The District of Eastern North America is proud to present the 2011 Distinguished Lasallian Educators
Each year, The Brothers of the Christian Schools of the US / Toronto Region recognize Lasallian Educators for their outstanding work and dedication to the charism of Saint La Salle, with the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award at the annual Huether Lasallian Conference. This year in Washington DC, with the focus on Civic Engagement through Lasallian Education, these three Educators will be honored for their dedication to the Lasallian mission.
Michael is an extraordinary human being, a talented educator and an exemplary Lasallian. Mike began his career at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School as a member of the Religion Department and has been a valued member of the Guidance Department since 1994. One of his colleagues stated “I am convinced that our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, would say that Mike is exactly what he had in mind to perform the miracle of touching hearts.” Mike is particularly noted in the Loughlin community for his commitment to service. As Lasallian Youth coordinator, leader of the “random acts of kindness” forays into Manhattan, and zealous promotion of the Twinning program (more than $100,000 raised since 2005), Mike is a model of Christian service and a role model that significantly influences the students to make a difference now and long past the time they graduate from Bishop Loughlin. The same colleague summed it up best “His life of direct service and empowerment of others is a celebration of life at its best.”
He is married to Barbara and they have a son Tim. Mike serves as the Lasallian Youth Moderator, Twinning Program coordinator, Girls volleyball and softball coach, SSP Coordinator, and retreat leader at the school. In addition to his significant service efforts at Loughlin he is a volunteer extraordinaire with the local Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. He leads retreats outside of the school community and has worked with his wife to give Pre-Cana conferences.
The Mission Executive Council’s decision to honor Brother Michael McKenery, FSC with this year’s Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award from DENA can be best summed up by Brothers Frederick Mueller’s words in his letter of recommendation: “Brother Michael does not seek public recognition; he is just as happy with a hug from a colleague or a “thank you” from a student athlete for being present at an athletic contest. However, we believe that Brother Michael is deserving of this recognition…, particularly during this year of ‘faith in action,’ because during his time as President of La Salle Academy and during his entire life as a Brothers, he has demonstrated what it means to move faith into action. Visionary, creative, sensitive; a people-person and an accomplished administrator, a doer and a builder, a giant of a man with a child’s heart, loving the creative arts—that is Brother Michael McKenery…”
Over the past 55 years as a Brother of the Christian Schools, Brother Michael has served the Lasallian Mission in numerous capacities as teacher and moderator, Head of School, Provincial Director of Education, and Visitor (among others). Since joining the Brothers he has continually and enthusiastically responded to the call of his vocation as a man of deep faith and zeal, consummate educator, and a true Lasallian, He is articulate, visionary, Mission driven, and a model of what it means to be both Brother and brother. His “tour of duty” speaks for itself as well as his on-going education. His life journey, through his career, vocation, and personal activities serve as an inspiration to all.
The District Mission Executive Council recognized Bill’s passion for issues that exhibit his humanity and his deep concern for our world and man’s place in it. One gets a sense of this by looking at the courses he’s taught and developed. He regularly teaches Organic Chemistry and has developed courses in “Ethical Issues in Modern Science,” “Environmental Ethics,” and “The Ethical Brain.” His current research has included a collaborative effort with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. All of this seems to suggest a man in continuous pursuit of an answer to a question that combines science and religion. The question: What makes us human? He invites students in that pursuit and invariably suggests to them they have an obligation to give back, a concept that La Salle University students hear frequently. In Bill’s case, that ideal is the center of his personal life. He is an active member of his church and has for many years organized his church’s youth group. He has led retreats and mission trips and brought a young Kenyan student into his home and given her a chance for a better life. For Bill, “love thy neighbor” has global implications. For his personal life as well as the influence he wields in his professional life, Bill has received La Salle University’s Brother Scubilion Rousseau Justice Award, given to those who have effected social change.
Bill was raised in Rochester, NY. His father was an optical engineer which may explain some of Bill’s love of science. It was not until graduate school that he began to develop an appetite for teaching. Upon graduation, he decided on a career of college teaching over pharmaceutical research. He wanted to teach, like his undergraduate alma mater, in a place which gave students the opportunity to work closely with faculty in hands-on settings. In his self-effacing way, he has helped La Salle preserve that aspect of its institutional character. As a teacher, he has given countless students the same opportunity that he received as an undergraduate: attention to his discipline, steadfastness, honesty, love, and respect. He has also done the great service of challenging them to find the truth. Bill is an accomplished researcher, an enviable writer, a former Fulbright scholar, and has recently been named department chair.
The full list of Distinguished Lasallian Educator nominees from around The District of Eastern North America >