ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Three individuals who have made significant contributions to the nation’s Catholic health system received honorary degrees Sunday at St. Bonaventure University’s 152nd Commencement Exercises.
Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D., president of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, F.S.M., chair of the board of SSM Health Care in St. Louis, Mo., and Pittsburgh attorney John R. McGinley Jr., outgoing chair of St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees, received honorary doctorates of humane letters.
Dougherty, a 1971 graduate of St. Bonaventure and a nationally recognized scholar and expert in health care ethics, was the keynote speaker.
Born in New York City and educated in Catholic schools, Dougherty was the first person in his family to attend college. He earned his master’s and doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame before joining the faculty at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., where he was the first director of the Creighton Center for Health Policy and Ethics.
He was elected president of Duquesne in May 2001.
Dougherty is widely published on the subject of ethics and health care. His has written five books on the subject and more than 50 scholarly articles. He has served on numerous health care advisory commissions and projects.
He chairs the Ethics Committee of UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh and has served as a trustee of the Catholic Health Association, and as a member of the board of editors at Health Progress, the journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
Dougherty received the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and was awarded the 2008 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Jerome Bettis Foundation, which strives to improve the quality of life for troubled and underprivileged children.
His wife, the Hon. Sandra L. Dougherty, a retired Nebraska District Court judge, is also a 1971 St. Bonaventure graduate.
Sr. Mary Jean served as president and CEO of SSM Health Care, one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the United States, for 25 years before transitioning to the role of board chair in 2011. Under her leadership, SSM Health Care was the first health-care recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement.
Sr. Mary Jean is one of the first health-care executives in the nation to recognize the value of continuous quality improvement and has been named one of the most powerful people in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine for the past eight years.
She has received numerous honors, including the Missouri Governor’s Quality Leadership Award, the Missouri Hospital Association's Distinguished Service Award, and the American Hospital Association’s Award of Honor.
Sr. Mary Jean, a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 50 years, earned a nursing diploma at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Wis., a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Louis University, and a master’s in hospital and health administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati.
McGinley graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1965 and the Duquesne University School of Law in 1968. A trial attorney for more than 30 years, he has extensive experience in corporate, business, real estate and professional liability matters. In 2002, he joined Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, where he is a member of the Board of Directors and chairs its Executive Committee.
McGinley also chaired the Board of Pittsburgh Mercy Hospital until its merger into UPMC Health System. He chaired the Board of UPMC Mercy until February 2012.
He served as a St. Bonaventure trustee from 1989 to 1999 and returned to the board in 2004 as its chair, a role he has held since. He led the university through a period of unprecedented growth and improvements, including construction of the William F. Walsh Science Center and the Sandra A. and William L. Richter Center, and groundbreaking for the new William and Ann L. Swan Business Center. He leaves the board in June.
McGinley is a trustee at Duquesne University and a member of the Century Club of Distinguished Duquesne University Alumni. He is a proud member of the Hall of Fame at Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School.