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Class Notes 2020

December 2020


Jason Fields (B.S. Management, '17) named president and CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership and will begin his new role January 4, 2021

Damira Grady (Ph.D., Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education, '17) is the associate vice chancellor for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence and chief diversity officer at UW-Oshkosh. Read about her position in this article.  

Monica Kling-Garcia (B.A., Religious Studies, '14) has been welcomed into Fellowship by the Unitarian Universalist Association Ministerial Fellowship Committee.


Dr. Ann Newman (M.A., Educational Leadership, '02; Ph.D. Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '18) named CEO of Vistelar, a Wisconsin-based training and consulting institute

Amy Slonecker (M.A. Special Education, '02) was featured in the Ripon Commonwealth Press "Teacher Spotlight" on Dec. 18, 2020. She is a teacher at Rosendale Intermediate School in the Rosendale-Brandon (Wis.) School District.  

Megan (Shirey) Carlisle (B.S.N., '08; M.S.N., '10) has been named to Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2021.  

Laquitha "Elle" Bonds (M.S., Management, '09) has been named VP of Human Resources at Milwaukee Area Technical College


Sheila Mayhorn (MBA, '98) was promoted to Chief Human Resource Officer at YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, where she has served since 2017.  

November 2020


Gina Jorgensen (M.A., Visual Studies '10) was named a 2020 Milwaukee Urban League Hero in the Education category. She is an art educator at North Division High School in Milwaukee and will be recognized at the 35th Annual Black & White Ball on Nov. 21.

Laura Hancock (M.A., Lay Ministry, '12) received the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vatican II Award for Service in Ecumenism. 


Dr. Jeanette Mitchell (Ph.D., Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '01) received the Greater Milwaukee Foundation's President’s Leadership in Racial Equity and Social Justice Award in recognition of her longstanding work to connect and develop leaders of color. She founded the University's Leadership Center and the African American Leadership Program. 

Mark Stockhowe (B.S., Management, '01) has joined the Burnsville (Minn.) Breakfast Rotary. He helps small business owners achieve greater success with better balance and resilience through the recently-launched The Alternative Board (TAB). 

Darryl Johnson (MBA , '07) earned the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Frank Kirkpatrick Award for his work in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. Darryl is the executive director of Riverworks Development Corporation.

Martha Barry (Ph.D., Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '07) and her work with the YWCA of Southeast Wisconsin's Unlearning Racism course was the focus of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. Barry serves as the racial justice director for the YWCA. 

Gail Kraig (M.A., Educational Leadership, '08) received the Archdiocese of Milwaukee 2020 Vatican II Award for Service in Administration. 

Dr. Richard Barnhouse (Ph.D., Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education, '09) was named president of Waukesha County Technical College.


Rich Balge (M.S. Management, '84) was named Market President for Bank First's Plymouth (Wis.) market.

October 2020


Laura Zumdahl (Ph.D., Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, '10) named to State of Illinois Youth Budget Commission. She is President and CEO of New Moms, a human service agency providing support to over 800 homeless and high-risk young moms and their children each year. New Moms has offices in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill.

Liz Gross (Ph.D., Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education, '15) published Fundamentals of Social Media Strategy: A Guide for College Campuses. She is the CEO of Campus Sonar, a division of Northstar Education Services, LLC, an affiliate of Ascendium Education Group, an education solutions company that has been a trusted campus partner for 50 years.

Marty Pitts (B.A., Elementary Education, '18has been named head baseball coach at Indian Trail High School in Kenosha, Wis.


Bridget Evers (MBA, '04)  has been named enrollment services manager at Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, located in Marshfield. 

David Bonofiglio (B.F.A., '06) has been named music director of Skylight Music Theater's production of Little Shop of Horrors that runs Nov. 13– Dec. 27, 2020, at the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee.


Sister Barbara Becker, OP, (B.A. Education, '82) was featured in a Florida Catholic article about National Vocations Awareness Week. 

Bank First has named Richard Balge (M.S. Management, '84) market president for the Plymouth (Wis.) market.  

September 2020


Sean Hughes (B.A. Sport Management, '10) is the associate head coach for the Marquette University men's soccer team.


Damon Wos (M.B.A, '05) named general manager for Olympic Steel's Schaumburg, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana, facilities.

Eugene Syvrud (M.A. Educational Leadership, '03) named principal at Marshall (Wis.) High School.


