Loyola University Chicago

Founders' Dinner - Archive


Founders' Dinner 2015: In Their Own Words

The 2015 Founders' Dinner Award recipients share what they've learned through their experiences while at Loyola, throughout their careers, and throughout their lives. Though their paths may be diverse, they all share a dedication to service and the pursuit of justice that is singularly extraordinary.

Adrienne Y. Bailey, PhD, 2015 Coffey Award Recipient

In March 1965, Adrienne Y. Bailey joined a group of Mundelein College students to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in support of civil rights activism in Selma, Alabama. This experience influenced her life’s work and personal commitment to making education systems more just, effective, and transformative.

She has worked in the fields of education and social justice to support disenfranchised youth living in urban and rural communities throughout the world. She is currently a senior consultant at the Panasonic Foundation, where she provides strategic coaching and equity solutions to urban school districts. She also serves as a consultant to Cornerstone Literacy, the US Office of Education, and volunteer coordinator for the Access to Success/University of Stellenbosch and Mofu Primary School partnership programs based in Durban, South Africa.

Her prior work includes senior liaison at Stanford University’s Center for Opportunity Policy in Education; ExEL coach, Harvard University; program manager, the Stupski Foundation; study director, Consortium for Chicago School Research, University of Chicago; senior consultant, Council of Great City Schools; deputy superintendent for Instruction, Chicago Public Schools; and vice president for Academic Affairs, the College Board. She also directed the education grant-making program at the Chicago Community Trust and served with Northwestern University and Xavier University (New Orleans).

Bailey has served as a lead consultant for a number of projects focused on systemic reform and involving local educational agencies across the US, Jamaica, and southern Africa. She served eight years as a charter member of the Illinois State Board of Education and President of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Her current board posts include Chapin Hall, Shared Interest, META, and National Association of Test Directors. She has served as trustee of the Southern Education and Hazen foundations and has received honors and recognition from such organizations as Operation PUSH, Northwestern University, and the Education Commission of the States.

Bailey is well known for her passionate advocacy of education equity. She earned her BA in French from Mundelein College, MEd from Wayne State University, and PhD from Northwestern University.

Angelo Capozzi, MD, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Angelo Capozzi is a leading plastic surgeon who has been conducting international humanitarian services since 1976. In 1992, he co- founded Rotaplast International, Inc., which provides lip cleft and palate cleft surgery to children in foreign countries. He has traveled on 60 international missions to 27 countries, 46 with Rotaplast, and has performed thousands of surgeries, changing countless lives.

After graduating from Notre Dame in 1956 and the Stritch School of Medicine in 1960, Dr. Capozzi served as an Air Force captain and chief of plastic surgery at David Grant Air Force Hospital in Fairfield, California. He worked in a private practice for 30 years in San Francisco at St. Francis Memorial Hospital serving as chief of the Borthin Burn Center, chairman of plastic surgery, and director of the residency training program.

Eventually, he left private practice to become chief of plastic surgery at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento, California. He is past president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons and received the Stritch School of Medicine Alumni of the Year award in 2010. In 2008, Dr. Capozzi retired and now devotes himself to consulting and serving children in need through Rotaplast.

Dr. Capozzi and his wife, Louise, have three children. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame, his MD from Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine in 1960, and training in plastic surgery from the University of Wisconsin.

Ann M. Liston, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Ann Liston is one of the top political communications consultants in the United States and is a leading expert in communications in the political venue. She has played a significant role in the election of a US president and has worked with political leaders throughout the United States, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. She has also been a lecturer for Harvard University’s Women and Public Policy program.

Her first job was as a precinct captain in Chicago’s 43rd Ward, where she witnessed the power that elections can have on a changing nation. A founding partner of AL Media, Liston's firm has worked to elect 11 US senators, 30 members of Congress, 17 statewide office holders, 6 governors, and over 100 state and local leaders from across the nation. Liston is most proud of AL’s ability to work on hard-fought, against-the-odds races and win.

