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Cabrini’s Nerney Leadership Institute Makes a Promise

Posted on 2/25/2020 10:19:12 AM

Tom Nerney

To Tom Nerney (’77, HON’15), a great leadership trait is to never give up—to constantly persevere, to get back up, and to keep pushing forward. And so it is with the reimagined Nerney Leadership Institute (NLI), celebrated by students, faculty, and staff in the Mansion on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

The Institute was established in 2013, when Nerney, then Vice Chair of Cabrini’s Board of Trustees, identified leadership development as an area of the University’s mission that could be further developed. He served as the NLI’s first Executive-in-Residence, sharing wisdom from his career as Chair, President, and CEO of USLI with students. Today, his vision of bringing leadership education to the student body is coming together in a renewed and collaborative effort that will expand its scope to the entire campus community as well as local and regional organizations.

Chioma Ugochukwu, PhD, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, calls that vision the Nerney Leadership Promise.

“It’s the promise that every undergraduate student who attends Cabrini for four years will receive leadership training prior to graduation,” she said, noting that the training will extend to faculty and staff through professional development opportunities and involve external partnerships. “We’ll achieve these goals and ensure that Cabrini University will become the best-known institution in the region for nurturing, developing, and producing remarkable leaders.”

Anne Filippone, Donald Taylor, Tom Nerney, Melissa Terlecki, and Chioma Ugochukwu at Nerney Leadership Institute celebrationNLI Co-Directors Melissa Terlecki, PhD, Chair and Professor of Psychology, and Anne Filippone, Executive Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, will manage its curricular and co-curricular aspects, respectively.

“We are going to work to infuse leadership education into general education and major curricula for all students,” said Terlecki, “no matter their major, academic standing, or previous experience.”

To fully prepare students with leadership skills that are applicable across industries and in an ever-changing professional landscape, Filippone said they will use a variety of educational approaches, including podcasts, seminars, conferences, international trips, and other experiences.

She added, “Our goal is to build collaborative partnerships inside and outside the classroom as well as internally and externally to the University.”

It’s fitting that the NLI is named for Tom Nerney, whose loyalty and leadership was honored with the Christopher Award for Extraordinary Leadership at the inaugural Cabrini Visionaries Gala in 2015.

“He’s been an unbelievable supporter of the College and the University,” said President Donald B. Taylor, PhD, “and beyond Cabrini, he’s given so generously of his time, talent, and treasure all throughout this region. I’ve been here six years and have yet to meet a person who didn’t know or have a story about Tom.”

Nerney says he’s excited to see what happens next with the NLI.

See video for more background on the Nerney Leadership Promise.