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VOLUME XXVII NUMBER 2 | Spring & Summer 2017








HERESTOTHEBOLD.COM #herestothebold As part of Mount Mary’s “Here’s to the Bold” campaign, we’ve captured Esperanza’s journey from the time she received her diploma to today as she builds her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco.

Innovation and imagination on campus

Rise Up: How we stand up to Milwaukee’s greatest challenges


CREO ‘17 A look at the spring spectacular


Health care management: Where women lead

2 From the President 11 Women’s Leadership 12 Leading Lady 13 MMU Serves 17 Student Spotlight 20 Then & Now 21 Calendar of Events 22 University Development 24 Alumnae Story 25 Campus News 28 Achievements and Accolades 33 Class Notes 35 In Memoriam 36 Reflection



Creativity in science Food science Meet President-elect Dr. Christine Pharr

Interviews with Jim Conlon and Bruce Moon

VIEW: CREO 2017 Food Lab renovation updates Commencement 2017


Sandi Keiser: Reflections on teaching fashion

Emily Nolan: Art therapy and

the healing process

©2017 Mount Mary University Compiled by Mount Mary Office of University Marketing and Communications, Scott Rudie, Editor

The inspirational stories of Esperanza and other extraordinary alumnae are told through personal accounts, videos and larger-than-life imagery that can be seen all over the community. To view a gallery of videos and images, visit

Contributors: Amanda Cibulka, ’17, Eva Ennamorato, Joan Hartin, Corwin Holzman-Crass, Sister Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, Kou Vang, Kathy Van Zeeland, Julie Weber, ’09, Terese Wooster, Office of Alumnae Relations, University Development Mount Mary University is sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

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FROM PRESIDENT Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D., President, Mount Mary University

Reflections upon a legacy As I complete my time at Mount Mary, my heart is filled with gratitude: Gratitude that I have been able to work in a place where my faith and my job are one; gratitude for those who mentored me and worked with me, educating to transform the world.

First and foremost, I’m grateful to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who not only educated me as a child, but have continued to inspire me throughout my life. From Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, who persisted until she could finally found a group of religious women, to Mother Caroline Friess, who established over 200 schools and orphanages in the 1800s, to the founders of Mount Mary, who started a college for women before women had the right to vote, there has been an amazing legacy of bold, creative women of faith, who did whatever was necessary to live out their mission and serve their God. One sister who I’m especially grateful for is Sister Ellen Lorenz, for so many reasons. Perhaps


one of the most significant is that I never would have come to Mount Mary if Sister Ellen had not told me about an opening for the director of the graduate program in education. I was so thrilled to come to Mount Mary as a professor and to have the opportunity to teach teachers how to be more effective in their classrooms. When I arrived, I was at Sister Ellen’s desk every day, asking questions and seeking her advice. When I think back to those days, I must have been a pest, but Sister Ellen never made me feel that way. Instead she was always patient, thoughtful and encouraging. After I became president, I asked Sister Ellen to co-lead the Creative Campus Task Force, which provided the foundational work for infusing creative teaching, thinking and leadership throughout the campus. As a past president, she was forward-thinking and saw the importance of addressing the current need for creativity if we were going to continue to be effective in educating leaders to transform the world.

AS I WIND DOWN MY TIME AS PRESIDENT, I AM EXPERIENCING MANY EMOTIONS. BUT THE ONE THAT I WILL CARRY WITH ME THE REST OF MY LIFE IS GRATITUDE. I also have to express my gratitude for Pat O’Donoghue, the ninth president of Mount Mary, for without her I never would have gone into administration. I wanted to be a teacher ever since third grade. However, Pat saw in me something I didn’t see in myself. One day she called me into her office and asked me if I had ever thought about administration. When I answered no, she said, “Well, I think you’d be really good at it. I’m going to make you a dean.” At least that’s the way I remember the conversation. Because I admired Pat so much, I responded that I would try it and see what would happen. I never imagined how that fateful conversation would lead to me becoming the 11th president.

his yellow legal pad and pencil, he would quickly do math to see if a program made financial sense. I am profoundly grateful for the faculty, administration, and staff with whom I’ve worked for these 19 years. We are a community that supports each other as well as our students. During every visit by our accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a comment is made that the peer evaluator has rarely (or in some cases, never) seen a university that lives out its mission as fully as we do. That’s what I’m most proud of — that we are continuing the work of those bold, creative women of faith, continuing to educate to transform the world. So perhaps it is no surprise to learn that the moments that have given me the most joy during my presidency are the times that I have spent with students and alumnae. I love listening to the stories, hearing the love that they have for the sisters and for Mount Mary, knowing that they are our legacy. As I wind down my time as president, I am experiencing many emotions. But the one that I will carry with me the rest of my life is gratitude. As Dick would say, “It’s been an amazing ride.”

From these two fantastic women, and from so many more, I saw the power of Mount Mary. What they did for me is what we do for students every day inside and outside the classroom. We show them their potential, encourage and support them, help them to develop the creativity within themselves, and launch them into lives of purpose. And then there’s Dick Burke — founder of the Trek Bicycle Corporation, philanthropist, world changer. Dick Burke changed my world and those of so many of our students because I was able to work with him to create the Urban Education Program, the Caroline Scholars Program and the Midtown/Grace Program. Dick was so passionate about educating future leaders, yet he was also very practical. With

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett presents Dr. Schwalbach with an official proclamation naming May 18, 2017, Eileen Schwalbach Day in the city.

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Creative initiatives flourish all over campus

on the work of the interior design students.

Five years ago, President Eileen Schwalbach set Mount Mary’s Creative Campus into motion. The premise that creativity can be taught and learned, with measurable outcomes, was innovative at the time. Today these principles are embedded in the curriculum and integrated into all aspects of learning.

If this pilot program is a success, it will be considered a national prototype that could be replicated in other cities around the country.


Here’s a look at some recent projects that bear our creative hallmark.




How do you bring a millennial spirit to a 150-year-old organization? That’s the challenge for Echelon, the national young adult auxiliary CAFÉ of the Salvation Army.




In the science department, biology labs have been restructured to promote scientific inquiry.


To help students understand the connection between science and creativity, two biology professors are foregoing conventional lab projects, in which students follow directions and get anticipated results, in favor of studentcreated experiments.

When Echelon member Jessica Bell, ’14, helped organize an effort to rebrand the standard Salvation Army donation center CAFÉ concept, she turned to her alma mater. Mount Mary students in graphic design, interior design, and fashion merchandise management collaborated to envision a high-end resale boutique.

These experimental design labs encourage free-ranging thought and provide students with the opportunity to make claims and test hypotheses, even if they fail.

Faculty engage across disciplines

Rethinking biology labs


To prove their point, Holzen and Lynn Diener, Ph.D., chair of the University’s sciences department, have restructured the university’s human physiology course, Bio 212.

Adjunct faculty member Laure Leplae-Arthur’s Advanced Graphic Design I class designed possible brand marks, logos, and taglines for the boutique, which took the name, “Milwaukee Salvage Company.”

They say creativity is better defined as the ability to think beyond established realms or limitations.

Next, Gigi Szeklinski, chair of the interior design program, had her students create and present designs for the boutique itself. Students conducted research and created alternative floor plans to maximize revenue and attraction. Patricia Kuehnl, assistant professor of fashion, challenged her Visual Merchandising students further to develop the store concepts, building


“People associate creativity with art, literature and design; yet every scientist knows that scientists create new knowledge and that the scientific process is highly innovative,” said biology professor Terri Holzen, Ph.D.

An interdisciplinary collaboration among departments — Interior Design, Graphic Design and Fashion Merchandising — gave shape to a prototype for a resale boutique called Milwaukee Salvage Company.

