The distinguished Caritas Medal is the highest award presented by the University to an alumna or alumnus of Spalding University or Nazareth College. The term Caritas comes from “Caritas Christi Urget Nos” (The Charity of Christ Urges Us), the motto of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. The honor embodies the philosophy, mission, and tradition at Spalding University.
The Caritas Medal is presented annually to a graduate who, within her/his community or on a national or international level, has made a significant contribution in some field (professional, cultural, religious, etc.) and who manifests the qualities encompassed in the ideal of charity.
Caritas Award Recipients
2012 Rosemarie Young, ‘94, Ed.D.
Dr. Rosemarie Young graduated from the first class of graduates of Spalding’s doctorate of educational leadership program in 1994. Her colleagues describe her as a visionary who clearly communicates her ideas of education for all. Dr. Young has proven herself as a determined and steadfast leader as an educator serving the Jefferson County Public School System. She is principal of Watson Lane Elementary School, where she has served since 1985.
Her leadership at Watson Lane has been recognized locally and nationally. She was recently named the 2012 Elementary Kentucky National Distinguished Principal and will be honored in Washington, DC by National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) in the fall. Previously she was named JCPS Elementary Administrator of the year award in 2003, and she was honored with the Milburn T. Maupin Leadership Award. As a principal, she inspires and motivates her peers to contribute professionally to the local educational landscape as well as the regional and national ones as well. While she sets high standards, she strives to be responsive to others needs and to maintain a healthy school environment.
Dr. Young’s leadership extends beyond Watson Lane. She has served as co-chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ Accomplished Principals Standards Committee and as the first Kentucky president of the 27,000-member organization, the National Association of Elementary School Principals. She is currently executive director of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals. She also volunteers with the South Dixie Community Development Council and the Boy Scout Learning for Life program.
2011 Elmer Lucille Allen, BS ‘53
Elmer Lucille Hammonds Allen is a scientist and artist, and a community treasure. Ms. Allen was born in Louisville, Ky. She is a graduate of Louisville’s Central High School, Nazareth College (now Spalding University) in 1953, and later post-retirement, a graduate of the University of Louisville with a Master of Arts degree in fiber and ceramics. In 1997 she retired as a Senior Analytical Chemist from Brown-Forman Worldwide Beverage Company. She was the first African American chemist at the company.
While she retired from the business and scientific world in the late 1990s, Ms. Allen’s career as an artist was beginning to blossom. Her first ceramic exhibition was at Portland Museum in 1997. She was President of the Kentucky Coalition for AFRO-American Arts, Inc. (now disbanded) for almost 10 years, during which time the organization implemented community art classes and public art projects. Since 2005, she has been the curator of Wayside Expressions Gallery, part of Wayside Christian Mission. She has exhibited work throughout the region and has had her work incorporated into many permanent collections of galleries and museums.
Her work and life have received media attention from Louisville Magazine and Today’s Woman magazine, and in the books Portraits of Grace by Marian T. Call and Joan Zehnder and Kentucky Women: Two Centuries of Indomitable Spirit and Vision edited by Eugenia K. Potter. In 2003 Nancy Gall-Clayton wrote a play about the life of Elmer Lucille Allen for Alice Moments: Echoes, Ripples and Light which was performed by the Pleiades Theatre Company at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.
She is a member of several organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Eta Omega Chapter; the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi; American Association of University Women; and Louisville Area of Fiber and Textile Artists. She has received numerous awards, including a 2007 Woman of Spunk award from Actors Theatre of Louisville; a 2004 Woman of Distinction award from Center for Women and Families; the 2004 Community Arts Lifetime Local Achievement Award from the Louisville Arts Council, Inc.; and the 1986 Governor’s Community Artists Award 2001 she was inducted into Jefferson County Office of Women’s Hall of Fame.
