April 10, 2012
Catholic University Announces Winners of Cardinal Service Commitment Award
The service initiative, called the Cardinal Service Commitment, included students, alumni, staff, faculty, and trustees of the University in a combined effort to reach a goal of 125,000 hours of service announced by University President John Garvey at the beginning of the academic year. They surpassed that goal on Jan. 24, but continued to perform service and report service hours right up until the day before the anniversary.
Ten individuals and three student organizations that made outstanding contributions to help achieve the goal received the Cardinal Service Commitment Award.
The following individuals received awards.
Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Delaney Brooks
Delaney Brooks, a first-year double major in theology and philosophy, contributed 834 hours of service to the anniversary initiative. Her volunteer service included a summer experience as a full-time Regnum Christi missionary in Houston, Texas, working in faith and virtue formation programs in grade schools, high schools, and local parishes by leading retreats, teaching religious education, and coordinating service trips. She also participated in the Freshman Day of Service, homeless food runs, pro-life hospitality, and packing food for starving children.
"I am very interested in the development of young men and women," Brooks said. "I am very thankful for all I have received and the different service opportunities have enabled me to share my gifts with others and to help them to develop into the person God intends for them to become."
Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Amanda Ceraldi
Amanda Ceraldi, a sophomore theology major, contributed 727 hours of service to the University's anniversary initiative. Her volunteer work included two mission trips, running social justice camps for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, visiting residents at the Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home, leading confirmation retreats, and interning at the United States Catholic Mission Association.
"Each of these kinds of service are things that I love to do," Ceraldi said. "I can't get enough of the service activities I am doing and the people that I get to do them with."
Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Erin Flynn
Erin Flynn contributed 1,186 hours of service to the University's anniversary initiative. Her volunteer work focused mainly on the Relay for Life. Her yearlong efforts as co-chair of that event resulted in 650 students raising more than $44,000 for the American Cancer Society. Flynn's service also included work as regent of the CUA chapter of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, a Best Buddies volunteer, a CUAlternative peer educator, campus coordinator for the Teach for America Campaign, an involvement specialist for the Office of Campus Activities, and a mentor in the Emerging Leaders Program.
Her commitment to service is "a way to give back to other people" Flynn said. "I have been given so much and had the opportunity to experience a lot of different things, and this is one way to show my gratitude."
Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Patrick Fricchione
Patrick Fricchione contributed 1,065 hours of service to the University's anniversary initiative. Most of his volunteer work focused on the Relay for Life. His efforts as co-chair of that event helped raise more than $44,000 for the American Cancer Society. Fricchione's service also included planning and participating in service activities through the Catholic University council of the Knights of Columbus, serving as president of the Italian Club, and volunteering as a Cardinal Ambassador.
"Since coming to CUA, I have been introduced to the idea that we are all called to be an apostle to Jesus Christ," he said. "Being an apostle requires going out into the world and doing good out of selfless love for other people."
Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Carmelina Gilberto
Carmelina Gilberto, a senior social work major, contributed 844 hours of service to the University's anniversary initiative. Her volunteer service consisted mainly of clinical hours through the National Catholic School of Social Service providing social work services at the National Rehabilitation Hospital for patients who have had a spinal cord injury. She also served as an Orientation adviser assisting first-year students.
Gilberto said she enjoys working intensively with patients because it allows her "to get to know each patient on a personal level.”
Outstanding Graduate Student: Stella Meena Lee
Stella Meena Lee, a third-year student at CUA's Columbus School of Law, contributed 1,187 hours of service, the most by any individual. Her volunteer service included working as in-house counsel for the Children's National Medical Center, working on vaccine and autism issues for the U.S. Court of Claims Office of Special Masters, serving as president of the Student Bar Association and co-president of the Health Law Society, and assisting the law school's Dean's Search Committee as its student representative.
Lee, who was a registered nurse before entering law school, has focused her legal studies and volunteer service in the area of health law. "I like that I am able to bring parts of my nursing profession into my law school education," she said.
Outstanding Staff Member: Adrienne Black
Adrienne Black, who is the assistant to the chair of CUA's Department of Chemistry, contributed 362 hours to the service commitment. All of her service hours have been devoted to the Church of the Holy City in Washington, D.C. Black is the vice president of the church, a position for which she takes no salary. Her volunteer work there includes planning the restoration of the church tower, planning church services, and assisting with fundraising activities.
