The Catherine P. Alexander-Lennon ’84 Endowed Scholarship for Nursing

Catherine Alexander Lennon.jpgCatherine P. Alexander Lennon ’84 (a.k.a. “Cate”) graduated from Little Flower High School in 1960. She wanted to continue her education full-time but due to social norms and financial constraints, she entered the workplace and attended night school at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
She had an adventurous side to her. When she first started working at Goodyear as a young adult right out of high school, they needed someone in their New York City office for a year. She gladly took that opportunity to live and work in NYC. Soon after, she returned to Philadelphia, got married, and started a family.

When her husband and father of their six children passed away after battling an aggressive form of melanoma, Cate was faced with a decision: jump at going back to her administrative job at Goodyear that would barely support her young family or fulfill her dream of attending college and provide a better life for her family.

Cate soon enrolled in Gwynedd Mercy University's Nursing program, inspired by the nurses who took care of her husband during his cancer treatment.

"She was so impressed with the nurses, their level of attention, knowledge, and compassion helped her so much during this period in her life. Her first job was at Fox Chase Cancer Hospital, and I think she really felt compelled to give back due to the excellent care our father received," Amy Watson, Cate’s daughter, said.

After earning her BSN degree, Catherine enjoyed a successful 30-year career in the field, spending most of her time in the GI unit at Graduate Hospital. She was known for her outstanding patient care and became the go-to person to teach new technologies to her colleagues.

My mom was just an ordinary person. Usually when somebody has a scholarship in their honor, it’s because they were a senator or super successful business person. But our definition of success is her being an amazing mother and an incredible role model for all of us.

—Amy Watson, Catherine's daughter

Lasting Legacy

As a mother of six young children and with little support nearby, Catherine often found herself with no choice but to blend school and family. If one of the kids were sick, she would bring them to class. Her daughters Amy and Josie Alexander recall numerous times tagging along and keeping busy with a coloring book while their mom diligently took notes beside them. She spent many nights doing her homework at the same time they were doing theirs, even squeezing in work while waiting for them to finish up sports.

“The best were the conversations at the dinner table about what she was dissecting in class. She approached school with curiosity and enthusiasm,” Amy and Josie reflected.

It was these memories, and Catherine's passion for education, that led her family to establish The Catherine P. Alexander-Lennon ’84 Endowed Scholarship for Nursing after her passing in April 2023.

"She really gave up her life for all of us and demonstrated the importance of education. She really loved Gwynedd and loved the mission of the college. She just found the campus to be so welcoming," Josie said.

The Catherine P. Alexander-Lennon ’84 Endowed Scholarship for Nursing will support one full-time female student majoring in Nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Preference will be given to a non-traditional student with children. When Catherine passed, her family asked for donations to be made to the scholarship in lieu of flowers.

"It's hard raising a family and trying to go to school at the same time, but she would say, 'don't let anything stop you,'" Amy said. "There's always an answer to everything. If she was giving advice to a young mother/father starting this process, she would say, 'Go for it. You can have a career, support your family and most of all, be proud of what you accomplish.'"


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