Alumni Awards Day March 15

Three Grads to Receive Alumni Awards

Sister Mary Alan Stuart, OP, ’62, Patricia McDonald, OP, ’69, and Captain John F. Detro ’85, will be honored on campus Thursday, March 15, at Alumni Awards Day. The annual celebration of alumni achievement is a highlight of the spring semester at Siena Heights.


This year’s distinguished honorees include two science graduates and a history major. On March 15, they will spend the day meeting with students and faculty, sharing their extraordinary and diverse experience in medicine, nutrition, social work, counseling, outreach, motivation and education. All interested alumni and friends are welcome at the 4 p.m. awards ceremony with gala reception to follow; both events will be held in Dominican Hall.


To learn more about this year’s award winners, read on—and prepare to be inspired!


Click here to learn about how to nominate someone for an alumni award.

Click here to learn more about the awards.


Sister Ann Joachim Award:

Sister Mary Alan Stuart, OP ’62 (Lexington, Kentucky)


A biology major as an undergraduate and mixed sciences master’s graduate of Siena (mentored through both degrees by Sister Miriam Michael Stimson), Sister Mary Alan taught elementary and high school in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before earning her Ph.D. in nutrition at Purdue University in 1983. She did post-doctoral work at the USDA Human Nutritionsistermaryallenstuart.jpg Research Lab in North Dakota and at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. In 1992, after five years as director of undergraduate dietetics at U. of Kentucky, she created an outreach nutrition service at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington serving the rural poor in six Appalachian counties. “The aim was to provide free nutrition services near home” for communities 2-3 hours away from any hospital, Sister Mary Alan says. “My main focus was to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy counseling for those conditions which respond most favorably to nutrition intervention, namely: weight management, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac disease.” Now 15 years later, the program includes 10 rural clinics and a mobile service. Sister Mary Alan now is officially “retired” as the hospital’s Outreach Dietician, but she remains an active volunteer serving uninsured patients at two clinics closer to her Lexington home. Throughout her career, she has shared time and talents with community organizations, professional associations, patients and students. She has received three National Science Foundation research grants, published numerous journal articles and research abstracts, and been widely honored for outstanding service, both to the field of dietetics and to the community. Her professional interests include trace metal metabolism, rural community nutrition, nutrition education and nutrition intervention in chronic disease states.


St. Dominic Award:

Patricia McDonald, OP ’69  (St. Clair Shores, Michigan)


Pat earned her bachelor’s degree in history at Siena Heights with minors in English and Spanish.  She subsequently completed a master’s in guidance and counseling at Siena and a doctorate in educational leadership at Western Michigan University. A consultant (academic,sister-pat-mcdonald.jpg personal and business development), certified social worker and licensed professional counselor, Pat has worked since 1995 for Siena Heights University’s Metropolitan Detroit Program in Southfield where she is associate professor and director of graduate studies. Her career also has included working as an elementary school teacher, therapist, case manager for adults with developmental disabilities, foster parenting instructor, residential placement director, child sexual abuse trauma team coordinator, and administrator for the Archdiocese of Detroit. She is the author of three books and several articles, and is a frequent conference and workshop presenter on topics ranging from anger management, conflict resolution and post-traumatic stress disorder to forgiveness, personal betterment and happiness. She also has served as a board member for the Dominican Consultation Center, the American Red Cross in Detroit, St. John’s Hospital and Medical Center Institutional Review Board and Macomb Family Services.


