Bell Tower Gala Honorees

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Bell Tower Gala Honorees

Bell Tower Gala 2017 Honorees

Jennifer Davidson (’06) • Distinguished Young Alumna

JENNIFER DAVIDSON is a Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellow at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center here in Memphis, TN. After completing her Bachelors of Science in Biology at CBU, Jennifer obtained her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, FL. After medical school, she returned to Memphis to complete her Pediatric Residency training at University of Tennessee Health Science Center. After 14 years of postsecondary education, Jennifer will finally complete her medical training in June of 2018. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, member of the Society for Pediatric Research, an instructor for the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, and a Board Certified Pediatrician.

Jennifer worked to organize the first CBU Bowling for Uganda fundraiser, and the event has continued for the last 12 years. She currently lives in Memphis with her husband, Matt. She is very thankful for the education she received at CBU.

John Wigley (’91) • Distinguished Alumnus

JOHN WIGLEY graduated from Christian Brothers University in May 1991, with a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.  John has worked for the Internal Revenue Service for the past 18 years, and is currently a manager in Correspondence Examination.

Many of John’s early memories are of his mother and Chicago cousins telling the story of the Brothers. John is currently President-Elect of the National Alumni Board, he has served in a number of roles on that board since January 2008. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees Mission and Identity committee.  John organized the CBU Tax Assistance Program  from 2006-2014, in which members of Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity volunteered to prepare tax returns for low income families.

Dr. Tracie Burke • NAB Teaching Excellence Award Recipient

Now in her 21st year at CBU, DR. TRACIE BURKE teaches psychology courses in the Behavioral Sciences department, and this semester is excited to be teaching a section of CBU 101 on personal finance. Her pedagogy emphasizes active learning, practical application of course material, and creating community in the classroom. For many years she taught the core psychology courses Psychopathology and Personality, and when recalling these courses alumni often comment on how interactive and enjoyable they were and the significant impact they had on their lives. Today she teaches Graduate School and Professional Careers in Psychology, Psychology Colloquium, General Psychology, and Psychology of Learning. In the latter class she is especially proud of her students for the work they do training dogs at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County using the principles of operant conditioning.

Dr. Burke’s research interests include service learning and professional and financial education for students. She is currently investigating the relationship between students’ participation in service learning and their future likelihood of volunteerism, students’ financial concerns and behaviors, and students’ interest in different psychology careers before and after a freshmen level career orientation course.

In addition to her work as a faculty member, Dr. Burke has been the director of the CBU Honors Program since 2000. In this role she has expanded the honors curriculum and programming to include over 25 courses and 80 extracurricular events each year, including state and national conferences at which she and honors students present their work. With her students she has successfully co-authored several honors grant applications, including one for the first recycling program at CBU, and now co-chairs the National Collegiate Honors Council’s Awards and Grants committee. In 2012, Dr. Burke spearheaded the creation of CBU’s September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds, which has provided nearly 9,000 hours of service to local non-profit agencies. In addition to community service, Dr. Burke is passionate about students’ professional and financial success and in 2012 proposed what is known today as Life After College: Money Matters, a popular financial education series taught by CBU alumni. More recently, she led the development of the Honors Odyssey mentoring program, which pairs honors students with mid-career professionals for a five month mentoring journey.

Dr. Burke is a member of several CBU committees including the CBU Strategic Planning Committee, Board of Trustees Plant and Grounds Committee, the Vanderhaar Symposium Committee, and the CBU Lasallian Fellows Committee. She received the CBU Advisor of the Year award in 2010, the Distinguished Lasallian Educator award in 2011, the Tennessee Outstanding Faculty Advisor award in 2012, and “Greatest Tiny Honors Director” from the CBU Honors Program class of 2017. She serves on the board of directors of DeNeuville Learning Center, whose mission is to empower women through education and community, and has been a member of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center’s Works of Heart fundraising committee for over twenty years. Dr. Burke joined the CBU faculty in 1997. She holds degrees from the University of Memphis (M.A. 1994, Ed.D. 1992, and M.S. 1988) and the University of Montana (B.A. 1984).

Dr. Emily Mathis Forsdick • Maurelian Medal Recipient

Everyone who meets DR. EMILY MATHIS FORSDICK quickly learns that she is a lifelong Memphian with stories to share about her experiences, including her friendship with the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Elvis Presley. Over the years, Memphis and Christian Brothers University have both benefited from her intelligence, dedication, and devotion. 

When Dr. Forsdick joined CBU as a Professor of Education in 1972, her passion for education and our Lasallian mission was immediately evident to her students, colleagues, and the administration. In 1973, she was named Chair of Human Growth and Development, a position she held until 1977 while continuing to teach. As Assistant to the President from 1977 to 1994, she established the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program that continues to evolve and expand. In 2002, believing that it is important for students to experience new environments, she established the University’s Office of International Initiatives. As Director of the department, she continues to travel abroad with faculty and students regularly. Thanks to her, students can participate in exchange programs offered by CBU and by the Lasallian International Programs Consortium, traveling to destinations in 18 countries across five continents. 

Dr. Forsdick’s travels have taken her around the world as well, often in service to the Lasallian heritage she continues to uphold, and she is widely known and recognized for her tireless efforts to promote Lasallian Education. Because her impact on generations of students is impossible to measure, perhaps it is best expressed by through the words of a single student. Peter Brennan Reynolds (’14), who earned his BSBA at CBU and his MBA from the National University of Singapore, said of her: “I owe an unending amount of gratitude to Dr. Emily Forsdick for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and take advantage of opportunities around the world. She continues to have a profound impact on me, and I encourage every student at CBU to meet her and discuss the opportunities available to them.”

Dr. Forsdick is the first Maurelian Medal recipient whose spouse was also honored in this manner. H. Lance Forsdick (’61), an Affiliated Brother and Trustee Emeritus, received the medal in 1986 in recognition of his long service to CBU.