Five St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards to Be Presented in October

Article excerpt

NCEA recognizes significant support to Catholic education

Five St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards will be presented to outstanding supporters of Catholic Education during the National Catholic Educational Association's (NCEA) 16th annual awards dinner and ceremony in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2. One outstanding educator will receive the president's award.

The Seton award is NCEA's highest honor, given in recognition of significant philanthropic or leadership contributions to Catholic education. The award is named in honor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (17741821), who is regarded by many as the founder of the U.S. Catholic school network.

2006 Recipients

Thomas Clements

In 1994, Thomas Clements bought a small custom software developer and evolved it into Conduit Software, a leader in human resources and Intranet software. After selling his corporation in 1999, Mr. Clements, who had resided in Georgia for many years, noticed that in response to a growing Catholic population in the state there were 40 new churches, four new Catholic high schools and six new elementary schools, but no college.

Mr. Clements set out to remedy this by founding Southern Catholic College. He was involved in all aspects of its planning and worked tirelessly to raise funds. The college opened in Dawsonville, Georgia, in September 2005 with 75 freshmen. The college is projected to grow to 500 students in five years and eventually to serve 3,000 students.

Mr. Clements relates how starting a Catholic college was like starting several new businesses at once. "We had to raise almost $20 million, buy land and construct buildings, earn the right to be called Catholic as well as provide the state of Georgia with more than 500 pages of documentation to operate as a college," he said. He has turned over the operation of the college to its staff, but still is an active member of the college's board of trustees.

In February, he returned from a second trip to Ghana, where he is spearheading efforts to improve the lives of rural Ghanans by building a Catholic residential high school in Waiso, Western Region, Ghana. He also serves on the board of A Beacon of Hope, a crisis pregnancy center, and is president of his Friday morning men's fellowship at St. Benedict Catholic College.

John and Rosemary Croghan

John and Rosemary Croghan have been extraordinarily generous to the inner-city schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago through the Big Shoulders Fund. The fund supports elementary and high schools enrolling nearly 25,000 students in Chicago. As part of the larger educational network in inner-city Chicago, Catholic schools have proven to be an important resource for children and families that are at risk.

One hundred percent of the funds raised by Big Shoulders is dedicated to scholarships, special educational programs, instructional equipment, faculty support and operating grants. The Big Shoulders Fund offers inner-city children and their parents the choice of a faith-based, value-centered education.

Rosemary Croghan is a member of the founding board of trustees of Cristo Key Jesuit High School. The school opened in 1996 to meet the growing educational needs of Hispanic young people in Pilsen/Little Village neighborhoods of Chicago. The school grew from just 80 students in 1996 to 500 in 2003.

John Croghan is chairman and managing director of CMF Capital Management, an investment company in Chicago. He is a trustee of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Chicago Historical Association, Lyric Opera, Northwestern University and is a director of the Catholic Church Extension Society, the Lumen Christi Institute and the Gregorian foundations.

Most Rev. Curtis John Guillory, SVD

When Bishop Curtis Guillory became the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas, he became the first African American Catholic bishop in Texas. He also is the first bishop in the diocese who is not a canon lawyer and the first member of a religious community (Society of the Divine Word) to head the diocese. …