George Torres (B.S. Business Administration, '94; M.S. Management, '96) named one of the most influential Latinos in Wisconsin by He serves as the CEO and Presdient of La Causa, Inc., in Milwaukee.

August 2020


Jennifer Renaud (B.S. Management, '04) named senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Masonite International Corporation, located in Tampa, Fla.

Michael Brunson (M.B.A., '06) named City of Milwaukee acting chief of police.

July 2020


Jack Kruyne (B.A. Art, '87) showcased his art in an exhibit titled "A Modern World" starting July 10, at the Chagrin Arts gallery in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He credits artist Sister Thomasita Fessler, OSF, as his mentor and main influence.


Brenda Dennis (B.A. Education, '98) is the director of alternative programs at Springfield Public Schools in Springfield, Missouri.

Charles Kalupa (B.S. Business, '98; B.S. Management Information Systems, '00; M.B.A., '03) elected president of BCI Solutions, Inc., in Bremen, Indiana. 


Alan Lundeen (A.S. Business, ’01) is the Senior Director of Talent Management for Cousins Subs, based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

Timothy Schigur (M.S. Educational Leadership, '01) is the superintendent of St. Mary Catholic Schools in Neenah, Wisconsin.

Ebony Grice (M.A. Special Education, '05) was named the principal for Wauwatosa High School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Her appointment and background were featured in the July 9, 2020, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-Wauwatosa News story "The Wauwatosa School District has hired its first Black high school principal. Meet Ebony Grice."

Dr. Berdie Cowser (M.B.A., ’07; Ph.D. Leadership, ’18) will be highlighted as part of "Women Who Inspire," a program of the Committee to Celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Wisconsin's Ratification of the 19th Amendment. She serves as the director of the Bureau of Housing at the Center for Veterans Issues Ltd. in Milwaukee.

Nasra Wehelie (M.B.A., '08) founded Empathy 4 Equity, a change management consulting firm in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Howard Spearman (Ph.D. Leadership, '09) named president at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill. 


Dennis Griffin Jr. (M.S. Educational Leadership '14) provided expert commentary on the questions "How have you incorporated music in non-music classes?"  for the BAM! Radio Show hosted by Dr. Mara Lee Grayson and "What should teachers learn from the killing of George Floyd?"  for Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo. Both were posted on Education Week Teacher.

Dr. Liz Gross (Ph.D. Leadership, '15) was the featured Professional of the Week in Greater Madison's In Business magazine, posted on July 21, 2020. She is the CEO of Campus Sonar.

Adi Taraska (M.B.A., '17) was named athletic director at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, Ohio. She also was a graduate assistant coach for the Stritch men's and women's track teams.


Estrella Luciano (B.A., 2020) is an admissions coordinator at St. Thomas More High School in Milwaukee.

June 2020

Milwaukee Business Journal: Momentum behind addressing racism today, can't fade tomorrow

As part of the Milwaukee Business Journal's coverage of the role the Milwaukee-area business community should play in dealing with the racism issues in southeastern Wisconsin, we have asked a group of CEOs and black business leaders to offer their thoughts on specific action items area executives and firms should take.

- Eve Hall (Ph.D. Leadership, '09), CEO of the Milwaukee Urban League: "Acknowledging race issue critical for businesses"

- Denise Thomas (B.S. Management, '06), founder of the Effective Communication Coach: "Address discrimination differently, more intentionally"


Dennis Cherne (B.S. Business Administration, '88) was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story "There are still pockets of hiring as job seekers in southeastern Wisconsin give each other support" with a focus on his role as president of 40Plus of Southeastern Wisconsin.

Brian King (B.A. Communication, '88) was appointed President of Marriott International’s Caribbean and Latin America Region, a role that will begin in January 2021.


Katie (Landa) Cummings (B.A. Theater, '97) founded Pink Umbrella Theater, a company that was featured in the June 8, 2020, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article "The pandemic forced a Milwaukee theater company to go virtual. Now its students with disabilities are thriving."

Jen (Renn) Bretl (B.A. English, '98) is the director of information technology services for REV Group Inc. in Milwaukee.


Jeanne Hergert (M.E. Professional Development: Teaching, ’01) retired from teaching math at Milton High School in Milton, Wisconsin. The Milton Courier included a story about her experiences there as both a student and teacher.

