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John Barrett ’15 – Beaudry Award
John Barrett

The Beaudry Award was established in honor of the late Robert Beaudry from the Class of 1950. Each year, a graduating senior is recognized by his or her classmates for contributions in academic achievement, Christian life, leadership, and service to the University and civic community during their time as a student.

This year’s recipient is John Barrett.

John hails from North Olmsted, Ohio and graduates Sunday with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies with a Catholic Studies minor. He has been a recipient of the Breen Catholic Studies Scholarship for the past two years and his commitment to his Christian values and service to others is truly exemplary and extraordinary.

Last year John was accepted to the five year B.A./M.A. Theology program and has already begun graduate level work. Moving forward, John hopes to teach theology at the high school level.

In special recognition of your exemplary service to the university and to others, the John Carroll University Alumni Association congratulates you, John Barrett, on receiving the 2015 Beaudry Award.

Nick Conyngham ’82 – Alumni Medal
Nick Conyngham

Fellow John Carroll University alumni describe Nick Conyngham as an exceptional and enthusiastic leader, volunteer, and ambassador for his alma mater. As the driving force behind a re-ignited New York City JCU Alumni Chapter—as well as the larger Northeast region—Nick has organized and led so many engaging social and service events that several alumni from every decade since the ’50s wrote letters to support his Alumni Medal nomination.

While Nick was president of the NYC Alumni Chapter (2012-2014), he led an inspiring array of events that re-engaged the tri-state region, including Masses and brunches at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center, golf outings at Ridgewood Country Club—site of the PGA’s Barclay’s tournament, Cleveland Browns watch parties, and a New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park.

Nick’s enthusiasm inspired other alumni to follow his lead and host JCU receptions in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. Nick and his wife, Beth, also helped the University launch the Forever Carroll Campaign in Manhattan.

The camaraderie and goodwill generated by these events have inspired numerous Campaign donations and resulted in internships and opportunities created exclusively for Carroll students.

Nick’s commitment to serve those in need is perhaps best illustrated by how he rallies alumni volunteers at the Saint Francis Xavier soup kitchen in New York City. The church serves as many as 1,500 meals every Sunday. Similarly, after Hurricane Sandy devastated the region, Nick played a significant role in setting up an emergency shelter at a parish in Jersey City.

He has lived most of his life in New Jersey, but Nick is a Cleveland native and has roots that run deep, including many John Carroll and other Jesuit connections. His grandfather, also named Nick, graduated from Carroll in 1925; two great uncles, Arthur and Edward, graduated in 1938 and 1937, respectively, as did numerous cousins in more recent years. Other family members are Fordham, Saint Peter’s, and Holy Cross alumni, and Nick’s son, Terry, is a Boston College graduate.

Professionally, Nick has enjoyed a very successful career in sales. He started with Automatic Data Processing immediately after graduation, then spent many years with Carlson Companies, and now leads CPG/Conyngham Performance Group—a loyalty, incentive and engagement firm.

For dedication to his family, John Carroll University, and a generosity of spirit and service to others, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award our 2015 Alumni Medal to R. Nicholas Conyngham.

Norma Geller ’87 – Alumni Medal
Norma Geller

Norma Geller ’87 is a caregiver, businesswoman, and victor. While working diligently to raise her four children, catering to the family furniture business with her husband, Al, and battling ovarian cancer, Geller has supported several Cleveland philanthropic efforts. She has been driven by challenges and enlightenment through her John Carroll education.

In 1978, Geller began the first of her nine years as a JCU student after receiving a postcard in the mail. Graduating summa cum laude, Geller was a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, a National Continuing Education Honor Society that honors the character and dedication of older college students who balance obligations while maintaining high-academic standing.

Geller’s path toward a sociology degree adhered to her commitment to others as a volunteer at University Hospitals for 20 years, working in the playroom at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital for eight years. After earning her degree, she worked in the radiation therapy department as a social worker at the former Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland.

