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Madeline Bell, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Villanova alumna, to Deliver University’s 2015 Commencement Address, May 15

Honorary degrees to be awarded to Madeline Bell; M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean of the College of Nursing at Villanova University; and, Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications

Madeline Bell

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President, announced that Madeline Bell, President and Chief Operating Officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), will address the Class of 2015 as the University’s commencement speaker. Bell, a 1983 graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, will also receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. The University’s 172nd commencement will be held Friday, May 15 at 4 p.m., in Villanova Stadium. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will be held in The Pavilion.

Honorary degrees will also be awarded to M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, the Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing at Villanova University’s College of Nursing; and, Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for the Vatican and executive secretary to the Vatican Media Commission.


Madeline Bell, ’83 CON, President and Chief Operating Officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and a native of the Philadelphia area, leads the clinical operations and corporate services at the top-ranked children’s hospital in the nation.  In that role, which she has held since 2007, Bell manages over 12,000 employees for the $2 billion a year health system. During her tenure as CHOP’s senior executive Bell has led significant growth while maintaining the financial strength and clinical excellence of the organization.

The Villanova alumna began her nursing career in pediatrics, moving from a variety of different nursing roles into hospital administration in 1989. During her time at CHOP, where she has been since 1995, Bell 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.

A mission-driven and creative leader, Bell is internationally recognized 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. Bell‘s special interests include urban planning, international healthcare and minority leadership development.

In addition to her undergraduate degree in nursing, Bell holds a Master of Science in Organization Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.  She has maintained close ties with Villanova, serving on the Villanova University College of Nursing Board of Consultors. In 2007 Bell was awarded the CON’s Nursing Medallion for Distinguished Leadership in Administration of Health Care Services. She is also a member of the Villanova Nursing Alumni Association. In addition, Bell was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Women of Distinction Award conferred by The Philadelphia Business Journal and The Forum of Executive Women.

Bell serves as a board member for the University City District, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council the Children’s Hospital Association and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank Economic Advisory Board. She is a member of the Public Policy Committee for the Children’s Hospital Association As an advisor to numerous international hospitals, Bell frequently lectures on the topics of children’s healthcare and women in leadership.


M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, the Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing at Villanova University’s College of Nursing (CON) will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. During Dr. Fitzpatrick’s tenure the CON has developed into a premier nursing program, recognized by the National League for Nursing (NLN) as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. A New Jersey native, Dr. Fitzpatrick was named dean of the College in 1978. Under her leadership the CON’s academic programs have undergone a major expansion to include masters and doctoral programs, as well as an accelerated BSN program for second-degree students. Dr. Fitzpatrick 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 also 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 fostered multicultural service learning experiences in underserved areas in the United States, including the Western Shoshone Native American reservation and the Texas-Mexico border. Dr, Fitzpatrick has forged international relationships bringing students from Oman and other countries to the College of Nursing Dr. Fitzpatrick 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.

Prior to being named 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. She 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, Dr. Fitzpatrick has served as chair of NLN’s Accreditation Committee and its Accreditation Appeal Panel, as well as president of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Schools Association. She is a member of the External Advisory Committee, Rafic Hariri School of Nursing, at the American University of Beirut.

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. Dr. Fitzpatrick is 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.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and executive secretary to the Vatican Media Commission, will receive the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa.  A native of County Meath, Ireland, Msgr. Tighe has been a central figure in the Vatican’s mission to engage with the public in the digital arena – using the power of social communication to spread the Gospel message and address social issues.

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 lecturing at the college level on 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 pubic 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 portal and @pontifex twitter account. He also is also involved globally in the council’s promotional and formation activities of the Council.

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.

In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree in Civil Law from University College Dublin, Monsignor Tighe pursued postgraduate studies at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, Dublin; and Pontifical Irish College and Gregorian University, both in Rome.

*For photos of the Commencement honorees, please contact the Villanova University Media Relations Office.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit