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Eleven successful University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduates have been chosen to receive top honors for 2023 by the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In the months leading up to Homecoming—during which they’ll be honored at an on-campus ceremony—we will introduce you to these outstanding alumni. The full list of award winners is available here

From the start of her career, Teresa Connolly ’87, of Scottsdale, Arizona, has strived to create a lasting legacy of leadership and nursing excellence.

Teresa Connolly

In 1987, after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in nursing, she began her healthcare career as a staff nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She soon was promoted to charge nurse, where she got her first experience with nursing leadership.

Connolly quickly became intrigued by the specialty of nursing administration and leadership and was inspired to continue her education. In 1994, she obtained her master’s degree in nursing, specializing in nursing administration, and eventually went on to earn her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in 2013.

During her time in Chicago, she held various leadership positions, but she believes her nursing leadership journey truly began in 1999 with her role as nursing resource manager for Mayo Clinic Arizona.

From there, her nursing leadership career continued to advance, with her final nursing position being chief nursing officer for 11 years.

Throughout her tenure, Connolly transformed the department of nursing from a hospital-based department of approximately 1,500 staff to a fully integrated department of 2,500 staff working in inpatient, procedural and ambulatory departments.

Following this initiative, her nursing leadership impact and legacy were honored with a Magnet Designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a nationally recognized designation of nursing excellence.

She also worked to advance nursing education and research by partnering with the dean of the nursing school to lead the introduction of the Mayo Clinic-based Arizona State University nursing program.

Connolly at UWO graduation 1987

In 2020, Connolly pivoted her nursing career and was appointed the first Chief Administrative Officer of Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City in Abu Dhabi, UAE, a joint venture with Mayo Clinic. In that role, she provided crisis leadership through the pandemic and scaled the operation from start-up through their first year, establishing the leadership structure, strategy and operating plan.

Today, she works on the Mayo Clinic’s international team as the associate vice president of delivery services, leading 15 international referral offices, an ambulatory clinic in London and overseeing the team providing global support to Mayo Clinic’s international patient population.

Along with the many accolades and accomplishments she has earned throughout her career, Connolly has held several very prestigious board appointments, including a five-year term on the Arizona Medical Board.

“I am most proud of being appointed to the Arizona Medical Board by the Arizona governor. As board members, we are responsible for protecting public safety through the judicious licensing, regulation and education of all physicians,” Connolly said.

Connolly considers her education from UWO to be a big factor in how she got to where she is today.

“I attribute most of my success to the strong educational foundation I received from UWO. My nursing education was among the best,” she said. “This foundation enabled me to advance my education and excel professionally.”

The 2023 Alumni Awards Celebration will be held Oct. 27 at the Culver Family Welcome Center, with a reception at 5 p.m. followed by the dinner and program beginning at 6 p.m. The cost of the event is $40 per person. For more information, contact UWO’s Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or Register for the Alumni Awards Celebration here.

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