2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Community Service - Irene TenEyck '06

Irene TenEyck was born the second oldest in a family of six children. Growing up, Irene’s family had little means, though was strong in faith, love and a sense of service to others. This was a family where all people were welcomed into her family home.

As a senior in high school, Irene was one of two students chosen to study abroad as a Rotary exchange student. She travelled to Argentina, living there and studying for a year. This is where Irene discovered her love of the Latino people, their culture and language. Upon arriving home again, Irene met her first husband, married and started her family. It would not be until her children were in elementary school that Irene would begin college as a non-traditional student. With raising a family, working, and taking classes when she was able, it would be almost 20 years before she graduated from Viterbo in 2006 with her Bachelors Degree, majoring in Social Work. Irene began her social work career at Gundersen Health System and in 2011, graduated with her Masters in Social Work from UW Madison.

Irene’s work over the course of her life has included working with individuals with disabilities, domestic violence victims, Latino immigrants, at risk youth, and medical social work at Gundersen. There Irene has done hospice, care coordination and work with pregnant women who are living with addictions.

Irene met her husband Brian and they married in 2012. Irene and her husband became involved with Wesley United Methodist Church where they are both active, and Irene serves as the congregation’s Lay Leader and Chair of the Missions Committee. Irene and Brian started a homeless ministry in the church, Sacred Grounds, which Irene coordinates. Irene became passionate about the issue of homelessness, becoming involved at many levels in the community. Irene also volunteered her time with Gundersen Global Partners, and over the course of six years made multiple trips to Nicaragua, leading teams of volunteers providing service and education to rural Nicaraguan villages.

According to one nominator, “Throughout my travels to Nicaragua with Irene and working side-by-side at Sacred Grounds, I have witnessed first-hand Irene’s humility and authentic presence with community members near and far. She extends a hand of friendship that is blind to one’s material wealth or social status. She sees the innate value each individual possesses simply as one of God’s creation. She unselfishly embodies Franciscan values in service to humanity.”

Professional Development - Teresa Pulvermacher '94, '10

Teresa (Bolaños) Pulvermacher is a 1994 graduate of the Viterbo School of Nursing, returned to achieve a MSN in 2009, and a family nurse practitioner certification in 2010. During her nursing career, Teresa has held positions in critical and emergency care, but found a calling towards population health. To channel this calling, she looked to small discrete populations, such as worksites, where local effort has potential for great impact.

Teresa has always felt a need to be more responsible to local and regional healthcare efforts.  She credits her sense of responsibility to her Viterbo education, experiences in the emergency room, volunteering with Gundersen Health System Global Partners at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and with Viterbo as a student and preceptor on trips to San Raymundo, Guatemala. Teresa feels she can offer the community more of herself by fostering gratitude for excellent local healthcare, being an example of personal responsibility, and continuing to facilitate worksite initiatives for greater access to healthcare and health information.

In 2006, her pioneer role with Riverside Corporate Wellness (RCW), in La Crosse, gave Teresa the opportunity to start health promotion initiatives at Logistics Health Incorporated. In 2012, she was instrumental in the opening of an award winning worksite primary care clinic. Along with RCW’s regional partners, the model changed the way hundreds of employees and their families receive healthcare. Employees have unprecedented access to primary and family care, behavioral health, and wellness modalities including fitness, health and nutrition education, physical therapy, and alternative therapies. This innovative medical wellness home model has proven to be cost effective and sustainable.

Teresa’s family is all about health. Her husband is a pharmacist; son Joseph, also a Viterbo nursing graduate, is an RN with La Crosse County. Joe has one daughter, Liliana, with his wife Dana. Teresa’s daughter #2 Mary and husband Josh have three children (Hayden, Quinn and Elouise), and are very involved in the well community, owning a small local business that promotes sustainable lifestyles. Daughter #3 Jessica is a junior nursing student; daughter #2 Kimberly lives and works in Chicago in social welfare. And daughter #4 Rebecca will be attending UW-Madison this fall working towards a degree in genetics.

According to her nominator, “Teresa has taken the Franciscan values of stewardship and service and has used them both on the local, national and global level with her kindness and innovations in health and wellness.”