But, after years of dedication to patients, Geller became one herself. In December 1991, shortly after earning her master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University, Geller received a letter from the hospital. Soon thereafter, results from a test indicated her blood levels were slightly elevated and needed to be checked. Eventually, Geller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Subsequently, she endured several months of chemotherapy treatment, which was successful. She has been in remission since. The Gellers have supported University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and the Cleveland Clinic, sponsoring a researcher who has made breakthrough discoveries in ovarian cancer research.

Since Geller’s graduation from Carroll, she has sponsored the Albert I. and Norma C. Geller Lecture Series in the sociology department at John Carroll. Geller also participates in JCU’s Labre Project, which helps feed the homeless in Cleveland. The second time she went, she took her son, Daniel, and her grandsons, Noah and Joshua. After passing out food to and talking with the homeless in tents by the Cuyahoga River several times, Geller donated boots for them.

“JCU has done more for me than I have done for it,” Geller says. “JCU is near and dear to my heart.”

For her dedication to and support of her family and John Carroll, exemplary professional and civic leadership, and service to the sick and poor, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2015 Alumni Medal to Norma C. Geller.

The Very Reverend Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J.’84 – Alumni Medal
Tim Kesicki

On a sunny day in August 1981, sophomore transfer student Tim Kesicki followed his heart and moved into a third-floor room in Dolan Hall at John Carroll University. He says a desire to “spread my wings a bit” prompted his move from a school close to home. It was a life-changing decision that would ultimately add 17,000 brothers to his family.

A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Tim is the third son of Robert and Carmella Kesicki. His older brother, Daniel, is retired from the U.S. Army; middle brother, Michael, is a priest for the Diocese of Erie; and younger sister, Mary (McDermott), graduated from Carroll in 1987 and is a speech pathologist. Their parents emphasized the importance of love, faith, family, a strong work ethic, loyalty, and a life of service.

As a Carroll student, Tim was active in Christian Life Communities, Sigma Delta Kappa (service fraternity), served as new student orientation advisor, and met his first Jesuits: Frs. Joseph Schell, S.J., Don Smythe, S.J., and Jack White, S.J. ’51. Fr. Schell encouraged Tim to make the Spiritual Exercises after his first year at Carroll. Tim found the experience so transformative he decided to repeat the exercises the following year.

“I wouldn’t be a Jesuit today, if it weren’t for John Carroll,” he says.

After graduation, Tim entered the Novitiate in Berkley, Michigan. He completed his First Studies in 1988 at Loyola University Chicago and earned his master’s in philosophy. In 1994, he received his master’s in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and was ordained into the priesthood. His journey has included Jesuit teaching posts in Detroit, Uganda, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, where so many came to know and love him as the “young” president of Saint Ignatius High School. In 2008, he was called to serve as Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of Jesuits.

During this period, Tim also served on JCU’s Board of Directors for nine years and was an honorary degree recipient at the University’s 125th Anniversary Commencement in 2011, when he was commencement speaker.

Tim is currently president of the Jesuit Conference, which includes working with the nine provincials in the U.S. and Canada on issues and decision-making for the Society of Jesus.

For dedication to family, John Carroll University, and leadership in advancing the Jesuit mission worldwide, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award our 2015 Alumni Medal to the Very Reverend Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J.

Brianna Lazarchik ’15 – Millor Orator
 Brianna Lazarchik

In honor of the late Rev. William J. Millor, S.J., who served the University for more than 28 years, the senior class selects a classmate to be the only student speaker at commencement.
This year’s Millor Orator is Brianna Lazarchik.

Brianna, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, majored in Economics with a minor in Catholic Studies. A recipient of numerous merit scholarships, Bree has also excelled in the area of leadership on our campus, something we know will only continue throughout her life.

Upon graduation, Brianna hopes to complete a year of service through an education or ministry position. Her goal is to be in the classroom. She is applying to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Amate House in Chicago and St. Martin de Porres High School here in Cleveland.

