“Dean extraordinaire,” was the description from the Rev. John Deegan, OSA as he began his homily during the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing’s 29th Annual Mass on April 7 – a beautiful beginning to a notable evening, culminating with the dedication of the naming of the college for the late Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing.
M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing dedicated on April 7
Colleagues, trustees, family, friends, students and alumni assembled in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church to also pay tribute to the remarkable contributions of alumna Mary Duffin Naylor ’71 BSN, PhD, RN, FAAN who was the inaugural recipient of the M. Louise Fitzpatrick Award for Transformative Leadership. The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, president of Villanova University, celebrated Mass alongside fellow Members of the Order of Saint Augustine.
Following the Mass, guests proceeded to the tented lawn of Driscoll Hall for the dedication and reception.
Father Donohue had announced on December 13, 2017 that the College of Nursing would be named for M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN who had passed away on September 1, noting “Louise Fitzpatrick will be remembered as one of the most vibrant, transformative leaders in the history of Villanova, and I can think of no more fitting an honor than to name our College of Nursing after her.”
The dedication ceremony honored Dr. Fitzpatrick who developed the college into a premier nursing program and under whose leadership it was recognized repeatedly by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. It concluded with Father Donohue blessing the newly installed sign outside the building with holy water.
“I first need to thank Dean Fitzpatrick for her nearly four decades of leadership. She set this college on a trajectory that is unstoppable,” said Dr. Lesley A. Perry, PhD, RN, interim dean during her dedication remarks, adding, “We deeply appreciate the decision of the Board of Trustees to name the college for her and for Father Peter’s leadership and counsel in that process, along with Provost Pat Maggitti and our Board of Consultors who have been unfailing in their support. I must thank our lead donors Dee and Nick Adams for their unprecedented gift --as well as countless other donors who have created a valued foundation of support for us. Your faith in us is well-placed.”
Dean Fitzpatrick portrait with artist Garth Herrick.
Dr. Perry also invited guests to tour Driscoll Hall’s first floor and note special additions, including the plaque honoring Dean Fitzpatrick along with the new name on the lobby wall, banners with the new college logo, a gallery of leadership since 1953, and in the Administrative Suite, a portrait of Dean Fitzpatrick that was unveiled that evening, masterfully - and sensitively - painted by Philadelphia’s own Garth Herrick who was in attendance.
She concluded by thanking “our faculty, staff and students who innovate and educate, and along with our alumni, further enhance our reputation that is the legacy of Dean Fitzpatrick.”