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Dr. Nan Hechenberger, Former University President, Passes Away

Dr. Nan Hechenberger
Dr. Nan Hechenberger and her husband, Lou Hechenberger,
pictured at the annual President's Thanskgiving Reception in 2012


Dr. Nan Hechenberger, president of Neumann University (then College) between 1989 and 1996, died on Thursday, March 6, 2014.


Dr. Hechenberger is best remembered for her leadership in developing graduate programs in nursing, physical therapy and education, and for initiating the process that led Neumann to become a residential campus in 1997. She was Neumann’s first lay president.


Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, Neumann’s current president and vice president for academic affairs during Dr. Hechenberger’s presidency, requests prayers “for her, her husband Lou, and children Maureen, Paul and their families after Nan’s courageous and prayerful battle against the illness that took her life.” 


Dr. Mirenda remembers her predecessor as “a major contributor to the continuing emergence of professional nursing and higher education at the doctoral level.¬†As president, she and the Board led a major study to initiate a residential program that became a major success factor for Neumann in the mid- nineties onward.”


Other achievements during Dr. Hechenberger’s presidency include the implementation of a strategic planning process; an increase in the number of faculty members with doctoral degrees; the development of a college-wide outreach and service learning program; the launch of a values-based freshman seminar; the creation of advisory councils for academic departments; and the creation of a campus master plan.

Before coming to Neumann, she had been dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore for 11 years. She also taught nursing there.


Dr. Hechenberger received MSN and Ph.D. degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she also served in several administrative positions, including assistant dean of women and associate dean of students. She began her career as a staff nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Philadelphia after receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villanova University. She worked as a registered nurse, and taught and lectured on nursing during her career.

Services will be held on Tuesday, March 11. An 8:00 a.m. viewing will be followed by a 10:00 a.m. funeral Mass at St. Cornelius Church located at 160 Ridge Road in Chadds Ford, PA.


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