2013 Alumni Awards Announced
Sacred Heart University recently awarded this year’s Alumni Awards to eight deserving recipients. The awards were given to alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their daily lives. They use their knowledge, professional skills, creative talents and strengths to make a difference in their communities and make a positive impact on individual lives, as well as their alma mater.
This year’s awards included the Alumni Achievement award, Pioneer award and Faculty/Staff award. The Alumni Achievement award is given to individuals who have made significant and positive impacts in their fields or professions. This award is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus. This year’s recipient is actor and comedian Kevin Nealon ‘75. Nealon set himself apart from other comedic performers with his unique sense of humor, dry wit and likeable demeanor. He is best known for his nine-year stint as a cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live and has received critical acclaim for his role in the Showtime series, Weeds.
“It is always nice to be recognized. To be honest, I never thought I would win an award like this. I love doing what I do, and Sacred Heart has meant a lot to me. It was a joy walking on campus to see the growth and changes. I love being back here, and it seems that everything has come full circle,” he said.
The Pioneer award is given to individuals who have made an impact through service in their community or for other humanitarian efforts, which reflect the mission of Sacred Heart. This year’s recipient is John R. Quinn ‘70. Quinn is president and CEO of VNA Health Systems Inc., overseeing the visiting nurse association of South Central Connecticut, Inc. and CareSource, Inc. He has 36 years of experience leading non-profit organizations and is an advocate for legislation supporting and funding home health care at both the state and national levels.
The Faculty/Staff award is bestowed on individual staff or faculty members who have demonstrated consistent dedication and superior service to the University and alumni community. This year Susan DeNisco, nursing professor and acting director of the School of Nursing, is the recipient. She has taught at Sacred Heart for 15 years, and throughout her career, her dedication to the School of Nursing has inspired and motivated alumni to excel.
“To receive this award is truly humbling. I know so many deserving individuals who I could share this with. I am surprised, honored and delighted to be acknowledged for my work,” DeNisco said.
In addition to these awards, five individuals were named as Academic College Alumni Leadership award honorees. They are Craig Baker ’98, ’05 MAT from the Isabelle Farrington College of Education, Michael A. Pavia ’70 from the College of Arts and Sciences, Keith A. Hovan, ’84, ’93 MSN from the College of Health Professions, Rosanne Badowski ’79 from the John F. Welch College of Business and Sylvia M. Barchue ’05 from University College.
“The SHU Alumni Association is pleased to celebrate eight alumni this year. Each honoree has his or her own unique accomplishments that contribute to the greater good of their industries and of their communities,” said Emily Gillette ’08, director of Alumni Relations. “As we celebrate 50 years of Sacred Heart’s history, each of these alumni represents what hard work, dedication and perseverance can achieve. The alumni provide a wonderful example to our student body and to the rest of the alumni community.”
Recipients for the Alumni Achievement, Pioneer and Faculty/Staff awards were chosen by the Awards and Recognition Committee of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Committees made up of the dean and faculty members of the individual Colleges selected those winners. All nominees were required to hold a degree from Sacred Heart, with the exception of the faculty/staff award, and demonstrate outstanding service, tireless commitment, exceptional achievement and/or heroic accomplishment that has enriched the lives they have touched.
The awards were distributed Friday, September 20, at the annual Alumni Awards ceremony during homecoming weekend.