2010 Paula Travis BS ‘67, MA ‘80, EdD ‘95
Dr. Paula Travis, has been a strong advocate for Spalding since her time here as a student. For more than 20 years, Paula served on the nursing faculty of Spalding, and as a trustee for nine years on our Board of Trustees. In 2012 she returned to Spalding as chair of the School of Nursing. Prior to that she was Director of Nursing Services at Central State Hospital. Following her service on the faculty at Spalding, Dr. Travis joined the staff, where she serves as. She has worked tirelessly to provide humane and nurturing care to the patients at Central State, and around the Commonwealth. She models caring and compassion for her nursing staff, encouraging them to strive for excellence. She is dedicated to service in the realms of public health and compassionate care.
2009 Mary C. Pendleton BA ‘62
Mary C. Pendleton teaching career spans Presentation Academy, teaching in Tunisia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and assisting with job placement, youth opportunity and counseling service for the Kentucky Department for Human Resources, Job Corps, and Manpower Development Training Programs, as well as other vocational training programs.
Utilizing her extensive management expertise, she worked for the State Department and as an advisor to embassies across Europe. As the first Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Pendleton opened the first U.S. Embassythere. In Montreal, Canada, she led the U. S. Consulate, and also served in the U. S. Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco. Upon retirement in 2005, Ambassador Pendleton was honored with a Career Achievement Award from the Secretary of State.
2008 Cynthia Baughman MA ‘04
Cynthia Baughman has filled her life with a career spanning teaching, administration, and national educational committee service, as well as a dedication to and enthusiasm for Catholic education as an educator and administrator as Assumption High School for close to 30 years.
2007 Dr. Mary Burns, SCN BA ’61, MA ‘68
Dr. Mary T. Burns, SCN, embodies the spirit of service that is part of Spalding University’s heritage and mission, demonstrating humanitarianism throughout her life as a high school educatior and then as an administrator in the education department at Spalding. In 2000, she was honored for her contributions and dedication with the honorary title of Dean Emeritus of the School of Education.
2006 Frances Osbourn Brown BS ‘66
Frances Osbourn Brown taught in both the private and public school system from 1966 until 1999 when she retired. Frances was very active in her church, Annunciation Catholic Church in Shelbyville, also.
2005 Rebecca Rodenbaugh BS ‘46
Sister Rebecca Rodenbaugh was a part-time faculty member at Spalding from 1957-1965 and also taught at Presentation during this time. After 45 years of teaching, she retired in 1986 to the SCN motherhouse in Nazareth. Her retirement was brief for she learned of a ministry in Lebanon, VA that fulfilled her dream. An ecumenical group of persons from local hospitals, businesses and pastors of area churches formed The Christian Center in 1985 to help needy families who fell through the cracks and Sister accepted the position as Executive Director.
2004 Donna Kenney B.S. ‘68
Donna taught grade school from 1962-1968. She was also a social worker for three years under the auspices of Catholic Charities in Covington, KY. She served as a vice president of mission for CARITAS Health Services. Donna started Meals-on-Wheels program, which provides 140+ meals each day to the homebound in Louisville’s South End. She has served on Spalding University’s Board of Trustees for multiple terms.
2003 Donnita Travis B.A. ‘82
Donnita Travis was honroed for her compassion, industry, and altruism, and for her living the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. She founded advertising agencies in Louisville and in Chicago. After reaching the status of president of one of Chicago’s leading advertising agencies in 2000, Travis stepped down to devote her experience, time, and energy to fostering a learning environment for at-risk children in the Cabrini-Green projects. She began Kid’s Club, a volunteer after-school program. The Chicago Magazine named her a “Halftime Hero,” and she was named one of Chicago Women’s 100 women to watch in 1999.
2002 Mary Catherine Osbourn Wolford B.S. ‘59
Mary Catherine Osbourn Wolford was honored for her willingness to share her time, talent, and treasure with others. She is a retired educator from the New Albany-Floyd County, Ind. Schools. She is active member of the Spalding community having served on the Board of Overseers, the Board of Trustees and is actively involved in alumni activities. Mary Kay and her husband, Carl, reside in New Albany, Indiana where they are active members of the community.
