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New School of Education Lab Serves as a Hub of Knowledge and Innovation in Early Childhood Education

Drexel University School of Education

McNichol ECE Lab Ribbon Cutting Drexel University School of Education

February 13, 2020

Educators, students, researchers, parents, and stakeholders in the field of Early Childhood Education can now exchange ideas and best practices at the recently dedicated “Lisa and John McNichol, BS ’74, PhD ’79 Early Childhood Education Lab.”

The lab, housed in Drexel University’s School of Education, is designed to be a hub of knowledge and innovation where practitioners, researchers, parents, students, and others can gather to collaborate and conduct research in Early Childhood Education. It contains technology to support presentations and video, shelving containing the latest research publications and materials to support curriculum development and research, a conference room table and chairs to support meetings and convenings, a white board to record and exchange ideas, and the walls are covered with murals of young children to inspire creativity and provide a warm and comforting environment for those who use the lab as a meeting or discussion area.

The lab exists thanks to a generous gift from Lisa and John McNichol, BS ’74, PhD ’79. The couple are long-time supporters of the School of Education, particularly in the area of Early Childhood Education. Since 2016, the McNichol family has supported co-ops for undergraduate students at local early childhood education centers. Their gifts ensure that students receive appropriate compensation while they train to become teachers.

“With the dedication of the Early Childhood Education Lab, I have come full circle from my graduate studies –– and we anticipate that the outcomes of efforts made here will result in lasting effects for years to come,” said Dr. John McNichol. “Lisa and I are proud to support this new venture and look forward to hearing about its impact and success.”

“Lisa and John McNichol are truly inspiring,” said Penny Hammrich, PhD, Dean and Distinguished University Professor for Drexel University’s School of Education. “Their continued support for the School of Education’s initiatives in early childhood education combined with their generosity to make opportunities like this lab become a reality are a blessing. Future generations will benefit through the work of this lab thanks to their support.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Drexel University President John Fry remarked that the lab “plays a role in supporting Drexel’s vision for cradle to career opportunities for children in the community.” The lab will support a portion of the work currently happening in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood related to Early Childhood Education.

The lab is directed by Professor of Early Childhood Education Dominic Gullo, PhD, with Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Michael Haslip, PhD serving as Assistant Director. They will oversee the operations and work of the lab and will coordinate with stakeholders to host meetings, seminars, and other gatherings in the space.

“The opening of this lab is a dream come true for us and our work here in the School of Education,” said Dr. Gullo. “It has limitless potential to bring together people from all parts of the field to provide their unique perspective to issues and how we can collaborate to make positive impacts on future generations of children.”

Dr. Haslip agreed saying, “We will be able to support centers, practitioners, researchers and others in the field unlike ever before. We now have a space where partners can workshop and incubate their ideas. We have a lending library where people can read the latest research related to child development. The space can also serve as a classroom for early childhood education students. The possibilities are endless.”

In addition to the lab, the McNichols also provided a gift to cover the publishing of a special edition of “Emerging Voices in Education,” a first of its kind independent journal in education managed by doctoral students to publish peer-reviewed research submitted by graduate students. The special edition will focus solely on research in Early Childhood Education.

The McNichols also continue to support cooperative education opportunities for Drexel University students at Early Childhood Education centers located in economically distressed areas of Philadelphia.

A speaker series sponsored by the lab will kick off in the spring. The lab can be reserved and used by affiliated partners, researcher, providers, and members. If you are interested in becoming affiliated with the lab, please contact Dr. Michael Haslip ( or Dr. Dominic Gullo ( To visit the lab online, please visit,

About Drexel University School of Education
Drexel University’s School of Education prepares education professionals for success in classrooms, administration, research, and policy. The School consists of two departments; Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum and Policy, Organization and Leadership. With an emphasis on civic engagement, faculty and staff engage in classroom-based and site-based learning as a part of our diverse bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. The School also offers a wide variety of certificate, certification and professional development programs to meet the needs of educators, administrators and education professionals.

About Lisa and John McNichol, BS ’74, PhD ‘79
A graduate of Drexel University, Dr. John McNichol received his PhD from the Medical College of Philadelphia. His graduate studies focused on the persistent effects of early childhood education among urban disadvantaged children.

For the next 35 years, John consulted with large and emerging pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop the launch strategies and brand positioning for dozens of successful products in the US and globally. In addition, he ran in-house strategic workshops (e.g. SWOT analyses, Product Positioning, War Games, etc.) for clients’ senior management and conducted various strategic seminars- training nearly 2,500 pharmaceutical marketing and market research professionals in the US and around the world.

For much of his career, John worked at TVG in the positions of Executive Vice President and Vice-Chairman. For the remainder of his professional career, John served as president of his own firm, JEM Pharmaceutical Marketing Consulting.

Lisa McNichol graduated with a business degree from New York University. She spent over 20 years in consumer goods advertising and marketing. Lisa transitioned into the financial industry as a personal financial consultant and managing investment real estate.

The couple retired to Florida and Avalon, NJ in 2017, where they are active volunteers and philanthropists for quality early childhood education initiatives. At Drexel, the McNichols are engaged with the School of Education around cooperative education assignments with pre-kindergarten organizations in economically distressed neighborhoods in Philadelphia.