On October 14, 2016, Judy Turba, co-director of the Norbertine Center for Spirituality at St. Norbert Abbey and 1976 graduate of St. Norbert College (SNC), was honored with the college’s 2016 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the Norbertine Community.
Judy Turba’s service to the college and to the greater Catholic, Norbertine community is as remarkable for its variety as it is for its quality.
Her career has taken her from Abbot Pennings High School to Notre Dame de la Baie Academy to SNC, and ultimately to St. Norbert Abbey itself. She has distinguished herself at every stop.
At the high schools, Turba was an educator, an administrator, and a loving and caring counselor—roles she later continued at SNC. There, she worked in the counseling center, taught in the Freshman Seminar program, and directed the PEER Educators program, guiding students in developing vitally important programming for their peers on difficult subjects like substance abuse and sexual assault.
Turba later became coordinator of the women’s center at the college, and later still, its director of alumni and parent relations. In every role, Turba brought not only a strong set of skills—exceptional interpersonal communication leading that list—but also personal qualities marveled at by everyone who wrote in support of her nomination. They cited her sensitivity … compassion … humor … commitment … inclusivity … grace … poise. One advocate spoke of the feeling of joy he experienced whenever Turba welcomed his return to campus.
Nowhere were those qualities more evident than in the next phase of Turba’s career, when she assumed a variety of roles at St. Norbert Abbey. She serves as the highly skilled executive editor of Abbey Magazine and as the public relations coordinator for the abbey itself, in addition to her primary role within the Norbertine Center for Spirituality (initially as program coordinator and eventually as co-director). Her impact on the center has been profound: Under Turba’s leadership, the number of offerings blossomed from 18 to more than 200 individual programs and retreats, and more than 10,000 visitors now come to the center each year. There, they are greeted with warmth and love by Turba and her staff, and are invited to engage in programs dedicated to mind, body and spirit—many led by Turba herself.
… few have helped us advance our mission further than Judy (Sprangers) Turba.
—Fr. James Baraniak, O. Praem.
Fr. James Baraniak, O. Praem., prior of St. Norbert Abbey and 1988 graduate of SNC, ministered closely with “Ms. Turba” at Abbot Pennings High School, at SNC, and most recently at St. Norbert Abbey. Drawing upon the mission statement of St. Norbert Abbey, Fr. Baraniak shared, “The Norbertine community is blessed tremendously by our association with so many women and men who minister to us and among us. Given her years of service to the order and the great diversity of Norbertine apostolates where Judy has selflessly served, few have helped us advance our mission further than Judy (Sprangers) Turba. ‘Co-workers in the vineyard’ such as Judy boldly empower us to ‘face the future in openness, hope, and courage.’ ”
Not surprisingly, Turba’s good works extend beyond the professional realm. She has served on the boards of Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, the YWCA, Heritage Hill State Historical Park, and St. Mary’s Hospital’s “A Woman’s Place.” She also has visited Zambia twice, giving generously of her time and energy to the Friends of Zambia Project, working to meet the educational needs of Zambia’s poorest of the poor children.
Catholic education and Norbertine outreach in the Green Bay area owe Turba a great debt. SNC, itself a blessed beneficiary of Turba’s work, gratefully bestows on her the Distinguished Service to the Norbertine Community Award.
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