Past Alumni Award Winners

To read bios of our past award recipients, please choose from the years below or click on the award categories to see a list of recipients ordered by year.


Recipients by Year:

Graduate of the Last Decade Award

Michael Hostad, B.S. Business Management, ’10

Michael Hostad was appointed the executive director of MiKE (Innovation in Milwaukee), an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee in 2014MiKE fosters partnerships between business, education and the community at large to cultivate and support emerging talent networks with the goal of retaining creative and innovative professionals who fuel economic growth in the Greater Milwaukee region.  

One of Hostad’s recent accomplishments is founding The Commons, a collaboration among 23 of the region’s colleges and universities, including Cardinal Stritch University, to pair students with and to be mentored by local professionals. By engaging students outside of the classroom and offering the opportunity to grow in new and exciting ways, The Commons is raising up future leaders that will invest their talents in Milwaukee as a great place to live, work, play and stay.   

Hostad is also involved with the Downtown (Milwaukee) Task Force, which provides leadership and helps facilitate economic bridges connecting downtown to adjacent neighborhoods.   

His entrepreneurial spirit was awakened and nurtured while working in manufacturing during a summer break from high school. He launched his first web development business while still in high school, through which he gained clients from across the United States. After he earned an associate degree in computer networking at Waukesha County Technical College, he began working at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee as its first and only web developer. In 13 years at UWM, he led the expansion of his department to 17 employees. He was promoted to director of web and mobile services.  

Hostad earned his bachelor’s degree in management in 2010 at Cardinal Stritch University while working as a full-time professional. With a supportive cohort, he was able to balance academic goals with his career and family.  

Named the “Chancellor’s Designee for Entrepreneurship and Innovation” during his time at UWM, Hostad was also recognized in 2014 as one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for his dedication to the city.

Hostad and his wife, Calley, and their orange tabby cat, Slinky, make their home in Fox Point.  Even in his down time, Hostad loves to explore Milwaukee, seeking out its gems whether hidden or well known. He enjoys travel, cooking and getting lost in great movies or TV shows.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Elaine Dyer,  M.S. Healthcare Administration, ’85 

Elaine Dyer is a registered nurse and the administrator of one of Milwaukee’s largest skilled nursing facilities, the Jewish Home and Care Center, a position she has held for the past nine years. In her four-decade career she has been a change agent for quality programs in hospitals, government facilities, nonprofit organizations, for-profit chains, assisted living and faith-based mission driven facilities in a variety of roles. In each of her roles, Dyer has been a tireless advocate of the resident/patient.

Under her leadership, as director of nurses at Racine’s Lincoln Lutheran, she was able to re-certify a 320–bed facility and regain licensure within six months. That licensure had been lost and was unattainable for two long years, requiring Racine area residents to find placement outside their city. Dyer was promoted to administrator, and followed this certification with two perfect annual state and federal deficiency-free survey reviews.

In 1998 she assumed administration of the Willowcrest Care Center in South Milwaukee, which had been ranked 34th of 34 facilities in the region.  Within two years, under Dyer’s leadership, the facility was ranked #1 for Extendicare Facilities in the region. Dyer’s extensive knowledge of the state and federal regulations has proven invaluable in improving the care for residents in several facilities throughout southeastern Wisconsin. She has also become an expert witness for several legal firms in the Milwaukee area, testifying on the care rendered or needed in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility in Wisconsin. As part of Cardinal Stritch University’s Health, Wealth& Wisdom Series, Dyer recently shared her insights on ways to manage transitions in living arrangements, including levels of care in different settings, “disease trajectory” and the impact on care levels, and how to spot nursing home neglect.

Dyer holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Mt. Scenario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, and a master of science degree in health care administration from Cardinal Stritch University.

Dyer is the mother of two adult children, Eric and Sarah (a Stritch alumna, M.S. ’13). Dyer enjoys collecting antiques, which she repairs, repurposes and sells at a small antique mall. She also enjoys fishing, reading, and golfing. 


Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Peter Engel,  M.S. Management, ’83 

Peter Engel is executive vice president of Johnson Financial Group, a locally owned and privately held Wisconsin headquartered company. His primary responsibilities center on business development in the areas of banking, wealth and insurance in the greater Milwaukee marketplace.

Engel’s solid commitment to community and economic development is demonstrated by his service on numerous non-profit boards and community organizations including the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce, the Layton Avenue West Neighbors, Inc., the national Council for Better Business Bureau’s finance committee, and the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Wisconsin’s finance committee. He has also served as a board member and chairman of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. 

Engel advocates a combination of mentoring, leading, and partnering in order to build dynamic and successful teams that contribute tangible results. He combines passion, energy, confidence, fairness and humor, to “get the job done and done right.”

Engel earned his master’s degree in Management from Stritch in 1983, in the same cohort as his father Jerry. He describes graduating with his dad as a “phenomenal experience.” He credits the Stritch program with affirming his belief in the power of teamwork, the importance of giving back to the community, and the concept of aggregate responsibility.

In addition to his master’s degree, Engel holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a paralegal graduate certificate from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines from 1983-1985. Engel has also served as an instructor in the Graduate School of Business at Divine Word College.

Believing in healthy competition and teamwork, Engel has dedicated much of his personal time to coaching and refereeing youth sports. He coached girls’ basketball at the grade school and high school level through Catholic Youth Ministry, and soccer through the local community club.

Peter, his wife Katherine Stecker Engel, their daughter Courtney and their white lab, Lottie, reside in Summit, Wisconsin.


Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: Alumni Service

John Kordsmeier,  M.S. Management, ’84 

John Kordsmeier recently retired from Northwestern Mutual after more than 36 years of service with the company and in the community. His most recent role was vice president of strategic philanthropy and community relations, a position he held since November 2011. In this role he also served as the president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. The department supports Northwestern Mutual’s ongoing focus on developing and implementing giving and volunteerism strategies that create community impact and underscore the company’s commitment to its employees and the field. During Kordsmeier’s tenure, the Foundation launched the company’s first national signature program, joining in the fight against childhood cancer.

Kordsmeier joined the Northwestern Mutual in 1980 as an underwriter in the new business department and served in various roles prior to being named vice president of underwriting standards in 2003. He became an executive officer in 2004 and served in a number of leadership roles.

In the community, Kordsmeier serves as a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the United Performing Arts Fund board of directors, Milwaukee Succeeds operations team and the executive council for both Milwaukee’s Building Neighborhood Capacity Program and the Community Development Funders Alliance.

Previously he served as the president of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater Board of Directors, trustee for Pius XI Catholic High School, and first vice president and chairman for Catholic Charities Foundation for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Kordsmeier also served as a trustee for Cardinal Stritch University.

Kordsmeier earned a bachelor of arts degree in education from the University of Dallas-Irving and holds a master of science degree in management from Cardinal Stritch University. He says his personal belief in servant leadership was perfectly aligned with the Franciscan tradition and values he encountered at Stritch.

Kordsmeier has strong ties to the Stritch alumni community. He and his wife, Connie, who is also a Stritch alumna (M.A., RLA, ’86), are parents to three adult children. Their family includes two daughters-in law (one of whom, Anna is a Stritch alumna, B.F.A., ’05) and two grandchildren. In his spare time, he is a British Premier League fan and avid Arsenal supporter so he frequents the Three Lions Pub in Shorewood, which is owned and operated by Stritch alumni — David Price, ’07, ’13 and Christopher Tinker, ’06, ’10. His other two passions are building awareness and raising funds for the fight against childhood cancer, and improving the quality of life in three of Milwaukee’s most distressed neighborhoods.  


