Alumna Veritas Award

The St. Agnes Academy Alumnae Veritas Award and is awarded each year to an alumna that exhibits dedication to the St. Agnes community, and the community as a whole; as well compassion for humanity and achievements academically, professionally, and/or in leadership roles. It was established in 2004 and since then, the St. Agnes Academy Alumnae Board and St. Agnes Young Professionals Organization Board honors an alumna with the Veritas Award.

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  • 2018 Veritas Award Winner

    Congratulations to 2018 Veritas Award winner LAURI SCHNEIDAU RUIZ ’77!
    Lauri is the 2019 Chair of the Dominican Family of Houston. Members of the Dominican Family are called to embody the Dominican charism, seek Truth, preach the word of God, and promote the dignity of all persons. As part of the global Dominican Family, they commit themselves to lives rooted in prayer, study, community and preaching. They do a variety of great projects in and around the city, including working to stop sex trafficking in Houston. She is a former St. Agnes Advancement Committee member, SAA Alumnae Board chair, gala volunteer, Career Day speaker, and was the 2012 Generations Breakfast keynote speaker. Lauri and her four sisters all attended St. Agnes. She and her husband, Joe, have four children; a son, Paolo, and three Academy women; Leila ’12, Natalia ’14 and Analisa ’16. Lauri is Senior Assistant General Counsel at the University of Houston.

    Lauri will be honored prior to the 2018 St. Agnes Reunion on October 6. All are welcome!
  • Veritas Award Past Recipients

    2017 – Shannon Beirne Wiesedeppe ’90
    2016 – Katie Upton Daily ’96
    2015 - Diane Knebel Watler ’72
    2014 – Conception Diaz-Arrastia Green ’78
    2013 – Carolyn Carbajal McCairns ’57
    2012 - Sr. Carol Mayes, O.P. '56
    2011 - Charla Ward Trader '64
    2010 - Mary Ann Chambers '57
    2009 - Debbie Sieck '87
    2008 - Kathy Kokas '73
    2007 - Janet Kingham Greenwood '57
    2006 - Sister Therese Warden, O.P. '51
    2005 - Eileen Antill '51
    2004 - Calista Schneidau Herbert '69


The SAYPO (St. Agnes Young Professionals Organization) Award recognizes an individual who is pursuing excellence in her career and is an outstanding representative of St. Agnes in the community. It was established in 2015 and is voted on annually by the SAYPO Board.

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  • 2018 St. Agnes Young Professionals Organization (SAYPO) Award Winner

    Congratulations to 2018 SAYPO Award winner AMMIE HUDSON BLAHUTA ’98!
    Inspired by her daughter, Sadie, Ammie founded GiGi's Playhouse in 2015. Her hard work and dedication empowers individuals with Down syndrome by providing free, direct educational and therapeutic programs to those with Down syndrome, their families and the community. Ammie was recently honored by the Suburban Sugar Land Women at their annual National Women's History Project which recognizes and celebrates the diverse and historic accomplishments of women. Ammie is currently the Director of Special Programs at The George Foundation, an organization that invests in Fort Bend County to enhance the community and the quality of life of those in need.
    Ammie will be honored prior to the 2018 St. Agnes Reunion on October 6. All are welcome!

  • SAYPO Award Past Recipients

    2017- Madeline Burns ’09 
    2016 – Sara Brandino Elias ’99
    2015 (Inaugural) - Andrea Ivey Phillips ’04

2018 Veritas & SAYPO Winners

Alumnae award winners LAURI SCHNEIDAU RUIZ ’77 (top)  and AMMIE HUDSON BLAHUTA ’98 were honored prior to the 2018 St. Agnes Reunion on October 6. 

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  • Diane Knebel Watler ’72 by Mary Large Albrecht ’72

    “I am writing to you about Diane Knebel Watler, the soon-to-be 2015 SAA Alumnae Veritas Award recipient!” That’s how I started my paragraph nominating Diane Watler for the Veritas Award. In July, we all received an email from St. Agnes requesting nominations. The award would be presented to an alumna who exhibits outstanding dedication to, support for and love of St. Agnes. Several of us girlfriends immediately recognized our good friend Diane in that description. If ever there was a St. Agnes graduate deserving of this award, it is Diane.

    When St. Agnes asked me to say a few words about Diane, I thought the best way to do that would be to share the thoughts of the girlfriends who helped to nominate her. We all agreed on how involved she was at St. Agnes, not only while we were in school from 1968 to 1972, but also all the years since then. She was very involved with St. Agnes Student Council during that time, including being our Student Body president for 2 years. Since graduating from SAA Diane has been a dedicated and constant supporter; she is a salesperson for St Agnes in all that she does. She keeps all of her classmates "plugged in" to all things that affect the school. She has been an active volunteer at St. Agnes galas and auctions and phone fundraisers. She also served on the alumnae board. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Diane was on the board when this award was first being implemented in 2004. How fitting that an award designed to recognize service to an alum of SAA would eventually be awarded to one of those who implemented this award to recognize the contributions of others.

    In addition to her dedication to SAA, Diane was President of her sorority, Alpha Delta Phi, while attending the University of Texas. She also chaired the auction at The Edna Gladney Center for Adoption, an organization very special to Diane. And she chaired school auctions at St.Vincent de Paul Catholic School. As you can tell, Diane likes to be involved. There is no job too big or too small for her.

    Diane’s can do and will do attitude is inspiring. All of Diane’s classmates recognize that even more important than all of Diane’s involvement, however, is the strength of her faith. Her remarkable perseverance, optimism and sense of duty keep her strong in spite of the hardships and adversity that life presents. She greets each of us with smiles and hugs, always reminding us how very blessed we all are. She is such a positive person and her strong spirituality is an inspiration to anyone who meets her. She is always looking at life with her glass half full and her eyes wide open.

    Diane, you are the Best of what IS St. Agnes. Congratulations and love from all of us.
  • Andrea Ivey Phillips ’04 by Cathleen Gready Fishel ’04

    What Andrea has done in 2 years, most people can’t in 10. She is an inspiration to me and many who love fashion. Her journey began in the halls of St. Agnes Academy. I remember Andrea’s good work ethic, even taking lunches to study in the library. After graduating from Vanderbilt, she landed a prestigious investment banking job. Aspiring to do more and wanting to exercise her creativity, she decided to pursue her MBA at Rice University which prepared her with the skills to start her own business.

    In April 2013, Andrea and her husband, Oliver, moved to Dubai. Andrea became frustrated with the limited availability of the clothing selection as well as the price tag. This situation inspired her to start her own clothing line. Gathering only the best European fabric and creating beautiful silhouettes, AG Phillips was born. Due to job transfer for Oliver, the two moved to London in January of 2014. Fast forward a year and half Andrea’s line is in Tootsies, Neiman Marcus across the country and various high-end boutiques in several states.

    Andrea is deserving of this award because her perseverance, creativity and success. She is a true Academy woman and this is just the beginning of her career. Move over Elaine Turner, Kendra Scott and, dare I say, Chanel.