Three Presented with Dominican Alumnae Awards

The reunion weekend included an all-school reunion, award presentation, and the Remembrance Mass
Nearly 80 Rosary alumnae, Dominican Sisters, and faculty/staff attended the All-School Reunion held November 12. The event included presentation of three Dominican Alumnae Awards and featured special guests of sisters, faculty and staff from throughout the years.

The Saturday luncheon began with tours given by the Student Ambassador Leadership Team for alumnae to see what has changed (and what hasn't changed) at the school.

After a catered luncheon from Reuland's, Dominican Alumnae Awards were presented to three alumnae. 

Professional Excellence: Theresa (Hepp '68) Alfredson
Community Service: Donna (Fabrizius '81) Homan
Rosary Spirit: Kathy (Zilly '88) Gilmore

Theresa (Hepp '68) Alfredson was nominated for the Professional Excellence Award by classmate Mary (Fraser ’68) Hodson. “Theresa has had a career of progressively responsible service in her professional field.  She continues to serve her parish in her retirement.  She graduated in 1968, when opportunities for women were still limited and her achievements throughout her career were impressive."

Only a few years into her Nursing career, Terri began as an inservice instructor. By 1977, she earned her Master's and became an instructor at Rush University School of Nursing. After moving to California, she was head nurse in pediatrics and then an instructor at the University of San Francisco, the University of California in San Francisco and at Davis, and then at Stanford Healthcare. She was a finalist for Employee of the Year twice at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. She later became an Informatics Educator, teaching physicians and other clinical staff how to use computer documentation. 
“Rosary allowed me to see a world of possibilities rather than just a repeat of historical options.  I chose a very traditional female occupation in nursing, but knew that it could open up many other paths for advancement and growth...I am grateful to Rosary for preparing me for a career by teaching me how to learn.“

Throughout her demanding career, Theresa also served her community as a volunteer in education, in her parish, and in her children’s school activities.

Donna (Fabrizius '81) Homan was nominated for the Community Service Award by her sisters Diane Fabrizius ('76) and Lorene (Fabrizius ’74) Eckberg. 

As a long time catechism teacher, Donna developed curriculum at her parish in Eagan, Minnesota for elementary students and for Confirmation preparation. Her experience in religious education, enthusiasm for her Catholic faith, and talent in website design led her to develop a website called Catechism Angel. Faith formation teachers from anywhere can find a host of free, fresh ideas including lesson plans and fun activities at https://catechismangel.com. Donna also serves her community globally and locally with mission trips, meals to those in need, the local Boy Scout troop, and her children's school. With her PhD in Chemical Engineering, she provided special assistance for the Boy Scout Engineering Badge and served as an instructor at the Science Museum of Minnesota for more than 25 years.

"Rosary was instrumental in making me a well-rounded individual," Donna said. "The challenging curriculum played a key part in helping me achieve my academic goals in college. I felt so much more prepared than my peers at critical thinking, writing proficiently, and applying study skills. The emphasis on Catholic values led me to a lifelong desire to give back."

"God often speaks in a gentle whisper as do many of his followers who quietly do his work. Donna is one of those quiet and faithful followers," her sisters wrote. "We are proud to be her sister and proud to nominate her for this award.”

Kathy (Zilly '88) Gilmore received the Rosary Spirit Award, and was nominated by Sheridan (Middleton '98) Gurbal.  “As a current board member, Kathy brings her smiling spirit to all Rosary functions...She has a quote on social media that is very Rosary. ‘You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.’  Kathy is always giving to everyone she comes in contact with.”

While raising her children, Kathy ran her own business as Independent Sales Representative. As a true Rosary graduate, she excelled, recruiting and training others, and finishing in the top 1% of her company in sales for more than 15 years. When her daughter Maddy ('18) was a Rosary student, Kathy served on the Fine Arts Boosters and the Parents Auxiliary, while working on her MBA at Aurora University.
She now serves as President of the Valley Industrial Association and the Greater Chicago Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, offering resources, training, networking and collaboration opportunities to area manufacturing companies to boost their successes. 

When discussing the benefits of a single-sex school, Kathy said: "Think about it...ALL opportunities at Rosary go to women.  The leadership opportunities, the academic opportunities, the volunteer opportunities, the good, the bad, the easy ones and the hard ones – they all go to women.  How great is that?  In my family, I have four sisters...We didn’t know gender stereotypes because we did ALL the jobs.  We mowed the lawn, we did the dishes and laundry, we cleaned, we took out the garbage… we were raised to be empowered to do it all.  And so Rosary was an easy transition for us.  It was like home. Rosary empowers young women to do it all."

Congratulations to our award winners!

Dominican Sisters in attendance included Sr. M. Alberta Lawless, OP, who was among the first sisters at Rosary in the early 1960s, as well as Sister Ann Brummel ('66), OP; Sister Bernadette Marie McGuire, OP; Sister Patricia Burke, OP; Sister Catherine Mary Currie ('70), OP; Sister Maira (Mary) Barry ('72), OP; and Sister Geraldine Kemper, OP, who is the current Dean of Women at Rosary.
Past faculty/staff in attendance were: Bonnie (Currie '80) Reder, Janet Dick, Ann (Rhodes '70) Edwards, Debra Fitzgerald, Bonnie Goliak, Mary Lou Kunold, Cindy (Marsh '66) Nagis, Kathy Spencer, Ellen Nick, and Marie (Currie '71) Wilmes. Current faculty included Julie Jeppesen and Emily (Burback '16) Delaney.

The event planning committee was alumnae association board president Nadia (Simek '09) Schweisthal, secretary Sheridan (Middleton '98) Gurbal, Lou (Solfisberg '67) Scanlan, Katlyn (Gerkin '09) Pischel, and Mary Kukla ('06); as well as Rosary advancement staff Becky Barr; Vicki Danklefsen; Sr. Geraldine Kemper, OP; and Cindy Ybarra.

The Sunday Remembrance Mass honored all deceased alumnae and members of the Rosary community who have passed since the November 2021 Mass. 

Plan now for the 2023 reunion weekend set for November 11-12.

See a gallery of photos from the weekend.
Rosary High School is a Catholic, college-prep high school for young women sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois. Rosary creates a sisterhood of truth, faith and strength.