Three Viterbo women honored by YWCA

By Jessica Hartling

Assistant Campus Life Editor

The YWCA 2012 Tribute to Outstanding Women recognized the hard work of three Viterbo women: Sister Mary Ann Gschwind, chair of Viterbo University Board of Trustees; Marlene Fisher, associate professor in sociology, social work, and criminal justice department; and Jocelyn Lutes, senior biopsychology and Spanish double major from Benton, Wis..

The 30th annual La Crosse YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women took place on Nov. 15 at the La Crosse Center. Eight women from the Coulee Region were recognized in different categories varying from young women of tomorrow to education.

Gschwind has been a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) for 52 years. She was chair of the Viterbo education department, and vice president of the FSPA. Currently, she is chair of the Catholic Charities Board for the Diocese of La Crosse, and board president of Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious. Her hard work to benefit the La Crosse, Catholic, and Viterbo communities through her different positions of leadership were recognized, according to the YWCA website.

Fisher was honored in the category of social justice. She has been teaching at Viterbo for the past 15 years. Fisher is chair of the diversity seminar committee and faculty advisor for the Criminal Justice and Sociology Club and the VU College Democrats. She was given this honor because of her active role on and off campus that is working towards educating people on social justice, according to the YWCA website.

Lutes was recognized in the category of Young Women of Tomorrow-College for her work with Student Organization Advocating Human Rights (SOAHR) on campus, according to the YWCA website.

Lutes has been president of SOAHR for three years.

“When I first joined, it was not a very active club, but within the time span of a couple years, we have accomplished a lot,” Lutes told Lumen. Some of SOAHR’s accomplishments consist of “monthly bullet board about human rights issue, Peace Vigils, screening of documentaries, and guest speakers.”

At the tribute, the women gave speeches about their accomplishments.

“It was really cool to see that there are people in the community who also advocate for human rights,” Lutes said. “Sister Gschwind told everyone to go MAD (make a difference), and it’s definitely something I want to keep doing while I am at Viterbo and after.”

Last year, two Viterbo professors also were honored in the Tribute to Outstanding Women. Viterbo’s Maribel Bird, associate professor in the world languages and cultures department, and Debra Daehn Zellmer, professor and chair of the sociology, social work and criminal justice department, had their hard work recognized by the YWCA.

The YWCA was looking for women in the community who are using their leadership skills to positively influence the Coulee Region, according to the YWCA website. The women must have been working on creating equality in the La Crosse Community. Other criteria for the awards consisted of being a positive role model, maintaining a balanced life and exhibiting ability to teamwork.

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