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Reunion Awards

The Dominican University Alumnae/i Association will present two awards during Reunion: Caritas Veritas Award and O'Keefe Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Award. Join us in celebrating our award recipients during Reunion 2024 on Saturday, June 8th


Mary Ducey Mulhern - Caritas Veritas Award

Mary Ducey Mulhern ’74 was born in the Edison Park neighborhood of Chicago, the fifth of nine children. Her family moved from there to Milwaukee where they lived until 1965, and then moved to Oak Park, Illinois. Mary graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School in 1970 and began her undergraduate studies at the Circle Campus of the University of Illinois – now called UIC. Mary transferred to Rosary College for the last three years of college and graduated with a degree in Economics in May 1974.

Mary went on to law school in 1974 at DePaul University College of Law, graduating in 1977 and becoming a member of the bar that year. Mary joined a law firm which represented people sued in personal injury cases and tried more than 30 cases to jury verdict while there. She then went on to the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, representing state employees and officials sued in their official capacities, with several of her cases going to jury verdict. Mary remained with the Attorney General’s office until 1987, when she established her own private practice in suburban Chicago. In November 1996, Mary was a successful candidate for Cook County Circuit Court and began her judicial career in the Child Protection Division of the Cook County Juvenile Court. Several years later, Mary was reassigned to the Law Division of the Circuit Court, where she presided over hundreds of personal injury lawsuits. In November 2013, Mary retired from the bench. From 2016 through 2021, Mary served as a member, and later Chair, of the Archdiocese of Chicago Independent Review Board, the Archdiocese’s forum for the receipt and consideration of all complaints of abuse by clergy and non-clerical archdiocesan employees. 

Mary and her husband, Joe Mulhern, spend a great deal of their time traveling, with Europe being a frequent destination. They have three grown daughters who live and work in the Chicago area and who spend many remote work sessions and summer weekends at Mary and Joe’s home near the beaches of Lake Michigan.


Hugh Toner - Ruth McGrath O'Keefe Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Award

Born the oldest of eleven children, Hugh Toner III, grew up in Chicago and was a member of St. Angela’s Parish. Hugh was first introduced to Rosary College as his mother, Maureen Buckley Toner ’54, attended Rosary and would bring Hugh to visit campus as a child. Additionally, two of Hugh’s great aunts were Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. Hugh was rooted in the Dominican spirit from an early age.

After graduating a year early from Campion High School, Hugh believes it to be an “act of Providence” that brought him to Rosary College in 1975. Hugh often says that he owes all he has accomplished in his life to Rosary College and the Dominican community. After graduating from Rosary in 1979, Hugh went on to law school at Loyola University, graduating in 1983. He later returned to Dominican University to earn his Masters of Business Administration in 1987 and his Masters of Conflict Resolution in 2019. As a triple alumnus of Dominican, Hugh deeply believes that “Caritas Veritas is real”. 

After completing his law degree, Hugh moved to Peoria, Illinois and began working as an Assistant State’s Attorney and became the first Assistant State’s Attorney in Fulton County. Hugh then began a private practice in 1992 and has spent over thirty years involved in the defense of serious crimes where the majority of his clientele are indigent. 

Hugh stills live in Peoria with his wife, Nancy Higgins, a retired speech-language pathologist, and their children: Brigid, a supervising engineer; Caroline, a speech-language pathologist; and Hugh IV ’17 (a Dominican University alumnus) an Assistant Public Defender in Tazewell County.