Distinguished Alumnus/a Award

Saint Mary's presents this award to an alumnus/a for outstanding achievements in their chosen profession. The award reflects career achievements with particular focus on the Lasallian values of mentoring and making an impact on others.

2024 Awardee: Candace (Langan) Lynch B’83

Candace “Candi” (Langan) Lynch B’83 is a recently retired lifelong educator whose passion revolved around working with populations of students and families who were deemed difficult by most.  Her educational philosophy always focused on school culture and climate and the belief that all students, families, and staff deserved to feel seen, heard, and feel that they matter as a valued member of the learning community.  

Throughout her 33-year career, she held a variety of roles. She worked as a classroom teacher and elementary school counselor for 18 years. She then moved into a role at the District level as an Elementary Student Services facilitator. In that position, she coordinated the work of the 24 elementary counselors, oversaw 504 compliance, was directly involved in District Bullying / Harassment policy and staff development, and worked collaboratively to assure that supports were in place to ensure learning for all students through the Social Emotional Behavioral curriculum and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports at all elementary schools. 

In 2013, she became the principal of Johnson School of the Arts, which was designated by the state as a school in need of assistance due to high staff turnover, multiple principals in a short period of time, high absenteeism rate, and low achievement scores. The school was designated by the district as a Turnaround School, and during her time as a principal there, Johnson reopened as the first Magnet School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was renamed as Johnson STEAM Academy.

During her eight years as principal, significant changes took place due to her ability to work with multiple stakeholders and her collaborative leadership skills.

Under her leadership, Johnson STEAM Academy became certified as a Magnet School with the national Magnet Schools of America organization. In addition, they received a Merit Award from Magnet Schools of America for innovative practices. This was followed by national recognition as a demonstration magnet school, exceeding criteria. Johnson STEAM Academy was highlighted in a national case study by Successful Practices Network (SPN) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, as one of 25 national Innovative Successful Practice schools. In 2019, Lynch was named as Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year and as a National Distinguished Principal representing the state of Iowa.

Candace deeply values the foundation of knowledge, possibilities, and lifelong friendships that she gained at Saint Mary’s. She attributes much of who she is to the love and support of her family including her husband, her three children and their families, her parents and siblings from whom she learned belief, faith, and a positive outlook on life.


This award is presented to a degreed alumnus/a of SMUMN who has shown outstanding achievements in their chosen profession. The award reflects career achievements with particular focus on the Lasallian values of mentoring and making an impact on others. 

The awardee must have achieved the following:

  • Personified professional excellence.
  • Played a role in community improvement.
  • Made a significant impact or recognition in their field.

Past Recipients:

Thomas J. Mulvaney B'59 – 1966

Rev. Paul Halloran B'49 – 1967

James Carroll B'53 – 1968

Dr. John Kearney B'55 – 1970

Dr. Hugo Keim B'56 – 1971

Dr. William Rock B'49 – 1972

Dr. John Sbarbaro B'58 – 1973

Gen. John Hennessey '42 – 1974

Judge C. Bernard Carey B'56 – 1975

Dr. John Hoffman B'51 – 1976

Dr. Robert Hoffman B'56 – 1976

Most Rev. George Speltz, DD B'32 – 1977

Judge Michael Bilandic B'47 – 1978

Dr. Joseph Kraft '43 – 1979

Br. Laurence Walther, FSC B'44 – 1981

John Parmer B'50 – 1982

Thomas Meagher B'53 – 1983

Bernard Semler B'38 – 1984

Dr. Lorin Nevling, Jr. B'52 – 1985

Eugene Figliulo B'46 – 1986

Thomas Barger '30 – 1987

Kenneth Wakefield B'42 – 1987

Thomas Johnston B'43 – 1988

Anthony J. Adducci B'59 – 1989

Edward M. Allen '50 – 1990

Carl Calabrese B'41 – 1991

Br. Leonard Courtney, FSC, Ph.D B'37 – 1992

John M. "Jack” Sharkey B'53 – 1993

Dr. Hugo C. Pribor B'49 – 1994

David B. Collins B'70 – 1995

George J. Murtaugh B'61 – 1996

John H. Ehlert B'67 – 1997

Dr. Jon J. Kabara B'48 – 1998

Br. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC, B'59 – 1999

Dr. Charles Giammona Jr. B'70 – 2000

Robert K. Hentzen B'57 – 2001

Robert H. Wheeler B'67 – 2002

Dr. Randall W.A. Davidson B'53 – 2003

Sen. Michael Johanns B'71 – 2004

Patrick A. Salvi B'75 – 2005

Phillip Corcoran B'76 – 2006

Charles Wolande B'76 – 2006

Joseph Ross B'67 – 2007

Edward Zabrocki B'63 – 2008

Justice Thomas Kilbride B'78 – 2009

Dr. Jane (Weydert) Homeyer B'86 – 2010

Dr. Donald Truhlar B'65 – 2011

Dr. Roger Lucas B'65 – 2012

Pablo Gaito M'06 – 2013

Holly Hall M'11 – 2013

Janeé Harteau B'03, M'06 – 2013

Scott Thomas M'05 – 2013

Kathy Wilde M'92 – 2013

Paul Meyer, J.D. B'64 – 2014

William G. Jungbauer B'75 – 2015

Merle Wilberding B’66 – 2016

Richard "Dick" Drogosz B'61 - 2017

Dr. Bobbie (Smith) Gostout CST'78, '83 - 2018

Jerome "Jerry" Colletti B'69 - 2019

Michael "Mike" Morsberger M'97 - 2019

Dr. Thomas "Tom" Clasen B'78 - 2021

Robert “Bob” Skemp ’49 - 2022

Hon. Judge George Stephenson B’80 - 2022

Paul P. Magallanes B'63 - 2023

 Candace (Langan) Lynch B'83 - 2024