The Mother Bartholomew, OSF Lifetime Achievement Award

Sr. Justine Peter, OSF, Ph.D., Ph.B., English, ’50

“Thousands of students have been impacted by Sr. Justine. She embodies the meaning of a liberal arts education, bringing a large-scale view of the world, but also teaching how history has a place in everyday life. Her commitment to teaching, to her students, and to Stritch has been exemplary. She has fostered many to be better civic leaders and to follow her service commitment. Hers is a standard to follow.”

-Lisa Bangert-Balistreri, ’90

Sr. Justine Peter, OSF, Ph.D., professor emerita, served Cardinal Stritch University for more than 50 years as a history professor, department chair, and academic dean. She continues to serve in her retirement as an active member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. 

At the age of 16, Mary Peter (as she was known before she became Sr. Justine) left her home in Longmont, Colorado, with five high school friends to become a Sister of St. Francis of Assisi. They traveled by train to Milwaukee and finished their final year of high school as postulants at St. Mary’s Academy in St. Francis. The Sisters were teachers and administrators in the grade school in Longmont, which was a mission school of the Sisters. Sr. Justine says she didn’t know the term role model at the time, but that’s what the Sisters were to her. “They were just wonderful and so full of joy. That’s what I wanted,” she says. Teachers were in great demand at Catholic schools in the 1940s because of robust enrollment. Sr. Justine was assigned to two grade school teaching assignments while she worked on obtaining her bachelor’s degree. She claims to have hated the subject of history until she got to Loyola University in Chicago and began working on her master’s degree. Up until then, history had been about men and wars, but a teacher at Loyola opened her mind to the full scale of history. She began to understand how economy, religion, philosophy, politics and culture are inter-related in the events of history. She found it all fascinating and became passionate about it, a passion she passed on to her students for decades.

Sr. Justine taught 6th grade in Chicago the entire time she was working on her master’s degree. She was able to devote full time to study when she began work on her doctorate. She was encouraged by one of Loyola University’s Jesuit priests to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship, which she received. She completed the research for her dissertation at Queen Mary College, University of London.

Sr. Justine holds a bachelor of philosophy degree in English from Cardinal Stritch University, and both a master of arts degree and doctorate in history from Loyola University in Chicago.

In addition to her faculty and administrative roles at Stritch, Sr. Justine’s Curriculum Vitae includes national and international guest lectures. She holds fond memories of directing two study tours to Europe for Stritch students and alumni.  She served as the faculty advisor to the Model UN, which traveled to St. Louis, Boston and New York City. She also has great memories of the students involved in the International Relations Club and the National Federation of Catholic College Students, both of which she moderated.  Through it all, she loved her students and loved teaching. “You take them as they are, and pull out of them what they can be,” she said.

Sr. Justine was concerned admittedly about the impact of co-education in the 1960s on the culture of Stritch. “Our young women were leaders and risk-takers; I didn’t want them to lose that to the men,” she says. “But I don’t think they did.” She held the post of academic dean when Stritch began the program now known as the College of Business and Management. She insisted that the program include a Humanities component, so she co-authored and co-taught (with Sr. Coletta Dunn, ’60, professor emerita) three interdisciplinary modules that were published by the Institute for Professional Development in 1986 and incorporated into the curriculum for students in the College of Business and Management.

These days, in addition to her service on the Stritch Alumni Association Board of Directors, Sr. Justine enjoys reading. She reads every issue of Commonweal and The Tablet from cover to cover. She also participates in a book discussion group at the St. Francis Seminary. She travels to Colorado to visit family nearly every summer.

Graduate of the Last Decade Award

Shannon Reed, M.S. Business Management, ’11

Shannon Reed serves as the income portfolio manager at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.  

Dedicated to working for the common good is how Reed is often described for his deep devotion to civic engagement and youth development. In 2014, he was inducted into the YMCA Black Adult Achievers Program, which recognizes the talents of professionals of color who are successful in their careers. As an Achiever, Reed helps teens of color set educational and career goals through facilitating academic support, career exploration, college preparation and leadership development. 

Reed was recently selected for the 2015 Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders, a nationally recognized leadership program that recognizes fellows who are morally anchored, service oriented and committed to making a difference in society despite the personal sacrifice or the challenges faced. Reed has demonstrated great leadership within the City of Milwaukee, being appointed to the Black Male Advisory Council by Mayor Tom Barrett in 2015. He also serves as the chair of the Emergency Food and Shelter Board and has been a long serving board member. Reed and is now treasurer for the Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance.  

Reed received his Bachelor of Science degree from Upper Iowa University in 2005 and earned his Master’s Degree in Systems Management from Cardinal Stritch University in 2011.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Dr. Cynthia Foronda, M.S. Nursing, ’03

Cynthia Foronda, Ph.D., R.N., C.NE., is an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She specializes in nurse education, online teaching and learning, and virtual simulation. A nationally recognized expert on patient virtual simulation, Foronda has won three national teaching awards for her innovative and creative online teaching including two Blackboard Exemplary Course Awards (2012, 2013) and the 2012 Sloan-C Excellence in Online Teaching Award.  

Her impressive scholarship includes several sponsored research projects, multiple national and international presentations on virtual simulation and twelve peer-reviewed journal articles.  Foronda is currently researching use of virtual simulation to improve interprofessional communication skills. She serves on the editorial board for Clinical Simulation in Nursing and Nursing Educator. She has experience teaching internationally and has an interest in working in developing countries.  

Foronda facilitated a professional development program for Stritch nursing faculty in the summer of 2014. 

Foronda received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, Master of Science degree from Cardinal Stritch University and her Ph.D. in Nursing from Marquette University. 


Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: Alumni Service

Lori Craig, B.S. Business Administration, ’92, M.S. Business Management, '09

Lori Craig, senior vice president and market executive with PNC Bank, oversees the team of wealth management professionals assigned to each client. Through Craig’s leadership and the work of her team, clients benefit from investment, trust, financial planning and private banking services.

Craig joined PNC Bank in July 2010 as the market executive for Wisconsin. Prior to PNC, Craig was senior vice president and wealth strategist with Northern Trust in Milwaukee. She has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, with 14 years of experience specifically in wealth management.

Craig is an adjunct faculty member in Cardinal Stritch University’s College of Business and Management and serves as chair of its advisory council.  She is also is past chair of the Stritch Alumni Association Board of Directors, a board she served for 7 years. 

Craig holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Management from Cardinal Stritch University.

She is an active member in the community and serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including the UWM Foundation, Go Red for Women, chair of Executive Leadership Team at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and the Milwaukee Jewish Museum.  She is also on a number of advisory boards including the United Performing Arts Fund Campaign Cabinet, Make a Difference Wisconsin, Milwaukee Women Inc. Steering Committee, and the Milwaukee Area Technical College Paralegal Program.  She is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honors Society.

Craig has two adult children — one in Chicago one in Milwaukee.


Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: University Supporter

James Langenkamp, M.D.

Dr. James Langenkamp served as the team doctor for the Cardinal Stritch University athletic department from 1994 until August of 2014.  In this role, he visited athletes weekly, presented student clinics on various health topics, worked with coaches, and offered medical consultation on various injuries and preventative medicine. 

Langenkamp made himself available for special requests and often assisted students who might have difficulty with medical contacts and processing.  He continues to stay close to the athletes he has worked with over the years, attending weddings and other social gatherings.  

Langenkamp is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon who recently retired from private practice.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Marquette University, and earned his Medical Degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School.  He served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy from 1973-1980. 

Jim and his wife, Vida, have three adult children and are very active in the community.  


