Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association presents four prestigious annual awards to honor deserving graduates, professors and friends of Dominican University of California. Honorees receive the awards during Reunion Weekend each year. 

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The Sister M. Patricia Lyons Distinguished Alumni Award

Established in 1982 in honor of Sister Patricia Lyons, O.P., who provided 33 years of outstanding service to Dominican as director of alumni relations, this award honors Alumni Association members who have distinguished themselves in the service of the University.
 

Ben Stricker ’95 is one of Dominican’s biggest cheerleaders, and he’s proven it in a variety of ways over the years. As founder of Penguinpalooza, an alumni reunion for graduates of the 1990s, Ben put a unique spin on Penguin Pride by inviting 90s alumni from all over the country back to San Rafael to stay in the dorms, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company. Ben’s DU spirit has always been evident - as an undergraduate, he was involved in student government, yearbook, and Penguin Radio. After leaving Dominican, he served on the Alumni Board of Directors twice. Today, Ben works as a public relations Lead for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He has an entrepreneurial mentality, strong business acumen, a positive “can-do” attitude, a fantastic sense of humor, and the ability to achieve impactful results for his team.

  • Jean Smith Nelson ’72 (2022)
  • Mary Jane Burke ’74, MS ’76 (2021)
  • Sister Margaret Diener ’70 (2020)
  • Gloria Sun Hom ’62 (2019)
  • Susan Johann Gilardi ’68 (2018)
  • The Bradley Sisters ’60 - ’67 (2017)
  • Pepe Gonzales ’02 (2016)
  • Joy Phoenix ’93 (2015)
  • Loraine Barry ’86 (2014)
  • Sr. Maureen McInerney ’68 (2013)
  • Virginia Murillo ’52 (2012)
  • Joan McDonald ’61 (2011)
  • Sheila Doyle Kiernan ’48 (2010)
  • Olga Malati Dollar ’39 (2009)
  • Mary Grandin ’50 (2008)
  • Winifred Coleman ’57 (2007)
  • Sister Marie Sagues ’51 (2006)
  • Amy Bjorklund Reeder ’90 (2005)
  • Sister Francis de Sales Taggart ’40 (2004)
  • Mark A. Jordan ’75 (2003)
  • Virginia Formichi ’47 (2002)
  • Genevieve Murphy Moore ’81 (2001)
  • Elizabeth Purcell ’69 (2000)
  • Stephanie Bulich ’72 (1999)
  • Judith Dicks O’Toole ’68 (1998)
  • Jacqueline McDonald Tarantino ’68 (1997)
  • Patricia Cribben Dreier ’44 (1996)
  • Mary Kilkenny Glendening ’50 (1995)
  • Miriam Anne Detert ’47 (1994)
  • Mary Helen Power Fairchild ’48 (1993)
  • Cecile Granjean Volin ’37 (1992)
  • Elizabeth Jewell Girard ’30 (1991)
  • Patricia Farbstein McGrath ’55 (1990)
  • Veronica Shannon Angwin ’39 (1989)
  • Patricia Rennie Dahl ’61 (1988)
  • Patricia Bannan Cruden ’40 (1987)
  • Patricia Sweeney Jackson ’36 (1986)
  • Iris Campodonico Pera ’58 (1985)
  • Catherine Geary Sweeny ’39 (1984)
  • Alicia McEvoy ’28 (1983)
  • Geraldine Mulcahy ’28 (1983)
  • Sister M. Patricia Lyons, O.P. ’37 (1982)

The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Established in 1995, this award recognizes alumni who exemplify the Dominican values of study, community, reflection and service through significant contributions to their professional fields and consistent service to the University.

Chris recently retired from the US Army Corps of Engineers as manager of the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito after 40 years of service. During this time, she served as chair and member on the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, and YMCA boards. Outside of this critical work, she has also been a volunteer at the Marin Humane Society for over 22 years, founder of Sausalito’s Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS), President of the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, served on boards of community organizations such as Marin Literacy, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Call of the Sea, and so much more. As a former Alumni Board member at Dominican and founder of Dominican’s Women Leadership and Philanthropy Council (WLPC), she embodies the values of Dominican in the way she has dedicated a large portion of her life to community service and university leadership. Chris’ impressive achievements have proven to enhance every community she encounters.

  • Marv Zauderer, MS ’02 (2022)
  • Kat Skiles ’07 (2021)
  • Dr. Julie Jordan ’75 (2020)
  • Theodore “Skip” Kniesche ’91 (2019)
  • Jennifer Morrissey ’88 (2018)
  • Maureen Sedonaen ’08 (2017)
  • Major General Angela Salinas ’76 (2016)
  • Mary Jane Burke ’74 (2015)
  • Sister Gervaise Valpey ’61 (2014)
  • Sarah “Sally” Duque ’51 (1999)
  • Elizabeth Devereaux ’64 (1999)
  • Ms. Kathleen Lyons Tierney ’67 (1998)
  • Sister M. Martin Barry, O.P., ’25 (1998)
  • Rose Anne Campbell ’87 (1997)
  • Signe Pollack Sugiyama ’84, MA ’87 (1997)
  • Hollie Selfridge, ’94 (1997)
  • Jesus Campos, ’92 (1997)
  • Laurie Lynch Meyer, ’69 (1997)
  • Louis A. Botto, MM ’77 (1997)
  • Leslie Ross ’78 (1996)
  • Heidi Price ’85 (1996)
  • Patricia Garbarino ’77 BA Education ’78 Credential #1 & #2 ‘81 MS ‘83 (1996)
  • Teresa D. Campos ’87 (1996)
  • Paul Douglas Maxwell ’73 (1996)
  • Xiangjie Luo ’90 MBA (1996)
  • Eileen Bach-y-Rita ’78 (1996)
  • Virginia Formichi ’46 (1996)
  • Edward Cunningham MA ’66 (1996)
  • Marvell C. Allen ’70 (1995)
  • Mark A. Jordan 1975 (1995)
  • Mary Jane Burke ’74, MA ’76 (1995)
  • Patricia M. Grasso MS ’82 (1995)
  • Idgi R. D’Andrea ’79 (1995)
  • Gay Lynn Bremer-Richards ’87 (1995)
  • Peggy Glockner Hartshorn ’69 (1995)
  • Kathryn Wilen Hobart ’75 (1995)
  • Theodosia S. Robertson ’67 (1995)
  • Barry Caparoso ’76 (1995)
  • Meg Caparoso ’75 (1995)

