Six individuals will receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) this year. Dr. Lorraine Ozar will receive the 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.
This year’s 22nd annual Seton Awards ceremony will be held Monday, Oct. 1 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
This year’s Seton Award recipients are:
Robert A. Conway, Cincinnati, philanthropist and co-founder of The Bistro Group, for his expansive support of Catholic educational institutions in Greater Cincinnati.
Chuck and Nan Geschke, Los Altos, Calif., for their ongoing leadership and philanthropic contributions to post-secondary Catholic education.
Leigh-Anne Kazma, Chicago, who has dedicated her career to the patronage of Catholic education through the generous efforts of the Kazma Family Foundation.
Tom Moran, New York City, chairman and CEO, Mutual of America, for his benevolent corporate sponsorship within the Archdiocese of New York.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, who has renewed and revitalized Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Lorraine Ozar, Loyola University Chicago, will receive the NCEA President’s Award for her vision and leadership in the development of effective Catholic school curricula and instruction.
For reservations or additional information about the Seton Awards, contact Xaverian Brother Stephen Comeau at (571) 257-2891.
NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA's members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries.
Robert A. Conway
Robert A. Conway is a tireless champion of Catholic education in his native Cincinnati. He and his late wife, Ruth, were married for 52 years and raised eight children, all of whom attended Catholic schools. The Conways have been active supporters and generous benefactors of virtually all Catholic educational institutions in Greater Cincinnati. In 1997, the Conway Foundation was created to support Catholic education and it has contributed to the building and academic campaigns at Chatfield College, with campuses in Cincinnati and St. Martins, Ohio; and St. Xavier High School, Ursuline Academy, St. Ursula Academy and DePaul Cristo Rey High School, all in Cincinnati, as well as to community ministries.
As life-long benefactors of The Legacy Campaign at The Athenaeum of Ohio, the Conways endowed the Chair for Biblical Studies. At Chatfield College, support from the Conway Foundation funds the campus ministry program. An alumnus and emeritus trustee of Xavier University, Conway endowed the school’s Conway Institute for Jesuit Education. An endowed chair in Catholic Studies at the University of Cincinnati promotes scholarly research at the secular university.
Ruth and Robert Conway co-founded The Bistro Group in 1989. Today this family-owned restaurant enterprise employs 2,800 people in the Cincinnati area. Enthusiastic support for Robert Conway is echoed by the Ursuline communities, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Catholic inner-city schools that have benefitted from the Conways’ philanthropy and vision.
Charles and Nancy Geschke
The accomplishments of the Charles M. and Nancy A. Geschke Foundation underscore the importance of the well-being of our nation's youth and of keeping Catholic schools vital and available for the next generation. The Geschkes have provided great leadership to the University of San Francisco, Xavier University of Cincinnati, Marygrove College in Detroit, the Catholic Foundation of Santa Clara County and Magnificat and St. Ignatius high schools in Cleveland, among other important endeavors. Through their support of the Endowed Faculty Fund, the construction of the Geschke Learning Resource Center and Charles Geschke’s role as the inaugural holder of the Rossi Entrepreneurial Chair at the University of San Francisco, the Geschkes have been instrumental in advancing education.
Nancy Geschke, a Marygrove alumna, was instrumental in creating Marygrove’s Nancy A. McDonough Geschke Writing Center. She recently was named to the board of trustees at the Detroit college. Nancy Geschke also has spearheaded a capital campaign to revitalize both the building and operations of the Nantucket Athenaeum in Nantucket, Mass.
Charles Geschke, a graduate of Xavier University, began a teaching career at John Carroll University. In 1982 he co-founded Adobe Systems with John Warnock and built Adobe into one of the world’s largest software companies.
Now co-chairman of Adobe's board of directors, Geschke also serves on the boards of several educational institutions and arts and non-profit organizations.
Leigh-Anne Kazma was born in Canada and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1979. A graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., she resides in Chicago, serving students in need by mentoring and providing scholarships and as a member of numerous boards including the Chicago Big Shoulders Fund, the Joliet Diocesan Catholic Education Foundation and several elementary and secondary school boards.
