Cabrini’s Visionaries Gala gathered alumni, students, faculty, staff, trustees, and other friends of Cabrini for a celebration commemorating 65 years of the Education of the Heart on Friday, March 11, at Pomme in Radnor.
“Through the 65 years, we’ve had our beautiful campus and other constants: The Missionary Sisters, the caring faculty, and service to others through our mission,” said Steve Highsmith (ʼ88), Vice President of Institutional Advancement, during the Gala’s opening remarks. “And, we’ve had an expanding alumni base, all making the future possible.”
Emceed by Highsmith and Jana Tidwell (ʼ96), Adjunct, Communication, the program, which is in its seventh year, served to honor some of Cabrini’s most influential alumni, faculty, trustees, and partner organizations, while sponsoring the success of future students at the University.
“Tonight’s Gala funds scholarships and student-centered activities that make Cabrini special,” Tidwell said.
The award program began following a prayer reflection from Sister Christine Baltas, MSC (ʼ66), Campus Ministry Associate. Honorees included:
- Saleem Brown (ʼ04 MSʼ13), Cheryl Colleluori (ʼ06), and Jamie Santora (ʼ94) were recipients of the Luminary Award, which recognizes alumni who are having inspirational success in their careers, in their communities, and in their impact on others’ lives.
- Jolyon P. Girard, PhD, and Darryl Mace, PhD, were recipients of the Compass Award, given to those who have displayed a clear direction in recognizing and respecting the dignity of the human person in the spirit of the Cabrini tradition.
- Mary Kay Burke (ʼ69), William and Nancy Stemper, The Center on Immigration at Cabrini, and TheDream.US were recipients of the Christopher Award for Extraordinary Leadership—named after The Christopher, a ship Mother Cabrini dreamt of launching to spread Christ’s message, which recognizes those whose work embodies our core values of access to education and service to others.
“This evening’s deserving award winners are perfect examples of how the Cabrini mission can affect change in the world,” said Amy Lambert, Chair, Board of Trustees. “I’m inspired by what they have accomplished and how they have given back to their communities and to the University. Congratulations to them all!”
President Donald Taylor, PhD, echoed those words as he spoke about the evening’s award winners, “who have risen to the challenges in their own lives and have made a difference in the lives of students, immigrants, constituents, and those who face health crises.”
Nune Grigoryan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Communication, and Interim Director of The Center on Immigration, accepted the Christopher Award on behalf of the Center.
“The Center on Immigration is a hub for all,” Grigoryan said. “We welcome all students and strive to serve their needs. We train them, educate them, and engage in advocacy. The Center on Immigration upholds Mother Cabrini’s love, hard work, resourcefulness, and compassion. We strive to build a just society, and we are not alone in this effort.”
Grigoryan introduced Fabrine De Oliveira (ʼ20), who immigrated to the United States at age six and became a “DREAMer” under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Now a FSO Consultant at Ernst & Young, LLP, De Oliveira introduced the final Christopher awardee: TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and career success program for undocumented immigrant youth, which selected Cabrini as its first Pennsylvania partner college in fall 2021.
“I didn’t want my status to define me,” said De Oliveira, who graduated before TheDream.US partnered with Cabrini. “When I walked across that stage in May of 2020, I was not only representing my family, but also a generation of DREAMers coming after me. Luckily for students today, there is TheDream.US that helps bridge some of the gaps—which is why this program is so important.”
As a special surprise, President Taylor and his wife, Lechia, were asked to come to the podium for a presentation, after which all attendees raised a glass as a toast to the couple, as they leave Cabrini this spring. They were thanked for their service to Cabrini over the past eight years.
Presenting sponsors for the Visionaries Gala included: Collegis Education, and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Guadalupe Province. The Cabrini Mission Foundation, and The Haverford Trust Company served as the event’s Presidential sponsors. Additional sponsors included Jamie (’84) and Philip Prince, CSI, as well as Joel (’89) and KellyAnn Zazyczny.