Bio 212 is a foundational course, required for occupational therapy, dietetics, pre-nursing and other science majors. The labs students were expected to participate in were predetermined, like following a recipe. Holzen and Diener called them “cookbook labs.”

Creativity cards have the acronym AEIOC (Agility, Experimentation, Imagination, Open-Mindedness and Navigating Complexity) on one side and a specific attribute for one of these qualities on the other.

This conventional way of conducting labs that produce an anticipated result “gave students a skewed idea of how science really works,” Holzen said.

Expanding national awareness

Changing the paradigm now requires students to formulate a question, create an experiment and test their idea. If students don’t get the results they expect, instructors help them rethink the notion of failure — “you always learn a lot from what doesn’t work,” Holzen said. Diener and Holzen presented their findings last spring at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference and they authored a commentary about their work in the February 2017 issue of NSTA Reports. “It’s important to let others know what Mount Mary is doing with creative campus in the classroom,” Diener said. Stay up to date with Mount Mary’s Creative Campus initiative at

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hampioning change in the face of profound social and economic challenges requires a fortitude of spirit.

Women around the world are awakening to that realization — and to the power they hold within. What better time to highlight the Mount Mary women who make mission happen, every day and in every corner of our community. The Milwaukee metro area is home to both the institution and the majority of the campus community. Most of our students (70 percent) are from the region, and continue to live in Milwaukee after graduation.


Here, we lift up some examples of Mount Mary women who connect their energy, skills and resources to build up the greater good. Through their stories, we celebrate the countless Mount Mary women working to make Milwaukee a better place, applying their gifts in this place we call home.

Only 61% of Milwaukee children will graduate from high school within four years compared to 89% statewide. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Our city faces struggles to get past the emotional trauma of generations. In a series of articles detailing the scope of the problem, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel flatly stated: “Today, the city sets the national extremes of distress.” Trauma has long-term consequences that affect an individual’s — and therefore a community’s — future prospects for education, social relationships, behavioral and physical health.


is the second largest graduate program at Mount Mary.

In the face of such dire need, Lea Denny approaches her work as a clinical counselor with a deep sense of urgency. Although she just earned her master’s degree in December, she is conducting research, teaching, establishing a nonprofit counseling clinic and raising a family within Milwaukee’s Native American (also known as First Nations) community. As part of her research at Mount Mary University, Denny conducted thorough interviews with 115 members of the Native American community in Wisconsin about

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their lives, their health and their history. The resulting data drives her determination to create culturally responsive counseling treatment locally. It has gained international interest along the way. Before coming to Mount Mary, Denny spent 15 years in the mental health field, including Milwaukee Public Schools, and knew that behavioral concerns among Native American youth — chronic absenteeism, suicidal tendencies, human trafficking, homelessness, substance use and sexual assault — were the after-effects of trauma generations in the making. Next month, she will present her research at an international conference in Cape Town, South Africa, with Mount Mary counseling faculty members Carrie King and Tammy Scheidegger.

By zeroing in on a particular cultural group, she is creating a model to help everyone, regardless of their background. While personal and collective stories are unique, she said, the physical pain and emotional suffering caused by trauma are universal. Her nonprofit counseling practice is named the HIR Wellness Center; HIR stands for Healing Intergenerational Roots. “My vision is that together we will heal all of our nations,” she said. “We are an extension of our ancestor’s legacies.”


During her first year of teaching, Amy Ramirez remembers reviewing her school’s standardized test scores, and bursting into tears.


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The scores revealed ninth graders functioning at a firstgrade level. They revealed the plight of a generation on the verge of adulthood, with bleak prospects for fulfillment. “It broke my heart, knowing how difficult it is to get out of poverty and succeed,” said Ramirez, a bilingual science teacher at South Division High School on Milwaukee’s South Side.

A health science chemistry major at Mount Mary, Students in Ramirez worked STEM-related as an analytical majors at Mount Mary chemist in a metals (biology, chemistry and lab but found the math) have increased job “boring.” She 200% over the past 6 years. felt a calling to help students, particularly girls, in Milwaukee. Now in her third year of teaching,

Minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers. National Science Foundation

Students often tell Ramirez she has a knack for understanding — and motivating — them.

Ramirez teaches science to three distinct student groups: Native speakers of English, a bilingual class for Hispanic students and a separate class for non-English speakers, most of whom are refugees. She has been interviewed on the radio and featured on the MPS website during Teacher Appreciation Week. South Division is one of nine high schools in MPS that offer pre-engineering coursework known as Project Lead the Way; South Division also offers STEM coursework designed to ignite interest in science and technology careers. At South Division, she is the only female among the 10 members of the school’s science faculty, and is well aware of her need to lead by example. Her classroom is unabashedly feminine, decorated with pink and purple streamers because “a feminine environment is empowering to girls,” she said. In her spare time she coaches the cheerleading team.

This type of outreach also sends a message to boys, “showing that women are strong and that science is not just for white males.”

“We have to bring them up to succeed,” she said.


Executive leaders such as Cynthia LaConte, ‘84, shape their organizations by stepping into a void in leadership — a void that calls for women to use their influence in service to a greater good.


She takes special care in creating lesson plans for students who are pregnant or caring for children, anything to keep them from dropping out.

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The company’s philanthropic organization, Cynthia’s vision involves a healthier the Dohmen Company Foundation, focuses world and lifting up diverse leaders to on social justice issues through wellness champion the needed changes to our 20% of all opportunities. It supports Milwaukee health care system. She is CEO of bachelor’s degrees organizations such as Meta House, the Dohmen family of companies earned at Mount a place for women recovering from (Dohmen Life Science Services, Mary are in drug addiction, and Sixteenth Street Red Arrow, and Dohmen Company business-related Community Health Centers. fields Foundation), located in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. The foundation has also generously endowed a scholarship at Mount Mary This solutions-driven perspective is as clear for majors that will make a strong impact as the home page of the company website: on the community wellness of tomorrow. “Each (company) is unique, but together, the The Dohmen Health Equity (endowed) Dohmen family of companies is united in Scholarship will be awarded to junior or our vision to create a more efficient, effective senior students majoring in either dietetics and easy-to-use health experience,” it reads. or food science. The recipients will show an entrepreneurial spirit and aspire to share LaConte’s ambitious vision is vigorously their knowledge to provide preventative care rooted in practice, within the company to the underrepresented in our community. and within its home community. La Conte believes positively affecting change in LaConte has made strides by turning Milwaukee happens when all voices are determination into action and says that represented in leadership, and when women of the future must be prepared to resources are put in place that build employ leadership and advocacy and do upon wellness. the same. “I’m very proud of the fact that our Dohmen “I think the greatest challenge for women in team looks like the world around us: 49 the next generation is to be aware that rights percent of management are women, 30 are precious and hard won,” she said. “Yet, percent of management are non-white and history shows us how quickly they can be lost 50 percent of our board are women.” if we don’t remain vigilant and involved in shaping decisions. A fall 2016 report from MilwaukeeWomeninc, which measures gender diversity at Wisconsin’s 50 largest public companies, shows women hold only 16.9% of board seats.

“It might be time to put down the phones and the Facebook, and instead, use that time to push for full participation in a society that sorely needs our influence.”

The women profiled here shine a spotlight on a much larger story — that Mount Mary alumnae are using their talents, skills and deep belief in the power of social justice to transform this community. Tell us how you are working to make Milwaukee a better place:


Picture this LEADERSHIP IN ACTION INSPIRES AND CHALLENGES WOMEN TO GROW “We believe that women can lead from any station they are at in their lives. But to truly and effectively learn how to lead, one must cultivate an understanding and exploring of self and community.” – Darcie Maurer, program coordinator, Women’s Leadership Institute

VOICES OF LEADERSHIP 400 students, business professionals and community members filled the Alumnae Dining Room on March 28 to hear Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund, describe her journey of courageous leadership.

