2020-21 Alumni Awards Recipients Honored

  • Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Predolin in the fall


Madison, Wis. (October 14, 2021) – Distinguished graduates were honored recently at the 2021 Alumni Awards Ceremony, held on campus. 2020 and 2021 award recipients were honored.  


2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Jeanna (Moe) Siegenthaler, MA ’01, Ed.D. ’11 and Ryan J. Collins ’05.  2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Joe M. Gothard ’99, MA ’04, Ed.D ’15, Cynthia Butitta ’76, and Matthew J. Schroeder ’07. The Distinguished Alumni Award acknowledges the accomplishments of an alum who has achieved excellence in their professional career and has demonstrated a commitment of ethical leadership, service, and search for truth.


2020 Promise Award recipient is Tsetan Dolquar ’12. 2021 Promise Award Recipient is Yesenia Villalpando-Torres ’17. The Promise Award recognizes an alum, 40 years of age or younger, who is an emerging leader and has achieved a high level of success through professional accomplishments and service to their alma mater or community.


2020 Dominican Mission Award recipients are Ben ’01 & Jessica (Heiple) Wiederholt ’99, and Callista Robinson, OSF ’75. 2021 Dominican Mission Award recipients are Dr. Mary Jean Etten ’68 and Tyrone Cratic Williams ’12. The Dominican Mission Award recognizes an alum who has shown a commitment to social justice or a history of extraordinary volunteer service in the community, country or the world.


Jeanne (Moe) Siegenthaler has dedicated her life to serving others and credits her time at Edgewood College as foundational in her journey and role as a servant leader. She is the first female superintendent for the Richmond School District in Sussex, Wisconsin. Her work as an elementary principal in the Elmbrook School District led to her being named not only an “Outstanding Elmbrook Employee,” but also the “Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year” in 2011. Her calling to help others does not stop at the end of the school day. When one of her students needed foster care due to abuse and neglect, Dr. Siegenthaler became a certified foster care provider. She fostered that student and many other children in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties over the years.


Ryan J. Collins is an award-winning entrepreneur and Technology executive. He was one of four partners of Open Lending, a software company providing automated lending services to financial institutions based in Austin, Texas, serving as the Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Lead of Product Development. During Ryan’s 13-year tenure, the company grew from $0 dollars in revenue to over $100 million in yearly revenue. Ryan’s team grew from 3 to 45 employees, and in the Summer of 2020, he led Open Lending through all aspects of readying the company for an IPO on NASDAQ. His work in the community includes the founding of the Collins Technology Fund to empower the underserved in tech, sponsoring high school students in El Salvador, and mission trips throughout the world. A current member of our Board of Trustees, Ryan, and his wife Rachel established the Ryan and Rachel Collins Endowment to support Edgewood College students in Business and Technology.


Joe M. Gothard, a Madison native, became superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in July of 2017. He is the educational leader of a district that serves more than 36,000 students and employs nearly 6,000 staff. Dr. Gothard has been passionate about public education his entire career and serves his community through many volunteer leadership roles, and beyond. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis. Dr. Gothard led the district through the aftermath of that crime and the protests in the area that followed.


Cynthia Butitta graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1976, with a degree in business and accounting. She’s had a remarkable career with more than 25 years of experience informing corporate strategy and business development in the biotechnology and high technology sectors. She most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Kite Pharma, where she was responsible for securing more than $1 billion in capital which enabled extensive growth of that organization. In 2018, Cynthia made a transformative gift to support our Bonner Leaders Program, a service-learning leadership program that connects students to community service and leadership opportunities right here in Madison. That gift enabled the program to grow from 18 to 25 students, increased scholarship awards for those students, and increased institutional support and capacity for the Bonner program.


Matthew J. Schroeder is the Director of Military & Veterans Services at Edgewood College and works to provide veterans with a smooth transition into college life. Leading the office since 2011, Matthew provides guidance and resources for students to ensure their long-term success. Edgewood College students and their parents see Matthew as a compassionate leader on and off campus. One parent shared, “Care, dedication, and professionalism in service to Edgewood College make Matthew a most worthy candidate for this award.” A student said, “Matthew has been integral in my success here at Edgewood College. I joined the military my junior year, and Matthew has given me support in balancing both military and school responsibilities as well as getting my educational benefits in order.”


