St Thomas Day 2024

St. Thomas Day Elevates Work of Seven Outstanding Tommies

Tommies everywhere seek to inspire change as they live and extend the St. Thomas mission. With approximately 120,000 alumni worldwide, that’s a huge impact.

The University of St. Thomas elevates their extraordinary contributions at the annual St. Thomas Day celebration. Held this year on April 24, seven exemplary individuals – students, faculty and alumni – were honored for their work on campus, in our local communities and around the world.

The 2024 recipients toasted at a special dinner are:

  • Monsignor James Lavin Award – Father John Malone ’63, ’67 MA
  • Professor of the Year Award – Dr. Terry Langan
  • Humanitarian Award – Rick Campion ’90 and Chancey Anderson ’11 MA
  • Tommie Award – Nguyen (Lucky) Phan ’24
  • Distinguished Alumna Award – Rosa Miller ’88
  • Spirit of St. Thomas Award – Jazz Hampton ’12, ’15 J.D.

Monsignor James Lavin Award – Father John Malone ’63, '67 MA

The Monsignor James Lavin Award honors an alumnus or alumna for outstanding contributions and service to St. Thomas.

Throughout his more than 40 years at St. Thomas and 56 years as a priest, Father John Malone became known for many things: a larger-than-life personality, puckish sense of humor and enduring commitment to service.

Ordained in 1967 at The Saint Paul Seminary, Malone would go on to earn a law degree and taught business law at St. Thomas. He retired as St. Thomas’ vice president of mission in 2015. Along the way, he offered free legal services to people and students who couldn’t afford a lawyer.

“That’s the whole reason I wanted to get into law, was to be able to help people who needed the help,” Malone said.

Malone’s other honors include the 1999 Ramsey County Bar Association’s Humanitarian Award and the 2004 St. Thomas More Award from the Lawyers Guild of St. Thomas More.

“Service is the definition of his life,” said Father Dennis Dease ’72, who served as the 14th president of the University of St. Thomas from 1991-2014. “He’s the poster priest for service.”

Professor of the Year – Dr. Terry Langan

Professor of the Year recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. The recipient is selected by his or her faculty colleagues.

A proud Johnny alum, but a dedicated Tommie, Dr. Terry Langan is an associate professor of economics and specializes in industrial organization and managerial economics. Graduating from longstanding rival Saint John’s University with degrees in mathematics and economics, Langan joined St. Thomas as a full-time faculty member in 1990.

Over his more than three decades at St. Thomas, Langan proved he’s a Tommie through and through, serving previously as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as chair of the Department of Economics. Beloved by students as an "everyday guy who they admire,” staff and faculty point to Langan’s devotion to the university’s mission.

“He believes in the people that make up this place and he believes what we can offer here at St. Thomas,” said Dr. Amy Finnegan, an associate professor of American culture and difference.

Humanitarian Award – Rick Campion ’90 and Chancey Anderson ’11 MA

The Humanitarian Award recognizes contributions to the betterment of the spiritual and material welfare of the less fortunate.

Passionate educators, Rick Campion and Chancey Anderson founded Prodeo Academy, a college preparatory school with Twin Cities campuses in Columbia Heights and St. Paul. Interested in creating a place that could further close the education opportunity gap, Prodeo offers free public education to traditionally undervalued communities.

“I think it takes real courage to say that better is possible and then to actually take action on that,” said Steven Ward, principal at Prodeo Academy Columbia Heights. “A lot of people can conceptualize what is wrong with education but Rick and Chancey have done something about it.”

Campion and Anderson believe that to substantially address the educational opportunity gap, access to high-impact educational experiences needs to begin when students start kindergarten. Prodeo Academy opened its doors in fall 2013 with three kindergarten classrooms and each year adds another grade level.

“No matter what happens it doesn’t change the fact that our destiny is tied to theirs, our success is tied to theirs and so as they grow, we grow,” Campion said.

Tommie Award – Nguyen (Lucky) Phan ’24

The Tommie Award is sponsored annually by the Division of Student Affairs and honors a senior selected by students, faculty and staff as best representing St. Thomas Aquinas’ ideals of scholarship, leadership and campus involvement.

