Success Stories


Chemistry Major Charlene Burns Receives 2015 Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award

Charlene “Charlie” Burns (SHU ’80) has dedicated her life’s work to improving the health of people around the world. Read more about Charlie and all of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award recipients.

Teacher & Nonprofit Volunteer Receives Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award in June 2014

Joan Truax Avioli (SHU ’54) has been a wife, mother, teacher, mentor, writer and nonprofit volunteer since graduating from Seton Hill with degrees in biology and chemistry. In 1969, she received her master’s degree in teaching and began educating junior high school students. Years later, she was invited to be part of the English department at McCluer North Senior High School in St. Louis County, Mo. – the first court-ordered desegregated school in the state. After Joan’s husband, Dr. Louis V. Avioli, died in 1999, she moved to their home on Kiawah Island and began her work as a nonprofit volunteer. She quickly advanced to vice chair and then chairperson for the Kiawah Island Conservancy. Joan also became involved with the Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, which has ties to the Sisters of Charity. She is currently completing her second board term with the organization. Joan has also served on the board of the Kiawah Island Community Association.

Click here to learn more about the Distingished Alumni Leadership Award.

Seton Hill Alumna and Star Athlete Receives Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award in June 2013

Kathleen Garde (SHU ’88) was a heavily recruited western Pennsylvania high school athlete who excelled in three sports at Seton Hill. She was a powerful hitter in volleyball, and exceptional rebounder in basketball and the offensive star on the softball field. She earned All-Conference awards for each sport. Chemistry major at Seton Hill, Kathleen earned her Master of Science Degree in nutrition in 1990 and her Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1994 from Case Western Reserve University. She is the chief of staff-elect at Island Hospital in Anacortes, Wash., and will assume the chief of staff position in June 2014. At the hospital, she also serves as the chair of the Obstetrician/Pediatrics Committee. A practicing obstetrician/gynecologist at Fidalgo Medical Associates, Kathleen also gives back to her community. She serves on the governing board of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she is chair of the Stewardship Committee. She also volunteers as a math teacher once a week at Island View Elementary and coaches club volleyball for seventh and eighth grade students.

Click here for more information on the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award.