Marian Catholic Announces 2010 Hall of Fame

Award Dinner and Ceremony set for February 18, 2010 at Olympia Fields Country Club

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The high standards and rich tradition of Marian Catholic High School will be unmistakable at the 2010 Hall of Fame Dinner as four torchbearers of the school’s motto, “Teaching Scholars with a Soul,” are inducted in the Hall of Fame on Thursday, February 18, 2010 in the Normandy Room of Olympia Fields Country Club.

Having inducted seventy-five Marian Catholic alumni and friends into the Hall of Fame over the years, the 16th Annual Marian Catholic High School Hall of Fame Dinner and Award Ceremony promises to be a night of celebration and surprises for the Marian Catholic community. The Hall of Fame dinner, which dates back to 1994, has become a hallmark of the Marian Catholic Alumni Association as it honors distinguished alumni and friends of the Catholic high school. For reservations to the Marian Catholic Hall of Fame Dinner on February 18, please call the Advancement Office (708) 755-6579.

The event will attract hundreds who will honor the achievements and endeavors of Charles Gallagher ’77, Rodney Harrison ’91, Joe Urschel ’70, and Sr. Judith Anne Haase, O.P., all who have set standards for our students and community to emulate.

Making news and preserving news history for generations to come. Paving the way to excellence and building a foundation for tomorrow’s leaders. It’s fair to say this describes the Marian Catholic High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame Awardees of 2010.

This talented group of four leaves an imprint on society and thousands of individuals especially on Marian Catholic and its constituents.

Paving the way? Certainly in his business at Gallagher Asphalt, Alumnus of the Year Charles Gallagher ’77 has paved the way for excellence in Chicagoland and beyond. As the Advisory Board past Chair and now Vice-Chair of the Marian Catholic Board of Directors, he has helped mold the future of one of Chicagoland’s finest college preparatory schools.

Making news? Former two-time Super Bowl champion and current NBC broadcaster Rodney Harrison ’91 has made his share of headlines. One of three Marian athletes to have a jersey retired, the former San Diego Charger and New England Patriot is the Hall of Fame Athlete of the Year.

Preserving news history? Nobody does it better than Fine Arts Distinguished Achievement awardee Joe Urschel ’70, who serves as Executive Director of the “Newseum" in Washington, D.C. Before he joined the Newseum, he held several key roles at the nation’s largest circulation newspaper, USA Today, and also held various positions with the Detroit Free Press.

Foundations for leaders? Thousands of Marian alumni are familiar with Spirit of Marian honoree Sr. Judith Anne Haase, O.P. The former teacher and principal at Marian Catholic currently serves as Prioress at the Dominican Motherhouse in Springfield, roles where she has been “Teaching Scholars with a Soul” for decades.

Charles Gallagher ’77 Alumnus of the Year

“Giving back” has always been Charlie Gallagher’s maxim as he carries through life a deep enthusiasm to help others especially young adults and their education. That commitment to give back has led him on many paths to helping others throughout Illinois and closer to home at Marian.

Although he graduated in 1977, his experience at Marian Catholic had a lasting effect that continues today. “I have always said that Marian ‘prepared us for life,’” Gallagher explained. “I remember going off to college and not being overwhelmed by going to class, writing papers and taking tests. It seemed that most of us at the end of four years, we really were ready to take the next step to move on and we did.”

Gallagher is now aiding Marian Catholic in taking the next step as they move from an Advisory Board to a Board of Directors, which will have the responsibility of making the decisions for the school over matters they have authority in keeping with the Dominican mission.

The current Vice-Chair for the Board, Gallagher served as the final Chair for the Lay Advisory Board that previously only made recommendations. As in the past and forward, Gallagher has been at the forefront of the board’s charge of developing a strong collaborative relationship with the Dominican sisters’ congregation.

“Charlie has never just talked about the mission; instead he has always been willing to jump in and help it flourish…that is just who Charlie is. He is a doer, and to complement that, he has always participated with grace and class,” said alumnus Bob Jones ’79.

Along with serving as President of one of the South Suburbs’ longest and most successful businesses, Gallagher Asphalt Corporation, Gallagher has been welcomed on several prominent community groups. He serves as a Trustee for the Chicago Laborer’s Welfare Fund and sits on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Road and Transportation Association, as well as the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

“The two words I say to myself most often are, ‘Begin again.’ These two words work just as well to motivate me after a victory as a defeat. No matter what the outcome, I know that I must keep going.”

Six of Gallagher’s siblings attended Marian, as well as his three children and six cousins.

“Now, I like to tell people that Marian is a like a fountain of youth. If you come to Marian and get involved, you can’t help but feel younger.”

Rodney Harrison ’91 Athlete of the Year

The Marian Hall of Fame is filled with storied inductees who have made an influence as alumni or through contributions to society. Few players in the NFL have had an impact on opponents like Athlete of the Year Rodney Harrison— both from a success standpoint and as a fierce opponent.

The former San Diego Charger and two-time Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots gained quite a reputation as a defensive back for his punishing tackles and hits during a career that spanned 1994 through 2008.

He’s had a tremendous impact anywhere he’s worn a uniform. At Marian, he led the football Spartans to an ESCC crown and playoff berth in his senior year, then sparked the basketball team to their first-ever IHSA Regional crown. At Western Illinois, he set school records for single-game tackles (28) and career tackles for a defensive back (345), and garnered First-Team All-American honors in his final year.