International student Nguyen (Lucky) Phan has built a home for herself at St. Thomas. Hailing from Da Nang, Vietnam, Phan quickly immersed herself on campus, serving as a resident assistant, president of ASIA Club, and vice president of Undergraduate Business Council. But to her fellow students and professors, Phan is much more than her resume.

“She just comes into the room with this brightness and enthusiasm and genuine caring for those she knows, but she also works to bring other people in,” said Dr. Mike Porter, a distinguished service faculty in the marketing department at the Opus College of Business. He has gotten to know Phan through the Friendship Family program, which matches international students with Twin Cities families.

The operations and supply chain management major has accepted a job as an analyst at Andersen Corporation, fulfilling her dream of staying in Minnesota after graduation. Despite missing family and friends back home in Vietnam, Phan said she’s found a new place to belong.

“It’s the community that I built, it’s the friends that I meet, and all the meaningful encounters that I had,” Phan said. “St. Thomas is my second home.”

Distinguished Alumnus Award – Rosa Miller ’88

The Distinguished Alumnus Award honors an individual for leadership and service to St. Thomas, the community and in his or her field of endeavor.

Rosa Miller is the retired vice president of Latin America Global Channel Services, Pacific and Atlantic Branches at 3M. Kicking off her career at 3M as a process engineer in research and development, she rose through the ranks, eventually leading thousands of employees and dozens of facilities around the globe.

Miller earned an MIM in international business management from the University of St. Thomas in 1988 and never really left. She currently serves on the School of Engineering Board of Governors and was instrumental in the founding of the Dougherty Family College.

“Love and action, that’s Miss Rosa,” said Dr. Buffy Smith, dean and Frey Endowed Chair at Dougherty Family College. “When I think about the women at DFC, I see Miss Rosa’s legacy. She’s a role model for our scholars and she’s a role model for me.”

While at 3M, Miller volunteered to teach math and science to help students within the 3M Tutoring Program for children. She also co-founded 3M’s Visiting Women Scientists program.

“She sees the power of engineering in terms of what it means for students, and that path is really boundless as she’s shown,” said Dr. Don Weinkauf, dean of the School of Engineering. “She’s challenged us to steer our attention towards this pipeline of diverse engineering talent.”

Spirit of St. Thomas Award – Jazz Hampton ’12, ’15 J.D.

The Spirit of St. Thomas Award honors the professional and personal achievements of Tommies under the age of 40. Introduced in 2022, this is the newest alumni recognition award.

Jazz Hampton is CEO and general counsel at TurnSignl, a Minnesota-based tech company he co-founded that provides real-time legal guidance from an attorney to drivers, all while their camera records the interaction. When drivers are stopped by law enforcement officers or involved in a car accident, they can access live video chat with an attorney at the press of a button.

“I think Jazz embodies well what the Spirit of St. Thomas award signifies. He and his team are doing phenomenal work and helping serve the country as a whole, but especially communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by injustices in relation to law enforcement,” said friend Solomon Anderson ’13, a fellow Tommie.

Before co-founding TurnSignl, Hampton was the director of diversity and inclusion and a practicing attorney at Foley & Mansfield, a national law firm with more than 150 attorneys. With true Tommie spirit, Hampton is a dual-degree alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2012 and a J.D. in 2015.

“I loved my experience at St. Thomas. I opened a letter one day and found out I was awarded a scholarship that made everything possible,” Hampton said. “There was no doubt I was going to be a Tommie for the rest of my life.”

Recently, Hampton returned to campus as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurial finance. As an alum, he has also served as a law school mentor and judge at Schulze School of Entrepreneurship competitions. The Business Journal named Jazz as a “40 Under 40” in 2022 and one of the “200 Black Leaders” in the Twin Cities region in 2023.

Award recipient videos produced by Nick Clausen, Brad Jacobsen ’86, Sai Kallur ’25, Lindsey Seavert and Greg Vandegrift. Additional media provided by Great North Innocence Project, Prodeo Academy and TurnSignl.