YSU names Sweeney Professor in Nursing

Amy Weaver
Amy Weaver

Amy Weaver, an associate professor in the Centofanti School of Nursing at Youngstown State University, was designated the inaugural Patricia McGovern Sweeney Professor in Nursing at a ceremony this afternoon on campus.

The professorship was established by way of a $500,000 gift from Douglas Sweeney and his daughters - Carolyn Sweeney Berry, Andrea Sweeney Wagner and Alexa Sweeney Blackann - in honor of his wife and their mother Patricia’s lifelong career in the Nursing profession.

The professorship is the latest of a long Sweeney family tradition of philanthropic support of YSU, amounting to more than $1 million. Douglas Sweeney’s father, Robert, was the naming benefactor of Sweeney Hall and the Sweeney Welcome Center on campus in 2001. Other family gifts have supported scholarships, athletics and the arts. 

“We thank the Sweeney family for their continued commitment and support of YSU and our students,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “This gift will forever call to mind Mrs. Sweeney’s life of hard work and dedication to the health of our community.”

Mrs. Sweeney was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Nursing from YSU and a master’s of Public Health and Juris Doctor degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Sweeney spent a total of 26 years pursuing her education and always believed that education is the basis for success.

Mrs. Sweeney began her career as a staff nurse in the oncology unit of St. Elizabeth Hospital in 1979. Throughout the ensuing 40-plus years, she was committed to improving community health, holding leadership positions in home care and hospice and in community health planning efforts. She served on numerous local, state and national boards and was the first female Mahoning County health commissioner, during which time minority representation on her staff grew by nearly 20 percent. She and her team secured more than $3.2 million in local, state and federal grants to institute innovative programs to address black infant mortality, women's and children's nutritional needs, housing and transportation needs, opiate use and more.

In 2020, Mrs. Sweeney retired as health commissioner, but her service to the community continued as a member of the board of directors of Mercy Health of Youngstown and the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the University of Pittsburgh Faculty Scholar Awards, YSU Nursing Alumna of the Year, a national Balderson Award, Ohio State University Champion of Public Health Award and the Kresge Foundation Emerging Leaders in Public Health Award. She also was the recipient of the 2017 ATHENA Award by the Regional Chamber and The Vindicator.
YSU is the place that helped jump-start Mrs. Sweeney’s lifelong career in nursing. This professorship will allow for the university’s educators to make a continued and lasting impact on the area.

Weaver, who joined YSU’s faculty in 2003, teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and has passion for research, especially related to the community and elderly. She has taken a leadership role in the graduate research program and will develop the new doctoral anesthesia research project curriculum.

Weaver taught Nursing in the Community for many years, reflecting the focus of Mrs. Sweeney’s work in public health and as the Mahoning County Health Commissioner. Weaver’s overall plan for the funds includes providing health screenings and care to underserved populations where they live in the community by utilizing nursing and other health professions students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including nurse practitioner students.