News Hartwick’s O’Connor Chair Lecture Guests to Address “Nursing Beyond the Bedside”

October 6, 2021

Three distinguished experts will provide their insights on a critical aspect of nursing during Hartwick’s College’s upcoming O’Connor Chair Lecture. The topic “Nurses’ Power in Policy – Nurses’ Care Reaches Beyond the Bedside” will be explored during a virtual edition of the semi-annual Lecture on Friday, October 15 at 7 p.m. The panel will discuss nurses’ unique role and how they can use their expertise to influence healthcare policies and advocate for their patients and their families. The event is free and open to the public via Zoom.

Featured Speakers

Maria Vezina ’73, EdD, is vice president and chief of nursing practice, education, advanced practice nursing credentialing, and nursing labor relations partnerships for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. She joined the system in 1982, serving as vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Saint Luke’s Hospital and chief of nursing and vice president of nursing at Mount Sinai Morningside, among other roles. She has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. A nursing graduate of Hartwick College, Vezina earned an M.A. in nursing education from New York University, and both an M.Ed. and an Ed.D. from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Vezina now serves on the Hartwick College Board of Trustees.


Kathleen Carver Cheney ’74, JD, is a New York City-based attorney whose distinctive background includes both 20 years a nursing leader and more than 15 years of healthcare transactional and regulatory experience. She earned a Hartwick degree in nursing, graduating as a John Christopher Hartwick Scholar, then began a successful career practicing nursing at large New York City hospitals. Cheney went on to earn a master’s in nursing from New York University, then a J.D. from NYU School of Law. Cheney is a partner at the boutique law firm of Novack Burnbaum Crystal, LLP, where she represents long-term care and post-acute care providers. She serves on the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council and on the Bioethics Committee of the New York State Bar Association.


Colleen Leners, DNP, is the director of policy at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in Washington, D.C. AACN is described as “the voice of academic nursing, encompassing education, research, and practice.” Leners previously served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow and she now serves on the board of Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research and various committees for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. A registered nurse and nurse practitioner for nearly 40 years, she served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. A Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, she was awarded the Bronze Star for her service overseas. Lehner earned her D.N.P. in leadership from Case Western Reserve University.

Hartwick College’s O’Connor Chair Lecture Series is endowed by the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation of Delhi, NY. It is designed to provide nursing students and guests an opportunity to learn about the issues facing experienced professionals from all aspects of nursing and related fields.

Hartwick College Nursing Department Chair and Clinical Associate Professor Patricia Grust, PhD, will serve as the evening’s host, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Kathleen Ash will moderate the event. The Zoom link for the Lecture is

For more information on the O’Connor Chair Lecture, visit the webpage or contact Coordinator of Nursing Opportunities Geneen Bolton at or (607) 431-4790.