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Fostering the uniqueness of Villanova Nurses


Meet Board of Consultors member Martha B. Coyle

“Whatever I do, I take it seriously,” explains Martha B. Coyle of a career that has included teaching, entrepreneurship and community service. To that list, she is adding service on the College of Nursing’s Board of Consultors, having joined this past fall. 

Coyle holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Elizabethtown College and a master’s in education from Temple University. She was certified as both an elementary school teacher and a reading specialist and enjoyed teaching in nearby Rosetree-Media School District. Married to husband Dick for nearly 43 years, Coyle shifted from the professional educator role as her son Mark and daughter Becky were young. (Becky Coyle Mueller ‘07 BSN, MSN, RN, FNP, is now a student in the College’s PhD program.) That shift included expanding her role to include work as an elder in her church, a community activist, owner of a property management company in West Chester, Pa., and manager of her family farm in Berks County, Pa. “Because I love what I do, I feel I’ve never worked a day in my life,” she offers.

Being a community volunteer is critical to Coyle, part of her core. She describes herself as a “farmer’s kid” and is an ardent supporter of sensible development and land preservation. For 10 years she led a coalition to preserve open space in her local area. She is equally as enthusiastic about Villanova Nursing.

The enthusiasm started as Becky researched colleges. Strength in math and science combined with a service orientation led her initially to think of medical school. It was when she was exposed- through a high school program – to real nursing practice in the hospital that Becky felt she could make more of a difference in people’s lives as a nurse. Villanova recruitment events unlocked in her the vision of mission trips and serving the disenfranchised. After graduation she completed a year of service with the Augustinian Volunteers in San Diego and went on to become a nurse practitioner.

Her daughter’s journey ignited in Coyle the desire to create similar opportunities for others. Her appreciation of “a compassionate, faith-based nursing education” translated into the establishment of the Richard W. and Martha B. Coyle Nursing Scholarship. She aims to assist intelligent, service-minded students and help them financially while in the program. Coyle believes in giving and then letting go. “We hope they (the students) pay it forward,” she says.  

Coyle knows her daughter is not alone in her achievements and sees the uniqueness in Villanova Nurses, a topic for which she has great emotion. “I love talking to the students,” she says, impressed also by the “cutting-edge” programs at the College and the leadership contributions of its alumni.  Coyle likes to “think big” and looks forward to working with the Board. “I’ll do whatever I can to help,” she notes.