2015 Alumni Award Winners

Alma Mater Award

Miriam B. MulvaMiriam B. Mulva ’69
Nearly a century ago, the Rev. Anselm Keefe, O.Praem., ’16 was inspired to plant seedlings all across the St. Norbert campus. Keefe’s good works endure: The graceful canopy of those now-grown trees helps define the college we know today.

Miriam Mulva’s good works on behalf of the college will also endure, and shape life at St. Norbert College for generations to come. Some of those works have been on a grand scale. Others may have attracted less notice, but are no less important.

Miriam and her husband, Jim, have given our students the spectacular Miriam B. and James J. Mulva Library, the intellectual hub of our campus. The recently added studio on the library’s lower floor – a wildly popular center for study and high-tech collaboration among students – also owes its existence to the Mulvas’ generosity.

Across campus stands another structure that will have immeasurable impact on our institution – again made possible in large part by Miriam and her husband, together with Paul and Carol Gehl. The Gehl-Mulva Science Center is, according to President Tom Kunkel, a “game-changer”; it positions St. Norbert College to be a magnet school for budding scientists throughout this unfolding century.

Those are transformational contributions, to be sure, but Miriam’s service to the college extends well beyond them. She is an active and engaged member of the college’s board of trustees, demonstrating exemplary leadership as vice chair of the advancement committee. She is an important advocate for students, with keen insights on how board decisions might affect them. Those insights don’t come by chance: Miriam engages with the board’s student representatives at every meeting to learn about their SNC experiences.

Many of our students owe those SNC experiences in great measure to Miriam; she and Jim consistently fund scholarships through annual giving.

Miriam’s passion for the college reflects a deep belief in its mission and values. She and her husband are devout Catholics: Among their many other philanthropic endeavors, they have donated funds for a new building for seminarians at Rome’s Pontifical North American College, and for that support they were recently honored by Pope Francis with the Papal Order of St. Gregory.

Here at St. Norbert, in celebration of our heritage, they have commissioned bronze sculptures depicting the conversion of St. Norbert and the tradition of communio. These works will further beautify our campus and edify those who walk its paths.

Outside the walls of the college, Miriam has supported the communities in which she’s lived in numerous ways, many of them reflecting a lifelong interest in youth and education. She has tutored youngsters in reading and math; served on the board of her local Boys & Girls Club; been a Eucharistic homebound minister at her church; and served on the boards of symphonies and historic landmarks. To all these institutions, as to St. Norbert, Miriam has given generously and graciously of her time, talent and treasure.

For her many acts of friendship as a faithful member of the college community for 50 years, St. Norbert gratefully bestows on Miriam the college’s Alma Mater Award.

2015 Distinguished Service to the College Award

Paul O. and Carol H. GehlPaul O. and Carol H. Gehl
When young men and women from Hilbert, Wis., have the good fortune to attend St. Norbert College, it is often due to the generosity of Paul and Carol Gehl. And if they have the further good fortune to study the sciences here, they do so in a remarkable new facility built for that purpose – also due in large measure to the Gehls’ philanthropy. 

Carol and Paul have been providing scholarships at St. Norbert and other colleges to students from Hilbert and the surrounding area for many years. To be in the position to do so did not come easily: The Gehls come from modest circumstances, and only decades of determination and hard work have brought them to a place where they can be so generous with their time, talent and treasure. Paul’s career – first as partner of Lunda Construction and later as an investor in dozens of companies – relied on the steady support of Carol and daughter Jane, in what can best be described as a family success story.

Beyond the scholarships they offer our students, Carol and Paul have played critical roles in nearly all of the college’s major initiatives over the last 30 years, reflecting an abiding love for an institution at which Paul has served as trustee for a quarter century.

Their support for the college reached its apex recently when, along with Jim and Miriam Mulva, they provided the gifts that would fund the creation of our new science center. Dedicated this year, the Gehl-Mulva Science Center has already provided glimpses of its long-term impact. It is home to the Wisconsin Medical College’s Green Bay campus, a partnership with important ramifications not just for St. Norbert College but for the entire region. And it is already serving as a beacon to prospective students: Notable in the college’s record enrollment numbers is a sharp increase in applications from students interested in the sciences.

Paul and Carol Gehl are champions not just of St. Norbert College, but of their hometown: They have been a driving force behind the renovation of Hilbert’s historic buildings and the continued good health of its business community.The Gehls’ philanthropic works are deeply rooted in faith. They are devout Catholics and benefactors of the Green Bay Diocese. As one who knows the Gehls well so eloquently noted: “The Gehl family lives their faith out loud. Their faith in God, in their family, and in others around them brings much hope and joy to their lives. And it is because of that faith, and because of that hope and joy, that they choose to bless so many of us with the gift of their love.”

