Mount Mercy to bestow alumni awards during homecoming

Mount Mercy University will honor eight alumni for professional achievement and commitment to service and their communities during its annual Homecoming festivities, September 30 – October 1.

Three different Alumni Awards will be presented at the Alumni Recognition Luncheon on Saturday, October 1 at 11:30 a.m. in the campus' new University Center. The awards will be presented by President Christopher Blake.

Nate Klein '07, Laura Howell McCreery '03 and Adam Parsons '02 will be awarded the Alumni Certificate of Merit. The Alumni Certificate of Merit is awarded to Mount Mercy alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and, through the use of their Mount Mercy education and leadership qualities, show promise of significant professional growth or achievement.

Klein, a resident of Columbus, Georgia, is being recognized for his professional work with Aflac and his volunteerism in organizations such as the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley. McCreery, a resident of Davenport, is a science teacher at North High School in Davenport, Iowa. In 2010 she was recognized by the Iowa Science Teacher's Section with an Excellence in Science Teaching Award. Parsons, a resident of Wapello, has demonstrated a profound commitment to the legal profession and to his community. He serves as the County Attorney in Louisa County.

Brian Gardner '96, Dr. Tony Miksa '92 and Mike Myers '83 will be awarded with the Professional Achievement Award. The Mount Mercy Alumni Professional Achievement Award is presented to a graduate for significant contribution or achievement in his or her chosen professional field.

Gardner, a resident of Cedar Rapids, is being recognized for his 31-year criminal justice career with the Linn County Sheriff's Office. Gardner has served as Linn County Sheriff since 2009. Miksa, a resident of Loves Park, Illinois, serves as Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He has dedicated himself to creating a climate in which students can succeed in their educational environment. Myers, a resident of Waukon, is the CEO and Director of Nursing and Home Health for Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, Iowa.

Dr. Dawn Axon Bazarko '85 and Dr. Susan O'Conner-Von '76 will be the recipients of the Distinguished Service Award. This award is given 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.

Bazarko, a resident of Minnetonka, Minnesota, is being recognized for educating future nurses and devising ways in which to improve the nursing profession. She serves as Nurse Faculty Lead and an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas School of Business and is also a Senior Vice President with the Center for Nursing Advancement with UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Bazarko also serves as a member of the Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees.

O'Conner-Von, a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, teaches baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate and graduate nursing students at the University of Minnesota, and is a frequent guest lecturer at conferences across the nation and the world. She is an international expert on pediatric pain and palliative care issues.

For more information on Homecoming 2011, visit 

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