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Speakers and Honorees 2017

2017 Commencement Speaker

Vivian Onano ’14

Vivian Onano '14 gave the 2017 Commencement address.Vivian Onano ’14 is a women’s and girls’ advocate and youth leader who was born and raised in rural Kenya. Her arduous upbringing forged her strong commitment to education, to women, and to leadership. Ms. Onano has a deep interest in redefining Africa’s growth and development. A Moremi fellow, she is recognized as one the top 25 emerging women leaders with the courage to lead change on the African continent.

Ms. Onano is a partnerships manager at SEED Project. She is a global youth ambassador at Water Aid, Women Deliver Young Leader and a youth advisor to the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group. She also serves as the vice-chair of the Global Youth Empowerment Fund Board of Trustees and Women Deliver board member. New African Woman Magazine featured her in 2016 as one of the “30 under 30: Faces Changing Africa Now”, and Forbes Woman Africa profiled her as “One to Watch”. Ms. Onano is a recipient of the 2017 New African Woman on the Rise Award and 2016 MTV Africa Re-Imagined” Award for her relentless work as a youth advocate and leader.

Ms. Onano has held various leadership positions, including serving as a congressional district leader for ONE Campaign in Wisconsin, a campus advocate for the United Nations Association-USA, and a Half the Sky Movement community ambassador. She was also the education spokesperson for Moremi Africa, a global youth ambassador for A World At School, and a 2014 Change Maker Fellow with the Nantucket Project.

Ms. Onano has a diverse background working with a variety of organizations, including the MasterCard Foundation, where she served as an external reviewer for its youth scholarship program in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a blogger for The Huffington Post, she uses her oral and written communication skills in service of her passion: holistic and innovative approaches to solving community problems. Ms. Onano actively advocates for women’s and girls’ issues and youth empowerment.

Ms. Onano is a respected speaker who often speaks on global education, finding one’s passion and purpose, gender equality, youth entrepreneurship/empowerment, and international development. She has presented at the United Nations General Assembly, Women Deliver 4th Global Conference, Nexus Global Youth Summit, and the Clinton Global Initiative, among others. She also served as a United Nations youth representative and was profiled as one of the 70 outstanding leaders of United Nations Association USA. Intel featured Ms. Onano as a Girl Rising hero.

Vivian has a vision and dream to help create an inclusive world for everyone. She can be reached via Twitter (@vivianonano).

Watch Vivian Onano’s Commencement Address

2017 Carthage Flame Award

Jan Tarble

Jan Tarble, 88 (approximate), is an intelligent, strong-willed, confident woman. She is the daughter of the late Newton E. and Louise A. “Pat” Tarble. She had a very close relationship with her parents and was her mother’s caregiver as Mrs. Tarble aged.

Ms. Tarble studied art as an undergraduate at Stanford and UCLA. She is an accomplished painter and sculptor.

A bird-watching enthusiast, she was regarded as an expert in that field. She was a volunteer birder for the federal government and would spend several weeks in the Mojave Desert for a bird census, with living quarters in the back of her Jeep Cherokee.

Ms. Tarble was an exceptionally fine golfer. For several years she was the women’s golf champion at Bel-Air Country Club, where she has maintained a membership for decades.

Since her mother’s death, Ms. Tarble has contributed $37 million to Carthage through the Tarble Family Foundation:

  • Tarble Arena: $5 million (2008)
  • Campbell Student Union: $7 million (2010)
  • Science Center east wing: $10 million (2013)
  • Future career center: $15 million (2016)

Tarble is the most widely recognized and respected name on the Carthage campus, with the family’s transformational gifts to the College totaling close to $60 million. The family’s contributions also provided Pat Tarble Residence Hall and the N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center.

Carthage president Gregory S. Woodward called the Tarbles’ dedication to higher education inspiring, underscoring their belief in its ability to shape a brighter future for the world. And he said their specific support of Carthage “has laid the foundation for one of the most powerful personal relationships between a donor and a higher education institution in America.”

