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Gift from Betsy B. Ryan ’98 MA Provides Scholarship Support for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program


The M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing’s (FCN) new Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, established in 2023, is working to address the national need for proficient and accessible psychiatric-mental health care providers. Today’s dramatic shortage of qualified professionals threatens our country’s ability to provide timely and effective treatment to adults and children in support of their emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.

To further FCN's role in this important and developing field and because of the overwhelming demand for highly educated mental health professionals, Betsy B. Ryan ’98 MA has made a significant contribution to create the Betsy Ryan Nursing Scholarship Fund and the Betsy Ryan Endowed Nursing Scholarship in FCN’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. These two funds will allow the College to ensure that a Villanova Nursing education is achievable for deserving students and further the program’s goal of preparing an increasing number of nurses that provide primary care to patients and can diagnose and effectively treat mental health issues for people of all ages.

Originally from northern New Jersey, Ryan attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in English and a teaching certificate. In 1981, she settled in Radnor, Pa., where she raised her three children. After they were grown, she returned to school and earned her master’s degree in theater from Villanova University.

Ryan, who now lives in Naples, Fla., has a long philanthropic history at Villanova as a benefactor of the Department of Theatre and Studio Art and the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. More recently, Ryan wanted to give back to Villanova in a meaningful way that would make an immediate and widespread impact on communities across the country and around the world.

Inspired by Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic values and commitment to the common good, she made her first gift to the College of Nursing in 2022, benefiting activities such as Nursing Without Borders and other international learning and service opportunities across the globe in South Africa, the Dominican Republic and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.