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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Elizabeth J. McCormack... "No Ordinary Life" by Charles Kenney

Elizabeth J. McCormack, distinguished alumna, former RSCJ
and former president of Manhattanville College


Just last month I purchased the book "The Biography of Elizabeth J. McComrack No Ordinary LIfe" by Charles Kenney. Yesterday, I received a press release stating the United Hospital Fund honored Elizabeth J. McCormack with its 2012 Distinguished Community Service Award at its annual black-tie gala, earlier this week.  I'd like to publicly extend my sincere congratulations to this most extraordinary alumna!  See below for complete release and click here for more details.

                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


90-Year-Old Maverick Questions Why Many Don’t Benefit from
Palliative Care and Creates Partnership to Bring about Change

Award, Underwritten by TIAA-CREF, Recognizes Extraordinary
Leadership to Improve Health Care in New York City

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 27, 2012—The United Hospital Fund will honor Elizabeth J. McCormack with its 2012 Distinguished Community Service Award at its annual black-tie gala, to be held Monday evening, October 1. 

Elizabeth McCormack, a lifelong New Yorker, former nun and college president,  longtime philanthropic advisor to the Rockefeller family, and much admired member of college, hospital, and foundations boards,  received the award for her work to advance palliative care. 

An expert in the strategic distribution of charitable funds to worthy causes around the world, she was inspired to tackle the challenge of ensuring access to palliative care for all who need it by the personal experience of a good friend’s husband, who suffered through a long illness without being offered palliative services at the medical center where he was treated.

Elizabeth McCormack began to ask hard questions and identify experts to teach her more about palliative care and explain why so many doctors, patients, and families never benefit from it. These inquiries led her to form the nonprofit Partnership for Palliative Care in 2008 and to develop—from her extensive network of personal and professional contacts—a board of medical, philanthropic, business, and community leaders who share her passion for palliative care and fearless embrace of needed change.

The mission of the Partnership for Palliative Care is to stimulate public awareness and professional adoption of palliative services as an integral part of health care. Over the past five years, it has already had an important impact. It has raised some $20 million to support the groundbreaking work of two physicians at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Diane Meier and Dr. Sean Morrison, funds that have helped double the number of hospital-based palliative care programs in the U.S. in the past five years.

The Partnership is currently promoting the inclusion of palliative services into more kinds of health care settings, including nursing homes and community practices, so it is available from the time of diagnosis through the entire arc of illness. It is also talking with nursing schools, among them the City University of New York, to incorporate palliative care training in their curricula. In one of its newest efforts being piloted in New York, the Partnership will promote the training of returning veterans to become registered nurses with palliative care certification; a collaborative effort is already being forged to place these nurses on community-based palliative care teams.  Other new projects include a social media campaign and a collaboration focusing on Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and CEO of TIAA-CREF, will present the United Hospital Fund award to Elizabeth McCormack. “Throughout Elizabeth McCormack’s extraordinary life, she has held pivotal roles in religious organizations, higher education, the arts, philanthropy, and health care,” he said. “To every one of these, Elizabeth has brought her characteristic compassion, conviction, and fearless embrace of needed change. We are pleased to honor Elizabeth for her efforts in improving the lives of so many New Yorkers with her commitment to health care.”

For three decades, Ms. McCormack was a nun.  She earned her doctorate in philosophy from Fordham University and served as president of Manhattanville College.  For 40 years, she has served as philanthropic advisor to the Rockefeller family.  Her past and current board memberships include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Atlantic Philanthropies, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and a number of colleges, large and small.  She has received honorary degrees from seven distinguished schools, Brandeis, Princeton, and the American University of Paris among them. 

Established by the Fund in 1987, the Distinguished Community Service Award recognizes volunteer leadership that significantly improves health care in New York City. For a seventh year, the Distinguished Community Service Award has been underwritten by TIAA-CREF, America’s leading provider of retirement services in the medical, academic, research, and cultural fields. 

Jim Tallon, president of the United Hospital Fund, said, “The Fund has long focused on the importance of delivering the right care at the right time in the right setting. As Elizabeth McCormack’s story has made everyone more aware, palliative care is not offered every time and in every place it should be. But thanks to her efforts, palliative care is making critical inroads, and patients in need are benefiting from it. For making a difference, the Fund is pleased to honor Elizabeth McCormack for her remarkable and effective leadership.”

At the gala, the Fund will also honor Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund, with its Health Care Leadership Award and Josh N. Kuriloff, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, with its Special Tribute.

The gala will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  The event marks the opening of the Fund’s 134th fund-raising campaign, which supports the Fund’s work to shape positive change in health care in New York.

The benefit chairman is J. Barclay Collins II, who is chairman of the United Hospital Fund.

About United Hospital Fund: The United Hospital Fund is a health services research and philanthropic organization whose primary mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York.  For more information, please visit

About TIAA-CREF:  TIAA-CREF is a national financial services organization with $481 billion in combined assets under management (as of 6/30/12) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC and Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., members FINRA, distribute securities products. For more information, please visit



  1. She absolutely destroyed Manhattanville.
    SJA, 91st ST '67