"I was born into a family oriented towards service," Black said. She credits family members and the teachings of her church for instilling in her a spirit of service.
Outstanding Staff Member: Diedra Ferguson
Diedra Ferguson, graduate admissions coordinator for the School of Arts and Sciences, contributed 642 hours of service to the anniversary initiative. All of her volunteer service was done through her involvement with the Ladies of Charity at St. John Baptist de la Salle Church, Chillum, Md. She collected food and clothing for SOME (So Others Might Eat), visited patients in nursing homes, helped to run Christmas parties for nursing home residents, worked with the homeless, delivered food to the elderly, took the elderly to the bank and shopping, visited hospital patients and read to them, and visited the home-bound sick.
Ferguson, who will celebrate her 30th anniversary as an employee of Catholic University in June, was shocked to learn that she would receive the Cardinal Service Commitment Award. She said she reported her service only to help the University reach its goal of 125,000 hours, but never expected to be singled out in this way.
"We do things, and don't want to be recognized," Ferguson said. "I am a behind-the-scenes person."
Outstanding Faculty Member: Maria Sophia Aguirre
Maria Sophia Aguirre devoted 490 hours of service this year to an organization that provides education and training to girls and women in developing countries. A specialist in international finance and economic development, Aguirre's service is a practical extension of her academic work.
"After working over 18 years in economic development and traveling the world evaluating development interventions, I realized ... that more often than not, women and girls are either bypassed by the development efforts or they are seen as a tool of policy," she said.
Aguirre founded and heads the Foundation for Social and Cultural Advancement to try to address the unique development needs and potential of girls and women around the world.
Outstanding Member of the Alumni Association: Anthony Albence
Class of 1993 graduate Anthony Albence, of Wilmington, Del., contributed 785 hours to the University's service initiative. Most of his volunteer work involved service to St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Wilmington, and the Diocese of Wilmington. He led a long-range planning process for his parish, where he is a trustee. He helped plan capital improvement projects at the church, and volunteers at the parish school. Albence also helps run St. Anthony's Italian Festival, which he says is one of the largest Italian-American cultural celebrations in the eastern U.S.
He sums up his approach to service this way: "I feel that, in words attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, we are called to 'preach the Gospel, and use words if necessary.' I hope that my service is my own small way of being a witness to and bearer of the Gospel to others."
The following student organizations also received awards.
Gratia Plena, a student women's group with about 40 members, contributed 1,431 hours to the service commitment. Members helped with Halloween on Campus last October and the events of Women’s History Month in March, and collected donations for the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Northwest D.C.
Accepting the award for Gratia Plena was junior Mary Linn, president of the organization. “Gratia Plena fosters an attitude of service,” said Linn. “We are blessed to have wonderful women in the group.”
Bachelor of Arts Social Service Organization
Members of the Bachelor of Arts Social Service Organization (BASSO) recorded 1,090 hours of service for the University's anniversary initiative. Many of the service hours performed by BASSO — a group of about 16 social work majors — were done as part of internships at agencies in the Washington, D.C., area that help those who are ill, homeless, or in need of educational or psychological services. Members also collected canned goods for the needy and made cards for veterans and for nursing home residents.
Senior Margaret O’Riordan, president of BASSO, accepted the award for the group. “I like the idea of the CUA community coming together to do something good for the D.C. community.”
Knights of Columbus
Catholic University's Knights of Columbus Council No. 9542 completed 2,488 hours for the service challenge. The council has about 350 members including alumni who live in the Washington, D.C. area. Alumni members reported assisting with parish confirmations, putting together care packages for U.S. troops, volunteering at retirement homes, and teaching religious education classes. Knights on campus volunteered at the dedication last October of the Blessed John Paul II Seminary in Northeast D.C., during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in November, and at the National Prayer Vigil on the eve of the March for Life in January.
Junior Tim McEvoy, grand knight of CUA’s council, accepted the award on behalf of the group. “It was really exciting to see all the different organizations on campus working toward Catholic University’s goal,” he said. “It was an effort the entire University could get behind.”