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Caritas Medal Winners

Caritas Medal over black background

The highest award bestowed by Spalding University, the Caritas Medal has recognized the alumna or alumnus of the year since 1961. “Caritas,” meaning “charity” in Latin is a central element of the motto of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth: “Caritas Christi Urget Nos,” or “The Charity of Christ Urges Us.” As such, the Caritas medalist is recognized for his or her contributions in a particular field and for exemplifying a spirit of service consistent with the mission and tradition of Spalding.

The award is presented annually during Commencement to a former graduate of Spalding University of Nazareth College who has been selected via nominations from Spalding’s diverse community of graduates. Spalding graduates interested in nominating their fellow alumni for this distinguished honor can contact advancement@spalding.edu.

The highest award bestowed by Spalding University, the Caritas Medal has recognized the alumna or alumnus of the year since 1961. “Caritas,” meaning “charity” in Latin is a central element of the motto of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth: “Caritas Christi Urget Nos,” or “The Charity of Christ Urges Us.” As such, the Caritas medalist is recognized for his or her contributions in a particular field and for exemplifying a spirit of service consistent with the mission and tradition of Spalding.

The award is presented annually during Commencement to a former graduate of Spalding University of Nazareth College who has been selected via nominations from Spalding’s diverse community of graduates. Spalding graduates interested in nominating their fellow alumni for this distinguished honor can contact advancement@spalding.edu.

2022 Winner
Dr. Kathryn Dowd, BA '72

After working on behalf of patients with hearing loss for over 41 years, Dr. Kathryn Dowd has been named as Spalding University’s Caritas Medalist  as the university’s alumna of the year.

The Caritas Medal is the highest award bestowed by Spalding University. Dowd’s work empowering patients and providers in the field of audiology has been a long and fruitful cause.

As the founder of The Audiology Project, Dowd continues to influence healthcare policies on a state and national level. The Audiology Project is dedicated to increasing awareness within healthcare settings of hearing impairments and links to other diseases.

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Spalding University
Caritas Medal Winners

Dr. Perry Sangalli

2021 CO-Winner
Dr. Vicki Hines Martin, BSN ’75,  MA, Ed. '83

Dr. Vicki Hines-Martin, who earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1975) and Master of Arts in Education (1983) from Spalding, is an educator and researcher who is acclaimed for her work focused on health disparities, access to care and healthcare needs of minority populations.

An author of dozens of scholarly publications and the founder of the KYANNA Black Nurses Association of Louisville, Hines-Martin serves as Associate Dean for the University of Louisville School of Nursing’s Office of Community Engagement and Diversity Inclusion. She is also Director of Community Outreach for the U of L Health Sciences Center’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Shirley Powers

2021 CO-Winner
Mary Romelfanger, BSN ’76

Mary Romelfanger, who received a BSN from Spalding in 1976, has been a longtime leader, administrator and consultant in geriatric and senior care who recently became the Director of Operations for Hildegard House, Kentucky’s first and only comfort care home. Hildegard House provides a home and compassionate care for individuals at the end of life who have no home or loved ones to care for them so that they may die with dignity.

Romelfanger previously served as Associate Director for the U of L School of Medicine’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (2013-16), and she was Vice President for Clinical Services for  Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky (2008-09). From 1994 to 2005, Romelfanger was Director of the U.S. Office of Health Services for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, and before that she spent 14 years as Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

Dr. Perry Sangalli

2020 Winner
Perry Sangalli, Ed.D., ’98

In recognition of his exemplary spirit of service and countless contributions to our university and the community, Spalding University is honored to present the 2020 Caritas Medial posthumously to the late Dr. Perry Sangalli.

Dr. Perry Sangalli, a 1998 graduate of Spalding’s Ed.D. Leadership program, was a leader in Louisville Catholic education for nearly 40 years. In addition to serving as the President of St. Xavier High School, Dr. Sangalli was also a longtime member of the Spalding Board of Trustees and an adjunct professor who served as a mentor to many Spalding students.

Shirley Powers

2019 Winner
Shirley Powers, ’72

Graduating from Spalding in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, Shirley Powers has contributed to the advancement of health care and the profession of nursing in Louisville. Powers served as the Chief Information Officer for Norton Hospital and implemented the first clinical information system in the state before advancing to become Administrator for Norton Hospital and Senior Executive Officer for Norton Healthcare.


Upon retirement, Shirley started Powers Consulting Inc. and worked as Coordinator of the Greater Louisville Workforce Consortium for the Kentucky Hospital Association and Jefferson County Public Schools to implement the health care magnets in three high schools. She has served as a consultant to the Humana Foundation on a tour to Romania to assist in the writing of a health care plan for that country and to Spalding University on matters of nursing and finance. Powers has served on the boards of many organizations, including ones focused on health care, nursing and helping children. Among the myriad awards and honors she’s received, Powers was a recipient in 1996 of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Spalding for Leadership in Nursing.

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2018 Winner
Christe Coe, MSN ’08

Christe Coe, who came to Spalding as an adult to earn her Master of Science in Nursing, is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has served 12 years on the Kentucky Board of Nursing, currently as the financial officer. She has been active with the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives and has served as a board member at Spalding, a CPR instructor for the American Heart Association and a committee member for St. Agnes parish and school. Coe is a supporter of Kosair Charities, Little Sisters of the Poor, Louisville Metro Animal Services and other charitable causes.