“Rodney has proven that through hard work and dedication – success will follow,” said Dave Mattio ’66, who coached Harrison as a Spartan. “Rodney’s career will always be identified with a ‘hard-nosed’ style of play. His instincts and leadership on the field were phenomenal. His will to succeed can be demonstrated by his ability to rehabilitate after an injury and to get back on the field.”

Success didn’t stop at the highest level, where Harrison made two Pro Bowl teams, was a four-time San Diego Defensive Player of the Year, and owns the NFL record for sacks by a defensive back with 30.5. The participant on four Super Bowl teams is also the lone player in NFL history to record at least 30 sacks and 30 interceptions.

Turning in the uniform for a suit and tie, Harrison is now a hit with NBC on the Football Night in America show on Sunday nights during the season.

Having a strong sense of his roots beyond Marian, Harrison continues to support community causes in his native Markham. Along with former NFL standouts Mike Prior’81 and John Holecek ’90, Harrison is one of only three Marian athletes to have their jerseys retired and on display in the school’s West Gym and lobby.

Joe Urschel ’70 Fine Arts Distinguished Achievement

While one Hall of Famer has been making his share of headlines, another is ensuring that this country’s freedom to express itself is preserved for generations to come. Fine Arts Distinguished Achievement honoree Joe Urschel is helping to ensure that media and the news itself has its place in history.

A former editor for the Marian Megaphone, Urschel now serves as Executive Director and Senior Vice-President of the Newseum which moved April, 2008 to Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue. The seven-story museum, which features a 74-foot inscription of the First Amendment on an exterior marble wall, is home to 14 major galleries and more than 6,000 artifacts with a mission to educate the public about the value of a free press in a free society and tells the stories of the world’s important events in unique and engaging ways.

Collections include Pulitzer Prize photographs, a 9-11Gallery, a Journalist’s Memorial and an interactive newsroom. Fifteen theatres highlight life in the newsroom, sports journalism and major broadcasts throughout history.

Indeed, Urschel’s talent and passion were evident in his formative years at Marian.

“I can truthfully say that in over 40-years of teaching there is no one that I remember with greater clarity or pain than Joe Urschel,” explained longtime Marian teacher and then Megaphone Advisor Allen Marazas ’64. “In my early years, it was students like Joe that taught me the absolute necessity of a free press on all levels including high school.

“I spent many a time in the principal’s office trying to explain an editorial, column or political cartoon that Joe had produced for the Megaphone. It was time well spent. Joe was almost always right, but he did create a lot of heat and I hope that he still does. I am immensely proud of his efforts to continue the everlasting fight for a truly free press in the American democracy.”

Along with the Megaphone, the University of Illinois graduate got his journalism start locally at the Star Tribune before successful careers at the Detroit Free Press and USA Today.

His diverse and accomplished career was not “a deliberate path” but his education at Marian Catholic guided him.

“I received a very good education (at Marian Catholic) and it set me up for my career and especially college experience,” Urschel said.

Urschel was also recently inducted into the Illini Media Hall of Fame, and won an Emmy Award for a news documentary on campus crime that he wrote and co-produced.

Sr. Judith Anne Haase, O.P. Spirit of Marian

While her ministry has taken her to Chicago, Springfield and Hammond, LA, Sr. Judith Anne still holds her time at Marian Catholic very dear to her heart.

“I especially loved my teaching years at Marian,” explained Sr. Judith Anne, who served as a math and computers teacher, a Student Council Moderator and Principal at Marian Catholic from 1973 to 1992. “It was fulfilling to have taught math, especially, and watch the students’ faces light up when they finally understood something. I also enjoyed watching them mature from freshmen to seniors.

“As principal I found it fulfilling to work with faculty and staff, and observe the gifts they had to share with the Marian kids. It was rewarding to be able to put into effect changes in curriculum, and other programs and aspects of the school. I was blessed to be able to be at Marian with the wonderful students, faculty, staff and parents.”

Most touched by Sr. Judith Anne have also been blessed to know her. Lighting up students’ faces was a common occurrence at Marian Catholic, as Sr. Judith Anne had the difficult, yet critical ability to occupy the dual role of strong administrator and best friend.

Because of her expertise in education and administration, Sr. Judith Anne was voted to the National Catholic Education Association Executive Committee, where she gained the opportunity to travel nationwide to discuss programs implemented at schools.

“Observing teachers and students in the classroom helped me to get a broader knowledge in many academic disciplines," Sr. Judith Anne said. "Having administrative and teaching experience at Marian has assisted me in whatever ministries I was involved in after my Marian experience.”

That ministry included serving as Associate Superintendent of Schools in the Diocese of Springfield and six years as principal at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, LA. She also had stints in Chicago as Coordinator of the Vocation Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago and various roles at St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University.

Fittingly, she now mentors the teachers and preachers as Prioress of 110 Sisters at Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield.

Regardless of her role, the message of Sr. Judith Anne remains valuable.

“Love what you are doing and do your best; don’t skimp,” Sr. Judith Anne preaches. “Be generous in volunteering, have a positive attitude and call on God for help.”