Outstanding Alumni Award:

Captain John F. Detro ’85  (Columbus, Georgia)


A biology major and chemistry minor at Siena Heights, John enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987 and put his studies to good use as a medic. After returning from Operation Desert Storm, he became a cytotechnologist (a specialist in identifying cellular abnormalities), then went on to become a physician assistant (PA). Along the way, he earned a second bachelor’s degree injohndetro.jpg physician assistant studies and master’s degrees in family medicine and orthopedics. In 1999, he volunteered to apply his medical skills in the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite combat unit that leads soldiers on difficult missions. A veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and the first combat tour in Afghanistan, John is now the Senior PA in charge of all medics in the 75th Regiment. He has an impressive collection of Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars and has been honored with the U.S. Surgeon General’s Annual Physician Assistant Recognition Award and the 2006 Association of Military Surgeons of the United States Physician Assistant Award. At Siena Heights, John was an outstanding athlete, earning four-time NAIA All-American status in track & field. The “athletic mind” he developed at Siena still shapes his approach to work, John says. Even though his senior status would allow him to give orders and hang back, “when I am at a base with the guys, I have to go on missions. I want my medics to understand that I don’t expect them to do anything I am not willing to do myself.”  In his spare time, John still runs (and assists the cross country team at Columbus State University) and enjoys his wife, children and grandsons. 


Alumni Awards


The Siena Heights University Alumni Association sponsors four awards recognizing graduates for distinguished accomplishments and service. Each award may (but will not necessarily) be presented annually. Award nominations are welcome at any time. Winners are selected each fall and honored on campus during the spring. The awards are:


Outstanding Alumni Award

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes alumni whose outstanding professional achievements and/or volunteer contributions promote Siena positively to the community; who demonstrate strong leadership characteristics; who serve as significant role models for others; and who embody the spirit of Siena Heights University.


Saint Dominic Award

The Saint Dominic Award recognizes an alumna or alumnus for commitment to Christian education in family, school or community. Named for the 12th century Spanish nobleman who founded the Dominican order, the award honors person who embody the Dominican philosophy and the spirit of Siena, and who promote pride in Christian ethics and education.


Sister Ann Joachim Award

The Sister Ann Joachim Award is presented in memory of faculty member Sister Ann Joachim, OP, and recognizes significant contributions to the University and/or community through activities that demonstrate strong leadership, the ability to get things done, and the capacity to confront issues head on while maintaining the image and spirit of the University.


Recent Graduate Award

The Recent Graduate Award recognizes an alumna or alumnus (or alumni) who graduated within the past 10 years. The award honors those who exemplify dedication to Christian values through professional achievement, community involvement and/or civic commitment; and who represent the spirit of Siena Heights University.


Do you know a Siena Heights alumna or alumnus who deserves recognition with an Alumni Award? Learn more about the awards program and nomination procedures by reading the information below.


Alumni Awards: Nomination Procedures

Nominations for alumni awards are welcome at any time. Award winners are selected each fall and honored during the spring. Nominations remain in the candidate pool for consideration for up to three years. Nominations in the candidate pool by September 1 each year are considered for honors the following spring.


Awards are open to graduates of Siena Heights University including Siena Heights College and St. Joseph College. 


An alumna or alumnus may be nominated for by another graduate, a member of the faculty or staff, or another person who knows the nominee and the University well. 


Final section of award recipients rests with the Alumni Board of Directors, which reserves the right to consider a nominee for an award other than that suggested by the nominator. All awards may, but will not necessarily, be given annually.


Nominations must include:

  • Name, class year (if known), address, phone number and email address of the candidate you wish to nominate.
  • A description of the personal qualities, characteristics and professional or volunteer accomplishments that qualify the nominee for award consideration. (See award descriptions for specific award critieria.)
  • Names of other person(s) or organization(s) who will provide support for the nomination and/or further information about the nominee. NOTE: It is the nominator’s responsibility to solicit any additional support that may be appropriate. 
  • Your name (the nominator) along with: your mailing address, phone number and email address; your class year if you a Siena Heights graduate; and your relationship to the person you are nominating.

Send or email nominations to:

Alumni Relations Office

Siena Heights University

1247 East Siena Heights Drive

Adrian, MI  49221


Meet Siena


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Lucia Alfaro

Chemistry major, track and cross country, Adrian Campus

Faculty & Staff

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Gail A. Ryder

Associate Professor of Humanities


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Romie Jeffrey Pinkett '07MA

School Counseling & Community Counseling Graduate, Metro Detroit Program