Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees
After graduating from Donnelly, Patricia Antonopoulos raised five children and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UMKC. She taught primary grades in Shawnee Mission School District and went on to teach in the Education Department of Park University. Pat has volunteered at Strawberry Hill Museum, area elementary schools and Keeler Women’s Center. She also has served on the Donnelly College Alumni Board. Pat co-authored the book, Four Ordinary Women in 2009.
“Donnelly taught me the importance of taking responsibility, of following through with no excuses. The Benedictine Sisters could smile with understanding if a term paper was late, but the grade stood - no excuses. They were my mentors, our professors and our inspiration.”
Patricia Antonopoulos was inducted in 2013.
After his graduation from Donnelly’s English as a Second Language program, Ahmed Awad earned his osteopathic medicine degree in 1994 from the Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences. He went on to complete an Internal Medicine residency and Nephrology fellowship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Awad has a special interest in the various reasons for the progression of kidney disease and its effect on cardiac disease. He has co-authored several medical publications and directed several clinical research trials.
“My Donnelly professors helped me to learn English and to become familiar with American culture through the various gatherings they arranged. The friendships that I formed are some of my fondest Donnelly memories.”
Ahmed Awad was inducted in 2017.
Dan Braum started attending Donnelly in the fall of 1966 while working 60 hours per week at the Ford plant during the evenings. After Donnelly, he attended Kansas State University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 1973, followed by his MBA in 1975. Retiring in 2006 after a long career with Xerox, Dan has served as president of the Donnelly Alumni Association and currently serves on Donnelly’s Board of Trustees.
“Even though I went on to achieve higher degrees at other colleges, Donnelly is where I got my start and it’s where I found my passion for learning.”
Dan Braum was inducted in 2014.
Marcia Braun grew up on Strawberry Hill and was the first in her family to graduate from college. After Donnelly, Marcia attended the University of Kansas, graduating in 1965 with a degree in French, inspired by Sister Jerome, her French teacher at Donnelly. She earned her MSEd/TESOL from the University of Miami in 1992. After raising two children, Marcia taught ESOL part-time. Later, she was hired by the Miami-Dade County Public School System where she taught ESOL to high school students for 24 years.
“Donnelly was the bridge - to keep me going in my education. I am convinced it was the bridge, a soul-touching bridge, that was responsible for my becoming a teacher - a choice of which I am very proud and one that I have never regretted.”
Marica Braun was inducted in 2013.
After graduating from Donnelly, George Breidenthal continued his education at what was then Kansas State Teachers College at Emporia where he majored in history and earned a teaching degree in secondary education. After two years as a substitute teacher he joined six generations of family banking, working his way up and eventually buying a bank with some partners, which he then sold in the 1990’s. In 2015 when George passed away he left behind a legacy of service to his community; he served for 32 years on the USD 500 School Board, 24 years as a member and former chairperson of the Donnelly Board of Directors, and was a long-time appointed member of the KCK Landmarks Commission.
“Donnelly was very diverse in 1969 and it’s still that way today which makes it a really great place to learn about the world and learn about yourself.”
George Breidenthal was inducted in 2017.
Bob Briscoe grew up just down the street from Donnelly. He attended the Cathedral of St. Peter School and Rockhurst High School before coming to Donnelly, where an elective art appreciation class changed his career plans. He went on to earn a bachelor’s in economics from Kansas State University and used those skills to become an independent artist. Bob then pursued his passion for pottery, completed several apprenticeships and established multiple pottery studios. He built a national reputation, and his award-winning work has been collected by many museums, including the Smithsonian.
Bob’s passion for mentoring young artists led him to open his studios not only to fellow potters, but to anyone interested in learning to work with clay. He also co-founded the Saint Croix Valley Pottery Tour and donated partial proceeds to support young artists. The event has inspired 30 similar events around the U.S. In the words of his nominator, “a fortuitous decision to take a fine arts class led Bob to a lifetime as a passionate and creative potter and world-renowned professional artist.”
Bob Briscoe was inducted in 2023.
