By: Erik Pedersen, Senior Communications Manager
Alumnae and Alumni Weekend Photo Gallery
BALTIMORE – Several outstanding Notre Dame of Maryland University graduates were celebrated at the 2022 Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday night as part of Alumnae and Alumni Weekend.
La Vida Cooper ’03, Dorothy Pula Strohecker ’52, Lyndsay Rehak ’19, M’22 and Chrissy Bolmarcich ’97 were this year’s alumni award winners, while Claire Flavin Funkhouser ’71 was present to receive her 2021 Alumnae and Alumni Engagement Award. The ceremony began with the induction of Qiana Smith-Gabriel ’06 and Kimberly Myers ’09 into NDMU’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Additional information on the alumni award winners recognized last weekend is available below. A full gallery of photos from 2022 Alumnae and Alumni Weekend is available on NDMU's Flickr page.
The Elizabeth P. Hoisington '40 Distinguished Alumna Award: La Vida Cooper ’03
For nearly 20 years La Vida Cooper has been a noteworthy leader in the civil aerospace technologies and capabilities arena. Cooper is driven by curiosity and a passion to help solve some of the nation’s biggest challenges via creativity, innovation and intrapreneurial practices.
Throughout her career she has managed the development of a diverse portfolio of cutting-edge technologies and overseen their maturation, demonstration and infusion for space-flight and ground applications to enable space science and space exploration endeavors.
Cooper’s primary areas of technology development include extreme- environment electronics design, applied physics, telecommunications and navigation for space-based and terrestrial applications. She is presently the Associate Program Manager for a robust civil communications and navigation portfolio, leading the definition and implementation of present and future capabilities. Beginning October 1st 2022, Cooper started a new cross- government initiative serving as the Executive Director of a newly formed Federal Consortium for Quantum technology, research and demonstration.
Cooper holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics (Math minor) from the Notre Dame of Maryland University, an additional bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, having completed an undergraduate dual-degree program in 2003. Cooper also holds a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, received in 2005.
The Elizabeth P. Hoisington ’40 Distinguished Alumna Award is presented to a graduate who, through achievements in career and/or community service, embodies the principles of Notre Dame. Winners, who have graduated no fewer than five years ago, have demonstrated loyalty to the University and achievements in career and or community.
Service to Society Award: Dorothy Pula Strohecker ’52
Dorothy Pula Strohecker is a 1952 graduate of Notre Dame, an Honor Society member, and the mother of eight. Since her college days, she has been a student and teacher of English, American, and World Literatures, especially of Russian and Polish Lit in translation. She has written works of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including a workbook on English grammar.
After teaching for Baltimore City Public Schools for a total of 13 years, Strohecker has taught Literature, Literary Analysis, and Composition at the Community College of Baltimore County, Carroll Community College, Baltimore College of Commerce, Towson University, and the University of Maryland at College Park.
Strohecker has also volunteered for several organizations. She taught literature and literary analysis for 20 years at the Renaissance Institute, Notre Dame’s lifelong learning organization. She also created the Education Committee for the Polish Heritage Association of Maryland, under which she formed a Book Club for studying Polish Literature in translation, that she has continuously chaired for the past 13 years and is still teaching now.
Before these endeavors, Strohecker tutored in English as a Second or Other Language at a local church, was a member of the Board for a local music society, sang for two different choral groups, ran a literary book club from her home, demonstrated with the League on Human Rights in Randallstown, and volunteered with a local chapter of the Christian Family Movement. All of these activities have given her a full and fulfilling life, and she is grateful for these opportunities to be of service.
The Service to Society Award is presented to a graduate who best exemplifies the ideals of a Notre Dame education through the application of their education, initiative and humanity to socially useful ends in the community, nation or world. The Alumnae and Alumni Association established the Service to Society Award in 1999. All graduates are eligible.
Regina Russo Hammel '41 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award: Lyndsay Rehak ’19, M’22
Rehak is a certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse and Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at Notre Dame. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May, 2019 and her passion for teaching nursing inspired her to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing Education in May, 2022 at NDMU. She currently teaches the Fundamentals and Adult Health courses within the traditional and accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs at Notre Dame.
Rehak maintains her bedside nursing practice on a part time basis at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, where she was recently honored as Nurse of the Year in May, 2022.
The Regina Russo Hammel ’41 Recent Graduate Award honors a recent graduate, not more than 10 years ago, who has exhibited professional achievement and/or contributions to community life and who had demonstrated loyalty to the University. The Regina Hammel ’41 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award was created by Gary and Laura Hammel Dicovitsky in honor of Mrs. Dicovitsky’s mother in 1999.
2022 Alumnae and Alumni Engagement Award: Chrissy Bolmarcich ’97
Christina “Chrissy” Bolmarcich is a partner at the law firm of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP in Baltimore City. Her practice focuses on employment law, and she is a member of the firm's Diversity Committee.
Bolmarcich presents seminars and publishes articles on a wide variety of employment topics, including service and emotional support animals in the workplace, disability laws, and discrimination and harassment prevention in the workplace. In 2016, Bolmarcich was selected by The Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women, and she received NDMU’s Elizabeth P. Hoisington ’40 Distinguished Alumna Award in 2017. Bolmarcich has also been recognized by Baltimore Magazine and Maryland Super Lawyers Magazine as a Maryland Super Lawyer from 2018 through 2022 and as a Rising Star in 2013 and 2014.
Bolmarcich proudly serves as an Associate Trustee to the Board of Trustees for NDMU. Additionally, she is a member of Notre Dame’s Alumnae and Alumni Council, and she is on the Advisory Board for the School of Arts, Sciences & Business. Bolmarcich is also on the Board of Directors for Sail Baltimore and serves as its pro bono legal counsel. Prior to joining Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, she was a partner at one of Baltimore's oldest law firms. At that firm, she was the first woman to serve as a department chair and the second female attorney to serve as a Management Committee member.
The Alumnae and Alumni Community established the Alumnae and Alumni Engagement Award in 2017. The award is presented to a graduate celebrating a milestone Reunion year who has achieved long-standing and consistent support for Notre Dame of Maryland University. Support is measured through the sharing of time, talent, and/or resources.
2021 Alumnae and Alumni Engagement Award: Claire Flavin Funkhouser ’71
Claire Flavin Funkhouser came to Notre Dame on a Maryland senatorial scholarship in 1967, and she was busy in campus life from the beginning. She served as a Student Association Representative during her sophomore year and was Class President as a junior. She was a Dean’s List student and was elected to Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honorary society.
Following her graduation from Note Dame, she enrolled in a program at George Washington University focusing on services to children and their families after her oldest son, Matthew, was diagnosed with autism. While finishing her master’s, she took a job as the Parent Advocate at the Joseph P. Kennedy Institute in D.C., followed by a position with the Accreditation Council on Services to People with Disabilities.
She also worked with Montgomery County as a Contract Specialist in the Department of Health and Human Services on a variety of programs affecting children and families. Probably her most important volunteer achievement during this time was serving as President of the Board of the Grafton School in Virginia where Matthew was attending high school, helping them expand into Maryland for a time.
In 1998, Claire’s life and career took a new turn to a different type of public service when she was appointed City Clerk-Treasurer of the City of Rockville by its Mayor and Council. She served in that position for twelve years before her retirement.
Claire married Gary Funkhouser in August, 1971. They are the proud parents of Matthew, Lauren, and Tim, the father of their three grandchildren.
Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.