Service to the University - St. Francis School of Nursing Alumnae Chapter

St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing (1902-1970) was a 3-year diploma program founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.   The FSPA were the administrators and faculty of the school.   Words cannot fully describe the dedication and caring of these sisters for their student nurses.  Close to two thousand women were educated to become professional nurses.  The school cap and pin were adopted in 1915.  The pin with school name and location bears a gold Greek cross on mother-of pearl background and is inscribed with the Latin motto ‘Amor Vincit.’ The translation is ‘Love Conquers.’  The school had several accreditations over the years beginning with The Wisconsin Committee on Nursing Education in 1911.  St. Francis School of Nursing (SFSN) became affiliated with Viterbo in 1943 as student nurses received college credit courses as part of their curriculum.

The St. Francis Alumnae Association was organized in 1916.  In addition Milwaukee and Chicago area alumnae formed chapters.  Annual meetings, social gatherings and newsletters kept classmates in touch. Achievements were celebrated.  Deaths were commemorated in prayer.  Dedicated officers and the membership maintained the La Crosse area chapter until 2011 when SFSN alumnae were invited to become Honorary Alumnae of Viterbo University.  Currently, an annual event which includes mass followed by a luncheon-program is hosted on Viterbo’s Campus the first Wednesday in August.  Typically around 200 alumnae attend the annual celebration.

In 2011 the SFSN Honorary Alumnae Chapter began an endowed nursing scholarship at Viterbo.   The scholarship has been awarded 5 times to date.  SFSN graduates continue to support Viterbo and the Scholarship.   A number of SFSN nurses can boast having had children, grandchildren or other young relatives receive a degree from Viterbo.  St. Francis nurse graduates have been long time advocates of both Viterbo student nurses and graduate nurses in clinical settings.  Nearly all SFSN alumnae are retired, the Viterbo University School of Nursing graduates are the remaining legacy of SFSN.

Spirit of Francis - Oresoa Selo-Ojeme, FSPA '85

Sr. Oresoa Selo-Ojeme MSPP (Missionary Sisters for the Poorest of the Poor) came from a humble home in Nigeria, a village called Ewu in Esan land, Benin City, Edo State.  After Secondary and Primary school in the late 1970's she joined the Religious life to serve the Poorest of the Poor. It was her passion to uplift the dignity of the poorest people in society and empower them to become self-reliant. In 1980-1985 she studied at Viterbo College and received her first degree in Religious studies.  She then went on and received a master’s and doctorate degree in Guidance and Counseling at the University of Abuja, Nigeria.

In 1995 she started a center where she cared for orphans, street boys and girls, young mothers with unwanted pregnancies, prostitutes, and destitute young people.  She also visits prisoners and lepers. In 2005, she started a congregation of Sisters called the Missionary Sisters for the Poorest of the Poor in Yendi Diocese Ghana, where they care for the plight of the vulnerable women and children. St. Francis of Assisi has inspired her with his spirit of serving the poorest of the poor in our society.  

Young Alumni - Colin Luz '14

Colin is originally from Holmen (the son of two Viterbo alumni), and he graduated from Viterbo with a bachelor's degree in sports management with a minor in sales. It wasn't until he picked up his minor in sales that his local moving company, Coulee Region Moving Services (CRMS), was born.

Colin saw an opportunity in La Crosse for another independent moving company to succeed, so he convinced his adviser to let him start his own business as an internship to fulfill the minor in sales. The first year was a learning curve in entrepreneurship, but by halfway through the second year, CRMS really started to take off and Colin has never looked back.

CRMS primarily hires college students and military veterans as the movers with the muscle to complete physically demanding jobs, but their culture for taking care of other people is what has set us apart CRMS over the past 3.5 years. Last year, CRMS started offering free moving services to victims of domestic violence, something that has helped people in need as well as increasing awareness in the La Crosse community about domestic violence issues.

Colin firmly believes CRMS will be a business that sticks around the La Crosse area for a long time as Viterbo's Franciscan values will be core values to the company culture for many years to come, by taking care of customers, employees, and the community.