Sister M. Aquinas Nimitz, O.P. Distinguished Service Award

Established in 2006 in recognition of Sister M. Aquinas Nimitz’s 42 years of service to the university, this award honors those who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service, commitment and dedication to all members of the Dominican community.

Dr. Christopher Leeds’ is widely known for supporting students and alumni as both the Dominican Faculty Athletic Representative and Professor of Management in the Barowsky School of Business. He goes the extra mile to maintain connections with former Penguins and continues to call upon alumni when their talents and advice can be helpful to current students. In Dr. Leeds’ 20+ years at Dominican, he has touched the lives of countless students by challenging them to pursue their dreams, lending an ear, and providing thoughtful references. The University is lucky that Chris prefers to drive a convertible and wear socks with sandals year-round—preferences that fit perfectly with the culture and climate of Dominican.

For 27 years, Dr. Christian Dean has been an integral part of the Dominican community. As a political science professor, Chair of the Politics and International Studies Department from 1998-2008, and founder of DU’s Debate Program, he strongly emphasizes thinking critically, arguing respectfully and passionately, and writing persuasively. Christian continues to support his students post-Dominican, providing encouragement and thoughtful references to those pursuing graduate and doctoral programs. He has served on numerous campus-wide committees where he provided valuable insight, worked hard to solve problems, and contributed to curricular revisions. He was also the former Dominican Faculty Athletic Representative before his fellow award winner Dr. Chris Leeds. Christian’s passion for learning and academic excellence is contagious and encourages students and alumni to set the bar high, work hard at a task, and continue to improve.

  • Amy Henkelman (2022)
  • Marly Norris (2021)
  • Dr. Ruth Ramsey (2020)
  • Michael Henkes (2019)
  • Dr. Margaret Golden (2018)
  • Willie Long (2017)
  • Paul Raccanello ’96 (2016)
  • LeeAnn Bartolini ’79 (2015)
  • Robin Daly (2013)
  • Sr. Marie Sagues ’51 (2013)
  • Dr. John F. Kennedy (2012)
  • Dr. James Deitz (2012)
  • Dr. Joseph R. Fink (2011)
  • Dr. Sherry Volk (2010)
  • Dr. Francoise Lepage (2010)
  • Sr. Carla Kovack ’69 (2009)
  • Fr. Robert Haberman (2009)
  • Dr. Philip Novak (2008)
  • Mary Jane Baird (2008)
  • Dr. Denise Lucy (2007)
  • Claire Cumings (2007)
  • Dr. James Boitano (2006)
  • Maria McKinney (2006)

Outstanding Recent Graduate

This award recognizes Dominican alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years. Honorees exemplify our values of study, community, reflection and service through their work in their communities, professions and other endeavors.

Erika transferred to Dominican from College of Marin to study for dual majors in political science and history with a pre-law minor. During her time as an undergraduate student, she held numerous leadership roles in student organizations and honor societies, as well as gained insight and experience while traveling with faculty and staff to Croatia, France, Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, and El Salvador. These opportunities helped inspire her career goals as the founder of E.R.S. Immigration Services and fueled her admirable focus on community. While providing honest and valuable services to her clients navigating complex immigration policies and procedures, Erika has also championed alongside alumna Maria Álvarez Pineda ’20 to develop and fund the First-Generation Scholarship for Dominican students. Their combined goal is to help students stay in school, not worry too much about the financial aspect, and enjoy their college years as much as possible. Friends describe Erika as the “hardest-working” and “kindest person” who continuously betters the lives of those she encounters.

Maria’s experiences studying abroad and working on research alongside faculty mentors while attending Dominican prepared her for the rigors of graduate school at UC Berkeley, where she earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Global Health and Environment. She continues to embody the Dominican mission and values post-grad in her volunteering, advocacy, and career. In the past year, Maria helped establish the First-Generation Scholarship for Dominican students and continues participating and volunteering on campus. Maria (alongside First-Generation Scholarship co-founder Erika Rósales-Shelfo ’17) serves the community through her work at E.R.S. Immigration Services by guiding clients through services such as family petitions, work permits, asylum packages, and naturalization. Maria’s friends describe her as extremely dedicated and always ready to help and contribute in any way possible.

  • Jessica Jones ’14 (2022)
  • Amiya Powell-Hodge ’11 (2021)
  • Casey Lee Thorne ’10 (2020)
  • Adrienne Jose ’13 (2019)
  • Oscar O'Con Jr. ’17 (2019)
  • Darcel Sanders ’09 (2018)
  • Maureen "Mo" de Nieva-Marsh ’07 (2017)
  • Gigi Gillard '06 & ’07 MBA (2016)
  • Gabrielle Pecora ’11 (2015)
  • Valerie Jane Chua ’08 (2015)