Did you know? An award named after Sister Dorothy Drobis (RIP)
When Sister Dorothy Drobis, SP, (RIP) was preparing for her Golden Jubilee in 2002, she was excited. Many family members, friends and other Sisters of Providence were planning to attend a reception for her at the Mother Guerin High School cafeteria in River Grove, Illinois.
At the time, Sister Dorothy was living at the convent there. She was ministering as the coordinator of the memorial program at Misericordia Home, a community home for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
In preparation for the reception, Sister Dorothy’s cousin, Karen Sholeen, wasn’t sure what she wanted to offer as a gift.
“What do you give a nun for her Jubilee?” Karen asked. “A family memory book with letters from the family, which she treasured, was one item. But I also wanted to provide a gift that would honor her legacy as a teacher.”
Establishing an award
“UIC has one of the most diverse student bodies of universities in the United States,” she said. “Many students are first generation students and many are supported through Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.”
The Sister Dorothy Drobis award is given each spring. It goes to an outstanding junior or senior majoring in education who intends to teach in an urban environment. All applicants must be members of the UIC Honors College.
The award is based on academic excellence and leadership. Each recipient receives $1,000. Nineteen students have received the award since its inception. In 2021, Julia Starzycka received the award. She is a junior honors student majoring in teaching mathematics.
Karen said she always shared the biography of the recipient of the award with Sister Dorothy. She was unable to do so this year because Sister Dorothy passed away on Oct. 16, 2020.
‘So dear to her heart’
“Teaching was so dear to Sister Dorothy’s heart,” Karen said. “She was so happy to receive the biographies. I don’t know if she shared them. It was important to her that a student who wanted to be a teacher was receiving support and she would include the recipients in her prayers.
“I think when we announced the award she was surprised and honored and possibly a little bit embarrassed that the award was named after her. She was a very humble person.”
Karen’s donation and other donations from family support the award.
Sister Dorothy was a Chicago native and entered the Congregation in 1952. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Illinois University.
During her teaching ministry in Chicago, Sister Dorothy ministered at St. Sylvester (1970-73); St. Andrew (1973-76); Maternity BVM (1976-84); and St. Mark (1984-94).
She also ministered at other locations in Illinois as well as in Indiana, North Carolina and Oklahoma.