Kate Brewer (M.B.A. Healthcare Executives, '02) was named to the 2020 Milwaukee Business Journal Women of Influence list in the "entrepreneur category," recognizing her work as owner and president of Greenfield Rehabilitation Agency in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Sharon Reitsma (M.B.A., '02) was named to the "Notable Women on Construction and Design" list by the Milwaukee BizTimes on June 7, 2020. She is a project manager at Corporate Contractors, Inc., based on Beloit, Wisconsin.

Elysabeth Reichman (B.A. English, '04) is a care coordinator at Broadstep Behavioral Health in Milwaukee.

Keri Holter (M.S. Educational Leadership, '07) is the principal at North Woods International School in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Alison Jewer (M.A. Teaching, ’09) is retiring as a K-3 Music Teacher for Consolidated Elementary and West Elementary in the School District of Milton, Wisconsin.


Wanda Sloan (M.S. Management, '10) was elected to the State Governing Board of Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI), the state’s largest nonpartisan political reform organization. She currently serves as an independent consultant on issues of race relations, diversity/inclusion, and cultural competency and is the state youth advisor for the Wisconsin NAACP.

Aly Jablonsky (B.A. English, '14) was featured on a May 22, 2020, WCVB-5 news broadcast for her work as an interfaith chaplain at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Tanya Fredrich (Ph.D. Leadership, '15) was named the assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning: Student Services for Elmbrook Schools in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Dan Hanson (M.S. Management, '15) is the AVP/Branch Manager at PNC Financial Services Group in Milwaukee.

Gerard Washington (M.S. Management, '15) is the fire chief for the Village of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Fire Department.

Izzy (Israel) Lugo III (B.A. Sport Management, '16) co-founded Strange on Purpose Studios in Milwaukee.

Damira Grady (Ph.D. Leadership in Higher Education, '17) will join the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh as the associate vice chancellor for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence, starting on Sept. 1, 2020.

Alondra Garcia (B.S. Education, '19) was pictured and quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel June 7, 2020, article "'We're all in this together': Marchers come from different backgrounds, but unite in plea for meaningful change." The Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education honored her with a 2020 Early Career Educator Award.

May 2020


William Sommers (M.S. Management, '97) is the vice president for enrollment management at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.


Mary Schueller (M.S. Nursing, '06) was named 2020 Nurse of the Year by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She is an oncology clinical nurse educator for Hospital Sisters Health System.

Denise Thomas (B.S. Management, '06) wrote "The need to engage - or reengage - white men in diversity and inclusion efforts" for the Milwaukee BizTimes on May 3, 2020.

Jill Zimbelman (M.B.A., '09) was featured by the UNLV News Center in a May 11, 2020, interview "The (Remote) Interview: Jill Zimbelman: The university's export control officer's path to higher education started in the military."


Aly Jablonsky (B.A. English, '14) was featured on a May 22, 2020, WCVB-5 news broadcast for her creative work as an interfaith chaplain at Tufts Medical Center in Boston during the early months of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Emily (Grossen) Boyd (M.S. Educational Leadership, '16) was appointed the assistant principal of Burlington High School in Burlington, Wisconsin.

Joe Koch (Ph.D. Leadership, '17), the deputy superintendent of the School District of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was named 2020 Administrator of the Year for Region #1 by the Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services.

April 2020


Ron Phelps (B.A. Accounting, ’93), private wealth advisor, managing director, has joined the new Middleton, Wisconsin, office of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., as a financial advisor in the Phelps Hamus Group.

Elizabeth Gauger (M.A. Special Education: Secondary Learning Disabilities, '97) was elected to the Door County Board of Supervisors, District 16 in Door County, Wisconsin, winning her seat by one vote. She explained her background and qualifications in a March 24, 2020, Door County Pulse news piece.


Ed Somers (M.S. Health Administration, '02) is the executive director of Clearview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Juneau, Wisconsin.

Ryan Wickens (B.A. Integrated Marketing Communications, '06) and Naomi Kaufman (B.F.A. Graphic Design, '07; M.A. Visual Studies, '12), owners of Quizmaster Trivia, were featured in an April 3, 2020, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel news article "Milwaukee's Quizmaster Trivia hosting pub trivia online now that bars, restaurants are closed."

Wes Shaver (B.A. Theater, '09; M.S. Sport Management, '11) was named to the April 27, 2020, BizTimes Milwaukee inaugural list of Notable LGBTQ Executives. He is the president of Milwaukee Pride, Inc.


David Ngo (M.B.A., '10), associate provost at The New School in New York City, was interviewed in an April 20, 2020, podcast episode on the Federal News Network "Authors Series: a conversation with Lisa Mosley and David Ngo."

