Katherine O’Neill, past president of the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization, is this year's recipient of the Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award, presented annually by the Boston College Connell School of Nursing to a graduate who embodies the BC nurse.

Andrew Dwyer and Katherine O'Neill

Connell School of Nursing Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Andrew Dwyer and award recipient Katherine O'Neill '73, holding the the 2022 Dean Rita P. Kelleher Award. (Caitlin Cunningham)

O’Neill is a founding member of the Massachusetts School Nurse Research Network and a fellow in the National Academy of School Nursing.

The niece of a school nurse, O’Neill said she was drawn to that occupation because she liked working with adolescents and wanted to make a difference in their lives. In addition to serving as a school nurse herself, she also took on leadership and advocacy roles within the school nursing community.

She served two terms as president of the Massachusetts School Nurse Organizations and served for five years on the board of directors for the National Association of School Nurses.

She said became active in policy matters, she said, because “I knew that changes needed to be made and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Katherine O'Neill and Laura White

Kelleher Award winner Katherine O'Neill '73 (left) speaks with Connell School Clinical Associate Professor Laura White at the June 4 event. (Caitlin Cunningham)

Named after the school's first faculty member and former dean, the Kelleher Award recognizes a Connell School graduate who is an accomplished nurse leader, an ethically aware scientist, and an inquisitive clinician. O’Neill earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from BC in 1973. The Kelleher Award was presented to O’Neill by Connell School Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Andrew Dwyer, an associate professor, at a campus event held during Reunion Weekend earlier this month.

After the award presentation, O’Neill joined Connell School Clinical Associate Professor Laure White for a conversation and audience Q&A.


View photos from the Kelleher Award ceremony.


 

Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications | June 2022