2011 Distinguished Alumni Honorees

Worcester State University to Honor Distinguished Alumni

May 2, 2011
By: Worcester State University News

Five individuals will receive Worcester State University’s 26th Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards for their contributions to the education field, healthcare sector, accounting industry, community, and WSU’s mission on Thursday, May 5 in the Student Center’s Blue Lounge. These awards are the highest non-degree recognition WSU bestows on alumni.

The honorees are Margaret Kursonis of Worcester, Mary Duffy of Worcester, Mary Leary of Auburn, John Buckley III of Holbrook, and Ellen Gaucher of West Des Moines, Iowa.

Kursonis, headmaster of St. Peter Central Catholic School in Worcester, will be recognized for her long career in education. As headmaster, Kursonis bears responsibility for curriculum renewal, faculty and staff development, securing funds for new learning initiatives, and family and community relations. Her other “hats” include business manager, fundraiser, guidance counselor, and substitute teacher.

Duffy, a retired teacher, will be recognized for her longtime commitment to WSU. With the arrival of President Janelle C. Ashley in 2002, Duffy and her classmates responded to her warm welcome. “Alumni were thrilled to become involved and delighted to again play an active role,” she recalled.

Leary, the coordinator of the YWCA of Central Massachusetts’ drop-in child-care program for families in crisis or transition to better circumstances, will be honored for her service in the community. On a weekly basis, Mary volunteers at Mustard Seed in Worcester and drives a group of seventh graders from St. Joseph’s Church to the Mustard Seed soup kitchen, where they volunteer.

Buckley’s early success in his profession will be recognized at the event. He is a certified public accountant and vice president at Alexander, Aronson, Finning & Co., which has offices in Worcester, Westboro, and Wellesley. Buckey, a former member of the WSU Board of Trustees, began working at the firm as an intern while attending WSU.

Gaucher, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota, will be honored for her distinguished professional achievement. Her career in healthcare administration began at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center. Gaucher also worked for the University of Michigan Health System. On Friday, May 6 she will give the keynote address for the 35th anniversary of the WSU nursing department’s inaugural graduating class and formal dedication of the Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Department of Nursing.

For more information on this event, please contact the WSU Office of Alumni at 508-929-8141 or alumni@worcester.edu.

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