Haley Bretl (A.S. Nursing, '12), a surgical nurse, was featured in an April 22, 2020, Ozaukee Press news story "Nurse heads into the Covid-19 fray to help." 

Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck (Ph.D. Leadership, '19) was named to the 2020 Women of Distinction list at YWCA Rock County’s annual Her Night to Shine Gala in Janesville, Wisconsin.

March 2020


Pam (Besch), (B.A. Education,’93; M.S. Management, '95), and Dave Donarski (B.A. International Business, '92; M.S. Management, '95) (March 17, 2020) were featured with their family on a March 17, 2020, WKBT-TV news broadcast "Love of basketball deepens Donarski family bond."  Pam and Dave both played basketball at Cardinal Stritch University and Pam is in the Athletic Hall of Fame.


Kim Amidzich (M.S. Educational Leadership, '00) is the superintendent of Greendale School District in Greendale, Wisconsin.

Lea Zwettler (M.A. Teaching, '06), a literacy teacher at Waunakee Intermediate School in Waunakee, Wisconsin,  was featured in a March 5, 2020, story in the Waunakee Tribune "Tribune Profile: Lea Zwettler: This literacy coach helps teachers." 


Dr. Jolene Bowman (Ph.D. Leadership, '15) was named to the Madison 365 "Wisconsin's Most Influential Native Americans" list. She works as the director of Education and Career Services for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.

Pablo Ortiz (A.S. Business, '19) will be playing for the Milwaukee Torrent, a professional soccer team competing in the National Premier Soccer League.

February 2020

Milwaukee Black Excellence Awards

The Milwaukee Times hosted the 35th Annual Black Excellence Awards on Friday, Feb. 28. Three Stritch alumnae were among the honorees. The Black Excellence Awards launched 35 years ago, in conjunction with Black History Month, to honor individuals who exemplify leadership and have made a positive contribution to the city of Milwaukee. The theme of this year’s gala was “2020: A Clear Vision of Excellence.”

Special Honorees – Business:

- Stephanie Findley (M.S. Management, 2007), owner and CEO of Midwest Construction and Management Services LLC

- Denise Thomas (B.S. Management, 2006), president and owner of The Effective Communication Coach

Corporate Trailblazers:

- Nita Farrow (B.S. Management Information Systems, 2001), Milwaukee Public Schools


Annette Frink (B.A. Psychology, '73; M.A. Special Education, '83) received the 2020 Claver Legacy Award from the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary. The award was bestowed at the organization’s annual Mardi Gras Scholarship Ball on Feb. 22, 2020, and is presented annually to an individual dedicated to the tenants of Claverism – a charge to work together in friendship, love and Christian charity – and recognizes devotion to the development of future leaders through mentoring, service and teaching.


Bill O'Toole (M.B.A., '91), president and CEO of Catholic Financial Life, received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Schools Dinner Feb. 12, 2020. He was recognized for his staunch support of Catholic education and his passion for providing volunteer services and support that benefit Catholic schools, parishes and organizations.


Alan Lundeen (A.S. Business, '01) was featured in an interview for the Feb. 25, 2020, Thrive Global HR Strategy Series: "How Companies Identify and Retain Talent." He is the Senior Director of Operations and Talent at Cousins Subs.

Raquel Filmanowicz (B.S. Management, '03) was named the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Milwaukee Host Committee.

Toriana Pettaway (M.S. Management, '03) is a census field supervisor for the Department of Commerce.


Michael Hostad (B.S. Management, '10) was featured in the Feb. 27, 2020, Milwaukee Business Journal news article "Poeschl and Hostad driven to grow Milwaukee’s talent pipeline," focusing on his co-founding of The Commons, a skills accelerator for college students in Wisconsin that is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

Peter Marshall (M.B.A., '12)  was featured in the Feb. 3, 2020, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story "Harry's on Brady is closed, and Pete's Pub is to open there." A native of England who moved to Milwaukee in 2008 to pursue his M.B.A. at Stritch, he said Pete's Pub will have "a slight British flair," but won't be a British pub.

Darrel Payne (B.A. Religious Studies, '13; M.A. Relgious Studies, '16) exhibited his cast ceramic work in a show titled "D.N.A." short for Discovering New Ancestry at 5 Points Art Gallery and Studios, 3514 N. Port Washington Ave., Milwaukee, from Jan. 10 through Feb. 23.

