Marist Alumni Recognized for Achievements and Service at 2023 Awards Luncheon

At a luncheon at Cherokee Town Club on Friday, May 19, the Marist Alumni Association honored the recipients of the 2023 Alumni Awards with many past award winners in attendance. Three individuals were recognized for their remarkable careers and lived Marist values, including the Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Christa-Marie Singleton, MD, MPH, FACPM, ’83, the Father Hartnett Service Award Recipient Kelleen Fitzgerald, MD, ’85, and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient Colin Muething, PhD, BCBA-D, ’03.
The luncheon opened with a welcome from Director of Alumni Engagement Mrs. Katie Fowler Brown ’06 and an opening prayer offered by Alumni Chaplain Fr. Mark Kenney, S.M. After a shared meal, over which alumni, family, and friends took time to catch up and reconnect with one another, Marist Alumni Association President Mrs. Megan Citarella Stewart ’95 introduced the 2023 award recipients.

Dr. Christa-Marie Singleton was named the Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for her work as the Chief Medical Officer in the Office of Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a volunteer physician with DeKalb County’s Board of Health, founder of Seats at the Table Collaborative, and for her service as an active member of the Marist community. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes Dr. Singleton’s incorporation of Marist values into her professional calling and service to others. Dr. Singleton’s commitment to Marist School, made evident in her roles as a current Marist parent and Marist Women Build supporter, continues to have an indelible impact on the community.

Previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Frank J. McCloskey ’68 introduced Dr. Singleton, who shared her thoughts on the importance of students using their voices bravely to go where others have not been before. Dr. Singleton expressed gratitude to her son, rising Marist senior Matthew Horne ’24, saying, “It’s students like Matthew who inspire me to always look for ways to help young people to be seen and for ways to help them see the change they want to be so that they can use their voices to be those courageous leaders the world desperately needs right now. And it is especially on us as alumni award winners of Marist School to follow Luke 12:48: ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ We have to take a much more active role to show up to be seen and to not underestimate anyone in our Marist community or our local community, especially those who do not look like us or do not have a shared experience.”

The Father Hartnett Service Award brings public recognition to alumni or friends of Marist School who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating exemplary service to Marist. Previous award recipient and Dr. Kelleen Fitzgerald’s father, Mr. J. Robert Fitzgerald, introduced his daughter as this year’s recipient with warm remarks about her ability to notice and serve others with humility, much in the way of our blessed mother Mary, whom those at Marist School look to as the model of Christian discipleship.

Dr. Fitzgerald earned the recognition of the Father Hartnett Service Award in appreciation of her work practicing internal medicine as a founder of The Atlanta Internists in Sandy Springs, Georgia, her volunteer service for Mercy Care Street Medicine, and her role as the Marist School Alumni Board Co-Vice President of the Alumni Service and Spirituality Committee, where she helps provide alumni with opportunities to learn and live the Marist Way. She has three children, including JT Cicchillo and Marist graduates Mary Kate Cicchillo ’15 and Bobby Cicchillo ’22.

Reflecting on her time as a Marist student, a Marist parent, and 10 years spent on the Alumni Association Service and Spirituality Committee with six years on the committee board, Dr. Fitzgerald remarked, “All this time, all these people, and all these experiences have come together to create this community not based on conformity, but on Marist values. Right now, society is struggling with radical individualism; but what Marist understands—and what we as Marists understand—is that St. Paul was right. We are one body. To paraphrase, the eye does not say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ But more, isn’t it extraordinary for the eye to serve the body by seeing? That’s how I see my service. I’m doing my best to perform my God-given function in the world. Marist, faculty, friends, family, priests, and alumni made me a part of the body, and we are building the city of God.”

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes young alumni who have demonstrated excellence through career achievements, service to the community, and/or service and support of Marist School. The 2023 recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Dr. Colin S. Muething, is the director of the severe behavior program at Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

His address to luncheon guests provided an intimate picture of his challenging work with children needing special care. “There are kids out there that are not visible to us that need help, that don’t get services, and that fall through the cracks,” he said. “When you consider the mental health crisis in America, remember that these kids are there, too, and they need our help.” Dr. Muething’s work with these children brings to life the Marist value of fostering a concern for those who are often forgotten or neglected by society.

Dr. Singleton thanked her fellow award winners for seeing others who often go unseen, a sentiment that Marist School President Fr. Bill Rowland, S.M. echoed in his closing prayer, saying that God has appointed the three honorees as his “ambassadors to the world of medicine, public health, psychology, and behavioral analysis. Each of these award recipients have reached out to those most in need of their expertise, such as children with autism, the homeless in Atlanta, and those whose medical needs would otherwise go unattended. They have become what Fr. Colin, the founder of the Society of Mary, hoped the recipients of a Marist education would be: strong and faithful disciples of Christ, honest and upright citizens, and knowledgeable about and contributors to all that would enable human beings to flourish as God so earnestly desires.”

The 2023 Alumni Award recipients are prime examples for Marist students of how individuals can thrive in the world when they are seen and appreciated for their unique God-given strengths and are encouraged to use those talents in service to others.

Read more about the 2023 Alumni Award recipients.

View photos from the Alumni Award Luncheon.

Marist School

3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30319-1899
(770) 457-7201
An Independent Catholic School of the Marist Fathers and Brothers