Following his graduation from Donnelly, Eugene (Gene) Burdolski attended the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He never forgot the tremendous role Donnelly played in his life, and remained connected to the College through his work on both the advancement and marketing advisory committees, as well as the steadfast involvement and leadership during the College’s annual Alumni Phonathon. Known for giving back to his beloved Kansas City community, Gene was a board member for Good Samaritan Project and AIDS Service Foundation. He also volunteered his time at organizations like the Kansas City Hope Care Center and Friends of Chamber Music. He was an active parishioner of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri, where he served in a variety of roles, including Eucharistic minister, lector, usher and member of the choir.
Eugene Burdolski was inducted in 2011.
After Donnelly, Pat Callaghan earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth and later received her master’s degree from Baker University. She taught at St. Patrick and the Cathedral’s grade schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. She taught at Donnelly from 1984 to 1990, and returned in 2001 as an academic advisor until her retirement in 2008.
“When I first attended Donnelly, the Benedictine Sisters welcomed me, accepted me unconditionally and helped me see myself through their eyes. It affirmed my self-worth and made a lifetime impression.”
Pat Callaghan was inducted in 2012.
Susan Carroll graduated from Donnelly and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, psychology and English from St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kansas. Susan returned to Wyandotte County and worked for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas for more than 30 years in a variety of roles, including Administrative Consultant to the Archbishop. She also co-directed the archdiocesan Annual Women’s Retreat. In 2008, she became the Interim Executive Director for Community Housing of Wyandotte County (CHWC). After two-years, Susan decided to become a full-time volunteer for CHWC. She continues to serve in this role today, as well as on the Board of Directors for various community groups including CHWC, the YMCA, and United Way. Susan is a graduate of Leadership 2000 and an active Donnelly alumna who lends her leadership to various planning committees for events such as the Donnelly Dash 5K, Arts in the Heart, and Convocation Day celebrations.
Susan Carroll was inducted in 2011.
Judge Thomas Clark grew up in the shadow of Donnelly and spent most of his childhood just three blocks away from the College’s original location on Sandusky Avenue. After graduating from Donnelly in 1958, Clark went on to earn both a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and Bachelor of Science in engineering physics with distinction at the University of Kansas. While his instructors encouraged him to further his eduction in physics, Clark knew his real passion was to study law. In 1964, he graduated from KU Law School and was admitted to the Missouri Bar. Judge Clark practiced both criminal and civil law from 1964 to 1987, serving Kansas City as a prosecutor, trial attorney and assistant city attorney. In 1987, he was appointed to the Jackson County Circuit Court as a Circuit Court Judge where he served until his retirement in August 2008. During his tenure, Clark also graduated from the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada in Reno with a Master of Judicial Studies - a degree held by very few judges in the United States.
Judge Thomas Clark was inducted in 2010.
Mr. Dana attended Donnelly College in 1969-70 and graduated from Benedictine College with a BS in Business Administration in 1972. After starting work as a bank teller, Mr. Dana went on to serve as President and CEO of Central Bank in Kansas City for 29 years before transitioning to his current role as Vice Chairman. His career in community banking has spanned more than 50 years.
During his years at Central Bank, Mr. Dana served on numerous civic, social, and trade association boards and was called upon to speak on many banking industry topics including compliance, community development, and bank profitability. He has spoken before the FDIC, the OCC, the Missouri Division of Finance, U.S. House subcommittees, numerous trade associations, and various banking organizations.
Mr. Dana is grateful for the education he received at Donnelly College: “It is truly a source of personal pride that I was a student there 50 years ago. They offer an affordable world class education to many minority students. So many of these students are the first in their families to attend college.”
Bill Dana was inducted in 2020.
Eight years after graduating from Donnelly, Anita Dixon founded Passage Unlimited, the Kansas City area’s first full-time Heritage Tour company. She has also consulted on the development of tourism for the states of Missouri and Kansas. The Lady of Freedom Monument Foundation (LFMF) is the organization she began in 2002 after working to pass H.R. 1635, The National Network to Freedom Act which preserves the sites and history of the Underground Railroad.
“At the time I needed it most, Donnelly was a nurturing place, concerned about where every student was going. Donnelly helped me plant my feet and find my way.”
Anita Dixon was inducted in 2014.