Fabio Perasso (B.A. Sport Management, '18) is the general manager and tennis director at LifeSport in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Favian Gonzalez (2019) was a featured guest on the Bridge the City podcast in February 2020, focusing on his co-founding of Street Dreams Soccer Academy, his experience playing club soccer in the suburbs while living in Milwaukee, the importance of youth soccer in building community, and the importance of nurturing creativity within the game and the person.

We remember those who have died

Our prayers and condolences go out to the families and loved ones of ...

... Lorraine Roth (B.A. Psychology, '78) who died Dec. 25, 2020.

... Roger Andreoli (B.A.Special Education, '69) who died Nov. 28, 2020.

... Frederick Poulsen (M.B.A., '84) who died Nov. 28, 2020, in Racine, Wis.

... Sister Magdalena Paul, OSF, who died on Dec. 2, 2020, at age 91.

... Debra Hansen (M.S. Health Administration, '87) who died Nov. 20, 2020, at age 60. 

... Sister Selena Halfmann, OSF (B.A. Latin and French, '56) who died Nov. 12, 2020, at age 96 in St. Francis, Wis. Sister Selena taught Spanish and French at Stritch for more than two decades.

... Sister Francis Marie DeLany, OSF (B.A. Education, '42) who died Oct. 21, 2020, at age 100 in St. Francis, Wis. Sister Francis Marie served at Stritch for more than 23 years as dean of resident students, assistant to the registrar, registrar and switchboard receptionist.  

... Sister Bernadette Stang, OSB (B.A. English, '71) who died Oct. 14, 2020, at age 85 in Cottonwood, Idaho.

... Sister Imelda Dickrell, OSF (B.S. Education, '49) who died on Sept. 24, 2020, at age 96.

... Sister Jessine Reiss, OSF, who died Sept. 11, 2020, at age 100. Sister Jessine taught English, worked in the College of Nursing, the Programs in Management for Adults and the public relations office, and served as the advisor for the student newspaper for 60 years. During her time at Stritch Sister Jessine, along with Sister Lucille Walsh and Dr. Abbas Hamdani, founded the Islamic-Christian Dialogue, a first-of-its-kind effort in Milwaukee. Sister Jessine and Sister Lucille were recognized by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1999 with the Vatican II Award for Ecumenism.  

... Linda Ann Johnson (B.A. Religious Studies, '80)  who died on Aug. 8, 2020, at age 75.

... Mary Ann Eltink (M.A. Reading Language Arts, '87), who died on July 21, 2020, at age 79.

... Dennis Yanny (B.S. Management, '88), who died on July 21, 2020, at age 77.

... Beatrice DeLany (M.A. Reading Language Arts, '71) who died July 16, 2020, at age 98.

... Sister Ann Lawrence Kolbeck, OSF (B.A. Sociology, '71), who died on July 13, 2020, at age 85.

... Bruce Best, who died on June 20, 2020, at age 80. He served the University for 37 years before retiring in 2002.

... Sister Justine Peter, OSF, Ph.D. (B.A. Education, '50), who died on May 25, 2020, at age 95. She served the University in faculty, staff and leadership positions for 57 years.

...Barbara Heil (M.S. Educational Leadership, '97), who died on May 16, 2020, at age 75.

...Josephine (Moriarty) Powers (B.A. Home Economics, '62), who died on May 3, 2020, at age 79.

...Sister Leo Marie Schiltgen, OSF, who died on April 22, 2020, at age 92. Sister Leo Marie served at Stritch for 20 years.

Jeanine Price (M.E.Prof Dev:Teaching, ’87), who died on April 7, 2020, at age 82.

...Sister Jean Margaret Belland, OSF (B.A. Psychology, '72), who died on April 6, 2020, at age 89.

...Lenard Wells (Ph.D. Leadership, '08), who died March 21, 2020, at age 69. The Philadelphia Tribune memorialized him in the April 28, 2020, article "Lenard Wells dies; Milwaukee police leader ensured racial equality."

...Father Rick Eldred (B.A. Religious Studies, '98), who died on March 18, 2020, at age 70. WBIW memorialized him in the March 18, 2020, article "Lawrence County Mourns Loss of Father Rick Eldred."

...Arthur James Smith Jr. (B.A. Sociology of Aging, '92), who died on March 14, 2020, at age 50.

...Mary Jo Meier (M.A. Reading Language Arts, '79), who died on March 9, 2020, at age 69.

Link to the 2019 Class Notes here.