As Roberta Perry — the Assistant Director of the Marketing and Communications Department at The College of Nursing and Health Professions — addressed the audience of the 2020 People of Purpose event, she chose to rely on the words of a great author to pass on her message.
“Mark Twain said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
Perry was speaking at an event where individuals were being recognized for the efforts they have put forth, and it only seemed fitting to use a quote that so aptly described the importance of finding the meaning of life.
Perry added on her own sentiments, saying “what a blessing it is to have these individuals who figure this out so early in their lives as part of the college community.”
On Friday, Feb. 21, 11 people were honored for their outstanding demonstrations of purpose and service in their daily lives. The College of Nursing and Health Professions set out to tell the College’s “story” in 2018 by honoring the extraordinary lives of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners within the CNHP.
2020 is the second year that the College has recognized community members with the People of Purpose award. This year, stories ranged from a Drexel alumnus who is now making a difference in his field to a professor who is doing groundbreaking research in hers.
Chosen for her story of overcoming cancer and dedicating her life to helping others do the same, staff member Marcia Penn gave the closing speech. She discussed her 1999 cancer diagnosis and the treatment process she went through: a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 days of radiation.
She had a two-year-old son at the time and knew that she needed to be there for him.
“I surely experienced some pain and suffering,” said Penn, “but because of a loving family, caring colleagues, and a great medical team, I can stand here 20 years later, continue telling my story, and be part of a new cancer impact initiative here at the College of Nursing and Health Professions.”
“I have been touched by the lives of others through my experiences,” Penn continued, “and helping others has become my purpose every day,”
The individuals working on the project had three main goals: tell the story of the CNHP, focus on who the members of the CNHP are and the incredible work they are doing, and support the strategic goals of the College, said Perry. The selection process was tedious; first, hundreds of articles and posts were combed through in search of individuals with compelling stories.
Those working on the project also sought out nominations from community members. They were looking for people within the Philadelphia community who were motivated by a desire to heal and serve as well as advocate for those without a voice. Next, those nominated were interviewed and narrowed down to 11 people.
The 2019 and 2020 People of Purpose and their stories are displayed on the wall of the tenth and sixth floors of the College located at 1601 Cherry Street.
The exhibition is open to Drexel students and staff during business hours. The information is also available online under the “about” section of the CNHP website.