After service in the Navy, Phil Doherty graduated from Donnelly and then attended the University of Kansas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree from SMSU. Phil volunteers his time with his parish and with various charities in his community and he and his wife, Mary Jo, were chosen by Archbishop Naumann to be the Chairpersons of the 2013 Call to Share fundraising appeal for the Archdiocese. Phil served as President of the Donnelly Alumni Association, and in 2011, he and his wife started an endowed scholarship fund at Donnelly to benefit Native American students.
“My fondest memory from my time as a Donnelly student is the caring, helpful and brilliant Benedictine sisters that guided me through the beginning of my educational journey.”
Phil Doherty was inducted in 2015.
After Donnelly, Andres Dominguez graduated from St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kansas. He then earned a Masters of Arts in Education at Kansas State University. He has served on the boards of non-profits and organizations that focus on youth and community development in the Kansas City area. Andres is dedicated to promoting Latino issues, empowering youth and engaging in efforts that create civic engagement and build assets.
“Donnelly provided the foundation for the ethics that I have used in my career and personal life. The strong sense of place prepared me to understand the impact that relationships have.”
Andres Dominguez was inducted in 2013.
After his time at Donnelly, Ed Dwight joined the United States Air Force to pursue his dream of being a pilot. He then went on to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering from Arizona State University. In 1962, Ed was selected by the John F. Kennedy Administration as the first African American astronaut candidate. After a successful military career, Ed decided to switch directions. After a short stint in both the engineering and real-estate fields, he began to focus on his lifelong passion of sculpture. While pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Denver in 1975, Ed was commissioned to create a series of bronzes depicting the contribution of Blacks to the American Frontier. This series of 50 bronzes was exhibited throughout the U.S. and gained critical acclaim. To date, he has completed more than 115 large-scale commissioned sculpture installations and his pieces are collected by museums, institutions and art enthusiasts around the world, including the Smithsonian. Ed Dwight Studios, Inc., in Denver is now one of the largest privately-owned production facilities in the western United States.
Ed Dwight was inducted in 2011.
Dr. Dora Fonseca was born in Honduras and was an elementary school teacher before coming to the United States to learn English. While working as an au pair, Dora completed Donnelly’s Intensive English program and began teaching Spanish in the Kansas City, Missouri school district. She continued her education, earning a bachelor’s in education at University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2005. She earned a master’s degree in leadership from Baker University in 2015 and a doctorate in leadership from Saint Louis University in 2019. As of 2021, Dora was in her 36th year of teaching, currently at Van Horn High School in Independence, Missouri.
“Donnelly was the beginning of my successful path in the higher education field. I want to thank the founders, faculty and staff of this unique, welcoming college that helps whoever wants small-size classes, and one-on-one instruction when needed.”
Dr. Dora Fonseca was inducted in 2021.
Gerry Garcia was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas and he still lives and works in KCK today. After graduating from Donnelly College with an Associate of Arts degree in 2005, Mr. Garcia earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Ottawa – Kansas City in 2008.
For the past 13 years, Mr. Garcia has been employed by the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools - USD 500 as a fifth-grade general education teacher. He cannot see himself in any other profession, stating “The classroom is where I belong! I consider teaching my vocation.” Mr. Garcia and his family are also very active in their church community, Saint John the Baptist (KCK).
“As the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college, Donnelly provided a great foundation. In 1990, they helped me enroll for the first time and found a way to help me financially. If it were not for the guidance of the people in the admissions and financial aid departments, Donnelly would not be a part of my life. When I returned after a long hiatus and received my Associate of Arts degree, I found many of the same helpful, spiritual and Catholic employees still working at Donnelly. Donnelly’s faculty and staff follow the teachings of Jesus Christ by making themselves available to all people from all walks of life. In this place, all are welcomed!”
Gerry Garcia was inducted in 2020.
After Donnelly, Ted Garcia went to Rockhurst University completing a B.A. with a double major in Sociology and Spanish and then earned his JD at the KU School of Law in 1998. Today, as the founder of the Garcia Immigration Law Firm, Ted successfully practices immigration law in Wyandotte County serving immigrants whose stories he personally relates to.
“As an immigrant, first-generation college student, Donnelly was the right start for me. Donnelly’s faculty gave me the foundation and confidence to pursue a career in law.”
Ted Garcia was inducted in 2012.
