Saint Maryís University presented awards to three Christian Brothers, a faculty member, a Lasallian educator and two outstanding seniors at its Founderís Day celebration Tuesday, April 9.
Teresa Speck, professor of business, received this yearís Brother H. Charles Severin, FSC Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is given every other year to an undergraduate faculty member who is recognized by both students and other faculty as exceptional in their teaching and engagement of students. The Severin Award recognizes excellence in teaching, communication and delivery, fairness in dealing with students, and the ability to encourage students to value the life of the mind. Speck is an organized and enthusiastic teacher who is always present to her students and colleagues. She is able to reach out to students while holding them accountable for content knowledge. Her students are well-prepared for careers in accounting and for the professional certification exams. In addition to her role with students, she plans and runs the first-year faculty mentoring program.
Tony Piscitiello, senior advancement director, was chosen as this yearís Distinguished Lasallian Educator. These awards are given by Lasallian institutions in the North American-Toronto Region of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to honor contributions and commitment to the Lasallian mission of education. For more than 40 years, Piscitiello has served the mission, as first an admission counselor and later as vice president for admission and executive vice president, and now in his current position in University Advancement. Throughout his career, Piscitiello has demonstrated his Lasallian nature in his continued concern for the welfare of the thousands of students, families and alums he has encountered. An alum of Saint Maryís, Piscitiello earned his bachelorís degree in 1969, and his masterís degree in 1982.
Brother Joseph Loewenstein received an honorary Doctor of Humanities in honor of his inspiring leadership throughout his 70 years as a De La Salle Christian Brother. He served first as a teacher on the East Coast of the U.S., then as a teacher, vice principal and headmaster in Kenya, and most recently he served more than 30 years in Palestine. Brother Joseph has held a number of positions at Bethlehem University, including president and vice chancellor. In addition, he has heroically responded to the needs of those living in Palestinian refugee camps.
Brother Jean Manuel received an honorary Doctor of Humanities in recognition of 58 years of service as a De La Salle Christian Brother, through which he has touched the lives of countless students and families as a school administrator and English teacher. After more than 30 years at Bethlehem University, Brother Jean has made a significant and lasting contribution to the Church in the Middle East and to the world of Lasallian Catholic higher education.
Brother Terence McLaughlin, a 1944 Saint Maryís alum, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities in recognition of his 72 years as a De La Salle Christian Brother, as a champion of racial equality, as an outstanding teacher, mentor and school administrator, and as an author. While serving as its president in 1963, Brother Terence broke ranks with the cityís culture code in Memphis and integrated Christian Brothers College high school, making it the first private school to enroll an African-American student in the Memphis region. This award to Brother Terence is being made on the occasion of the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Additionally, every other year the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs awards the Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC Award to a staff member or fulltime faculty member who has demonstrated sustained excellence in advancing the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs in teaching, entrepreneurship, creativity and/or innovation, while serving as a model of the Lasallian Catholic spirit. This yearís recipient, Gena Bilden, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Services, has become known as a gifted leader who motivates employees and colleagues to strive for the highest levels of efficiency and excellence throughout her 13-year tenure. Among the many innovations that she has championed are Pathways, a community college recruiting program; SMU Central, a one-stop student services department; and Acalog, the online searchable catalog.