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St. Norbert College honors Founder's Award recipients

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From St. Norbert College, October 15, 2012
by Stefanie Trinkl,, 902-403-3089

St. Norbert College's Office of Mission and Heritage honored Stephen Rupsch, John Seckel, Sandy Murphy, Bojan Francuz, Maggie Schwanke and Mark Silva as the 2012 Founder's Award recipients at the annual Founder's Day Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 10, as part of the Heritage Days celebration.

The awards are given to current employees and students at St. Norbert College who advance the Norbertine principles of community, spiritual commitment, service, collegiality and learning through their lives.

Rupsch has been a member of the faculty at St. Norbert College since 2005 and is an assistant professor of theatre studies and the director of theatre. His nominators speak of his deep understanding of the Norbertine value of radical hospitality, noting that he is one of the most welcoming people on campus, someone deeply committed to mentoring students and a person who "believes in the good in every person." Stephen is known to have a deep respect for the spiritual journey of each student, supporting them, as a nominator says, "as they search for the true light of the soul."

Seckel graduated from St. Norbert College in 1996, and after spending four years working in the Sensenbrenner Union and Bemis Conference Center, moved into his current position in the Campus Center in 2000. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Campus Center, Seckel advises the student programming board, Entertainment 2 Knight, and coordinates the recreation and intramural program. A faculty colleague writes of Seckel's contributions in this way: "His work ethic is unstintingly student-and-community focused."

Murphy came to St. Norbert College in 2002, and in addition to her work on the college's alternative break service trip program, she coordinates the main student celebration of Heritage Days, advises a sorority and collaborates on multiple significant efforts that benefit students. One nominator notes that Sandy "models communio, Christ's example of service and radical hospitality, every day. Sandy is consistently a reflection of God's love for us and an example of how we should strive to relate to our students."

Francuz is a senior from Backi Monostor, Serbia, double-majoring in political science and international studies, and currently works as the associate hall director in Bergstrom Hall. He has been a writer for the St. Norbert College Times, resident assistant, teaching assistant and leader in the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society. A faculty nominator writes of Francuz, "He is committed to global justice and always makes an effort to focus on people's humanity while respecting their cultural diversity."

Schwanke is a senior from Appleton, Wis. who is majoring in elementary education with a minor in early childhood education. She is an admissions tour guide, First Year Experience mentor, and president of the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. She also works with Colleges Against Cancer, is active in various parish and campus ministry offerings, and is leading a service trip to St. Lucia, West Indies, this January. A fellow student says, "Maggie is always willing to give a helping hand whenever someone is in need."

Silva is a senior from St. Francis, Wis. who is majoring in sociology. He has worked on campus as a resident assistant for three years and is currently an R.A. in Michels Hall. Mark will be leading a service trip to Memphis, Tenn., in December, the fourth service trip in which he will have participated. Mark has also been involved in retreats and campus ministry. A member of the residence life staff says, "Mark is always a positive role model he represents communio by holding others responsible for their actions, and showing a sincere interest in their lives."

For more information about the 2012 Founder's Award recipients, contact Julie Friedman at 920-403-3049 or

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