Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award

The Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award recognizes a graduate of the Connell School of Nursing who embodies the BC nurse: an accomplished nurse leader, an ethically aware scientist, and inquisitive clinician. Each year, the award is presented during reunion and the recipient shares her or his knowledge in a topical discussion.

The award’s namesake, Rita P. Kelleher, was the nursing school’s first faculty member in 1947. She served as dean from 1948 to 1968. She returned to full-time teaching and retired in 1973. Dean Kelleher died on November 2, 2009, at the age of 101, leaving a legacy that is still felt today.

2019 Kelleher Award recipient Deborah Washington (right) and Boston College’s Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore (left)

On June 1, 2019, Connell School alumni, faculty, and friends joined together for the presentation of the Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award to Deborah Washington, M.S. ’93, Ph.D. ’12. Washington, who is director of diversity for Nursing and Patient Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed leadership in health care through the lens of diversity and inclusion with Joy Moore ’81, Hon. ’10, Boston College’s vice president for student affairs. A reception followed.

View video

There is intention behind the message of diversity and inclusion.
Deborah Washington, M.S. ’93, Ph.D. ’12

Past Kelleher Award Recipients

Click on the links below to view video from past events.

Deborah Washington, M.S. ’93, Ph.D. ’12

Director of Diversity for Nursing and Patient Care Services
Massachusetts General Hospital

John Welch, M.S. ’12
Senior Nurse Anesthetist
Boston Children's Hospital

Former Chief Clinical Officer for Ebola Response
Partners in Health

Karen A. Daley ’04
Board of Trustees
American Nurses Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Darlene MacIsaac Hinojosa ’86
Colonel, Army Nurse Corps, US Army Reserve
Force Health Protection Integrator, Army Health Command 

Family Nurse Practitioner
Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center

Cecilia McVey 72
Associate Director of Nursing and Patient Services
VA Boston Healthcare System

Martha Jurchak, Ph.D. ’96
Executive Director, Ethics Service
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Ellen Robinson, M.S. ’83, Ph.D. ’97
Nurse Ethicist
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Patient Care


MGH Optimum Care Committee

Mimi Pomerleau, M.S. 95
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Mairead Hickey 72

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Ann Riley Finck ’66
Nurse Practitioner and Preceptor, Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Medical Center

Genevieve V. Foley ’66
Pediatric Oncology Nurse

Elizabeth (Betsy) Brown ’85
Director, Clinical Services
Partners Harvard Medical International