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April 5, 2012

Contact Pat Kerrigan at 608-796-3041 or pgkerrigan@viterbo.edu 

VITERBO UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES 2012 RECIPIENTS OF POPE JOHN XXIII AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE 

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, well known for her work in religious, academic, and health care circles, and Dick and Cherry Lommen, prominent community leaders and generous supporters of important community initiatives are recipients of the 2012 Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service.

The award banquet and ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center.

Sister Weisenbeck has served in a variety of prominent positions such as president of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (2002-10), chair of the Viterbo University Board of Trustees (1994-2002), chancellor of the Diocese of La Crosse (1997-2002), and president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (2009-11). She also served as chair of the Viterbo University music department and was on the leadership boards at the Family and Children’s Center, and Franciscan Skemp Healthcare.

Most recently, Sister Weisenbeck has been serving as a consultant in religious law. She also serves as administrative coordinator for the Franciscan Common Venture, a collaborative ministry relationship of four Franciscan congregations including three from the U.S. and one in Cameroon, West Africa.

“Sister Marlene has generously shared her gifts with others as a talented musician, a canon lawyer, and a highly accomplished leader,” said Rick Artman, president of Viterbo University. “She has demonstrated a long standing and faithful commitment to promote the common good and better the lives of others. She truly models servant leadership.”

While Sister Weisenbeck and her affiliation with the FSPA were inseparable to a career path tied to serving and meeting the needs of others, Dick and Cherry Lommen were busy growing a successful business which generated thousands of jobs and opportunities to serve their community. More than 45 years ago, the Lommens started a single McDonald’s Restaurant on the south side of La Crosse. Today, Courtesy Corporation is one of the largest employers in the region and has grown to include 44 McDonald's restaurants throughout Western Wisconsin, Southeastern Minnesota, and Decorah, Iowa.

Their businesses emphasize community service, which includes participation in school-to-work and business education programs, career fairs, involvement in Junior Achievement, and contributing to non-profit organizations through Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota.

Cherry has served on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse and Chileda. She was active as a strong proponent of the Family Children’s Center Healthy Families Program for young mothers and their newborns. She also served on Viterbo’s Board of Advisors. Dick has served as a member of the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, the La Crosse Community Foundation, the YMCA and in 1989 he was inducted into the Boys and Girls Clubs Wall of Fame. He also served for 16 years on the Viterbo Board of Trustees and has been cited by McDonalds as one of the most respected franchise owners in the company. Courtesy Corporation training programs are considered a model for McDonalds.

“Dick and Cherry are humble leaders who model Viterbo’s core values of hospitality, integrity, service, and stewardship,” said Artman. “Viterbo University and the community have benefited greatly from their service and their generosity.”

The Pope John XXIII Award is the highest non-academic award bestowed by Viterbo University. Recipients are chosen on the basis of contributions in one or several of the following categories: education, business, philanthropy, peace and justice, and religious life.

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