Mercy College has received a generous donation from Matthew and Nannette Hyland — both faculty members in the College’s physical therapy program — to fund an endowed scholarship that supports Doctor of Physical Therapy students.
“Our students are so important and meaningful to us,” said associate professor Matthew Hyland, Ph.D. “They want to change human lives for the better, and they're inspired to become great healthcare practitioners. When we see them struggle, it's not because of a lack of talent or effort but because of a lack of financial resources. If there’s an opportunity to alleviate their financial burden and give them a greater platform to succeed, that really fulfills me.”
The Tom Hyland Family Endowed Scholarship will be awarded each year to a student who has done outstanding work and is entering their second or third year in the program. Preference will be given to students who are part of underrepresented minority groups with the goal of increasing diversity in the physical therapy field. “Improving diversity is something that's very needed,” explained Hyland. “We all need practitioners who can understand us not just physically but culturally, emotionally and spiritually.”
The scholarship is named in memory of Hyland’s father, Tom, who passed away in March 2020. He was the founder and former executive director of Martin House and Thames River Program and Community Service in Norwich, Connecticut — both nonprofit organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness. “My father was a very special person,” said Hyland. “He dedicated his entire life to serving others — people who were homeless, hungry, lonely or living in unsafe environments. We decided that this scholarship would be a wonderful way to honor him and leave a legacy.”
In addition to educating the next generation of physical therapists at Mercy College, Matthew Hyland is a clinician in private practice and a researcher. After starting his clinical career at White Plains Hospital, he co-founded Rye Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation in order to provide high-quality healthcare with a personal touch. He is active in the professional community, serving on the board of directors of the American Physical Therapy Association and as a past president of the New York Physical Therapy Association. His research has been published in several journals and presented at national conferences.
Associate professor Nannette Hyland, Ph.D., is the Program Director of Mercy College’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program and has taught in the program since 1997. During her time at Mercy, she has served as president of the Faculty Senate, chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee and chair of the Committee on Assessment of Student Learning. She has also served on committees within the American Physical Therapy Association, the New York Physical Therapy Association and the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy.
Mercy College is grateful to Matthew and Nannette Hyland for their generosity and their ongoing commitment to the College’s mission and students.