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Nazareth University’s 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award winners

Published June 14, 2023

This year’s Outstanding Alumni Award winners have made an impact by leading programs for college students, driving change as a civic leader and health care executive, leading a high school, teaching elementary students, serving in the military with honors, providing expertise in labor and employment law, and cultivating youth development.

Nazareth University’s Alumni Advisory Board selected alumni who truly exemplify the character of Nazareth graduates by demonstrating outstanding dedication to their communities, their professions, and in their personal achievements. These award recipients serve as role models for Nazareth students, encourage others to consider a Nazareth education, and further inspire a sense of Nazareth pride in their fellow graduates. 

The 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award recipients:

Dr. Bianca DeJesus '11, Ed.D. serves as the director of first year programs at the University of Pittsburgh’s Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She credits her time at Naz as the most formative time of her life — including her first time leaving the country, helping with Hurricane Katrina relief work in New Orleans with Jamie Fazio ‘97, and serving the Naz community in multiple student leadership roles. Professor Kim McGann, Ph.D., introduced her to the concepts of sociology, social identity and social systems, which ultimately became the foundation of her life’s work.

Jeffrey Green '07G, Ed.D., credits his time at Nazareth for inspiring his passion for helping others through education. When Green chose to pursue a master’s degree to become a teacher, Nazareth was the perfect fit. After graduating, he began his teaching career in the Rochester City School District. Green then transitioned from the classroom to school leadership, now serving as the principal of Hilton (N.Y.) High School. 

Cindy Estruch Lowenguth '73, '76G says Nazareth’s welcoming atmosphere and the friendly faculty and student body were just the right place for her. Lowenguth spent more than 30 years in education, worked in real estate, and served as president of the Nazareth Alumni Advisory Board, which she says deepened her connection to a place that had a profound impact on who she is and the career choices she has made.

Anne Ulrich McCaffrey '89 was also Nazareth’s 2023 commencement speaker. McCaffrey is a longtime civic leader and health care changemaker in western New York. McCaffrey was recently named the chief executive officer of People Inc., one of western New York’s largest nonprofits with more than 4,000 employees. She has received numerous awards for her professional work and has volunteered with several non-profit organizations. 

Kathleen Ryan '00, '05G came to Nazareth with experience serving in the Army (1974-1977) as a Russian language tactical field interrogator, interviewing Soviet citizens who had escaped or emigrated from the Soviet Union. She was honored for achievements in troop training. At Nazareth, Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in social science and her Master of Social Work. After graduating, Kathleen spent years helping veterans overcome the difficulties of reacclimating to civilian life. 

Sara Colacino Visingard '01 is a partner at Harris Beach PLLC in the labor and employment and educational institutions practice groups. She counsels public and private sector employers regarding all aspects of labor and employment law. The alumna is proud of the tradition that her mother, Suzanne (Arnitz) Colacino ‘68, started and her daughter Bailey Sue Visingard will continue, commencing her education at Nazareth this fall.

 Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumni Award winner Shane Fuentes '18 adored his time at Nazareth, saying that the relationships he made with his professors and peers, as well as the opportunities afforded to him by the institution, allowed him to cultivate his sincerest passions of youth development, education, and mentorship. Fuentes was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and spent the year after graduation in Taiwan, working as an elementary English teacher and a high school basketball coach. Fuentes and his peers authored an English language learning children’s book called Where in the World did the Wind Lion Go? Fuentes went on to complete a medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and in 2023 started his career as a resident physician in physical medicine & rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic.

More detailed profiles: Alumni Awards 2023

The Nazareth Alumni Association also honored members of the Class of 2023 with the following awards:

Alumni Association Undergraduate Award

Allison Diefenderfer '23 (Inclusive Early Childhood Education, English) and Shaddai Simmons '23 (Social Work) each were honored for their outstanding contributions that benefit both the Nazareth community and the community at large. They demonstrate a dedication to the values espoused by Nazareth: a concern for and commitment to underserved individuals; ethical personal and professional behavior; leadership; and living a life of meaning.

Sr. Jamesetta Slattery Award
Sarah Smith '22, '23G (Physical Therapy) exemplifies the Slattery Award — given to a graduate degree recipient who enjoys learning for the sake of learning, instills in others this desire, displays a commitment to the community, and shows a dedication to making the world a better place.

Alumni Association Graduate Award
Anna Ahlquist '23G (Music Performance and Pedagogy) demonstrated exceptional academic performance and ability to relate current theory and research to instructional practices.


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Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.