2009 Alumni Award Recipients

Congratulations to the following alumni who were selected by the Alumni Board of Directors as the 2009 Alumni Award Recipients.

Graduate Of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Alumni Award

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 (G.O.L.D.) Alumni Award

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.