The Mother Bartholomew, OSF Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Anthea Bojar, B.A. History, '69

Dr. Anthea Bojar is an educator, leader, author and consultant. A former K-12 teacher, deputy superintendent and curriculum director, her distinguished career at Cardinal Stritch University began in 1972 as an adjunct professor.  She became a full-time professor in 1975 and held several positions within the College of Education and Leadership before she was named dean in 1997, a position she held until 2010.  From 2010 until 2014 she served as executive vice president for academic affairs. Upon her retirement in August 2014, she was granted status as dean emerita of the College of Education and Leadership by the Cardinal Stritch University Board of Trustees. 

From her first days on campus as a student in the 1960s, “Tia Rosati” exhibited leadership skills that were honed over the years and served her well. Bojar models and mentors others in effective strategies in her work.  She has presented and consulted nationally and internationally. She has facilitated strategic planning in numerous non and for profit organizations.  Bojar has co-authored a book with Dr. Nancy Stanford Blair and Dr. Michael Dickmann on Brain Compatible Leadership Strategies.  

Bojar received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Cardinal Stritch University, Master’s Degree in Curriculum and History from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Marquette University.  She has served on the boards of non-for-profit organizations including the St. Francis Activity and Achievement Center, Nativity Jesuit Middle School, St. Joan Antida High School, and the Milwaukee Academy of Science.  Other service commitments include: Milwaukee Public Schools Accountability and Support Group, Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium, Milwaukee Area Deans and the Design Board for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee.  

Bojar is married to a Stritch alumnus, Wayne Bojar, ’76.  She is also a mother of one son, mother-in-law and grandmother. She has 10 brothers and sisters and 106 additional relatives that include brothers- and sisters- in-law, nieces and nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.  

When she is not busy with her professional commitments and her family, Bojar serves as a volunteer mentor to young professionals. 

Graduate of the Last Decade Award

Sarah Marie Berndt, B.S. Education, '04

Sarah Marie Berndt, ’04, began her teaching career at Milwaukee’s Golda Meir School in 2004. In 2007, she was acknowledged as the Teacher of the Year by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators for her work strengthening youth leadership while bringing diverse cultures together. In 2010, she became the Spanish and technology teacher at Ronald W. Reagan College Preparatory International Baccalaureate High School in Milwaukee, where she engages in innovative motivational activities to meet the needs of diverse learners. Berndt has transformed learning into fun yet challenging activities, resulting in outstanding student achievement and national recognition.

In 2013, Berndt received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Award, known as the “Oscar of Teaching,” which honors the top early to mid career educators and recognizes educators for their recent works and the promise of future accomplishments. Berndt’s principal refers to her enthusiasm and dedication as “contagious.” She has earned the respect of parents and colleagues alike. Outside of the classroom, Berndt mentors other teachers and advises student groups including Reagan’s online school newspaper. Berndt received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree from Stritch in 2004.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Brian King, B.A. Communication, '88

While a student at Stritch, Brian King, '88, worked at Marriott's Great America in Gurnee, IL and shortly after graduation began his career in lodging at the Glendale Residence Inn by Marriott, a few blocks from campus. King now serves as global brand officer for Marriott Endorsed Brands at Marriott International Headquarters in Washington DC, where he is responsible for brand positioning, long-range strategy, marketing communications and product development, with the overall objective of "making Marriott the most sought after hotel brand in the world."

King has held multiple positions, including revenue management, reservations, operations, sales and marketing. He has been instrumental in leading brand strategies in emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil. King's career highlights include overseeing the global repositioning of the company's largest brand, Courtyard by Marriott; the creation and launch of MOXY HOTELS, securing and activating Courtyard by Marriott as the Official Hotel Sponsor of the NFL; and designing the largest leadership meeting in the company's history with 3,200 attendees, including keynote speaker, former President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton.

King volunteers regularly, mentoring youth, general managers, and others interested in careers in marketing and hotel management. He believes that giving others opportunities to succeed is what matters most. King earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Stritch in 1988 and completed his executive education at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the School of Hotel Management at Cornell University.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

James Lindenberg, M.B.A., '93

James “Jim” Lindenberg, ’93, is one of southeastern Wisconsin’s best-known and successful entrepreneurs. In 1994, he launched a wire, cable and tubing manufacturing company, World Class Wire and Cable, building it into an industry leader within the first five years of operation. The company earned the Future 50 Award, recognizing it as one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the region, from 1998-2000.

The U.S. Small Business Administration selected Lindenberg as Wisconsin’s 2005 Small Business Person of the Year. In 2007, Inc. Magazine named World Class Wire and Cable one of the Top 5,000 businesses in the United States. The same year, Ernst & Young named Lindenberg Entrepreneur of the Year for both Wisconsin and the Lake Michigan area. He is the 15th person worldwide to simultaneously hold the CSE (Certified Sales Executive) and CME (Certified Marketing Executive) certifications. In 2008, Lindenberg sold World Class Wire and Cable to Anixter Inc. The following year, he purchased the Milwaukee Wave to keep the team in Milwaukee and Lindenberg then created the Wave of Hope, a non-profit organization that supports local charities.

In 2013, Lindenberg sold the Milwaukee Wave and the Wave of Hope and bought majority interests in the Legends of the Field, a sports memorabilia company. He also operates Lindy Enterprises, a business consulting firm, and JML Holdings, a commercial and residential property broker. Named New Berlin Citizen of the Year in 2003, Lindenberg is active in the community, serving on various boards including Stritch’s Advancement Committee. Lindenberg earned his M.B.A. from Stritch in 1993.


Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: Alumni Service

Gerald Coon, Ph.D. Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '08, M.B.A., '11

Dr. Gerald “Gerry” Coon, ’08, ’11, has served as the executive director of the St. Francis Children’s Center since 1999, where his commitment to children with special needs has led to expanded services in Milwaukee, as well as two additional counties. In 2013, the center received the Best Workplace Award from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His colleagues attribute this to his leadership and commitment to collaboration and inclusion. Prior to 1999, all of Coon’s professional positions focused on providing services for adults with disabilities, including his role as vice president of Ranch Community Services.

Coon’s extensive civic engagement focuses on diversity and neighborhood development. He has served on boards for the Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development, Cooperation West Side Association, and the Human Rights League. He also has been a tutor with Our Next Generation, an organization that provides academic support to youth living in poverty. He chairs the Milwaukee County Birth to Three Management Group, serves on the executive committee of the Agency Executives Group of the Nonprofit Center of Greater Milwaukee, and is the vice chair of the Board of Directors for Diverse and Resilient. Residing in Milwaukee’s central city, Coon works to build a strong community and is routinely seen cleaning up debris on weekends, demonstrating his commitment to maintaining a place residents can be proud to call home.

Coon completed his Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service at Stritch in 2008. After earning a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he returned to Stritch and earned an M.B.A. in 2011. He serves as an adjunct professor in Stritch’s College of Business and Management.


Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: University Supporter

Marlene Lauwasser

Marlene Lauwasser began serving Stritch in 1982 as an administrator for the Institute for Professional Development (IPD). She helped develop Stritch's first adult degree programs, planting the seeds for what became the College of Business and Management. Lauwasser oversaw accounting, curriculum formatting, advertising, and marketing. Under her leadership, Stritch's adult programs enrolled 400 students in the first eight months. The programs not only achieved record enrollment, they also earned national visibility for the University’s innovative higher education formats for working adults.

After 25 years with IPD, Lauwasser retired in 2005 and was awarded the Samuel Cardinal Stritch Medal for Meritorious Service. She transitioned to a role in University Advancement, where she garnered community support and funds for Stritch. Though Lauwasser retired from the University in 2010, she continues to serve. She recently assisted with the 2012 theater production of “Irena's Vow,” served on the planning committee for Sister Camille Kliebhan’s 90th birthday celebration, and currently serves on the College of Business and Management advisory board.

