The spirit of Mount Mary was alive at the annual Awards Celebration on Saturday, April 9! Over 100 guests gathered to recognize and honor three of our most distinguished alumnae for their professional accomplishments, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame who've watched their mission of educating the whole person come to life through the founding of Mount Mary.

Congratulations to all our award winners!

Michelle Kozeniecki '12 – Tower Award Recipient

  > See Michelle's Video

Mary Ellen Dallman '69Madonna Medal for Professional Excellence Recipient

  > See Mary Ellen's Video

Debra M. Dosemagen '98Madonna Medal for Professional Excellence Recipient

  > See Debra's Video

School Sisters of Notre Dame President's Award of Distinction Recipient

  > See SSND's Video


Meet the Recipients

Michelle Kozeniecki '12 – Tower Award Recipient

mmu_kozeniecki_tower.jpgAs a college student at UW Madison, Michelle Kozeniecki found herself eating more convenience foods like Uncle Ben bowls, not realizing that these would eventually determine her major (Dietetics). She wondered if these quick meals were unhealthy for her, so she enrolled in her first nutritional sciences class to find the answer, and also began her journey of learning about health and wellness. Kozeniecki graduated from Mount Mary University in 2012 with her Masters of Science in Dietetics. She is now the Lead Clinical Dietitian at Froedtert Hospital, and covers the Medical and Transplant ICUs.

In her role at Froedtert Hospital, Kozeniecki participates in several committees, research, and quality improvement projects. Outside of work, she is an active member of several profesional organizations and serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. She is a sought after teacher who has lectured at Cardinal Stritch University and Concordia University, and recently taught Adult Nutrition Support in the graduate program at Mount Mary University. Kozeniecki was recognized in 2016 as “Young Dietitian of the year” by the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and received ASPEN's Distinguished Nutrition Support Dietitian, Advanced Clinical Practice Award in 2020.

Kozeniecki decided that Mount Mary was the right fit for her as a working woman who needed the flexibility to pursue education while establishing a career. As a student at Mount Mary, Kozeniecki gained valuable insight from a professor who encouraged her to choose projects on topics she is passionate about. Being a student at Mount Mary University also motivated Kozeniecki to teach, where she is able to engage students with real life examples of nutrition in clinical practice.

Kozeniecki plans to continue researching, presenting on, and teaching the next generation about nutrition support. It is with honor that she receives this award, as she continues to show recognizable dedication towards her work and students.

Mary Ellen Dallman '69 – Madonna Medal for Professional Excellence Recipient

mmu_dallmann_madonna.jpgMary Ellen Dallman had her heart set on teaching early in life and served as a teacher and educational administrator for over 40 years. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education and Art from Mount Mary College in 1969. She was awarded an M.Ed. in Montessori pre-primary Education from Xavier University in 1973. She later accepted a fellowship and earned her Ed.D. in Secondary and Higher Education from Ball State University in 1983.

Mary Ellen has been instrumental in the creation of non-profit child care centers in Cincinnati, OH, Wheeling, WV, and Plattsburgh, NY. Additionally, she was responsible for the development and oversight of numerous centers for corporate clients such as the United Nations Children’s Center, L’Enfant Plaza, and Bayer USA.

Mary Ellen has been recognized for her educational leadership. She was recognized by Valdosta University (Georgia) in 2011 with awards for “Excellence in Service” for her leadership in several campus initiatives including the Hispanic Student Recruitment Conference and the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. This award also recognized her state-wide service that included revision of the Georgia Early Learning Standards and service as a member of the Professional Standards Commission’s Board of Examiners.

Beyond the campus, Mary Ellen served as a National Association for the Education of Young Children Program Validator, on the Coastal Plain Area EOA Head Start Health and Education Advisory Committees, and continues as a Forever Friends Board member.

Known for her commitment to excellence and advancing career pathways for others, Mary Ellen was chosen for leadership roles within the University System of Georgia’s (USG) 3-year “Teacher Quality Enhancement” and 5-year “College Access Challenge Grant” initiatives. These grant activities resulted in permanent and systemic changes within all USG colleges and universities, including formation of the Regents Advisory Committee on Adult Learners, creation of eMajor—USG’s first fully online collaborative degree, and passage of Board of Regents’ POLICY 3.3.6, Academic Credit Earned Through Extra-Institutional and Prior Learning.

In addition to Mount Mary providing Mary Ellen the opportunity to form strong, 50+ year friendships, it was here she became a change agent who embodies Mount Mary’s core values – Competence, Community, Compassion, and Commitment. Mary Ellen urges others to believe in themselves and have confidence that they can do anything that is truly worthwhile. Her hope is that the work she does benefits others more than herself, creating a worthy legacy from the life she lives.

Debra M. Dosemagen '98 – Madonna Medal for Professional Excellence Recipient

mmu_dosemagen_madonna_2.jpgAs a lover of learning, teaching was appealing to Debra (Deb) Dosemagen. Her curiosity led her to pursue a life that would impact others through education. Graduating from Mount Mary in 1998 with her Master’s degree in Education: Professional Development, Dosemagen later obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Policy & Leadership from Marquette University. Not only did she attend Mount Mary but she also teaches at the University. Over the years her teaching ranged from mathematics to various courses in Instructional Strategies, working with students seeking state teacher certification and graduate students earning a masters’ degree. Dosemagen has served as chair of Mount Mary’s Education Department for over 15 years, allowing her the opportunity to impact many who have come through the University and the Education Department.

