posted on November 1, 2007
Clarke College recently awarded its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards during the College’s 2007 Homecoming weekend from Oct. 12-14. Mary Kaess, a 1969 Clarke graduate from Chicago, Ill., received the Humanitarian Service Award; and Mary Anne Broeman Brown, a 1967 Clarke graduate from River Forest, Ill., received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Mary Kaess has dedicated her life to helping students. After graduating from Clarke in 1969 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, she went on to complete her master of arts degree in social work from the College of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. That year, 1971, she began a 36-year career as a school social worker for the Chicago Public Schools, a job she retired from in June.
Kaess spent the last 25 years serving schools in Chicago’s Englewood community, a low-income area facing many challenges including high crime rates, heavy gang presence, rampant substance abuse and lack of community resources. She, however, saw that these factors necessitate professionals willing to answer the call and provide services in communities where working conditions can be dangerous and dismal. She has touched the lives of countless students and families, leading to better schools and a better community.
Mary Anne Broeman Brown served as president of the Clarke Student Association during her senior year at Clarke. As the classmate who nominated her said “she amazed me then and where she is today leaves me totally in awe.” For the past 31 years, Brown has served as the executive director of Hephzibah Children’s Association, an organization that believes every child deserves to be raised in a positive, safe environment.
As an advocate for children, she has been named to Who’s Who in American Women and is recipient of numerous awards including the 2002 Illinois Humane Society Leadership Award for service to children in need and the 2003 Concordia College Excellence in Leadership Award. In 2004, she was named an outstanding leader by the Oak Park Education Foundation and in 2004 was named by Crain’s as one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Chicago.” Brown was also appointed to serve as a federal monitor in the 1998 BH Consent Degree in Illinois against the Department of Child and Family Services and was a state monitor for a major child welfare agency in Illinois. In 2006, she served on the Chicago Cardinals’ Advisory Committee on Priests’ Conduct.
She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Clarke in 1967 and went on to study at the College of Iowa’s Institute of Child Behavior and Development.
For more information, contact the Clarke College Public Relations Office at (563) 588-6318.