Mount St. Joseph University

Alumni award winners announced

Academics, Alumni & Giving, Press Releases

Alumni from Mount St. Joseph University’s Classes of 1967, 1972, 1977, and 1982 and all “Royal Mounties” (those who graduated prior to 1966) came back to campus from June 2-4 as part of the Mount’s Alumni Weekend.
In addition to the reunion, alumni achievement awards were also presented.

Bernadette Lourdes Coutain Plair ’67 was awarded the Loretta Richards Distinguished Alumni Award which is the Mount’s top alumni award. Plair, who spent much of her career as a research scientist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), is a passionate global wildlife conservationist and educator. Plair also helped establish CRESTT—the Center for the Rescue of Endangered Species of Trinidad & Tobago.  In addition to her career, Plair has given back to the Mount in a variety of ways, including serving on the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Board, and several committees. She was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the Mount in 2005 for her exceptional contributions to the world of science.

Sr. Nancy Bramlage, SC ’67 and Mary Frances Kelley Schmitt ’67 were awarded the Sister Mary Lea Mueller Human Service Award in honor of their dedication to helping others. In May, Sr. Nancy retired as the director of mission and ministry at the Mount where she has helped students through on-campus programming and out-of-town retreats. She has been a Sister of Charity for 55 years and previously lived in Africa, taught French, and worked at the University of Dayton. Schmitt is a registered dietician/nutritionist, and has worked at VA Medical Centers and other hospitals. In 2014, she spent a year in India serving at a refuge for boys ages 6 to 18, many whom had been living on the streets.

The Alumni Career Achievement Award was presented to Catherine Austing Herring ’72. Herring, an art teacher at Mercy Montessori Center, has written several grants to enhance art education at the school, including one for the Visionaries & Voices Artists-in-Residence program that allows artists with disabilities to gain teaching experience. She is very involved with St. Clare Parish in College Hill and with Hilltop Artists, a local continuing education and exhibition collective of women artists.