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Governor McDonnell Joins Celebration of MU's Malek School of Health Professions

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
On May 29, The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell, governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, joined in Marymount University’s celebration of the Malek School of Health Professions and its naming benefactors, Marlene and Fred Malek.

Governor McDonnell noted, “There’s going to be an explosion in the need for people trained in the health professions. …I’ve been in public office 21 years and, for all 21 of those years, we’ve had a nursing shortage in Virginia. …” He stated, “This school is going to do its part in graduating nurses and other people in the applied sciences who will go on to do great things. I hope they stay in Virginia!”

The Governor pointed out, “We’ve set a goal of [creating] 100,000 new degrees in Virginia over the next 15 years. Our focus…is to increase those degrees in the STEM-H disciplines – science, technology, engineering, math, and health care…to be able to continue to provide the trained and skilled workforce that’s necessary to make Virginia one of the most prosperous states in the nation.”

Governor McDonnell also remarked on America’s “intense spirit of benevolence.” Addressing the Maleks, he said, “This gift that you’re making is another example. …Thank you for giving generously back to bless countless generations of new young Americans who will walk through these halls and learn.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020,” while “employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 39 percent,” and “employment of health educators…by 37 percent.”

Marymount’s Malek School of Health Professions – a recognized leader in the education of skilled, compassionate health care professionals – is well positioned to help bridge these gaps. More than one-sixth of Marymount’s students, approximately 600 men and women, are enrolled in the Malek School’s undergraduate and graduate programs in Health and Human Performance, Nursing, and Physical Therapy. The School offers two doctoral programs: the clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Dr. Matthew D. Shank, Marymount’s president, stated that the Malek School of Health Professions is the first of the University’s four schools to be named. “Having a name creates an important distinction,” he explained. “The recognition and respect engendered by the Malek name now belong, by association, to Marymount University’s School of Health Professions. And that is truly a priceless gift.”

The leadership gift that the Maleks made to Marymount’s recent capital campaign is only the latest example of the couple’s support of advances in the health care field. Marlene Malek, a Marymount Nursing alumna and member of the University’s Board of Trustees, is president of Friends of Cancer Research, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and provides public education on cancer research. In addition, she serves on the board of Duke University Cancer Center in Durham, NC, which awarded her the Shingleton Award for Service. She is a member of the Cancer Leadership Council at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and is a trustee of the MD Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Mrs. Malek is also an appointed member of C-Change, formerly the National Dialogue on Cancer.

Mr. Malek is founder and chairman of Thayer Lodging Group and Thayer Capital Partners, as well as chairman of Governor McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, the Republican Governors Association Executive Roundtable, the American Action Network, and the American Action Forum. In addition, Mr. Malek was an advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, serving in a variety of capacities. He joins his wife in supporting health care education and research to ensure a healthier future for all Americans.

Dr. Tess Cappello, dean of the Malek School, explained that the endowment established an annual Malek Lecture in the Health Professions, as well as an endowed professorship. Dr. Cappello emphasized that all curricula for the School’s programs “incorporate evidence as a basis for practice. This allows our graduates the expertise to ably search out and use the latest and best research options for those entrusted to their care.” Dr. Cappello also addressed Marymount's focus on collaboration among the disciplines and “the hope to bring this model of interdisciplinary collaboration to the health care agencies in the D.C. metropolitan area.”

Theresa Hardy ’12, who received her BSN in May and is the immediate past-president of MU’s Student Nurses Association, stressed the need for health care professionals to have a personal connection with patients – to focus on the individual. Pointing out that “Nursing is the science of the personal,” she outlined three specific ways that Marymount is working to improve the quality of health care: through research and lifelong learning, through  patient-centered care, and through effective communication.

Dr. Jason Craig, associate professor of Physical Therapy, reflected on the Malek name that is now so closely associated with the University, and the responsibility that this imparts. He said, “The Maleks have given us a name that represents commitment, compassion, leadership and integrity. …We need to ensure that our graduates “don’t just go forth with the skills and knowledge to heal, they also go with the care and compassion to support patients through their darkest times and stand with unswerving integrity, because that’s what the Malek name stands for.”
PHOTO 1 - The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell, governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia
PHOTO 2 - Governor McDonnell with Marlene and Fred Malek
PHOTO 3 - Marymount President Matthew D. Shank
PHOTO 4 - Marlene Malek
PHOTO 5 - Dr. Tess Cappello, dean of the Malek School of Health Professions