Liston is also a strong role model for women in a typically male-dominated profession and has dedicated herself to the personal development of young women in Chicago. She serves on the board of Girls in the Game, a charitable organization that promotes sports and fitness, nutrition and health education, and leadership development to enhance the well-being of girls.

Anthony F. Piazza, 2015 Felice Award Recipient

Anthony “Tony” F. Piazza is a lifelong champion and active supporter of the John Felice Rome Center. He is the former president of RSI Kitchen and Bath and was a member of the first full-year class at the Rome Center from fall 1962 to spring 1963 during his junior year at Santa Clara University. At the Rome Center that spring, he met his future wife, Susan Brazier Piazza (JFRC Spring ’63).

Piazza and his wife were married over 40 years when she was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Upon learning this, they wanted to do something significant to support the Rome Center—a place that held great affinity for both of them and brought them together. He and Susan endowed the Anthony and Susan Brazier Piazza Scholarship to provide support to students wanting to study at the JFRC.

When Susan passed away in 2011, Piazza began planning a substantial gift to the Rome Center in her memory and a tribute to their 45 years of marriage—the first million-dollar current commitment in the history of the Rome Center. This gift is supporting capital improvements on campus as part of the Rome Center campaign, including updating and renovating common spaces, academic spaces, offices, and student residences. Last year, in recognition of this gift, Loyola University Chicago named its Information Commons in Rome the Anthony and Susan Brazier Piazza Information Commons.

Piazza served on the JFRC Insieme Campaign Leadership Committee and is a member of the Rome Center Foundation Advisory Committee. He received his BA from Santa Clara University and his JD from Washington University.

Piazza, who lives in St. Louis, recently retired after running a family business he started in 1967—a kitchen and bath business where he worked his whole career. RSI Kitchen and Bath is now run by his daughter, Megan, though he remains involved in an advisory role. The company designs residential kitchens and bathrooms for builders, remodelers, and retail customers. Piazza ran the business for 45 years until 2012.

Debra A. Hill, PhD, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Debra Hill is committed to children and to social justice. A professional educator, she has worked at every level of education, from classroom teacher to superintendent to university professor. She discovered her calling during her sophomore year of college, and then she became the first full-time African American teacher in the Oak Park school system.

Dr. Hill segued into administration, eventually becoming superintendent of schools for West Northfield School District 31. She is active in the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development having served as secretary, chair, president, and board member of that organization. Although she retired in 2007, she continues to serve as a consultant, associate professor at Argosy University, leader, and tireless advocate for children.

A history of firsts is a part of her legacy and includes being the first college graduate with a PhD in her family, a charter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Gamma Chi Chapter, at Northwestern University; a participant in the Northwestern University student take-over activities promoting equal rights for African American students; the first African American president of Illinois ASCD; and the first African American female partner at Bickert, Webb, Plath and Associates Executive Search Firm.

Dr. Hill has served in a leadership capacity and/or currently serves on numerous boards, committees, and community organizations, including Christian Missionary Baptist Church, United Way of Evanston, Evanston Arts Council, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., North Cook Intermediate Service Center, Golden Apple Foundation, Housing Options of Evanston, Rotary International, and Northbrook Arts Commission. She is a past president of ASCD (a premier professional organization for educators), a member of the Evanston Housing Options Advisory Board, and an officer in Delta Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Dr. Hill received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Teaching from Northwestern University and a PhD from Loyola. She is the eldest of eight children from a blended family. She has two children, two step children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandson.

Mary Ann Hynes, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Throughout her career, through mentoring and leadership, Mary Ann Hynes has expanded opportunities for women in law and championed diversity in the legal profession. Her achievements inspired Inside Counsel magazine to create the Mary Ann Hynes Award, given annually to female general counsel who advance the status of women in the legal world.

She currently serves as senior counsel at Dentons, a global law firm, and as the non-executive director of GHD, Pty Ltd., which provides engineering, architecture, environmental, and construction services to private and public sector clients on five continents.