Donald E. MacMillan ’82 – Volunteer Service Award
Donald E. MacMillan

In recent years, the alumni office has worked to offer more programming and engagement opportunities for our alumni. In light of those efforts, we felt it was time to reinstate the Volunteer Service Award, which honors and recognizes an alumna/alumnus or friend of the University who has volunteered a significant amount of time and energy to the Alumni Association and its programs. This award has not been given out in a number of years, but tonight, we recognize Donald E. MacMillan from the class of 1982.

A man who bleeds blue and gold, Don, or as he’s affectionately known, “Squeak”, has consistently been involved with JCU alumni activities since his days as a student. Because of his distance from campus (he currently lives in Watertown, Massachusetts), his involvement has at times gone under the radar.

Don’s most notable contribution is tied to JCU’s longest running alumni event outside of Reunion Weekend, the Andrew “Dewey” McCarthy Alumni Soccer Game and Scholarship Luncheon. Now in its 33rd year, the event welcomes back soccer alumni and their families from all eras for mass, a soccer game and a lunch that honors that year’s recipient of the McCarthy scholarship. The event and endowed scholarship is named in honor of the late Andrew “Dewey” McCarthy ’81, a Boston native who died in a car accident in 1983. Don was Dewey’s best friend, roommate and teammate, and vowed to the McCarthy family to keep their son’s memory alive. Over three decades later, Don has kept that promise. In fact, Don has helped elevate the event in recent years to include a Friday social and a retirement ceremony of Dewey’s jersey number 2, which now hangs in Don Shula Stadium.

Don has not been a flash in the pan in terms of his involvement. It’s been a consistent, decades-spanning, affiliation with the university he loves. To Don, it’s been all about community, keeping promises, and serving others. As a graduate of Boston College High School, Don understands what it means to be educated by the Jesuits. Not only is this signature alumni event alive and well three decades later, so is the memory of Dewey McCarthy.

Kate O’Neil ’74 – Alumni Medal
Kate O'Neil

She’s a captain of industry. Kathleen O’Neil ’74 is well known in global financial circles through more than 20 years of executive leadership positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as IBM’s general manager for global financial markets infrastructure. Currently, she’s president and chief executive of Liberty Street Advisors, a financial consulting company she created in 2001.

Among Kate’s assignments at the Fed were roles as chief financial examiner, executive vice president of the financial services group, and executive vice president of the corporate group. She was responsible for the design and implementation of the Federal Reserve’s foreign bank supervisory program, supervising the domestic and foreign operations of U.S. banking organizations, and the design and execution of the Federal Reserve System’s trading and capital markets policy guidance for examiners. She directed all troubled institutional interventions during the recession in the early ’90s, when the U.S. banking system was under the greatest stress since the 1930s.

Kate – who has been active in the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economic Club of New York, and the Women’s Economic Round Table – is a member of the International Corporate Governance Network and the National Association of Corporate Directors. She also is a fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program.

Kate has served and serves on public and private company boards including NYSE-listed, now private, BMC Software; MetLife Bank; NASDAQ-listed Guidance Software, where she’s lead independent director; and the Motley Fool Funds Trust, where she’s nonexecutive chair.

Related to her alma mater, Kate served on the JCU Board of Directors for 10 years and was vice chairman. She’s a former member of the JCU President’s Forum, Business Advisory Council, Alum-in-Admission Program, Reunion 2004 committee, and Pi Delta Epsilon.

Personally, she’s devoted to her husband, Joseph Incorvaia; three kids; nine siblings; and more than 20 nieces and nephews. She’s frequently asked to offer advice and counsel to her family for just about anything – from what tie to buy, what college to attend, or what job to take. In addition to the many O’Neil family parties, reunions, and excursions Kate has hosted, she and Joe have held the family Thanksgiving get-together for as may as 50 people in their home in Connecticut for the past two decades. Maybe their next career moves will be to establish a catering company.

For her dedication to and support of her family and John Carroll, and impressive professional and civic leadership, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2015 Alumni Medal to Kathleen A. O’Neil.

Mike Schmitt ’11 – Campion Shield
Mike Schmitt

The Campion Shield recognizes bravery, sacrifice or acts of heroism, by members of the John Carroll University community. This year we recognize Mike Schmitt, member of the class of 2011.

In March 2012, less than one year after graduating from John Carroll, Mike Schmitt, an officer in the U.S. Army, was leading 40 men and women during the last major combat clearance mission of the Afghanistan war. Mike, who deployed with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was charged to rid a highly contested area of enemies. In doing so, he persevered through countless intense battles. On multiple occasions, he coordinated medical evacuation for severely wounded soldiers, even if it meant placing himself in danger.
On Aug. 6, 2012, Mike was completing one of his final missions during the six-month deployment. While returning to his forward operating base, Mike’s vehicle was struck by a large improvised explosive device, destroying the vehicle and causing it to roll over multiple times. Mike received a traumatic brain injury, a severe concussion, burns, cuts, a broken nose, facial trauma, and a severely fractured elbow and injured arm. Despite all of that, Mike just wanted to make sure everyone else in his vehicle was OK.

Mike, who underwent multiple surgeries to recover, was given a grim prognosis of returning to active duty. Doctors told him if he did return, it wouldn’t be for at least two years. So, Mike set out to prove the doctors wrong and four months later, he returned to full duty at work. To Mike, all that mattered was showing those he was responsible for that you can overcome adversity, no matter the odds.

Mike’s four years at John Carroll inspired him to serve others. Whether it’s the soldiers he was responsible for, protecting America’s freedom, or providing Afghans a better future, Mike is passionate about helping others. He enjoys opportunities to help other wounded veterans overcome obstacles they’re facing through the Wounded Warrior Project.

Mike continues to serve today. As a Captain, he provides law enforcement response and investigation support at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He hopes to begin a civilian law enforcement career after he leaves the Army next year, which will allow him to continue to serve others. Mike also hopes to return to John Carroll one day as an adjunct professor.

On behalf of the John Carroll University Alumni Association and for your bravery, sacrifice and acts of heroism we congratulate you on receiving the 2015 Campion Shield.

Mark Schroeder ’83 – Silver Quill Award
Mark Shroeder

The Silver Quill Award recipient is distinguished by her or his dedication to the University and through service as a class columnist for John Carroll magazine. This year’s recipient is Mark Schroeder, from the Class of 1983.

Witty, personable, informative and ultimately, a must read. These words describe the 1983 Class Notes. But who is the man behind the “quill” (slash) keyboard?
If you need help raising money for a good cause, Mark Schroeder is your guy. A licensed professional auctioneer, Mark once helped raise $1.6 million dollars in 20 minutes for a Catholic school on Cleveland’s west side. He once sold two San Antonio Spurs jerseys for $186,000. Two months later, he sold a painting for $150,000. They all were for charity.
Mark began his academic career at Catholic schools in Chicago. While finishing at Loyola Academy, he wanted to attend a big state school, but that desire fizzled after spending a weekend visiting John Carroll, where his student-athlete career continued on the gridiron and baseball diamond.

After earning a communication degree, Mark began his professional career at WJW-TV / Fox 8 in Cleveland where he worked for 17 years, starting as a production assistant, then progressing to sports reporter and finally sports anchor. Nominated 36 times for Emmy Awards, he won four of them, as well as numerous Associated Press awards and one International Telly Award.
As Cleveland sports reporting changed in the early 2000’s, Mark befriended a professional auctioneer at a benefit in Solon, Ohio. Eventually, as Mark continued to help him conduct benefit auctions, the auctioneer encouraged Mark to become one himself. After two years of education and training, he did so. Mark holds two of the highest certifications any licensed professional auctioneer can obtain.

One of his personal highlights was working JCU’s 125th anniversary gala four years ago when he raised $66,000 dollars in just 10 minutes.
As seen through his work as a television anchor and auctioneer, Mark’s personality also comes through in his writings.

We’re proud to present Mark Schroeder with the 2015 Silver Quill award.

Mike Swallow ’98 – Young Alumni Award
Mike Swallow

John Carroll has many great alumni from a range of eras doing exemplary work, not only in their careers and with their family, but on behalf of the University as well. The Young Alumni Award recognizes outstanding leadership, career excellence and service of a John Carroll undergraduate alumnus or alumna who is 40 years old or younger.
This year’s first Young Alumni Award recipient is Mike Swallow, from the Class of 1998.

Mike is a proud native of Maple Heights, Ohio, who graduated from John Carroll with a degree in Accounting. Mike is the Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Advisory Services at CBIZ Retirement Plan Services. He is a nationally recognized retirement plan advisor helping corporations and higher education institutions improve their retirement plan programs. Prior to his current professional endeavors, Mike started his career as an auditor at Ernst & Young.

Mike, along with other JCU graduates is the Co-Founder and president of The Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT). NEOPAT’s mission is to inspire others to promote Patriotism and support for military families. NEOPAT has become the largest nonprofit financial supporter of military families in Northeast Ohio.

Mike was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business as one of the top Forty under 40, in 2011. In addition, he was also named in The 401kWire as one of the most influential advisors in the industry and he and his team have been recognized by PlanSponsor.com as one of the “Best of the Best” retirement plan advisory teams in the United States. Mike was also recognized as a finalist for the John Maxwell Leadership Award for his efforts in Community Service and with NEOPAT.

Mike continues to give back to John Carroll. He is part of the professional speaker series through the Boler School of Business where students hear from prominent JCU alumni who share their stories of success and lessons learned along the way.

Mike’s passion to serve others is fueled by his desire to lead by example for his children to see. His pursuit to transform his family and others around him has helped him to develop the foundation of his teachings: To love, lead, grow and be free through God’s blessings. Mike and his wife, Jaime, reside in Brecksville with their four children.

Lisa Zone ’98 – Young Alumni Award
Lisa Zone

The recipient of the Young Alumni Award is Lisa Zone, also a member of the Class of 1998.

Lisa is a native Clevelander who graduated from John Carroll with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in English. She is currently the youngest Managing Director at the public relations firm Dix & Eaton, where she oversees all marketing communications and social media programs for a wide range of for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Lisa currently serves as a lead volunteer with the JCU Cleveland Alumni Chapter, where she is Vice President of Professional Development programming. In this capacity, she developed and launched JCU WMN, a women’s mentoring and networking program designed to bring Cleveland area alumnae together for personal and professional growth. She also lends her time and talents as a guest lecturer, networking coach and executive judge for MBA presentations at Carroll. When she was here, Lisa was a varsity cheerleader and team captain for both football and basketball, and worked in the Career Development office. She also likes to think she was influential in both of her younger sisters’ decisions to attend John Carroll, and wishes to thank her parents – and John Carroll scholarships – for putting them all through school.

Lisa had her first big career break when a John Carroll alum spoke to her PR class junior year. She approached that alum after class to inquire about an internship opportunity, and quickly landed the gig at that advertising agency. On her first day of that internship, Lisa met another John Carroll grad, who later recommended her for the job opening at Dix & Eaton, where she has been for the past 15 years.

In addition to her service to Carroll, Lisa serves on the Council of Advisors for Corporate College, a division of Cuyahoga Community College, and on a special committee for The Cleveland Leadership Center’s Bridge Builders program, an emerging leaders program she completed in 2009. Previously, she served on the Board of Directors for the American Advertising Federation of Cleveland, where she also served as President.

Prior to this Young Alumni distinction, Lisa was designated as a YWCA of Greater Cleveland Woman of Professional Excellence and was honored by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its “Forty Under 40” program. She also was recognized as a “Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers” finalist by Inside Business and the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club, and was named “Director of the Year” and “Volunteer of the Year” by the American Advertising Federation of Cleveland.