Mount Mercy recognizes alumni for professional accomplishments and service to the community during  Alumni Reunion Weekend.

2019 Alumni Awards

Awards are presented in the following categories, and the following individuals have been selected for the 2019 Alumni Awards:

  • Stephanie Klein Van Hemert '09 | Alumni Merit Award
  • Nathan Peck ‘97 | Professional Achievement Award
  • Karen Driscoll Faricy RN'64 | Misericordiae Award
  • Dr. Mary Tarbox '74 | Distinguished Service Award



The Alumni Merit Award is awarded to alumni who graduated within the 10 previous years whose use of their Mount Mercy education and leadership qualities show promise of significant professional growth or achievement.

Stephanie Klein Van Hemert '09

Stephanie Klein Van Hemert

Stephanie (Klein) Van Hemert is the building principal at Prairie Edge, a K-12 behavior-focused school in the College Community School District that serves students with significant behavior or mental health concerns. Stephanie has been an educator at Prairie for 10years, where she was also a coach and most recently involved with the volleyball and track programs.

Stephanie is most proud of starting the PHS Best Buddies program, working with students and staff to promote inclusion in and out of the classroom, and supporting some of the most at-risk students in finding success.

Outside of school, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband Ben and daughter Charlotte. In her spare time, she also enjoys being outside, traveling, working out, and reading. 



The Professional Achievement Award is awarded to a graduate for significant contribution or achievement in his or her chosen professional field.

Nathan Peck '97

Nathan Peck

Nathan Peck is an associate professor and current chair of the Art & Design Department at Saint Xavier University, where he teaches techniques for bridging analog and digital art media. Last year he led the Division of Humanities and helped establish the university’s Annual Research Expo. He received a Lilly Fellowship this year and will be working to help establish dialogues on campus focusing on the Heritage of the Sisters of Mercy.

Nathan is an active collaborator across meny genres. He has exhibited works in a wide range of art forms, including video, sculpture, painting, and music. He co-founded the Chicago Art Department and helped produce dozens of shows in its gallery. He also coordinated several pop-up galleries around Chicago, including a music/art space called Bankrock and a student/alumni gallery called Upfall.

Nathan graduated from Mount Mercy in 1997 after studying in the art and theater programs. He was a co-founder of an improv group called Have Mercy and was a photographer for the campus newspaper. He then attended the University of Iowa, where he received his MFA in intermedia with additional study in drawing, sculpture, and digital worlds. 

He currently lives in Evergreen Park, Illinois, with his wife Pei San Ng and son Kipp.



The Misericordiae Award is awarded to a graduate for humanitarian service to others through professional or volunteer activities.

Karen Driscoll Faricy RN '64

Karen Driscoll Faricy

Karen Driscoll Faricy graduated in 1964 from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, obtained a BSN from Mercy College of Detroit, earned an MSA and MSN from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, and completed a post-masters certificate as a family nurse practitioner at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan.

During her 55-year career in nursing, Karen held a variety of positions and cared for diverse patient populations. Positions included assistant professor at Mercy College of Detroit, education specialist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and project director for revising the patient care delivery system at Henry Ford Hospital. While at Henry Ford, Karen chaired the Professional Practice Committee, which was responsible for quality, education, and practice policy.

In the last 12 years, Karen has been employed as a nurse practitioner at the Campus Health Clinic at Wayne State University.



The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to any graduate who has improved the quality of life in the community by influencing social structures or establishing and promoting services to others or for outstanding service rendered to Mount Mercy over a period of years.

Dr. Mary Tarbox '74 

Dr. Mary Tarbox

Dr. Mary Tarbox completed her baccalaureate nursing education at Mount Mercy in 1974 and started her nursing teaching career at Mount Mercy in 1977. She was inaugural dean of the Martin-Herold College of Nursing & Health and saw Mount Mercy nursing programs through numerous changes over her tenure, including the development and initiation of the RN–BSN, MSN, and DNP programs.

Mary was recognized as one of the 100 Great Nurses of Iowa in 2008 and was awarded the Iowa Nurses’ Association Region 2 Nurse of the Year award in 2007. She belongs to the American and Iowa Nurses’ Association, Association for the History of Nursing, Kappa Xi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau; is a member of the Linn County Board of Health and the Women United Steering Committee; and is president of the Region 2, INA. In the past, she has served as a board member for the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids, Aging Services of Linn County, and the American Association for the History of Nursing.

She participates in a wide variety of service projects, including volunteering at the Catherine McAuley Center. Early in her teaching career, Mary accompanied students on international trips to England and Ireland and led a service trip to the Navajo reservation in Arizona, where she and the students worked in a school for developmentally disabled children.

She enjoys family gatherings, traveling with her husband Bob Nicholson, and while on those journeys, meeting with Mount Mercy alumni who were international students.


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