Class of ’74 graduate wins prestigious award

By Dana Bitto

April 3, 2013

Caritas et Veritas. To most, this is nothing but a phrase, but to those at Dominican, it means much more. Every day, our motto challenges staff and students to seek love and truth in their lives through charity and responsibility.

Since 1982, the Caritas Veritas Award has been given, recognizing individuals that live true to the motto by becoming a positive influence in the community and abroad. This year’s recipient is Wilma Jean Randle, a 1977 graduate of Rosary College.

In the beginning of her career, Randle worked as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune and as a freelance writer. In 2003, she was named the Fulbright Scholar “Senior Specialist” in communications and journalism. Randle was also engaged in interests of education, health and economics relating to women, girls and youth with disabilities. As a result, she has worked with an assortment of organizations, including the Economic Commission for Africa and UNICEF.

Being credited with the Caritas Veritas award brought feelings of humbleness to Randle.

“I consider this to be the highest honor my alma mater bestows,” Randle said.  “I don’t think about receiving awards, and this one, well, you always expect it is for someone who has done big things in life, or who has a lot of money!”

Randle also expressed the lineage of culinary prowess of women in her family and how it relates to her personal achievements.

“My life is like cooking to me,” she said. “I’m not bad, but I’m not that good, well, not as good as I know I can be.”

In addition to the Caritas Veritas Award, Randle has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Dominican. Receiving the doctorate was an honor to Randle, eventually motivating her to achieve a Ph.D. in history.

Following the acceptance of becoming Director of the African Women’s Media Center in 1998, Randle has since moved to Dakar, Senegal, limiting her visits to Dominican to about once a year.

Currently, her work in Dakar includes a fundraiser to build a playground for the Mar Lodj village. The preschool, L’Ecole Maternelle Mere Cecile Foret, which occupies 100 children from the ages of two to five, is the only one in the village.

She also explained how a small gesture during the tour of the preschool transformed into her current fundraiser.

“When I asked her [Sr. Madeleine Therese] if there was anything the school needed, I was thinking books or toys, she replied “cour de recreation”, or playground,” Randle said. “Then, I got this idea to do something more, to turn the sandlot into an area that will be usable for the children, the school, their parents and the village.”

Randle shared her joy over the children “learning to live with difference and to see different as normal”.

For more information about the fundraiser and how to donate can be found at www.gofundme.com.