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Four Named to Widener Board of Trustees

Chester,Pa. (July 5, 2012) – The Widener University Board of Trustees recently appointed four new members to its ranks including two leading medical professionals in the region, a senior vice president for DuPont and an undergraduate student leader.

Barbara Chamberlain of Williamstown, N.J., the past president of the New Jersey State Nurses' Association; Kathleen McNicholas of Rockland, Del., a medical director at Christiana Care Health System; Thomas L. Sager of Wilmington, Del., senior vice president and general counsel for DuPont; and Justin Gordon of Harleysville, Pa., a senior computer science major, were elected at the May 3 meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Until recently, Chamberlain served as the program manager for Transforming Care at the Bedside, a project managed by the New Jersey Hospital Association Institute for Quality and Patient Safety and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In this position, she assisted staff nurses at the bedside to make small changes to improve patient outcomes and patient and nurse satisfaction.

Chamberlain has held positions as a staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, and as an academic and clinical faculty member at the diploma, associate's, bachelor's and master's levels of nursing education. She has served as the director of research and development and the corporate director of clinical education in a multi-system acute care health system. She also served as an officer in the United States Air Force.

She earned her doctorate in nursing from Widener University, and serves on the School of Nursing Advisory Board and the Widener Leadership Council. She is also a very active participant in the Widener University Nurses Alumni Association.

McNicholas is the medical director for Performance Improvement and Surgical Utilization Management at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware. Prior to her promotion, she was associate chief of cardiac surgery. A member of the open heart team at Christiana Care Health System since its inception, she specializes in adult cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiac surgery and general thoracic surgery.

In addition to being a medical doctor, McNicholas holds juris doctor and master of laws degrees from Widener University School of Law. Last year, she was named one of the "Irish Legal 100" by Irish America magazine. She also serves on the Widener Law Board of Overseers.

McNicholas' former positions include director of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, N.J. and surgical house officer at the Hospital for Sick Children in London. She is an associate professor at Jefferson Medical College and previously held an academic appointment at Graduate Hospital of Philadelphia. She completed training in general and cardiothoracic surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Sager, a member of the Widener School of Law Board of Overseers, helped pioneer the DuPont Convergence and Law Firm Partnering Program and continues to have oversight responsibility. Through his leadership, this program has become a benchmark in the industry and has received national acclaim for its innovative approach to the business of practicing law. In 2010, The National Law Journal recognized Sager as one of the 40 most influential attorneys of the past decade.

Sager is past chairman of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, a group that advocates for the expanded hiring, retention and promotion of minority attorneys in corporate law departments and the law firms they serve. Recently, the association established the Thomas L. Sager Award in his name. The award is given in recognition of his individual efforts and achievements to promote diversity in the legal profession.

In addition, Sager serves as a board member for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), and is a member for the CPR National Task Force on Diversity in Alternative Dispute Resolution. In 2001, he received the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and he received the CPR Corporate Leadership Award in 2009.

Gordon is enrolled in the Widener Honors Program in General Education and is a member of the Widener Presidential Service Corps/Bonner Leader Program, a distinguished group of students who all work and learn together, devoting themselves to civic engagement and receiving personalized leadership development training.

A consistent Dean's List student, Gordon has completed a cooperative education program with the Arm Test and Evaluation Command in Aberdeen, Md. where he researched and developed applications for Army testing utilized for design and construction of a web application, worked on implementing a content management system for web applications, and built a prototype basic instant messaging client.

A graduate of North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pa., Gordon is the son of Gary and Sharon Gordon.

"Barbara, Kathleen, Thomas and Justin are very dedicated to helping Widener strengthen its position as a leading metropolitan university," said Widener University President James T. Harris III. "We are proud to welcome such accomplished leaders to the board of trustees. They have outstanding skills and experiences that will complement the board and help the university take advantage of new opportunities in an ever-changing higher education landscape."

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences and professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, PA, and Wilmington, DE, serve approximately 6,500 students. Visit the university's website,, for more information.



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