The 27th annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni dinner, sponsored by the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF), is scheduled for March 14 and is again expected to raise a record amount of money, said Richard A. Lechleiter, CEF president.
The goal for the fundraising dinner is $800,000, which is $50,000 more than last year’s all-time record of $750,000.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, N.J., will deliver the evening’s keynote address. Cardinal Tobin, the former Archbishop of Indianapolis, was designated a cardinal in November.
The event — which is co-chaired by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and Michael K. Ash, regional president of 5/3 Bank, Kentucky — is the foundation’s largest fundraiser. Proceeds from the event provide tuition assistance for students to attend Catholic schools and grants for both Catholic schools and parish religious education programs.
Lechleiter noted during an interview Feb. 17 the “spectacular growth” of the dinner in the last five years. It raised about $450,000 in 2012 and 2013’s total jumped to $560,000. In 2014, the event raised $600,000 and 2015 saw totals around $650,000.
“We really need a record-breaking event every year to be on pace to provide record-breaking amounts of assistance,” he said.
Tuition assistance provided by the CEF, the Archdiocese of Louisville and their funding partners increased significantly this school year. This academic year, 2,700 students received $5.8 million in tuition assistance. In the 2015-2016 school year, 2,400 kids received about
$5 million in tuition assistance, Lechleiter said.
“Our goal for next fall is to fund over 3,000 children with as much as $6.3 to $6.5 million in aggregate funding, including money from our funding partners,” he said. “We are on a great growth trajectory.”
Lechleiter also commended school-choice legislation currently before the Kentucky General Assembly and said it would have a positive impact on the amount of money the CEF could provide for tuition assistance.
House Bill 162 and Senate Bill 102 would provide tax credits for Kentucky taxpayers who donate to an organization that provides scholarships to non-public schools, such as the CEF.
“I think if this passes it would be an enormous lift for non-public education, including Catholic education. And, our estimates tell us that the revenue potential for the foundation alone could double … in a very short period,” he said.
During the March 14 dinner, the CEF will honor six Catholic school alumni. This year’s honorees are J. Richard Heaton, Jane C. Morreau, Dr. Carole C. Pfeffer, Teresa M. Riggs, W. Kevin Smith and Father David H. Zettel.
In addition, Daniel H. Jones will be recognized with the 2017 Community Service Award. And, Paula Do will receive the Father Joseph McGee Catholic Educator Award.
Paula Do, a teacher at St. Francis of Assisi School, was featured in a Feb. 16 article in The Record.
Daniel H. Jones began his career as an educator, teaching at Franklin College in Indiana and at the University of Louisville. In 2004, he founded 21st Century Parks, Inc., a non-profit corporation that developed The Parklands of Floyds Fork. He currently serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of 21st Century Parks. He also occasionally teaches honors seminars at U of L on a range of topics, including “The Parks and the City” and “Reading the Forested Landscape.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature and a master’s in forestry from Yale University and a doctorate in American and world history from Indiana University.
Following is a detailed listing, including biographical information, of this year’s Catholic school alumni honorees:
J. Richard Heaton graduated from St. Joseph School in Bardstown, Ky. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Centre College.
In 1982, he became the third-generation owner of Conway-Heaton Inc. He is also a managing member of his family’s real estate development companies. Heaton served three terms on the Bardstown city council and also served as mayor.
He is a member of FordDirect Dealer Advisory Board, the Bardstown Industrial Development Corporation, Knights of Columbus Council 1290 and Kiwanis. He chairs the Guthrie Opportunity Center Foundation and co-chairs the Bardstown Bourbon Task Force.
He and his wife, Alice, attend the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown and have two sons.
Jane C. Morreau, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Brown-Forman Corporation, graduated from St. John Vianney School and Holy Rosary Academy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an M.B.A. from the University of Louisville.
She recently completed a term as chair of the Metro United Way Board of Directors and remains a member of the executive committee and board. Morreau serves on the Board of Women Influencing Louisville. Today’s Woman magazine named her to its Most Admired Woman list in 2013.
Morreau and her husband, Jim, have two children and are members of the Church of the Ascension.
Dr. Carole C. Pfeffer, provost of Bellarmine University, is a graduate of St. Frances of Rome School, Assumption High School and Bellarmine University. She earned a doctorate from the University of Louisville.
Pfeffer is Bellarmine’s representative to Mayor Greg Fischer’s 55,000 Degrees Task Force and is a member of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s task force on leadership in Catholic schools. She has served as a board member for Maryhurst and Assumption High School. She is a member of the Church of the Epiphany.
Teresa M. Riggs, founder of TMR Services, a consulting firm, attended St. Joseph and St. Leonard schools and graduated from Mercy Academy.
Riggs began her career in public accounting and later served as divisional vice president of finance at Brown & Williamson Tobacco and president of BATUS Japan.
She currently serves as vice-chair of the St. Xavier High School Board of Directors. She also serves as an endowment committee member at Mercy and a volunteer at Sacred Heart Home. Riggs, a breast cancer survivor, is also the audit committee chair of Gilda’s Club of Louisville. She was named Mercy’s alumna of the year in 2015 and as the 2017 archdiocesan outstanding school volunteer.
Riggs, and her husband, Brian, are members of St. Leonard Church. They have four children.
W. Kevin Smith, partner of Smith & Smith Attorneys, is a graduate of Holy Spirit School and St. Xavier High School. He holds bachelor’s degrees from Bellarmine University and a juris doctor degree from the University of Louisville.
He served as law clerk to the Honorable Harry Phillips, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. He joined his family’s firm, which specializes in labor and employment law, in 1979.
Smith chairs the St. Xavier High School Board of Directors and the Resource Management Committee of The dePaul School. He is a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Louisville and was named the club’s Rotarian of the Year for 2010-2011.
He and his wife, Sue, are members of Holy Trinity Church and have three children.
Father David H. Zettel, a long-time educator at Trinity High School, attended Holy Cross, Holy Trinity and Our Lady of Lourdes schools. He graduated from Trinity High School and St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md. He also pursued graduate studies at Georgetown University and completed a master’s degree in secondary education at Spalding University.
Following his ordination in 1966, Father Zettel began his tenure at Trinity, where he served as a teacher, assistant principal and chaplain. He also served as a college counselor, senior class moderator and co-founded the school’s Christian Awakening Retreat program. He retired in 2012 but continues to serve as resident chaplain, and he celebrates Mass daily in the school chapel.
Father Zettel serves on Trinity’s School Board and Foundation Board. He has received an award for outstanding pastoral service from his brother priests, the St. Matthews Area Chamber of Commerce Community Pride Service Award and Trinity’s Honor Alumnus Award.