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May 1, 2003 for release after 3:30 p.m. announcement


LA CROSSE, Wis.—According to her colleagues and students, Professor Jean Saladino has made a big difference in the lives of countless individuals and Viterbo University has rewarded this achievement by naming her 2003 Teacher of the Year.

Saladino has been teaching vocal music at Viterbo since 1998 but her commitment to the profession and her students definitely does not stop at the classroom door. "Jean uses every tool at her disposal to reach students, to encourage them, to help them dare great things, to get out of their own way, to know that they can indeed ‘do it,’ whatever ‘it’ is. Her students truly love her," said Susan Rush, associate professor of music.

Her students agree. "Jean made me believe in myself and gave me the energy and drive to practice until I achieved perfection. Even now, on the days that I don’t want to work for myself, I work for her," said Brenda Cetera, a Viterbo University alumna and Liberace Scholar who received a full-tuition, graduate-level scholarship to study at Northwestern University, Evanston.

In addition to teaching, Saladino has organized and implemented a Women’s Composer Symposium and Choral Concert for the past two years. This year, 300 singers attended from throughout the state.

Saladino received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, Tallahassee and prior to Viterbo, she taught at the Walnut Hill School which is affiliated with the New England Conservatory in Natick, Mass.

Many believe Saladino’s greatest skills and gift come from her ability to instill in others confidence that might otherwise be absent. "I can proudly say that I now have the strength and confidence in my voice and that all the determination and enthusiasm that I have always possessed, can now be of some use to me," said music student Nadia Wahhab.

Longtime faculty colleague Daniel Johnson-Wilmot indicates that Saladino’s style matches well with Viterbo and the students the university attracts. "Jean teaches Franciscan value; especially those of generosity, respect, and diversity. She is a perfect fit for our music department and the university."

Other individuals besides Saladino were honored in a special Rose Awards Ceremony which was held May 1 on campus:

  • Sally Emerson, director of alumni/parent relations, received the J. Thomas Finucan Award for her exceptional contributions to furthering the mission of Viterbo University. She is a 1977 graduate of Viterbo and began employment in 1990.
  • Pat Zander, an associate professor in the nursing department, received the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award, for her dedication and commitment to the academic advising of students.
  • Sr. Alice Kaiser, now retired, received the Sr. Helen Elsbernd Distinguished Service Award. The honor goes to an individual who has served the university for more than 20 years, typically in more than one capacity. She started at Viterbo in 1975 as one of the first individuals to hold the title, Dean of Students. She has also taught English  and sociology and has served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors.
  • The advisory body to Viterbo President William Medland, the President’s Cabinet, received the Pax et Bonum award in recognition of its skill in demonstrating the Franciscan values of service, respect, hospitality, stewardship, and joy throughout the Viterbo community. Members of the Cabinet are: Todd Ericson, vice president of finance; Jack Havertape, academic vice president; Patrick Kerrigan, director of communications and marketing; Gary Klein, vice president of institutional advancement; Jean Moore, FSPA, vice president for student development; Roland Nelson, vice president for admission; and Fr. Tom O’Neill, campus chaplain.

Servant Leader Awards for leadership and service were given to:

  • Maribel Bird, a professor in foreign language and chair of that department—since 2000
  • Mark Brandenburgh, men’s soccer coach and director of intramurals—since 2001
  • Beth Erickson, public relations specialist—since 1999
  • Mary Hassinger, dean of the school of letters and sciences— since 1983.
  • Linda Schams, an instructor in the biology department—since 1981  

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