2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Chaminade Julienne 2017 Distinguished Alumni honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Thursday, April 27. This year’s recipients are Dr. Richard Christensen ‘73, Fred Kroger ‘41, Dr. Barrett Robinson ‘95 and Sr. Gretchen Trautman, FMI, ‘65.

Dr. Richard Christensen, ’73 – Professional Achievement Award
Dick Christensen’s dedication as a psychiatrist and professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry was evident. He spent a majority of his career caring for patients who suffered from chronic mental illness and homelessness. He created the "Hope Team," whose mission was to provide hope to those who had little or no hope of finding their way off the streets.

“His life was dedicated to service to others,” his widow, Kathy Moeder Christensen ‘74, said.

The strong Chaminade High School science program may well have been a contributing factor for Dick and at least seven of his close friends who chose careers in medicine. Other high school highlights included winning the sectional tennis tournament in doubles and receiving the Ed Stang Big Eagle Award.

“And then, of course, he met me,” Kathy said with a smile.

Fred Kroger '41 – Christian Service Award
Fred Kroger lived his life as a humble servant of God, helping others and quietly sharing his blessings with those in need. While Fred was an accomplished businessman – founding Main Line Supply Co. in 1955 – this award focuses on his faith and service to others. A devoted husband to his wife of 63 years, Marian, family came first for the father of five, grandfather of 16 and great-grandfather of six. He was a strong proponent of Catholic education and financially supported countless Chaminade Julienne and University of Dayton students over the years.

“Education was very important to my father,” son Tim Kroger '78 said. “He was also a very generous man – with his time, treasure and talent.”

Tim explained that Chaminade High School provided a solid foundation for his father’s enduring lifelong faith.

“The sense of community and family was so strong,” he said. “And learning about Christianity and developing a sense of doing what’s right – that was so important to him.”

Dr. Barrett Robinson '95 – Professional Achievement Award
Barrett Robinson made an immediate impression at Chaminade Julienne. Many of his classmates recognized that he was truly special and wrote about his leadership qualities and reliance on faith in God to withstand the problems teenagers face. The Eagles leading rusher won the National High School Heisman Trophy his senior year. But he didn’t just excel on the football field, as he graduated third in his class.

“My visibility as a standout on the football field allowed me to be a strong spiritual witness to others,” he said. “I was never bashful about sharing with my peers my commitment to sexual abstinence and informing classmates that drinking alcohol or doing drugs does not honor our bodies, which are to be temples of the Lord.”

He is now an acclaimed physician, specializing in maternal fetal medicine, giving hope and compassion to women with difficult pregnancies.

“My time at CJ helped to mold me into the man that I am today,” he said. “And my memories from those four years are easily some of the fondest of my entire life."

Sr. Gretchen Trautman '65 – Professional Achievement Award
Gretchen Trautman knew from an early time that she was destined to serve God. During her school years at Our Lady of Mercy and Julienne, she was drawn to the sisters she encountered and drew from them a devotion to her faith and serving others. She continued her evolution at the University of Dayton and continued her faith journey with the Marianist Sisters.

Sr. Gretchen found inspiration immediately upon arriving at Julienne in Sr. Gertrude.

“She was my freshman homeroom teacher, as well as my English teacher,” Sr. Gretchen said. “She gave me a love for literature and reading. I helped her every morning with selling paperback books on large mobile racks in the first floor hallway. My ‘salary’ was a paperback book per week, which I loved.”

Sr. Gertrude also taught her eager young Julienne students speed-reading in English class. “A skill which has benefited me for a lifetime,” Sr. Gretchen said.

Posted April 27, 2017