Newton Tarble was one of the principal founders of Kenosha’s Snap-on Inc. in 1920. He retired from Snap-on as vice president and sales manager in 1935 and continued as a director of the company until his death in 1976. Pat Tarble was a Chicago native who moved to California with her family in the 1940s.

The Tarbles became involved with Carthage when Snap-on executives supported the College’s move to Kenosha from Illinois in the early 1960s. In addition to Carthage, the Tarble family has been a longtime major contributor to Saint John’s Health Center in Los Angeles, Eastern Illinois University, Swarthmore College, and other important charities.

2017 Carthage New Town Award

Bob Lee Sr.

Bob Lee Sr. received the 2017 Carthage College New Town Award at the commencement ceremony of the Class of 2017, Sunday, May 21, 2017.Robert “Bob” Lee Sr., 79 (born in April) is gregarious, hard-working, and an avid baseball fan. He has a fiery attitude and enthusiasm that makes others gravitate to him.

A Bradford High School (Kenosha) graduate, Mr. Lee was a left-handed pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves organization from 1955 to 1958 until shoulder problems and plans to start a family pushed him into a new career. In 1957, he married Natalie Ann “Tootie” Lee.

With his knowledge as a skilled tradesman, Mr. Lee left the security of a union shop to start his own business in Kenosha in 1976. More than 40 years later, Lee Plumbing is still a fixture in the community.

Bob Lasky at Lasky Electric referred Lee Plumbing to Arthur Villup, then the business manager at Carthage. Realizing that the College’s heating system was plumbed backward, the company corrected the problem and returned to Carthage annually for many years.

The company is now a multimillion-dollar, full-service mechanical contractor with a dozen full-time employees. Its success has in large part been due to treating people right — a business philosophy Mr. Lee held dear and has passed down to his son, Bob Lee Jr.

While building his business, Mr. Lee did not stray far from baseball. With a group of friends, he brought the Minnesota Twins’ Class A affiliate to Kenosha in 1984 and served as team president through 1991. Now living in Burlington, Wisconsin, he has continued to use his baseball connections, knowledge and passion to help coaches and players.

Mr. Lee was Catholic Central High School’s pitching coach in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He later declined an invitation to help coach at Burlington High School, not wanting to take time away from his wife. After Mrs. Lee’s death in 2015, he needed something to stay busy and began working with the team’s pitchers in an unpaid position.

Mr. and Mrs. Lee have been generous donors to Carthage and its baseball program. In addition, Mr. Lee has been a continuously active member of the Carthage Business and Professional Coalition since its founding more than 20 years ago.

The couple supported a number of other community programs with their time and money. Mr. Lee is an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burlington.

2017 Distinguished Senior Award

Tim Tennyson ’17

Tim Tennyson '17, recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Senior Award, speaks to his fellow graduates at the 2017 Commencement Ceremony, Sunday, May 21, 2017.As the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Senior Award, Tim Tennyson ’17 delivered the senior class address.

Tim is a political science major from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. After starting his college education at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, he won a Fall Transfer Scholarship and came to Carthage in 2014.

In 2016, Tim received the Eric H. Olson and Anna Olson-Thom Scholarship for achievement in political science, and he maintained a 4.0 GPA. His nuanced senior thesis, “On Hobbes’s Treatment of Punishment In ‘Leviathan,’” drew praise from Carthage faculty.

For the past two years, Tim worked as a writing fellow in the Brainard Writing Center. He took on a leadership role as monitor of the center’s online services and gave class presentations on writing tips and plagiarism.

In addition, he served as vice president of the Running Club and participated in Pre-Law Club, national political science honor society Phi Sigma Alpha, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

In the wider Kenosha community, Tim taught young students at the Civil War Museum, helped to run sports camps at Christian Life High School, and greeted fellow worshipers at Journey Church.

Next year, Tim plans to teach English in China under the auspices of the Council on International Educational Exchange. Afterward, he expects to pursue an advanced degree in political theory and become a college professor.