2001 Marilyn Spink, S.C.N., B.S.N. ’66, Ed. S. ’78 Deceased
Throughout her life, Sister Spink has demonstrated caring concern for others and dedicated herself to filling the unmet needs for health-related services in our community. Her devotion to the sick and dying made her instrumental in starting the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Ministry to the Sick and Elderly and in forming the Hospice of Louisville and founding the hospices of Southern Indiana, Shelbyville, and Elizabethtown. She was active in creating AIDS ministries in the area including the Glade House, the first residence in Louisville to care for men with AIDS, Nazareth Home to AIDS patients, the first nursing home in Kentucky to care for victims of the disease, and the House of Ruth focusing on the needs of women, children, and families affected by AIDS.
2000 Donna Nelson Durning ‘59
Donna Nelson Durning taught students in Nashville, Jackson, Miss., Columbus, Ohio, New York City and Louisville, Ky. An active community volunteer and church member, her involvement with Spalding included participation in alumni functions, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Overseers.
1999 Martha Ann Yarber Driscoll ‘48
Martha Ann’s dedicated service in the Jefferson County Public Schools and Spalding University spans a forty-year period. A formere elementary school teacher, she served as adjunct faculty for Spalding from 1972 to 1996. She co-authored, among other publications, 27 reading skills activity workbooks. Upon retirement from Spalding in 1996, Martha was name Professor Emeritus. She believes and lives its mission of education, service and leadership.
1998 Brother Ignatius Perkins, O.P. BS ’73,MA ’81
As a Dominican Friar, Brother Ignatius Perkins has committed his life to service—to God and to the health and well-being of others through nursing and the education of nurses. He serves the larger church as consultant on comprehensive health care and health care ethics for bishops and heads of major religious communities. He has been especially committed to quality health care services provided to the homeless and to those with AIDS.
1997 Helen Bianchi Rothgerber ’67 and Harry J. Rothgerber ‘72
Helen Bianchi Rothgerber, BS ’67 Nazareth College and Harry J. Rothgerber, Jr., MA Spalding College ’72, both went on to earn other educational credentials and both have devoted their lives to the service of others, personally and professionally. After 28 years as a teacher, Helen is became the associate director of Family Ministries for the Archdiocese of Louisville. After 16 years as a public defender of juveniles, Harry became the first assistant to the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney.
1996 Paul Baker Whitty ’74
Paul has made extraordinary community contributions to the Celtic culture and Irish history through music, drama, and genealogy. He is active with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Caledonian Society, A highly successful law career, having been employed by prestigious law firms.
1995 Mary Woodford Johnson ‘70
Mary is an advocate for the disabled and a journalist. She helped to make housing and other vital services accessible to thousands who might otherwise not have been able to exercise the most basic human rights.
1994 Ruth Atkinson Snider ’65, M. ‘70* Deceased
A leader in Jefferson County child guidance activities and is employed by the Jefferson County School system. She is self-giving in meeting children’s needs traumatic and other. She is a mother of a Spalding graduate.
1993 Anne Rita Mauck, SCN ‘71
Anne has a dedicated and loving commitment to the education of dyslexic students at the DePaul School and an equally caring commitment to providing for the educational and personal development of staff members. She serves on the boards of Spalding University, Ecumenical Affairs for the Archdiocese, Our Lady of Peace Hospital, Presentation Academy, and NLBI.
1992 Kathryn Marcil Mershon ‘67
Kathy is the Senior Vice President of Administration at Humana and President and member of Board of Directors of Humana Health Institutes. In 1980, she became Humana’s first woman vice president of nursing. She is a member of the Medicare Prospective Payment Assessment Commission and the Board of Governors for the Federation of American Health Systems. In 1991, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing. She has published numerous articles regarding nursing and health care policies.
1991 Letitia Walter ‘57
A native of New Albany, Indiana, a teacher at St. Mary of the Knobs School, a Mason-Dixon games official, a city council leader, a member of the New Albany Board of Zoning, a member of the Floyd County Parks and Recreation Board, and she has the distinct honor of having a city park named for her. She is also a member of the Floyd Council for the Arts, the Business and Professional Women, serves on the parish council, and on the Board at Providence Retirement Home.
