The Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae Award
"Do something. Get moving. Be confident. Risk new things.
Stick with it. Then be ready for big surprises."
- St. Angela Merici
About the Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae Award
The Ursuline Academy Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae Award has been established to honor alumnae whose life, work, and dedication to the service of others demonstrates a strong integration of the Ursuline mission with the courage, kindness, and humility of Saint Angela. Award recipients will embody the spirit of St. Angela Merici and exemplify the values of respect, compassion, intellectual curiosity, faith, and integrity in their personal and professional lives.
Award recipients will be any alumnae of Ursuline Academy who have distinguished themselves by significant professional achievements or outstanding community service. Their accomplishments and contributions should be notable as ones that defy expectations and help move the world to a better place. Recipients will be women of courage whose lives and actions embody the spirit of St. Angela - those who have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact in their communities, and who live by ethical standards and the guiding principle of Serviam.
Guidelines and Nomination Process
Ursuline alumnae or community members may nominate any other alumna of Ursuline Academy through June 30th of the award year. Spirit of Saint Angela recipients will be announced prior to and recognized at An Evening for Ursuline, the school's annual gala. Selection of award winners is made by the President of Ursuline Academy, Chief Advancement Officer, Director of Alumnae Relations, and Director of Mission.
Click here to nominiate an alumna for the Spirit of St. Angela Award
Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae
Award Recipients and Gala Honorees
Beth Sheehan Collins '02
Alicen J. McGowan '65
Seta V. Nersessian '76
Honorable Marianne B. Bowler '63 (Springfield)
Beth Sheehan Collins ’02 majored in Philosophy and Social Rehabilitation Services at Assumption College, and completed a post-graduate volunteer year working in England in a L’Arche community for adults with disabilities. When she was a senior at Ursuline Academy, Beth began volunteering with My Brother’s Keeper, a vibrant, welcoming Christian ministry in Massachusetts that delivers furniture and food to families in need. Beth continued as an intern during college before joining their staff full-time in September 2007. She currently serves as Manager of In-House Programs, overseeing the food assistance program, but has worn many hats over the years, answering phones, driving trucks, leading tours, training volunteers, and speaking at the State House. Beth also served for nine years on the Agency Advisory Council at the Greater Boston Food Bank, and is secretary on the board for “The Road to Diversity and Understanding,” an organization committed to fighting racism and building cross-cultural understanding. She has been an active alumna at Ursuline and she has participated in Campus Ministry retreat teams.
Alicen McGowan '65 earned a bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's degree in education, and a doctoral degree in public administration and ethics. Her work with women convicted of murder and given life sentences in prison led her to become a certified specialist in childhood and teen trauma, addiction, play therapy, and mental health counseling. Alicen authored two books based on her research and clinical experience: We Hid Under the Table (2020) and We Survived in Spite of the System: Stories of Childhood Abuse, Trauma and Trafficking (2021). In other professional accomplishments, Alicen developed a GED program for inmates at the Norfolk County House of Corrections in Dedham, she worked with marginalized adults to develop a dairy farm where they could earn a living and become self-sufficient, and as director of the Florida History Center and Museum, she worked with the Seminole Tribe to highlight Native cultural identity to the public. Alicen was also the first woman to be named Massachusetts Deputy Commissioner of Commerce, serving in that position for five years. In the 1980s during the worst of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, Alicen was one of three Americans recruited by the Southern Democratic Labor Party to teach the peace process to negotiators between the IRA and the British Government.
Seta Nersessian ‘76 earned her undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and a JD degree from Loyola University School of Law, before establishing a career as an attorney. Inspired by the work of numerous local non-profit organizations working to relieve food insecurity, Seta co-founded the nonprofit organization Three Squares New England in 2011 to help those struggling to put food on the table. The organization brings together hunger relief partners, donors, and supporters to raise awareness of food insecurity. Their signature event, The Ride for Food, is an annual 50- or 25-mile bike ride that starts and ends in Dedham, and has raised close to $4.6 million dollars since its inception. Uniquely, 100% of the money raised has gone back to the nonprofit participants in the Ride. Seta has always held a passion for helping others. In addition to her work with Three Squares, she also serves on the Board of Armenian Women’s Welfare Association, which serves elders locally and internationally through the sponsorship of elder service programs.
Judge Marianne B. Bowler ’63 graduated from Ursuline Academy in Springfield, Massachusetts, earned her A.B. from Regis College, and worked in medical research and science journalism before earning a law degree cum laude from Suffolk Law School. She later received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from both Regis College and Suffolk University. In 1978 she joined the United States Department of Justice as an assistant United States attorney in Massachusetts, where she prosecuted organized crime, earned a reputation as an outstanding litigator, and taught trial practice to newly appointed federal prosecutors. In 1990, she was appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Massachusetts, serving as a mediator as part of the court’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Program. She has conducted over 750 mediations in her career and is a frequent lecturer on the subject. Her special legal interests include admiralty, biotechnology, intellectual property, international law, medicolegal issues, and product liability. From 2008 to 2014, Judge Bowler served as a member of the International Judicial Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States by appointment of Chief Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was the first foreign female judge to speak in Kuwait and has lectured extensively in the Middle East and Asia.
Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae
Award Recipients and Gala Honorees
Carol Luccio Farwell '67, P '96, '00
and Myra Kenny '10
Carol Luccio Farwell '67, P '96, '00 has been named a recipient of the Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae Award for her work as a Child Life Specialist in the Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology Department in Floating Hospital at Tufts Medical Center, working with children and families to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness, and disability. Carol has also been a long-time volunteer at St. Susanna's Parish in Dedham, where she runs a monthly communion service for the elderly, coordinates an annual "Anointing Mass" for the sick, and facilitates a baby shower to benefit the Boston Archdiocese Pregnancy Help initiative.
Myra Kenny '10 has been named a recipient of the Spirit of Saint Angela Alumnae Award for her work as a nurse practitioner in an addiction treatment program, supporting individuals who are struggling with opioid and alcohol use disorders in a program that combines both medication and counseling to give patients the best chance at remission. Further, she is a long-time volunteer at Ursuline Academy, offering her time at the junior and senior retreats, sharing her story with students, and encouraging them to seek introspection and better their communities.