Distinguished Alumna Award

Established in 2009, the St. Teresa’s Academy Distinguished Alumna Award formally recognizes an alumna who has positively and substantially influenced her profession(s), her community(s) or issues affecting society at large. For more information, contact Paula Holmquist, alumnae director, at 816.501.0022 or pholmquist@stteresasacademy.org.

Click here for the Distinguished Alumna Award Nomination Form.


Suzanne (Hoag, '70) Johnson
2020 Recipient

Suzanne (Hoag) Johnson's life and career have taken unconventional paths. She raised her daughter Sarah as a single parent while starting a business career in Kansas City. Eleven years after graduating from St. Teresa's Academy, she completed her bachelor's degree at Rockhurst University. Nearly 30 years later, Suzanne earned her Juris Doctor from the University of La Verne College of Law in Ontario, California.

After completing her undergraduate degree at Rockhurst, Suzanne became a certified public accountant. She went on to serve in various executive-level accounting positions in the Kansas City area for 16 years. Her roles included trust officer at United Missouri Bank/UMB Financial Corporation, division controller at Magic Woods, and chief financial officer at American Laminates. During this time she met her husband Roger Johnson and relocated to Arcadia, California, in the late 1990s.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Suzanne became active in charitable organizations upon arriving in California. In addition to her work as business manager at Holy Angels Church in Arcadia, Suzanne joined Ladies of Charity Los Angeles Association, an organization devoted to Vincentian service, seeing Christ in the faces of the poor, and working together to serve those in poverty. She became a board member in 2001 and went on to serve as board president from 2005-2007. In 2011, Suzanne was elected to the national board of directors, representing the Western Region Ladies of Charity of the United States of America. She continued to serve on the national board for several years, becoming president-elect in 2015 followed by national president from 2017-2018. In 2017, the Ladies of Charity (known internationally as International Association of Charities, or AIC) celebrated the 400th anniversary of its founding by St. Vincent de Paul. Suzanne led the U.S. celebration at the National Assembly that year. In March 2020, she was elected to the board of directors of AIC, where she provides organizational coordination for the U.S. on an international level.

In 2007, Suzanne entered the University of La Verne College of Law and was sworn in as a member of the California Bar Association in 2010. Following law school, Suzanne volunteered with Immigration Legal Assistance Project (ILAP), a law clinic funded by the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). Her work with ILAP continues to this day. In 2019, LACBA recognized Suzanne with the Honorable Benjamin Aranda III Outstanding Public Service Award, recognizing her commitment, compassion and dedication to the immigrant community and the more than 11,000 people served by the association every year.

Suzanne is exceptionally proud of her daughter Sarah, her son-in-law Eric and her three grandchildren, who she says are "the greatest gifts God has given me." Suzanne is the oldest in the Hoag family of 10 children -- eight girls and two boys.
 

Previous Winners:

2019
Aileen (Altman, '62) Richmond
 
2018
Dana (Tippin, '82) Cutler
 
2017
Susie Haake ('67)
 
2016
Peggy (Gramlich, '57) Baker
 
2015
Teresa (Orpin, '78) Hamilton
 
2014
Marylyn (Geraghty, '54) DeFeo
 
2013
Kelly (Crawford, '88) Friendly
 
2012
Martha (Leahy, '62) Staker
 
2011
Rosemary O’Leary ('73)
 
2010
Patrice (Jo Ann) Coolick, CSJ ('58)
 
2009
Martha (Meagher, '61) Downey