1990 Janet Dougherty, SCN ‘65
She is founder and has been director over the past 20 years of the Sister Visitor Program that provides food, monetary assistance and clothing for needy persons who visit the Center for help. The Center also extends outreach services to the sick and elderly by visiting them and providing transportation needs—all without any questions asked.
1989 Marilyn McHugh Hohmann ‘67
Marilyn is the principal at Fairdale High School, an education reformer at state and national levels, and a promoter of positive and productive relations between public and parochial school systems. Chair of the Kentucky Task Force on Academic Competition, which in 1985 created the Governor’s Cup Academic Competition that involves 25,000 students annually.
1988 Evelyn Catherine McGoff ‘69
Evelyn is a speech and hearing therapist at St. Joseph School for the Deaf in Bronx, New York. She enables deaf people to worship in community by “signing” the mass every Sunday and engages in numerous other activities to help the deaf and other handicapped persons.
1987 Mary Ransom Burke, SCN ’36 Deceased
She was Dean of Spalding University from 1950-1960, former Vicar-General of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, founded Spalding’s Communications Department in 1972, member of the pastoral team in Belize, Central America from 1982-1987, worked to improve the status of women in education, and established day care centers.
1986 Virginia Veeneman ’29 Deceased
Virginia is a former associate director of Girl Scouts in Louisville, a retired elementary school teacher, and an active worker for many charitable causes including the Indian Missions, International Federation of Catholic Alumnae, and Nazareth Home Guild.
1985 Mary Elinor Smith ’35 Deceased
A teacher, a staff aide with the Red Cross at Pearl Harbor during World War II, Dean of Women at Quincy College, and Dean of Women at the Catholic University of America from 1952 until her retirement. She is an interested and generous alumna.
1984 Mary Cecil Weyhing ’59
Mary received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1983. She was a special clinical instructor and field supervisor of graduate student interns at the School of Psychology Program at the University of Rhode Island. She is the mother of three sons suffering with muscular dystrophy and has publications on the subject of “Parental Reactions to Handicapped Children and Familial Adjustments to Routines of Care.”
1983 Martha Jesse Radike ‘41* Deceased
After raising six children, at the age of 45, she enrolled at the University of Cincinnati. In 1971, she earned a Master of Science Degree in Physiology and in 1974, a Doctor of Physiology in Cell Biology. An environmental specialist, she has done research on the cancer-producing effects of chronic human exposure to vinyl chloride and ethanol. She is the sister of Dr. Many Jane Jesse who received the Caritas Medal in 1975.
1982 Ester F. Bentley ’41 Deceased
Ester is a social worker and community organizer “par excellence.” She is the former director of the Kentucky Society for Crippled Children, a worker for the United Community Defense on the West Coast, and a community organization specialist with the Regional Center of Orange County, California serving the developmentally disabled.
1981 Eleanore A. Robertson ‘70
Eleanore is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Master of Education Degree from Spalding. Since 1976, she has been providing health service for American Indians throughout the western U.S. in various administrative capacities.
1980 Mary Paul Walsh, SCN ‘42* Deceased
Sister Mary has given four decades of devoted service to Spalding as Registrar, Director of Teacher Certification; as well as advisor, recruiter, and admissions officer. “Hundreds of graduates speak gratefully of the role she played in the attainment of their goals.”
1979 Beulah Fontaine ’44 Deceased
Beulah had a distinguished career in education. She started as a teacher in one-room schools and was the first women to be elected president of the Jefferson County Classroom Teachers’ Association. She also developed programs and criteria of educational quality for teachers.
1978 Mary Catherine Baseheart, SCN ‘31* Deceased
She is an outstanding teacher, advisor, and administrator and has devoted 18 years of leadership as Academic Dean of the college. She received the Grawemeyer Award as the outstanding college teacher in Kentucky.
1977 Donna Herp ’63 Deceased
Donna, though handicapped by cerebral palsy, has dedicated her life to improving the lot of the handicapped. She was the founder and executive director of ALPHA (Action League for Physically Handicapped Adults) and served as a Kentucky delegate to the national White House Conference on the handicapped.
