Recipients

2018 Recipients


Sylvia Cole Mackey ’59

Sylvia’s incredible life changed dramatically at Holy Cross as a seventh grader in September 1953, which she calls her “new beginning.” Learning to speak French was part of the mandatory curriculum, and she loved the French language so much that she majored in French at Syracuse University with a minor in Russian. After graduation from Syracuse, Sylvia took a position at the World Bank in Washington, DC, as a bilingual secretary in the department for French-speaking African countries. After this she became a linguist in French and Russian for the Defense Department.

Sylvia met her husband John Mackey at Syracuse University. John played football at Syracuse and then for 10 years in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts as their starting tight end. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. Sylvia and John were married for 52 years. After having three children, Sylvia became a professional model, which took her to Paris to walk in the seasonal fashion shows. After 30 years working as a model, she saw an ad for bilingual flight attendants in the newspaper and again, here was another new beginning for Sylvia that started at Holy Cross.

Following the 9-11 attacks on the United States, Sylvia was furloughed from her job for 90 days. It was during this period that her husband was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), and Sylvia finally had answers about his escalating strange behavior. In 2006 Sylvia asked the NFL for help, knowing how this disease could lead her and many other NFL families in this same situation to financial ruin. Her plea turned into the 88 Plan, named after her husband’s jersey number during his entire collegiate and professional career. The 88 Plan provides retired players funds for medical and custodial care resulting from dementia, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and provides funding for dementia research.

Sylvia still works for United Airlines as a flight attendant. She is also an advisor and inspirational spokesperson. She has received numerous awards for her advocacy. The Sylvia Mackey Woman of the Year Award presented by Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund was established in Sylvia’s name and is given annually to another NFL caregiver/advocate who makes a mark in the community and in the sports world for work that she has done to raise awareness and funds. Sylvia continues to remain vigilant in her efforts to advocate for those who need help and to, as she says, “make sure that the right things are done for all.”


Nancy Morrison O’Connor ’69

After graduating from Holy Cross, Nancy received her undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science. She then earned her law degree from University of Notre Dame Law School, where she was the editor of the Notre Dame Lawyer. She was also a Rotary International Scholar from the University of Wales.

Nancy was sworn in as a lawyer in Houston, Texas just over 40 years ago. It was the first year that Texas feminized its licenses to practice law. This began a series of firsts for Nancy. She was the first woman to have a child at Leon Jaworski’s firm, then one of the largest in the US with just over 100 lawyers. She then had two more children. Six years after joining the firm, she was in the first class of women promoted to partner.

One move back home to DC, one federal appointment, one in-house counsel position and one more law firm partnership later, Nancy is now General Counsel at The Catholic University of America and an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. Once again, as at the Academy, she is united with her colleagues in shared values and mission flowing from their Catholic foundations.

Nancy serves on the board of the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the DC Circuit Credentials Committee for the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She has served as Chair of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Commission on Human Rights and its Case Review Board.

Every day she uses the skills and qualities instilled in her at the Academy. She takes special pride in her continued ability to diagram sentences—mentally. She continues to make and enjoy memories with her Holy Cross classmates. And she most loves spending time with her family, especially her mom and her grandchildren.


Lisa Ridgway Slater ’82

Lisa has long been an advocate for Catholic education in the DC metropolitan area, a quality she learned from her parents Dick and Jeanie Ridgway. She has served as a coach and volunteered in numerous capacities for a variety of organizations, all in the spirit of helping kids find success as part of the Catholic community.

After Holy Cross Lisa graduated from Boston College in 1986 and passed the CPA exam in 1987. She worked as a corporate auditor for a Big 8 accounting firm in Boston and New Orleans. Lisa married Bill Slater in 1988 and they settled in Kensington where they have raised their daughters Ellie ’08 and Katie ’10 and sons Jack and Ridge.

Lisa has been dedicated to the prosperity and growth of Holy Cross since the early 1990s when she began fundraising and volunteering for the alumnae board. She served on the board of trustees from 2002-2008 and was a member of the development committee. She has served on the past two capital campaign committees and was a motivating force for the construction of the artificial turf field named Ridgway Field in honor of her parents. Lisa was also among the first Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame inductees in tribute to the 1976-1982 basketball program’s record-setting winning streak.

Beyond Holy Cross, Lisa has generously supported other worthy organizations. She is a volunteer tutor at The Washington School for Girls and is an avid supporter of the school. She has been an active member of the Gonzaga College High School community, serving on the board of trustees, the development committee, and co-chairing the current parent committee for the capital campaign. One of Lisa’s proudest endeavors has been her commitment to the Shepherd Foundation, an organization co-founded by her father and raising over $10 million to provide Catholic school scholarships for families who can’t otherwise afford tuition.

When not wearing her organization hat, Lisa cheers on her children and nieces and nephews on the sports fields and in the theater. She is an avid fan of Gonzaga ice hockey where Bill is the head coach. Lisa lives by the Christian ideals of a Holy Cross alumna and it is her goal to instill these same ideals in her family and her community.

2017 Recipients


(L-R) Megan Hendon Harbold ’00*, Dominica Groom ’00, Karen Schmelzer Jacobsen ’81,
Kathleen Burgess Clark ’82* and President Katy Prebble (*presenters)

Karen Schmelzer Jacobsen ’81

Karen began working for The Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh as direct support professionals. Emmaus is a faith-based non-profit that provides permanent residential homes and community-based services for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. At Emmaus, people with and without disabilities break bread with one another, recognizing the beauty, the dignity and the gifts that each person has to share.

Through the years Karen served as Emmaus’ director of residential services, director of development, and deputy director before becoming executive director in 2008. She is a member and past president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and co-chair of the Conference of Allegheny Providers Intellectual Disability Committee.


Dominica S. Groom ’00

Dominica is the senior director for Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity at Marriott International.

Dominica was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Women” in the state of Maryland by The Daily Record. She was named as one of the top “Leading Women,” under the age of 40, in the state of Maryland and was also named a “Top Influential Leader in Diversity” by the National Association for Minority Companies.

2016 Recipients

Rosalie Cummings Whitlock ’64

Rosalie led the development of cutting-edge curriculum to help kids with learning differences succeed based on their strengths. Rosalie’s experience has given her an intimate understanding of parents’ concerns and the impact on the whole family when a child struggles with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD or autism. Rosalie is a former member of the International Dyslexia Association’s board of directors, is a founding and current board member of Parents Education Network (PEN), and was the executive director of the Accelerated School Project at Stanford University in their School of Education.

Maureen Kelly Flatley ’66

Maureen was recently awarded the prestigious Congressional Angel in Adoption Award. For the past 30 years, Maureen has almost exclusively devoted her work to advocacy on child welfare and adoption issues. Those efforts have resulted in many major bills in Congress, where Maureen continues to advance ideas and initiatives.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Leary Sanford ’74

Having worked for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 26 years, Betsy is presently serving as a management analyst in the Office of the Commissioner, Office of Pediatric Therapeutics (OPT), a Congressional mandated office within the FDA. The primary mission of the OPT is to assure access for children to innovative, safe and effective medical products. Working in support of programs designed to promote medical safety for our nation’s children holds a special meaning for Betsy. Her son Joe was diagnosed with a childhood brain tumor at the age of seven and ultimately passed away at the age of 10. After Joe’s death and with the help of friends and neighbors, Betsy formed “Joe’s Ride & Stride,” an annual bike and walking charity, which has donated over $250,000 to many organizations over the years.

Mary-Beth Buckley Cooper ’78

Mary-Beth recently became the 13th president of Springfield College in Massachusetts, bringing experience from a long and distinguished career in higher education administration and community leadership. Dr. Cooper is the first woman to lead the college since its founding in 1885. Mary-Beth firmly believes that education can be the answer to creating a prosperous, successful community of thinkers and doers. In addition to her administrative leadership, she takes seriously her role as a mentor to and advocate for women, students, and athletes. Prior to her arrival at Springfield College, Mary-Beth served as the senior vice president of student affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York, dean of students at the University of Rochester, and vice president for student affairs at St. John Fisher College, also in Rochester. The Rochester Business Journal named Mary-Beth one of Rochester’s most influential women in 2005.

Suzanne Rich Folsom ’79

As general counsel, chief compliance officer and senior vice president for government affairs, Suzanne oversees U.S. Steel’s legal, regulatory, compliance, corporate governance, environmental affairs, security, aircraft, and labor and employment matters. Along with other previous employ, Suzanne was also counselor to the president of the World Bank Group and director of its Department of Institutional Integrity, where she led that organization’s global anti-corruption program. Among her earlier positions, Suzanne was chief of staff to Her Majesty Queen Noor of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; special assistant to First Lady Barbara Bush, chief of staff to the late Maureen Reagan, then Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee; advisor to the chair of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women; and advisor to the 1985 U.N. World Women’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

2014 Recipients

Melita Garza ’77

Melita Garza is an assistant professor at Texas Christian University’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication in Fort Worth, where she teaches business Journalism, diversity and the media, and other courses. After an award-winning 20+-year career in journalism, in which she worked for the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News, and the Los Angeles Times, among other organizations, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. Her doctoral dissertation, “They Came To Toil,” which comparatively analyzed English- and Spanish-language news accounts of Mexican immigrants during the Great Depression, was awarded the 2013 American Journalism Historians’ Margaret A. Blanchard Prize for the most outstanding dissertation in journalism history.

She earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2007 while working as an editor at the McKinsey Quarterly, the business research arm of McKinsey & Co. Her A.B. is from Harvard College. A Pulitzer Prize nominee, her many journalism awards include a Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for enterprise reporting on the Ford/Firestone cases. She also received the Cardinal’s Award for Professional Excellence from then-Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Bernardin for her Chicago Tribune article “Gift of Faith,” a remembrance she wrote of her father. In her spare time, she enjoys Mark Twain’s version of a good walk spoilt.

Maggie O'Neill ’95

Maggie O’Neill is a Washington, DC-based fine artist and is a co-founder of SwatchRoom. She is also the owner of O’Neill Studios, the boutique decorative and fine art studio she founded in 2001. Maggie has grown O’Neill Studios to be one of the most sought after decorative and fine art studios in the city and nation wide. Maggie’s fine artwork is produced by first letting her materials unexpectedly create the mood: how color affects her subject matter is at the core of each painting. Maggie’s paintings are inspired by her local Washington, DC iconic landscape, travels abroad, women and fashion, and music. She also creates custom pieces for clients and collectors that range in style from contemporary to traditional portraiture and pop impressionism. Her paintings hang in homes from DC to Delhi and have been featured in galleries, fashion shows, luxury department stores, and boutiques. Maggie hosts an annual charity Salon Party, featuring her own art work as well as that of other prominent Washington artists. She paints live at these events and has continued to do so at fashion shows and fundraising events. Maggie wants to take over the world one creative project at a time.

Stephanie Sprow ’00

A lifelong resident of Maryland, Stephanie devotes much of her personal time and her professional career to supporting social and political change to improve the lives of those in her community. She currently serves in President Obama’s Administration as a Special Assistant in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. In that role, she is a liaison to governors, mayors, and state legislators, as well as an advisor to the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama regarding her Reach Higher initiative, which encourages all students to complete high school and finish college. Stephanie is passionate about education, in particular redesigning high schools to fit the needs of students in the 21st century and advocating for schools that support all students to complete higher education.

In her spare time, Stephanie continues her work in politics by volunteering on local campaigns and voter empowerment efforts. She also serves as the Historian on the board of the Ivy Community Charities of Prince George’s County, Inc. Stephanie enjoys reading, the arts, and spending time at the beach.

A proud Lady of the Academy, Stephanie earned a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics, a citation in Women’s Studies, and a certificate in Honors Humanities from the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned a master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.


2013 Recipients


Mary Quisenberry Chapin ’51

Mary is a trailblazer who utilizes her philosophy promoting optimum life fulfillment for women. When asked about the origins of her activism, she states “The beginning of everything I have accomplished started in high school when I attended Holy Cross.”
Mary graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University in peace studies and conflict resolution. She was on the panel of labor arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association, and served as a member of the Mohawk Valley Community College Board of Trustees. She is a past president the U/R Metro League of Women Voters and past vice-president of the Mohawk Valley Branch of the American Association of University Worn.
Mary’s many honors include the Conservator of Women’s History Award from the National Organization for Women, the Service Women Award from Zonta, an Outstanding Women Award from the YWCA, the New York State Woman of Distinction Award, and inclusion in “Who’s Who of American Women” and “Who’s Who in the World.”

Mary considers her most notable achievement to be spearheading the six-year campaign to establish a Day of Commemoration for Susan B. Anthony, helping to collect more than 17,000 signatures from thousands of cities in more than 47 states. On November 5, 2005, the Susan B. Anthony Bill was signed into law by Governor George E. Pataki, marking an annual statewide commemoration of Susan B. Anthony Day.

Mary describes herself as “a woman for all women.” She is an author, performer, activist, environmentalist, teacher and lecturer. A devoted historian, Mary is currently completing her latest book, Susan B. Anthony and George Francis Train in Kansas, 1867: A Love Story. Mary and her husband Edward have three children and proudly reside in Mohawk Valley, NY.

Margot Cook ’61 (posthumous)

After graduating from The Academy of the Holy Cross, Margot joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross for a short time. She graduated from The Catholic University of America with a degree in Education and later received a master’s in Mathematics from Fairfield University. Margot taught in Maryland schools and Connecticut before returning to AHC, where she taught from 1968-1973.

In the 1970s, Margot began working for Marriott and became a junior executive. She opened her own business in the 1980s, designing templates for needlepoint and greeting cards with excellent success. Her work was licensed and sought by many companies.
A devout Catholic, Margot was very active in her church and local community. She served as parish council chair at St. John the Evangelist and was the board chair of her local community group. Margot also helped secure concessions from Holy Cross Hospital during their expansion, at which she was so successful that she was asked to serve on the Hospital’s community outreach board.

