CSB recognizes alumnae with 2019 Reunion Awards
June 20, 2019
College of Saint Benedict alumnae with distinguished track records of service and accomplishment will be honored at this weekend’s Reunion with CSB’s 2019 Reunion Awards.
The CSB Alumnae Board, on behalf of the college, presents 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 this year’s winners:
Distinguished Alumna Award – Colleen Corrigan ’94
When Colleen Corrigan ’94 was eight years old, an uncle returned from a trip to Australia with a t-shirt for Colleen. The notion of such a far-off place opened a sense of possibility in her mind.
Today, that sense of possibility is playing out on a global scale. Colleen is currently based in Cambridge, England, as a Senior Programme Officer with the United Nations, focused on protected areas and international environmental policy.
This work perfectly blends Colleen’s dual passions: working with – and for the benefit of – people and the environment. It was a long and fascinating road to get here, and that suits Colleen perfectly: “I think it’s so important to trust that you are capable, to stay open to possibility, and let your story unfold,” she says.
And unfold it did. Colleen’s multinational, multifaceted career has included teaching in Belize, working in the Nevada desert, researching dolphins in Florida, serving as a national park ranger in Maine, working on rural conservation programs with farmers in Bolivia and Ecuador, collaborating with native Alaskan communities on sea otter biology, and managing a global partnership for large conversation NGOs at the Nature Conservancy.
Colleen charted her course with trust, ambition and a continued openness to possibility. Her doctoral dissertation – and the primary focus of her work today with the United Nations – centers on the link between what’s happening at the global level in terms of environmental policymaking and the impact of those decisions on local and indigenous communities. Colleen’s work is urgent, complex and has impossibly high stakes. Eight-year-old Colleen would have been wide-eyed. But the global community can rest assured that these Really Big Questions are being addressed by someone who is exactly where she is meant to be.
Benedictine Service Award – Danielle Liebl ’14
Receiving the Benedictine Service Award only five years after graduation is impressive, to say the least. But then, Danielle Liebl ’14 herself is nothing if not impressive. As a first-year student at Saint Ben’s, Danielle founded DIFFERbilities Experience. This club brought together students with and without disabilities from CSB/SJU as well as local high schools and offered unified sports through Special Olympics. Danielle, who herself has cerebral palsy, was committed to helping people “realize that they aren’t all that different.”
By the time Danielle was a senior, DIFFERbilities Experience had 200 active members – plus a waiting list. DIFFERbilities Experience held events, brought in speakers and even created a program for preschoolers. As a senior, Danielle won the Peace First award, a prestigious national grant that allowed her to turn DIFFERbilities Experience into a formal nonprofit organization. Danielle ran the nonprofit after graduation while holding down a full-time job. Her work with DIFFERbilities Experience kept getting noticed. She was invited to speak at the White House, and she wrote such important curriculum for high school and college students pertaining to youth leadership and inclusivity that Special Olympics wanted not only to adopt the curriculum but merge with DIFFERbilities Experience.
The timing of the merger was perfect – DIFFERbilities Experience would gain the resources and operational support of a major organization, while Danielle could open a new chapter. She headed to law school, and today she works for a law firm in California and remains committed to her mission of bringing people together and “confronting the fears around people with disabilities.” She dreams of promoting inclusivity on a grand scale, working within corporations to help them be part of the solution. Danielle has already made an indelible impact, and she’s just getting started.
Decade Award – Andrea Carrow Morsching ’09
Andrea Carrow Morsching ’09 is on a constant quest to push the boundaries of her comfort zone in order to make an impact. After growing up on a farm, she attended Saint Ben’s where she founded Extending the Link, a program that empowers students to highlight global under-told stories through documentary filmmaking. She also completed a May term in Spain, semesters abroad in Guatemala and Venezuela, and additional programs in China and Dubai before moving to Mexico for a Latin American Business Development lead job after graduation. Andrea then returned to Spain for an MBA at one of the world’s top business schools (IE Business School), where she focused on strategy and corporate finance. Today she’s living in Singapore as a Southeast Asia business development manager for 3M’s Healthcare team.
Andrea aims high, and she delivers. “Even if I don’t have all the answers but I believe I can make a positive impact toward the company’s mission or goals, I will be willing to dive in, figure it out, find best practices and ask for help,” she says. “So many people have supported me along the way.”
She’s also committed to supporting others. In addition to her legacy with Extending the Link, Andrea served on a nonprofit board of directors for an organization (Luminarias) that connects vulnerable Guatemalan girls to educational opportunities. And she wants to inspire others to take bold risks, seek support when they need it and never shy away from owning their accomplishments. And, of course, to keep expanding their comfort zones.
S. Emmanuel Renner Service Award – Class of 1964
The class of 1964 has remained deeply connected to the school, individually and collectively, giving generously of their time, talent and treasure. So much so, that for the first time ever, an entire graduating class has been honored with the S. Emmanuel Renner Service award.
The S. Emmanuel Renner Service award is not bestowed every year; instead, it’s reserved for those who have gone far above and beyond with exceptional service to Saint Ben’s. Several members of the class have held formal leadership roles with Saint Ben’s, serving as trustees and on the alumnae board. They also have a number of active class representatives and an enthusiastic reunion planning committee.
This group has been heavily involved in fundraising for Saint Ben’s, chairing committees and diving in when they could lend strength to a cause. In the summer of 1999, the class of 1964 lost one of their own. To honor her, the class formed a scholarship for women at Saint Ben’s studying theology. To date, the scholarship has been awarded to 11 women.
In addition to formal roles and fundraising efforts, these women have made a point to show up, literally and figuratively. They volunteer at events. They write cards. They mentor current and former students. They provide encouragement and information to prospective students. They pitch in on move-in day. They speak at events.
They also show up for each other. They turned their reunions into multifaceted events – memorials of lost loved ones and milestone birthday celebrations. The gusto with which they honor their losses and their joys, and the passion they bring to their service to Saint Ben’s, has inspired innumerable other alumnae. And, as one class member puts it (with a wink): “We’re not done yet!”