Within four years of graduation from Donnelly, Diane Hentges completed her bachelor’s degree at Mount St. Scholastica College and a master’s degree at the University of Kansas. Diane’s entire career was focused on service in Kansas City, Kansas. From her lengthy tenure at Catholic Charities to Children’s Mercy and the Shepherd’s Center, to her more than 10 years as Director of the Volunteer Center for United Way of Wyandotte County, Diane has helped improve the lives of those in our community.
“Donnelly was the foundation for the formal higher education that was to follow. The Benedictine influence was strong and Donnelly challenged me to achieve through the coursework and nurtured me to be prayerful and Christ-like in my daily life.”
Diane Hentges was inducted in 2015.
Delia Hernandez was the first in her family to graduate from college, completing her associate degree at Donnelly in 1984. She then went on to earn her baccalaureate degree at the University of St. Mary and began her career in Donnelly’s admissions office from 1990 to 1993. She went on to serve as the Director of Project Ayuda for the National Association for Hispanic Elderly. From there, she served as the Public Affairs Manager and Employee Development Manager for the Kansas Speedway, and then took a position with the Heartland Habitat for Humanity. Currently, she is the Executive Director for Argentine Betterment Corporation. Hernandez continues to give time and talent back to Wyandotte County through many community organizations, including past service on Donnelly’s Board of Trustees, and continues to serve as a community leader and supporter of the College.
Delia Hernandez was inducted in 2010.
Father Frank Horvat was ordained in 1958 and spend more than 50 years as a priest in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. He served the last 19 years before his retirement at St. John the Baptist on Strawberry Hill, the same church where he and his 12 siblings were baptized.
“Donnelly has contributed more to Kansas City than any other institution in its own quiet way. Just like it did for me, Donnelly has provided educational opportunities to many who would not otherwise be able to go to college.”
Frank Horvat was inducted in 2012.
Father Peter was first in his family to graduate college. He entered the Monastery of St. Augustine after high school and then he attended Donnelly. In 1977, he graduated Rockhurst College and he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Seton Hall University in 1980. He was ordained a priest with the Augustinian Recollects on May 23, 1981. In addition to his pastoral duties in the Kansas City area, Father Peter also serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve and served as a Chaplain while deployed in Iraq during Operation Iraqui Freedom. In 2007, he received Donnelly’s Delta Award.
“The light of Donnelly College shines brightly as a beacon to ordinary people who have potential to excel in extraordinary ways. Anchored by Christian core values and Catholic beliefs, Donnelly offers an abundance of opportunities to grow in self-confidence.”
Father Peter Jaramillo was inducted in 2013.
Kevin went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business from the University of Kansas. He is the founder and owner of Huntington Hospitality Financial Corporation, an accounting services company dedicated to the hospitality industry. Kevin and his wife Pat have used their God-given talents to succeed in business but also have given back by supporting local schools and parishes as well as a primary school in Nigeria.
“Donnelly College gave me the inspiration to continue my college education.”
Kevin Keefer was inducted in 2012.
Sister Constance (Connie) Krstolic, OSB, graduated from Donnelly in 1964 and began working at Macy’s Department Store, learning the techniques of advertising. In 1967, after prayerful consideration, Sister Connie responded to her vocation by joining the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. She then received her Bachelor of Arts in 1970 from Mount St. Scholastica, her Missouri Teacher’s Certificate from Benedictine College in 1975, and finally a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, Scripture and Spirituality from St. Louis University in 1981. As a Benedictine Sister, Sister Connie has provided spiritual guidance to thousands of participants through her extensive Retreat Ministry. She also spent 10 years as Vocation Minister for the Benedictine Sisters from 1980 to 1989 and 2006 to 2007. In addition, Sister Connie is currently the Transfer Director for the community. Today, she remains a vital part of the Donnelly Community.
Sister Connie Krstolic was inducted in 2010.
Desmond C. Lamb was born on July 15, 1972, in Kansas City, Kansas. He was an only child and grew up with a loving family. He was particularly close to his maternal grandparents who toiled in the gospel field. Lamb is married to Sister Claudine Lamb. Together, they have three beautiful children, DeAnna, Alexandria and Desmond C. Lamb Jr., as well as one grandson, Alonzo Cooper.
