Seventh Annual Falcon Awards Night
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
818 Butterworth St. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
6 p.m. Cocktail Reception
7 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Awards Presentation
$125 per person
(Share a table with friends, 10 seats to a table)
This years Honorees:
Business Excellence Award - Juddee Milito
Juddee Milito grew up in a strong Catholic family that recognized the importance of a Catholic education. She attended West Catholic, graduating in 1965, and made the choice to send her children—Matt (’93) and Paul (’96)—to West as well. After high school, Juddee attended Grand Valley State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations.
Juddee worked at Beverly’s Women’s Apparel for 18 years before serving as a development director at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and Pilgrim Manor. Looking to support Catholic education, Juddee offered her professional talents to the Grand Rapids Catholic Secondary Schools by volunteering with the development committee. She was put in charge of making phone calls to her alumni class requesting donations. This successful endeavor led Juddee to recognize the importance of this kind of outreach as well as the potential business opportunity it created.
In 1998, Juddee founded a fund development and consulting services company, J. Milito & Associates. Working with clients throughout the United States, Juddee’s company has managed over 1,000 direct response campaigns and has helped her clients raise more than $45 million. She also participates in several business associations while volunteering much of her time at St. Anthony and West Catholic. In the past, Juddee served as president of the Grand Rapids Catholic Schools’ Alumni Association and was a member of the West Catholic 50 Year Campaign Committee. She currently sits on West Catholic’s development committee where she continues to use her expertise to assist in the school’s advancement efforts.
Juddee is supported in all her endeavors by her husband of 50 years, Pete (CC ’62). She enjoys attending the theatre—especially the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre—and bargain hunting. Juddee considers her greatest achievements to be her 50-year marriage, children and grandchildren.
Falcon by Choice Award - David A. Veneklase
Dave Veneklase credits his Catholic education for providing him with the guidance needed to navigate life and its challenges. An alumnus of Catholic Central and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Dave wanted his children to benefit from a similar educational experience. He sent his daughters Emily (WC ’09), Allison (WC ’11) and Rebecca (WC ’11) to St. Anthony, and when it came time to select a high school, he never considered anywhere but West.
As a parent, Dave immediately became involved in the West Catholic community. His dedication to the school led Bishop Walter Hurley to ask him to join the Catholic School Board where he served as an executive committee member before taking on the roles of secretary (2009-2010), vice chair (2010-2013) and chairman (2014). Dave was an active leader in creating the bylaws that split the Board into two individual entities—one serving West Catholic and one serving Catholic Central. After the separation, he was named the first chairman of the West Catholic Board (2015-2016) and developed the governance, planning and committee system West still utilizes today. Dave currently serves on the executive committee and holds the title of Board Chair Emeritus.
Dave’s work in education also extends beyond West Catholic. He spent 15 years at Grand Valley State University in accounting and human resources before accepting a position with a growing Davenport University. Dave has worked at Davenport for the last 19 years and currently serves as the executive vice president for organizational development. He received an associate degree in accounting from Grand Rapids Community College in 1983, a B.B.A. in accounting from Grand Valley State University in 1990 and an M.B.A. in finance from Grand Valley State University in 2000.
In addition to spending time with his family, Dave loves to play softball and just completed his 40th consecutive season. He also enjoys traveling to warm climates.
St. John Paul II Award - Tim Ryan
Tim Ryan has always been passionate about many things, especially photography and service. Tim grew up in Big Rapids, and, after graduating from Big Rapids High School in 1973, joined the Air Force as a B-52 tail gunner. Four years later, Tim returned to Big Rapids to attend Ferris State University and earned a degree in finance in 1981. He worked as an insurance salesman before embracing an opportunity to become a full-time photographer in Grand Rapids. Having successfully turned his love of photography into a career, Tim set his sights on his passion for service.
Tim’s involvement in Haiti began 20 years ago when he made the decision to join a mission trip organized by Holy Spirit Parish. Since then, he has visited Haiti 47 times and has overseen 23 medical and dental trips that have helped more than 40,000 patients. In 2009, Tim founded the nonprofit Haiti Needs You, which focuses on partnering with the Haitian people to provide sanitation, clean water and health services. As president of Haiti Needs You, Tim has worked in helping local churches establish relationships in five different areas in Haiti. In 2008, Tim established a mission trip program for West Catholic and Catholic Central, allowing over 150 students and chaperones to participate in this unique service opportunity by building latrines, putting tarp roofs on cornstalk houses, and delivering water filters.
Tim is grateful to his wife of 24 years, Paula (WC ’75), and his daughters Kelly (WC ’15) and Colleen (WC ’19) for supporting his calling and for travelling with him to Haiti many times. When he has free time, he is probably planning his next trip to Haiti.
Lifetime Achievement Award - Ross A. Hoffman
Ross Hoffman may have been raised a Lutheran but he always felt a strong calling to the Catholic Church. After receiving a B.A. from Morningside College in math with minors in French and German in 1957 and earning a master’s degree in math from the University of Michigan in 1959, he was hired by Look Magazine in New York City. While working for the publication, Ross was confirmed at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A few years later, he experienced an even deeper calling and left New York to study with the Society of Mary-Marist Fathers and consider joining the priesthood. During this time, Ross earned a master’s degree in Renaissance-Reformation history from Catholic University of America with additional master’s work at Creighton University.
Ross discerned that he was not meant to be a priest and instead answered a request from Monsignor Joseph Murphy to accept a teaching position at the recently opened West Catholic High School. He was a beloved teacher at West from 1967 until his retirement in 1993. He taught trigonometry, French, American history, Latin, and Church history and humanities. Ross also served as the faculty advisor to Chess Club, Quiz Bowl, the senior class and intramural soccer, helped organize the West Catholic and Catholic Central Class Night, and initiated the European Study Tours. During his time as a teacher, Ross believes he learned as much from his students as they did from him.
Since his retirement, Ross has been volunteering at St. Mary's/Mercy Hospital and indulging in his love of travel. He is an avid reader and has a passion for theatre and opera.