Mary K. Spengler ’68
Nominated by Mary Lou Gualtieri Riker ’68
Spengler earned a master’s degree in nursing from New York Medical College and began her career at the college’s flagship hospital, Flower Fifth Avenue. She then went on to White Plains Hospital Center, where she remained for 30 years, serving in various positions from director of nursing to vice president of administration.
Spengler chaired the development of the Westchester Orthopedic Institute, which was designated by the Blue Cross as a Center of Distinction for its comprehensive patient care services. She also serves on the board of directors for the Schnurmacher Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care.
In 1991, Spengler worked with Visiting Nurse Services of Westchester to establish a joint hospice program that became Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester. She served as a member of the board of directors for 12 years and in 2011 was named executive director, where she remains employed today.
Distinguished Graduate Alumnus
August B. Cordeiro ’91 (M)
Nominated by Bartholomew L. Grimes ’10 (M)
Since 2009, Cordeiro has served as president and CEO of the Newport Health Care Corporation and its four subsidiary corporations - Newport Hospital, the Newport Hospital Foundation, NHCC Medical Associates and Newport Health Property Management. He has also worked as vice president for patient support systems and chief administrative officer for Rhode Island Hospital and as vice president for professional services at Miriam Hospital.
Cordeiro completed his master’s degree in health services administration at Salve Regina. He is board certified in health care administration and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
In addition, Cordeiro is the vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, a member of the board of directors of the Star Kids Scholarship Program, a member of RIH Ventures, Inc., and a member of the advisory committee of the Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund.
Catherine M. Sullivan ’56, ’85 (M)
Nominated by Paulette La Cava Osterman ’62
Sullivan received her master’s degree in psychiatric mental health nursing from the Catholic University of America and returned to Salve Regina to earn her master’s in health care management in 1985.
Sullivan began her career as a professor of nursing at Salve Regina. She designed the first psychiatric nursing course implemented in Rhode Island, developed a federal grant to integrate mental health concepts into the curriculum and assisted in the first accreditation of the nursing program. Sullivan later served as director of the nursing department at the National University of Honduras.
After returning to the U.S., Sullivan worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization in the areas of psychiatric nursing and university nursing curriculums. Later, she initiated a mental health program for Morris County, New Jersey, where she coordinated a state sponsored mental health delivery system and served as the county’s first mental health administrator.
Outstanding Young Alumna
Lauren Deyoung Cust ’04
Nominated by Emily R. Sirois ’04
Cust began her career as a social worker at The Connection, Inc. and earned her master’s degree in social work from Springfield College. During this time, she volunteered for several veterans groups, including the Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for the Brave.
In 2006, Cust enlisted in the Army Reserve as a military police soldier and in 2008 was deployed to Iraq for 15 months. Her unit conducted missions and programs such as Operation Gaining Trust, which distributes donated school supplies to Iraqi children.
While deployed, Cust began working with the Applied Behavioral Rehabilitation Institute to establish a program for homeless female veterans. In 2011, Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes opened with a staff of dedicated volunteers. Today, Cust works for the program as a case manager at the PFC Nicholas A. Madaras Home, which provides transitional housing for up to 15 homeless female veterans.
Magda K. Skomal ’87
Nominated by Susan O’Halloran Toole ’79
Upon graduating from Salve Regina, Skomal furthered her theatrical studies at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York City. She then founded Interactive Educational Theatre, Inc., designed to perform culturally sensitive, educational presentations in an effort to create healthier communities.
Skomal has been the project director for the Stop AIDS Mobile Theatre for the past 15 years. During this time, she has educated more than 750,000 youth about HIV/AIDS in addition to developing a DVD for its sister organization, Stop Hepatitis Mobile Theatre.
Collaborating with Scholastic publishing and Pepperidge Farm, Skomal wrote and directed a teaching DVD on optimism called “Fishful Thinking.” She also wrote and directed “Out of the Closet,” a cabaret celebrating diversity and supporting GLBTQ communities. Skomal has served as theater director for the Teen AIDS Prevention and Collaborative Arts programs at Family Services Woodfield in Bridgeport, Conn.
Chyleene O’Connor ’82
Nominated by Michele Banks ’82 and Kathryn Rok
While studying special education at Salve Regina, O’Connor helped to establish Learning Unlimited, which connects undergraduates and people with developmental disabilities. After college, she worked for Looking Upwards, an organization that provides residential, vocational and family services to people with disabilities.
O’Connor committed endless hours to start a summer camp at Gaudet Middle School for children with differing abilities and interests. Under her leadership, the camp became a model for inclusive day camps. O’Connor also established Unified Theater, an award-winning nonprofit organization that provides students with and without disabilities the opportunity to enjoy theater together.
As the mother of a child with disabilities, O’Connor has been instrumental in creating Best Buddies programs in Aquidneck Island schools. She has been active in her parish, St. Lucy’s Church, teaching religious education for more than 15 years, as well as volunteering for the RCIA and Circle of Friends programs.
Capt. Anselm T.W. Richards ’92
Nominated by Dr. Gerald Willis ’86
A member of Sigma Phi Sigma, the student academic senate and the baseball and sailing teams while an undergraduate, Richards remains connected to his alma mater through the alumni committee for the Governor’s Ball.
Richards is the operations officer and assistant professor of the ROTC Battalion for the University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina and Roger Williams University. He is a mentor and instructor for all four academic levels of cadets and civilian students.
Richards entered the army in 2000 through the Pennsylvania National Guard and completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox. In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV, and was later deployed to the Sinai Peninsula. His awards include the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army and Overseas Service ribbons, Combat Action Badge and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
Patricia Doran Wong ’72
Nominated by Mary DeMarino Lavin ’72 and Marilynn Kitchen Reycroft ’72 on behalf of the Class of 1972
After graduation, Wong enjoyed a nearly 40-year nursing career at Boston University Medical Center. She credits her desire to become a nurse to those who treated her for polio at age 4.
Wong started as a staff nurse managing patient care in the general surgery and open-heart surgery unit. She then became the hospital’s first pain resource nurse, where she worked to meet the needs of patients who were suffering from acute or chronic pain. Wong also served on the hospital’s research, pain collaborative, primary care, and skin and wound committees and later moved to the surgical oncology unit, where she cared for patients with cancer.
Wong has been recognized by the American Nurses Association and the state of Massachusetts as the nurse of the year and was also recognized by the Massachusetts Nursing Association as the outstanding oncology nurse of the year.