to the agenda of the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, Dr. Fitzpatrick was awarded affiliate membership in the Order of St. Augustine by the Superior General in Rome upon recommendation of the Eastern Province of the United States in 2002.

University Commencement Ceremony Video

Visit this link to view an archived webcast of the 2015 University Commencement Ceremony. Having trouble playing the video stream? Please confirm that your computer/mobile device meets the viewing requirements.


In addition, the video of the University Commencement Ceremony and each College Recognition Ceremony are available for viewing on the University's YouTube channel and available for download via ITunesU.


Future Commencement Weekend Dates

Year 2016: May 13—14
Year 2017: May 19—20
Year 2018: May 18-19