STUDIO SERIES During a presentation to students, local business leader Mary Dowell recounted her own career path and shared the advice from other corporate leaders whom she interviewed for her book, “Playing Through the Fence.”

SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE Some 20 students from colleges throughout the state will stay on campus June 20-23, 2017, challenging themselves and encouraging one another to overcome obstacles and find the confident leader within.

GIRL SCOUT EXPLORERS NIGHT Over 150 Girl Scouts from Southeastern Wisconsin visited campus for an evening in winter. They participated in programming led by Mount Mary faculty, earned badges and enjoyed pizza.

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LEADING LADY Sandi Keiser Mount Mary’s pioneering fashion program had been in existence for just over a decade when Sandi Keiser joined the ambitious department. It was exhilarating to be part of the first four-year fashion design program in the nation, she said, and right from the beginning she knew she wanted to make her mark. “I remember one day lamenting to Elaine Zarse, with whom I shared an office, ‘You and Sister Aloyse (Hessburg) have so many specialties, it’s hard to know where I can make my contribution,’” she said. “It was shortly thereafter that I recognized an opportunity to develop a stronger focus on business challenges and strategies that impact the fashion world. That became an important focus of my tenure.”

A former middle school teacher of consumer science, Keiser set about creating coursework for Mount Mary that tackled industry topics such as social responsibility, sourcing and sweatshops, quality assurance and sustainability — topics that remain as keenly relevant as they were 40 years ago. Kesier would become not only the institutional authority on merchandise management topics, but also a leading voice within the industry. The textbook she has written, “Beyond Design,” is 624 pages and rich with color photography and case studies. She is finalizing a new fourth edition, scheduled for fall. Additionally, she edited “The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Fashion” and has been active in professional associations such as the International Textile and Apparel Association and Fashion Group International.

“If you were willing to try something, you were MUCH TO THE FASHION DEPARTMENT, AND given the opportunity to do IT WILL FOREVER BE CHANGED BY HER.” it,” she said of her wideranging accomplishments HAYLEY HOVE, ’17, FASHION DEPARTMENT’S STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM 2015 PARTICIPANT. at Mount Mary, which include leading the department for 25 years and developing a study abroad program, exclusively for fashion students, with the Paris American Academy.


As Keiser retires in spring 2017, she looks forward to expanding her creative pursuits. She will teach Japanese shibori dyeing this summer at the Paris American Academy and continue her work when she returns at SK Fiberworks, her new studio in Bay View. She hopes to find time to write a new book that details the history of fashion, manufacturing and retail in Wisconsin.

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“But I want to breathe a little bit before I start,” she said. Learn more about Sandi’s enduring relationship with her onetime student, New York designer Donna Ricco, at

Smith holds talking circles to introduce youth to Native American traditions and break down stereotypes associated with Native Americans.

Service learning where Milwaukee needs it most



andrea Smith, justice major, knew she wanted to help educate people about crimes and legislation concerning violence against indigenous women. One in five indigenous women has experienced or will experience some sort of sexual violence within her lifetime, and the jurisdiction among the states, tribes and federal government makes getting justice for victims and survivors complex. Smith created Remember Our Sisters Events (ROSE) to share information through art and discussion around issues affecting Native Americans. Smith has also educated students about the stereotypes surrounding Native Americans at two Milwaukee Public High Schools.

HONOR ROLL Mount Mary has again been named to the most recent President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, a federally recognized honor highlighting effective practices that strengthen campus and community partnerships.

This academic year, 133 students participated in the Leadership for Social Justice seminar, participating in Design Thinking projects for the following community organizations: Public Allies, Arts @ Large, Agape Community Center, Independence First, Kathy’s House, Boys and Girls Clubs, Alice’s Garden and Lutheran Social Services Refugee Resettlement.

A sense of active social justice like Smith’s is nurtured at Mount Mary University through service learning. Service learning ties directly to academic outcomes. This teaching and learning approach means that students use their academic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs. “The goal of service learning at Mount Mary is to connect urban community service with in-class learning objectives, so that both the organization and our students benefit from a meaningful and productive experience,” said Amanda Ritchey, director of service learning.

Students complete 114,440 hours of community service annually, according to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

In addition to matching organizations to individual class experiences, Ritchey pairs students to volunteer opportunities which they initiate. “Students recognize a need at their service sites, and they leave informed about the impact of their work,” said Ritchey.

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2 The ballroom at Turner Hall was transformed into a runway for CREO ’17, the University’s signature fashion event.


Fashion scholarships for design and fashion merchandising students help bring the fashion show to life.


Scholarships in graphic design, art, art therapy and music support student creativity.


$72,000 in scholarships are awarded annually to students in the School of Arts and Design.

While the event showcases the creative visions of fashion design students, other students in the fashion merchandising program devote an entire semester to planning every detail of the show. Highlights included a multimedia tribute to Sandi Keiser, longtime chair of the department, and a guest appearance by New York designer Donna Ricco, ’84.


80 12 garments on the runway

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industry awards for fashion design art and graphic design students exhibiting at CREO on Campus

78% arts and design students with community internships

3 1. This collection by junior Sara Christensen won the Harley-Davidson Fashion Forward Award. 2. Angela Vang, ‘17, won the Sandi Keiser Surface Design Award, sponsored by Florida Perry Smith, for her collection. 3. Its full skirt wired with sparkling lights, this dress by Jessika Jones,’17, was the grand finale of CREO 2017. Jessika’s collection, inspired by Holiday Barbie, won The Bon-Ton Inc. Best of Show Award. 4. The “Everyday People” collection by Ana Mercado, ‘17, was designed with inclusivity in mind. It won the Sewing with Nancy Outstanding Use of Fabric Award.

For a full list of award winners and more CREO news, visit

BUILDING A BUZZ Social media reached more than 13,000, using live stories on Instagram (@mountmaryuniversity) and SnapChat (mountmaryu).

Follow us!

Top pic post

Designers, models and attendees shared over 112 photos on social media using #mountmarycreo.

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Art is everywhere during CREO on Campus, a two-week display featuring the final senior projects of 24 students in four departments: Art Therapy, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Studio Art.


1. Sara Terrell, who received her post-baccalaureate degree in art education, created this large piece in printmaking class. 2. Interior design senior Leah Sommers, ‘17, shows her display board for a rehabilitation center she has envisioned for younger individuals recovering from stroke. 3. Tricia Hohnl, ‘17, right, describes her art therapy capstone work to attendees during the CREO on Campus reception event on April 27. 4. Graphic design senior Keanna Triblett, ‘17, explains the inspiration behind her work on display.



hen Erica Marion was 6 years old, she told her parents she wanted to be a doctor. Now completing her junior year at Mount Mary with a major in biology, her options have expanded beyond medical school. As Erica considers her options — physician assistant programs or a master’s degree in public health — she finds herself keenly interested in studying global and environmental health issues that affect her hometown of Milwaukee and other parts of the world.



This interest in connecting the health problems of different countries and cultures helped Marion earn a spot to study in China this summer. For the third year in a row, a Mount Mary student has been chosen to participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) China Study Abroad Program. The program provides emerging leaders like Marion an opportunity to study abroad for two weeks in Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Her application essay focused on the similarities between Chinese and African-American cultures. “Both have suffered by not having health care widely provided to all populations,” she explained. “There are people in both Milwaukee and regions of China who sit and wait long hours in clinics not getting the care they need.”

