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All-Class Reunion Less Than One Week Away!
Posted 10/23/2013 10:36AM

The Mother McAuley/Saint Xavier Academy Alumnae Association will host the school’s first annual All-Class Reunion and McAuley Hall Induction ceremony on Saturday, November 2, 2013.  All alumnae, friends and supporters of the school are invited to attend this first-ever event, which will be held on the school’s campus, located at 3737 W. 99th Street in Chicago.

The evening will begin with Mass at 5:30 p.m. celebrated by Fr. Mark Walters, followed by a 7:00 p.m. ceremony recognizing the first-ever inductees, nominees and nominators of McAuley Hall – the school’s new Hall of Honor.  Inductees were chosen from numerous submissions.  In addition to the inductees, all nominees and their nominators will be honored that evening. McAuley Hall will be a permanent installation at the school, serving to educate and inspire current and future students, and all who visit the school. 

“The All-Class Reunion and McAuley Hall induction will be one of the most exciting and well-attended events ever held at the school,” said Lorri Johnson Nagle ‘81, chair of the Reunion.  “We’ve been planning for more than a year and can’t wait to welcome back all of our alumnae.”

More than 100 nominations were received, each detailing the life and accomplishments of a member of the McAuley family. McAuley is pleased to honor this inaugural group of women into the Hall of Honor:

Sheila Taaffe Reynolds, ‘39

Graduating from Saint Xavier Academy (former name of McAuley), Sheila Taaffe Reynolds had an ear for languages. She became a cryptographer, decoding messages sent from Japanese shipping yards during World War II, but perhaps some of her greatest achievements were raising 12 children and housing and nurturing countless foreign exchange students.

Sharon R. Chester, ‘60 
With roots at McAuley and wings all over the world, Sharon Chester traveled to numerous countries as a Pan American flight attendant and as a researcher, becoming an accomplished author. She’s written over 15 natural history books and travel guides and is an ornithologist, having seen every species of bird.

Sister Brian Costello, RSM 
Credited with designing the liberal arts curriculum that McAuley still teaches today, Sister Brian Costello has been involved in all facets of Catholic education from teacher to principal to superintendent. McAuley continues to honor her legacy by bestowing the prestigious Brian Costello Award to a senior each year.

Karen Murphy, MD, ‘68

Although Dr. Karen Murphy was diagnosed with polio as a child, she didn’t let her illness define her. After graduating from McAuley in 1968, she became a Fulbright scholar and attended medical school at Northwestern University later in life, well after college, so she could live her passion – helping others as a family doctor.

Nancy Cunningham Benacci ‘73 

Upon graduating from McAuley in 1973, Nancy Cunningham Benacci attended John Carroll University and is currently Director of Equity Research for KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. She leads the 65-person Research Department, which focuses on companies in the consumer, energy, basic materials, industrial, and real estate sectors.

Sylvia Reed Curran, ‘75
American Diplomat Sylvia Reed Curran’s lifetime advantage began once she graduated from McAuley in 1975. She has served the United States for more than 25 years as the Charge d'Affaires to Turkmenistan and United States Counsel General to Vladivostok, Russia, where she currently resides.

Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, ‘83

Graduating from McAuley in 1983, Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman’s foray into government began in 2002 when she was elected Cook County Board Commissioner. Although she already held a bachelor of arts in marketing from the University of Minnesota, she made the conscious decision to further her education and received an MBA from the University of Notre Dame in 2008. Ms. Gorman is in her third term as Commissioner.

Dr. Roz Iasillo and the EcoMacs

Teaching for more than 25 years, Dr. Roz Iasillo previously served as Department Chair of Natural & Health Sciences, and now serves as S.T.E.M. Coordinator.  She developed and currently oversees the environmental science club, EcoMacs.  In 2010, Dr. Roz (as she’s affectionately called by students) oversaw Operation Haiti, in which the EcoMacs built a biodiesel processor for a school in Haiti after the area suffered a devastating earthquake.

“These women exemplify the Lifetime Advantage that a McAuley education has provided to more than 25,000 alumnae and counting,” says Jodi Farrell ‘84, president of the Alumnae Association.  “Our inductees’ accomplishments speak to the value of working hard for well-earned success, but also the importance of sharing one’s gifts and talents to make significant contributions to their community and beyond.”


The All-Class Reunion will kick-off at 7:00 p.m. with a champagne reception to celebrate all 2013 inductees, nominees and nominators.  Food, drink and a variety of entertainment will be featured throughout the evening.  McAuley spirit wear and other special merchandise will be available for purchase.  Special entertainment will be provided by current students representing various McAuley clubs and organizations.

Alumnae classes which are celebrating a 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th+ reunion will have the opportunity to reunite with their classmates in designated rooms. Representatives from these banner years are encouraged to become involved. For more information, contact Linda Balchunas Jandacek ’84, Alumnae Coordinator, at (773) 881-6565 or alumnae@mothermcauley.org.

Proceeds from the Reunion will benefit the Student Resource Fund, which supports extraordinary needs of student organizations, student activities and student athletic clubs or teams.  Student Resource Funds help sustain opportunities that promote unique learning experiences outside of the classroom, and instill leadership skills in young women.

For more information about McAuley Hall and the All-Class Reunion, or to purchase tickets, visit www.mothermcauleyalums.org.  



  • © Mother McAuley Liberal Arts H.S.
  • 3737 W. 99th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60655
  • Phone 773.881.6500
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