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Franco Named First Recipient of Alumna Award

March 15, 2017
By Deb Daley

Theresa Franco ’74 is the first-ever recipient of the Distinguished Woman of Mercy Alumna Award given by the Mercy High School Alumnae Association. Franco, a 1974 graduate, is the Vice President, Cancer Services and Radiology, at Nebraska Medicine. The announcement was made at the school’s annual FIESTA on February 25 but she will receive the award at the school’s 2017 All-School Reunion on Sunday, June 4 at Mercy.

The new award recognizes an alumna for her outstanding achievements, service and contributions, which promote the growth of faith, knowledge, and service in her career, community and/or society. As the recipient of this award, the honoree is someone who is respected by peers, outstanding in her field, and promotes society in a way that benefits many people.

Franco is responsible for comprehensive cancer care program development. With over 30 years’ experience in cancer care, Franco is the Clinical Leader overseeing the development of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center on the Nebraska medicine campus. She has published, presented nationally and internationally on a variety of cancer program topics, and has served on several advisory boards to improve cancer care delivery. A member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Best Practices Committee since its inception, Franco also serves on the NCCN Board. Her resume also boasts other board memberships including Creighton University College of Nursing Alumni Board, the American Cancer Society, and the Josie Harper Hospice House.

She is known as someone whose commitment to the care and treatment of cancer patients and families is grounded in her faith and was reinforced during her days at Mercy. For instance, she starts each day reading a reflection from the book, “ Jesus Calling.”

In nominating Franco for the award, the nominator said, “Theresa’s works of mercy include counseling the doubtful and comforting the sorrowful. A person’s faith can be shaken when given the diagnosis of cancer and with Theresa the person comes first. Be it a colleague, friend, family or complete stranger, she has spent countless hours patiently answering questions, giving comfort and even helping set up medical consultations. Her compassionate, loving spirit responds instantaneously to the needs of others.”

The active alumna regularly attends Mercy events and supports the school. She previously served on the Alumnae Council and her Mercy connections are very deep. Her mother Louise Battaglia Franco, SM ’50 as well as four sisters and four nieces are Mercy graduates.

She has received numerous other awards including the Creighton University School of Nursing Alumni Merit Award, Leadership Development Award, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Carol M. Wilson Award for Quality in Nursing, and “Caring Kind Employee of the Year,”Nebraska Hospital Association.

“Theresa is a compassionate leader who exemplifies all that is good about Mercy High School. She is a worthy first recipient of the Distinguished Woman of Mercy Alumna Award and an excellent role model to all alumnae,” said Sr. Delores Hannon, RSM, President of the school.