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Connelly Foundation receives 60th Anniversary Medallion

The Connelly Foundation endowment on the occasion of the College's 50th Anniversary 10 years ago has had a significant positive impact on the College. During the 60th Anniversary Day of Celebration April 6, 2013, the Foundation was honored by the College with a 60th Anniversary Medallion. Present were representatives of the Foundation including Emily C. Riley, executive vice president (2nd from left); Eleanor L. Davis; and Dr. Lewis W. Bluemle, senior vice president. With them are Dean Fitzpatrick and University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA who presided at the 60th Anniversary College of Nursing Mass and Alumni Awards Ceremony.

The citation (below) for Connelly Foundation was read by Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN. The award was accepted by Foundation Executive Vice President Emily C. Riley, who is also a former University trustee.

The legacy of John and Josephine Connelly continues to be demonstrated through the work of the Foundation they established in 1955. Their  commitment to helping others through philanthropy -is expressed through the programs of the Connelly Foundation, its board and most particularly, members of the Connelly Family, who guide it  and shape its priorities. Like many institutions, especially those under Catholic Auspices in the Philadelphia area, Villanova University has been the recipient of many benefits and gifts from the Foundation. Look around our campus and we see tangible evidence of the Foundation’s generosity. Note the endowed chairs in theology and business- that proudly bear the Connelly name. Reflect on the College of Nursing and its accomplishments as a result of an endowment awarded by the Foundation on our 50th anniversary. It was incredibly significant in making it possible to take that the “next step” in our development. The evidence is overwhelming. This Foundation and the people who represent it, have made an enormous difference in helping us achieve important goals that continue to position us for the future. That gift has greatly contributed to our reputation and the quality nursing education for which the College and its alumni are known, nationally and, in recent years, internationally.

Interest from the endowment provides funds that help to maintain our state-of-the-art simulation Learning Resource center-so that our students and faculty can use technology to enhance teaching and learning; interest from the endowment funds makes possible international opportunities for our Connelly-Delouvrier scholars. These undergraduate nursing students have international experiences  embedded in required and elective courses where the art and science of nursing is taught, while simultaneously, some of the world’s neediest people  are being served in Peru, Nicaragua, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and also with populations within  in the United States on Native American Reservations and in Maternity clinics on the  Texas-Mexico border..

A follow-up study of former Connelly-Delouvrier Nursing Scholars, completed in 2012, provides evidence that these opportunities provided lasting motivation to alumni who continue to give back, and  and engage in community and global volunteer activites beyond graduation, and throughout their careers.

Interest from the endowment allows us to keep  curriculum relevant; assists us with design and implementation of new programs and supports faculty development activities. It provides a value added nursing education and ultimately improvement of health care through nursing, that could not be offered to the extent it is, without this tremendous resource.

Most of all, as one privileged to hold the title Connelly Endowed Dean & Professor,  I thank the Foundation, officers and staff  for the personal interest  that they have demonstrated in our college; for wise advice and for the warm relationships and friendships that have been forged.

There is no way that any of us can ever adequately thank the Connelly Foundation Board, staff and the Connelly Family for their investment in us. So this medallion, the college’s highest award, which we give to the Connelly foundation is merely a token- - a small object but one that represents our deep and sincere gratitude for the Foundation’s generosity and an investment that has made such a difference for our college.  

Emily Connelly Riley, Executive Vice President of the Foundation and former trustee of Villanova University will accept this medallion on behalf the Foundation. On a personal note Emily, my appreciation for the support given to me, by you, your sister, Josephine Connelly Mandeville, president of the Foundation and Dr. Lewis Bluemle, Senior Vice President.

The Connelly Endowment has given us the privilege and means to extend our Augustinian mission and  the Foundation’s, through the education of new generations of nurses who, I am confident, will make a positive difference in caring for those who need it the most.

I will end with a comment from your father, the late John Francis Connelly, who wrote in 1973:

“I just sit in awe about how much has been given and thank God every minute of the day, for the privilege of being able to help all these people”. We couldn’t agree more. Thank you.