News & Features

Fontbonne Presents Founders Awards

SAINT LOUIS – Fontbonne University recently announced the recipients of the 2011 Founders Awards, presented annually to those in the St. Louis community who embody Fontbonne’s values as prescribed by the founding Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet: excellence, integrity, respect, diversity, community, justice, service, faith and Catholic identity.

Anthony Thompson is recognized for Distinguished Service in Creating Opportunity. Thompson is the founder and CEO of Kwame Building Group, Inc., one of St. Louis’ leading minority-owned general contractor and construction management firms. Thompson is active in a variety of charitable and professional organizations including the Kwame Foundation, which he created to “provide young people an opportunity to learn, grow and become professionals in their chosen careers.”

Sister Barbara Dreher, CSJ, is recognized for Distinguished Service to the CSJ Charism. After being named co-director of vocation education for the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Louis Province, Sister Barbara was later selected as chancellor at Fontbonne. She currently serves as director of mission advancement of the St. Louis province. Sister Barbara serves on several boards throughout the St. Louis area.

Dorothy “DeDe” Dallas Caspari, ’96 is recognized for Revised Distinguished Service to Fontbonne University. Upon graduating, Caspari lived, worked and volunteered in St. Louis, Knoxville and Memphis. She is one of five women who created the Fontbonne Community Connection (FCC), a women’s giving circle, and she serves as class representative for her Fontbonne alumni reunion.

Father John Kavanaugh, SJ, is recognized for Distinguished Service in Ethics and Spirituality. Father Kavanaugh is an internationally recognized leader in spirituality, philosophy and ethics. As a professor of philosophy at St. Louis University, he founded the Ethics Across the Curriculum program. He has also authored numerous books and written for AMERICA magazine, for which the Catholic Press Association recognized him as the Best Regular Columnist.

Jene Randolph O’Blennis ’68 is recognized for Distinguished Service to the Deaf Community. O’Blennis is a Fontbonne alumnae as well as an alumnae of St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf where she currently serves on the board of directors. She acts as a mentor for deaf adults and children, and helps guide those recovering from cochlear implant surgeries as she herself received one approximately 12 years ago.

Leon Henderson is recognized for Distinguished Service in Education. Henderson is president of Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School where he is instrumental in the leadership development program. Henderson served as Dean of Students at Wilberforce University and as Associate Dean of Student Life at Xavier University before joining Cardinal Ritter. He also delivered the 2006 convocation address at Fontbonne University and is a crusader for racial and economic justice.