Christe is married to her high school sweetheart, Randy, and have been married for forty-seven years. They have two adult children; one adorable granddaughter, and two more grandchildren on the way.

Susan McKim Griffin

2017 Winner
Susan McKim Griffin, ’68

Susan McKim Griffin is a 1968 graduate of Spalding University and embodies her alma mater’s description of a compassionate university. A position as Spalding’s first Admissions Counselor upon graduation launched a career in higher education advancement with positions in Florida at Polk Community College and Florida State University, and, a return to Louisville with positions at U of L and Kentuckiana Metroversity. Following fifteen years with Metroversity providing leadership in the development of cooperative programs in higher education, Susan returned to the UofL Health Sciences Campus to lead fund development during the Quest for Excellence.


Continuing as a loyal community servant, Susan worked with the Cathedral Heritage Foundation as the first Executive Vice President during the renovation of the historic Cathedral. In 1992 Susan opened the first woman owned fundraising firm in the state helping local, regional and national non-profits to fulfill their mission. Griffin Fundraising & Marketing’s clients include many educational institutions. Susan led the “Miracle on 4th Street”—a campaign that raised $750,000 in six days to support Presentation Academy.


Susan has been married to her husband Hugh for 41 years; they have two children and four grandchildren.
Susan Gatz

2016 Winner
Susan Gatz, SCN, ’70

Susan Gatz has been dedicated in ministry for the Sisters of Charity for over 25 years. She is currently elected as President, was Vice President for five years, Provincial of US for six years, Director of Congregational Advancement for six years, SCN Communications Director for a year and Superior of SCN's in Southern Region for six years. Susan has contributed additional leadership as a member and Board Chair of the SCN Health Systems in Kentucky, as Co-Director of Lay Minister Development Office in Missouri, Pastoral Associate in Ruskin, Florida, Director of Religious Education in Texas, teacher at Presentation Academy and at Providence High School.

Silas House

2015 Winner
Silas House, MFA ’03

Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of six novels, three plays, and one work of creative nonfiction. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and is a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered". House has been published in Oxford American, Sojourners, Newsday, New Stories From the South: The Year's Best, Best American Food Writing, and many other publications. His many honors include the E.B. White Award, the Nautilus Award, the Intellectual Freedom Prize from the National Council of English Teachers, the Helen Lewis Award for Community Service, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Lee Smith Award, Appalachian Writer of the Year, the Kentucky Novel of the Year, and many others. House currently serves as the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at the Spalding University MFA in Creative Writing. A native of Eastern Kentucky, he lives in Berea, Kentucky.

Spalding University
Caritas Medal Winners

2014
Dewey Hensley, Ed.D. ’07
2013
Mary N. Haynes, ’77
2012
Rosemarie I. Young, Ed.D. ’94
2011
Elmer Lucille Allen, ’53
2010
Paula Travis, ’67; M. ’80; Ed.D. ’95
2009
Mary C. Pendleton, ’62
2008
Cynthia Baughman, M. ’04
2007
Mary Burns, SCN, ’61
2006
Frances Osbourn Brown, ’66
2005
Rebecca Rodenbaugh, ’46
2004
Donna Kenney, ’68
2003
Donnita Travis, ’82
2002
Mary Catherine Osbourn Wolford, ’59
2001
Marilyn Spink, SCN, ’66, S. ’78
2000
Donna Nelson Durning, ’59
1999
Martha Ann Yarber Driscoll, ’48
1998
Brother Ignatius Perkins, O.P., ’73, M. ’81
1997
Helen Bianchi Rothgerber, ’67 & Harry J. Rothgerber, ’72
1996
Paul Baker Whitty, ’74
1995
Mary Woodford Johnson, ’70
1994
Ruth Atkinson Snider, ’65, M. ’70
1993
Anne Rita Mauck, SCN, ’71
1992
Kathryn Marcil Mershon, ’67
1991
Letitia Walter, ’57
1990
Janet Dougherty, SCN, ’65
1989
Marilyn McHugh Hohmann, ’67
1988
Evelyn Catherine McGoff, ’69
1987
Mary Ransom Burke, SCN, ’36
1986
Virginia Veeneman, ’29
1985
Mary Elinor Smith, ’35
1984
Mary Cecil Weyhing, ’59
1983
Martha Jesse Radike, ’41
1982
Ester F. Bentley, ’41
1981
Eleanore A. Robertson, ’66, M. ’70
1980
Mary Paul Walsh, SCN, ’42
1979
Beulah Fontaine, ’44
1978
Mary Catherine Baseheart, SCN, ’31
1977
Donna Herp, ’63
1976
Gladys Chowning Wallace, ’61
1975
Mary Jane Jesse, ’39†
1974
Margaret Mary Lyon, ’49, M. ’70
1973
Mary Emily Keenan, SCN, ‘73
1972
Marie Mannix Keeling, ’47
1971
Barbara Simmons Miller, ’51
1970
Harry Ropke Jr., M. ’61 &
Ann Mattimore Ropke, ’50
1969
Alma Lee Gaynor Haragan, ’47
1968
Mary Jane Mansfield Karem, ’31
1967
Mildred Dougherty, ’42
1966
Ruth Donnelly, ’43
1965
Mary Anne Fueglein, ’37
1964
Edna Henninger, ’36
1963
Mary Benedict Clark, ’29
1962
Eileen Sheehan Downs, ’38
1961
Louise Kannapell, ’29