Donna Puccio typed her first documents for Rev. Harold Rigney, SVD, president of Divine Word College, in October 1970. Forty-four years and seven presidents later, the Chicago Province of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) honored the long-time resident of rural Epworth with the Verbum Award, at a banquet at Divine Word College (DWC), on Saturday, Oct. 4.
Established in 1996, the Verbum Award is presented by the Chicago Province to a layperson who has made significant contributions to its work. Based at Techny, in Northbrook, Ill., the province encompasses most of the continental United States, as well as Canada and the Caribbean.
Rev. Michael Hutchins, SVD, president of DWC for 18 years, said he found out after taking office in 1993 that Puccio was more than the president’s secretary. She was a reference library, filled with institutional knowledge.
“I learned quickly too that Donna loved her work, was motivated by love for the college and the SVD,” he said. “Her work was more than a job, more than a check and benefits, it mattered deeply to Donna that the college succeed and
A married mother of five with 12 grandchildren, Puccio has been involved in all levels of administrative work. A hallmark of her work ethic has been the discretion with which she handles confidential information.
“I’ve always believed that my job is to represent the president and the college the best that I can,” she said. “Though I’ve taken a great deal of personal satisfaction in achieving that goal, the thing that I have valued above all else has been the trust that I’ve built with each and every president for whom I have served.”