Margot actively supported several charities. Her favorite was a home for children in North Carolina, Holy Angels, for homeless and ill children. Margot was active in the Colitis Foundation and chaired the local foundation.

Margot became ill in the 1990s with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a rare and debilitating disease which leaves the body with little or no resistance to infection. The survival rate is generally only five years, though Margot fought for more than 10. Always a Holy Cross girl, Margot continued to give of herself to the Academy her entire life, working closely with the Advancement Office to engage alumnae and offering compassion, devotion and kindness to all women of the Academy.

Margot DiCairano Durkin ’66

Margot received her bachelor’s degree in history and elementary education from Salve Regina College, Newport, RI, and immediately began her teaching career in Montgomery County, Maryland. She earned her master’s degree in non-profit management from Trinity.

Margot’s educational positions have included both teaching and administration. She was the Academy’s first full-time development director working closely with alumnae, most particularly from the Class of 1978. She served as director of development at the Bullis School and as assistant head of school for institutional advancement at Stone Ridge. Currently, she is the head of school at Browne Academy in Alexandria, VA, where she has been since 2006, and from which she will retire this year. Margot served as a trustee and board chair of the Woods Academy, is the immediate past president of Independent Education (the association of independent schools of greater Washington) and has just begun a term as a trustee of the Academy. She has led numerous school accreditation teams, and been a speaker at local and national educational conferences. Her volunteer work has also included teaching CCD to high school students, and fundraising for Goodwill Industries.

Margot’s primary scholarly interest is Imperial Russia and the Romanoff Dynasty. Her favorite place (37 summers and counting) is Bethany Beach. Margot is married to Jim Durkin, whom she met on the stage at Gonzaga. They have two children, Timothy, a physician in Albuquerque, and Meredith, a journalist in Chicago, and a naughty miniature schnauzer.

Patricia Gillis Cousins ’83

After graduating from Holy Cross, Patty attended the University of Maryland College Park, where she graduated with general honors and high honors in English. She went on to obtain her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she was an editor of the Maryland Law Review. Following law school, Patty clerked for the Honorable Robert Karwacki on the Maryland Court of Appeals in Annapolis. She then became an associate attorney with Venable, Baetjer and Howard, LLP.

For the past 10 years, Patty has worked for Marriott International, Inc., currently serving as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, and provides labor and employment advice to Marriott hotels across the globe. In addition to her professional endeavors, Patty has served as President of the Catholic Business Network of Montgomery County, Parish and Financial Council Member for her parish, and Co-Chair of her law department’s Corporate Diversity Pipeline Program, which promotes diversity in the legal profession.

Patty gives back to Holy Cross in a variety of leadership roles, serving nine years on the AHC Board of Advisors and Board of Trustees, including a term as Board of Trustees President. Patty is the proud mother of Grace ’14, Will, and Patrick.

Judy O’Rorke-Trigiani ’86

After graduating from The Academy of the Holy Cross, Judy continued her educational pursuits, obtaining her bachelor’s degree in psychology and graduating summa cum laude from the University of Maryland. She then obtained two additional degrees – a master’s in school counseling followed by a PhD in counseling and personnel services.

Judy has been a practicing school counselor for 20 years and is the CEO of I Can Books and Consulting. She is a frequent guest lecturer and adjunct faculty at local universities on the topics of social skills, ADHD, human development, and school counseling for children with special needs. She has developed several social skills books and games. Judy incorporates these books and games in her work with general education and special education children and their parents. Additionally, Judy has several published works in the field of school counseling and special education including her dissertation on Attitudes Toward Inclusive Education. She resides with her family, including two active little boys, in Kensington, MD, and serves on the Home and School Association for Holy Redeemer School.

2012

Mary Grogan Stohlman ’46 (posthumous)
Catherine Hanrahan ’77
Andrea Williams Simms ’00

2011

Frances Brinker Scango ’61
Donna Reese Byrd ’77
A. Robin Mahaney Frye ’80
Jennifer Pedersen Daniels ’85

2010

Jayne Harper Plank ’50
Sister Paula Goettelmann, C.S.C. ’60
Carol Ann Hook Mikules ’63 (posthumous)
Beth Hughes Celestini ’86

2009

Laura Cartagena ’01
Karen Elsner Davey ’81
Barbara Peyton Trainor ’83

2008

Elizabeth Belle Drewry ’25 (posthumous)
Karen Bowen Fisher ’63
Sally Davis Rhodes ’65
JoAnna Barnes ’78

2007

Sister Joan Carusillo, C.S.C. ’49
Ann Gregg Skeet ’82
Rhonique Shields Harris ’91

2006

Sister Ann Shaw, C.S.C. ’56
Joan Cushing ’64
Nancy Mayer-Whittington ’71
Mary Ann Nesline Viverette ’73
Mary Chris Adamec Gay ’85
Jennifer Graves ’98

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