In celebration of its heritage, Saint Mary’s University presented awards to one faculty member, one staff member, and two outstanding seniors at its annual Founders’ Day celebration Tuesday, March 19, on the Winona Campus.

Robin Wisniewski, Psy.D., program director of the M.A. in Counseling and Psychological Services program, received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award. Presented each year, the award recognizes a member of the faculty, staff, or administration who exemplifies the ideals of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, expressed in the Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher. The award is given by Lasallian institutions like Saint Mary’s in the Lasallian Region of North America of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to honor contributions and commitment to the Lasallian mission of education. Robin has worked at Saint Mary’s for nearly 15 years – first as the practicum coordinator for the Rochester MA in Counseling Psychology program, then as full-time program director. As program director, she has built many strong collaborative relationships with the Rochester and southeastern MN communities to help increase the number of qualified mental health therapists serving the region. Robin’s contributions across the University include her participation on committees and initiatives. She began a new initiative to expand access to the M.A. in Counseling Psychology program by offering a remote cohort option for students in 2022, which has grown significantly since the first cohort.

Tracy Lehnertz, M.A., assistant vice president for Institutional Effectiveness, received the Bishop Patrick Heffron Award. The Heffron Award — named after the founder of Saint Mary’s University — is awarded every other year to an employee who has contributed positively to the life of the university, has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the values of the university, and has been a model of the Lasallian spirit in interactions with colleagues and students. For over 30 years, Tracy has supported the Saint Mary’s community, serving in various roles, from associate dean for off-campus programs and accreditation liaison officer to interim registrar and assistant to the provost. She has demonstrated exceptional commitment to Saint Mary’s University, its Mission, our students, and staff throughout her years of service. Her attention to detail, research skills, and talent for strategic, “big picture” thinking have elevated the work of presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, faculty, and resident life programs throughout her time at Saint Mary’s University.

The university also announced its Outstanding Male and Female Seniors during the Founders’ Day celebration. Outstanding Seniors have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership, service to colleagues and the university community, as well as genuine concern for the needs of others.

This year, the honor went to Patrick Derleth, of Berlin, Wis., and Riley Hall, of Dallas Center, Iowa. The eight other students nominated for Outstanding Senior included Nicholas Kiemel, Noah Kiemel, Mitchell Klatt, and Owen Ziegler, Ryann Aschenbrener, Kirsten Neistadt, Jacinta Nguyễn, and Madeline Patterson.

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