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Nan Metzger, director of international studies at Mount Mary, said the University places a high priority on facilitating study abroad opportunities, particularly for first-generation college students who might never have considered this type of experience. In addition to the China program Marion

will attend, a significant number of Mount Mary students have received the federally funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which has so far helped fund the studies of 16 Mount Mary students. Marion’s work this summer won’t stop when she returns from China. She also landed an internship with the associate director of the Milwaukee Health Department, coordinating continuing education classes for clinicians. When asked where she imagines herself five years from now, Marion says she knows Mount Mary has molded her into a woman who will make a difference. “I want to help underrepresented communities be healthier,” she said. “I want to serve people for the rest of my life, and make sure my service has purpose.” Teresa Wooster is a graduate student in Mount Mary’s English Department.

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Three years ago, a health care needs task force was formed at Mount Mary to address the immense challenges facing the health care industry.




ealth care is complex and ever-changing. Constant adjustments in federal policy, advances in technology, changes in consumer expectations and the influx of baby boomers entering into the care system are only a few of the issues leaders in this field are facing.

“We are recognizing that the health care delivery system we spent the past 150 years building was absolutely the system we needed when people were experiencing acute injuries or dealing with infectious diseases, but it is not the health care delivery system that we need now,” said Dr. Veronica Gunn, vice president of population health management at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, a practicing pediatrician and a Mount Mary trustee.


Through key program additions in recent years, Mount Mary is cultivating a distinct and highly sought-after cadre of female health care leaders to offer new guidance and perspective for the industry. “Many of the entry-level positions coming into health care are filled by women, so we are looking at a workforce that is majority female,” said Kristen Roche, Ph.D., director of Mount Mary’s MBA program, which offers a unique concentration in health systems leadership. “Women are uniquely positioned for leadership roles in the health care field.”


Roche and other faculty worked closely with trustees to get feedback on the developement of the MBA program and had an industry expert, John Zorbini, assistant professor and former chief of human resources at Aurora Healthcare, help guide the development of the curriculum. Seven new courses were created for the MBA program, many of which are taught by industry professionals.


The RN to BSN program supports an initiative set forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calling for 80 percent of the workforce to hold bachelor’s degrees by 2020, but it also incorporates leadership coursework into a BSN curriculum.


is hoped that these programs will serve to empower women within the healthcare industry. “We need more women — more diverse perspectives,” Gunn said. “Any science will tell you — when you have diverse perspectives, you have better opportunities for innovative outcomes and products. Our leadership needs to reflect that.” Freelance writer Julie Weber, ‘09, is owner and founder of Resonate Creative Content LLC.

“When you talk about leadership in nursing, you immediately think about compassion and caring, but the first thing that jumped to my mind is that you have to have command and control,” said Dessie Levy, Ph.D., chief nurse administrator for the RN to BSN completion program.


Although both the RN to BSN and MBA programs are open to men, it

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CALENDAR EVENTS Mark your calendar for Sept. 10 to attend the 49th anniversary of the Starving Artists’ Show.

JUNE 2017


The shoulder pads in the undated photo at left might reveal clues to the year it was taken, but the scientific equipment in the photo is timeless. This type of equipment has been around for over a hundred years. “Anybody in the chemistry world has used titration pipettes; they’re just as relevant today,” said food science faculty member Anne Vravick. Vravick said they are most commonly used in basic and organic chemistry experimentation. She also utilizes these instruments in the University’s new food science program. In one experiment, students apply the titration method to determine the amount of fatty acids extracted from a sample of pulverized goldfish crackers and compare it to the fat content listed on the label. In the recent photo, the titration pipettes appear in the foreground while Vravick (above) and a student use a high-performance liquid chromatography device, a sophisticated machine used by food scientists to isolate and identify specific molecules in a substance. Food science is a chemistry-based field and the University’s latest program offering. Read more about the new program on page 27. Do you have a particularly memorable science lab experiment to share? Visit and add your comment at the bottom of this story.



Fashion Boot Camp Grades 7-12

JULY 2017


Private College Week Contact Admissions: (414) 930-3024



Starving Artists’ Show (Sponsored by the Alumnae Association) 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. West Lawn of Mount Mary

Wisconsin Education Fair 9-11 a.m. Bloechl Center


For all of Mount Mary’s upcoming events visit

Save the



Writers on Writing: R.M. Kinger and Mary Troy 6:30 p.m. Contact English Department (414) 930-3359


Alumnae Weekend and Reunion Tosa Homecoming Celebration See information on back page, and for full details, visit

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PASTABASH Dinner and Britins Concert

Homecoming Saturday

Farewell Breakfast



Writers on Writing: Literary Agents 6:30 p.m. Contact English Department (414) 930-3359

SUN., SEPT. 10, 2017 | 10 A.M. – 5 P.M. | $10 ENTRANCE

Your admission helps to support student scholarships. Sponsored by Mount Mary University Alumnae Association

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Development officers connect and serve The four individuals at Mount Mary University who coordinate donations are the heart of the University’s fundraising efforts because they connect donors’ passions to opportunities to advance the University and its students.

Anna Franklin GIFT OFFICER

On a day-to-day basis, Anna Franklin interacts with alumnae, the Board of Trustees and faculty and staff — both current and retired. And she views the opportunity to connect with individuals who place Mount Mary as their common passion as a great privilege. She was drawn to Mount Mary because of how her personal beliefs align with the mission, for she is deeply connected to how Christian principles are active in social justice and leadership opportunities for college women. “I love meeting new people and learning about their life journey, to first and foremost learn about how Mount Mary has transformed their lives, and secondly learn how those transformational experiences play a role in their philanthropic giving.” Anna earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She and her husband recently purchased their first home and are expecting their first child in summer.

Anne Kahl, MBA ’12

DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND FOUNDATION RELATIONS Building relationships with corporations and foundations are as personalized as one-on-one relationships with donors. Anne Kahl helps build unique relationships between community and corporate organizations and the University. “Visiting a business and talking to its leaders enables me to learn the company’s history, challenges, successes and goals. Then we can determine how MMU might support those goals.” Corporate sponsors and foundations make experiences possible for students that span the gamut — from professional development with counseling staff working with horse therapy, underwriting the student-led CREO fashion show and supporting low-income and diverse students in STEM careers. Anne completed her undergraduate education at Xavier University in Cincinnati and has her MBA from Mount Mary University. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, biking and watching her family play hockey.

A Mount Mary alumna and longtime supporter of the University, Sister Marilyn Kesler coordinates planned giving for donors. Sister Marilyn found her purpose early in life from her parents who helped her see how education could empower a better world.



Sister Marilyn’s academic experience ranges from secondary education to curriculum, administration and human development. She has also served as a faculty member at Mount Mary University and the provincial leader of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. “There are no words to cover the awe and wonder of hearing the stories from others who want to include Mount Mary in their estate plans. With those who join us through the planned giving, we walk together to make this world a better place.”


Susan Nieberle GIFT OFFICER

“This is a place where a woman can succeed,” said Sue Nieberle, who has served Mount Mary alumnae since 2008 in two roles, first as director of alumnae relations and most recently as a gift officer. Helping donors feel the joy of philanthropy is her vocation. “If I have done my job right, the day of their gift should be filled with great happiness and joy,” said Sue. One of her favorite moments of meeting with alumnae and donors of the University is to share the support of Mount Mary, such as the fact that 48 percent of the student body are first-generation college students, and 80 percent of them will graduate in their declared degree, as compared to 20 percent of female freshmen at other universities. Sue lives in New Berlin, WI, with her husband of 25 years, and together they have four children, ages 14-23. She earned her B.A. in Journalism from University of Wisconsin- Madison. In her free time, she enjoys baking and cooking for her family.

