Nursing graduates honored at Margaret C. Haley Awards

On Oct. 23, the College of Nursing held its annual Margaret C. Haley Awards ceremony, which honored four graduates who made a positive impact in nursing and healthcare professions.

Dr. Marie Foley, dean of the College of Nursing, explained what it meant to be honored at the Margaret C. Haley Awards ceremony.

“The legacy of the SHU College of Nursing is the nurses who have dedicated their work to a very noble profession and who live the Mission of Seton Hall University in their daily lives,” Foley wrote in an email. “One of the program outcomes in the College of Nursing is to educate our students to be servant leaders, these men and women are engaged in the world and have a desire to collaborate to promote the common good of their patients, families and communities. To provide these awards to the recipients is to show what exemplary servant leaders they have become as they make SHU College of Nursing proud,” she continued.

Dr. Mary Meehan, Seton Hall interim president, explained the honor that each of the women brings to their profession.

“I worked for over 20 years in the healthcare field and I know well why nurses are consistently ranked as the number one most trusted professional in the country,” Meehan wrote in an email. “These four awardees epitomize why we all trust and respect nurses more than anyone else. ”

Catherine Alicia Georges received the George J. Hebert Award at the ceremony.

She is the President-Elect of AARP, the President of the National Black Nurses Foundation and the chairperson of both the Department of Nursing at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Georges described what it was like to attend Seton Hall from 1961-1965 and to witness the social issues occurring at the time.
“It was a time of unrest as population groups fought for their civil rights and equity,” Georges wrote in an email. “The lesson I learned was that Seton Hall and its students at that time were committed to people in this country having their human rights honored,”

Georges expressed that current nursing students should take advantage of the benefits of the relationships that they can develop while attending Seton Hall.

“Develop relationships with a variety of people during your time at Seton Hall,” she urged. “Make the challenges you encounter opportunities for learning and professional and personal improvement. Be sure to always find joy in your work.”

Sister Ellen Farrell, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Franktown Community Health Center, was awarded the Nelson Aquino Humanitarian Award.

Farrell shared why she pursued her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at SHU in 1964. During this time, she balanced her first job as a pediatric head nurse with attending classes at Seton Hall because earning a Bachelor of Science degree was becoming an integral part of the nursing profession at this time.

Dr. Trish O’Keefe, president of the Morristown Medical Center, received the Margaret C. Haley Award. O’Keefe credits the College of Nursing for helping her to dedicate time for her work, but also for her family and friends.

“At Seton Hall, I learned the importance of organizing your time to complete a task, a commitment or an assignment,” she wrote in an email. “We all have such busy lives — balancing work, school and family life.”

O’Keefe discussed how valuable it is for nursing students to create opportunities for themselves to bond with their professors and classmates. She mentioned that the relationships will benefit the students not only in their undergraduate years, but beyond.

“You can achieve anything you set your mind to with commitment, balance and resilience,” she said. “Times will get difficult with so many moving parts in our world and our lives, but stay ‘your’ course and commit.”

Also honored at the Margaret C. Haley Awards Ceremony was Heather Heil Linsalata, M.S.N. ‘12, an emergency room nurse at the Morristown Medical Center and the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center Emergency Room. Linsalata received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Young Alumni Award.

Foley said that the College of Nursing encourages its students to embody the qualities the recipients have from the very beginning of their college careers.

“Through the examples of our dedicated faculty our students begin to understand, internalize and emulate the qualities on their individual journeys to become servant leaders,” she said.

Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at

Author: Kaitlyn Quinn

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