The Benedictine Service Award is given to alumnae whose volunteer commitment demonstrates the Benedictine values of giving, hospitality, love of others, listening, and stewardship.
Sue Lynch Vento qualifies on all counts.
Susan graduated from Saint Ben's in 1976 and has devoted her life to inviting voices to speak up or lending her voice to speak out on behalf of others.
She is an advocate who uses her personal and professional experience, her education, and above all her passion for improving the lives of others to make change.
Susan majored in elementary education at Saint Ben's and started her career teaching. She became active in her professional union at the local, regional, and state level. She went on to the Minnesota Education Association, where she worked for over 27 years as a political organizer and lobbyist. She currently serves on three National Education Association training teams and recently completed a temporary assignment for the South Dakota Education Association where she assisted local union leaders and members who were faced with professional challenges in the workplace.
Following her husband's death from mesothelioma in October 2000, Susan became active at the national level, lobbying on behalf of mesothelioma patients and their families. She aided in the prevention of federal legislation that would have stripped patients and families of legal rights. Her efforts, combined with that of unions, medical professionals, attorneys and others caused the bill to fail by a single vote. She also co-authored the book, "100 Questions and Answers about Mesothelioma."
In her local community, Susan serves on the Neighborhood House Board of Directors and is chair of Ramsey County's largest food shelf. She's also involved with the Carmen Pampa Fund, serving as chair of the board and as a member of the governance committee. The Fund supports a Catholic university in an impoverished area of Bolivia and has been recognized by the United Nations for its mission of elevating educational opportunities and economic well-being for Bolivians.
Susan believes that the lessons she learned about community during her time at College of Saint Benedict have helped her when working with educators in their communities and advocating for those who are struggling domestically and abroad.