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October 01, 2009
University of Dubuque Honors Alumni/ae

On Saturday, October 10, 2009 the University of Dubuque will honor three outstanding alumni/ae -
Hon John Patrick "Rick" Carney (C'69), Robert R. Schwaegler (C'56), and Heidi McGinness (S'89)- as a part of the 2009 Homecoming Celebration. Awards will be presented during the Alumni/ae Dinner at the Chlapaty Recreation & Wellness Center.

2009 Service to Community Award
Awarded to an alumnus/alumna of the University of Dubuque who has demonstrated a clear commitment to serving the community through notable volunteerism, an outstanding act of selflessness, or a demonstrated pattern of service to humanity.

J. P. "Rick" Carney (C'69) is dedicated to serving his community. Rick has given back to his community and country in many ways through both his professional life and as a volunteer. Rick was elected Recorder of DuPage County, Il. for five consecutive four year terms (1984-2004). While Rick was Recorder, he oversaw the completion of the first-in-the-nation link between the two largest counties in Illinois, DuPage and Cook. He is an Arbitrator for the 18th Judicial Circuit Court. Rick's list of civic activities is extensive and ranges from being chairman of the United States Association of Recorders, to being appointed by three different Illinois Governors, to serving on the Illinois Arts Council.

Rick has served his state and his country as well. Before enrolling at the University of Dubuque, Rick graduated from St. John's Military Academy. After graduating from the University of Dubuque, he entered the U.S. Army and was stationed at various locations around the United States as well as being a participant in the National Security Council Seminar at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Rick has been elected a delegate or alternate delegate to three Republican National Conventions.

Rick's life has revolved around service and giving to others the best of what he has to offer. As a University of Dubuque student Rick was an officer of the Phi Omicron fraternity, a member of the New Student Days Committee, Fine Arts Committee, Young Republicans, and Student Government.

Outside of Rick's community involvements, he is proud of his family's heritage. The son of a local business owner and operator, his family is in its seventh generation in DuPage County, Illinois, having resided there for 170 years. Rick has an interest in all sports, photography, and the history of the American presidents - having personally met eight U.S. presidents. Rick has authored many articles on the History of DuPage County and the State of Illinois. He was recently honored with the Legends of Wheaton award.

Rick, his wife Patty, and their middle school-aged sons, Kevin and Brian, live in Wheaton, Illinois. Rick's two adult daughters, Alicia and Kathryn, live and work in the Chicago area.

2009 Alumnus of Distinction Award
Awarded to alumnus/alumna of the University of Dubuque - College or Seminary - who have distinguished themselves in service to the whole church and/or world.

Dr. Robert "Bob" Schwaegler (C'56) is the kind of person who takes advantage of opportunities and uses his talents to better the world. Bob established confidence, explored his abilities, respected diversity, and understood the depth of Christian love while he was a student at the University of Dubuque. He took what he learned both in and out of the classroom and built himself a life anyone would be proud of.

Bob was a self-employed general/family practice physician for 30 years. He established Medical Associates of Beloit, Ltd, which grew to five physicians. He also contracted with Beloit Memorial Hospital to start a rural full service medical/surgical clinic, and led the first "beeper-call system" in Rock County, WI. He touched the lives of many as a physician who emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle rooted in a sound mind, body, and spirit. Bob mentored others as he hosted medical students and introduced them to the world of medicine and patient care. Throughout his professional career, he has spent time volunteering as football and basketball team physician at Beloit College.

Bob's volunteer and community involvements are extremely impressive as well. He has been an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Beloit where he is an Elder and has served as member of the Board of Deacons, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and provided housing for the homeless through a program called "Hands of Faith." Since Bob's retirement, he has spent a large amount of time as the administrator of an Elderhostel Institute Program of Life Long Learners at Beloit College - a program that emphasizes the importance of adult education. His list of other volunteer and community involvements is lengthy, reaching a broad range of community members.

In May of 2002, Schwaegler received the President's Medal from Beloit College for the establishment of the Elderhostel Program and other campus and civic volunteer efforts. He was honored as "an example to follow," and continues to serve as an inspiration to many.

Bob is not always seen volunteering alone. His wife, Carol, is often right beside him. The Schwaeglers, married for 52 years, have established a wonderful family who fill their lives with great pleasure. Bob and Carol have been blessed with a daughter, two sons, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter, all of whom make Bob and Carol's lives complete.

2009 Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Distinctive Service Award
The Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Distinctive Service Awards recognize UDTS alumni/alumnae who demonstrate exceptional contributions in Christian ministry. Recipients model servant leadership, courageous convictions, a spirit of witness, and a faithful obedience as they contribute significantly to the Church universal, the Seminary, and all of God's people.

Passion, hope, and inspiration are just a few of the things that Heidi McGinness (C'89) takes with her on her travels. Heidi is truly an example of servant leadership - she is selfless in service and has provided guidance and love to many throughout her lifetime. As a young girl in her native country of Germany, McGinness witnessed terrible acts of hatred and set out on a mission to preach and gain human rights for all people.

As an ordained Presbyterian minister, Heidi has served in rural, suburban, and inner-city parishes. One of her accomplishments includes revitalizing a small, rural church that was about to close. Heidi was the solo pastor of this church, and now, after almost 20 years, it is a thriving place of worship. Additionally, McGinness served as a pastor at an inner city church in Denver, CO where racial, ethnic, and multicultural diversity existed. She was asked to present to the General Assembly Council about the "how's" of this spirit-filled church and how it could be implemented elsewhere in worship and mission.

In addition to pastoral service, Heidi has made several trips to the war-torn country of Sudan where she was present to document the liberation of over 1,000 men, women, and children from slavery. She is a Human Rights activist and abolitionist who serves the Church in Sudan and works to stop genocide in Darfur. In addition, McGinness is the Outreach Director for Christian Solidarity International, which has given her the opportunity to speak in the United States and Switzerland to churches, synagogues, universities, schools, and civic groups about the suffering of the Sudanese people. Her advocacy for persecuted Christians and Black Muslims has raised funds to aid Christian Solidarity International.

Someone who is as proactive, motivating, and compassionate as Heidi does not go unnoticed. Heidi has appeared on Breakthrough with Pastor Rod Parsley on Trinity Broadcasting Network as well as on Fox News Live National. She has also attended briefings on Darfur in Washington D.C. with White House and the Department of State officials. Heidi is living out her mission of serving the Lord and standing up for the rights of all humans.


The University of Dubuque is a private, coeducational, professional university with a focus in the liberal arts. Our commitment to encouraging students to explore their fullest potential is part of a rich Christian heritage that dates back to the University's founding in 1852.