Alumni at Aquinas College

Outstanding Alumnus/a Award

We celebrate alumni who have made significant achievements and contributions to their profession and/or community at the annual Welcome Home Reception and Awards Celebration.

2021 Recipient

Joellyn Cicciarelli ’87

The Alumni Association Leadership Council honors Joellyn Cicciarelli ’87 with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Joellyn is President and Publisher of Loyola Press. With 25+ years experience in publishing, she has created materials with media producers from around the world. Early in her career, Joellyn was editor for Fred Rogers of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. She is an author of several children’s books and a preschool curriculum, and for the last 12 years has supervised teams at Loyola Press to develop dozens of award-winning books and media resources, including the New York Times Bestselling children’s book, Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Questions from Children Around the World and the soon-to-be released Netflix docuseries based on the book Sharing the Wisdom of Time which features Pope Francis. She was an elementary school teacher in three states before entering publishing. Joellyn has been involved in parish ministry and volunteering throughout her adult life. She has been married to Paul Cicciarelli for 30 years and has two children.


  • Only alumni of the College shall be eligible for the award. Recipients should have graduated 10 or more years prior to receiving the award.
  • Recipients should display genuine leadership, dedication and service to others; they should exemplify the qualities of a Catholic, liberal arts education. Well-roundedness in aspects of career, family and community service are also considered.
  • The selection committee looks for outstanding achievement in at least two of the three areas:
        1. Excellence in academic/professional achievements;
        2. Contribution to community/humanity;
        3. Service to Aquinas College.
  • The Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna award shall be presented at the Awards Gala during Homecoming Weekend.

Past Recipients

Lyle Morrison ’52
1970 Honoree

Michael Deeb ’57
1971 Honoree

Jerome Byrne ’48
1972 Honoree

Sister Majorie Vangsness, O.P. ’38
1973 Honoree

Edward "Ned" Smith, Sr. ’61
1974 Honoree

Ricahrd Sedlecky ’51
1975 Honoree

Marcia Miller Clapp ’46
1976 Honoree

Robert Muller ’74
1978 Honoree

Lois Case ’50
1979 Honoree

Dr. John Stepanvich ’53
1980 Honoree

Jack Fortner ’59
1981 Honoree

Jacob Robinson ’57
1982 Honoree

Cheri Mann Seamon ’66
1983 Honoree

James Zawacki ’65
1984 Honoree

Jackie Deeb, Ph.D. ’57
1985 Honoree

Mike Cuncannan ’61
1986 Honoree

Gerald Burns ’67
1987 Honoree

Sister Agnes Thiel, O.P. ’61
1988 Honoree

Carol Duba Holm ’61
1989 Honoree

James McKay ’82
1990 Honoree

Patrick Quinn ’58
1991 Honoree

Dr. Vernon Ambrustmacher ’60
1992 Honoree

Debra Bailey ’83
1993 Honoree

Timothy McGuire ’71
1993 Honoree

Ken Neyer ’67
1994 Honoree

Patti (Blaesser) Tibaldi ’73
1995 Honoree

Honorable Dennis Leiber ’69
1996 Honoree

Joseph Hansknecht ’50
Mary Beth Hansknecht ’50 †

1997 Honoree

Sister Rosemary O’Donnell, O.P. ’61
1997 Honoree

Ruth Rasmus Eberhard ’36
1998 Honoree

Greg Alksnis ’71
1999 Honoree

Linda Nemec Foster ’72
Tony Foster, M.D. ’73

2000 Honoree

Timothy McGuire ’71
2001 Honoree

Patricia (Bissonette) Dignan, Ed.D. ’63
2002 Honoree

Mary T. Meistas, M.D. ’71 †
2002 Honoree

Percy L. Brown ’87
2003 Honoree

Rosemary (Hickey) Zant ’58
2004 Honoree

Juan Olivarez ’71, Ph.D.
2005 Honoree

Bridgadier General Jim Bruson ’71
2006 Honoree

Paul Winchester ’75
2007 Honoree

Ed Wagner ’61
2008 Honoree

James L. Farris ’96
2009 Honoree

Jack ’60 and Rita (Hasse ’60) Kirkwood
2010 Honorees

Monique Salinas Stauffer ’78, Ph.D.
2011 Honoree

Bonnie Wesorick ’77
2012 Honoree

Alfred H. Liu. AIA, NCARB ’65
Lisa H. Mitchell ’78

2013 Honorees

Brad D. Smith, M.M. ’91
2014 Honoree

Jacqueline D. Taylor ’80, Ph.D.
2014 Honoree

Louis ’31 and Florence Hogan Burns
2017 Honorees

Matt Coty ’89
2019 Honoree

Dennis Echelbarger ’64
2019 Honoree