Imagine seeing yourself on a billboard!  That’s just what happened to the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Providence from St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN.  They received an alumni award from their college: the   “Aspire Higher Award.”   Congratulations Sisters!

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), a sponsored institution of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, annually presents its “Aspire Higher Award,” to acknowledge individuals who demonstrate a passion for using the present to create a better future. President Dottie L. King, Ph.D., selected the General Council of the Sisters of Providence as the 2021 recipients.

Members of the Sisters of Providence General Council are all SMWC alumni and include Sister Dawn Tomaszewski ’74, general superior; Sister Lisa Stallings, ’74, vicar and general treasurer; Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp ’73, Sister Jenny Howard, 74 and Sister Mary Beth Klingel ’69, general councilors.

“We have been so blessed by the Sisters for so many years. And, this General Council has done so much to aid the College, especially in these last few years,” King said. “They have stood beside us during our transition to co-education, they support our athletic teams and have endured our growing pains as we have accommodated our increasing student body. And, for the magnificent way they’ve handled COVID-19, especially as we and the order have a shared campus – and, they have a very vulnerable population.”

“It’s been on my heart to do this,” King added when presenting the Aspire Higher award during a September council meeting. “I have been blessed to work with all of you, and you have blessed me, our leadership team and our College. For your prayers, standing beside us through difficult times, through times of transition and through times of growth – you have been there to cheer us on and stand beside us.”

The Sisters of Providence helped the College expand its footprint from 62 acres to 311 acres enabling the College to purchase additional acreage in 2018.

King credited the General Council for their patience, prayers and partnership as the College built and opened the [Sister] Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center in 2014, dedicated the new Les Bois Residence Hall and the Sister Barbara Doherty Dining Center in 2021, addressed master plan needs such as renaming roadways, expanding parking lots, readdressing buildings, installing wayfinding signage and expanding Wi-Fi access throughout the collective campus.

A billboard recognizing the council for Aspiring Higher as strong women leaders and SMWC alumni went up in West Terre Haute, Indiana. We are uncertain which surprised the members of the General Council more – receiving the prestigious award or seeing their more-than-life-size photos on the billboard!

For more information on this congregation, please visit their website at:

Barbara McMullen, CDP

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123, New Lenox, Chicago IL 60606

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