Media Relations

New Class of Academic Nursing Leaders Named AACN-Wharton Leadership Fellows

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

New Class of Seasoned Academic Nursing Leaders
Graduate as AACN-Wharton Fellows

WASHINGTON, DC, August 27, 2015 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce the fourth class of nursing deans and academic leaders who have successfully completed the AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program. Offered in collaboration with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, this world-class leadership development experience has now graduated 127 Fellows from 41 states and the District of Columbia. Initial funding for this program was generously provided by the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare.
"Leadership development is a lifelong journey and a critical step in preparing nurses at all levels to succeed as effective patient advocates, interprofessional partners, and change agents," said Dr. Eileen Breslin, AACN President and a member of the AACN-Wharton Program Class of 2014.  "I applaud the latest cohort of executive leadership Fellows for their commitment to strengthening the skills needed to influence and steer the future of nursing education and research, patient care delivery, and healthcare policy."

Using a competitive process, 40 academic nursing leaders were selected this year to participate in the AACN-Wharton program, which convened in Philadelphia, PA on August 10-13, 2015. Those selected represent a wide diversity of nursing programs, including large academic health centers, small liberal arts schools, public and private universities, rural and urban-based programs, and faith-based institutions. The latest graduates of the AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program include:

  • Elizabeth Bossert, Loma Linda University
  • Rita D'Aoust, University of South Florida
  • Rhoberta Haley, Chamberlain College of Nursing
  • Gene Harkless, University of New Hampshire
  • Mercedes Echevarria, Rutgers University
  • Greer Glazer, University of Cincinnati
  • Janie Heath, University of Kentucky
  • William Holzemer, Rutgers University
  • Tara Hulsey, West Virginia University
  • Meredith Kazer, Fairfield, University
  • Christine Kennedy, University of Virginia
  • Carole Kenner, The College of New Jersey
  • Lee-Ellen Kirkhorn, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Jody Lori, University of Michigan
  • Cynthia Mailloux, Misericordia University
  • Filomela Marshall, Thomas Edison State College
  • Elizabeth Merwin, Duke University
  • Karen Neill, Idaho State University
  • Susan Neville, New York Institute of Technology
  • Geneva Oaks, California Baptist University
  • Melinda Oberleitner, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Christine Pacini, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Linda Plank, Baylor University
  • Anthony Ramsey, Radford University
  • Robin Remsburg, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Carol Romano, Uniformed Services University
  • Linda Sarna, University of California Los Angeles
  • Denise Seigart, Boise State University
  • Mona Shattell, DePaul University
  • Christine Benz Smith, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Mary Lou Sole, University of Central Florida
  • Barbara Sorbello, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
  • Karen Sousa, University of Colorado Denver
  • Brenda Srof, Goshen College
  • Cathy Taylor, Belmont University
  • Anne Thomas, University of Indianapolis
  • Catherine Todero, Creighton University
  • Deborah Ulmer, Longwood University
  • Antonia Villarruel, University of Pennsylvania
  • Linda Wallace, Indiana University Kokomo

The curriculum for the AACN-Wharton program is designed to provide the concepts and tools needed to enhance leadership capacity and hone the skills that are essential to thrive and move forward strategically. The content addresses issues around managing and leading change, influencing and galvanizing a diverse set of stakeholders, and building enterprising relationships in highly volatile environments. Participants leave the program equipped with an advanced set of negotiation, leadership, and influencing skills, and the confidence and ability to serve on or lead high-powered boards. Learn more about this executive leadership program.
Leadership development has been a cornerstone of AACN's programs and services since the association's inception more than 45 years ago. Designed to provide enrichment experiences to today's top administrators and prepare the next generation of academic leaders, AACN's diverse menu of offerings serves all members of the nursing school enterprise, including deans, associate deans, program directors, faculty at all levels, administrative staff, and students. Learn more on the full spectrum of AACN's leadership development programs.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 765 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. Learn more at
Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of more than 94,000 graduates.



Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231