Learn how to connect your passions to giving at Mount Mary. Call (414) 930-3034 or visit


Building Mount Mary’s endowment is critical as the cost of higher education continues to increase and government financial aid decreases. Endowments provide a source of income in perpetuity and can be unrestricted or focused depending on the interest and passion of the donor. Thanks to decades of generous alumnae and friends, Mount Mary University has more than 100 existing endowed scholarship and department funds, which donors can add to at any time that do not require a minimum gift level. Endowments have grown by $820,000 this year, through the additional support of existing funds and the establishment of five new endowed funds which support: • Undergraduate scholarships in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) • Faculty development enrichment • Undergraduate scholarships in social work • Undergraduate scholarships in food science or dietetics • Undergraduate scholarships in education



This year’s influx of endowment contributions to date translates into a 5.1 percent growth in endowments which represents over 62.8 percent growth since 2012. As fiscal year 2017 reaches its conclusion on June 30, two facts are clear: Mount Mary’s donor base is extremely generous, and supporters of Mount Mary continue to find innovative ways to make their dollars go further. Although the final numbers are not yet in for the year, $3 million has already been donated within the first three quarters of the year. That’s a significant sum, as it is already exceeds the total raised in 2016. If you would like to support the University or discuss innovative ways to help make your dollars go further, contact University Development.

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Beth Jacobs Heikkila, ’79, has often remarked to her husband, Kurt, that her Mount Mary education was central to her self-actualization. When Kurt accompanied her back to campus several years ago for an alumnae reunion, he quickly came to realize why. “Now I understand a lot of why you are the person you are,” he told her on the drive back to their Minnesota home. Her adaptability, her natural curiosity, her interest in the big picture and making connections — that philosophy was a palpable part of the Mount Mary atmosphere as he experienced it for the first time. After enrolling, Beth found herself both challenged and excited by the holistic vision for education that the faculty and staff offered, and she decided to triple major in chemistry, math and German. Her father, a seasoned veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department with a skeptical view of higher education, was somewhat cynical about the choices of his only daughter.


“My parents loved me, but they didn’t get me,” she said. “That can be tough for someone, feeling insecure about what I could do. I had to figure it out for myself. The people at Mount Mary already believed in me before I even got started.” Beth moved to Minnesota after graduation to study at the University of Minnesota before becoming a teaching assistant in organic chemistry. She then became an actuary and later a human resources director and chief financial officer. All the while she worked side by side with her husband, also a chemist, whom she described as a “serial entrepreneur.” Together, the two built several successful businesses. Their last company — a plastics and alternative materials company — was recently sold to Anderson Windows. Now retired with three grown children, Beth finds herself continuing to live out a philosophy that first found focus in her freshman Search for Meaning course in the fall of 1975:





“I remember the class considering the question, ‘Is it okay to be a ‘contented cow’ or to strive to make things better?’ At 60 years old, there are still things I want to learn and want to do. The liberal arts education is more important to the development of the person. Life throws you lots of stuff that you don’t anticipate. You need to be prepared.”


Deidre Carr graduated two years ago, but her commitment to make the most of her education is ongoing. She is among the advocates for WINGS, a new initiative of the Alumnae Association, designed to connect alumnae and students. WINGS (Women Igniting a New Generation of Students) supports with professionally based affinity groups that meet for development and professional advancement within their field. WINGS has three objectives: professional networking, student recruitment and student retention. A nontraditional student, Carr earned her degree in business/ professional communication through accelerated classes. Her schedule didn’t afford time to enjoy the typical student networking and camaraderie, so her motivation is twofold: to network with fellow professionals, and to support current students who balance families, work and college. “This is a way to help everybody be successful,” she said. There are four affinity groups now forming: • Health care • Interior design • Entrepreneurs and alumnae-owned businesses • Mount Mary employees “This type of group gives colleagues an opportunity to make connections among like-minded professionals who share Mount Mary as a common foundation,” said Drea Miller, director of alumnae relations. Carr is a digital publisher at the Medical College of Wisconsin and she organized the WINGS health care affinity group with Dawn Lyons, ’10, who also works at the Medical College. A total of 15 health care alumnae from every major health care network belong to the group.

Deidre Carr, ‘15, has been instrumental in organizing a WINGS affinity group for fellow alums working in the field of health care.

In early June, WINGS groups will accompany current and prospective students to a theater screening of the movie “Wonder Woman.” Other initiatives include: • International student outreach. • Call-in nights, where alums can assist the admissions department in recruiting prospective students who are sisters, daughters and grandchildren of fellow alums. • A power lunch webinar series for alums focused on personal and professional development. • Underwriting a resource book on soft skills for current students. • Mentorship opportunities for single mothers and nontraditional, accelerated and transfer students. These alums are role models for students, enabling them to see what a long-term relationship with their alma mater looks like after they have graduated. “These WINGS alum volunteers are champions for the University,” said Miller. If you would like to learn more about joining or organizing a WINGS affinity group in your profession, email or call Miller at (414) 930-3025.

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Move over, celebrity chefs — the new food celebs are FOOD SCIENTISTS. When those words flashed across the screen at a recent food and beverage career discovery day for high schoolers, youth in the audience gained perhaps their first exposure to this growing profession.



As word spreads about the importance of food science within the food industry, Mount Mary is creating a talent pipeline for the region.

REDESIGNED FOOD LAB PUTS NEW TECHNOLOGY ON THE PLATE The physical transformation of the food laboratory on the third floor of Notre Dame Hall will be striking, with sleek granite countertops, gas ranges and ultra-modern equipment. Less visible — yet more impactful — are the design and technology upgrades that transform this environment into a creative and dynamic space for experimentation and learning.

prepare to serve their clients and patients in new and innovative ways.”

Here are some features of the renovation. A demonstration area for Notre Dame Hall - Third Floor - Food Lab The $1 million upgrade taking place this summer isWellness the result of presentations that can be recorded Initiative collaboration among the dietetics, food science and occupational therapy or viewed on large screens. departments, said Cheryl Bailey, Ph.D., dean of the School of Natural and Six tech-equipped workstations Health Sciences. for social media and electronic laboratory reports with data analysis, “This new lab will provide a space to learn fundamental and advanced pictures and videos. skills for their professions,” Bailey said. “This is where students will A “sensory lab” for tastings and food research in which participants can sample food in a neutral environment unaffected by sounds, smells and appearance. The renovation will be completed in fall; additional upgrades are also in the works. A significant portion of this renovation is possible by generous individuals and organizations. Additional funding continues to be raised through the support and in-kind donations by industry partners. Contact Anne Kahl at (414) 930-3248 for more information. Architectural renderings courtesy of Kahler Slater Experience Design


Launched this spring, the food science program was designed with the support of local food manufacturers such as Kerry Group, Campbell Soup Company, Accelerated Analytical Labs, Palermo’s Pizza and Miller Brewing Company, all of whom serve on an advisory committee. The program applies chemistry, math, microbiology, biology and applied science to the production, processing, preservation, evaluation and distribution of food. While students will take advantage of the new food laboratory pictured on the facing pages, their classes and research will largely take place in the chemistry labs of Gerhardinger Hall. The chemistry labs provide food science students equipment such as a high-performance liquid chromatography device, gas chromatography instruments and a mass spectrometer, which can pinpoint and analyze properties such as pesticides in fruit, aroma profiles in wine and caffeine levels in coffee.

View news coverage of the food science program at

Dr. Christine Pharr NAMED MOUNT MARY’S 12TH PRESIDENT Dr. Christine Pharr, a higher education administrator with more than 20 years of experience, will become the 12th president in July. Pharr was officially welcomed during an announcement event Feb. 23, at which time she expressed her enthusiasm for leading the University into the next chapter of its history. “There is a real joy in telling the story of an institution like Mount Mary that exists to meet the needs of those most in need of an education — an institution that lifts up bold women as the next generation of citizens, workers and leaders,” she said. For the last year and a half, Pharr has served as vice president for alumnae and donor relations at the College of St. Mary in Omaha, Neb.

