On her 50th anniversary of graduating from college with a BA in American Civilization, Jean Smith Nelson ’72 was honored with the Sister M. Patricia Lyons, O.P. Distinguished Alumni Service Award on Saturday when Alumni Relations at Dominican University of California hosted Reunion Weekend in person for the first time in three years.
In addition to Smith Nelson, who was instrumental in driving the Sister Marie Sagues O.P. endowed scholarship, three other prominent Dominican contributors were honored. ExtraFood founder Marv Zauderer ’02 was presented with the Alumni Achievement Award; Director of Athletics Amy Henkelman was the recipient of the Sister M. Aquinas Nimitz O.P. Distinguished Service Award and former student-athlete Jessica Jones ’14, now a Registered Nurse at UCSF Medical Center, received the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award. Jessica's mother, Regina Cook, accepted the award for her daughter.
“We congratulate four phenomenal individuals who exemplify the Dominican ideals of Study, Reflection, Community, and Service through outstanding service to the university, strong commitment to their communities, or significant contributions to their professional field,” said Mark Jaime, Associate Director of Alumni Relations.
More than 200 alumni attended the two-day event. Because the pandemic prevented Dominican from having in-person gatherings on campus since 2019, Dominican’s Reunion Weekend 2022 gave special recognition to classes that ended in 0, 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7, led by the 50th anniversary of Dominican’s Class of 1972. That class was featured at the Golden Circle Dinner on Friday night at Edgehill Mansion.
On Saturday, Dominican reunion festivities included the Anniversary Luncheon and Awards Celebration on Meadowlands Hall lawn and an Occupational Therapy Alumni Reception at Meadowlands Assembly Hall where Dr. Ruth Ramsey, Dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences and founder of Dominican’s OT program, was the guest of honor upon her retirement at the University next month. Reunion Weekend on campus was capped by a dinner to celebrate the Class of 1962 in the Creekside Room and Golden Circle dinners in Edgehill Mansion for Dominican’s Classes of 1970 and 1971 who missed Reunion Weekend because of the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions. The Class of 1972 concluded its golden anniversary celebration on campus with a get together in the Hunt Room inside Meadowlands Hall Saturday evening.
Here are thumbnail bios of the four major award recipients for Dominican Reunion Weekend 2022:
- Jean Smith Nelson ’72 -- Jean is a tireless advocate for all things Dominican and wears her Penguin Pride for all to see. Jean graduated from Dominican in 1972 and has been a class representative for decades (one notable role of Jean's was serving on the Alumni Board of Directors). She was a regular volunteer for the annual Dominican Golf Classic and a member of the Penguin Booster Club. She has been known to don the Chilly mascot costume at athletic events to cheer on her beloved Penguins. As a retired executive administrator of the Marin Bocce Federation, she has been instrumental in assisting with Dominican’s annual bocce tournament, even taking home the trophy now and again. She is one of the catalysts for keeping the bonds of the Class of '72 as strong as they are and has been instrumental in driving the Sr. Marie Sagués O.P. endowed scholarship. Jean embodies the Dominican Ideals and shares them with delight.
- Marv Zauderer MS ’02 -- After earning undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Computer Science at UC Berkeley and Stanford and working in high tech, Marv came to Dominican to learn how to give back. With his master’s in Counseling Psychology, Marv launched not only a second career as a licensed psychotherapist, but also a third in 2013 as Founder and Executive Director of ExtraFood, a nonprofit whose mission is to help end hunger and wasted food in Marin County. He served as CEO until December 2021. Under Marv’s leadership, ExtraFood has rescued and delivered 5,542,469 pounds of food.
- Amy Henkelman -- Service is a core part of who Amy is - she goes above and beyond to serve the Dominican community at every opportunity. She ensures alumni remain involved in Penguin Athletics long after they graduate and that recent graduates know they always have a home at Dominican. The collaboration and support she provides across campus are unprecedented. Amy promotes the University every chance she gets, is genuinely proud of her students, alumni and staff, and always has a presence at Dominican functions where she lets her #PenguinPride shine. She is always willing to lend a listening ear, provide guidance, and help anyone get to where they want to go.
- Jessica Jones ’14 – Jessica, an RN at UCSF, works in a medical oncology unit that specializes in end-of-life care. She has won The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses for her outstanding nursing care and started the first unit-based Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council for adult care units. Jessica always goes above and beyond to provide equitable healthcare for patients of color and has already been promoted two times since starting her career five years ago. In her spare time, she coaches youth volleyball after she competed in volleyball for the Penguins for four years, from 2010-13, as they made their transition into NCAA Division II and the Pacific West Conference.
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Group photo above members of Dominican's Class of 1972 at Reunion Weekend 2022