Known for her many firsts in the industry, Hynes was the first female general counsel for a Fortune 500 company while at CCH Inc., a leading provider of information services, software, and workflow tools for tax, accounting, legal, and business professionals. She was also the first female officer of Sundstrand Corporation, the first female member of the North Shore General Counsel Association, and the first female officer of the Chicago Crime Commission.

As general counsel for several global companies, Hynes focused on helping them through crises and building effective legal and compliance frameworks. She has been a board member of several corporations and nonprofit organizations, such as the Dr. Scholl Foundation and the John Marshall Law School. She is also a frequent industry speaker, an advocate of opportunities for women in law, and a champion for the cause of diversity in the legal profession.

Hynes received an Executive MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Business, an LLM in Taxation and JD from John Marshall Law School, and a BA from Loyola University Chicago in 1990. She is married to James Thomas and has two children.

Mary Meg McCarthy, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Mary Meg McCarthy is a nationally respected advocate for immigrants and people who are underrepresented. As the executive director of Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), one of the nation’s leading immigrant and human rights advocacy organizations, McCarthy has grown the staff to 50 and developed an unparalleled network of more than 1,500 pro bono attorneys who provide legal services to 10,000 immigrants annually. With its unique combination of direct service, impact litigation, and advocacy, the NIJC promotes due process protections before the US Supreme Court, Congress, and the executive branch.

McCarthy has testified before congressional committees on human rights and immigration detention reform. A sought-after speaker at national and international conferences, McCarthy is quoted regularly in leading news outlets such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and MSNBC. She is a commissioner for the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration and a member of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights Steering Committee.

McCarthy has met with members of the Mexican Congress, academics, and civil society to address migration issues facing Mexico and Central America. She has toured detention centers throughout the US and gathered evidence of chilling civil rights abuses that permeate the US government’s immigration detention system.

Prior to joining the NIJC in 1998, McCarthy practiced civil litigation and served as a pro bono attorney for the NIJC’s asylum project. Earlier in her career, she worked in Chile, helping communities safeguard the rights of individuals living under a dictatorship. 

She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Chicago Inn of Court 2015 Don Hubert Public Service Award, Pax Christi 2013 Teacher of Peace Award, the Robert Bellarmine Award for distinguished alumni from Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law, the Federal Bar Association's Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award, and others. McCarthy recently delivered the keynote address at the University of San Diego’s 18th Annual Sister Sally Furay Lecture on the politics of immigration reform and refugee protection.

Matthew T. Logelin, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Matthew Logelin is an author, blogger, public speaker, and founder of the Liz Logelin Foundation. In March 2008, he lost his wife, Elizabeth, to a pulmonary embolism 27 hours after she gave birth to their first child, Madeline. He went on to chronicle his family’s story on his blog and in his first book, Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love, which spent seven weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Seven percent of the sales of his book supports the Liz Logelin Foundation, which provides short-term financial and emotional support to widows and widowers with young families. The foundation also holds public awareness and fundraising events including races, galas, concerts, sports events, bowling outings, book signings, and cross-country bike rides. He’s also the author of the forth-coming picture book, Be Glad Your Dad is Not an Octopus (due June 2016 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

Logelin’s experience was profiled in People Magazine, on the daytime shows of Rachael Ray and Oprah Winfrey, and in Minneapolis and Los Angeles–area newspapers. Logelin has appeared as the keynote speaker for the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Maryland as well as the Vascular Disease Foundation's annual meeting. His work has received extensive media coverage including appearances on Fox and FriendsBBC Outlook, Minneapolis' KARE 11, multiple radio shows, and in Los Angeles Magazine.

Logelin earned his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and his Master of Arts in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago in 2002.

Pam Coster, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Pam Coster, now retired, was the executive director of Charis Ministries in Chicago, a Jesuit ministry that offers retreats in the Ignatian tradition to those in their 20s and 30s in 40 cities. Due to her success in this role, she was a sought-after speaker, presenting her work on young adult ministry and adult faith formation at conferences throughout the country.

