The Support Our Aging Religious (SOAR!) organization has honored Marymount University president Irma Becerra with its prestigious 2022 Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for her dedicated work at the university and throughout her career in higher education.
The award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through their leadership and generosity in the Catholic community, in the spirit of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton herself. The awards ceremony was held Nov. 3 at a gala dinner at the Embassy of Italy.
Becerra becomes the second figure in Marymount history to receive the award, following Sister Majella Berg, the institution’s longest-serving president who led the university from 1960-93 and received the award in 1991.
“I am so honored and humbled,” Becerra said. “It means so much to know that Sister Majella Berg, the third president of Marymount University and someone who has inspired me and was so truly transformational for our institution during her 30-plus year tenure, received this honor as well.”
Sister Maria Timoney, a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) order of nuns that founded the university in 1950 and a university trustee herself, presented the award to Becerra and remarked on the university’s core values of intellectual curiosity, service to others and embracing a global perspective.
“Those values remain true today under the guidance of Dr. Irma Becerra as she follows in the footsteps of the Sisters,” Sister Maria said.
Dr. Norvell Coots, president and CEO of Holy Cross Health, also was presented with the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award at the awards gala. The award is named after Seton (1774-1821), a nun and pioneering Catholic educator in the U.S. who in 1975 became the first native-born American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.
Also at the ceremony, Michael Curtin Jr., CEO of the D.C. Central Kitchen, received the 2022 Father Bob Brown, OSFS, Good Samaritan Award.