Alumnae News

Celebrate the 2021 Alumnae Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2021 Alumnae Award Recipients! Award recipients will be celebrated with a private luncheon on Sunday, November 14, at the Park City Club in Dallas during Homecoming Weekend. Register to attend the luncheon and celebrate our award recipients.

Distinguished Alumna Award: Janet Rayfield '79

The second of six Rayfield girls to attend Ursuline, Janet excelled at academics, played multiple sports, and performing in plays and musicals. Upon graduating from Ursuline, amidst the growth spurred by Title IX, Janet attended the University of North Carolina and played on their very first women’s varsity soccer program. As team captain all four years, led the Tar Heels to a 73-9 record. In 1981, she was named Nike Player of the Year as well as Top 10 soccer players in America – male or female – and led the team to the first-ever NCAA women’s soccer championship, the first of 21 NCAA national titles in the program.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences in 1983, Janet became a Software Engineer for E-Systems in Garland, Texas, and coached the Texas Spirit Soccer Club. After 7 years in the workforce, Janet accepted a position as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas becoming head coach in 1993. In the following six years, she coached the 1996 SEC West Champions, two SEC tournament finalists, four All-Region players, six All-SEC players, and 27 Academic All-SEC performers while earning a Master of Science in Biomechanics.

In 2000, Janet took an assistant position at the University of Illinois and began pursuing her PhD. The following year, Janet was presented with the chance to join US Soccer. She began coaching youth regional and national teams, scouting and assisting for the full national team, and instructing coaches at all levels of the game.

In 2002, Janet returned to the University of Illinois as the head coach and is in now in her 20th season leading the Fighting Illini soccer program. She has coached six players to seven Big Ten Player of the Year honors, five players received the Big Ten Medal of Honor, and seven of her players earned nine NSCAA All-America laurels.

Janet has also made her mark on her peers in the game and in the international soccer arena. She was President of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and was an assistant coach for the U20 Women’s World Cup Gold Medal winning team. She was the first woman to receive the National Soccer Coaches Association of America prestigious Honor Award and was recognized with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Women’s Committee Award of Excellence.

“The greatest moments of success have not come from trophies, awards, or victories but from the growth and empowerment of young women who have gone on to make an impact of the world around them. Sport provides women with a platform and an arena where they can find, develop, and grow their confidence and their voice. That’s why I coach – to help them along that wonderful but challenging journey.”

Serviam Alumna: Dr. Tammy Clarke '88

Tammy Clarke graduated from Ursuline with the Serviam Spirit instilled on her heart. She attended Duke University where she was involved with the Catholic Student Center as a Eucharistic Minister, RCIA catechist, Campus minister, and retreat volunteer. She graduated in 1992 with a B.S. in Psychology.

With a passion for humanitarian work, Tammy committing to a year of service with the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers (CVV). Living in community and volunteering at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ medical clinic, she became a “companion on the journey” with Denver’s un-housed population. It was a this point when Tammy found her vocation, discerning a call to work with the poor and marginalized mentally ill.

Having received her M.D. at UT Southwestern in Dallas, she completed her residency in psychiatry at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio where she was recognized as the “most outstanding resident” in her 3rd year and nominated to sit on the inaugural Ethics committee.

As soon as she could, Tammy made her way back to Colorado to become the Wellness Director at Saint Francis Center (SFC), a non-profit day shelter for Denver's homeless. She started the wellness program there as the only mental health professional at the day center. She currently writes grants and secures funding so she can provide crisis-intervention and psychotherapy to those struggling with mental disabilities on the streets. She supports the Women’s Homelessness Initiative overnight church shelter program and does outreach on the streets, connecting the homeless community to services they need.

Combining her passions of community mental health and public health, Tammy collaborates with the state and city health departments, during a Hepatitis A outbreak and now the COVID pandemic, by coordinating testing and vaccine clinics at SFC. She served on Denver Health Hospital’s research committee to improve care transitions for the homeless community and serves as an advisor on SFC’s Trauma-Informed Care and Public Health & Safety committees.

Tammy also advocates for her coworkers’ wellness as a member of her agency’s Program and Employee Executive Leadership Council and as the chair for the Employer of Choice committee. She is a co-author of two textbook chapters in the field of Communications, served on the Board for Ignatian Volunteer Corps, is a regular speaker at CVV’s reflection and discussion nights, and is a certified spiritual director.

Sister Marie Staats Award: Sr. Mary Troy, O.S.U. '51

Sister Mary started Ursuline as a first grader in 1939. She is a member of the Class of 1951 that attended school at all three campuses – the old campus on Live Oak, Merici High School on Walnut Hill Lane, and the Ursuline campus we all know and love.

As a student, Sr. Mary was very involved. She was the editor of the yearbook, Junior Class President, Student Body President, and was voted May queen by her peers. Throughout her time at Ursuline, Sr. Mary never considered joining the order but during graduation weekend, as she thought with gratitude about the Sisters, she also thought “Maybe I could do that.”

Upon graduating, she worked at Western Electric until she entered the convent in January 1952. She made her first profession in July of ’54 as Sister Deborah and attended college in New Rochelle, New York. After graduating in 1958, she taught at Ursuline New Orleans until February of 1965 when she came back to Dallas as Mother Deborah to serve as interim principal for the rest of that school year and the following.

Her next assignments took her to Rome, Oxford, San Antonio, and Crystal City before returning to Dallas in 1974 to serve as Prioress of the Dallas Ursuline Sisters which numbered 38 at the time. In 1980, her assignment changed again as she spent several years in Joplin, Missouri, Springfield, Illinois, and Harrisonville, Missouri until she received a phone call in 1994 from Sr. Margaret Ann Moser, then President of Ursuline Dallas, inviting her back to Dallas to work in the President’s office as the self-proclaimed “Chief Hospitality Officer”.

Serving in this role for 27 years, Sr. Mary oversees a large volunteer effort charged with helping different departments fulfill their work. From helping Admissions prepare acceptance packets for new families to tying the white ribbons on graduation hats and everything in between, Sr. Mary has been a confidante, cheerleader, sounding board, organizer, teacher, and friend to thousands of moms, alumnae, and employees.