Mount Mary University Alumnae Recognized for Outstanding Achievements

Mount Mary University Alumnae Association Awards 2013 Madonna Medal and Tower Awards

MILWAUKEE (October 18, 2013) -The Mount Mary University Alumnae Association awarded its 2013 Madonna Medal and Tower Awards to Linda Steel Barrington, Jana Janesko Champion, Winifred Gardner Ligda, Sister Edna Lonergan, OSF, and Jacqueline Lichter, Ph.D., at the University's 2013 Alumnae Reunion Awards Reception and Dinner held Friday, October 11 at the University Club in Milwaukee. The Madonna Medal Award is bestowed annually to alumnae who excel in professional achievement, service to the community or service to the University. The Tower Award for Excellence recognizes alumnae who have graduated within the past 15 years and exemplify the University's core values.

"We're honored to recognize these outstanding alumnae," stated Mount Mary University President, Dr. Eileen Schwalbach. "Their contributions in their communities and professions exemplify our focus on developing women leaders who make a difference," she added.

Three women received the Madonna Award for Professional Excellence:

lindabarrington_web.jpgLinda Steel Barrington, Brookfield, WI, graduated from Mount Mary University in 1970 with a degree in B.A. degree in English. She earned her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

For 32 years, Barrington taught English and journalism and advised the student newspaper at Wauwatosa East High School. After retiring from East, she joined Mount Mary as an adjunct instructor in the Education Department and serves as a design advisor to Arches, the University’s student newspaper, which has won several regional and national awards under her leadership.

Barrington has been recognized with a number of prestigious awards, including a: Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journalism Education Association; Gold Key Award presented by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association; Newspaper Adviser of the Year from the Kettle Moraine Press Association; and Special Recognition Adviser from the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund.

janajaneskochampion_web.jpgJana Janesko Champion, Hartford, WI, graduated from Mount Mary University in 1984 with a B.S. in Chemistry and is a Certified Public Manager through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout her career, she’s blazed a trail for women. She was the first female analyst hired by the Drug Enforcement Agency-North Central Regional Laboratory and is now the Laboratory Director for the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, another first for a woman.

Janesko has successfully blended her knowledge of science, law and justice and has been heralded by the Attorney General of Wisconsin as a tremendous asset to the Wisconsin Department of Justice and citizens of the state. She’s also been recognized by her peers across the country for her invaluable contributions and leadership in various forensic organizations.

Janesko has supported Mount Mary throughout the years, offering internship opportunities at the crime lab to students, serving as a professional mentor and sharing her experience and insight at the Leadership Institute Panel and “The Faces of Success—Ethical Courage and Leadership” spring forum.

srednalonergan_web.jpgSister Edna Lonergan, OSF, Milwaukee, WI, graduated from Mount Mary University in 1975 with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy and later earned her M.S. in Aging from North Texas State University. Eight years after graduating from Mount Mary, Sister Lonergan founded the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care to provide community-based health and educational services for children and frail adults and to serve as a resource and support for caregivers.

The Center and Sister Lonergan have received numerous accolades throughout the years, including the prestigious Intergenerational Shared Site Best Practices Award from Generations United in Washington, D.C. in 2008 and 2009. She’s been actively involved in the Milwaukee community for more than three decades as chair of the Milwaukee County Commission on Aging and a member of the Rotary Club, where she led a program that encourages members to participate in volunteer events and projects. She’s also taken on several national and international initiatives focused on the needs of aging adults.

Sister Lonergan celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a nun this past summer, and lives out her ministry with skill and great love for the people she serves.

The Madonna Award for Community Service recipient:

winnieligda_web.jpgWinifred Gardner Ligda, Evergreen Park, IL, graduated from Mount Mary University in 1963 with a B.S. in Education. Ligda went on to earn her M.S. in Education from Chicago State University and, as part of her personal commitment to lifelong learning, took additional coursework through Saint Xavier University.

For more than 35 years, she served the Chicago Board of Education as a teacher and librarian. However, it is Ligda’s dedication and service to her community that distinguishes her. For countless years, she has volunteered in various capacities at Most Holy Redeemer parish, including as a lector, Eucharistic minister, RCIA catechist, and a member of the liturgy team. She is a member of Most Holy Redeemer School’s Religion Advisory Board, and has participated in several programs within her parish. Additionally, Ligda was a participant of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Called and Gifted Lay Ministry program, which allowed her to explore lay ministry and spirituality.

She is the recipient of several honors, including the 1998 Woman of the Year and the 2005 Parish Service Awards from Most Holy Redeemer Parish, the 2005 Christifideles Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the 2008 Catherine McAuley Leadership Award from Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.

The Tower Award of Excellence recipient:

jacquelinelichter_web.jpgJacqueline Lichter, Ph.D., Muskego, WI, received her M.A. in Education from Mount Mary in 2005 and a Certificate in Religious Education in 2002. She earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University.

Lichter is currently lead principal of All Saints Catholic School in Kenosha – a new regional Catholic school, which has been highly successful in its first two years of existence. Her commitment to education began during her time as a theology teacher at Pius XI High School. It continued through her work as the Director of Curriculum at Mother of Good Counsel Preparatory School and as an adjunct instructor at Mount Mary University. 

Lichter has served in several leadership capacities, including the coordination of curriculum-based committees and student development activities. Several of these experiences included the implementation of mission-based work, with the incorporation of religious and guiding principles for the schools.

For more information, contact Nakia Spencer at 414-256-1221 or