Lauwasser volunteers extensively within the broader community, including her service as board chair for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and leadership of the federation’s $8 million campaign in 2006. She embodies the Franciscan values, truly spreading the spirit of the University in all of her work. She and her husband, Marvin, have supported the Bonaventure Hall campaign, Heritage Park and other University initiatives.


The Mother Bartholomew, OSF Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeanette Mitchell, Ed.D. Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '01

Dr. Jeanette Mitchell, ’01, has spent her life serving Milwaukee and its residents. A dedicated community advocate, she is committed to the education and empowerment of youth, women and minorities. Her work and service encompass politics, education, philanthropy, business and non-profits. She currently serves as program director for Stritch’s Leadership Center, which she co-founded in 2001 and then served as its first executive director. Mitchell has led efforts to develop highly successful management, diversity, leadership coaching, and advocacy programs.

Prior to her role in the Leadership Center, Mitchell spent more than 30 years as a corporate executive, including senior management roles at Ameritech/SBC/AT&T, where she directed teams ranging in size from five to 500, managed multi-million dollar budgets and developed cross-functional teams. She also served on the Milwaukee School Board, including three terms as president. In addition, she spent eight years as the education program officer at the Helen Bader Foundation, where she secured innovative funding to maintain the foundation’s leadership in educational policy. Her efforts helped earn Milwaukee national recognition for its support of educational choices for parents and students. Mitchell also served on the Boards of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute and the Leaders Forum. Mitchell currently serves as chair of the City of Milwaukee Charter School Review Committee and is a member of the Rotary Amigos de Milwaukee.

Mitchell has received more than 30 honors and awards for her work and volunteer contributions, including the distinction of “Woman of Influence” by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2013. She earned a Doctor of Education in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service degree at Stritch in 2001, holds an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.A. in Business and Management from Alverno College.

Graduate of the Last Decade 

Raquel M. Filmanowicz, B.S. Management '03

Named to the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2010 “40 Under 40” list which recognizes successful young professionals making a difference in the community, Raquel Filmanowicz is currently the southeast region vice president for community affairs at BMO Harris Bank.  Filmanowicz is responsible for developing integrated community affairs plans including strategic philanthropic outreach.  Before coming to BMO Harris, Filmanowicz was the health operations administrator for the City of Milwaukee Health Department where she was responsible for the day-to-day operational activities of the three major health divisions in the city.  Prior to her appointment, Filmanowicz served as the department’s health communications officer where she directed communications for disease outbreaks including Monkeypox, West Nile Virus, and H1N1 influenza. 

Filmanowicz, whose career began in community relations, has been very active within the Milwaukee community, volunteering her time and expertise to numerous organizations.  She has served on the board of directors of PEARLS for Teen Girls Inc., the American Heart Association, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin and has been a member of United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.  Filmanowicz is a native of Chicago and in addition to receiving her bachelor of science degree in business management from Stritch in 2003, she holds a certificate of corporate community involvement from Boston College.


Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service

Sister Jane M. Nesmith, SBS, M.E. Religious Studies, '88 

Sister Jane Nesmith, SBS, earned a master’s degree in education and youth ministry from Stritch in 1988. Sister Jane received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Xavier University in New Orleans, and an associate’s degree in education from Blessed Sacrament Junior College in Bensalem, Pa.  In 1964, Sister Jane entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, and has devoted her career to the teaching profession and serving those in greatest need.  She has taught all grade levels, coordinated youth programs, served as director of campus ministry at Xavier University Preparatory School for 10 years (co-founding their youth ministry program), was a founding board member of the National Black Sisters Conference, served as pastoral associate at Immaculate Conception Church in Seattle and is currently celebrating her 17th year as pastoral life coordinator and administrator of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in the Diocese of Evansville, Ind.  Sister Jane has served as a board member on the Evansville Minority Community Development Fund, Catholic Charities, and the Mayor’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Committee. 

Sister Jane’s most recent accomplishment includes the Neighborhood Education Enrichment Development Site (NEEDS), a transformed old elementary school which continues to meet the needs of low-income families.  Sister Jane serves as the executive director of the NEEDS Board and is committed to ensuring that the site accomplishes its mission for and with the underprivileged.  She has received numerous awards for her work with the community including Evansville’s Jefferson Award for community service in 2003.  In July 2012, she published her first book entitled, “Feed the Multitudes.”


Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Pamela A. Larde, Ph.D., Leadership, Advancement of Learning and Service, '09

Dr. Pamela Larde is a certified life coach and professor of qualitative research at Mercer University in Atlanta.  She earned her Ph.D. from Stritch in leadership for the advancement of learning and service.  She holds a master of education degree in college and student affairs from Azusa Pacific University and a bachelor of science in journalism and public relations degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.  Prior to her professorship at Mercer University, Dr. Larde was a doctoral advisor and assistant professor in the College of Education and Leadership at Stritch, where she provided academic advising to doctoral students and served on dissertation committees. Dr. Larde has also worked in various student development roles including serving as coordinator for student organizations and leadership at Marquette University and Claremont University Consortium. 

Dr. Larde has authored numerous publications, presented at conferences across the country and recently started her own publishing company.  She has received academic awards from institutions such as the American College Personnel Association Foundation, Wisconsin College Personnel Association, and the Ignatian Award for outstanding new professional in Jesuit student affairs at Marquette University.


Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Stritch

Dr. Barb Loberg, M.S. Health Administration, '89

Dr. Barb Loberg received her master’s degree from Stritch in business and health administration in 1989, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in health services from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn.  Dr. Loberg has extensive background in the healthcare field, including research in the theory and application of blood banking practices for the betterment of products for transfusions.  Dr. Loberg recently completed a second six-year term as a member of the Stritch Alumni Association Board of Directors.  During her tenure, she dedicated countless hours to Stritch and its mission. Outside of her board duties, she has been a stalwart advocate for Stritch and has helped with student outreach programs, alumni fundraising initiatives, and alumni mentoring.  In addition to her volunteer work with Stritch, Dr. Loberg is also involved in the National Association of Professional Women, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and the church council for Kingo Lutheran Church in Shorewood.

Graduate of the Last Decade 

Samantha Erschen, '09, B.A. Psychology, Religious Studies; '11, M.A. Ministry

Devoting her life to serving the pastoral and spiritual needs of those living in assisted living, memory care units, skilled nursing, and hospice care, two-time alumna Samantha Erschen believes in the "reverence of creation" at every stage of life. Hired by St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wis., at age 21 with just her bachelor's degree, Erschen is one of the youngest Catholic chaplains working in the U.S. today and the youngest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an industry where the average age of active chaplains is 63, getting such a position as an undergraduate right out of college is unheard of, but Erschen had excelled and was well prepared as a student in Stritch's Lilly Religious Scholars Vocation Program (RSVP).

In her role as chaplain, Erschen works to help residents at St. Camillus find "purpose" in life. She works with more than 75 people of various faiths to explore their spirituality and confront end-of-life issues. She meets with them one-on-one, organizes service projects, and leads groups through the rosary, Bible studies, and prayer services. Erschen also is called to administer tender touches, soft-spoken prayers, and gentle guidance as the residents approach their final hours.

Erschen already has received numerous awards for her work, including being named Employee of the Year in Customer Service in 2010 for her outstanding service at St. Camillus. That same year, she also was recognized by Divine Savior Holy Angels High School as their Young Alumna of the Year, recognizing her exemplary leadership in society. Erschen holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and religious studies and a master's degree in ministry from Stritch and was the 2009 recipient of Stritch's Pace e Bene award, given to students who incorporate Stritch's mission into their personal, spiritual, and faith lives.

