April 28 marked Alverno’s 130th birthday, and its long legacy of educating strong women was on display that day — all weekend, in fact. Alverno welcomed more than 400 alumnae, faculty, staff and guests for Alum Teach & Learn Weekend, which featured a full slate of lifelong learning and social events.
The weekend kicked off with a reception for members of the Vanguard Society, alumnae who have distinguished themselves through leadership and service. Alumnae celebrated 23 years of the Bestowing of the Kente, shared their thoughts on what it means to be a Strong Woman and picked up advice from Alverno alums who are leaders in government, business, nursing and the nonprofit sector. Those who attended the interview with culinary expert and author Joan Reardon ’52 sampled dishes inspired by her writings.
Further cause for celebration came at reunions for the Class of 1957 and Class of 1967, which together drew 49 women to commemorate milestone reunion years. And the Alverno community honored and thanked faculty for 20 or more years of service, as well as those who retired. Among those who attended was Alverno’s longest-serving president, the late Sister Joel Read ’48 — her final visit to her beloved College.
A highlight of the weekend was the Alumnae Awards Dinner, where four alumnae (and one school) were honored for living Alverno Strong.
Kathleen Marsh ’84 received the Outstanding Alumna Award. As co-founder and chief executive of Musicnotes Inc., Marsh pioneered the sale of digital sheet music online and has built her company into the world’s largest digital publisher of sheet music.
The Professional Achievement Award was given to Tiffany Barta ’03, director of nursing for the City of Milwaukee Health Department. Barta, a Wisconsin Nurses Association director-at-large, has shared her vast expertise not only with Alverno but also with other schools, companies and various governmental entities.
Katrina Goetz ’05 was named Rising Star. As TLX Technologies LLC’s chief financial officer, she has been instrumental to the company’s growth, including an expansion to China. She has also spearheaded community outreach efforts.
Maria Lopez Vento ’13, Bader Philanthropies’ vice president of programs and partnerships, was recognized with the Service to the Community Award. Vento leads the foundation’s work with Milwaukee educators, the arts and nonprofits.
The Spirit of Alverno Award was given to Carmen Schools of Science & Technology, which aims to close the achievement gap for minority students. Founded in 2007 by Patricia Hoben ’04, the school employs a number of Alverno alumnae and modeled its curriculum and teaching philosophy after the Eight Abilities.
In addition to the traditional alumnae awards, Georgiann ’64 & William Gielow received the Exemplar Award, the first couple to be so honored for their philanthropic efforts. Georgiann earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing, working as a child psychiatric nurse for 20 years and later teaching Alverno student nurses. Bill concluded his 41-year career with the Milwaukee Police Department as a deputy chief and now dedicates his time to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight organization.
Educator Kathleen Kies was named Honorary Alumna. She has taught at schools around the world and has played a key role in developing state, federal and international education policy. She has also brought her considerable talents to bear as a past Alverno faculty member and continues to serve as an assessor.