Marymount University will recognize three alumni, one faculty member and two community members for their professional achievements and service to others at the inaugural 2021 Halo Awards Dinner and Ceremony.
Recipients will be celebrated during Homecoming Weekend at the Westin Arlington Gateway on Saturday, October 16 from 5-8:30 pm. The program, made possible by sponsors Stifel Financial and McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, will include a cocktail hour, dinner and awards program. To register and purchase tickets, please click here.
The Halo Awards recipients include:
Deb Longua-Zamero, Class of 1989, is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Business, Innovation, Leadership and Technology. This award honors an alum who demonstrates significant accomplishments in their professional life as well as distinguished service to their community, state or nation.
Longua-Zamero is an interior architectural designer who started her own design firm, DLZ INTERIORS, in Los Angeles in 2007. She was a contributing design expert for The Washington Post, and her work has been featured in design magazines and publications while receiving design, community and public service awards throughout her career. Her clients have included a sitting U.S. President, Hollywood legends and the everyday homeowner. During her time at Marymount, Longua-Zamero was the Student Chapter President for the American Society of Interior Designers, and helped put the University’s Interior Design program on the map by leading the chapter to recognitions of Outstanding Student Chapter for the Mid-Atlantic Region and Outstanding Student Chapter for the U.S. Since graduating, she has also been incredibly involved in community service – offering pro bono design services through Samaritan Inns to create long-term recovery and housing facilities for homeless men and women. She has also served as Board Member and Director of Operations for HOUSINGMV: Mar Vista Task Force on Homelessness and pro bono COO for the Uganda-based social enterprise Asante Mama, which has uplifted 18,000-plus farm families out of extreme poverty.
Marlene Malek, Class of 1979, is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Health and Education. The award honors an alum who demonstrates significant accomplishments in their professional life as well as distinguished service to their community, state or nation.
Malek is a community activist, health care advocate and patron of the arts. She is currently the Vice Chairman of Friends of Cancer Research, and serves on the Board of MD Anderson Cancer Center, as well as the Duke Cancer Institute. Malek has had an influential impact on Marymount – she’s served on the University’s Board of Trustees since 1984, and the Malek School of Nursing Professions is named in honor of Marlene and her husband, Fred, for their service and commitment to Marymount. She has received numerous awards from the University for her good work, including the Mother Gerard Phelan Gold Medal for exemplary community leadership and the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. In 2004, Washingtonian Magazine named Malek a “Washingtonian of the Year,” and one of the “Most Powerful Women in Washington” in 2019.
Melissa (Missy) Wagler, Class of 2007, is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Sciences and Humanities. The award honors an alum who demonstrates significant accomplishments in their professional life as well as distinguished service to their community, state or nation.
Wagler, a Unit Chief with the FBI’s Cyber Division, holds over 14 years of total FBI experience, with over 13 years of experience in cyber intelligence. Wagler served as the FBI intelligence team’s strategic lead in a multi-agency effort to understand and mitigate a foreign cyber threat, and helped shield the American public despite COVID-19 restrictions and hurdles.
While working to protect Americans from criminals worldwide, she still goes above and beyond by volunteering at CrisisLink and her church, and is also on the PTA at her children’s school.
Diane Murphy is the recipient of 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.
Murphy, a Professor at Marymount, has significantly expanded the Information Technology program by adding new learning opportunities, growing enrollment and bringing in exceptional faculty to serve the program. She is passionate about advocating for women in IT and other STEM fields, and is committed to expanded female enrollment in her programs. She also demonstrates her investment in her students, traveling with them to cybersecurity competitions and hackathons as they display their real-world skills. For the past five years, Murphy has been teaching senior technology courses at the Falls Church Senior Center and received an award for her volunteer work.
Thomas (Tom) Donohue and Alyson McNair are the recipients 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.
Donohue served as president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years, and is now an advisor to the organization. He is known for building the Chamber into a lobbying and political powerhouse with expanded influence across the globe, and helping secure business victories on Capitol Hill that have revitalized capital markets, rebuilt America’s infrastructure and protected intellectual property, just to name a few. His support for Marymount has also been considerable over the years, serving on the Board for more than two decades and holding loyal major donor status for 23 years in a row.
McNair is a current Marymount graduate student pursuing a MBA and a second bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising. She is also the founder and president of Perfect, Inc., an organization that assists formerly incarcerated women by providing employment training, mentorship, lifestyle coaching and employment placement with fair pay and benefits. She develops training programs and oversees all volunteers and employees, as well as serves as the spokesperson and lead fundraiser. Not only is McNair a leader at Perfect, Inc., but she has also been a youth ministry teacher at her church.