2007 Distinguished Alumna

Congratulations AMAZING Alumnae!!

Many outstanding Mercy alumnae were nominated for the Mercy High School Distinguished Alumnae Award. The recipients of 2007 award are Sister Rita Valade, RSM ’72 and Carol Hackett Garagiola ’73.

Sister Rita Valade, RSM was nominated by her sister Patricia Valade Dalrick ’69. Sister Rita is presently the MSW Program Director at the School of Social Work at Spalding University in Kentucky. Her involvement in community and professional services is vast and encompasses organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless, Project Women, and Passport Health Services of Kentucky. Sister Rita shares community with 7 women with intellectual disabilities within a larger community of 34 that constitute the total Day Spring Community in Louisville. In Patricia’s nomination she writes, “Rita distinguishes herself by providing people with mental retardation an avenue to find their voices, not their care givers’voices; and by making them her community, her home, so she can continue to use her skills, talents and spiritual values to benefit their lives. She is an alumna who loves Mercy, lives its values and mission daily and is a woman whom every Mercy student could respect, admire and aspire to emulate.”

Sister Rita’s touching work with persons with intellectual disabilities was featured in the magazine “Impact” in Spring 2005. Sister Rita said of being the recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Alumna Award, “I feel honored and grateful to be named a Distinguished Alumna. I am so proud of Mercy High and its passion to help women know and claim their own power in society. Mercy played a significant role in helping me to know that it is important to dream a world of compassion and justice...and to do whatever I can to help make such a world a reality.”

Carol Hackett Garagiola was nominated by her sisters Meg Hackett ’75, Susan Delonis ‘70, Patricia Hackett ’78, Elizabeth Hackett ’79, and Sarah Hackett ’84 as well as friend Joan McDermott Cook ’77. Carol’s legal experience spans 25 years and has been devoted to child protection, child custody, and the advancement of equal rights for women. On November 7, 2006 Carol was elected as the Probate Judge for Livingston County. Prior to her election, Carol served as Legal and Policy Director for the Michigan Domestic Violence and Prevention Board for nearly 9 years. In addition, Carol has been an advocate for LACSA in hopes of reducing violence against children and women for the past 15 years. Carol’s recognition for her work with domestic violence issues include receiving “Summit III Award” presented by the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, the “Wonder Woman Award” presented by the Women’s Survival Center of Oakland County and the “Trailblazer Award” presented by the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Meg Hackett said of her sister, “Remarkably, Carol has not been ‘hardened’ by the ‘hard work’ that she does. In the midst of human suffering, Carol uplifts herself and those around her through her unwavering hope, joy and humor."

Mercy women are truly making a difference in our world today.