In addition to being a husband, father, and full-time pastor of Forest Grove Baptist Church, Lamb is also writing his dissertation for the Doctoral Counseling Program at Midwestern Theological Seminary.
After graduating from Donnelly College with his AA degree in 2000, Lamb completed his BA in Psychology from Park University in 2004. He then went on to earn a Master of Divinity with a Counseling emphasis degree from Midwestern Theological Seminary in 2014.
“Donnelly College played a huge part in getting me where I am today. If it wasn’t for Donnelly I would have never returned to the college classroom as a student. Now Donnelly has birth a new work in me. I am now in my fifth year as an adjunct instructor for the school that gave me a second chance at life. I love Donnelly and I hope to continue to give back to this wonderful place that has given me priceless opportunities and gifts. Donnelly is a place that values diversity and disrespects no one regardless of creed, culture, religion or race.”
Desmond Lamb was inducted in 2018.
After Donnelly, Steve McCue received his bachelor’s degree from KU and his master’s degree from UMKC. During his career, he was executive director for four different nonprofit organizations in Greater Kansas City: the Northeast Community Center, the Mental Health Association in Wyandotte County, Camp Fire USA Heartland Council and Camp for Kids, and during this time he served on various nonprofit board of directors. Steve has been a part-time faculty member at Donnelly since the 1980s.
“Donnelly remains true to its original mission of helping students toward an education they might otherwise find inaccessible. As an adjunct instructor for many years, I’ve seen the student body become much more diverse, and I think that’s one of the greatest strengths of the school.”
Steve McCue was inducted in 2015.
Brian McKiernan, is a life-long resident of Kansas City, Kansas and the Donnelly neighborhood. After concluding his studies at Donnelly, he moved to the University of Kansas where he earned a BS in Journalism, a BS in Physical Therapy and a PhD in Physiology.
For the past 31 years, Dr. McKiernan has taught physical and occupational therapy students at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Rockhurst University and the University of St. Mary.
Since April of 2011, Dr. McKiernan has served as a Commissioner for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kansas representing District 2.
Dr. McKiernan has been active in the Cathedral of St. Peter parish and at Bishop Ward high school in a variety of roles over the years including music ministry at Sunday Mass.
"I absolutely received an excellent education at Donnelly that laid the academic foundation for all that I have earned and accomplished since. It was at Donnelly that I more fully grasped the importance of acting in service of others and using my education to benefit my community as much as possible."
John Mendez, Class of ‘74, graduated from Donnelly and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in public administration in 1976 from St. Mary College. In 1986, Mendez completed his master’s in liberal arts from Baker University. Today, he is widely known throughout the Kansas City, Kansas community for his work as city leader and community activist. Mendez also helped transform the city’s two community governments into one unified government in 1997. He was recognized as a “Reasons to Believe” Role Model for USD 500 in 2008. Mendez may be most well known for the years he served on the Board of Commissioners, representing the third district. In 2009, he was re-elected to the Unified Government 2nd district at-large commission seat by a margin of 73 percent, allowing him to continue to serve on the Board of Trustees for more than 15 years, and currently works part-time as an adjunct instructor.
John Mendez was inducted in 2010.
Leo Mills was the first in his family to graduate from college when he received his associate degree from Donnelly in 1955. That same year Leo married Sue Marie Brown. They had two children, Kevin and Jean. Leo continued his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management from the University of Kansas in 1959. Leo was hired by Ford Motor Company at the Claycomo, Missouri plant and worked his way up to Production Engineering Manager before retiring in 1991. He continued to work as a part-time consultant for Ford for eight years.
“I have such fond memories of Sister Jerome Keeler, Sister Kathleen, and Sister Faith. They were wonderful teachers, and their dedication, guidance, and encouragement were the primary influence for me to continue my education after Donnelly and also were a factor in my successful career at Ford.”
Leo Mills was inducted in 2021.
Steve Modrcin is the youngest of nine children. His parents were immigrants to this community from Yugoslavia and Croatia. After Donnelly, Steve transferred to Rockhurst University where he earned a degree in accounting. He spent over 20 years working for UPS and then retired, went back to school and began teaching. He has been a faculty member at Donnelly since 2003 and has also offered numerous financial planning lectures and classes throughout the Kansas City area.
