Antonian Scholars were recognized for their work at the annual Honors & Awards event. Ikram Koliso '17 (center) and Lizzie Cleary '17 react to the news that Koliso won one of two Antonian Scholars Senior Honors Project awards. Veronika Paprocka '17 also won. All photos: By Rebecca Studios.
The 2017 Honors & Awards event
The St. Catherine University community gathered Tuesday, April 25 to celebrate student academic and leadership achievements, including top-10 graduating seniors, inductees into the 24 active academic honor societies and the recipients of scholarships and departmental honors.
In addition, the Honors and Awards ceremony presents six All-University Awards that acknowledge student leadership, outstanding loyalty and service, and contributions to the St. Kate’s mission.
“Today, we celebrate the many ways you have engaged in your St. Kate’s education. We celebrate your minds expanding and deepening, your spirits soaring and seeking insight, and your hearts embracing connections within the community,” said President ReBecca Koenig Roloff ’76. “Thank you for being devoted to the labor of the intellect and the advancement of your best selves.”
2016–2017 All-University Leadership Awards
Mary E. McCahill Award — Ikram Koliso '17
Mary E. McCahill Award-winner Ikram Koliso '17 with President ReBecca Koenig Roloff '76.
Long recognized as the University’s most prestigious award, the Mary E. McCahill Award is presented to a senior who has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership, academic excellence, loyalty and service to the University throughout her years here. This year’s award was presented to Ikram Koliso ’17, a double major in social work and public health.
“Ikram is a scholar and deeply engaged member of the St. Catherine community. Amazingly, she received 12 nominations for this award,” said Roloff.
During her time at St. Kate’s, Koliso has held several key student leadership positions, including as a peer mentor in the Multicultural and International Program and Services (MIPS) Office, a peer advisor in the Academic Advising Office, a 3-time orientation leader, and two years as a commuter advisor. For three years, Koliso served in the Assistantship Mentoring Program as a Study Advocate for the Emerging Scholars Program — a highly successful initiative she co-founded to help students who need extra assistance and resources to ensure academic success.
An active member of student activities and clubs, Koliso served as committee member or helped establish events like the Women of Color Full Circle Gathering, the Graduates of Color Dinner, and the African American Leadership Forum. She honed leadership skills as the current President of the Muslim Student Association and as Secretary for the First Generation Scholars League.
A staff nominator noted: “She wants to see students around her succeed in extravagant ways, and to be successful in college, even when they don’t believe in themselves.” One of Koliso’s professors described her as “precisely the type of individual St. Kate’s strives to send into the world: a transformative leader, committed to social justice, and (one) who deeply loves and cares for the dear neighbor.”
Her achievements and awards include Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women Student Leadership Awards (2015 and 2017); an Antonian Scholars Senior Honors Project Award; and induction in the Phi Alpha (social work) and Kappa Gamma Pi (Catholic leadership) honor societies.
“Ikram also received the Thomas More Leadership Award as a sophomore — an unprecedented recognition of a student so early in her career,” noted Roloff.
In the community, Koliso has served as a case management assistant in the Hennepin County Multicultural Services Office, and as an Urban Scholar in both the Children's Cabinet for Governor Mark Dayton and for the City of Minneapolis Human Resources department.
A valedictorian, Koliso graduates summa cum laude with a 4.0 cumulative GPA in May, and was recently selected as the student commencement speaker for the Baccalaureate ceremony.
Dean of Students Award — Shannon McKeever '17
Shannon McKeever '17, winner of the Dean of Students award with Curt Galloway.
The Dean of Students Award was presented to Shannon McKeever ’17 for her outstanding contributions to the University’s mission throughout her St. Kate’s career, including leadership on Student Senate (this year as president), and deepening student ties with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJs).
“Courageous in her convictions, even under pressure, even at her own personal expense — Shannon has profoundly impacted the University and her constituents in so many ways,” said Dean of Students Curt Galloway.
As a first-year student, McKeever co-founded the CSJ–Student Alliance, providing an opportunity for students to engage more closely with the CSJ’s, and planning events that focused on community, social justice and service. She interned with The Advocates for Human Rights, engaging in work focused on human trafficking. She also served as member of the Anti-Human Trafficking Working Group of the Congregation of St. Joseph.
Sensing a need within the community, and in collaboration with University leadership, McKeever initiated and implemented a St. Kate’s Election-Reflection program last November, which provide an opportunity for the community to come together and reflect.
“And who can forget her speech at Opening Celebration this past Fall? Shannon used her platform as Student Senate President to speak about issues of social justice, and to encourage — actually challenge — her peers, and all of us, to advocate for what is right,” said Galloway.
McKeever was also recognized with an Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women’s Outstanding Collaborative Leadership Award in 2014, and received the PLEN Women in Global Policy Seminar Scholarship last May.