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  • Home / News / College honored Sister Helen Prejean with Women Who Light the Way award | Ursuline College - Liberal Arts Education in Ohio

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    College honored Sister Helen Prejean with Women Who Light the Way award

    November 18, 2020

    Ursuline College honored author and social justice activist Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, with its Women Who Light the Way award in a virtual event in November, 2020.

    Originally planned for the end of March, 2020 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the event was postponed due to the pandemic. Sister Helen received the award and spoke to guests via Zoom on Nov. 17, the 149th anniversary of the College’s founding by Mother Mary of the Annunciation Beaumont in 1871.

    Traditionally, the College hosts a donor appreciation event in celebration of Founder’s Day.

    “Even with her busy schedule, Sister Helen generously accommodated our timeframe and she was certainly worth the wait,” said Richard Konisiewicz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “Our supporters loved hearing about her spiritual journey. Her witness of faith, and her honesty, grit, determination, and humor all came through, despite the distance.”

    Based in New Orleans, Sister Helen rose to international prominence with the publication of her 1994 book, “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States,” which was made into an Academy Award winning movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn (1996). A tireless advocate for human dignity, she last year published a book, “River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.”

    As part of the Founder’s Day event, Crain's Cleveland Business Editor Elizabeth McIntyre interviewed Sister Helen live. McIntyre is a new member of the Ursuline College Board of Trustees. Master of Ceremonies for the event was Sheronda Peterson, Alumnae Board President, who an I.T. Associate Project Manager at Progressive.

    Ursuline's Women Who Light the Way award recognizes women who have risen to leadership roles in their field and inspired future generations of women. This biennial award was first presented for the first time to the late journalist and author Cokie Roberts in 2018.

    The organizations and individuals listed below provided generous sponsorship for Women Who Light the Way. Per our original intentions, all proceeds support the College's scholarship fund.

    Spotlight Sponsor

    • The Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland

    Starlight Sponsors

    • BDS Financial Network
    • Carnegie Management and Development Corporation
    • Cleveland Clinic
    • Jeff and Karen Julien
    • Gerald C. McDonough
    • Jack and Charlotte Newman

    Luminary Sponsors

    • Bialosky Cleveland
    • The John Huntington Fund for Education
    • Lake Health
    • Maloney & Novotny, LLC.
    • The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation
    • Clifford A. Reeves
    • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
    • Sisters of Charity Health System
    • Taylor Oswald LLC
    • Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School
    • Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC

    Candlelight Sponsors

    • All For You Janitorial, Inc.
    • Teri and Ed Corletzi

    Spark Sponsors

    • APG Office Furniture
    • CT Consultants
    • The Albert M. Higley Co.
    • Suzanna M. Schroeder-Green
    • Kathryn Sweeny
    • Ten10 Design
    • Van Auken Akins Architects LLC


    We would also like to acknowledge those who purchased individual tickets and generously donated in support of this event.

    • Elaine M. Abrams '86
    • Ted and Gina Bedell
    • Clearstead Advisors, LLC
    • Colleen Conway Cooney
    • Congregation of Saint Joseph, Cleveland
    • Chaplain Deborah Dockery
    • Lorraine Donner
    • JoAnn L. Fellner '78, '03 MSN
    • Suzanne Marie Beucler Fortuna '92, '03 MSN, '17 DNP
    • Jeffrey Heinen
    • Deanne Hurley
    • Jo Ann Doller Lane '62
    • Lawler Construction
    • Nicole Lee MacPherson '08
    • Magnificat High School
    • Janice T. Roccosalva '71, '95 MA
    • Saint Joseph Academy
    • Urban Community School
    • Celeste M. Wiggins, Ph.D.
    • Jessica Wrobleski
    • Reverend Gary D. Yanus