“There is no secret to success. Success, however you define it personally, involves developing clear goals, a plan to achieve those goals, and then you must have the courage and discipline to work hard to achieve your goals. There is no substitute for hard work. Success is a marathon...not a sprint.”
Steve Modrcin was inducted in 2014.
A Kansas City, Kansas native, Sister Mary Teresa Morris graduated from Wyandotte High School and attended St. Margaret’s School of Nursing and Donnelly College before earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Northwest Missouri State and a Master of Public Health from St. Louis University. A nurse since 1972 and a Benedictine Sister since 1978, Sister Mary Teresa has served in hospitals, long-term care facilities and home health settings. During the pandemic, she served as the director of infectious diseases at the Dooley Center, the licensed care facility for the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica.
Sister Mary Teresa has also given back to Donnelly in many ways: teaching in Donnelly’s allied health program, serving as interim director of the nursing program, and serving as a board member. In the words of her nominator, “Sister approaches everything she does with precision, intelligence, and, most importantly, compassion. She treats the people she serves as she would Christ Himself.”
Sister Mary Teresa Morris was inducted in 2023.
After graduating from Donnelly, Steve Nicely spent a year at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver before transferring to Marquette University where he received a degree in journalism. His career with the Kansas City Star spanned more than 35 years. Steve has been involved in the community in many different ways and among his other volunteer activities he currently works with Donnelly’s Associate Degree Program at Lansing Correctional Facility.
“Many of us were awakened to the possibilities of the future at Donnelly. In my case, more than any other influence, I have the Benedictine sisters and lay faculty at Donnelly to thank for a career in journalism.”
Steve Nicely was inducted in 2014.
After earning his associate degree from Donnelly in 1985, Bill earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Pittsburg State University and a master’s in education policy and leadership from the University of Kansas. He then earned his doctorate in education through Nova Southeastern University. Bill worked as an educator for over three decades, starting his career as a high school science teacher before becoming a high school principal and ultimately a superintendent. Since retiring in 2020, Bill continues to influence the lives of children through his work with the Kauffman Real World Learning initiative, the Education Governance and Leadership Association and his consulting firm.
Bill has the distinction of being the first Legacy Alumni Hall of Fame member. His father, Steve Nicely, was inducted in 2014.
“When I as a young man... I was lost. It was Donnelly College that put the pair of glasses on so I could see...how to be a good human being and how to live by faith.”
Dr. Bill Nicely was inducted in 2022
After graduating from Donnelly (as Janice Curls), Janice Parker earned a bachelor’s degree from UMKC in 1965. She began work as a counselor for Neighborhood Youth Corps working for Catholic Charities. In 1968, she married a young Air Force Captain, Franklin Parker. In 1973, she was named Director of the Taylor Business Institute, a private career school in Chicago. In 1986, she and a partner bought the Taylor Business Institute and in 1987, she bought out her partner. Janice served on Donnelly’s Board of Trustees from 2012-2015.
“When I graduated from Donnelly, I was ready, confident in my own might, with no more bracing required. I didn’t know it then, but looking back at my 20-year-old self, Donnelly gave me everything I needed. I had earned my wings. I could fly.”
Janice Parker was inducted in 2016.
William (Bill) Reardon and his wife, Kathy Page, attended Donnelly College from 1959 to 1961. After graduating from Donnelly, Reardon earned a BA in History from Rockhurst University. He went on to earn a MA in Education from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
From 1963 until 2004, Reardon taught at Bishop Miege High School, primarily as an American Government and Current Events teacher.
In 1974, he was elected to the Kansas House of Representative. His 30 years of service is a Kansas state record for the longest serving member of the House of Representatives. In 1991-92, Reardon was elected as Speaker Pro Temp of the Kansas House.
"Each of the colleges I attended provided me with a high quality education that prepared me for both of my careers. Donnelly, however, instilled in me something of far greater importance — the value of community and public service. This epiphany was more than career enhancing, it was life altering.”
Bill Reardon was inducted in 2018.
