DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Board welcomes 2 trustees

Board welcomes 2 trustees: Community health network CEO and university president

Donna Thompson, left, and Joseph R. Marbach
Donna Thompson, left, and Joseph R. Marbach recently joined DePaul University’s Board of Trustees. (DePaul University composite photo)
DePaul University has elected Donna Thompson, CEO of Chicago-based Access Community Health Network, and Joseph R. Marbach, president of Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey, to its 41-member board of trustees.

“Our new strategic plan — Grounded in Mission — is a blueprint for DePaul as we move forward into the next decade. The senior-level experience and leadership of Ms. Thompson and Dr. Marbach will be of benefit as we strive to provide a transformative education grounded in our Catholic and Vincentian values,” says DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D. “I am grateful for their commitment to our mission and service to the university.”

When Donna Thompson joined Access Community Health Network as chief operating officer in 1995, she was familiar with the difficulties patients faced due to their lack of access to primary and preventive care. For more than 30 years, Thompson has been on the front lines of patient care delivery. As CEO of ACCESS since 2004, Thompson demonstrates daily how a focused commitment to high quality community health care can save lives, revitalize communities, and preserve the possibility of a healthy life for hundreds of thousands of patients across the Chicagoland area. Thompson has led ACCESS to become one of the largest federally qualified health center organizations in the country.

Keeping the focus on providing solutions to health inequities, ACCESS has invested in long-term partnerships for teaching and research. ACCESS’ broad partnerships enable community-based research to address health disparities and to share those best practices within the community. One result is the National Institutes of Health-funded ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning building in Chicago’s Englewood community alongside a community health center and an integrative services center.

On Mother's Day 2007, Thompson launched Pin-A-Sister/Examinate Comadre, bringing together members of predominantly African-American and Hispanic congregations to recognize breast cancer survivors and provide education around the importance of breast health and regular preventive screenings. To date, this faith-based breast cancer awareness campaign has reached more than 1 million people in churches, community organizations and correctional centers during its signature events surrounding Mother's Day, and has touched more than 4 million individuals through media outreach efforts nationally and internationally.

Thompson received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from DePaul University in 1986, and a Master of Nursing Administration in 1989. She was named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow in 2003 and is a 2010 graduate of the Kellogg School of Management’s CEO Perspectives program.

Recognized as one of Chicago United’s 2007 Business Leaders of Color, Thompson is a co-founder of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force. In 2015, she received the National Medical Fellowship Leadership in Healthcare Award. Thompson is on the board of directors of the DuPage Health Coalition, the National Public Housing Museum, and Children’s Home & Aid.

Joseph R. Marbach became Georgian Court University’s ninth president on July 1, 2015. Marbach is charged with leading the strategic vision and growth of the Roman Catholic university in Lakewood, New Jersey. He is the first male and first lay president in Georgian Court’s history. Marbach possesses a distinguished background in the academic arena as both an educator and thought leader.

Marbach served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at La Salle University in Philadelphia from 2010-2015. He also held a post as a professor of political science. As provost he established the English Language Institute, the Office of Professional and Corporate Education, and the Institute for Lasallian Education and Engaged Pedagogy. Additionally, he expanded the university’s presence in online education, graduate studies, and international education and recruitment and has signed cooperative agreements with local colleges and international universities. 

He is the former dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, where he also was a professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science. At Seton Hall, Marbach served as acting chair for the Department of Africana Studies and as co-founder and director of the Center for Community Research and Engagement. During his years at Seton Hall, Marbach, an award-winning radio analyst, was a frequent media contributor and subject matter expert on New Jersey politics. 

Marbach is a past president of the New Jersey Political Science Association and has served on the council of the American Political Science Association’s Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations. He is a former fellow with the Pennsylvania Policy Forum, and he has been an active participant in the Global Dialogue on Federalism, sponsored by the Forum of Federations and International Association of Centers for Federal Studies. He has taught in a number of faculty seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Summer Institute. 

Marbach graduated magna cum laude from La Salle University in 1983 and earned a Master of Arts and a doctorate in political science from Temple University, Philadelphia.

His areas of expertise include federalism and intergovernmental relations, state and local government and politics, and New Jersey politics. Marbach is editor-in-chief of “Federalism in America: An Encyclopedia” and has contributed to and edited “Opening Cybernetic Frontiers.” Along with several book chapters, Marbach’s work appears in numerous journals and encyclopedias.

“With our new trustees, DePaul’s board gains knowledge that enables us to support and strengthen the university’s mission,” says Jim Ryan, chair of the board of trustees. “In addition to their considerable leadership in their fields and in the community, Ms. Thompson and Dr. Marbach demonstrate a deep commitment to higher education and DePaul’s mission and values. I look forward to working with them.”

DePaul University’s board of trustees is responsible for shaping the strategies that best promote the fulfillment of the university’s mission and values. A list of trustees is available at​.