Burke Foundation, outstanding alumnae receive honors

Mount Mary University and the Mount Mary Alumnae Association presented the all-new President’s Award of Distinction, and honored five distinguished alumnae who have made tremendous impact upon their communities at the annual Awards Night celebration on Friday, Oct. 4.

Mount Mary recognized the Burke Foundation, which has supported Mount Mary for 20 years, with the President’s Award of Distinction. The Burke Foundation has granted more than $20 million in scholarships and program support to provide access to education for marginalized young women in Milwaukee through the Grace Scholars Program and to nurture a passion and commitment for social justice in devoted young women through the Caroline Scholars Program. The Foundation also supported the Urban Education Fellows Program, which served to build teacher capacity in urban Milwaukee. 

“The vision of Dick Burke to assist Milwaukee women in achieving a higher education has been faithfully carried out by his foundation and the city is better for this outstanding investment," said Mount Mary President Christine Pharr, Ph.D.

Alumnae awards that were also presented at the 2019 Awards Night include:

  • Carla Shaw '08 & '18 of Franklin, Wis., received the Tower Award, given to alums within 15 years of graduation who demonstrate excellence and potential for future growth. She received her bachelor’s degree in both Nursing and behavioral science in 2008. She then completed her MBA in Health Systems Leadership in 2018. Employed by Wheaton Franciscan, she continues to grow as a leader through Wheaton’s Ministry Leadership classes.
  • Tanya Gross ’91 of West Allis received the 2019 Madonna Medal for Community Service for her service in living out her Catholic faith through volunteering on service projects, serving as a youth ministry leader in her parish and the Archdiocese, and her work with a parish twinning project in Haiti which she now co-leads.
  • Madeleine "Dee Dee" Krebs '66 of Washington, D.C., was honored with the 2019 Madonna Medal for Professional Excellence. Her work with foster and adoptive children began upon graduation and extended through her work with the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) in Maryland, helping to establish CASE as a national leader in mental health services for the adoption and foster care communities.
  • Shari Bernard '89 of Mantorville, Minn., was presented with the Madonna Medal for Professional Excellence for the development of a nationally-recognized program for dysphagia care and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic for acute and outpatient populations with impairments in swallowing. She is known as a leader and collaborator in the development and promotion of best practice in occupational therapy dysphagia practices for her state, local and national communities.
  • Mary Ellen Luxem '68 was presented with the 2019 Madonna Medal for Service to the Alumnae Association. Luxem has been active in the Alumnae Association helping with multiple initiatives, including the Starving Artist’s Show committee, where she lends a helping hand behind the scenes to ensure a smooth day for the 200+ artists and 6,000 attendees who come each year.