Through Donnelly and its founder Sister Jerome Keeler, OSB, Carmen (Josephine) Rodriguez found her life’s passion: education. After graduating from Donnelly, she became a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, and took the name Sister Carmen. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in education from Mount St. Scholastica College and began teaching. Much like Sister Jerome, Carmen focused on instilling the importance of education in each of her students and challenging them to do great things. In 1973, she earned her Master of Arts degree in Mexican American Culture from San Jose State University and then moved back to Kansas City. While in KC, she taught Mexican American Cultural History at Donnelly. She then moved back to the west coast to teach a variety of subjects at Los Medanos Community College in Pittsburg, California. In 1988, Carmen earned Donnelly’s prestigious Delta Award for her work in education.
Carmen Rodriguez was inducted in 2011.
After starting in Donnelly’s English as a Second Language program, Liza Rodriguez earned her Associate degree and CNA certificate. After Donnelly, Liza attended Avila University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing. Her sustained passion for advanced learning inspired her to pursue a Master’s in Nursing at the University of Kansas, graduating with honors, and then a Doctoral Degree of Nursing Practice with a focus in clinical and organizational leadership. Currently, Dr. Rodriguez’s work is focused on investigating clinical trials and providing care to cancer patients undergoing stem cell transplantation.
“Donnelly helped me grow and be proud of who I am and where I come from. It also prepared me for the academic challenges and the commitment required to succeed as I moved forward with my professional goals.”
Liza Rodriguez was inducted in 2017.
After Donnelly, John Romito received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri and his MD from the University of Kansas in 1973. He has received numerous awards and recognition from his expertise as an Orthopedic Surgeon. He served more than 20 years as chair of orthopedics and as Chief Medical Officer at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. John and his wife, who also is a physician, have volunteered their time providing medical services in rural areas of Kansas and on mission trips throughout the world.
“The teachers at Donnelly were very accommodating, and I knew that they wanted me to succeed. Thanks to that nuturing education I received, I was completely prepared for the additional academic challenges that came after Donnelly.”
John Romito was inducted in 2016.
Albert Roos graduated from Donnelly in 1963 and went on to complete his Bachelor of Science in mathematics from St. Benedict’s College (now Benedictine College) in 1965. Later, he earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Pittsburg State University. Roos has used his knowledge and passion for math by teaching high school math in Kansas, Illinois, New York and Massachusetts. Presently, he teaches several honors classes at Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts, including an AP Statistics class. He is well known among students as an instructor who is willing to set aside extra time for students, a quality he undoubtedly acquired during his time at Donnelly College. As an expert in statistical analysis, Roos has also been tapped as a scorer and rater for the national AP statistics exam.
Albert Roos was inducted in 2010.
Lucy Saunders graduated from Sumner High School in 1939 and was an assembly aircraft worker at the North American Bomber Plant in Fairfax in the 1940s. After raising her 12 children, Lucy attended Donnelly, graduating in 1968. During the mi-1970s, she was appointed to serve on the first Mental Retardation Governing Board in Wyandotte County. In 1982, at the age of 61, Lucy earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas. She worked as a special education substitute teacher in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools for 40 years, until she was 90.
“I loved Donnelly because of the way that the instructors taught the classes with the needs of the students in mind. One of the reasons I chose to come to Donnelly was becasue of the Christian-influenced setting.”
Lucy Saunders was inducted in 2016.
After Donnelly, Lonnie Scott earned a degree in business administration from the University of Saint Mary and a master’s degree in personnel administration from Central Michigan University. After a long career in management with AT&T, he became the Director of the Mid-America Minority Business Development Council. He served on Donnelly’s Board of Trustees from 2007-2011 and is a former recipient of AT&T’s covered National Diversity Award and National Mentoring Award.
“I chose Donnelly because I knew there would be intensive learning. I wanted a challenge and felt that Donnelly College was the place to go.”
Lonnie Scott was inducted in 2015.
After Donnelly, Sister Diana Seago graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College in 1971. She joined the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in 1991. She worked for two years in Donnelly’s Admissions office and in various positions with Benedictine College. Self-taught in computers, Sister Diana builds the computers used at The Mount and keeps the network running. She volunteers her time to fix and build computers for Mount lay employees and others in the Atchison, Kansas area.
“I was the first person in our family to graduate from college and was able to do that because of the foundation I received from my time at Donnelly.”
Sister Diana Seago was inducted in 2014.