1976 Gladys Chowning Wallace ’61 Deceased
Gladys discovered the Karaya treatment for chronic skin ulcers, which was hailed nationwide at the time as a breakthrough for all patients with this problem. After serving in the Army Nurse Corps and in Louisville hospitals, she became a consultant for the 3M Medical Products Division.
1975 Mary Jane Jesse, M.D. ’39 Deceased
Mary Jane is past chairman of the American Heart Association, a pediatric cardiologist, and a nationally known lecturer in her specialty. She recently retired from her post as vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami. She entered medical school at the age of 36 after working as a journalist on The Courier-Journal and as a WAVE radio show hostess.
1974 Margaret Mary Lyon ’49, M. ’70
She recruited and supervised volunteers at Ormsby Village and Central State Hospital for 12 years and a longtime principal in the local school system.
1973 Mary Emily Keenan, SCN, Ph.D. ‘23* Deceased
“A teacher-scholar of rare quality.” She taught at Spalding for 50 years, 20 of those years being spent as the chair of the Religious Studies Department. She received her doctorate from Catholic University in 1945-46 and is a “Dunbarton Oaks Fellow.” Her publications include studies of the Greek and Latin Church Fathers.
1972 Marie Mannix Keeling, M.D. ‘47* Deceased
Marie is a specialist in hematology and internal medicine and has combined teaching and research. She discovered “Hemoglobin Louisville” as reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 1970. She is married and has a daughter.
1971 Barbara Simmons Miller ’51 Deceased
Barbara is known as “the story telling lady.” She was cited as one of the most outstanding children’s librarians in the country. She instigated programs and activities designed to bring children into the library and to make books more attractive to them while head of the Children’s Department.
1970 Harry Ropke, Jr. and Ann Mattimore Ropke ’50,
(Harry A. Ropke, Jr. M. ’61 Deceased)
Cited for their achievements in civic affairs, in education, and in Christian living. They are the parents of four children and both have been active in Christian Family Movement. Harry was a principal in Jefferson County Schools for many years.
1969 Alma Lee Gaynor Haragan ’47 Deceased
She is the former director of Continuing Education at Spalding, the mother of six children, and active in community and church activities. “She makes living for others look like fun and makes civic participation seem like the latest fashion.”
1968 Mary Jane Mansfield Karem ’31 Deceased
Mary Jane was a law partner with her late husband, past president and secretary of the Jefferson County Woman Lawyers’ Association, and past president of the Catholic Theater Guild. She is the mother of two daughters and three sons. She was elected Louisville Business Woman of the Year in 1967.
1967 Mildred Dougherty ’42, M. ’50 Deceased
Mildred was a “dedicated individual who has given herself tirelessly to the field of public education.” She’s a former supervisor for Louisville Public Schools and present chair of the Caritas Committee.
1966 Ruth Donnelly ’43 Deceased
Ruth was the first woman in Louisville to be elected to an executive position in a bank. She was recognized for 20 years of service in the field of banking.
1965 Mary Anne Fueglein ’37 Deceased
Mary Anne dedicated her life to the problems of communication though her work as a speech therapist. She helped those who are unable to communicate effectively and has been instrumental in training others in this profession.
1964 Edna Henninger ’36 Deceased
Edna performed “heroically in two professions—teaching and nursing. She served as education director at the Louisville General Hospital and as liaison between the hospital and the college.
1963 Mary Benedict Clark ’29 Deceased
Mary was honored as Kentucky’s medical technologist of the year in 1961 and 1962. She was president of the Kentucky Medical Technology Society, Chair of its national convention, and trustee of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae.
1962 Eileen Sheehan Downs ’38 Deceased
Eileen is an exemplary Catholic mother and was responsible for “many functions of the lay apostolate becoming reality” in the Denver Archdiocese.
1961 Louise Kannapell ‘29* Deceased
Cited for her “rare gift of communicating to her students, her enthusiasm and love for humanities”, a longtime faculty member and head of the English Department, Louise receives her honorary degree for “outstanding merit and distinguished service.”