Press Release

Alverno College Awarded Two-Year College Ready Grant from Great Lakes

July 29, 2015

Alverno College was one of nine colleges and community-based organizations that received a College Ready grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. Nearly $270,000 will fund two full years of rigorous extracurricular instruction in math and English for a cohort of 75 high school students who enter their junior year testing below but within striking distance of reaching college readiness standards.

“The lack of academic preparation among college freshmen is a persistent problem we are determined to address,” says Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “The goal of our new College Ready grant is to learn whether and how an additional year of support and instruction can move even more students closer to college readiness—before they arrive on campus. We’re eager to see the results Alverno College and its students can achieve in the next two years.”

Alverno College’s Reading the World: English and Math College Success Academy will provide three hours per week of academic instruction and support, starting in the students’ junior year, to help more of them reach college readiness benchmarks on the ACT test by the time they graduate. The goal of Alverno’s Reading the World Academy is to strengthen critical math and English skills among first-generation, low-income, minority high school junior and senior girls in order to prepare them for successful college level work. Students will participate in hands-on learning activities geared towards improving ACT scores and college-readiness skills.

“With this College Ready grant, Alverno College can help Milwaukee girls succeed in college by developing college-ready skills in math and English,” said Mimi Czarnik, professor of English and program director for Reading the World: English and Math College Success Academy. “The grant also will allow us to provide resources for the girls and their families to get ready for college acceptance by improving their ACT scores, learning to write good essays, preparing applications, and practicing financial planning.”

Great Lakes’ first two-year College Ready grants, totaling $4.2 million, were awarded to nine colleges and community-based organizations in Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin through 2017. Their established programs will expand to help more than 800 high school students reach college readiness benchmarks on the ACT, ACCUPLACER or Compass tests. Doing so will help these students improve their math and English skills so they are prepared to pass the gateway classes needed to earn their degrees.

About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967

Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, Great Lakes has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to nearly 9 million borrowers – as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. The group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, Great Lakes has committed nearly $130 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Elects Don Layden Chair of the Board of Trustees

July 14, 2015


Alverno College, ranked first in the Midwest for doing “the best job of educating undergrads” by U.S. News & World Report, announced the election of Don Layden to chair of the board of trustees. He joined the Alverno College board of trustees in 1997, and most recently served as co-chair of the college’s Promise & Power capital campaign which raised more than $30 million.

Layden is a partner in the Milwaukee office of Quarles & Brady LLC, a law firm serving clients around the world.  He also serves as operating partner for Baird Venture Partners and Baird Capital Partners, advising the funds on investments in payments and transaction processing, business services, and health care IT. Layden began his career as a partner at Quarles & Brady before he went on to hold senior management positions at Metavante, Marshall & Ilsley Corporation and Fiserv. From there he served as president of NuEdge Systems before an acquisition returned him to Metavante in 2004. He currently serves on the boards of Firstsource Solutions Ltd., SafetyPay, SnowShoe, Catalyzt and other companies. His nonprofit involvement includes Summerfest, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Consuelo Foundation, Three Harbors Council Boy Scouts and the advisory board of United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

“Don has demonstrated great leadership on the board over the years,” said Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., president of Alverno College. “He understands the value of an Alverno education, and his dedication to our mission is second to none. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can continue to serve our students for years to come.”

Layden follows the successful three-year tenure of Mary Beth Berkes, who served as chair of the board from 2012 to 2015. Berkes will remain on the board of trustees.

In addition to electing Layden chair of the board of trustees, Alverno College named Jean Maier vice chair. Maier joined the board in 2009, and has chaired Alverno’s Advocacy Task Force. After 34 years in various leadership roles, she retired from her role as executive vice president of enterprise operations and technology at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance and Financial Services in 2014. Following retirement, Maier served the Northwestern Mutual Foundation in its support of educational efforts in Milwaukee. In addition to her work with Alverno, she serves on the boards of City Year Milwaukee and Milwaukee Excellence, a proposed charter school. Her daughter is a 2012 graduate of Alverno College.

Alverno College also named Allen Leverett, president of Wisconsin Energy Corporation, treasurer of the board of trustees. Leverett was appointed to the board in 2011.

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Introduces New Flexible Degree Program

June 17, 2015

Alverno College is launching a new hybrid degree program that blends online and in-class learning, designed to be a more flexible option for working women. The program includes three majors and will launch in the fall of 2015. What sets this program apart is the focus on innovative leadership.

“The world needs more strong, educated female leaders,” said Jill Moore, academic director for adult programs. “That’s why we’re building an emphasis on leadership into these classes. Our students will graduate with the skills they need to be effective leaders in any career environment.”

The program offers three majors – business, liberal studies and communication. Classes will meet weekly on Wednesday evenings and will include significant online work. Two eight-week sessions will be offered each semester, and students can take up to two four-credit courses per eight week session for a total of 16 credits per semester. This means a full time student who takes classes in the summer can complete a four-year degree in just three years. “This program is really flexible, and it allows students to take as many or as few credits as they want,” said Laura Sear, administrative director of adult and academic excellence programs. “Even someone with multiple demands of their time can complete a degree.” Financial aid is available for students who take a minimum of eight credits each semester.

For more information on the new flexible education degree program, call the Alverno College admissions office at (414) 382-6100 or visit

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Appoints Kevin Casey Dean of Arts and Sciences

June 16, 2015

Kevin Casey 200x268

Kevin Casey, Ph.D., has been appointed Dean of Alverno College’s School of Arts and Sciences. In this role, he will provide leadership to the School of Arts and Sciences and partner with faculty to foster student achievement. The largest of the College’s four schools, the School of Arts and Sciences is comprised of four divisions – Humanities; Arts; Behavioral Sciences; and Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Technology – and offers courses which provide students with a deeper knowledge of the wider world, promoting intellectual and personal development. He will assume the role on July 1.

Casey first came to Alverno in 1987 and began teaching in the History department. He served as the chair of that department from 1992 to 2004, and again from 2012 to 2013. He also served as the associate dean of the Humanities division from 2002 to 2009. He is an expert on evaluating student learning, outcome based teaching, student assessment and teaching history, and has given numerous presentations across the country on these topics. Prior to coming to Alverno, Casey taught at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S. D., Hastings College in Hastings, Neb., and North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

Casey earned his Ph.D. and Master of Arts in History from Northern Illinois University, and his Bachelor of Arts in History and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota – Morris.

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Announces Faculty Promotions

May 28, 2015

The following Alverno College faculty have been promoted, and were honored at a promotion ceremony on May 27:

To Professor:

Nancy Athanasiou, Education; New Berlin resident

Peter Roller, Music; Glendale resident

To Associate Professor:

Margaret Crosby, World Languages; Shorewood resident

Jennifer Flamboe, World Languages; West Allis resident

Julie Jutrzonka, Nursing; Franklin resident

Justin LaManna, Biology; Milwaukee resident

Jennifer Mikulay, Communication & Technology, Milwaukee resident

Carol Sabel, Nursing; Kewaskum resident

Categories: Press Release