Mercy University Honors Susan Fox and Patricia Keegan Abels for their Outstanding Contributions at 43rd Annual Trustees' Gala

2024 Trustees' Scholarship Gala Invitation with blue designed background

Today, Mercy University announced the honorees for its 43rd Annual Trustees’ Gala: Susan Fox, H.D. ’22, president & CEO of White Plains Hospital, College of New Rochelle alumna Patricia Keegan Abels, SAS '73, and student Devin Philip Goens '24. The Trustees’ Gala, which raises critical funds to benefit student scholarships, will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2024 at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle.

“I look forward to celebrating the remarkable achievements of these honorees at our 43rd Annual Trustees’ Gala,” said Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., M.S.W., president of Mercy University. “Their dedication to excellence and service truly embodies the spirit of Mercy University.”

Fox, a prominent figure in healthcare in Westchester, will be presented with the Community Leadership Award for her outstanding contributions to the field and her dedication to serving the community. Keegan Abels will be honored with the CNR Legacy Award for her lifelong dedication to upholding the values of the College of New Rochelle and her steadfast support of Mercy University following the closure of CNR in 2019, when Mercy committed to preserve the CNR legacy. Goens will receive the Student Achievement Award for exemplifying leadership and serving as a role model to his fellow students.

“It is such an honor to be recognized with the Community Leadership Award by the Mercy University Board of Trustees,” said Susan Fox, H.D. ’22, president & CEO of White Plains Hospital. “By broadening access to a high-quality education, Mercy is providing opportunity to many students, especially in healthcare where talent development remains a top priority. At White Plains Hospital, we are proud to partner with Mercy to inspire the next generation of healthcare talent.”

“I am deeply grateful to the Mercy University Board of Trustees for honoring me with the CNR Legacy Award and I also want to thank Dr. Susan Parish and the entire Mercy community for their inspiring commitment to higher education,” said Patricia Keegan Abels, SAS ‘73. “Mercy University has warmly welcomed College of New Rochelle alumni and enthusiastically helps us preserve the CNR legacy and practice its motto of “Serviam” or service. One way we can serve others is to support scholarships that assist Mercy students earn degrees to achieve their dreams."

“I was so touched to be chosen as the 2024 Student Achievement Award recipient at this year’s Trustees’ Gala,” said Devin Philip Goens. “My time here at Mercy has been transformative and everyone here, from the faculty and staff to my fellow students, has driven me to succeed.”

Read more about the honorees below. To learn more about the 43rd Annual Trustees’ Gala, visit

Susan Fox, H.D. ’22

Susan Fox

Susan Fox, President & CEO of White Plains Hospital, is recognized as one of Westchester County’s most influential executives. A visionary leader, she has been at the forefront of the healthcare industry transformation regionally, over the last decade. By forging strategic partnerships and aligning and recruiting top clinical and administrative talent, Fox has driven the expansion of White Plains Hospital into a leading provider of advanced healthcare in the Hudson Valley. 

Fox first joined the WPH team in 2010 as Senior Vice President of Administration. In 2011 she was named Executive Vice President and then President in January 2013. Fox assumed the position of CEO of White Plains Hospital on May 1, 2015.

She began her career as a pediatric intensive care nurse at New York Hospital in Manhattan and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Columbia University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Baruch College, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Fox was appointed to the on the Board of Commissioners of The Joint Commission in January 2023. She serves as the Chairperson of the Westchester County Association, serves on the Columbia University School of Nursing Board of Visitors, and the Board of the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS). She is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Patricia Keegan Abels, CNR SAS '73

Patricia Keegan Abels

Patricia Keegan Abels' dual interests in journalism and government were nurtured at the College of New Rochelle (CNR), where she served as editor of the student newspaper, The Tatler, and majored in political science.

It was at CNR that she also gained a deep appreciation for lifelong learning for herself and others. After graduating cum laude from CNR with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973, she earned a Master of Science degree from the Columbia Journalism School in 1975. Returning to Westchester, Keegan Abels was an award-winning reporter, city editor and education editor at the Gannett Westchester Newspapers for 11 years.

 She worked as a freelance writer and adjunct professor of journalism at Pace University and Iona College while her two children were young, then became director of communications for the New York State Education Department.  From 1994 until 2021, she was district director for Congresswoman Nita Lowey in Westchester and Rockland, supervising constituent services and community outreach while mentoring dozens of young staff members and interns.

Keegan Abels also has been a dedicated volunteer to her alma mater and community. At CNR, she served as President and board member of the Alumni Association, a class officer and participated in every five-year class reunion.  Since 2019, she volunteers as a member of the CNR Legacy Council, its Communications Committee and chairs her class reunion committee.

Devin Philip Goens '24

Devin Philip Goens

Devin Philip Goens, class of 2024, was born and raised in Long Island, NY. At Mercy University, Goens has been incredibly involved with the University as he has worked for the Residential Life Department and Campus Life Department. Goens is a Second Year Resident Assistant (RA) for Residential Life and has served as an Orientation Leader and Orientation Coordinator for Campus Life for Freshman and Transfer Mercy University Orientations.

Goens has dedicated his time in these many roles to be a role model and leader for co-workers and all residential students, and to promote and bring positive change and occurrences to Mercy University. Throughout the years working as a Resident Assistant and Orientation Leaders/Coordinator, Goens has led by example through his professionalism, strong work ethic, communication and problem-solving skills.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management in spring of 2024, Goens plans to continue his education and strive to receive his master’s degree in Exercise Science. With this he plans to be a variety of things, a personal trainer, a strength and conditioning coach for possible high school or college athletes, but most importantly go back to his old high school and give back to new incoming athletes. Goens is excited and thrilled for the road ahead as he pursues his passions in life.