CSB to honor four graduates with Reunion 2018 Awards

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June 20, 2018

Four graduates of the College of Saint Benedict will be recognized with Reunion 2018 Awards.

Colette Peters ’93, Kate Ritger ’03, Molly Roske ’08 and Judith Gretsch Schmid ’63 will receive their respective awards at the CSB Gala Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 23, in room 204, Gorecki Center, CSB.

The CSB Alumnae Board, on behalf of CSB, presents Reunion Awards to outstanding alumnae from reunion years whose daily lives reflect and honor the Benedictine tradition and mission of the school. Nominations are accepted each year. For more information regarding the nomination process, please contact the Alumnae Relations Office.

Here’s a look at the four women who will be honored during Reunion:

Distinguished Alumna Award
Colette Peters ’93

Colette PetersThis award honors an alumna who has distinguished herself for outstanding achievements in her chosen profession and has made a lasting contribution in her field as a role model and leader for all alumnae.

Peters is the first woman in Oregon’s history to hold the title of director of the state’s Department of Corrections. She heads a $1.8 billion organization with 4,700 employees and oversees 14,700 adults in the department’s active custody, plus many more on probation, parole and post-prison supervision.

Throughout her career, Peters has kept those Benedictine values she learned at CSB at the heart of her work.

“Research has shown us that if you treat these individuals like humans, like the rule of Saint Benedict, they will come back to us and they will be good neighbors,” she said.

Peters received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from CSB, as well as a master of criminal justice from the University of Colorado in 1997. She has also served as a juvenile counselor in Iowa, worked at a halfway house in Minneapolis and as a victim's advocate with the Denver Police Department.

In 2004, Peters began her career with the Oregon Department of Correction's public affairs administrator and was promoted to assistant director. She then was given a second title as inspector general, serving as an adviser to Max Williams, who then ran the Corrections Department. In 2008, Peters and her husband returned to Minnesota, but moved back to Oregon in 2009, where she was chosen to head the Oregon Youth Authority. She served in this position until being named head of the Department of Corrections in February 2012.

Benedictine Service Award
Kate Ritger ’03

Kate R.This award honors an alumna who has made significant impact on those around her for her continued commitment and contributions to community service and social justice at a regional, national or international level. The alumna also demonstrates a commitment to the Benedictine spirit of giving, hospitality, love of others, listening and social stewardship.

Ritger graduated from CSB with a degree in theology, and then earned a Master of Divinity degree from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in 2007. She is an oblate of the Order of Saint Benedict.

Currently, she works part time as a chaplain at the St. Cloud Hospital, and is the founder of the Just Food Collective, a local food business in central Minnesota specializing in garden-fresh, seasonal pizzas and canned goods.

She wrote and published a daily reflection book titled “Benedictine Living: Reflections for Prayer and Meditation.” Ritger co-edited a prayer book, “Prayer in All Things: A Saint Benedict’s Saint John’s Prayer Book.”

Ritger is also actively involved as a community volunteer. She is a spiritual director at the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict Spirituality Center, and serves with the Central Minnesota Catholic Worker Community, at the local food shelf and at the local food co-op.

Decade Award
Molly Roske ’08

Molly R.This award honors an alumna who is recognized by her peers as a great role model and leader for younger alumnae because of her outstanding career achievements, representing global consciousness and community involvement in her chosen profession.

It’s hard to imagine a person who has worked harder than Roske in the last 10 years.

In December 2016, Roske became executive director of the Fundación Cordillera Tropical in Cuenca, Ecuador. The foundation, which was started in 2000, has three main goals: to actively promote conservation; to be an international research hub for the study of Andean ecology and wildlife; and promote community involvement in conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

Roske worked in a variety of jobs relating to the outdoors. The environmental studies major at CSB first worked as a science intern and naturalist at the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park, Alaska. Roske then volunteered at the Sangay National Park and Mazar Wildlife Refuge in Ecuador with Fundacion Cordillera Tropical, studying the spectacled bear population.

She then entered the Peace Corps and served three years doing forest conservation in western Guatemala, before returning to the U.S. where she earned her master’s in forest ecology from Yale University. Roske then spent two years at the University of Minnesota with the Department of Forest Resources, studying climate change and its effect on forests.

Roske then took a position at Colorado State University as a research associate were she continued to study climate change.

Sister Emmanuel Renner Award
Judith Gretsch Schmid ’63

Judy S.This award honors an alumna for her service to CSB and recognizes her contributions as a leader, steward and volunteer to her alma mater. The award is named for S. Emmanuel, who served as the 10th president of CSB from 1979-86 and was a history professor at the school.

Schmid graduated from CSB with a degree in social work, but that degree has a long story. Schmid attended school for two years, then left to get married and start a family. A few years later, she returned to take a seminar at CSB, and ran into S. Emmanuel, who encouraged Schmid to come back to college.

She did that, receiving her degree in 1978 – although she still strongly aligns with her original class.

Schmid, the retired owner of Lumber One in Avon, Minnesota, is a longtime supporter of CSB and believes in providing opportunities for women to go to college. In November 2004, she established the Terry J. and Judith Gretsch Schmid Endowed Scholars Fund at CSB with a $1 million gift. Her donation has made it possible for at least 100 students to receive multi-year scholarships to CSB over the past 12 years. She also committed $500,000 for the renovation of Schoenecker Commons at CSB.

In the late 1980s, Schmid served on the Saint Ben’s Parents Council, and was a member of CSB’s Central Minnesota Campaign Committee during the school’s last capital campaign.