For Release: March 26, 2018
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GREAT FALLS, MONTANA – Deb Kottel is this year’s recipient for the Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart special award from the Sisters of Providence congregation. The award was announced on March 13 at the University of Providence and will be celebrated at the Annual Board, Faculty, and Staff Dinner on May 3 at the Best Western Heritage in starting at 4:15 p.m.

The Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart is awarded to one person within the areas where Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates of Mother Joseph are located, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Florida, Georgia, El Salvador, and the Philippines.

“Deb is a natural fit for this award,” says Anthony Aretz, president of University of Providence. “She exemplifies the values and courage of Mother Joseph through her volunteer work and how she interacts with each person that she comes across.”

Kottel believes in service learning and in 1990 started Camp SkyChild, a camp for children with a parent in prison. UP students help organize and run the camp. She is currently on the board of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Grace Home (for homeless veterans), and chairs the Community Health Clinic Board. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening.

Kottel teaches law, and coordinates the online paralegal program. She has been chair of the faculty, faculty representative to the board of trustees, and a leader of various faculty governance committees throughout her distinguished academic career. Her experience includes four terms as a Montana State Representative (1995-2009), as well as Commissioner of Transportation for the state. A Chicago native, Kottel moved to Montana in 1987.

The Mother Joseph Award is named in honor of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the first Superior of the Sisters of Providence in the West. Mother Joseph was a distinctive figure of early northwest history, a woman of extraordinary compassion and vision. When Mother Joseph arrived in the Washington Territory in 1856, she encountered a world of physical hardships, cultural and religious diversity, and rapid change. There were no hospitals, few schools, and little in the way of charitable services for those suffering the misfortunes of life on the frontier.

Equipped with simple tools, enormous gifts for creating and building, and a deep faith in divine providence, Mother Joseph and her sister companions stepped into the breach to fill these unmet needs. Under her leadership, more than 30 hospitals, schools, and homes were opened for orphans, the elderly, and the sick.

The University of Providence is a private Catholic university located in Great Falls, Montana. Founded in 1932, the university includes both a School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a School of Health Professions. For more information, go to www.uprovidence.edu.