Marymount University will recognize one alumna and two community members for their professional achievements and service to others at the 2024 Halo Awards Ceremony and Dinner.
Recipients will be celebrated at the City Club of Washington on Thursday, February 22, 2024 from 6-9 pm. The program will include a cocktail hour, dinner and awards program. To register and purchase tickets, please click here. Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships, and sponsors will receive prominent recognition and exposure with Marymount alumni, students, parents, friends and community members. To make a difference as a Halo Awards sponsor, please click here.
As a distinguished member of the University’s Board of Trustees, Courtney Spaeth has taken on the inaugural role of Gala Chair for the upcoming event. She will be joined by 19 accomplished co-chairs: Jeremy Blank, Maria Coakley David and Jim David, Cynthia Condyles, Darryle Conway, Angela Diaz, Wes Georges, Sharon Gubinsky, Michael Hershman, Lexy Kessler, Jack McDougle, Kyle Mounts, Alex Orfinger, Linda Rabbitt, Monica Schmude, Terry Thompson, Rocky Thurston, Jack White and Suzanne White.
The Halo Award recipients include:
Susan Lacz, Class of 1983, is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. This award honors an alum who demonstrates significant accomplishments in their professional life as well as distinguished service to their community, state or nation.
Lacz is the CEO of Ridgewells Catering and founding member of Elite Catering and Event Professionals, an association that brings caterers together across the globe to collaborate and advocate for the industry. She serves on the board of directors for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Junior Achievement and Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). As a former Marymount board member and alumna, she chaired the University’s most recent capital campaign. She also chaired Junior Achievement of Greater Washington’s 100th Anniversary Hall of Fame Gala.
As an influential leader in the business community, she has been honored with the Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business award and named to its Power 100 list. She was also a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Greater Washington Award.
David Dacquino is the recipient of the Saint of Service Award (Outstanding Community Member). The award honors outstanding community members, alumni members or organizations that have displayed exemplary service to Marymount University or the Catholic community as a whole. They epitomize what it means to be a Marymount Saint.
Dacquino holds 40 years of experience in the defense, aeronautics and technical services industries. He is currently Chair of the Board at RA Federal Services, which provides facilities management, construction and supply chain support for U.S. government projects operating in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Previously, he served as Chair and CEO of Serco as well as CEO at SkyLink and VT Group, in addition to high-level positions at Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
In addition to his service as a board member for Marymount, Dacquino also serves on the boards of Squire Solutions and Greater Washington Board of Trade. In 2021, he received a ‘Washington 100’ GovCon award for his contributions to government missions through contractor work.
The late Preston Caruthers will be posthumously awarded the Mother Gerard Phelan Gold Medal. The medal is awarded for achievements of an exemplary nature. His son, Stephen Caruthers, will accept the award.
Caruthers, a longtime financial supporter of Marymount and a higher education advocate, was known as ‘Mr. Arlington’ for his tireless work to enhance the quality of life of his fellow residents. He served as Chairman of the Arlington County School Board, was a board member of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) and was appointed President of the Virginia State Board of Education. As a VFIC trustee, he co-sponsored Marymount’s membership in the organization.
Caruthers was instrumental in the University’s acquisition of its Ballston Campus. His family also provided the naming gift towards the construction of Caruthers Hall, partnered with the Virginia Hospital Center Foundation to provide $400,000 in scholarships for Marymount Nursing students and established the Friends of Nursing program at what is now the Virginia Hospital Center.
Additionally, at Marymount’s 2023 Homecoming festivities, retired professor Donald Lavanty was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award (Faculty Member of the Year). The award honors a faculty member who demonstrates a combination of excellence in teaching, research and service. They enhance and advance the University through innovation and leadership, and champion student success.
Lavanty retired this past spring following a prolific 45-year career of impactful service at Marymount. Originally specializing in health care policy and legislation, he served as Chair of the Health Care Management and Legal Studies programs and established Marymount’s Center for Ethical Concerns. Over the last several years, he was a familiar sight at commencement ceremonies as he carried the mace at the front of the processions. Click here for more information.