Mary University and the charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame,” said Marie O’Brien, chair of the board of trustees. “Her leadership experience in both academic affairs and alumnae and donor relations, coupled with her ability to articulate a bold yet achievable future, provide Mount Mary with the unique skill set necessary to lead the institution into our next phase of excellence.” Pharr and her husband, Steve, are thrilled to be joining the Mount Mary community. “I’m truly honored that Mount Mary University and the School Sisters of Notre Dame have put their trust in my ability to lead Mount Mary into the future,” Pharr said. “It is clear that the charism of the School Sisters resonates throughout the campus.”

Prior to that, she served as vice president for academic affairs at the College of St. Mary, and as academic dean and professor of chemistry at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.

A South Dakota native, Pharr holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D., a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of South Dakota, and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Idaho.

“Dr. Pharr is an educator with a strong connection to the mission of Mount

To learn more about Dr. Pharr, visit

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This section highlights recent noteworthy accomplishments and awards of the Mount Mary University faculty, staff and students.

FACULTY AND STAFF Jill Meyer, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Angela Sarni, Associate Director of Financial Aid, and Rebecca Surges, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, founded a

new branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at Mount Mary in 2016. Innovation recognition: In October, the Counseling Department received the Innovative Counselor Education Program Award from the 13-state North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NCACES). This award honors an outstanding, innovative, and/or unique counseling or counselor education program. The counseling department was recognized for its work in trauma-sensitive care, the accessibility of student financial aid and faculty reputation. In March,

RETIRING PROFESSOR LEAVES RICH CREATIVE LEGACY For Bruce Moon, Ph.D., his 16 years at Mount Mary have been marked by milestones including numerous presentations and published books, in addition to a pioneering spirit that led to the creation of the Doctorate in Art Therapy Program — the first of its kind in the United States. All the while, he has worked hard to inspire students while making music and creating art. Read more about Moon’s reflections on his time at Mount Mary at


Barbara Armstrong, Dean, Arts and Design, and Sarah Eichhorn, Co-Chair, Fashion, shared

their knowledge and insight on the history of women’s fashion with the west suburban-Milwaukee branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in a presentation titled “Experiencing Women’s History Through Fashion.”

Stephanie Beisbier, Occupational Therapy,

Faculty member Mary Ellen Kohn-Buday,

A paper by Jim Conlon, Philosophy, “Cornel West’s Pragmatic Understanding of America,” was published in the January 2017 Journal of Black Studies (volume 48, 1, pp. 26-42).

Dessie Levy, Chief Nursing Administrator, completed her presidential

is currently serving as a reviewer for the Journal of Child and Family Studies, for which she has reviewed previous articles in the past year. She is also reviewing chapters for the FA Davis Publishing Company.

Mary Beth Duffey, English, presented two

workshops on mindfulness practice at St. John’s On The Lake retirement facility in January and February 2017.

Brittany Hartl, Undergraduate Admissions Counselor, will present a workshop discussing the Youth Options program for high school students at the 2017 Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) conference in May.

Deb Heermans, Art, her Art

Education Methods students and Samantha Loeck (Dalager), ’14, worked with 7th- and 8thgrade students at Capitol West Academy to create a four-part art lesson that celebrates community. The resulting interactive mural will be on display in the school office.

Kari Inda, Chair, Occupational Therapy, gave a

presentation, “Constructing Exam Items to Enhance Certification Exam Performance,” in October at the Academic Leadership Council of the American Occupational Therapy Association in San Diego, CA.

Counseling faculty Carrie King and Tammy Scheidegger, and alumna Lea Denny, ’16, will

present at the “Pathways to Resilience IV: Global South Perspectives” conference in Capetown, South Africa in June. The presentation, “Trauma-Sensitive School Pilot Study Within an Urban School Setting,” covers findings from a research program headed by King and Scheidegger at Northwest Catholic School in Milwaukee.

World Languages, and student Tracy Salas, International Studies & Spanish, served as judges at the annual “Concurso Oral” Spanish pronunciation contest sponsored by the Wisconsin chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese in March.

term for the Association of Nurse Educators of Wisconsin (ANEW), an organization of deans of nursing from Wisconsin’s technical colleges and universities. Levy was the first African American president of the organization. Additionally, in December, she presented on servant leadership from the perspective of women in higher education to doctoral students at Cardinal Stritch University.

Nan Metzger, Director of International Studies, served

in March as a review panelist on the Houston East Asia Panel for the 2017-18 Boren Scholarship Review Panel. The David L. Boren Scholarship is a federally-funded scholarship intended to promote study abroad in areas critical to national security. In October, she chaired and presented as part of a panel at the NAFSA Region V Conference held in Milwaukee on the topic, “Return to Sender: When and How to Send Study Abroad Students Home (Early).”



For a full interview with Conlon, visit

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Angela Sarni, Associate Director of Financial Aid, received special recognition

Bruce Moon, Art Therapy,

published two books this semester: “Introduction to Art Therapy: Faith in the Product” (3rd ed.) in December and “Art-Based Group Therapy: Theory and Practice” (2nd ed.) in September.

Emily Nolan, Art Therapy,

was recently interviewed on WUWM’s Lake Effect program to discuss the role art therapy plays in the healing process.

from the Wisconsin Association of Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA), a nonprofit that provides support to agencies involved in administration of financial aid programs in Wisconsin’s postsecondary education. Her peers recommended her for the award, with the note, “To acknowledge her tireless and dedicated service to the student financial aid profession.” The award was presented to her by Dawn Scott, the director of financial aid at Carroll University. Last semester, Eileen Schwalbach, President, joined more than 120 leaders of Catholic higher learning institutions in signing a statement of solidarity with undocumented students, published by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU).

Listen to her interview at

Isabel Maria Piana, Education, Director of Archdiocesan Teacher Resource Center, is

serving a second term as president of Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. Delta Chapter awarded her a grant for $150, of which $75 will go to the Aspiring Educators Association of MMU, for their project to provide books to Santa Barbara School in Guam. The other $75 will go to the Teacher Resource Center (TRC).

Sister Joanne Poehlman, SSND, Sociology,

received the Dick Ringler Peace Educator award from the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at its conference in March.

Rachel Sonnentag, former admissions counselor and Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Mount Mary,

was profiled in February 2017 by the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, highlighting her career and community involvement. She works as a senior associate at O’Connor Connective. She is on the St. Norbert College Alumni Board. She is also on the board for Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary and volunteers for the marketing committee of the Greater Green Bay Boys and Girls Club.

Scott Rudie and Kathy Van Zeeland, University Marketing and Communications, served as judge and host-judge coordinator, respectively, for the CASE 2017 Circle of Excellence Awards in spring, judging feature-writing entries from English-speaking universities around the world.

STUDENT AWARDS Our annual Founders Day awards connect current students to pioneering women of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The 2017 winners are:

Psychology student Alicia Oliver and Mary Lonergan-Cullum, assistant professor of psychology, investigated the effectiveness of distraction to reduce pain. For their research, they conducted experiments by inducing acute pain using the cold pressor test (having participants submerge their hands in ice-cold water). This research confirmed the benefits of music on pain management and indicated limited benefit of visual distraction to increase pain tolerance. Last month, they presented their research at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago.

S. Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, SSND, Theology, was one of 15 scholars invited by the Seattle University Center for Religious Wisdom’s selection committee to participate in a symposium on homelessness at Seattle University in April. Additionally, she will contribute an article to an edited volume on homelessness as part of this project.

Wendy Weaver, Dean for Academic Affairs,

was elected vice president of the Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership. Karen Friedlen, vice president for academic and student affairs, had formerly served in that capacity, and Eileen Schwalbach is a presidential sponsor.

• Organization of the Year Award: Dance Association

Ali Bubloni, Education, and Lucy Vue, Education, attended the Wisconsin Council Education Association’s Professional Issues Conference in March, a three-day event in Madison, Wis. Both belong to the Aspiring Educators Association of Mount Mary University.

