2001 Viterbo University Outstanding Alumni Awards

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Professional Development
Christopher Parr '89 
Professional Development
Kathryn Larson '56 
Much has been happening in the world of Christopher Parr since graduating from Viterbo University.
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre in 1989, Chris moved to the East Coast to attend Brandeis University in Boston where he received his Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Dramatic Writing in 1991.
Returning to the Midwest, he settled in Madison and started working in the web division at MEG Communications. In 1995, he launched Christopher Parr Internet Design (CPID), which develops the design, strategy, and online marketing for organizations that have included Madison’s Monona Terrace, Sub-Zero Freezer Company, and the Credit Union Executives Society.
His success has not gone unnoticed.  Chris’ work has received a number of design awards including the IPPA Design Excellence Award for a Commercial Site (Monona Terrace), David Siegel’s High Five Award for Excellence, and the 1996 NetBest Award “Best Site of the Year.” In addition, CPID was praised in the book Web Sites that Work from Adobe Press, and the CPID ezine project Cybermad was recognized in HTML Unleaded 4.0 from Macmillan.  In 1996, Madison Magazine named Chris to their list of the “25 Most Influential People in Madison.” Chris is an occasional contributing writer to the magazine.
Not one to let the dust settle, Chris recently took on another cyber adventure. After successfully developing the web page and marketing for musicnotes.com, an online sheet music store, Chris was named the company’s Vice President and partner. 
Chris is also an accomplished and award-winning playwright and television and screen writer. Most recently, Rushlight Entertainment has optioned the rights to his screenplay, Last Men, a project that originally began as a comic book. 
 For his many professional achievements, Christopher Parr is a recipient of this year’s Outstanding Alumni Award for Professional Development.
The Greater La Crosse area is eating healthier thanks to the efforts of Kathryn “Kay” Larson. 
Currently the Director of Nutrition for Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, Kay has influenced the eating habits and behaviors of many throughout the community through the 500 Club and Winning Weighs programs, both of which she founded and directed. 
The 500 Club is dedicated to enhancing healthy eating habits through food selections that are low in fat and under 500 calories per serving. These selections carry the 500 Club seal of approval and are found on many area food shelves–from restaurants to grocery stores. It’s even featured on a national level in food vending. The Winning Weighs program has also had significant impact by promoting guided weight loss with the expertise of trained dietitians.
After receiving a degree in home economics from Viterbo in 1956, Kay taught high school in Albany and Sparta before continuing her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there, Kay served as a teaching assistant until receiving her Master of Science degree in 1969. She then returned to La Crosse to teach at Viterbo on a part-time basis.
In 1970, Kay was named Director of Nutrition at Gundersen Lutheran. She returned to Viterbo for additional coursework and received her Registered Dietitian certification. During her tenure at Gundersen Lutheran, her department has grown from two dietitians to 17. Active in the American Dietetic Association, Kay was a speaker at its national convention and state conventions in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has also shared her expertise as a speaker at the national convention of the American Society of Food Service Managers and Administrators. 
For her many accomplishments, Kay Larson is a recipient of this year’s Outstanding Alumni Award for Professional Development.
Community Service
Carole Plante '66 
Service to the University
La Croix
S. Marie Leon La Croix '45
Whether it’s tutoring students at the school where she taught second graders for 28 years, or running Saturday bingo at the nursing home that cared for her aging mother, community service is in Carole Plante’s blood.
Carole grew up with her sister and two brothers in St. Paul. Following high school, she entered a convent in Mankato, Minn. After six years, and just before taking her final vows, Carole left the convent and traveled to La Crosse where she enrolled at Viterbo with dreams of becoming a teacher. In 1966, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education and began a two-year teaching position at St. Joseph’s Cathedral School before teaching at Stoddard Elementary.
Carole enjoyed teaching so much that she decided to volunteer at the school after her retirement in 1996. She now tutors youth in need of assistance with their studies three days per week and volunteers her talents wherever needed.
Shortly after the death of Carole’s father in 1974, her mother moved to La Crosse to live with her. When Carole’s mother’s health began to fail, she was placed in Bethany St. Joseph’s Nursing Home. Carole began volunteering there on weekends and continued even after her mother’s death in 1994. She is well known there for her service–helping out at Mass on Sundays, visiting with residents, chaperoning or driving groups on field trips, or holding the hands of those who are dying.
In recognition for her efforts, Carole was the first recipient of the care center’s Volunteer Spirit of the Year Award. And, in 1998, she received the Iverson/Freking Ecumenical Recognition Award.
For demonstrating unselfish and outstanding service to the community and humanity, Carole Plante is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award for Community Service.
The arts at Viterbo University wouldn’t be the same without the commitment and dedication of Marie Leon La Croix, FSPA.
For 41 years, Sr. Marie Leon dedicated herself to Viterbo theatre, starting when she founded the department in 1955. During her tenure, she transitioned the department from a one-room spot on the first floor of Murphy Center to the major Fine Arts Center it is today.
Over the years, she directed 75 productions, costumed 123, and designed 40. She produced the first Arena Theatre and the first Reader’s Theatre in La Crosse, produced and directed a Viterbo FM radio program, toured the Viterbo Players’ production of Ladies Not for Burning, and served for a number of years as a regional judge for the Wisconsin High School Forensics Association.  She also served as the chair of Viterbo’s Speech and Drama Department from 1955-71.
For her dedication, she was named a Professor Emerita following her retirement, has received the Viterbo University Service Award and Outstanding Teacher Award, and was chosen La Crosse “Woman of the Month” by the Chamber of Commerce. And, in 1994, Viterbo named the Black Box Theatre in her honor.
 After graduating from Viterbo in 1945 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and minors in art and history, Sr. Marie Leon pursued her Master’s of Arts degree in clothing design, which she received from Stout University. She has completed postgraduate studies at several universities.
Her teaching experience includes grade school and high school experience, including a stint at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, before joining Viterbo in 1955. She served on the Viterbo University Alumni Board 1986-92 and is currently an active member of the Alumni Emeritus Board.
For her hard work and many years of dedication to Viterbo University, Sr. Marie Leon La Croix is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award for Service to the University.