In 1997, Kazma was named president and sole employee of the Kazma Family Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to personally engage with the students who receive financial aid from the foundation. Kazma serves as a mentor for her scholarship recipients, reviewing their progress, dining with them at their schools and taking them on academic and recreational outings.
The life-changing generosity of the Kazma Family Foundation began with providing college scholarships to the residents of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the Archdiocese of Chicago and has branched out to provide scholarships to students throughout the Chicago area, including seven high schools in the Diocese of Joliet. Kazma singularly, or in partnership with charitable organizations, has provided financial support to nearly 1,000 students.
In recent years she established a scholarship at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and has begun funding school construction in Honduras and a college scholarship program in El Salvador.
Thomas J. Moran
Tom Moran has a passion for philanthropy and volunteerism. Moran has been recognized for his humanitarian work in Northern Ireland, Haiti and Africa, from which he derives incredible optimism and confidence. As chairman of Concern Worldwide (US), he is a witness to the great good performed around the world when people genuinely care.
He is a champion for educational organizations such as the Inner City Scholarship Fund, the Archdiocese of New York Office of Catholic Schools and the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, N.Y. Moran serves on the boards of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation and the New York Catholic Foundation. Moran credits much of his personal success to his Catholic education. He began his career with Mutual of America in 1975 and has been chief executive officer and president since 1994 and chairman of the board since 2005. His predecessor and mentor, William Flynn, also is a Seton honoree. Mutual of America has specialized in providing retirement products to nonprofit organizations for more than 65 years. Moran has inculcated a tradition of outreach within the company. One hundred percent of his employees participate in some form of volunteerism or financial support to the wider community. The company sponsors an annual Community Partnership Award and provides generous financial support to numerous Catholic institutions throughout the United States.
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap., has been archbishop of Boston since 2003 and a cardinal since 2006. He was professed into the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in 1965, ordained a priest in 1970 and earned a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese literature at The Catholic University of America in 1978, where he founded the Centro Católico Hispano.
His first assignment as a bishop was in 1984 in the U.S. Virgin Islands and today he continues to work extensively with Hispanic, Portuguese and Haitian communities through programs such as the Regis College Haiti Project. O'Malley served as bishop of Fall River, Mass., and Palm Springs, Fla., prior to Boston.
An ardent proponent of Catholic schools, the cardinal tells educators they "have the rare and precious opportunity to communicate church teaching in its entirety to the young." Foremost in O'Malley's priorities is renewing and rebuilding a strong Catholic school network in the archdiocese. In 2005, he established the 2010 Initiative, an energetic committee of educators, clergy, civic and business leaders who developed a strategic plan based on extensive study and research. The cardinal has attracted substantial grant funding through the Campaign for Catholic Schools to realize the initiative's recommendations. The most substantial gift—believed to be the largest gift ever made from a foundation to support systematic reform for Catholic elementary education—was $15 million by the Yawkey Foundations.
Lorraine A. Ozar
Lorraine A. Ozar, Ph.D., is a graduate of Marygrove College, Detroit, Mich., and Fordham University. Following a career in Catholic school teaching and administration, she accepted a faculty appointment in the School of Education, Loyola University Chicago in 2003, where she became the founding director of the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness and an associate professor of education. Dr. Ozar has written and presented extensively in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, leadership and religious education outcomes.
Along with her co-editors of “Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice”, she was instrumental in the creation of an online version that has become the most widely-distributed, peer-reviewed journal about Catholic education in the world.
As the head of the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness and chair of the national Catholic School Standards Task Force, and in collaboration with the National Catholic Educational Association, Ozar unveiled the “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools” in March 2012. This landmark document outlines essential characteristics, standards and benchmarks for well-managed, mission-driven, program-effective, responsibly governed Catholic schools. Ozar previously received the NCEA C. Albert Koob Merit Award, the NCEA Secondary Department Award and the University of San Francisco Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership Award for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education, as well as the Marygrove College Distinguished Alumna Award and the F. Sadlier Dinger Award.