CNR Legacy Award
Patricia Keegan Abels, CNR SAS '73

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 worked at her hometown newspaper in Passaic, NJ for a year, before earning 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 left to freelance for various publications, including the New York Times, while raising her young children, Kevin and Kathleen.  Keegan Abels also shared her journalistic expertise with students at Pace University and Iona College, where she taught as an adjunct professor.


In 1990, Keegan Abels accepted the position of director of communications for the New York State Education Department, the then-3,900-employee state agency which oversees public and private elementary, secondary and higher education, the licensed professions and cultural institutions. In 1994, she became district director for then-Congresswoman Nita Lowey in Westchester and Rockland counties. Over the next 26 years, she supervised constituent services and community outreach in two district offices, while mentoring dozens of young staff members and interns. She retired when the Congresswoman retired from public service, in January 2021.


Throughout her more than 45-year professional career, Keegan Abels found the time to be a devoted volunteer, at her children's schools - Our Lady of Sorrows School in White Plains, and Regis High School and Loyola School, both in Manhattan - and at her own alma mater.  An active CNR alum, Keegan Abels served as President and board member of the Alumni Association, a class officer and participated in every five-year class reunion.   Since 2019, when Mercy began supporting CNR alumni operations, she has been an enthusiastic member of the CNR Legacy Council, and its Communications Committee which produces the Alumni quarterly newsletter, and chairs her class reunion committee.


Since graduating from the College of New Rochelle, Keegan Abels has distinguished herself as an inspiring leader and ardent volunteer, dedicated to helping others, through government service, communications, and education.


Today, Mercy University recognizes Patricia Keegan Abels for her lifelong dedication to upholding the College of New Rochelle legacy, its motto, Serviam, I will serve, and, since 2019, her resounding support of Mercy University and its commitment to providing quality education to all students.