Service to the Community Award
Compassion is a consistent theme in Susie’s resume, and it captures the essence of her remarkable career as a social worker and long-time volunteer. Her work caring for neonatal infants in crisis, inner-city teens at a Catholic high school and homeless and abused women and children who resided in a shelter speaks to her concern for those who most need help.
“I have chosen this career because it enables me to be an agent of change in some people’s lives and perhaps make a difference,” she says.
Her preparation for a life of service began at Marquette, where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology. As part of the Marquette University Community Action Program, she established a program at a public housing project not far from campus and enlisted her fellow Alpha Delta Pi sorority sisters as volunteers for an after-school initiative for children.
“The Jesuits have been a great influence in my life in innumerable ways,” Susie says. “Most of my work has been with financially disadvantaged people in the inner city, which is where the majority of Jesuit institutions have been founded.”
And she’s the kind of volunteer every organization loves to have: dedicated and tireless. As a volunteer at St. Martin de Porres High School, a Cleveland school that’s part of the Cristo Rey Network, she developed and directed the counseling program to help the school’s at-risk students and later created the school’s college counseling program to help students prepare for the next step. She has volunteered with the school for more than a decade and sits on the board. She also proposed and established a vision screening program for local preschool children and then volunteered with that program for nearly 30 years. Her many other service activities include teaching ice skating to children and adults with mental disabilities and opening her home to foster children in need.
As a retired infant mental health therapist, she especially loves her current volunteer work at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, where she cares for infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and step-down unit for babies preparing to leave the hospital. “I intend to continue to volunteer with the programs where my involvement will be most beneficial,” Susie says.
Favorite book: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
Favorite quote: “Death is not extinguishing the light, but putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” — by Rabindranath Tagore
Dream dinner guests: “My children.”
Marquette faculty who had an impact: “Dr. James Robb taught the most thought-provoking classes in philosophy that anyone could ever hope to take. He taught me to think and challenge.”
Favorite Marquette memory: “The night we learned that Al McGuire would lead us to the NCAA Sweet 16 in the spring of my senior year. We didn’t win that year, but what a ride.”
Career she aspired to in grade school: “I wanted to be a mother and a social worker: a mother because I had the most amazing one in the world; a social worker because, though I wasn’t adopted, my brothers told me I was and threatened to return me to the orphanage we passed every day. I determined when I was about 3 that I wanted to take care of little kids in orphanages when I grew up.”
Most influential people: “My parents created a family that most people dream of having. Lucky me.”