Benedictine University honors 20 alumni  for leadership, innovation, philanthropy

April 29, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University honored 20 alumni for their contributions to their communities through their leadership and philanthropy.

The alumni were named to the University's Who's Who Among Benedictine University Alumni and recognized at a dinner and awards presentation March 20 at the Dan and Ada Rice Center on Benedictine's main campus in Lisle.

Five alumni were presented Visionary awards, which recognize alumni who have reached the pinnacle of their careers and have made a significant impact on the world around them through leadership and philanthropy. The Rising Star award is presented to alumni who have graduated less than 20 years ago, have made considerable strides in their careers and have demonstrated dedication to philanthropic endeavors.

Those honored were:

John Atkinson of Burr Ridge, Ill., a 1984 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, was among those honored as a Visionary.

Maurice Bell of Wheaton, Ill., a 1987 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, was among those honored as a Visionary.

Maryellen Lissak Giger, Ph.D., of Elmhurst, Ill., a 1978 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics, Physics and Health Sciences, was among those honored as a Visionary.

Debra Hornell, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., a 2011 graduate of Benedictine University with a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior, was among those honored as a Visionary.

Lt. Col. (P) Joseph A. Ricciardi, of Valparaiso, Ind., a 2014 graduate of Benedictine University with a Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership, was among those honored as a Visionary.

Kerry (Rerucha) Andrews, of Glendale, Calif., a 2014 graduate of Benedictine University with a Master of Business Administration and a 1996 graduate with a bachelor's degree in International Business and Economics, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Maggie (Bruzik) Augustyn, D.D.S., Lombard, Ill., a 1999 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Joshua Blomgren, D.O., of Oak Park, Ill., a 2001 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Michael D'Angelo, of Elmwood Park, Ill., a 2001 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Communication Arts, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Jessica Gedraitis, M.D., of Peoria, Ill., a 2002 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Biology, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Geoffrey Goodfellow, O.D., of Beecher, Ill., a 1997 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Aimee Jaremowicz, R.D., L.D.N., of Chicago Ridge, Ill., a 1999 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Rita Mayfield, of Waukegan, Ill., a 2004 graduate of Benedictine University with a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Maryellen (Thomas) Nicholas, Ph.D., of Portland, Ore., a 1996 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

David Norman, of Aurora, Ill., a 2008 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Special Education, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

John Parker, of Fox River Grove, Ill., a 2001 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Management and Organizational Behavior, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Tiffany "Tiff" Pua, of Milwaukee, Wis., a 2000 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Communication Arts, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

James Sostak, M.D., of St. Charles, Ill., a 2001 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Health Science, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Tramayne Whiteny, of Harrisburg, Pa., a 2004 graduate of Benedictine University with a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior, was among those honored as a Rising Star.

Douglas Wildes, of Lisle, Ill., a 2002 graduate of Benedictine University with a bachelor's degree in Social Science, was among those honored as a Rising Star.


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Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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