Graduate of the Last Decade 

Molly D. Shiffler, Ed.D., Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '04

Molly D. Shiffler, Ed.D., serves as the director of Cardinal Stritch University's Literacy Centers. She has worked tirelessly to provide exemplary literacy instruction for all children in the Milwaukee area. Under her leadership, the centers have expanded from one to five locations with hopes of adding more. Shiffler, along with Stritch professor Dr. JoAnne Caldwell, researched, designed, and implemented an intervention model called CLIFFTOPS, reflecting the complex nature of literacy acquisition. This unique model is used to serve the more than 300 students served each semester at the five Literacy Centers. Shiffler has been instrumental in receiving a multi-year improving teacher quality grant, which through repeated funding, has given more than 50 Milwaukee-area teachers training in advanced literacy instruction and assessment techniques.

Shiffler, a tenured assistant professor at Stritch, has taught courses in the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the School of Urban Initiatives and the Language and Literacy Department. Shiffler has presented her work on childhood literacy in both local and national venues. In 2011, Shiffler was appointed to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Milwaukee Succeeds Literacy Team and to the University of Wisconsin Internal Evaluation Team for Milwaukee Public Schools' Comprehensive Literacy Plan. Shiffler holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from DePauw University, a master's in reading instruction from Michigan State University, and a doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Stritch. Shiffler has been married 43 years and has two sons and a grandson.

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service

Rev. Gerri Sheets-Howard, '06, M.A. Religious Studies

The Rev. Geraldine 'Gerri' Sheets-Howard has devoted her life to serving the needs of the poor, advocating for social justice issues, and defending the rights of those less fortunate. As the first female layperson appointed executive director of The Province of St. Joseph-House of Peace (HOP), a Capuchin ministry in Milwaukee, Sheets-Howard manages all aspects of this multi-faceted ministry that serves the poor in Milwaukee.

In 2010, Sheets-Howard wrote and received a grant from the Faye-McBeath Foundation to fund healthy food initiatives among those who are served at the House of Peace. The grant provided funds for ongoing education that helped participants begin and maintain healthy eating habits. Most importantly, the grant helped provide access to healthier food options for participants. In addition to her House of Peace position, Sheets-Howard is actively involved in ministry as the pastor of New Bradford Memorial African Methodist Church in Milwaukee.

Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Sheets-Howard was a deputy sheriff with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department for nine years. Sheets-Howard holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Lakeland College and a master's degree in religious studies from Stritch. She currently is working toward a Master of Divinity degree at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Sheets-Howard is married and the proud mother of two sons, Joshua and Isaiah.

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service

Winston Sharpe Jr., M.S. Management, '11

Winston Sharpe Jr. has dedicated himself to working with inner city youth and improving community stability through numerous volunteer roles. Having served as a vice president for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and a program developer for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching for more than 14 years, he is familiar with what it takes to develop strong leadership skills. He is the president of Champions for PEACE Scuba Divers, which is an affiliate of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and was established in 1992 to enhance the critical thinking skills of at-risk youth (ages 12-18) through scuba diving and mentoring.

In addition to his work with Champions for PEACE, Sharpe has remained committed to his community through his involvement on a number of nonprofit boards including: the Global Youth Leadership Institute, National Black Child Development Institute, The Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, 100 Black Men of Milwaukee, and Habitat for Humanity in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. Sharpe is the recipient of the "Do the Write Thing" writing award for at-risk youth, the "Martin Luther King Jr. Keeping the Dream Alive" award sponsored by the Mecklenburg County North Carolina Board of Commissioners, and the "Service to Diving" award presented by the National Association of Black Scuba Divers.

He has published two books focusing on motivating, educating, and lifting the spirits of African American males. Sharpe holds a bachelor's degree in human and community services from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., and a Master of Science in Management degree from Cardinal Stritch University. Sharpe is the proud father of two sons.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

James T. Alfred, B.A. International Business, '96

James T. Alfred is an accomplished actor, speaker, and mentor who continues to re-invent himself. After graduating from Stritch with a bachelor's degree in international business in 1996, Alfred landed a position with the FMC Corporation, a Fortune 500 company where he managed multi-million dollar accounts for the phosphates division, of the Chemical Products Group. After spending only a few years in corporate America, Alfred decided to pursue his true passion: a career in the arts. Soon after, Alfred was selected for the M.F.A program at the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University, one of the top dramatic training institutions in the country. As part of the program, Alfred studied acting in Russia at the famed Moscow Art Theatre School.

Upon graduation, Alfred immediately went to work in the American Theatre, where he has garnered a reputation as a Wilsonian Actor, an actor who has demonstrated through practice the ability to perform the works of the late, great August Wilson. In just 10 years, he has built an impressive body of work, working at some of the most prestigious theaters in the country, including the highly regarded Guthrie and Steppenwolf theaters. He has been cast in roles for theater, film, and television.

In the fall of 2012, Alfred will appear on the hit Starz TV drama "Boss," staring Kelsey Grammer. In addition to his acting, Alfred writes and produces for both the screen and stage and runs his own multimedia production company, Turhan International. Alfred also is a dedicated mentor. Partnering with Chicago Public Schools, he established a program that uses theater to provide a platform for dialogue and give voice to at-risk inner city youth. He mentors young actors and offers guidance to those seeking a career in the entertainment business. In 2011, Alfred received highest honors from both the Black Theatre Alliance and the African American Arts Alliance for his work in the critically-acclaimed production of "Brothers of the Dust." Alfred currently resides in Chicago.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Souheil Badran, '88, B.A. Computer Studies, '97, M.B.A.

Through exemplary leadership, Souheil Badran continues to excel in shaping the future of global e-commerce security and payments. In 2011, Badran became the senior vice president and general manager of Digital River Incorporated in Minneapolis, where he provides executive leadership for a full range of functions, including strategic planning, sales, product marketing, and public relations. In the short time he has been with the company, Badran has had a fundamental role in expanding the corporation's customer reach, increasing revenue, and developing the company's first customer advisory board.

Prior to working at Digital River, Badran held multiple senior-level positions with e-commerce companies including serving as senior vice president and general manager for eCommerce Solutions at First Data Corporation, a Fortune 250 company, and VeriSign, where he served as vice president and general manager for international operations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Central and Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Badran is a current member of Stritch's Board of Trustees. Originally from Lebanon, Badran holds a bachelor's degree in computer studies and an M.B.A., both from Stritch. He met his wife Lisa, while a student at Stritch, and they have three daughters.

Graduate of the Last Decade 

Joel Rechlitz, ’04, B.S. Business Administration 

Fire lieutenant Joel Rechlitz is nationally recognized for off-duty heroics that saved a boy’s life in 2009. On a summer afternoon, he and his brother, John, did not hesitate to act when they were called to the scene of an accident where an SUV, tipped on its side, was on fire inside and out, and a young boy was trapped inside. Without protective clothing or basic tools, Joel and John had to enter the burning vehicle to cut the safety seat’s restraints and free the child. The brothers saved the boy, who suffered severe burns, and they also endured second- and third-degree burns themselves.

A firefighter with the Milwaukee Fire Department since 1999, Joel earned his associate degree in fire science from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2001 and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stritch in 2004. He became a member of the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Heavy Urban Rescue Team in 2002 and Honor Guard in 2003. Joel taught his first recruit class as a fire instructor in 2007. Aside from work, he enjoys baseball and is the president of the Wisconsin Youth Sports Association, an organization dedicated to the advancement of baseball. At Stritch, Joel was a member of the baseball team and a two-year National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics scholar athlete. Whenever possible, he spends time with his family, including wife Kelly O’Neil and children Jake, 4, and Olivia, 2.