In fall 2016, Corwin Holzman, English, interned for Getting Stamped travel bloggers Hannah and Adam Lukaszewicz. His posts on the Getting Stamped blog include one titled, “77 Great Things to Do in Milwaukee.” He now runs his own blog, Kata Nerd.

Nicole Jenks May, English, wrote a profile of David A. Adler,

•A  ll Star Award: Ana Andrade, SALSA and Mount Mary Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee

• Program of the Year Award: PAC’s Disney Week


Scholarship to support her study abroad this spring at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is one of only 15 Wisconsin resident recipients for the spring 2017 term.

•M  ost Spirited Member Award: Danielle Burdick, Mount Mary Philosophical Association


In the wake of last summer’s protests at Sherman Park, Lynne Woehrle, Sociology, created a “Sherman Park Syllabus,” which she made available for local professors and teachers to use with their students as a discussion guide. She was interviewed on WUWM public radio on this topic.

Adrianna Coronado, International Studies/Spanish & History, was awarded a federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman

Student Engagement presents end-of-year awards to exemplary student organizations:

• Student Organization Service: SAAC’s Special Olympic Unified Ball

Gwendolyn Zubke

Can distractions make the pain go away?

on the Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) planning board for the 2016 Milwaukee National College Fair and the 2017 WACAC Conference in Appleton, Wis.


Claudia Yageira Evangelista Calvario


Rebecca Surges, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, served

YIKES, that’s cold!

(LEFT) Ali Bubloni, (RIGHT) Lucy Vue attended the Wisconsin Council Education Association Conference in March.

children’s author and winner of the 2017 Regina Medal, in the December 2016 issue of Catholic Library World and moderated Adler’s Q & A session at the National Catholic Education Association conference in St. Louis in April. She received her B.A. in English in 1998 and her M.A. in Education in 2002 from Mount Mary, and she is currently earning her M.A. in English at Mount Mary.

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Välkommen till Skandinavien!

CLASS NOTES Jessica Akin, ‘16, has released a pregnancy book for teen parents, “Pregnancy and Parenting: The Ultimate Teen Guide (It Happened to Me),” published by Rowman & Littlefield.




This spring professors from English and interior design led a study abroad experience across Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Carly Seefeldt, top and right, and Ashley Tannert, left, were among the students blogging about visiting the Nobel Peace Center; sampling traditional Scandianvian foods; and enjoying the congenial Scandiavian design aesthetic known as hygge.

Learn more and read student study abroad stories at

Daniel Kim, English, was selected to receive the English

Graduate Program Continuing Writer Scholarship for $500.

Caroline Scholar Ana Teresa H. Mercado, Fashion, was accepted into the AmeriCorps

National Civilian Community Corps Program. Starting in July, after graduating, she will spend 10 months working with a team on community service projects.

A short story by Robert Parrish, English, “Machine Shed,” was published in the November 2016 issue of the Harpoon Review. Another of his short stories, “The Rushing of Water,” was published in the February 2017 issue of Gravel magazine.

Bring on the bold. Nominate an outstanding alumna for an achievement award for the Mount Mary community to celebrate her achievements. For details on the Madonna Medal and Tower Award nomination process, visit The Alumnae Awards Night will be held in spring 2018.


Corry Joe Biddle, ’04, VP of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) and executive director of FUEL Milwaukee, joined with NEWaukee, Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals, ONE MKE, Rotaract MKE and other Milwaukee fellows to meet with Mayor Tom Barrett at Milwaukee City Hall to discuss millennial engagement and a comprehensive talent attraction and retention agenda for the city. Leslye Schlack Bronstad, ‘11, was voted in as the president-elect of the Mount Mary University Alumnae Association, to begin her two-year term as president on July 1, 2017. Bronstad graduated from Mount Mary with a B.A. in Apparel Product Development and currently works at Fashion Angels in the Third Ward. Jamie Fink, ‘03, was on the cover of Family Circle Magazine for her skills in interior design and the renovation which earned her family a spotlight on HGTV’s ‘House Hunters.’

Deidre Carr, ‘15, and Dawn Verstegen Lyons, ‘10, became the leaders of the first WINGS affinity group at Mount Mary. Affinity groups are professionally based and focus on networking, continuing personal education and civic events. In partnership with the Office of Alumnae Relations, Deidre and Dawn have gathered alums from a variety of the largest health care systems in the Milwaukee region. See story on page 25. Therese Connors, ’71, was profiled in the Chicago Tribune for receiving the Madonna Medal for Community Service in November 2016. For 20 years, Connors has organized multiple clothing and supply drives to poor communities in Guatemala. In her own community, she founded an agency, Little Flower Healthcare, 16 years ago to match caregivers with those who need them. Cristina Vasquez Cornejo, ‘11, was promoted to portfolio manager at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. Sydney Deutsch, ’11, chief executive officer and owner at Hyde Park MKE, partnered with Rivolt Accessories for a one-of-a-kind fashion show hosted by West Elm Milwaukee on April 29. Amy Flanders, ‘95, was named executive director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in February 2017. The nonprofit serves Outagamie and Calumet counties in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region. Carol Gengler, ‘96, was the Cedarburg Cultural Center artist in residence for the month of February 2017. She is the owner of the Interior Garden Art Studio in Thiensville, where she instructs children and adults in making

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Kayla Urban, English, received the English Graduate Program New Writer Scholarship in the amount of $250.

Alexis (Lexi) Woerishofer, Health Communications, and Kimberly Xiong, Business Marketing and International Studies, were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in April to support their study abroad this summer. Woerishofer will use the scholarship to attend Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Xiong will study at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.

Instagram (@mountmaryuniversity) and SnapChat (mountmaryu)

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art. The Center’s Artist in Residence Program is a chance for the community to meet and interact with local artists. In March, she taught a special workshop, “Fruity Fiber: Fiber Mixed Media Collage” at the Center. Maggie Gerstner, ’16, was selected to be the foreign language assistant at the SSND-sponsored Mädchenrealschule (Girls’ School) in Regensburg, Germany. Gerstner will hold this position from October 2016 to May 2017. Yvette Hartman-Wilber, ‘90, was profiled by the Shawano Leader in February 2017 for her work as a registered volunteer for Donate Life Wisconsin for Shawano and Menominee counties. In addition, she opened her own women’s fashion boutique, Tumbleweed, in March 2017. Lauren Kidd, ’16, received the Student Activist award from the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at the organization’s conference in May. Ashley Klug, ‘05, was hired in early 2017 as an instructor at Set Apart Art Studio in Watertown, Wis., where she teaches children’s classes. Previously, she worked as an elementary art teacher in Mukwonago, where she taught for nine years. Congratulations to Elizabeth “Liz” Macken Lemke, ‘15, who accepted the position of executive assistant to the president of Mount Mary University. Liz was previously the alumnae specialist in the Office of Alumnae Relations. “Life Support,” a new novel by Tom Matthews, ‘08, has been purchased by St. Martin’s Press and will be published in 2017. This seriocomic family story was put to paper at Mount Mary, first as a short story

and then as a novel while working toward his master’s degree. Matthews’ feature writing for Milwaukee Magazine has been recognized by the Council for Wisconsin Writers (Honorable Mention, 2011 and 2012) and the Milwaukee Press Club (Gold Award, Best Feature Story Over 30”, 2013 and 2014). Marilyn Swiontek, ‘69, retired Milwaukee Public Schools teacher and current substitute teacher and volunteer at South Division High School, was recognized as Leader of the Year for 2017 by the Wisconsin Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (WAFCS). She has previously earned national recognition as a top-ten FCS teacher of the year and was inducted into the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLAL) National Leadership Hall of Fame.


