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April 8, 2011 

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

VITERBO UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES 2011 RECIPIENTS OF POPE JOHN XXIII AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE 

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Dr. David and Sacia Morris, Gail Cleary, and Norma Anderson, all known for their servant leadership, community philanthropy, and service to their community, are recipients of the 2011 Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service. 

The award banquet and ceremony will be held Monday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center. The awards, which are organized by the university’s board of advisors, constitute the highest non-academic honor Viterbo University confers on an annual basis. 

The Morrises moved to the community in 1957 and over time, David gained national recognition for his highly successful medical practice pioneering work in treating patients suffering from severe allergies. Individually and as a couple, the Morrises have responded to a great many community needs including gifts to WAFER, a local food distribution program, and St. Clare Health Mission, a local free clinic. The Morrises have established a family foundation to assure continuing support for a number of community organizations. In recognition of the impact they have made, David and Sacia received the highest honor conferred by the Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter of Fundraising Professionals—that of Outstanding Philanthropists. Also, from Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, the Morrises received Spheres of Influence, for their commitment to that organization. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the ninth floor of the medical school is named Morris Institute for Respiratory Research in recognition of their support. 

Gail Cleary’s roots run deep including five generations in the Coulee Region. Her love of La Crosse was fostered at an early age by the actions of her parents, Roy and Hope Kumm. Her father started working at the G. Heileman Brewing Company as a bookkeeper and was president and CEO. Upon the death of Roy in 1971, Gail’s husband Russ, assumed the presidency of Heileman’s, growing the company into one of the largest and most successful breweries in the country. Gail and Russ continued the family tradition of supporting their community which including the formation and continuing success of the Oktoberfest celebration. Today Gail serves as president of the Cleary-Kumm Foundation, assuring that the long tradition of giving back to the community continues. 

She has been involved in Girl Scouts, Boys Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse, Family and Children’s Center, Western Technical College, Salvation Army, First Presbyterian Church and a broad array of other community organizations. She co-chaired the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Life Science Building Campaign and has endowed numerous scholarships for La Crosse students.  

Now in her 90s, Norma Anderson, a previous recipient of the “Ageless Heroes” award, continues to be active in the community. She and her late husband Lyle, moved to La Crosse in 1965 and he served in a number of leadership positions including president of the then Batavia Bank and president of the Chamber of Commerce. In retirement, they became volunteers for the International Executive Service Corp traveling to Trinidad, Kenya, and Cameroon. 

When Lyle passed away, Norma continued supporting the projects and causes that were meaningful to them as a couple. The YWCA, Chileda, the Great Rivers United Way, and the PEO Sisterhood which provides educational opportunities for young women are just several examples of organizations supported by Anderson. She was also a longtime volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program. 

“David and Sacia, Norma, and Gail bring out the very best in others. They are outstanding role models and our community is enormously enriched because of their generosity, commitment, and service,” said Rick Artman, president of Viterbo University. 

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