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Christopher Award for Extraordinary Leadership

Named in reference to Mother Cabrini’s dream of launching a ship, The Christopher, to carry Christ’s message throughout the world, the Christopher Award for Extraordinary Leadership is given to those individuals whose life’s work embodies our core values of access to education and social justice.

2022 Christopher Award Recipients

Mary Kay Burke (‘69)

Mary Kathryn Stanbach Burke has lived a life full of purpose. It’s a life in constant service to others focused on health, hope and opportunity. Mary Kathryn holds a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration and graduated from Cabrini College in 1969.

Mary Kay’s career included long service as a social worker, and later in many fields of health care, including senior care and acute care. Daughter’s Meghan and Katy also have worked in the health care/medical field.  Mary Kay has inspired persons across the generations, from today’s Cabrini students to retirees. Among Ms. Burke’s accomplishments, she served as the longtime Chief Executive Officer at White Horse Village in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

Mary Kay has also shared her time, talent and philanthropy with many nonprofit organizations. She recently joined the board of the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology in Media. Her classmates, friends, and her business and nonprofit colleagues admire her leadership and organizational skills, her passionate concern for others, and her generosity. As a member of the Cabrini College Class of 1969, Mary Kay shares a common spirit of adventure, exploration, change and wonder that exemplifies so many of her classmates.

Mary Kay was awarded Cabrini University’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2009. She served on the Cabrini University Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2019. Throughout her time on the Board, she was dedicated to leading in philanthropic giving, in trustee development and in fostering better alumni relations. Cabrini College and University are grateful for her generous and inspiring spirit.

William and Nancy Stemper

We honor William R. Stemper and Nancy Stemper for living the mission of Cabrini University, for advancing that mission and doing so in the Catholic, Cabrinian Spirit. Bill and Nancy have raised a strong family, while strengthening faith in others, improving education and empowering communities across the United States.

Their volunteer and philanthropic actions guided by faith are a model for collegial and effective service to others. They’ve supported Cristo Rey High School in Philadelphia. Bill serves on the Board of Marquette University. He and Nancy and all 4 of their children are graduates of Marquette. Bill has also excelled as a Trustee on the Board of Cabrini University is now Vice-Chair. He is praised by his colleagues for his focused and clarifying demeanor. His insight and leadership by example are much admired.

Bill’s day job is President of Comcast Business. In this role, he oversees Comcast’s business services division, the largest contributor to the growth of Comcast Cable that provides a suite of Connectivity, Communications, Networking, Cybersecurity, Wireless and Managed Solutions to businesses of all sizes including Fortune 100 companies and the Federal Government.   

Bill worked for Cox Communication and for AT&T before joining Comcast. Comcast Business launched in 2006. It has been consistently recognized by industry analysts and associations as a leader and innovator.  Bill has displayed that same leadership ability and dedication that grew Comcast to his volunteer service to Cabrini. We thank Nancy and Bill for their dedication to the Education of the Heart.

Center on Immigration

Cabrini University celebrates with the Center on Immigration on the 5th anniversary of its founding in 2017.

Established by a University founded by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and named in honor of the patron saint of immigrants, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the Center on Immigration (COI) is furthering the legacy of St. Cabrini. It showcases students and faculty extending the work of the Missionary Sisters. The Center provides resources to enhance the University’s commitment to immigrants, migrants and social justice. The Missionary Sisters have been a driving philanthropic force in these efforts.

Founding Director Abel Rodriguez, Esq., Assistant Professor of Religion, Law, and Social Justice, and current Interim Director Nune Grigoryan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication, have led a growing team of faculty, staff, students and community partners in furthering these goals.

The COI promotes immigrant justice through education, research, and advocacy. The Center seeks to engage scholars and students in advocacy at the local, national, and global level for migrants, refugees, and survivors of trafficking.  It works in solidarity with immigrant communities to amplify their voices and transform the dominant narrative about immigration.

The Center has provided legal consultations and representation of clients in immigration matters. It has been a leading resource for proposed solutions to the inherent problems in immigration law and policy. Among the efforts in these areas are “Know Your Rights” workshops and a Book Talk Series, the Delaware Valley Migration Scholars Colloquium, and more.

Even during the pandemic faculty and students continued activism in Harrisburg and in Washington, DC, including demonstrations and lobbying resulting in the successful effort to shut down the Berks Detention Facility. Among other initiatives are campaigns to expand access to drivers licenses and efforts to bring about family reunification.

The COI has also assisted in faculty professional growth with development focused on serving immigrant students, particularly undocumented and DACAmented students.


TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for DREAMers. 

DREAMers are highly motivated students who bring a sense of responsibility and accountability to their college educations—but only 5 -10% are able to afford it.

They have NO access to Pell Grants. NO federal education loans. NO federal work study. Many face paying out-of-state tuition in their home states.

We believe that all that DREAMers need is an opportunity. We believe that DREAMers should have the opportunity to realize the American dream of obtaining a college education and contributing to the prosperity of our nation. And all we need to do is provide them with financial support to attend one of our Partner Colleges, committed to their college completion. So working with our partners, we provide scholarships to highly-motivated DREAMers to help them pay for their college education.

Cabrini University is a Catholic institution committed to helping the underserved through its Education of the Heart. The University’s mission of social justice stems from its namesake, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini), who is the patron saint of immigrants, therefore Cabrini University is delighted to be the only school in Pennsylvania to partner with TheDream.US to provide scholarships for DREAMers and undocumented students in the Commonwealth.


Previous Christopher Award Recipients