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service 

Rev. Alice Belcher, ’98, M.S. Management 

A former probation/parole agent, criminal trial investigator and domestic abuse survivor, the Rev. Alice Belcher is focused on helping families through several initiatives. In 1998, she founded the Christian Women Perspective Ministries Church of God in Christ, Inc., to address women’s and children’s issues. As an advocate for those affected by domestic abuse, she founded Isaiah’s Coalition for Women and Children, a community outreach program that helps victims of domestic violence through counseling, education and referrals for safe emergency shelter, mental health, and legal advocacy.

Through Isaiah’s Coalition, Rev. Belcher launched the Pink and Purple Empowerment Conference, a one-day conference that brings together law enforcement, judicial representatives, teachers, survivors, clergy, and community leaders to discuss issues surrounding domestic abuse and breast cancer. As an appointee of Bishop Sedgwick Daniels from 1994-98, she volunteered as the dean of Holy Redeemer Bible Institute, supervising the first two graduating classes of this adult theological institute. In 1998, she founded a single-parent group and began the ministries’ first series of radio broadcasts in Milwaukee. Rev. Belcher holds a bachelor’s degree in management and criminal justice operations from Concordia University in Milwaukee and her master’s degree in management from Stritch. She credits her experience at Stritch for empowering her to turn her vision for starting her own nonprofit into a reality. Rev. Belcher has three children – Alexis, 27, David, 22, and Isaiah, 9.

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service 

Lisa Calderone-Stewart, ’02, Ed.D. Educational Leadership 

In 1998, Dr. Lisa Calderone-Stewart founded Tomorrow’s Present, a youth leadership ministry that provides comprehensive leadership development and formation for youth and adults who work with them. After receiving her doctoral degree from Stritch in 2002, Lisa was employed at the House of Peace and developed Tomorrow’s Present to include five core programs: House of Peace Teen Leaders, Pebbles of Peace, Hope is Something You Do, Interfaith Café, and Middle School Youth Forums. As director of the program, Lisa raised all funds to pay for programming and staffing costs by writing grant proposals and articles, teaching classes, directing retreats and parish missions, and running workshops and training programs for both the youth and adults. In the summer of 2009, when she was beginning to form a partnership between Stritch’s Leadership Center and Tomorrow’s Present, Lisa learned she had stage IV lymphoma and bile duct cancer.

While originally told she had just months to live, she has continued to work for two years since her diagnosis, writing articles and grant proposals resulting in more than $10,000 for the program. In her career, she has authored 21 books, eight leadership manuals, and more than 100 articles; given speeches in 50 U.S. and Canadian cities; and received six prestigious awards. In addition to her doctoral degree, Lisa holds two master’s degrees – in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago and in education from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass. An avid swimmer, Lisa has two sons and three grandsons.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement 

Kieran Antill, ’03, B.F.A. Graphic Design 

Recognized as the #1 Art Director worldwide at the 2010 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Kieran Antill works in New York City as a creative director for Leo Burnett, one of the top advertising agencies in the world. Originally from Sydney, Australia, he now divides his time between Sydney, Amsterdam, New York, and London. He has regularly exhibited his fine art in London, New York, and Sydney for more than 10 years. Kieran has created photography projects for Canon, including “Photochains,” “Photo5,” and “1Wall.” Through these projects, he helped form a community of 50,000 Australasian photographers including some of the world’s best professional photographers.

He also co-wrote and directed a documentary series called “Seconds/with,” exploring the fractions of seconds that shape the careers of photographers. His collaborative commercial work for the World Wildlife Fund’s “Vote Earth/Earth Hour” movement was shown in 74 countries and involved one billion people worldwide, making it one of the largest social movements in history. Though he came to Stritch on a basketball scholarship, Kieran eventually gave up a future in the sport to pursue a career in fine art through his graphic design degree, and he has never looked back. “It is quite possible that I never had an original thought until I was introduced to a Nikon FM10 in Tim Abler’s photography class,” he said. “From there, I found out who I was and woke parts of my brain that had never been used.”

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement 

Kelly A. Brown, ’07 ’09, B.S., M.S. Management 

Named to the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2011 “40 Under 40” list which recognizes successful young professionals making a difference in the community, Kelly A. Brown is the co-managing partner and founder of the American Deposit Management Company in Milwaukee. She works with both public and private finance managers in their cash management strategies while managing relationships at more than 150 banks throughout the United States. Previously, Kelly was one of four founders of First Wisconsin Bank and Trust Company in Brookfield, Wis. As senior vice president at First Wisconsin, Brown led the efforts in building what was the fastest growing bank in Wisconsin’s history, which sold at a premium in 2008. Starting out as a personal banker, Kelly climbed the ranks of the banking industry throughout her 20 years in local, regional, and national banks. In addition to being a leader in the financial services industry,

Kelly is an outspoken advocate for the advancement of women in business. She teaches business classes at area colleges, serves on a number of community boards, and has been active in organizations such as Junior Achievement, Stillwaters Cancer Support, the United Performing Arts Fund and TEMPO Envision. Kelly holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management from Stritch and said she lives by Henry Ford’s words, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t… you’re right!” Kelly is a concert violinist, a native of Michigan, married, and mother to Ava, 10, and William, 6.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Stritch 

Sara Bayer, ’05 ’10, B.A. Sociology, Political Science, M.S. Sport Management 

A former Stritch basketball star, Sara Bayer maintains close ties with the University through several volunteer roles. Owner of the Bayer Performance Institute, a personal training and fitness company, Sara is a certified personal trainer and performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now assists Stritch athletic teams in the formation and implementation of their strength and conditioning programs and volunteers as the performance enhancement coach for the women’s basketball team. Remembering lessons she learned from former women’s basketball coach Rich Panella about the importance of being a good person and giving back to her community, Sara considers it her duty to not only give back to the University but also to help others achieve their dreams.

Following Rich’s ALS diagnosis last year, Sara organized “Panella’s Pack” in the Walk to Defeat ALS and recruited hundreds of volunteers to form a team that raised the highest total of any team in the walk -- $27,159. Last September, Bayer Performance Institute ran the “Give It All” fitness boot camp with all proceeds benefiting the Rich and Mira Panella Scholarship Fund. In addition, she volunteers her time calling alumni athletes to encourage donations to the scholarship fund. After losing both parents when she was a teenager, Sara credits Jane and Mark Maley with providing her the love and guidance that has changed her life and made her a better person.

Graduate of the Last Decade 

Catherine Bordeau, B.A. History ’04

Catherine Bordeau has committed her life to social justice issues, using her gifts, connections, and resources to help people. Currently pursuing her Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Catherine has lived on the East Coast since graduating from Stritch and has worked for such organizations as Franciscans International, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, and the World Council of Churches coordinating programs, developing communication materials, and working tirelessly to mobilize others worldwide to support efforts to address issues such as human trafficking, education, health and gender equity, and AIDS.

One cause that is deeply personal for Catherine is the termination of female genital mutilation, and she traveled to Kenya to help support efforts to counter this traditional cultural practice. Her inspiration for her work was a woman and her family who fled to the U.S. so her daughters could be spared from the procedure. Catherine eventually helped them gain asylum. Today, Catherine’s focus centers not only her continuing education, but also on serving as a community minister at Judson Memorial Church and as the interim coordinator of the New York City New Sanctuary Coalition, an interfaith organization that targets immigration reforms on behalf of families facing deportation.

