Four alumnae receive recognition awards at CSB Reunion
June 25, 2012
Four outstanding alumnae from the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, have been honored with awards from the CSB Alumnae Association. The awards were presented during the CSB Reunion Weekend at the Gala Dinner June 23 at Gorecki Dining and Conference Center.
Sarah Halverson Jansen '02, received the Decade Award, which honors a 2002 alumna who is recognized by her peers as a great role model and leader for young alumnae through outstanding achievements, global consciousness and community involvement in her profession.
Margaret (Peg) Engleson Palen '77, received the Benedictine Service Award, which honors an alumna who has made a significant impact on those around her through her community service while demonstrating the Benedictine spirit of giving, hospitality, love of others, listening and social stewardship.
Denise Vaaler Zapzalka '92, received the Distinguished Alumna Award, which honors an alumna for outstanding achievements in her profession and for making a lasting contribution in her field as a role model and leader for all alumnae.
LeAnne Matthews Stewart '87, received the Sister Emanuel Renner Service Award, which honors an alumna for her service to the College of Saint Benedict as a leader, steward and volunteer to her alma mater.
Jansen, who lives in Plymouth, Minn., is a senior business training consultant for Wells Fargo, where she facilitates and designs group training. In her free time, she volunteers with Breakthrough St. Paul, an organization that helps high-potential, low-income middle and high school students remove barriers they face when seeking higher education. Ten years after graduating from CSB, Jansen continues to inspire and impact the lives of fellow Bennies. She has served on the Alumnae Board and continues to be involved with CSB by maintaining close relationships with current students, young alums and classmates. "Sarah was deeply committed to the community of Saint Ben's while we were in college, and she has carried this level of commitment well beyond our time there," said Alicia Sellheim '02, a friend who nominated Jansen.
Palen is involved with Hope Chest of St. Paul, works with Catholic Charities' programs and volunteers at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, providing support and encouragement to pediatric bone marrow transplant patients and their families. "Peg portrays the Benedictine spirit of giving, community and 'sisterhood' more than anyone I know," said Julie Herges Gapstur '77, a friend and classmate who nominated Palen. A former elementary school teacher, Palen and her husband, Greg, help with international relief efforts through Catholic Relief Service. On a recent service trip to Africa, they witnessed the AIDS epidemic in Tanzania and the importance of clean water in Ethiopia. "Every Bennie I know volunteers," said Palen, who lives in North Oaks, Minn. "Service is part of who we are, a Benedictine value that we all embrace."
Zapzalka is a standout in a traditionally male-dominated industry as the national sales director of institutional retirement and trust for Wells Fargo. She has been recognized as a top revenue sales producer for 10 straight years of her 18-year career at Wells Fargo. "Saint Ben's taught me there are no barriers to success," said Zapzalka, who lives in Andover, Minn. In addition to maintaining a high-profile job, she raises three children and devotes her time to serving her children's school, church and numerous other endeavors. She strives to teach her children the importance of putting a name and face to the people they help, and she leads by example. Her family often serves as an informal foster family for teenage girls. As the years pass, Zapzalka's appreciation for CSB continues to grow. She is looking forward to sending her daughter to CSB this fall.
Stewart is the chief financial officer at CRC Health Group, a private behavioral health agency. In addition to her career and continued dedication to CSB, Stewart also volunteers at a shelter that provides transitional housing for women and families. Stewart's passion for CSB fuels her desire to give back. She is currently the vice chair of and has been a trustee on the CSB Board of Trustees since 2005. She lives in Cupertino, Calif. "I owe a lot of my personal success to Saint Ben's," Stewart said. "In many ways, the people I met during college helped me grow from a girl to a woman. Saint Ben's is a part of who I am."
Sarah Halverson Jansen '02
Margaret (Peg) Engleson Palen '77
Denise Vaaler Zapzalka '92
LeAnne Matthews Stewart '87