2010 Seton Awards
For the past 20 years, NCEA has recognized exceptional individuals for their support of education and youth in the United States, and of Catholic education in particular. We salute past recipients and once again thank you for your philanthropy and service.
More information about the 2010 Seton Awards can be found below.
The 2010 Seton Awards will be held Monday, October 4, 2010 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, DC. A reception begins at 6 pm and dinner begins at 7 pm in the atrium. If you would like to attend, please see the registration form below, or contact Barbara Keebler at (800) 711-6232 or email@example.com.
The 2010 NCEA St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award Recipients
To view a video for each of the Seton Award recipients, please go to: /2010SetonAwardees.asp
Eight individuals received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) during the 20th annual Seton Awards ceremony Monday, Oct. 4 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The Archdiocese of New Orleans received the NCEA President’s Award.
The Seton Award is NCEA’s highest honor, given in recognition of significant contributions to Catholic education. The award is named in honor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), the first native-born American saint. The award is a bronze-colored medallion with the image of Mother Seton in profile, circled by the words NCEA Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. It is placed on a wide red ribbon and worn around the neck.
This year’s award recipients are:
Lee and Penny Anderson
The Andersons have been major benefactors to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, providing funds for scholarships at the School of Law and support for university humanitarian activities for Cuba and for Cuban students. Lee and Penny have given $60 million to the university, the largest single gift to a college or university in Minnesota history. The money will fund a new student center and athletic and recreation complex. Lee Anderson is owner and chairman of APi Group, Inc., a St. Paul holding corporation of almost 30 construction, manufacturing and fire-protection companies.
Tom and Gayle Benson
Tom Benson initially purchased the New Orleans Saints to keep the team in the city, but in the intervening years the Saints have become a revitalizing force in New Orleans. Contributions from Tom and his wife, Gayle, enabled the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio to institute an intercollegiate football program. A $14 million challenge gift from the Bensons gave a major boost to San Antonio Oblate School of Theology’s capital campaign. Tom’s recent $4 million gift to Central Catholic High School in San Antonio enabled the school to upgrade the football stadium and build a new athletic and convocation facility.
Donald and Michele D’Amour
Donald is chairman of the board and CEO of Big Y Foods, which has awarded both public and parochial schools more than $4.5 million in support. Michele oversees the company’s Homework Help Line, serving more than 10,000 students. Don has chaired the advisory board for the Diocese of Springfield, Mass., and is a former member of the board of trustees of Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, his alma mater. Michele served on the board for Springfield diocesan schools. The couple gave $1.5 million to Assumption College for its Foundations of Western Civilization Program and $4.2 million for a chair in Catholic Intellectual Tradition and speaker series in Catholic thought.
Robert A. Smith III
As president of the Catholic Education Foundation, Robert “Rob” Smith supervises a 36-member board of trustees that disburses $11.5 million in tuition awards to 9,000 students attending Catholic primary and secondary schools in the archdiocese of Los Angeles. Rob is the president of the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation, overseeing a $130-million fund, which gives to many Catholic causes. Rob and his wife, Joanne, serve on the advisory board of the Dominican Sisters’ Vision of Hope, which staff seven Catholic elementary schools in the poorest communities of Los Angeles. Rob owns the Sierra Leasing Company.
Frank and Judy Sunberg
Frank and Judy Sunberg are strong advocates of Catholic secondary and higher education. Frank has served two terms on Cretin-Derham Hall’s board of directors and now serves on its investment committee. The Sunbergs were the lead donors to the St. Paul school’s capital campaign. Judy and Frank have extended their philanthropy to the University of St. Thomas as well. They created a scholarship program to promote diversity in admissions in the belief that the university can do a better job recruiting and retaining students of color. Frank is a past member of the board of trustees. Frank is the retired president of Portu-Sunberg Marketing.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans received the NCEA President’s Award for its leadership and success in reopening schools after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The award was presented by Dr. Karen Ristau, president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), during the 20th annual Seton Awards ceremony Monday, Oct. 4 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
The President’s Award to the Archdiocese of New Orleans honors the resilience and spirit of the archdiocese and its schools in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The award was accepted on behalf of the archdiocese by Michael Begg, president of Archbishop Rummel High School, Metairie, Louisiana, and Dominican Sister Mary Rose Bingham, former principal of Cathedral Academy. Archbishop Gregory Aymond was unable to attend due to a prior commitment.
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans is grateful to you, Dr. Ristau, and to the NCEA for this honor. It is a tribute to our shared efforts to keep Catholic education alive and thriving,” said Mr. Begg after accepting the award. “This recognition shows that you have not forgotten us. More importantly, you continue to support the collective efforts that help make our Catholic mission stronger. Like the rest of the schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archbishop Rummel High School continues to face challenges with the same spirit and determination – because our roots are deep,” he said.
Schools in the city of New Orleans suffered the brunt of the storm damage. Almost every school in the archdiocese was affected – if not by the storm then by the turmoil of a transient population and uncertain futures.
While New Orleans public schools declared it would take a year to reopen, some archdiocesan Catholic schools were back in operation within five weeks—sometimes in double shifts and sometimes in inventive new quarters. The archdiocese believed it was critical to reopen schools to stabilize communities, to give residents a reason to return. Parents could concentrate on their own rebuilding effort knowing that their children were being educated in a safe environment. Some schools even accommodated the children of relief workers who were living on cruise ships so that the workers could concentrate on rebuilding.
“Many [children] came to us without their families intact; without a house to live in; without money; without jobs; without clothes; without books; and often times without hope,” Mr. Begg said. “School, then, became family.”
Sister Mary Rose told this story: “A few days after we re-opened, a woman came to me and said: ‘When I saw the Sisters opening the school and the priest saying to bring the children even if we can’t afford it, I knew we were going to be alright. I knew that God had not forgotten us.’”
Although overall enrollment in the archdiocese is 5 percent lower than pre-storm numbers, today 86 of the former 106 archdiocesan schools are operating. There is significant growth in enrollment numbers in suburban areas where population shifts have occurred and there are waiting lists in several schools.
The archdiocese recently completed a strategic study for the future, using demographic information that indicates as much as a 25 percent population decline in the immediate New Orleans area.
CACE Salute to the Recipients of the 2010 Seton Awards and the President's Award
NCEA extends a special note of gratitude to the following arch/dioceses and individuals for their generous support of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards on the occasion of their 20th anniversary.
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Cardinal Daniel Dinardo – Archbishop
Sr. Kevina Keating – Superintendent of Schools
Archdiocese of St. Louis
Most Rev. James Carlson – Archbishop
Stephanie Welling – Associate Superintendent
Diocese of Albany
Most Rev. Howard Hubbard – Bishop
Sr. Jane Herb, IHM – Superintendent
Diocese of Worcester
Most Rev. Robert McManus – Bishop
Delma Josephson – Superintendent
Diocese of Toledo
Most Rev. Leonard Blair – Bishop
Christopher Knight – Superintendent
Sisters of Mercy – West Midwest Community
Michelle Gorman – Team Leader
Sr. Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN