We are sad to acknowledge the death of one of nursing’s great leaders – M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN. Dr. Fitzpatrick was a prolific writer, mover and shaker. Her work lives on, and stands as a lasting influence on the discipline of nursing. We reached out to our INANE colleague Carol Weingarten, who is Associate Professor at Villanova University, where Dr. Fitzpatrick served as Dean for 40 years. Carol contributed this tribute to their beloved Dean:
M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN was Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor, as Dean of the College of Nursing for 40 years. When she came in 1978 at 35 years old, she was the only person with a doctorate at the College of Nursing and the only female Dean at a university whose students were originally all male. She proved herself a leader, mentor, mother, advocate, and friend as she built the College of Nursing into a thriving NLN Center of Excellence with undergraduate through PhD and DNP programs, a Continuing Education program, on-line RN-BSN and BSN Express programs and Centers for Global Health and Obesity Education and Prevention.
She personified professionalism, and made professional involvement and professional development key aspects of nursing education. She founded Villanova University’s chapter of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP-Villanova). Her support helped develop the chapter into an NSNA designated Stellar School with students and advisor active from the local to national levels. She was honored by the state SNAP with its first Lifetime Achievement Award and by NSNA with the Leader of Leaders Award. She was an excellent writer and nurse historian, as well as a terrific speaker who could connect with small groups or convention sessions of thousands. The power of her impact was recognized by an Honorary Degree from Villanova University in 2015.
Throughout her illness Dean Fitzpatrick remained connected with her friends, colleagues, faculty, alumni and students. She died peacefully at home and as she lived, ever Dean of the College of Nursing and a champion for Nursing. Now, in these days since her passing, we are surrounded by her in the College of Nursing and in the building that she made reality and feel the loss of an extraordinary person and leader.
A mass of Christian Burial was held on September 6,2017. More information and a fitting tribute to Dr Fitzpatrick was published by Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA President, Villanova University, which is available here.