2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

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Service to the University 

Spirit of Francis 

Rochelle 

Emily 

Rochelle Potaracke, FSPA '64
Elementary Education

Emily (Caldwell) Pozo '95
Liberal Studies, Spanish, Sociology

 After graduating from Viterbo in 1964, Sr. Rochelle went on to earn her M.A. in Elementary Education from Catholic University of America in 1969.  She began teaching in the School of Education at Viterbo in 1975.  After leaving Viterbo in 1992 to accept an administrative position at St. Rose Convent, Sr. Rochelle has continued to serve the School of Education as a supervisor of student teachers, receiving excellent ratings from the student teachers and their cooperating teachers.  She was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” for the City of La Crosse and the State of Wisconsin in 1970, and she was chosen as Viterbo’s Teacher of the Year in 1990.  During her time at Viterbo, she began the Early Childhood program and was also part of the committee which researched and implemented the graduate program in Education.  In 1995, she authored a children’s book entitled Nanny’s Special Gift about her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.  Sr. Rochelle served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2001 to 2007 and continues to serve as a member of the Emeritus Board, attending meetings regularly and volunteering to help out at campus events and alumni gatherings. 

Sue Batell, dean of the School of Education, who nominated Sr. Rochelle, provided a wonderful example of her dedicated service: “I know from working with her for so many years that she will literally give students the clothes off her back.  We had an adult student who was ready for student teaching but had no appropriate wardrobe for student teaching.  Lo and behold, I soon saw the student teacher in Rochelle’s dresses in addition to other clothing Sr. Rochelle had collected.  Sr. Rochelle is a person who is always on the lookout for people who need a ‘leg-up’ or a little extra help.”

After graduating from Viterbo in 1995, Emily served in international education for many years, most recently for BCA, a non-profit organization specializing in study abroad programs.  She has taught Spanish at Illinois State University, lived in Mexico City, and studied at la Universidad Compultense in Madrid.  Emily first visited the Galapagos Islands in 2004 and was dazzled by their beauty and magnificence, but also disturbed by the troubling conditions for residents of the islands.  She moved there in 2005, and in 2006, she founded Galapagos ICE (Immerse Connect Evolve), which connects volunteers from around the globe with the Galapagos Islands community and distributes donations of educational and medical/health supplies.  Galapagos ICE strives to foster a sense of environmental appreciation, pride, and responsibility among locals and to empower them with knowledge and skills to enhance their employment prospects, while protecting the natural treasures of their homeland. 

Emily currently lives in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos with her husband, Mauricio.  Sally (Kramer) Emerson ’77, who nominated Emily, stated that “she is someone all of our alumni and students can look to for inspiration.  Her ‘can-do,’ caring attitude has served her and the people of the Galapagos Islands very well.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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