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. 

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.
 

Mary Jane Burke began her career in education in Marin County in 1975 as an Instructional Assistant and has gone on to serve as a Teacher, Principal, Special Education Director, Assistant Superintendent, and Deputy Superintendent.

In 1994, she was elected Marin County Superintendent of Schools, the first woman to serve in that role. Mary Jane is a voice for equity and opportunity. She is committed to ensuring that all students are given a strong start by receiving a quality 21st-century education to possess the knowledge, skills, and values needed for success. She has championed the SchoolsRule Marin effort focused on equity to raise funds for all students countywide to support technology, literacy, the arts, and health.

When the pandemic first started and schools closed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and community, Mary Jane had the foresight to begin to plan the re-entry of students back into classrooms when safe. Her drive to have students back in person was palpable. As an educator, she understands students need to be around peers, off devices, and physically in school for their overall wellbeing. Under Mary Jane’s leadership, Marin County has been the leader in the state when it comes to getting kids back into classrooms safely. 

The can-do attitude instilled in Mary Jane by the Dominican Sisters keeps her passion for education thriving - she holds four teaching credentials and is past-president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and the Dominican University of California Alumni Association. Mary Jane has served as a Trustee of Dominican University of California since 2004. We are proud to have presented Mary Jane Burke with the Sister M. Patricia Lyons, Distinguished Alumni Award.

 

  • 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.

Through storytelling, Kat Skiles has helped local, national, and global communities truly understand the disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her practice, Narrative Creative Agency, seeks to win the hearts and minds of voters by capturing the voices of the underserved and underrepresented. “I’ve always had a passion for storytelling and filmmaking,” Kat said. “When we’re talking about public policy and how it impacts the lives of others, it is really important to focus on people and what they’re going through. Video is a very compelling way to do that.”

Kat began her career on Capitol Hill, working for Congressman Henry Waxman and Congresswoman Jackie Speier. As she advanced in her career, Kat worked with Beto for America, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic National Committee, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Grace Meng, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Indivisible, and the Hub Project.

In 2020, Kat was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 influencers in government and politics. Previously, she was recognized as Washingtonian Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington” and as one of “The 20 Most Powerful Women Staffers on Capitol Hill” by National Journal. Currently, Kat is developing and filming “American Exceptionalism” – a documentary series on how COVID-19 has disproportionately and devastatingly affected the most vulnerable populations.

Congratulations to Kat for winning the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and thank you for amplifying the voices of the people. 

  • 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.

As Vice President for Advancement since 2016, Marly has brought a renewed energy to alumni relations and fundraising at Dominican. In 2018, she also took on the Public Affairs department: working with city, county, and state government, as well as external partnerships with nonprofits.

Marly Norris was appointed Dominican’s Campus COVID-19 Response Lead in July 2020, on top of her current role as Vice President for Advancement & Public Affairs. In this role, she oversaw health & safety updates to campus infrastructure, designed and rolled out a campus-wide testing program, and worked directly with county public health to plan Dominican's strategic response to the pandemic. Marly worked tirelessly to realign staff responsibilities to avoid furloughs and layoffs, advocated for student-athletes so that they would be able to have a season, and, most importantly, created a safe, healthy, transparent environment for the Dominican community.

Congratulations to Marly A. Norris for winning the Sister M. Aquinas Nimitz, Distinguished Service Award.

  • 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.

Amiya Powell-Hodge '11 has been working in Student and Residence Life since she was an undergraduate student. She has served in various roles, including ASDU president, Residence Hall Director, and Coordinator of the TORCH Program.

After completing graduate school and joining the Residence Life staff at USF and Loyola Marymount, Amiya remained a mentor, role model, and advocate for all students. Not only does Amiya empower her own students as they discover their voice and unique talents, but she cares deeply about underserved and marginalized communities within our society.

Amiya’s motivation to support Black Womxn learners and scholars set the stage for The Intention Co., a nonprofit which encourages others to set and achieve their goals. In addition to inspiring, motivating, and healing, The Intention Co. provides scholarships to Black Womxn who are motivated to manifest their intentions through encouragement, recognition, and financial support. It is without a doubt that Amiya is most deserving of the 2021 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.

  • 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)