Excellence in Cultural Programming
Eileen Donigan Curtis ‘68
Eileen Curtis has served as President of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce since 1994. In that role, she has led the chamber to a position as the largest chamber in Fairfax County with many awards for their work in preparedness for tomorrow’s workforce, as well as being a leader for diversity and 21st century issues. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute of Organization Management and of Leadership Fairfax. She has been recognized as Woman of the Year by the Herndon Business & Professional Women and as Chamber Executive of the Year by the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
In her former career as Music Director at WGMS Radio, Curtis produced many cultural documentaries that gained her a Peabody Award and a Silver Medal for the Arts from the Government of Austria. In the course of her radio career, she interviewed Red Skelton, Leonard Bernstein, Marilyn Horne, Jessye Norman, Erich Leinsdorf, Karlheinz Stockhausen and other celebrities. Among the many highlights of her career, she collaborated with pyrotechnographers from New York to create the music for the fireworks on the Washington Mall that accompanied the return of the Iranian hostages, for which she was thanked by President Reagan.
Curtis is also a published author.
Curtis holds a B.A. in Music from Caldwell College, a M.A.in Musicology from The Catholic University of America, and a certificate from the Mozarteum, Salzburg. Her hobbies include singing, reading, travel and all things Italian.
Excellence in Military Leadership
Colonel Christopher Doneski ‘90
With over 25 years of experience in the United States Army, Colonel Christopher Doneski has made a name for himself as a leader, expert observer, coach, and mentor. Doneski is known for his ability to maximize teamwork to ensure those under his command will succeed.
Currently stationed in Kuwait, Doneski is part of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). This team is responsible for running counter ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria.
Prior to his current deployment, Doneski worked as the acting Chief of Staff for III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, following serving as the senior brigade combat trainer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, where he was responsible for preparing brigades for combat in Afghanistan.
In 2015, Doneski was selected to serve as the Director of the Armored Warfighting Forum, which was established to generate professional discussion to enhance the professional and leader development of the Army’s maneuver warfare community.
Doneski also spent 19 months as a deputy brigade trainer at the Joint Multinational Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany. That followed a 16-month tour in Afghanistan as the brigade chief of operations for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, also known as the Sky Soldiers. During that tour he oversaw more than 4,000 troops.
Doneski holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Caldwell College, a M.B.A. from University of Maryland, and a Master’s of Strategic Studies from U.S. Army War College.
Excellence in Leadership and Service
Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski ‘56
Mary Louise Donnelly Doneski is a shining example of leadership, selfless service, Catholic values, scholarship, and motherhood, which has inspired all of her family to a life of service and left an indelible impression on all those who have been touched by her many acts of kindness and charity.
A trailblazer for women in the military (following in the footsteps of her mother, who worked in a munitions plant during serving in World War II, and an aunt who served in the U.S. Coast Guard), Doneski was the first woman to be commissioned as a Naval officer directly from a college or university in the State of New Jersey. As a lieutenant, Doneski was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Social traditions of the era, however, meant her military career ended when she married and became a mother.
Doneski continued to serve her country as a military spouse, supporting her husband’s career in the Army. She raised five children through nine family moves and her husband’s two deployments to Vietnam and Korea. Whatever the duty station, Doneski set the standard for military spouses. She mentored the spouses of more junior officers about the traditions of the military and protocol. Far ahead of her time, she served on the campaign staff for President Kennedy and worked to turn out the military vote while stationed in West Germany. Her independent spirit and self-directed service is now encouraged by the military, but it raised eyebrows of the military brass at the time. This service ethic was part of her Irish Catholic upbringing which placed strong emphasis on service to Church, community, and country.
For Doneski, selfless service and commitment to her community remain a constant. She has served in leadership positions in the Bethesda Woman’s Club for over 40 years. This club is extremely active in supporting local shelters and scholarships for students. She and her husband volunteer as Eucharistic Ministers at the Naval Chapel at the National Naval Medical Center/Walter Reed Army Hospital for nearly 40 years.
Doneski’s commitment to life-long education and service has also inspired all of her children. Doneski inspired her sons to choose long military careers and her daughters to also remain active in pursuing political change. Her children have had their hands in shaping healthcare policy for the elderly as well as children and playing integral roles in passing key environmental legislation, serving in senior-level staff positions in both the United House and Senate, providing pro-bono counsel to those without access to other resources, and serving in the United States Army and Air Force.
After observing their mother earn her master’s degree with five children under the age of 15, there was no acceptable excuse not to pursue advanced education. This includes four master’s degrees and a juris doctorate from Catholic University, all while excelling at their individual vocations.
Doneski’s family credits their accomplishments to the examples provided by their parents, who, in their words, “taught us the irreplaceable value of faith, family and service. They imprinted the value of education and the need to pursue social justice. They set conditions for each of us to excel in our professions and lead by example, as they have always done.”