2005 AWARD WINNERS
Jacqueline Woods, known best as Jacci, earned her Marygrove degree in business administration, summa cum laude, as a mature student while balancing professional, volunteer and family responsibilities.
She has taken the Marygrove values of compassion, competence and commitment to the workplace as well as applied them in her personal life. Among her responsibilities as director of public relations and community affairs for the MotorCity Casino, she plans and implements outreach programs. She developed “MotorCity Helping Hands,” an umbrella under which employees participate in Habitat for Humanity, Gleaners Community Food Banks, Don Bosco Home, Mariners Inn, Alternatives for Girls, Children’s Hospital and others. She personally has volunteered at several of these agencies as well as others.
“Jacci finds particular gratification in that MotorCity Casino was the first to sponsor the American Cancer Society’s ‘Relay for Life,’ an event on casino property,” says Veronica Woods ‘86, mother of Jacci Woods. Previously these events were held in public areas such as parks. However, after much persuasion, she was able to convince the Society to use the casino property for the relay. Due to its success, the Cancer Society now uses the casino’s event criteria as a model for events on other corporate properties.”
“It is a rare life that is dedicated to social justice,” said Deborah White Burke ’70 of her college roommate and friend Kathy Kaiser.
That describes the life of Kaiser since she followed up her Marygrove degree in Social Work with a Master’s in Social Work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She has been a licensed clinical social worker in Illinois for more than 15 years, counseling adults and children, including those referred from the Department of Family Services.
Kaiser joined Gamaliel Foundation, an organization known for rigorous training in community organizing with a faith-based approach. Her particular mission as a community organizer has been to improve funding for education in the State of Illinois.
Since the early l980s, Kaiser has been active in JACOB, the Joliet Area Church-based Organized Body, through her parish, Sacred Heart Catholic Church. JACOB advocates and acts on a number of social justice issues. Through JACOB, Kaiser was instrumental in establishing the Covenant Scholarship program for Jobs and Education, which provides up to $3,000 in financial assistance to needy students from member congregations to attend Lewis University or the University of St. Francis, both in Joliet. She also chairs the Covenant Scholarship program, now ten years old. It has a 97 percent graduation rate.
“Marygrove can be particularly proud of Lorraine Ozar’s concentration on Catholic education as her arena. Catholic schools play such an important part in the faith development of our young people,” says Margaret Dixon Kronk ’68, a classmate and lifelong friend.
Two years ago, Dr. Ozar, a nationally known scholar in curriculum and instruction in Catholic schools, was appointed founding director of the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness (CCSE) at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Education where she is an associate professor. The center emerged from her consulting experience with more than 40 dioceses in the United States as well as “think tank” work with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the Jesuit Secondary Education Association (JSEA). Dr. Ozar already has attracted substantial grant funding to realize the center’s objectives: providing high quality professional development for teachers in Catholic schools and conducting related field research. The center plans to publish curriculum and instructional material and develop an educational laboratory for graduate students interested in careers in Catholic schools. She notes that in today’s highly competitive education market, Catholic schools need to offer top-notch academic programs within their faith-based context.
Immediately after graduation from Marygrove, Rosemary DeLaurentiis Blaszkiewicz undertook what was to be a life mission: teaching the blind and helping their families. Though retired from teaching, it is what she continues to do to this day.
However, the defining moment that set Blaszkiewicz on this path came much earlier. She remembers the exact day in seventh grade at Holy Redeemer, Detroit. “Sister Annacletus, IHM, put up a vocation bulletin board. I pored over the choices and was immediately drawn to the section on Special Education for the Blind. I decided on my future that very day,” says Blaskiewicz.
Richard Clay, who has been totally blind since age two, writes, “The commitment and professionalism that Mrs. Blaszkiewicz radiated as my high school (Northwestern) teacher consultant had a profound impact on my personal development. Her unyielding support and guidance during this scary transitional period motivated me to continue to excel academically and enabled me to graduate in l990 as my school’s valedictorian.”
“A good model for life is to leave everything a little better than when it was found. Nothing flashy, just a little better.” This statement was one of the endorsements for Mary Anderson Walker’s nomination for the Governor’s Service Award she received earlier this year. Her life demonstrates her philosophy.
Since returning to Michigan in 1992, Walker has served with Hospice as a patient volunteer, board member and in-service coordinator, and helped provide training for new patient volunteers. “Becoming part of a hospice patient’s last journey is a moving experience. The dying process can be bluntly physical or beautifully spiritual…usually it is a combination of both,” says the always compassionate Walker.
Classmate Therese Bluhm says she learned of Walker’s charitable activities only when asked “…for a contribution for a blackboard in Guatemala, a tree at Marygrove, cash for the Grass River Natural Area, a gift for a sister at the motherhouse, help in planting gardening areas around civic buildings in Kalkaska, or by listening to her adventures in picking up trash along the highways and byways in Michigan and North Carolina.”
A petite dynamo, impeccably turned out, Nettie Harris Seabrooks has risen to the top in every enterprise she has tackled. Her successes have come from hard work and by anticipating the next step or need and, most importantly, by following her personal motto: “Integrity in everything I do is basic to everything else. Also, I stand on my word.”
In l991, during the exploratory phase of his eventual run for mayor, Dennis Archer “…reached out to Nettie Seabrooks, because of her intellect and scholarship, to assist in analyzing the problems, to assist in developing solutions and then to help communicate our findings to the voting public, the metropolitan area and citizens of Michigan. We held a series of public forums and my announcement as a mayoral candidate at Marygrove College.”
When he was elected in l992, Mayor Archer asked Seabrooks to join his team. She served first as Mayor Archer’s Deputy Mayor, then as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer, the first woman to take on these responsibilities. She left behind a distinguished career that spanned 31 years at General Motors, the first African American woman executive at the company. Seabrook’s path led to GM when, unable to find a job in the chemistry field, she earned a Masters in Library Science at the University of Michigan. She had heeded the advice of Dr. George Brewer, chairman of the Marygrove Chemistry Department, who told her, “There is so much need there; they won’t worry about your race.” Her Marygrove Bachelor’s degree was in Chemistry.
To say that Edee Joppich is into the arts is quite an understatement. An unusually gifted watercolorist and collage artist, she also juries art exhibits, presents effective workshops, conducts two very popular Campedee residential arts programs at a Lake Leelenau lodge each June and September, plans and directs a travel program for artists and has operated Joppich’s Bay Street Gallery for 25 years in Northport, Michigan. She feels each aspect of her career as an artist enriches all the other aspects, as well as gives her the freedom to do her own work without compromising her integrity.
Her reach as an artist is extensive and includes 40 one-person shows and participation in more than l60 juried shows resulting in numerous awards. Her paintings have been purchased for many corporate collections including Ford Motor Company, Pennzoil, Masco, MichCon, Campbell Ewald and a number of major hospitals as well as private collections across the United States. In the 1970s, Joppich was co-partner in a corporate art consulting firm, providing original works of art for corporate facilities and five Michigan hospitals. In 1980, she opened Joppich’s Bay Street Gallery, selecting works by 50 outstanding Michigan artists for display and sale each summer. In 2000, she began showing her own work in the gallery along with a few invited guest artists.