Natural born leader. True friend. Big sister. Brilliant pioneer. These are just some of the words offered by friends and family to describe Suzanne Ratkowski, 69, who died Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisc. Visitation will be held Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9-10 a.m. at the Gesu Catholic Church, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, Wisc. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10 a.m. She will be entombed at the St. Adalbert Cemetery.
Sue’s relationship with Presentation Academy began almost 20 years ago when faculty member Paula Samuels approached her about becoming a member of the school’s technology committee. “I had no idea that she would soon become one of Presentation’s staunchest supporters, despite having no prior connection with the school. She eagerly accepted the invitation to join our technology committee, generously sharing her ideas and technical expertise.”
Sue was the 2003 Tower Award for Women Leaders recipient in the Business, Technology and Trade category and was named an honorary Pres alumna in 2006. She later served as a member of the Board of Trustees.
“Sue believed deeply in the value of Catholic education, especially its role in empowering the young women of Presentation Academy,” Samuels said. “She ‘put her money where her mouth was,’ donating generously to a variety of initiatives here at Presentation, most recently funding a science lab in memory of her sister Cheryl. She knew that education would provide a path forward for our students, and she particularly encouraged them to pursue STEM careers.”
Sue donated the funds in 2014 to transform the 730-square foot space into a physical science lab, used during physics and chemistry exploratory activities and labs. “Because of Sue’s generous spirit, young women at Presentation Academy have benefited from a dedicated space for performing hands-on chemistry and physical science experiments,” said science department chair and Pres alumna Janet Peter ’89.
“Sue’s generosity to all was such a hallmark of her personality,” said Pres alumna Aggie Noonan ’70. “Of course, family and friends came first, but her devotion to Pres, Marquette and her beloved Green Bay Packers was so sincere and intense.”
The rightful and well-earned role of women in business and technology was often at the forefront of her work ethic, Noonan said. “Her belief in young women and what they would achieve was often shared in animated conversation! She was such a good friend to so many at Pres. She will be greatly missed, but we know Pres women will carry on her good works and legacy.”
“Sue was a role model to Pres students. She exemplified women leadership, generosity and loyalty,” said former Pres Alumnae Relations Manager and alumna Kathy Marshall ’65. “There were no reservations at all in selecting her to be an honorary alumna in 2006. Her dedication to Presentation was remarkable. Sue will be sorely missed, not only by Pres but the Louisville community.”
A Milwaukee native, Sue earned Bachelor’s degrees in physics and math in 1972, and a Master’s of Business Administration in 1986, all from Marquette University. She began her career at UPS in 1974 in Elm Grove, Wis., before moving to Louisville in 1985 to begin work for UPS Airline Operations. She worked as a project manager and division manager before being promoted to systems manager for the Transportation Technology Group in 1998. She retired in 2007.
Sue led the UPS community campaign for United Way from 2000-2003. She was honored with Marquette University’s Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award in 2010.
In preparation for the Tower Awards, Sue was asked to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions she was asked was to list the important traits a leader must possess.
“A leader needs to have personal integrity; the people who look up to them need to know that they can be trusted in all things,” Sue wrote. “A leader needs to have perseverance. Many things in life cannot be accomplished without long, hard work and overcoming of obstacles. A leader needs courage because sometimes they need to do the right thing, even when everyone around them is willing to do the easy thing instead.”
Sue’s family and friends would agree that these words perfectly describe Sue.
“What touched me most about Sue was that she had the heart of a Pres Girl,” Samuels said. “She was smart and confident and not afraid to speak her mind. She was a self-made woman who used her time, talent and treasure to help others realize their dreams. She proudly wore her extensive wardrobe of Pres apparel, and she spread the good news of Presentation Academy wherever she went. She was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known, and she did more than her share to make this world a better place.”
A memorial service will be held at Presentation Academy Thursday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m. in the theater.
AP Human Geography students hold up mind maps they drew of their neighborhoods, putting into practice cartography skills they learned during class.
Presentation Academy students can now earn college credit during their freshman year. Select freshmen will be the first to take AP Human Geography, a course that explores how humans have understood, used and changed the surface of Earth.
“Through the course, our students will use the tools and thinking processes of geographers to examine patterns of human population, migration and land use,” said social studies teacher Devin Roos, who will be teaching the course. Roos has taught government/economics and honors world civilizations for the past three years and attended a four-day AP Human Geography intensive training program over the summer.
“I am very excited to teach this course because it is pretty much the end all be all of courses. It combines every type of social study, ranging from economics to sociology, into one master course,” Roos said.
“It’s a great opportunity to expose our freshmen to the complex, higher-order thinking skills that are integral to an AP course,” Principal Becca Noonan said. “It's important for Pres to offer this course because it's a great introduction to the "global citizenship" part of our mission and leadership program. Learning about the interconnectedness of other cultures, people and societies is essential to understanding the role we play in the larger world. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that students can earn college credit along the way!
Colleges and universities may require different scores, generally ranging from 3-5, to award college credit as the equivalent of an introductory college-level course in human geography, Roos said. The 2020 AP Human Geography exam will be administered May 5.
Students will learn to interpret models and maps, as well as to read charts and analyze data. They will be tested on the regions of the world and proven geographical patterns, Roos said.
“Beyond all of this, our students will begin to understand how they are connected to the past and present; how they play a role in shaping the future of our physical, political and cultural environment; and that even from our classroom at 4th and Breck, they are an important part of our deeply interconnected global human family,” she said. “It is our responsibility to make sure that our students are an active part of the global community. In fact, it is part our mission to shape these young women into global citizens. Knowing who you are and where you are is of paramount importance, and I could not be more excited to watch our girls grow as compassionate, critically thinking and culturally aware citizens of the world.”
