Donaghey Award presented to Mozenas

Jeff and Janet Mozena have supported DWC for many years. Janet's connection goes back to her teen years when she would come to Mass at the college.
 
Their connections to Divine Word College go back decades, but during the last two, their relationship became a commitment. For their consistent involvement and support, Divine Word College honors Jeff and Janet Mozena with the 2017 Donaghey Award for Outstanding Service.
 
“Jeff and Janet have been exemplary role models and super supporters of DWC,” said Nan Peck, long-time college counselor, now retired, who nominated them for the award. “They have a long history of service to DWC.”
 
Established in 1999, the award honors the late Fr. John Donaghey, SVD, who dedicated much of his life to the college as an instructor, dean of students, vice president for Academic Affairs, president, and longtime member of the DWC Board of Trustees.
 
In 1996, the Mozenas were among the first to join the Divine Word College Community Relations Council and its Friends Across Nation’s (FAN) Club. They have actively helped raise funds for the college and Jeff served on the DWC Board of Trustees for 15 years.
 
“Janet and I are humbled by the recognition,” said Jeff, who is president of Premier Bank in Dubuque, which is another consistent supporter of the college. “Our small gifts in service and donations in no way compare to the commitment of the DWC community in its missionary training and in service.”
 
Before spending 37 years as a teacher in the Dubuque Community School District, Janet remembers growing up in nearby Centralia where her parents counted several of Divine Word priests and brothers among their friends, often getting together to play cards and socialize. DWC was also one of her favorite places to go on Sunday.
 
“I always liked the more contemporary Mass that they had,” she said. “The music was fabulous. It was like going to a concert, I loved it.”
 
Through his family, Jeff knew former DWC president Fr. Mike Hutchins, SVD, as well as the public relations director at the college in the 1990s, Roger Maiers. In 1996, the two men asked the couple to join the council and FAN Club, both of which were components of an outreach effort to raise awareness of the college and develop relationships with area residents.
 
The work of the Community Relations Council helped raise funds for a variety of projects, but it was the FAN Club—which connects area families with our international students—that produced some of their fondest memories.
 
“The FAN Club was great when our children were growing up, the students were really good role models,” Janet said. “That was a great cultural experience.”
 
In 1997, Fr. Mike Hutchins invited Jeff to be on the board of trustees. During five, three-year terms, Jeff witnessed the challenges faced by a small college.  Besides dealing with the issues related to operating a college, there were the financial challenges of maintaining a massive building and keeping pace with technology. The pivotal accomplishment achieved by the board during his time was to address declining enrollment by changing the college mission statement. It opened the way for religious sisters, seminarians from other religious communities and SVDs from around the world to enroll at DWC and benefit from its educational resources.
 
“The future of the college I think really hinged on the decision to evolve and change the mission statement to one that was inclusive of a missionary life and not just the development of missionary priests,” Jeff said. “I was a huge supporter of it.”
 
Fifteen years is a long time to serve on a panel such as the board of trustees, but Jeff said there were some very good benefits.
 
“During that time, we met a lot of really wonderful people who served on the board, who had a sincere interest in the future of the college,” he said. “It was a pretty special time and looking back, I enjoyed that, it really helped me stay focused on what was important in life.”
 
Their connection to Divine Word College stretches back several decades, but since 1996, the Mozenas dedication to the college has been significant, though Janet said they have come away the better for it.
 
“We received more from the college than we gave,” Janet said. “I think we truly received the greater benefits.”
 
 
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