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Cardinal Stritch University celebrates 2014 Alumni Award winners

June 21, 2014

The Cardinal Stritch University Alumni Board of Directors is proud to announce the 2014 Alumni Award Recipients.

Through the awards program, Stritch annually honors individuals for their professional and personal achievements, which have made a significant impact in their field, and whose life and character have earned the respect and admiration of their peers and professional colleagues.

The 2014 winners are:

Graduate of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.)
Sarah Marie Berndt, Milwaukee
B.S. Education, ’04

Berndt began her teaching career at Milwaukee’s Golda Meir School in 2004. In 2007, she was acknowledged as the Teacher of the Year by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators for her work strengthening youth leadership while bringing diverse cultures together. In 2010, she became the Spanish and technology teacher at Ronald W. Reagan College Preparatory International Baccalaureate High School in Milwaukee, where she engages in motivational activities to meet the needs of diverse learners. Berndt has transformed learning into fun yet challenging activities, resulting in outstanding student achievement and national recognition.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement
Brian King, Washington DC (Originally from Brownsville, Wis.)
B.A. Communication, ’88

While a student at Stritch, Brian King worked the front desk at the Glendale Residence Inn by Marriott, blocks from campus. Little did he know, this would eventually lead to a career in international business. King now serves as global brand officer for Marriott Endorsed Brands at Marriott International where he is responsible for brand positioning, long range strategy, marketing communications and product development for Marriott’s diverse portfolio of brands. He describes his task as "making Marriott the most sought after hotel brand in the world."

Spirit of St. Francis Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service
James Lindenberg, Delafield
M.B.A., ’93

James Lindenberg is one of southeastern Wisconsin’s best-known and successful entrepreneurs. In 1994, he launched a wire, cable and tubing manufacturing company, World Class Wire and Cable, building it into an industry leader within the first five years of operation. In 2008, Lindenberg sold World Class Wire and Cable to Anixter Inc. for $62 million. The following year, he purchased the Milwaukee Wave to keep the team in Milwaukee, and then created the Wave of Hope, a non-profit organization that supports local charities. His accomplished career has also included leadership and ownership positions with JML Holdings, Lindy Enterprises, and Legends of the Field.

Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: Alumni Service
Gerald Coon, Milwaukee
Ph.D. Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, ’08, M.B.A., ’11

Dr. Gerald Coon has dedicated his career to improving the quality of life for those with disabilities. Coon has served as the executive director of the St. Francis Children’s Center since 1999, where his commitment to children with special needs has led to expanded services in Milwaukee, as well as two additional counties. In 2013, the center received the Best Workplace Award from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His colleagues attribute this to his leadership and commitment to collaboration and inclusion. Prior to 1999, all of Coon’s professional positions focused on providing services for adults with disabilities, including his role as vice president of Ranch Community Services.

Spirit of St. Francis Service Award: University Supporter
Marlene Lauwasser, Mequon

Marlene Lauwasser began serving Stritch in 1982 as an administrator, helping develop Stritch's first adult degree programs and planting the seeds for what became the College of Business and Management. Lauwasser oversaw accounting, curriculum formatting, advertising, and marketing. Under her leadership, Stritch's adult programs enrolled 400 students in the first eight months. The programs not only achieved record enrollment, they also earned national visibility for the University’s innovative higher education formats for working adults.

The Mother Bartholomew, OSF Lifetime Achievement Award
Jeanette Mitchell, Milwaukee
Ed.D. Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, ’01

Dr. Jeanette Mitchell has spent her life serving Milwaukee and its residents. A dedicated community advocate, she is committed to the education and empowerment of youth, women and minorities. Her work and service encompass politics, education, philanthropy, business and non-profits. She currently serves as program director for Stritch’s Leadership Center, which she co-founded in 2001 and served as its first executive director. Mitchell has led efforts to develop highly successful management, diversity, leadership coaching, and advocacy programs.

The honorees will be recognized June 21. Showcasing the best of Stritch, this signature alumni event will begin with an outdoor cocktail reception (weather permitting) with President Dr. James P. Loftus and his wife, Irene Prior Loftus. A dinner and the presentation of the awards will follow in the Nancy Kendall Theater. For additional information, visit the Alumni Association online.

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