Before coming to the United States in 2008, Dhuha Shareef taught high school math for 18 years in Iraq. When her family fled Iraq, they chose to settle in Kansas City, close to extended family. In fall 2009, Dhuha completed Donnelly’s English as a Second Language program, while also volunteering as a math tutor. After she completed the ESL program, Dhuha began teaching at Donnelly as an adjunct math instructor. She earned her Master of Science in mathematics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2014, and was then promoted to Assistant Professor at Donnelly. In 2021, she was promoted to Associate Professor and recognized as faculty member of the year.
Dhuha is currently working on an interdisciplinary doctorate in mathematics and physics at UMKC.
“I am most grateful for the 13 years I have had at Donnelly. I want to thank its community for supporting me and my family. With the aid of this institution, I have been able to make progress and put down roots in unfamiliar soil.”
Dhuha Shareef was inducted in 2022.
Judith (Judy Hook) Van Rest was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Following graduation from Donnelly, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas in 1968.
Judy began her career in a variety of communications positions, working in advertising and newspaper reporting. She moved to Washington DC in 1976 where she began a life-long career in politics and public service. Among the positions she held were Regional Director at the Peace Corps, Senior Advisor for Governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq, Chief-of-Staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as positions at the White House and the Smithsonian Institution.
She began her international career 25 years ago as a Regional Director at the International Republican Institute and is currently IRI’s Executive Vice President. Judy is the founder of IRI’s Women’s Democracy Network and is a member of the Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council at the George W. Bush Institute.
“During my time at Donnelly, I not only received an excellent education, but also learned the strong values and discipline that has guided me throughout my work. Donnelly was essential to my transition to life in so many ways.”
Father Dennis Wait graduated from Donnelly in 1966, and has served the people of God in the Archdiocese as a pastor and assistant pastor in both rural-and urban-based parishes for nearly 40 years. He has also served as the Archdiocesan Vocation Director and Archdiocesan Youth Director. In 1996, he established the Sanctuary of Hope Prayer and Retreat Center, an inner-city, inter-faith retreat center just a few blocks south of Donnelly. The spirit of Sanctuary of Hope mirrors Donnelly’s mission statement in that it “seeks to continue the mission of Jesus Christ in our time by making the love of God tangible in our world.” Father Dennis continues to give back to Donnelly by offering Mass each week on campus.
Father Dennis Wait was inducted in 2010.
As the child of Irish immigrants, Larry Ward was the first in his family to earn a college degree. He went on to UMKC where he earned his J.D. in 1961. He has practiced law at the same Kansas City, MO firm for 50 years. In addition to serving on Donnelly’s Board of Trustees, Larry and his family established the Sister Mary Faith Schuster Writing Award at Donnelly.
“Donnelly offers the same value to young people today that it provided me in the 1950s. It’s reasonably priced and the dedicated staff and faculty enable students to get a strong start in college.”
Larry Ward was inducted in 2013.
After graduating from Donnelly, Jonathon Westbrook went to the Kansas City, Kansas Police Academy, and he has served as a KCK police officer since 2009. He returned to Donnelly and earned his bachelor’s degree in 2013. Jonathon is active in the community, both through his church and several political groups he has helped to form. He recently became the Program Coordinator through the KCKPD for the OK program - a group that empowers African-American men and boys to improve their communities, and he was recently voted President of the KCK, Black Police Officers Association.
“The teachers and staff at Donnelly were instrumental in instilling the desire and passion to serve my community. The essentials of leadership were taught and modeled, and through those examples, my passion for family, community and God have matured and continue to grow.”
Jonathon Westbrook was inducted in 2016.
After Donnelly, Don Wolf spent two years in the Navy as an aerial photographer. Don has been designated as a Master Photographer in recognition of his skill and artistry with a camera. Don has also been a tireless supporter of two orphanages in Croatia and has dramatically improved the lives of the children living there.
“At Donnelly, Sister Mary Faith Schuster inadvertently launched my photography career. In her English Composition class, she gave us an assignment called “Observation” and taught me a different way to ‘see’. She encouraged us to view light and shadows at different times of day and to observe the small details around me.”
Don Wolf was inducted in 2012.
To watch the 2022 Alumni Hall of Fame SHINE videos, skip ahead to 16:06 on the following video:
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