CNHP Honors 2020 People of Purpose
March 5, 2020
By Autumn Wells '23
On Thursday, February 20, the 2020 People of Purpose were honored for their outstanding demonstration of purpose and service in their daily lives. This is the second year that the College has chosen People of Purpose.
The College of Nursing and Health Professions set out to tell the College’s “story” in 2018 by honoring the extraordinary lives of their students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners. “This project is an important way by which we seek to celebrate and lift up that sense of service and caring and make it a more visible part of our culture,” Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions said as she welcomed more than 80 guests to the 2020 People of Purpose event.
“Having a sense of purpose is good news for all us,” she added. “As a researcher in the field of aging and health, I can tell you that the evidence is strong: having a sense of purpose is linked to very important positive mental health and physical health outcomes including greater longevity. A sense of purpose helps people to live better and longer.” Gitlin then introduced this year's People of Purpose who include the College's faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners.
- Margaret Finley, faculty, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
- Sue McGinley, adjunct faculty, Nutrition Sciences
- Rosemary Trout, faculty, Director, Culinary Arts and Food Science Program and Assistant Clinical Professor
- Chalice Rhodes, faculty, Assistant Clinical Professor, Counseling and Family Therapy
- Jeremiah Ham, Health Administration and ROTC student
- Ming Yuan Low, PhD student, Creative Arts Therapies
- Genesis Sanchez, BSN co-op student
- Marcia Penn, staff, Dean’s Office
- Jerry Haffey, Nursing alumnus
- Ken Korber and Paul Possenti, Physician Assistant alumni
Roberta Perry—the assistant director of marketing and communications at the College and project manager—chose to rely on the words of a great author to pass on her message. “Mark Twain said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” Perry, shared why individuals were being recognized for the efforts they have put forth, and it only seemed fitting to use a quote that so aptly described the importance of finding the meaning of life. She added “what a blessing it is to have these individuals who figure this out so early in their lives as part of the college community.”
Chosen for her story of overcoming cancer and dedicating her life to helping others do the same, director of special projects and executive assistant, Marcia Penn, gave the closing speech. She discussed her 1999 cancer diagnosis and the treatment process she went through: a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 days of radiation. She had a two-year-old son at the time and knew that she needed to be there for him. “I surely experienced some pain and suffering,” said Penn, “but because of a loving family, caring colleagues, and a great medical team, I can stand here 20 years later, continue telling my story, and be part of a new cancer impact initiative here at the College of Nursing and Health Professions.”
“I have been touched by the lives of others through my experiences, and helping others has become my purpose every day,” Penn continued.
The three main goals for this project are 1) tell the story of CNHP, 2) focus on who CNHP is and the incredible things they are doing, and 3) support the strategic goals of the College. Writers Jack Croft and John Beilenson from SCP, Peggy Peterson Photography and Lynn Clouser, director of the Drexel Collection, helped capture and display the stories and photos of the People that best represented purpose.
The 2019 and 2020 People of Purpose and their stories are displayed on the walls of the tenth and sixth floors of the College located at 1601 Cherry Street. The exhibition is open to all during business hours. The information is also available online.
Autumn Wells is a first-year student and is studying communications. This article first appeared in the Triangle on February 29, 2020.