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. During her high school years, she learned French at Notre Dame Prep and Spanish at Villa Maria Academy. 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 decided to go the extra mile and take a further six credits on top of that to achieve a master’s degree and was encouraged by her adviser to look into guidance counseling. 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, DKG International and several alumni associations.
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. Born in Baltimore, she grew up near the Magothy River and was given her first boat at the age of 6 and first learned to row before graduating to power boats. 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.