Prior to leadership in spiritual endeavors, Coster pursued a career in international banking. Motivated to “set the world on fire,” in 1994 she entered professional ministry. She served as the director of faith formation at Saints Faith, Hope, and Charity Parish in Winnetka, Illinois, managing a religious education program for 400 families. Over the years, she expanded her service of leadership to serve on the boards of Catholics on Call, Loyola Press, and Lawrence Hall, a child welfare agency established to assist at-risk youth and their families by developing the self-worth, knowledge, and skills to lead productive lives.

Coster holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Language and Literature from Northwestern University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in religious education, which she received from Loyola in 2002.

Patrick F. Conway, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Patrick Conway is a co- founder of the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio, with his brother Dan Conway. The brewery opened in 1988 in the historic Ohio City neighborhood as the first craft brewery in Ohio.

Conway’s interest in beer and brewing was piqued while attending Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center. While abroad, he traveled throughout Europe and enjoyed the full-flavored, fresh, traditional ales and lagers. Years later, while attending graduate school in Chicago and tending bar, Conway noticed his patrons’ increased interest in imported beers but felt the journey across the Atlantic left them lacking in freshness. The idea for Great Lakes Brewing Company was born.

After returning to his native Cleveland, Pat looked to Dan, a commercial loan officer, for guidance on the financial aspects of business development. As a student at the Rome Center years after Pat and with a growing attachment to the project, Dan joined him as a co-founder, and the company was incorporated in 1986.

Opening their doors in 1988, the brothers brewed under 1,000 barrels their first year. Today, their 27-year-old company continues to grow with a recent $7 million capital investment and annual production levels of 165,000 barrels.

The Conway brothers have always emphasized sustainability and a motto of “Take, Make, Remake.” Spent grain has been re-used for livestock feed and local artisan bread since the very first brew, and solar panels heat water for the brewpub’s kitchen. The brewery has two local farms that provide fresh, local produce and even founded the nonprofit Burning River Foundation to promote water stewardship throughout the Great Lakes region. To further their extensive recycling program, the brewpub now also composts food waste.

Aside from Pat, the Conway family’s Loyola roots run deep. In addition to co-owner Dan, brother Joe attended the Rome Center, as did Pat’s son Emmett before his graduation from Loyola. Pat’s wife, Jeanne, and all of her eight siblings attended Loyola, and her father, Dr. Richard Matre, served as dean of faculty. Most recently, Dan’s daughter, Clare, continued the tradition with her graduation from the University.

Robin D. Fern, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Robin D. Fern has devoted much of her career to making a difference in the lives of others, helping people gain access to basic human rights. As manager of strategic alliances for Water.org, she fosters relationships with strategic partners to drive expansion of the organization’s water and sanitation initiatives.

Fern lived in Hong Kong for 10 years, and prior to joining Water.org, she was the Asia Pacific development director for Room to Read, an international nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities for children in the developing world.

While living and working in Asia, Fern saw firsthand the challenges that families and communities face on a daily basis just to gain access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Nearly a billion people in the world lack access to safe water, and more than two billion lack access to sanitation. Women and children are disproportionately impacted by this crisis and spend much of their day walking in search of safe water rather than working or attending school. Safe water and sanitation are essential to empowering people in these communities to reach their development potential and break the cycle of poverty.

Fern is motivated by Water.org’s continuing commitment and dedication to providing innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions to solve the water crisis. She says she looks forward to the day “when every human being has access to safe water and sanitation, two of life's most basic needs.”

Fern has over 20 years’ experience in marketing and sales management positions in the advertising and technology industries working for Saatchi and Saatchi advertising, Apple Computer, and Microsoft. She earned her BS in business administration from the University of Arizona and her MBA from Loyola. She serves on the board of directors at the Les Turner ALS Foundation and the women's board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Sharmili D. Majmudar, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Sharmili D. Majmudar has worked for the liberation of communities from domestic and sexual violence for 20 years. She is the executive director of Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), a Chicago-based rape crisis center committed to ensuring that survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity and compassion by the legal system, medical institutions, and society as a whole.

