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Two New Hires for the Advancement Team

Sammie Emsick Becker ’05 has accepted the Director of Events position at Mercy High School and began her new role on June 13, 2022.

Since graduating from Mercy, Sammie earned a bachelor in elementary education, a certificate in Catholic School leadership, and most recently, a Master of Science in educational leadership. Outside classroom teaching, she has served as the athletic director for St. James for the past three years where, in conjunction with supervising all things athletics, annually planned the “Spring Fling” fundraiser where dollars raised went straight to the athletic program. Her most recent “Spring Fling” event set a record for money raised for St. James. She further has event planning experience by way of her time at Dundee Bank, where she was the community involvement coordinator and worked closely with various Omaha businesses to promote and grow relationships with key stakeholders of the bank via special events.

She’s married to Tyler Becker and has two boys Ty (12) and Drew (10). 
Welcome back to Mercy Sammie!

Brian Altenhofen began his new position as Director of Marketing and Communications on July 5th.

He comes to Mercy with a wealth of knowledge having earned a doctorate degree in communication and technology studies from Texas A&M University and teaching at Truman State University for the past five years. He also served as the Director of the Truman Leadership Scholars, mentoring and programming leadership experiences for Truman Scholars. Prior to his academic career he spent five years as a Jesuit Scholastic.

He is married to Michaela Cullan Altenhofen who will return to Mary Our Queen Catholic School teaching 3rd grade. They have four children Dylan (16), Lily (9), Dominic (7), and Clara (3). 



Moving Forward Despite Challenges

October 10, 2018
By Deb Daley

Perseverance and a thirst for knowledge are two traits that have been a consistent part of Sarah Ruff’s ‘15 young life. Despite severe epilepsy that started in the 8th grade, she graduated from Mercy and is finishing her degree in Journalism/Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

While attending Mercy she was part of the Golden Girls, spirit club, and worked at a local grocery store. Her younger sister, Therese Ruff now attends the school.

“At Mercy they not only helped with my studies; students and faculty and staff were always there to help you along the way. They helped me believe I could do anything, and I made friends for life,” she said.

That belief has come in handy because of health obstacles that have tried to get in the way. She has always been intrigued by the political process and hopes to work on a newspaper writing about politics.

She has had two major brain surgeries to implant electrical devices designed to counter the onset of her com-plex partial seizures and short-circuit them. She has undergone observation and induced seizures at UNMC and at Mayo Clinic in Rochester before placement of these devices to help guide the surgeons to the right spot of the brain.

With her condition she cannot drive, but she is hoping to move to Minneapolis, which has a very good public transportation system. 

Unfortunately, she tends to wander during a seizure, unaware of her surroundings and sometimes crossing busy streets, walking through parking lots, leaving class and walking through campus, even dialing friends’ numbers and talking, but not realizing what she is doing. 

Her family is currently raising money for a service dog (at a $28,000 price tag) to help her keep safe and cope with these challenges. 

Although life has put obstacles in her way. Sarah’s spirit and tenacity will serve her well as she journeys forward as a Woman of Mercy. 

Have ideas for other alumnae features, contact Deborah Daley, Communications and Marketing Director,

Posted in Featured Alumnae