Holy Names University recently held its 37th Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of three school alumni and community members. Honored this year were Barbara Wisnewski Smith, 1962; Dr. Fay L. Bowers and Judy Goff Roveda, 1966.
The goal of the event, spearheaded by the Alumni Awards Committee chaired by Ann C. Dunlap-Kahren, 1988, was to identify and recognize alumni in three categories that exemplify the goals of Holy Names, those of community achievement, professional success and loyal service to the university community and church.
Barbara Wisnewski Smith was chosen for outstanding volunteer service, dedicating countless hours to the Alumni Association and the University community.
She has served three full terms on the Alumni Executive Board and worked toward the development and implementation of multiple alumni programs and fundraising efforts, including Saturday Semester and Alumni Phonathons.
Her commitment and efforts in these areas have helped build the futures of Holy Names University students.
Dr. Fay L. Bowers received the Faculty Award for her outstanding service to the University as Chair of the Department of Nursing.
Bower, an award-winning health care professional, is recognized as an expert in evidence-based practice, research and community health care.
During her 10 years with Holy Names, she has advanced careers for nurses with video-broadcasting of nursing classes, implementation of a nursing bachelor's degree program with Samuel Merritt University and other programs.
Recognition for outstanding achievement in a profession or service to the church or community was received by Judy Goff Roveda, who has devoted decades fighting for workers' rights and economic justice.
Roveda worked as a social worker for the city of Alameda before beginning a labor career in 1973, serving as a delegate, statewide president of SEIU Local 535 and president of the Alameda County Labor Council. Roveda is most proud of three accomplishments from her work for the labor council: Bringing attention to immigrants' rights and the circumstances they face entering the work force; the dredging of the Port of Oakland and the economic benefits that ensued; and the passage of Paid Family Leave.
"I had no idea that my life would take a turn toward being involved in the labor movement, but I'm tremendously glad that it happened because it allowed me to be able to move some issues forward," Roveda said.
She credits Holy Names University with providing her with a rigorous, no-nonsense education, one strong in academics and command of language and grammar, but giving equal importance to the spiritual aspect of her education and helping to form her perception of the world.
"At Holy Names, there's a moral integrity that a person develops, the importance of working beyond yourself, and of seeing the needs of others," Roveda said. "With that comes compassion."
She finds the Alumni Award very humbling in the context of the other women who have been recognized in past years and, while gratified, feels that much work remains to be done.
"I really want to inspire people to keep the mantle going," Roveda said. She sees Holy names as an important conduit toward the continuation of her work.
"The goals and strivings that Holy Names engenders is such a positive approach in a world where there is so much negativity," she said. "Holy Names is producing people who contribute to the community and who put the bar higher for what we can achieve."