Louisville, Ky. (June 6, 2019) - Presentation Academy will honor the recipients of its 2019 Tower Awards during an annual awards dinner at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at the Kentucky International Convention Center, 221 South Fourth Street.
Now in its 24th year, the Tower Awards is an annual mission-driven event honoring women leaders in their fields and highlighting the contributions and talents of these role models to Presentation Academy students and the Kentuckiana community.
The Tower Awards serves as a catalyst to open the doors for all young women to experience a Presentation Academy education. All proceeds from this fundraiser go to the school’s tuition assistance program, and since inception, this event has raised over $2.5 million.
Presentation is pleased to announce the 2019 Tower Award recipients in the following categories:
ARTS & COMMUNICATION
Cathy Shannon, Co-Owner of E&S Gallery
BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY & TRADE
Kim Clements Evans ‘75, Founder and Owner of the Institute for Integrative Medicine
Jennifer Klump-Kowalski ‘96, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Butler University
GOVERNMENT & LAW
Denise Clayton, Chief Judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals
SCIENCE & HEALTHCARE
Dr. Erica Sutton, Founder of Surgery on Sunday
SERVICE & ADVOCACY
Maria Scharfenberger ‘82, Family Counselor, LMFT, MSSW
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Sister Maureen Coughlin, SCN
The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Seats to the 2019 Tower Awards may be purchased for $125 each, or $1,250 per table of 10. For more information and to purchase or sponsor seats, please call (502) 583-5935 or visit www.presentationacademy.org.
Pictured above are recipients, from left to right: Jennifer Klump-Kowalski ’96, Sister Maureen Coughlin, SCN, Dr. Erica Sutton, Denise Clayton, and Maria Scharfenberger ’82.
About Presentation Academy
In the spirit of Catherine Spalding and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Presentation Academy strives to create a diverse community that promotes academic excellence and challenges young women to develop their greatest potential as leaders in a global society. Beloved since 1831, Presentation Academy is located at 861 S. 4th Street in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 583-5935 or visit www.presentationacademy.org.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Today’s Catholic Teacher named Presentation Academy one of three national finalists for the Innovations in Catholic Education award in Curriculum and Instruction for its leadership program.
The Innovations in Catholic Education Award recognizes Catholic schools across the country that have led the way by implementing exemplary, groundbreaking programs to improve the teaching and learning of their students, faculty and staff.
“Being named a finalist for this award is a huge testament to the results of our leadership program over the past 25-plus years,” Principal Becca Noonan said. “Since our founding in 1831, Presentation has been preparing young women to lead in a diverse, ever-changing world, and this nomination reflects that.”
More than 100 schools competed for the awards, which were given in four categories: Promoting Catholic identity; Curriculum and instruction; Technology integration and Total community involvement, including fundraising.
Principal Noonan accepted the national finalist trophy on Presentation’s behalf April 24, at the awards banquet held during the National Catholic Educational Association Convention in Chicago.
Presentation’s Leadership Program is specifically designed to link academics with career exploration and leadership skill development. Effective leadership entails the following components: Vision and Focus; Communication and Collaboration; Global Citizenship; and Resilience and Problem Solving. These components are integrated into the instructional design of every class and are the foundation of the program.
“At Pres, we believe in service leadership,” President Laura Dills said. “In four years, young women discover their heart to serve, answer the call to lead and summon the courage to engage. I am very proud of our school for being nominated for this national award.”
All students in their freshman, sophomore and junior years participate in leadership forums. Topics covered include conflict resolution, developing a leadership style, personal branding and communication skill development. Pres Girls then share their knowledge with area middle school students by planning and implementing two seventh-grade and two eighth-grade leadership forums.
Senior Independent Program
The leadership program culminates with the Senior Independent Program (SIP), a student-directed, full-year program offered by application only to members of the senior class. Students earn two high school credits and complete a project based on their individual interest. SIP graduates have written, directed and produced plays and films; planned and executed political rallies; written books; and much more.
Presentation’s effort to increase the number of international students attending the school is ongoing. A cultural trip to Europe is offered every other year, along with service trips to several countries including Kenya and Costa Rica. Presentation families also host students from Denmark and Guatemala.
Freshmen and sophomores complete career assessments to prepare them for their futures. Juniors are encouraged to shadow at least once during the year, and students also can complete an internship during the summers before junior or senior years. This allows the students to receive hands-on experience in the career field of their choice.
Leadership speaker series
Dynamic female role models are invited to address the student body each year. Past speakers include Martha Lane Collins, former governor of Kentucky and the first female to hold this position); Tori Murden McClure, president of Spalding University and the first female to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo; and Bonnie St. John, an Olympic skiing champion who lost her leg but persevered to become an Olympic champion.
Tower Awards for Women
This year, Presentation celebrates its 24th annual Tower Awards for Women Leaders. This event recognizes seven amazing female leaders in the community during a dinner and silent auction to raise scholarship funds for financial assistance. The women address the nearly 800 attendees, including more than 100 Presentation students. This inspirational evening is one of the highlights of the leadership program. Award recipients are asked to speak to individual classes, host Presentation shadows or interns or be a guest speaker during the leadership speaker series.
About Presentation Academy
Presentation Academy is a college preparatory academy for young women and Louisville’s original Catholic school. Founded in 1831 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Presentation is strategically and conveniently located at 4th and Breckinridge streets in downtown Louisville – its biggest classroom. The school serves a diverse student population from more than 50 zip codes in the Kentuckiana area. Presentation is close-knit community of teachers, staff, parents, alumnae and supporters who help prepare Pres Girls for living and leading in a global society.
For more information, contact Communications Manager Kristin Beck ’05 at email@example.com or call (502) 583-5935 ext. 108.