Tsetan Dolqar is a Tibetan American immigrant born in India. She moved to Madison at the age of 7. Tsetan graduated in 2012 with a degree in Nursing - the first in her family to earn a four-year degree. She is currently a student in the Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner program at Edgewood College. An exemplary leader, she took a unique approach to her career after graduating college. Tsetan worked at the Dane County Jail, caring for inmates. Soon after, she worked as a trauma nurse in Gallup, New Mexico, caring for the Navajo population there. She then joined the United States Air Force as an ER Nurse and was deployed to Afghanistan and treated wounded coalition forces, American forces, and Taliban forces alike. Most recently, she served in Operation Warp Speed for the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, helping to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.


Yesenia Villalpando-Torres is a Community Scholars alumna from the class of 2017. Yesenia serves as a Social Worker in the Immigration Affairs Office of Dane County’s Department of Human Services. She provides resources to the immigrant and refugee community through case management, advocacy, crisis response, and outreach. Yesenia maintains a close relationship with Edgewood College, speaking to classes and sharing her experiences and expertise. Her activism and action are exemplified when ICE raids threatened Madison’s immigrant community in 2018. Yesenia applied her energy to protect her community, creating a grassroots response network in mere hours. She received no compensation for this work; it was something she felt called to do. She is an emerging leader, providing strength and a voice for those around her.


Ben and Jess (Heiple) Wiederholt are a Husband-and-wife team. Ben and Jess Wiederholt live the Dominican values in their personal and professional lives. Sr. Mo McDonnell, from the Class of 1967 and former Campus Minister here, shared: "Using the lens of both Catholic Social Teaching and the Dominican values, I believe Ben and Jessica Wiederholt embody these qualities in their family and professional lives: respect for the dignity of every human person, the call to community and partnership, serving the poor and vulnerable with compassion, and building solidarity in the human family using skills of partnership...” Quite extraordinary to Ben and Jess's story is the fact they have added to their birth family of three sons, four additional children, adopted from Uganda and Ethiopia who were orphaned by AIDS. Ben and Jess have launched Crazy Love Africa, an organization whose mission is to serve, restore, empower, and strengthen women and single mothers in western Uganda who are HIV positive. Ben also serves as President and CEO of STRIDE Community Health Center leading the organization toward a healthcare system that is both equitable and accessible.


Callista Robinson has devoted her life to serving others, with a special focus on lifting up people of color. She credits Edgewood College for equipping her with the tools to educate others. After graduating she served at Harambee Community School in Milwaukee as a teacher, principal, and Chief Executive Administrator until 2001. Today, she serves as the coordinator of the Brother Booker Ashe Lay Ministry Program and assistant administrator at the Adult Learning Center. Sr. Callista is committed to faith formation of African American Catholics and is well known as a role model for the African American community. She has chaired the Black Religious and Clergy of Wisconsin and is a member of the National Black Sisters’ Conference.


Dr. Mary Jean Etten graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in biology after completing her studies at Mercy School of Nursing in Dubuque, Iowa. Dr. Etten was a Dominican Sister for 17 years, caring for her community at St. Dominic Villa for 14 of those years. Dr. Etten’s interest in education and the health field led to her work in gerontology and Hospice. She is one of the founders of Suncoast Hospice in Pinellas County, Florida and is nationally known for her work in the hospice field. Dr. Etten’s professional accomplishments include serving as a faculty member in Thanatology in the School of Aging Studies, and at the Center for Hospice, Palliative Care, and End of Life Studies, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Etten has dedicated her life to living Dominic’s mission through caring for the sick and aging and devotion to learning and teaching others.


Tyrone Cratic Williams personifies the power of a liberal arts education. He attended Madison East High School and arrived at Edgewood College as part of the inaugural cohort of our Community Scholars program. Today, he is a City of Madison Police Officer and serves in the direct area where he was raised in Madison. What started as a job has become a central focus of Tyrone’s life – nearly all his time away from the streets of Madison is occupied by his service to others. He uses his position to bring awareness and solutions to issues that are plaguing the community. He has led training courses for law enforcement, social service agencies, colleges, and universities on topics of implicit racial bias and its effects on decision making and community relations. Tyrone is passionate about speaking with and mentoring young people about entering the work force, about the realities of the ‘real world,’ and about taking control – and responsibility. He has taught and mentored at-risk youth on topics of financial literacy and employment education. Tyrone is now certified through the National Financial Education Council, and he continues to engage the Madison community as a Financial Literacy Educator through the company he started, Cratic Capital Development LLC, to help spread his message of financial literacy and responsibility to reach a wider audience. An engaged community learner and leader, Tyrone recently joined the Edgewood College Board of Trustees.