Graduate of the Last Decade

Ellen Vander Heyden, M.B.A. ’01

In 2000, while still working on her M.B.A. at Stritch, Ellen decided that, if she had enough time to go to class, study, work full time, and still enjoy time with friends and family, then she had enough time to volunteer. After completion of her degree, she devoted the time she would have been doing schoolwork to volunteering. Coming from a family of four generations of breast cancer survivors, Ellen got involved with the Young Survival Coalition, an international organization which advocates for research and awareness in early-onset breast cancer. Ellen also got involved with the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition (WBCC). She has been with the WBCC for the last eight years and is currently serving her fourth term as president. As the public face of the Coalition, she speaks and writes articles on behalf of and travels across the state representing the organization.

She also participates in conferences, events, and fundraisers, as well as lobbying for legislation, occasionally testifying before committees in the Senate or Assembly. She also serves on the Public Policy Committee of the Wisconsin Cancer Council and is a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, where she was asked to serve on the national board of directors. She has participated in and helped organize public educational forums, and has promoted a public action campaign to gather personal breast cancer stories from people throughout Wisconsin to effect change at the national level.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Rev. Dr. Thomas Maikowski, M.A. Special Education, ‘74

In May, Rev. Maikowski will celebrate 34 years of priesthood in the Diocese of Gallup, N.M., one of the poorest in the country. For 27 of those years, he also served as the superintendent of schools/director of education. Since 1984, he has served as a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and from 2005-08, he served almost full time while continuing to work part time for the Gallup Diocese. He has received the Air Force achievement medal, two Air Force Commendation medals, and two Meritorious Service Medals. Since December 2008, he is the pastoral administrator of a parish in Page, Ariz., but continues part-time ministries in the Gallup Diocese and the U.S. Air Force. He holds educational and administrative licenses in Arizona and New Mexico and has received recognition at the state and national levels in education.

In 1997, the New Mexico board of education recognized him for his assistance to the department in chairing committees, participating in on-site accreditation visits to schools, and working on projects with the state department to benefit Catholic schools. In 1998, The Catholic Education Association presented him with a national award for significant contributions to American Catholic secondary education. He leads conferences, keynote presentations, and retreats for Catholic school educators across the country. He is also a college instructor through various universities, where he continues to help teachers in remote areas maintain their accreditation.

Graduate of the Last Decade

Terri Rocole, M.E. Ministry ’06

As the senior vice president of Mission Services at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare (WFH), Terri provides leadership for the integration of the mission and values into the strategic direction. Wheaton is a division of Wheaton Franciscan Services, Inc., a Catholic, nonprofit organization with more than 100 sites in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

As a member of the Wheaton senior executive team who oversees the areas of ethics, spiritual care services, and mission integration, she has redesigned and implemented a new model for the delivery of Mission Services across the Wheaton system; developed and implemented qualitative and quantitative measures for mission integration, ethics, and spiritual care; chartered the Wheaton Environmental Sustainability Council and set the team’s strategic goals for 2010. She is also the on the board of directors for the Wheaton-All Saints Volunteers in Partnership. In addition to Wheaton, she has been on the boards of United Way of Racine and the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization and was a member of the College Readiness 21 Task Force for Racine/Kenosha County.

Graduate of the Last Decade

Justina Shaw, B.A. Sociology ’06

Having overcome many obstacles in life, including a childhood marred by her mother’s drug addiction and mental illness, Justina Shaw understands how difficult life can be. During her graduate studies at Eastern University, she saw a need for services for homeless young adults and decided to help. She and Nijah Famous created the non-profit organization OPPORTUNITIES in 2008 to help 18-25 year old homeless individuals in the Philadelphia area achieve their academic and professional goals. OPPORTUNITIES provides stable shelter, life skills training, career counseling, and educational training.

Through mentorship, goal setting, and financial literacy training, OPPORTUNITIES residents are equipped with the skills necessary to become self sufficient adults. During her time at Stritch, Justina was involved in myriad activities on and off campus and received the President’s Student Service Award from the White House for her varied volunteer efforts. In addition to a study abroad experience at London Metropolitan University in England, she became involved in Students in Free Enterprise and helped develop marketing plans for local businesses. She also assisted in the promotion of programs offered by Stritch’s Center for Calling and Engagement and was among the first to participate in its Lilly Vocation Fellows program, which affords students an opportunity to receive financial support for the theological exploration of vocation while completing their degree. 

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to the Community

Sherrie Tussler, B.S. Management, '97

For the past 20 years, Sherrie Tussler has been working towards social justice, including leading advocacy, job training, education, and health care programs serving the poor. Since 1997, she has served as executive director of Hunger Task Force, Inc., where she has organized local, state, and federal administrators to improve access to food for children. She secured large commodity distribution contracts from the state and federal governments in order to augment Hunger Task Force's ability to provide for Milwaukee's hungry, and she moved the organization to a dramatically improved office and warehouse facility. Prior to her work with Hunger Task Force, she served as director of the nonprofit Milwaukee Emergency Shelter, Inc., also known as Hope House.

As director, Sherrie secured a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and successfully completed a $1.7 million capital campaign, including oversight of construction of a new facility. She also oversaw the creation of emergency and transitional housing services, health care, education, job placement, and child care for homeless families. She has also won several awards for her social justice work, including being named one of Milwaukee’s “Forty under Forty” leaders by the Business Journal in 1996, the Dan Glickman Pyramid of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1999, the Charles McNeer Leadership Award from Future Milwaukee in 2000, and the Victory Against Hunger Award from the Congressional Hunger Center in 2001.

Graduate Of the Last Decade 

José Pérez  (B.A. Political Science, ’99) (traditional)

Starting as a community development activist in the early 1990s, José has dedicated his professional and personal life to confronting injustices and helping to create and promote solutions to issues facing the local community through his pursuit of education, leadership training, and collaboration with others. Before assuming his current position as an economic development specialist for the City of Milwaukee in 2006, José served as executive director of Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) and later as a national field representative for the AFL-CIO during the 2004 elections.

The Business Journal named him one of Milwaukee’s “Forty Under 40 Emerging Leaders” in 2008 and Milwaukee Magazine featured him as an up-and-coming leader in the Latino community in 2002. While at Stritch, José received the Multicultural Image Award and the President’s Leadership Award, served as student government president, and founded the United Latino Organization. In addition to his full-time work, he is now pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Graduate Of the Last Decade

Elaine Maly (M.B.A., ’00) (non-traditional)

In seven years as executive director of the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee, Elaine has relied on her more than 25 years of leadership experience working with nonprofits to make significant changes. Under her direction, the organization has become an independent public foundation, increased endowment assets, doubled its grant-making program, increased visibility and resources, and focused on efforts to enrich the diversity of the organization.

Prior to her work with the Women’s Fund, Elaine was the director of social entrepreneurship and the chief development and marketing officer of the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee where she worked on a leadership team that brought the organization from a medium-sized YWCA to the second largest in the country. To recognize her work and volunteer efforts, Elaine was named a “Woman of Influence” by The Business Journal in 2003, called a “visionary” by Strive Media Institute in 2005, and honored by the Milwaukee Post Office for “Putting Her Stamp on Milwaukee” in 2006.

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service

Brother Bede Baldry (B.A. Religious Studies, ’80)

Originally from Peerless, Mont., Brother Bede has dedicated his life to ministering and volunteering throughout the U.S. and in Kenya. After six years in Billings, Mont., working with the Native American Indian Ministry, he moved to Chicago to become a minister at the Brother David Darst Center in 2004, where he currently serves as the Lasallian social justice coordinator for the De La Salle Christian Brothers and Lasallian Ministries in the Midwest District.

The Darst Center provides unique learning opportunities that explore social justice issues through the lens of Christian teachings of peace, justice, and respect for human dignity and the environment. In addition to his degree from Stritch, Brother Bede also holds a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University. In his volunteer work, he has been an advocate for children infected with HIV/AIDS; people with mental challenges; those in hospitals and prisons; immigrants; the homeless; and anyone in need.

