Krusemark, Kemlage to be Honored by Benedictine College

  • Thursday, May 16, 2013

Benedictine College announced that two prominent alumni will be recipients of the annual Offeramus Medal and Kansas Monk Award.  Ruth Krusemak D.M.A ’73, will receive the 2013 Offeramus Medal and Thomas F. Kemlage D.D.S. ’83, will receive the 2013 Kansas Monk Award.  Both honors will be presented during the Alumni Reunion Banquet, set for 6 p.m. on June 15, 2013, in the College Cafeteria.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the banquet, please contact Kathy Garrison at 360.7427.  Tickets are $35 per person and include dinner, the ceremony, and dancing.  Business attire is suggested.

Mount St. Scholastica College, which joined with St. Benedict’s College in 1971 to form Benedictine College, established the Offeramus Medal in 1957 for alumnae who had distinguished themselves in their profession, showed a prominence of service to the civic community, demonstrated outstanding loyalty to the alma mater, and reflected honor on the college through family and social life.  In 1960, St. Benedict’s established the corresponding Kansas Monk Award for its graduates.

Ruth Krusemark

Ruth E. Krusemark is Professor and Chair of the Music Department at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.  In February she was named the “Mother Evangelista Kremmeter Professor of Benedictine Traditions and Values” at the annual Scholarship Ball in Kansas City.  This is the first endowed professorship in the history of Benedictine College. 

She became a full-time member of the Benedictine faculty in 1981 after five years of part-time teaching for the music department.  She was appointed department chair in 1987 and served as Head of the Division of Arts and Communication from 1998-2009. She began her organ studies at the age of 12 with Sr. Karlene Hoffmans, O.S.B. at Mount St. Scholastica College and presented her first solo organ concert at age 15. She received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Benedictine College in 1973, a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Kansas in 1976 and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in organ from the University of Kansas in 1998. 

Dr. Krusemark has performed as organist, pianist, accompanist, singer and choir director at more than three thousand venues during her career.  She has performed many organ recitals, including the University of Kansas, Northwest Missouri State University, Second Presbyterian Church of Kansas City, First Presbyterian Church of Leavenworth, Bethany Lutheran Church in Kansas City, and the Carnegie Arts Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. She was semi-finalist in the Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition at the University of Michigan. She has performed as piano soloist with the Benedictine-Atchison Symphony and the St. Joseph (Missouri) Symphony.  She and her brother, Dr. William Krusemark, baritone, toured Kansas with the Kansas Touring Artists Program during her early career. 

She directed the Benedictine College Chamber Singers, performing four times at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome for Pope John Paul II and once for Pope Benedict XVI.  She has received commissions for original compositions and in April, 2002, the Mayor of Atchison proclaimed “Ruth E. Krusemark Day” for her original Psalm settings for the Riverbend Concert Choir.  Two of her choral compositions, “Loving Lamb” and “Choral Benediction” are published by Oregon Catholic Press.  She is the composer of the Benedictine College Alma Mater, “O Lord of Ev’ry Blessing” with collaborators Stacy Niedbalski and Fr. Andrew Hofer.  She is currently in her 48th year as organist and choir director at the First Christian Church of Atchison.  She was the founding director of the Atchison “Peacemakers” from 1984-1996 and served as the Executive Director of the Atchison Musical Arts Society from 1992-1997.  Benedictine College named her the “Distinguished Educator of the Year” in 1994.  She will teach piano, organ and music theory at Benedictine College this fall. 

She is the mother of Jeffrey Wayne Pickman and Angela Christine Pickman ’01 and has three granddaughters: Miri, Charlie and Kat.

Dr. Thomas F. Kemlage

Tom Kemlage graduated from Benedictine College in 1983 with a degree in Biology and went on to the prestigious University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Dentistry.  He graduated from dental school with honors in 1988 and was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the honorary dental fraternity.

He has been practicing dentistry in St. Louis for over 25 years and has been selected by his peers as “Top Dentist in the St. Louis area” in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  He belongs to the Meramec Valley and St. Louis CEREC study clubs, working on ceramic dental reconstruction with new technology like 3D photography and CAD/CAM.  He also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Enterprise Bank.

He married Joan Moyer, whom he met while in college.  She graduated from Benedictine in 1985 with degrees in elementary and special education. The couple has three sons, Thad, Andrew, and Mitch. Thad is married and works for the St. Louis Cardinals and SchoolTube.  Mitch is a second year civil engineering student at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Andrew has followed in his father’s footsteps and is currently in his final year of dental school at the University of Missouri- Kansas City.  He will join his father’s dental practice in May of 2014.

The couple has belonged to Queen of All Saints Parish for the past 24 years. Kemlage was involved in the “Christ Renews His Parish” program, the athletic association, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, parish missions, and many other organizations.  He also coached his sons in baseball and basketball for 23 years.

He and Joan set up the Kemlage Biology Travel Fund at Benedictine College in 2008 in order to financially assist biology students and other science students with department research trips and other projects.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been consistently named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.  It has also been named a Leader in Educational Excellence by Colleges of Distinction as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by The Newman Guide and First Things magazine.  Benedictine prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.