It’s known around campus as the CUA community’s “Oscar Night.”
History Professor Leslie Woodcock Tentler accepted the USG’s James E. Dornan Memorial Teacher of the Year Award.
The annual Student Leadership Recognition Ceremony, held April 19, is an occasion for student leaders, scholars, their mentors and advisers to recognize and be recognized, with engraved crystal awards and certificates of achievement going to dozens of campus “stars.”
Voted on by a committee of student government officers, faculty and administrators selected by Dean of Students Margaret Higgins, the awards recognize students, teachers, staff and advisers for the outstanding work they do all year.
More than 200 students, parents, faculty, administrators and staff attended this year’s ceremony in Caldwell Auditorium, where Cynthia Lee D. Mauris, director of campus programs, and Rashaun Martin, 2000-2001 Undergraduate Student Government president, served as masters of ceremonies.
“I’ve listened to all the marvelous things our students have done and I ask you all to join me in acknowledging all the students here tonight,” said the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., President, calling on the assembled students to give themselves a hand. “These students will be leaders of the future, I’m sure.”
To follow is a list of Student Leadership Recognition Ceremony awards, presenters and winners:
Undergraduate Student Government Awards
Right Reverend Denis J. O’Connell Award: Denis J. O’Connell was the third rector of CUA from 1903 to 1909. During that time he worked to establish educational improvements and was instrumental in the creation of the annual collection that is taken up in all dioceses for the advancement of the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He saw to it that academic procedures were formalized to fit accepted standards and that the base of the university’s education program was extended to include undergraduate training as well as graduate studies. In March 1909, he was transferred to San Francisco where he served as auxiliary bishop. This award honors undergraduate education at CUA, and is presented to a graduating senior who has been a driving force behind at least one student organization.
Recipient: Peter Butler
Presenter: Rashaun Martin, USG President, 2000-2001
Peggy Shaker Award: Peggy Shaker was the first president of the Undergraduate Student Government when its name officially changed from Student Council. This award is presented in honor of the last Student Council president and the first USG president, to a graduating senior who has displayed exceptional leadership ability.
Recipient: John Falcicchio
Presenter: Stephen Schatz, USG Legislative Vice President, 2000-2001
Frank Kuntz Award: Frank Kuntz was the first undergraduate student at CUA and a graduate of the Class of 1907. He was an active student who was committed to the university. To honor Mr. Kuntz, this award is presented to a graduating senior who has been active in a range of campus events and organizations, including devotion to the Church and service to the community.
Recipient: Andrea DePinto
Presenter: Joseph Monteiro, USG Judicial Vice President, 2000-2001
Gerard J. Rehel Memorial Award: Gerard J. Rehel was the USG president in 1979-80. He received his law degree and briefly practiced before dying of leukemia. This award is presented in honor of this former USG president to a current USG representative in recognition of outstanding participation.
Recipient: Emily Egan
Presenter: Peter Butler, USG Academic Vice President, 2000-2001
Organization of the Year: This award is presented to a student organization in recognition of outstanding contributions to the CUA community and a strong commitment to the mission and goals of the university.
Recipient: HoCo (Homecoming Committee)
Presenter: Bernadette Zaleski, USG Secretary, 2000-2001
Monsignor William A. Kerr Adviser of the Year: William A. Kerr was vice president of university relations from 1985 to 1992. He was successful raising funds and generating a positive image for Catholic University. He helped to establish the Board of Regents and was the adviser to USG for several years. The award was named after him when he left CUA in 1992, and is presented to a student organization adviser who has provided outstanding support in assisting in the success of a student organization.
Recipient: Brad M. Thomas, Assistant Director of Campus Programs for Programming and Student Organizations
Presenter: Stephanie Bieloski, USG Executive Board, 2000-2001
Staff Member of the Year: This award is presented to a university staff member for work above and beyond the call of duty to help the undergraduate community.
Recipient: Paul Tramontano, Manager, Rathskellar
Presenter: Shimica Gaskins, USG Executive Board, 2000-2001
Administrator of the Year: This award is presented to a university administrator for work above and beyond the call of duty to help the undergraduate community.
Recipient: Bonnie McClellan, Director of Disability Support Services
Presenter: Peter Butler, USG Academic Vice President, 2000-2001
James E. Dornan Memorial Teacher of the Year: James E. Dornan was associate professor of politics at Catholic University from 1967 until his death in an automobile accident in 1979. In 1973, he was appointed chair of the Department of Politics and spent his last two years serving as chair of the Academic Senate. Nationally known as an authority on U.S. foreign relations, military strategy and Asian affairs, Professor Dornan was the author of many studies on national security. To recognize his contributions to Catholic University, this award was named for him, and is presented to a faculty member for outstanding classroom teaching ability, academic advising and publications.
Recipient: Leslie Woodcock Tentler, Ph.D., Ordinary Professor, Department of History
Presenter: James Craig, USG Treasury Vice President, 2001
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Graduate Student Association Awards
Bruno Damiani Teacher of the Year: This award was named after Bruno Damiani, a professor of Spanish literature in the Department of Modern Languages, who was the first recipient of a graduate faculty-of-the-year award. It is presented to a member of the graduate faculty in recognition of outstanding classroom teaching and overall contribution to graduate education.
Recipient: Gregory Watson, Professor, Columbus School of Law
Presenter: Jennifer M. Gartlan, GSA President, 2000-2001
Steven P. Millies Award: This award recognizes outstanding commitment to the Graduate Student Association, graduate education and graduate life at The Catholic University of America. It is presented annually to a GSA member who has worked to improve the experience of his or her peers at CUA.
Recipient: Jennifer M. Gartlan
Presenter: Eric S. Williams, GSA Vice President, 2000-2001
Vincent P. Walter Jr. Community Service Award: This award is presented in memory of Vincent P. Walter Jr., who died tragically in August 2000. Mr. Walter spent his entire career at The Catholic University of America in a variety of positions, serving as the director of alumni relations, the general secretary of the university and secretary to the Board of Trustees. During his tenure at CUA, he was always involved with and concerned about CUA’s interaction with the community of Washington, D.C., and beyond. The award is presented to a graduate student who has distinguished himself or herself through his or her contributions and efforts in the area of community service.
Recipient: Regina K. Wardwell
Presenter: Elaine R. Walter, Ph.D., Dean, School of Music
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Regis Boyle Award: Regis L. Boyle began her affiliation with CUA in the 1930s. She received her doctoral degree in English, taught adult education and ran a summer session course for high school journalism students from 1946 to 1975. She was the adviser to The Tower and The Cardinal Yearbook from 1963 until 1975, when she retired from CUA. She then established this award to be given to a Tower staff member in recognition of indispensable service in the production of The Tower. She continues to give $50 each year for this award.
Recipients: Jeanne Gallo, Kelley Schmidt
Presenter: James L. Rowe Jr., The Tower Adviser
Society for Collegiate Journalists Medal of Merit: This award is presented to a senior who, by his or her efforts over four years, has contributed significantly to the practice and improvement of journalism on campus.
Recipient: Lisa Frailing
Presenter: James L. Rowe, Jr., The Tower Adviser
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Housing And Residential Services Award
Excellence in Residential Leadership: This award is presented to an outstanding resident assistant who has been a prime motivator of residential students and is committed to the personal, social and intellectual development of his or her peers.
Recipient: Emmjolee Mendoza
Presenter: Ann Carey, Resident Director, Housing and Residential Services
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Presenters: Cynthia Lee D. Mauris, Director of Campus Programs
Brad M. Thomas, Assistant Director of Campus Programs
Recipients: Forty-seven students were honored. For a complete list of names, visit:
Recipient: Robyn Eason
Presenter: Margaret M. Higgins, Dean of Students
Recipient: Danielle Szelag
Presenter: Cynthia Lee D. Mauris, Director of Campus Programs
Recipient: Keith Kozak
Presenter: Jenifer Campbell, Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Services for Operations and Administration
Sam Williams Memorial Award: While attending CUA in the early 1970s, Sam Williams was active in Black Organization of Students at CUA and was committed to fostering greater understanding among the students. Before he graduated from CUA, however, he was killed in an automobile accident. This award is presented in his memory to a student who has contributed significantly to the activities of minority or international students, enhanced communication and furthered understanding among culturally and ethnically diverse groups on campus and in the community.
Recipient: Desi Fernandez
Presenter: Karen Williams, Director of Multicultural and International Student Services
Martha Comiskey Memorial Award: Martha Comiskey was an active student in the early 1960s. One of her accomplishments was the creation of the Fine Arts Council, which ultimately became the USG Program Board. She was socially action-minded, an excellent student and dedicated to the university. This award is presented to a student in recognition of his or her devotion and energy to the university, ability and willingness to motivate his or her fellow students and an unwavering commitment to CUA’s goals.
Recipient: Rashaun Martin
Presenter: Kimberly Parrott, Receptionist/Secretary, Office of Campus Programs
Mary Elinor Smith Community Service Award: Mary Elinor Smith received a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology in 1950. She began lecturing at CUA and became the dean of women in 1952. She also was the university’s first dean of students and was the president of the Regional Association of Women Deans and Counselors in 1966. This award is presented to a student or student organization that has been instrumental in forming and strengthening bonds between the university and the greater metropolitan area through participation in community service activities and/or projects.
Recipient: Jason Willis
Presenter: Elizabeth Varner, Area Coordinator,Housing and Residential Services
Roy Bode Memorial Award: Roy Bode was an instructor of rational psychology and philosophy for 10 years before being named CUA’s first director of alumni relations in 1960. He also spent six years as the executive secretary for the university’s Alumni Association. In 1969 he returned to teaching as an associate professor of philosophy and was appointed assistant to the dean in 1973. This award is the highest honor presented to a junior male. The recipient must have a 3.7 or better grade point average, have taken a prominent leadership role on campus and exemplify the highest ideals of Christianity.
Recipient: Owen Whooley
Presenter: Ursula Herz, Area Coordinator, Housing and Residential Services
Mary J. Flynn Memorial Award: Mary J. Flynn was a woman of many talents and interests. In 1944, she was selected to participate on the U.S. Olympic diving and fencing teams. She received a master’s degree in social work from CUA in 1951. She then became a member of the faculty and taught from 1951 to 1961 and 1971 to 1988. In 1973, she was recognized with the first NCSSS Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, which she continued to receive for the next 15 consecutive years. In 1987, she was appointed associate dean of NCSSS. She often consulted with the National Institutes of Health on social work issues and with the World Health Organization on AIDS-related issues until her death in 1989. This award is the highest honor presented to a junior female. The recipient must have a 3.7 or better grade point average, have taken a prominent leadership role and exemplify the highest ideals of Christianity.
Recipient: Kirsten Fochtman
Presenter: Brad M. Thomas, Assistant Director of Campus Programs
Recipient: Lauren Heckman
Presenter: The Rev. Michael Englert, O.F.M., Conv., Associate Chaplain and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry for Retreats and Religious Education
Father Stratemeier Award: Father Stratemeier was the university chaplain from 1935 until his death in 1947. He was known for his congenial personality and sincere concern for each student at the university. Those who knew him said he always made time for students and was concerned with all facets of their lives. The award was first named for him in 1948 for excellence in extracurricular activities and scholarship. This award is the second-highest honor presented to a senior male. The recipient must have demonstrated significant leadership and service to the university and maintained a minimum 3.5 grade point average.
Recipient: Joseph Monteiro
Presenter: The Rev. Robert M. Friday, Vice President for Student Life
Marian Award: This award was first given by the Colombians Sorority in honor of Our Lady. It is the second-highest honor awarded to a senior female. The recipient must have demonstrated significant leadership and service to the university and maintained a minimum 3.5 grade point average.
Recipient: Emmjolee Mendoza
Presenter: John Convey, Ph.D., Provost
President’s Award-Winner Gregory Schwab and Father O’Connell.
President’s Award: This is the highest university award given to a student. It is presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated prominent leadership and outstanding scholarship. The recipient must exemplify the highest ideals of Christianity and possess a minimum 3.8 grade point average.
Recipient: Gregory Schwab
Presenter: The Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., President