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service

Sister Mary Agnessine Veteska (M.S. Special Education, ’68)

In 1920, four-year-old Mary Veteska was dropped off with four of her siblings at St. Joseph Orphanage in Milwaukee, a place that would later define her life’s work. As she grew and later joined the Felician Sisters who ran the orphanage, Sister Agnessine welcomed hundreds of children to St. Joseph’s and into her heart, where she became a mother figure to countless boys and girls in need of love.

Today those same children, now adults, pay tribute to her care and compassion with letters, visits and glowing testimonials. As the orphanage evolved to a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children in 1959 and then to a daycare center in 1968, Sister Agnessine remained a fixture there, eventually becoming administrator of the center while staying closely connected with the children. Today, at age 93, she is retired, living in Chicago, and volunteering in the Rosary Department at the Principalate of the Felician Sisters. Her work has been recognized through several awards and distinctions.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Don Grady, Ph.D. (B.S.M. ’87 M.S.M. ’88)                                                                              

Don Grady has built a distinguished career out of going places many feared to go and doing work many thought couldn’t be done – all of it in service to others and his country. An experienced international law enforcement officer and expert who has served in Iraq, Kosovo, Palestine, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere, Grady returned in 2007 from  a one-year term as the senior advisor to Iraq’s minister of the interior, who is the country’s top law enforcement official. In this role, Grady provided consultation and training to Iraq’s special police forces, immigration and customs officials, and border enforcement personnel, in addition to offering counsel on democratic policing, a philosophy that has helped him change the face of the law enforcement agencies he’s worked with.

In 2001, during the first year of his current role as chief of police and director of emergency management and planning at Northern Illinois University, Grady helped decrease crime on the 22,000-student campus by 60%. Prior to his international police work and after serving in the military, Grady was a deputy sheriff, working on SWAT and underwater search, rescue and recovery teams, eventually working his way up to sergeant. He has also been as chief of police in Bloomer, Wis., Santa Fe, N.M., and at the University of New Mexico.

Recipients by Category:

Michael Hostad '10 2016
Shannon Reed '11 2015
Sarah Marie Berndt '04 2014
Raquel M. Filmanowicz '03  2013
Samantha Erschen '09 '11 2012
Molly D. Shiffler, Ed.D. '04 2012
Joel Rechlitz '04  2011
Catherine Bordeau '04 2010
Ellen Vander Heyden '01 2010
Terri Rocole '01 2010
Justina Shaw '06 2010
Jose Perez '99 2009
Elaine Maly '00 2009
John Kordsmeier '84 2016
Lori Craig '92, '09 2015
Gerald Coon '08, '11            2014
Sister Jane M. Nesmith, SBS, '88 2013
Rev. Gerri Sheets-Howard '06 2012
Winston Sharpe Jr. '11  2012
Rev. Alice Belcher, '98 2011
Lisa Calderone-Stewart, Ed.D. '02 2011
Sherrie Tussler '97  2010
Brother Bede Baldry '80 2009
Sister Agnessine Veteska '68 2009
Anthony Burns '82 2005
Rev. Robert Carney Jr. '90 2004
Rosemarie Voros '48 2003
Ester Johnson '86  2002
Carolyn Parker '93 '01 2002
Betty Womack '01 2002
Jose Avila '92 2000
Dr. Gregory Frost '81 1999
Susan Feider Kelly '77, '80 1998
Joan Staeven '83 1997
Norman Wichman '86 1996
Michele Matter '93 1995
Elizabeth Brunner '83, '89 1994
Alice Laukert '74 1993
Julie Byrnes Enslow '62 1992
Marcelline Weinsheim '57 1991
Margaret Flahive '80, '02 1990
Maureen Sadoff '84 1989
Antoinette Carini '84 1988
Rosemary Hinkfuss '54 1987
Dr. James Langenkamp 2015
Marlene Lauwasser 2014
Dr. Barbara Loberg '89 2013
Sara Bayer '05 '10 2011
Harold James "Jim" Anderson '85 '87 2010
Joseph T. Larscheid Sr. 2005
Mary Cieslak-Duchek 2005
Kurt Strenke '91 2004
Nancy Kendall '87 2003
Father Timothy Coday '92 2000
Sister Julitta Fisch '39 1999
Thomas Bergen '90, '93 1998
Anthony Shields '87 1997
Jean Donovan '82 1996
Felicia Rosland '83 1995
Margaret McManus '53 1994
Alice Laukert '74 1993
Mark Van Nuland '86 1992
Eileen Conklin '50 1991
Richard Balge '84 1990
Richard Gonzalez '73, '75 1989
Dr. Anthea Bojar '69 1988
Sharon Durtka '59 1987
Elaine Dyer, '85 2016
Peter Engel, '83 2016
Dr. Cynthia Foronda '03 2015
Brian King '88 2014
James Lindenberg '93  2014
Pamela A. Larde, Ph.D., '09 2013
James T. Alfred '96 2012
Souheil Badran '88, '97 2012
Kieran Antill '03   2011
Kelly A. Brown '07 '09    2011
Father Dr. Thomas Maikowski '74  2010
Dr. Don Grady '87 '88 2009
Ruth Hovland '97 2005
Nannette Hegerty '85 2004
Dr. Michael Downey '80 2004
Wayne Molstad '79 2003
Martyna Ryder Bellessis '63 2002
Sister Florence Deacon '68 2001
Dr. Patricia Cianciolo '49 2000
Gerard Wolf '86 1999
Ardis Koeller '79, '83 1998
Dorsey Kendrick '84 1997
Brother Stephen Braddock '93, '94 1997
Joy Bliss '90 1996
Carl Burtner '92 1995
Joan Plum '83 1994
Valerie Daniels-Carter '83 1993
Linda Cook '90 1992
Brigid O’Donnell '70 1991
Robert Sullivan '74 1990
Joanne Cubbs '77 1989
Sister Sheila Haskett '55 1988
William Everett '70 1987
Sr. Justine Peter, OSF, '50 2016
Anthea Bojar, '69 2015
Jeanette Mitchell, '01 2014

College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Award

John C. Eastberg '93 2007
Sandra A. McCabe '66 2006

College of Business and Management Alumni Award

Craig Lambrecht '92 2007
Phyllis Schaefer '91, '93 2007
Mildred Leigh-Gold '99 2006

College of Education and Leadership Award

Raejean Kanter '85 2007
Barbara Palmer '70, '76 2006
Tyra Stokes 2006

Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing Alumni Award

Darcie Greuel '98, '06 2007
Lynda Gruenewald-Schmitz '03 2006

Spirit of St. Francis Award

Patricia Josten '00 2007
Brother Patrick McCormack '89 2006
Father James E. Lobacz '86        2005
Dr. Sally Martin Egge '70 2004
Sister Joanne Marie Kliebhan 2003
Sister Jessine Reiss 2002
Dr. Dickson K Smith, Ph D 2002
Dr. Zaiga Kalnins 2001
Dr. Art Wasserman 2001
Rev. Dr. Trinette McCray 2000
Bob Weissenborn 1999
Dr. Daniel Di Domizio 1998
Sister Adele Thibaudeau '67 1997
Dr. Robert Flahive 1996
Sister Lucille Walsh '40 1995
Sister Lucilda Sewald '42 1994
Mary Ann Mosley '87 1993
Sister Camille Kliebhan 1992
Sister Frederick Lochemes 1991
Sister Coletta Dunn '60 1990
Sister Lourdette Van Driel 1989
Sister Ruth Lawler '42 1988
Sister Justine Peter '50 1987