Alumni Award Winners 2017
Distinguished Alumni Award
Katherine Vergos ’99
Katherine has served in healthcare leadership positions for the past 15 years, including her role as chief operating officer at Ripon Medical Center and now as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at St. Agnes Hospital.
Katherine has been a member of the executive team that facilitated the affiliation between Ripon Medical Center and Agnesian HealthCare. She served as a naval officer/registered nurse at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she held both clinical and leadership positions.
She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Marian University in Fond du Lac, and a graduate degree in Healthcare Administration at Park University. Katherine is board certified as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
As a resident of Fond du Lac, she gives back to the community through various volunteer positions, including Fond du Lac Area United Way, Fond du Lac Healthy 20/20, and Marian University School of Nursing Advisory Council.
In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities, spending time with family and friends and decorating. She is married to Pete, who serves the local community in law enforcement and they have one son, Paul who is 7.
Sr. Judith Schmidt Core Values Award
The St. Agnes School of Nursing is a compassionate group who played an intrical role in the successes of St. Agnes Hospital and Marian College, now Marian University. They supported these two entities through their commitment to the Marian Core Values of community, learning, service, social justice, and spiritual traditions.
Community: The majority of the St. Agnes School of Nursing alumni are retired and continue to give to their communities in many ways: foster grandparents to a local kindergarten; St. Vincent de Paul; Salvation Army; and Meals on Wheels. They also volunteer at their local churches – singing in the choir and serving for masses and funerals, as Eucharistic Ministers for both Liturgy and the homebound.
Learning: At the beginning of World War II, schools were encouraged to find new ways to recruit more students. The St. Agnes School of Nursing Alumni Association established the Sr. Digna Loan-Scholarship program to offer to students who had a family member who was a graduate of the School of Nursing. In 1996, it was renamed the Sr. Digna Desch Scholarship Fund and in 2002, three St. Agnes School of Nursing alumni came up with the plan to endow another nursing scholarship in honor of Sr. Mary Agreda Touchette. Today, over 30 student nursing scholarships are awarded each year. These scholarships are solely funded by gifts from St. Agnes School of Nursing Alumni and memorials.
Service: During World War II, over 107 St. Agnes School of Nursing graduates enlisted and served overseas or in the United States. A few services that stand out are: Capt. Winefred Madden (’33) entering the Army Nurse Corps in 1928; Marie Kuenzie (’38) – a 2nd Lieutenant, volunteered to join the Army Nurse Corps while working for the Milwaukee Health Department; Barbara Bond (’60) volunteered for the US Army Nurse Corps, working 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week; Kathleen Mangold (’62) served as a Captain in the Army Nurse Corps and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for performance of Exceptional Meritorious Service from November 1965 to April 1966.
Social Justice: Sr. Anne Jude Van Lanen (’55) went to work in Nicaragua to start up a new initiative called the River Project, a social justice project aimed to make individuals aware of their own personal worth and their neighbor. Genevieve Feyen (’52) served in Jackson, MS, encouraging locals to take a greater interest in the poor and gain a better understanding of the African American community.
Spiritual Traditions: Mother Miriam Leonard (’47), a cloistered religious, spent her life in silence and solitude, living in one location for over sixty years, serving God and His Church in contemplative prayer. Lillian Foote (’62) was an obstetrical nurse and became a trained facilitator for the Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) program. RTS is a bereavement support group for parents, grandparents, and other adult family members who are grieving the loss of a child through miscarriage, still birth, or neonatal death. Later she would go on to also facilitate a Grief Support Group.
To summarize this collection of fine alumni, in December, 1999 a note was written to the St. Agnes School of Nursing Alumni (accompanied with a letter on the future plans for the St. Agnes School of Nursing Building on Gillett Street) saying “We began with a quote from Sr. Digna, we leave you with her parting words. The St. Agnes School of Nursing graduated over 1,500 nurses from 1910-1966. These graduates are located in some 45 states and 9 foreign countries and serving in practically every field of nursing. Many are happily married and rearing families, others are making nursing a career. My overall message to them is the following: Way of Life…Do all the good you can, By all of the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.”
Alumni Spirit of Marian Award
Jeffery “JJ” Raflik ’03
He has been with the YMCA since first interning there in 2001. He graduated from Marian University in 2003 with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management, with a minor in Athletic Coaching. He played four years on the men’s baseball team, as well as served as a pitching coach from 2003- 2013.
JJ is a very engaged alum and has stayed connected with the University personally and professionally. He has volunteered to present and assist in the classroom, mentored students through career services via informational interviews, tours of the YMCA, and internship/externship opportunities, as well as, providing support and participating in events such as Homecoming, Athletic and Alumni Golf Outings, and other University-related programs/events.
He is an active member in the community and tries to ensure healthy living among the Fond du Lac residents.
JJ lives in Fond du Lac with his wife Angela (also a 2003 alum), daughter Jillian, and they are expecting a new addition to their family very soon.
Alumni Service Award
Eric Sanchez ’04
He joined ASQ after working 10 plus years in the staffing industry. He graduated from Marian University in 2004 with a degree in Art Therapy. He played four years on the men’s soccer team, with the team making 2 NCAA tournament appearances.
Eric was also one of five family members to attend Marian University, all of whom played soccer as well. Additionally, his eldest brother, Paul, was recently inducted into the Marian athletics Hall of Fame for soccer.
Prior to graduation, Sanchez served in many roles while on campus: a member of the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity; volunteered with the maintenance staff for on- and off-campus events (namely at the Arc and Brooke Industries).
Since graduation, Eric has served on the Marian Alumni Association Board of Director on 2 separate occasions, the last as the Alumni Board President. During his time on the Board, he stayed engaged with the University by attending and planning many events, as well as doing what he could to encourage other Marian alumni back to campus.
He has made lifelong friends and feels very passionate about seeing others embrace the “family/community/culture” here at Marian.
Eric currently lives in Milwaukee with his wife Joelle and daughter Liliana.