Born in Baltimore, Patricia Thompson Gillen attended the St. Jane Frances Preschool and Notre Dame Preparatory School before achieving her high school diploma from Villa Maria Academy in Santiago, Chile, in 1960. From there, she joined Immaculata University in Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology and elementary education in 1965. Needing 24 additional credits to work as a teacher in the state of Pennsylvania, she was encouraged by her adviser to look into getting a master’s degree in guidance counseling, as she was only 30 credits away from a master’s. Completing her formal studies with a Master of Education in guidance and counseling from Villanova University in 1967, Ms. Gillen considers the completion of her degrees to be the absolute highlight of her career.
With considerable expertise in school counseling and communications, Ms. Gillen spent three years as a teacher at the beginning of her career before becoming a school counselor. She spent 27 years counseling students and working in myriad capacities for the Chester Upland School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, concluding her career as a counselor for Showalter Middle School in 1995. Always a strong believer in academic, physical, social and emotional enhancement, Ms. Gillen spent time as a member and officer for a number of various school and education associations, including the American Association of University Women, Kappa Kappa Iota and DKG International.
In her retirement, Ms. Gillen has become active with The International Cat Association, through which she participates in cat shows, and remains an avid boater, an activity she has enjoyed since she was a child growing up near the Magothy River. She is also a regular contributor to her local church. Having travelled throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean with her husband, Joe, she hopes to continue traveling in the coming years and notes that her next planned destination is Cuba. For excellence in her career, Ms. Gillen has been presented with a Marquis Who’s Who Humanitarian Award, featured in the Marquis Who’s Who Millennium Magazine and Who’s Who in America, and named a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional.