A St. Thomas trustee and his wife and a former St. Thomas trustee and his wife have received the top award conferred by the National Catholic Education Association.
Lee and Penny Anderson and Frank and Judy Sunberg received Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards on Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C., for their support of Catholic education.
Penny and Lee Anderson, a member of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees since 2000, made a $60 million gift to St. Thomas to support construction of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex, the Anderson Student Center and the Anderson Parking Facility. A previous gift provided an endowment for scholarships for students from the Caribbean. Father Dennis Dease, president, nominated the Andersons for the award. A video that St. Thomas prepared on the Andersons for the NCEA event can be viewed here.
Judy and Frank Sunberg, a trustee from 1999 to 2009, have made gifts to St. Thomas and to Cretin-Derham Hall, where he has been a member of its Board of Directors. He is a 1960 alumnus of Cretin. Richard Engler, president and principal of Cretin-Derham, nominated the Sunbergs for the award. A video that St. Thomas prepared on the Sunbergs for the NCEA event can be viewed here.
As part of the awards program, students from St. Thomas and Cretin-Derham received scholarships and attended the Washington event.
Careese Coleman, a sophomore at St. Thomas, is the Lee and Penny Anderson Seton Scholar. She is a sophomore majoring in legal studies and Spanish and is active in many co-curricular activities, including the CultureLink Communication Partners program and as a mentor to international students. She also teaches dancing to students at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis and volunteers at the Coleman Foundation, which gives disadvantaged youths an opportunity to learn basketball.
Fayte Moua, a senior at Cretin-Derham, is the Frank and Judy Sunberg Seton Scholar. Her activities include Junior ROTC, choir, student council and the school’s Green Team and Swing Club, and she has volunteered for the March of Dimes, AIDS walks, Feed My Starving Children and Leap Forward for Children.
Other Seton Award honorees were New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, Donald and Michele D’Amour of Massachusetts and Robert Smith of Los Angeles. The Archdiocese of New Orleans received the NCEA President’s Award for its efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Fourteen St. Thomas trustees, former trustees and benefactors previously received Seton Awards, now in their 20thyear. They include Dr. James Renier (1993), Barbara Koch (1994), John Albers (1995), Monsignor Terrence Murphy (1996), Lee and Barbara Kopp (1998), Richard Schulze (2002), Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst (2005), John and Susan Morrison (2006), Eugene and Mary Frey (2007) and Father Dennis Dease (2008).
The awards are named after Seton, who founded the Sisters of Charity two centuries ago in Maryland and dedicated her life’s work to establishing elementary and secondary schools, colleges and schools of nursing. She is the first native-born American saint.
The NCEA represents more than 200,000 educators serving 7.6 million students. Dr. Karen Ristau, a St. Thomas professor in educational leadership from 1985 to 1997, has served as NCEA president since 2005.