Maralee Syers, ‘15, was the featured in the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) October newsletter. She works an art therapist at the Frederick County Health Departmentand is the 2017-2019 membership chairperson for the state of Maryland. Barb Taggart, ‘82, was one of two 2016 inductees to Menomonee Falls High School’s Wall of Recognition, which honors former graduates whose achievements serve as inspiration to current and future MFHS students.

Friends who flip together stick together HGTV show pilot features Mount Mary alumna


to make their enormous DIY project a home. The group earned a pilot spot that aired in April, and HGTV will decide whether to pick it up for a full season based on viewership and buzz.


“My Flippin’ Friends” is a show that has been described as “Friends” meets “Fixer Upper,” and it stars Mallory Davis, ‘11, in a team ready to tackle the challenge of upgrading affordable homes in Milwaukee. Davis is an alumna of the Fashion Merchandising Certificate Program and currently works at the corporate office of Kohl’s. On the show, she contributes design ideas and final touches

1936 1942 1944 1945 1946 1946 1946 1947 1947 1948 1948 1948 1949 1949 1950 1950 1950 1950 1950 1950 1950 1951 1951 1952 1952 1952 1952 1952 1952 1952 1952 1952 1953 1953 1953 1953

Margaret Walish on April 2, 2017 Marian Weithofer on Feb. 23, 2016 Marion Tidmarsh on Nov. 6, 2016 Marion Kowalsky on Jan. 28, 2015 Henrietta Penn on July 19, 2015 Kathleen Reitz on May 10, 2016 Ruth Schim on Nov. 17, 2016 Sister Mary Lucida Hoskens, SSND on May 1, 2014 Helene Joy on Dec. 27, 2015 Mary Lou Kaempfer on July 23, 2015 Mary McCormack on Aug. 3, 2016 Sister Mary Louis Pihaly, SSND on March 14, 2017 Joan Lawrence on June 6, 2016 Mary Hardin on Aug. 23, 2016 Muriel VanLaanen on Dec. 25, 2009 Marilyn Joers on Feb. 6, 2016 Laverne Salvat on Feb. 22, 2016 Sister Christyn Willems, SSND on July 4, 2016 Carolyn Mantey on July 18, 2016 Marion Warack on Dec. 4, 2016 Phyllis Casey on March 3, 2017 Johanna Murphy on Dec. 15, 2016 Sister Jean Louise Rechner, SSND on Jan. 17, 2017 Patricia Krueger on Sept. 9, 2014 Sister Mary Carolyn Stahl, SSND on March 4, 2016 Sister John Martha Knybel, SSND on March 14, 2017 Virginia Ciaciura on Aug. 18, 2016 Margaretta Comiskey on Aug. 30, 2016 Roseann Tolan on Oct. 15, 2016 Adeline Lowe on Nov. 1, 2016 Anne Mills on Nov. 29, 2016 Kathleen Conery on Feb. 22, 2017 Mary Custer on March 4, 2014 Joan Hamel on April 24, 2016 Sophia Figueredo on May 23, 2016 Sister Willene Grossain, SSND on Aug. 17, 2016

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Celine Stanly on Sept. 20, 2016 Loyola Pawlowski on June 26, 2016 Sister Mary Joel Robin, SSND on March 23, 2016 Nancy Haupt on May 17, 2016 Sister Mary DePaul Olszewski, SSND on Aug. 8, 2016 Madeleine Goggins on March 21, 2016 Cyrilla Hasler on Nov. 23, 2015 Sister Rose Helen Miller, SSND on Jan. 2, 2017 Sister Mary Virgene Pable, SSND on May 25, 2016 Mary Henricks on June 13, 2016 Mary Smith on April 28, 2015 June Wittemann on July 5, 2016 Sister Mary Carol Berres, SSND on Jan. 24, 2015 Sister Ancele Gloudeman, SSND on Nov. 13, 2016 Kathleen Piper on June 29, 2016 Sister Carol Schmitz, SSND on Dec. 28, 2016 Sister Vincent Marie Teuber, SSND on Jan. 22, 2017 Marilyn Streetman-Falck on March 3, 2017 Rosemary Powers on March 15, 2017 Sister Joanna Illg, SSND on Aug. 31, 2016 Rosann Young on Nov. 4, 2016 Sister Lucita Allen, SSND on Jan. 12, 2017 Sister Mary Raynalda Szyszka, SSND on March 1, 2016 Sister Mary Grace Cieminski, SSND on March 29, 2017 Barbara Zbikowski on Dec. 22, 2016 Sister Del Rey Richard, SSND on Feb. 10, 2017 Sister Patricia McCusker, SSND on April 6, 2017 Sister Mary Catherine Jarema, SSND on Dec. 9, 2016 Sister Phyllis Kernz, SSND on Feb. 13, 2016 Dolores Roesler on Oct. 13, 2016 Renee Beuscher on Jan. 19, 2016 Jane Bamberg on Oct. 8 2016 Karen Simek on Jan. 31, 2017 Tammy Swessel on July 8, 2015 Karen Denise Minster on Oct. 6, 2016 Jane Weik on Oct. 7, 2014 Mary Orr on May 19, 2012

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REFLECTION By Sister Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, Vice President for Mission and Identity Being well and becoming bold. I see an intrinsic connection in these characteristics as they have manifested in School Sisters of Notre Dame and given rise to Mount Mary’s mission to educate the whole person. To be well, really well, a person needs to know what grounds her and what nourishes her roots, her sense of being. When one makes a decision or follows through on a venture from that deep place, her conviction, her boldness if you will, is evident. Our foundress, Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, knew the call that comes from this deep place of wellbeing. By being in touch with what ignited her passion, she nurtured her gifts into full flowering. The foreword of “Trust and Dare,” a booklet of her sayings, reflects on the bold movement within her: “From the moment that she was convinced that it was God’s will for her to direct her entire being to the proclamation of the kingdom, particularly to the poor, and specifically through education, she trusted totally and dared all for this cause.” During her keynote address at the Voices of Leadership event in March, co-founder of the Malala Fund Shiza Shahid explained the Japanese idea of ikigai, the quest to lead a purpose-filled life. She explained this as strategically understanding the range where one’s strengths, passions, abilities and community needs come into alignment. To nurture the inner strength of our students, Mount Mary has received a NetVUE grant (Network for


sister joan penzenstadler Vocation in Undergraduate Education). It is designed to engage faculty, administration, staff and students in discussions surrounding vocational discernment and living purposeful lives. It is our hope that by contributing to the conversation in NetVUE regarding vocational exploration for a diverse student population, Mount Mary will help provide the self-knowledge students need in order to claim their gifts and use them for the betterment of society. Krista Tippett, in her recent book titled “Becoming Wise,” asks the question that is being frequently raised: “Can human beings come to understand their own well-being as linked to that of others, in wider and wider circles?” May our bold commitment to vocation and wellness make a difference in our world.

How dreams become diplomas

As 232 graduates from the Class of 2017 celebrate their success and hard work, we thank our donors and supporters for helping them turn their dreams into reality.

Non Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Milwaukee, WI Permit No. 340 2900 North Menomonee River Parkway Milwaukee, WI 53222-4597

We believe in yesterday!


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7, ‘02, ‘07, ‘12 2, ‘9

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Join your Mount Mary classmates for a weekend filled with music, laughter, and so much more. Enjoy a night out in Tosa, twist and shout with an amazing Beatles tribute band, The Britins, laugh together with Milwaukee’s acclaimed writer and stage actor John McGivern, and meet new Mount Mary President Dr. Christine Pharr.

Registration and Weekend Details


The Britins SAT. OCT. 7

John McGivern

HA! HA! Questions?

Please email us or call (414) 930-3343

, ‘82, ‘87, ‘9 2, ‘77

Mount Mary Magazine Spring & Summer 2017  
Mount Mary Magazine Spring & Summer 2017