Along with other members of the Mount Mary community, Deb had the opportunity to participate in the GE Menlo Experiences directed by Doug Dietz. Since that time, Dosemagen has co-facilitated design thinking workshops for the Mount Mary community as well as for several area high schools. Over the years, she has been recognized at Mount Mary with the Teaching Excellence Award and the SSND Heritage Award.

Prior to her work at Mount Mary, for 23 years, Deb taught mathematics and psychology at Pius XI Catholic High School, where she also served as Director of Instruction. In 2000, Deb was certified in mathematics by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Along with National Board-Certified Teachers from across the state, Deb collaborated to launch the Wisconsin National Board Network and support other teachers seeking the certification and the designation as an “accomplished teacher.” As part of the network, Dosemagen and her colleagues gave presentations and met with legislators in Washington, D.C. to promote this significant professional development opportunity.

Dosemagen currently serves on several boards including the Burke Foundation, The Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee, as well as the Education Committees of both Notre Dame Schools of Milwaukee and Messmer Catholic Schools. She is a past member of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Professional Standards Council, the Board of Notre Dame Schools of Milwaukee, and the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium. She has been an on-going contributor to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Catholic schools through regular presentations on the topics of mathematics education, high school theology education, curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Dr. Eileen Schwalbach, former president of Mount Mary, continually encouraged Dosemagen during her career. Schwalbach’s mentorship led Dosemagen to become Director of Mount Mary’s Education Master’s Program and later Chair of the Education Department. With additional encouragement from the SSNDs, such as the late Sister Ellen Lorenz, she learned to nurture relationships and to fully appreciate Mount Mary’s core values of community, compassion, competence, and commitment.

Dosemagen is committed to continuing to sharpen her skills as an educator and a contributor to the Mount Mary University community.

School Sisters of Notre Dame President's Award of Distinction Recipient

mmu_ssnd_award.jpgThe School Sisters of Notre Dame are more than our founders and current sponsors. Their charism is deeply embedded into every aspect of Mount Mary University.

Mother Theresa’s revolutionary commitment to the education of girls and young women as a means for transforming the world, her attention to their intellectual excellence and development of character, remain the essence of a Mount Mary education: virtus et scientia.

Mother Caroline Friess, who established the first motherhouse in North America in Milwaukee in 1850, set about educating young women, founding St. Mary’s Institute, a first step towards the thriving university we are today. Mother Caroline’s belief in educating the whole person and serving those on the margins of society lives on in our mission to encourage leadership, integrity and a deep sense of social justice, and to educate women of diverse ages and personal circumstances.

Hundreds of individual sisters have given so much of themselves to us. Six hundred and eighty-nine (689) School Sisters of Notre Dame served Mount Mary over the years. Highlighting just a few from recent years, we remember:

  • Sister Aloyse Hessburg, instrumental in creating the nation’s first four-year fashion program at Mount Mary in 1965, serving it for more than 50 years. She conceived of our fashion archive, now a treasure-trove of more than 10,000 items transformed into a digital resource for scholars, designers and students across the world;
  • A “humorous, self-deprecating and true master of her craft,” as a 1967 Wisconsin Architect article described award-winning artist Sister Mary Remy Revor. She was renowned for her colorful textiles of silk, wool or linen, and taught our art students for 40 years;
  • Sister Mary Hester Valentine, who taught English at Mount Mary almost 50 years. In 1976, she translated 5,337 letters and documents of Mother Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger to support Mother Theresa’s beatification and make her words available to future generations;
  • Trailblazing educator Sister Ellen Lorenz and Mount Mary’s sixth president. She initiated and developed our core curriculum and its foundational course, “Search for Meaning.” She led several initiatives to make Mount Mary accessible to all, regardless of status or background. Today Mount Mary is recognized as one of the two most diverse schools of higher education in the Midwest.

Many more sisters than can be named here have transformed the lives of their students through the love and respect they extended to each one. Many still have deep connections to alumnae from decades before.

As an organization, the sisters make us stronger. Over the years, they have shared their valuable wisdom on our committees and on the board. During tough years, they supported us financially. Mother Kostka mortgaged all their property to purchase an 80-acre farm that is now our campus. A few weeks after it opened in 1929, the stock market crashed. To keep their infant institution alive, they slept in their classrooms so more students could use the dorms.

In 2018, they blessed Mount Mary University with their North American Archives, 185 years of archival history from across the United States and Canada. And now when they decided to move their motherhouse from Elm Grove, they chose Mount Mary as their new home, and entered into the new partnership – all making our university stronger for the future. Sister Mary Alyce Lach is already pulling together sisters to read to the children!

It is with boundless gratitude that we award the 2022 President’s Award to the School Sisters of Notre Dame. We thank you and are proud to carry on your legacy.


Each year, Mount Mary selects its most distinguished alumnae to receive a Madonna Medal or Tower Award (15 years of graduation) to honor them and recognize their outstanding achievements. Awardees are selected based on their dedication to their profession or volunteerism, as well as their unique impact on the community. Mount Mary also recognizes an individual, organization or foundation for its support of the University with the President's Award of Distinction.

You can learn more about the alumnae awards on the nominations page.