Exceptional alumnae and Mount Mary Starving Artists’ Show to be honored

The 2022 Mount Mary University Awards Celebration will be hosted Saturday, April 22 to honor its most distinguished alumnae as well as individuals whose contributions have significantly influenced the mission and students of the University, including the 53-year legacy of the Starving Artists’ Show.

emma.jpg2022 TOWER AWARD
Emma Daisy Gertel ’08
The 2022 Tower Award, given to alums with 15 years of graduation who demonstrate excellence and potential for future growth, will be awarded to this celebrated muralist, artist and connector, Gertel’s work can be found across the country, including the recently opened Fiddleheads Coffee Shop in Wauwatosa as well as Bayshore Mall in Glendale. She has served as an educator and advocate for the arts and celebrates the many diverse ways in which creativity can be expressed.


Margaret “Peggy” Kelsey ’86
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer, WEC Energy Group 
Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Peggy joined the Mount Mary community as a legacy student. She earned her B.A. in history, a J.D. from Georgetown Law and eventually an MBA from UW-Milwaukee. She served as chair of Mount Mary’s Board of Trustees during the mid-2000s. As a Partner at Quarles and Brady, Peggy was tapped to represent clients across the country in her area of expertise, product liability defense. Emboldened to try something new, Peggy joined Modine Manufacturing, serving in a variety of roles, eventually becoming the company’s first female officer. A strong believer in the importance of representation and diversity, Peggy never shies away from challenging the status quo as a way to create space and opportunity for young female professionals to have a seat at the table.

Bonnie (Behnke) Penno ’74Spanning decades, Bonnie has worked tirelessly to not only better her community, but communities across the globe. Whether learning carpentry skills on-the-job as part of Habitat for Humanity, earning the title of master gardener while establishing a community farm in Iowa City or offering educational support to youth across the border in Mexico, Bonnie has embodied the spirit of the School Sister of Notre Dame. Through Philanthropic Education Organization, Bonnie has aided many in earning degrees and scholarships.


Marilyn Kesler SSND, ’63
Following the completion of her B.A. in secondary education and history, Sister Marilyn worked as an educator and returned to Mount Mary in 1981, when she was named director of residence life and began teaching as an adjunct in the education department. Serving as Provincial for the School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Milwaukee Province, Sister Marilyn was a driving force behind many new additions across campus such as the development of Gerhardinger Center and the Bloechl fitness center, and served as an advisor to the leadership team and Board of Trustees. she has established during her 60+ years as a member of the Mount Mary community.


2022 President’s Award of Distinction: Mount Mary Starving Artists’ Show
The Starving Artists’ Show provided innumerable opportunities for alums, community members and supporters from across the country to gather on the beautiful campus. Initiated by a group of determined alums in 1968, the Starving Artists’ Show has raised nearly $2.5 million in support of Mount Mary students over 53 years, has welcomed upwards of 5,000 patrons annually and familiarized many with Mount Mary. With many volunteers remaining involved since the beginning, Mount Mary is proud to celebrate not only the success of the shows from year to year, but also the unbreakable bond among friends, classmates and families.