St. Thomas More High School will induct four alumni – the late Congressman Gerald D. Kleczka (DB ’61), media personality Elizabeth Ullenberg Kay (TM ’00), medical humanitarian James F. Hemesath (DB ’58), and management professional Mary Van Beck Voelker (SMA ’62) – into its Alumni Hall of Fame on November 9, 2019, in the school’s Learning Commons. Kay and Voelker will be the first female alumnae inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
“The St. Thomas More Alumni Hall of Fame represents the best of what our school has to offer, alumni director Dan Steffes (TM ’03) said. “Their career accomplishments and service to their communities are exceptional examples of what our graduates can do with a St. Thomas More education as their foundation. This year’s inductees have had significant and wide-ranging impacts on their communities, and we are very proud to count them as members of the St. Thomas More family.”
After serving in both the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate, in 1984, Kleczka was elected to Congress and proudly served the constituents of Wisconsin’s Fourth District for 20 years. Throughout his career in elected office, Congressman Kleczka championed for working men and women and tirelessly advocated for our veterans and the elderly. While in Congress, Kleczka remained faithful to his constituents, returning to his district at least every other week, listening to his friends and neighbors in Wisconsin and helping them navigate challenging government bureaucracy. Kleczka retired from Congress in 2005 and passed away in 2017.
Elizabeth Kay has one of the most recognizable voices in the Milwaukee area. Co-host of The Morning Mix on 99.1 FM The Mix, Kay has won multiple awards for excellence in broadcasting, including the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s “Best Morning Show” in 2013 and 2019. She has also worked on-camera with FOX 6 News and WISN 12 News and has appeared on several talk shows, including Good Morning America, HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and The Steve Harvey Show.
Throughout his life, Jim Hemesath has used his medical training to serve those in need. As an officer in Vietnam, Hemesath worked long hours in makeshift facilities and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Service Medal for his exemplary service. Since 2011, when a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean nation, Hemesath has traveled to Haiti seven times to provide medical treatment for residents without access to healthcare.
Mary Voelker will join Kay as the first female alumnae inducted into the St. Thomas More Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2000, Voelker retired from Wisconsin Gas Company, where she worked in organizational development, and established a management consulting firm. In 2003, she earned her Ph.D. in organizational development from Marquette University, and she teaches classes at the College of Business Administration. Voelker serves on the board of directors for Red Cross of Southeastern Wisconsin and the Pastoral Council at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Wauwatosa.
“All four of this year’s inductees have achieved incredible success both professionally and personally,” St. Thomas More president Mary McIntosh said. “Like our past inductees, this year’s honorees have proven themselves as Men and Women for All Seasons, embodying the principles of Christian discipleship, service to others, and academic excellence that we seek to instill in our students after four years at St. Thomas More.”
From award-winning actors to corporate executives to legendary coaches, the St. Thomas More Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes distinguished individuals from all walks of life. While the lives of our Hall of Fame inductees vary in the realm of their accomplishment, all have one thing in common: they embody the spirit and mission of St. Thomas More High School. They have lived lives of service to their communities while following the teachings of Jesus Christ.