On June 3 at its 2017 Alumni Awards Event, Cardinal Stritch University, recognized Sr. Mary Lea Schneider as the 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame Honoree and Sr. Ladonna Woerdeman with the Mother Bartholomew, OSF Lifetime Achievement Award. Sr. Ladonna is pictured here between Stritch President Jamie Loftus and Sr. Margaret Ruddy, as she accepts the award.
Sr. Ladonna (left) is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Diabetes and Kidney Center UnityPoint Health in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Since entering the congregation in 1964, she has dedicated her life to ministry, education and service.
She credits her excellent teachers at Stritch for preparing her well for a career life of teaching many students, as well as serving the marginalized of society – the mentally ill, the developmentally challenged, the deaf, Native Americans and those living with chronic illness. She has ministered in these areas for more than 50 years.
As president of Stritch from 1991 to 2008, Sr. Mary Lea (below) doubled the amount of athletic programs from five to 10, and was instrumental in the transfer of the university’s athletic programs from the NCAA Division III level to NAIA, which allowed the athletic programs to offer scholarships to its student-athletes. She created an atmosphere within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that continues to hold strong. In addition to being President Emerita, she is a professor of religious studies and an avid Wolves fan, rarely missing a game.