At RVA, Majmudar and her staff provide medical and legal advocacy, as well as counseling services, to individual survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She also works with institutions such as the state attorney’s office and hospital medical staff—which includes providing public education—in an effort to change how institutions and society view and treat sexual violence.

Majmudar serves on the board of directors of the Crossroads Fund and has previously served on the board of directors at Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network. She has also served on the national advisory committee for Transforming Silence into Action, a gathering of advocates addressing intimate partner violence in Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQ communities.

Majmudar was a founding member of Mango Tribe, a multi-city Asian/ Pacific Islander American women and genderqueer interdisciplinary performance ensemble. She is a recipient of Community Renewal Society's 35 under 35 Leadership Award, Chicago Foundation for Women's Impact Award, and the Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work’s Siedenburg Award. She and RVA were honored by Global Girls, Inc., with the Women and Girls Inspiring Change Award, and she was featured as one of 2014’s National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum’s Everyday Sheroes.

Majmudar grew up in northwest Indiana, the daughter of Indian immigrants. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from George Washington University in Washington DC. Following her studies in DC, she earned a Master of Social Work from Loyola, where she was involved in the School of Social Work’s LGBTQ group. Her graduate work and experiences with the LGBTQ community opened doors for her and helped her learn more about her own identity.

Steve J. Bernas, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Steve J. Bernas has earned a reputation as an ethical businessman concerned with the rights of everyday citizens and is interested in leveling the “playing field” for all businesses. He is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, as well as president of the Better Business Bureau Educational Foundation. Over his 27-year career, he has mediated thousands of consumer and business-to-business disputes. He is responsible for the overall management of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago.

Bernas works with many trade associations to develop programs that encourage best practices in the marketplace. A widely acknowledged and sought-after expert in consumer confidence issues, scams, customer/business relations, and self-regulatory initiatives, he is regularly seen and heard on local and national TV and radio and also quoted in newspapers and magazines. For over five years, Bernas has been the expert consumer contributor for the ABC-7 morning show, appearing monthly to provide consumer educational information.

He serves on the Illinois Attorney General’s Automobile Advertising Review Committee and the Attorney General Charitable Trust Committee as well as the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Fraud Task Force. Bernas is currently on the board of directors of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association and a past member of the board of advisors for Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary school. In 2013, he was awarded the distinguished FBI Directors Community Leadership Award in Washington DC, the top civilian FBI honor.

Bernas was born into a religious family in the Brighton Park area on Chicago's Southwest Side. He attended Catholic school, including high school at Arch- bishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, where he performed volunteer work in hospitals and homes for disadvantaged youth. This humanitarian trajectory continued past high school and into his professional career.

Bernas received his BS in psychology from Loyola University Chicago— where he attended Niles College, an affiliate of St. Joseph’s Seminary at Loyola—in 1987. He and his wife, Patti, live in Naperville with their daughters Brittany and Bridget.

Susan M. Finn, 2015 Damen Award Recipient

Susan M. Finn embodies the Ignatian value of being a person for others. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner and program director for the Pediatric Mobile Health Unit of the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Health System.

Finn helped found the Pediatric Mobile Health Unit over 10 years ago, and under her leadership the unit has cared for thousands of uninsured or underinsured children each year in the Chicagoland area.

Prior to the Pediatric Mobile Health Unit, Finn served as a clinical nurse specialist and case manager in pediatrics at Loyola University Medical Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Loyola’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, where she also earned a master’s degree in maternal child nursing and a certification as a pediatric nurse practitioner.

She is active within the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and was inducted into the Alpha Beta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau as an undergraduate nursing student. She is also part of the Advance Practice Nurse Magnet Council and the Nursing Research Council at Loyola University Medical Center. Finn acts as a mentor to undergraduate- and graduate-level nursing students.

Finn's work with the Ronald McDonald Children's Hospital illustrates her dedication to the least among us. Throughout her career, she has been a model Niehoff graduate, displaying a commitment to her patients, the community, and the nursing profession as a whole. She received the Spirit of Ignatius Award in 2007 and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing Alumni Award for Excellence in 2010.