St. Norbert College in particular has been richly blessed, and is honored to present Carol and Paul Gehl the Distinguished Service to the SNC Community Award.

Distinguished Achievement in Natural Sciences

Tracy GalarowiczTracy L. Galarowicz ’91
Tracy Galarowicz has used her St. Norbert College degree in biology as a springboard to a distinguished career as a scientist and educator.

As professor and chair in the biology department at Central Michigan University, Galarowicz functions, as one admiring colleague notes, “at the very highest level of performance and professionalism.”

Her excellence in the classroom has earned Galarowicz not only the Outstanding Teaching Award in CMU’s College of Science and Technology, but also, in 2010, a university-wide Excellence in Teaching Award.

During her distinguished career at CMU, which saw her named a full professor in 2012, Galarowicz has taught 12 different courses in biology, mentored dozens of graduate and undergraduate students, served on the honors faculty, and earned a reputation for tirelessness in making herself available to her students.

Her commitment to the institution itself has been similarly impressive. Galarowicz has served on nearly 20 committees, from the university’s strategic planning team to its graduate student research committee. The former chair of the biology department notes that her organization and attention to detail are “unparalleled.”

Galarowicz has also excelled as a research scientist. Her work studying several species of game fish in the Great Lakes has brought in more than half a million dollars in grants to her university. She has had 16 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the field, has presented at dozens of scientific conferences, served on numerous committees of the American Fisheries Society, and was associate editor of that organization’s scientific journal. She also serves as scientific representative to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Apparently indefatigable, Galarowicz also sits on the board of directors of the Chippewa Nature Center, is a champion of diversity and inclusivity, leads community events on science, and is a mother of two children.

Professionally accomplished and deeply engaged in both her on-campus and off-campus communities, Galarowicz is an outstanding representative of her alma mater. A colleague’s remark about what informs her efforts – “Her values permeate all aspects of her life” – further distinguishes her as a true daughter of St. Norbert College, and a richly deserving recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in Natural Sciences.

2015 Distinguished Achievement in Public Service

Richard SiegelRichard G. Siegel ’72
“A civilizing, insistent human voice that made a difference to those in need of help.”Thus did his nominator describe Rich Siegel, a man who has spent more than 40 years in the dogged and compassionate pursuit of justice.

Siegel chose a path most others would find daunting, serving in the probation office of the Cook County Juvenile Court in Chicago. There, he worked day in and day out with young men and women facing life-changing crises, most often from dysfunctional families and broken communities, lacking even the most basic support system. Guided by an abiding sense of fair play, Siegel insisted on due process for his clients, and earned the respect of those he worked with at every level of the criminal-justice and social-service communities.

Also, mid-way through his career at juvenile court, Siegel began working as a part-time crisis worker at a local YMCA. He would be at this position for 20 years. He was on call in the evening to respond to runaway situations, where the police had taken a teenager into protective custody. Siegel would often need to meet with the police, parent and minor to develop a plan on the spot. This could include a return home, placement in a foster home, and follow-up counseling. In this position, Siegel was part of a team that provided much needed services for runaways in the south suburban area of Chicago.

Retiring from the probation office after 30 years, Siegel was only beginning his service to others. For the next eight years, he would work as a juvenile court liaison for the Montefiore Special School, well-known to him from his probation-office days. Montfefiore is the Chicago Public School System’s city-wide facility for behaviorally disordered and emotionally disturbed boys. The work was difficult: Montefiore boys would often find themselves in the juvenile court and its detention center. One of his colleagues at Montefiore notes that Siegel represented boys at the court perhaps 3-4 days a week, securing critical services like anger management, family counseling, drug treatment and more. Outside of court, Siegel assisted the school’s guidance department in calming and mentoring families in crisis. During most of his years with Montefiore, Siegel also served as a Chicago substitute teacher.

In 2009, when the school faced funding and staffing cuts. Six juvenile-court justices took the unprecedented step of writing a letter lauding the work of the school and of Rich Siegel in particular.

Most recently, Siegel has been working with the public defender’s office in a new program, through which he advocates for clients seeking fair and reasonable bonds in criminal cases. One of Siegel’s colleagues confirmed that many of Siegel’s clients who would otherwise be sitting in jail pending trail have been able to return to their jobs and their families.

One of Siegel’s lifelong friends suggests the spark for such a full life of service. He notes that the two attended a Jesuit preparatory school together, where they were taught the joys of service and inspired to heed the words of Pope John XXIII: “Today, more than ever, we are called to serve mankind … to defend above all and everywhere, the rights of the human person.”

The same friend says that later, at St. Norbert, Siegel received further confirmation that “a different world could not be built by indifferent people.”

Siegel lives with his wife and two children in the Chicago area.

Far from indifferent, Siegel has approached the problems of the world with deep compassion, conviction and commitment. He is a worthy recipient of the college’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

Oct. 31, 2015