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Duquesne Alumni Receive Mind, Heart and Spirit Awards

The Mind, Heart and Spirit Awards, presented on Sunday, Nov. 22, by Duquesne University Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Relations, recognizes Duquesne alumni who live the University’s mission in a variety of ways.

The 2010 award winners are: Kate Fletcher for exemplifying all five pillars of the mission; Dr. Cynthia F. Muehlbauer, academic excellence; Attorney Jon R. Perry, moral and spiritual values; Dr. Marie Martin, ecumenism; Attorney Barbara M. Carlin, service; and Dr. Yvonne E. Keairns, world concerns.

Fletcher of Kenya was recognized for exemplifying all five aspects of the Duquesne mission. After her husband’s death in 2001, she began volunteering for several years with orphans in Nairobi, Kenya, and sold her home and possessions to establish Hekima Place, which houses, feeds, clothes and educates orphaned girls, many of whom have lost their parents to HIV and AIDS. Fletcher’s work provides opportunities in an impoverished nation where just 65 percent of girls attend elementary school and fewer than 30 percent of girls enroll in high school.

Muehlbauer of Pittsburgh, an administrator with Pittsburgh Public Schools, was recognized for dramatically improving students’ academic performance in her schools. She served as principal at a school in Hazelwood for four years and while there, test scores rose from among the lowest passage rates in the state (6 to 8 percent) to the 80 percent range with many students reaching advanced levels in reading and math. She shares her passion for education with Duquesne student teachers, serving as a guide and mentor to aspiring educators.

Perry of Pittsburgh and wife Joni founded the Pennies from Heaven Keeping Families Together Fund, a charity that financially helps parents whose children require prolonged hospital stays. In eight years, the charity has raised nearly $1 million and has helped more than 6,000 families. Perry, a partner in the law firm of Rosen Louik and Perry, is a four-time honoree as a Pennsylvania “Super Lawyer” and was listed in the 2008 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Martin of Northern Ireland is an educational consultant to Classroom 2000, the body responsible for educational technology infrastructure throughout Northern Ireland’s 1,200 schools. Her work in distance learning has transcended the historic divide between Catholics and Protestants in the war-torn nation, and has exposed Northern Irish students to cultures around the world, most notably through online exchanges between young victims of the 1998 Omagh bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Martin initiated a joint master’s degree in distance education that was offered by Duquesne and the University of Ulster in 2001 and 2002.

Carlin of Virginia is the resident legal advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A former federal prosecutor, she trains judges and attorneys in writing and enforcing criminal laws and procedures, and is responsible for programs combating human trafficking. She is a recognized expert on establishing and improving legal systems in emerging democracies and has presented more than 1,000 workshops and seminars on topics including war crimes, cyber crime, tax evasion, crime scene investigation, plea bargaining and trial advocacy.

Keairns of Pittsburgh has been associated with the Arsenal Family and Children’s Center in Pittsburgh since 1980 and currently serves as the center’s emeritus executive director. She has devoted her career to promoting the healthy development of young people. Her international work includes service as chief researcher for The Voices of Girl Soldiers, a two-year project conducted by the Quaker United Nations. Her research examined the experience of young girls forced into service as soldiers in such places as Angola, Colombia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Her research not only exposed this little-known practice, but helped victims to reintegrate themselves into society.

The Mind, Heart and Spirit Awards are given annually to outstanding alumni who live the University’s mission beyond their years at Duquesne.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.