Thursday, October 8th

Sister Alice Hess, I.H.M., a mathematics teacher at Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia, has been recognized by The University of Chicago with its Outstanding Educator Award. Sister Alice was nominated for the award by Mathias Davila, a member of Archbishop Ryan’s Class of 2020 and a freshman at The University of Chicago.

In speaking about the nomination, Mathias said, “Prior to taking her [Sister Alice’s] classes, I had no idea what to study in college. After taking her classes, I started to realize how interesting and cool mathematics can be. She inspired me to become a math major.” Davila continued, “Sister Alice also has always pushed me to become a better student, a better worker, a better Catholic, and a better person with her character and teachings in class.”

Sister Alice has taught mathematics for 50 years and most recently at Archbishop Ryan High School. In addition to being recognized by The University of Chicago, Sister is a national Presidential Awardee, Tandy Technology Scholar, and two-time national Mary Dolciani Scholarship recipient. She has published numerous articles in professional journals and has conducted in-service presentations nationwide on subjects ranging from algebra to statistics and calculus.

Sister is a certified National Teacher Teaching with Technology Instructor, AP Statistics Reader and College Board Consultant, and served on the editorial panel for the N.C.T.M. 2006 Yearbook. In addition, Sister Alice was honored as Outstanding Mathematics Teacher by The Institute for Operations Research and The Management Sciences and was chosen by USA Today as one of the top 20 educators in the nation.  Sister was honored by the National Catholic Educational Association for years of Distinguished Service to Catholic Education and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters by Holy Family University.  Sister also received the Siemens Award for Excellence in Teaching Advanced Placement Mathematics and was selected as one of five teachers nationally to be named a United States Department of Education 2008 American Star of Teaching.  

Background information on The University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award

Every year, The University of Chicago gives newly admitted students the opportunity to recognize the educators who have made a difference in their lives.  And every year, over a third of the incoming class responds with stories that are truly inspiring.  The University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award recognizes all teachers who are nominated. For more information about the award, please click here

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Editor’s Note: For information about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit  For information about Faith in the Future Foundation, please visit For additional information about Archbishop Ryan High School, please visit

For a photo of Sister Alice Hess, I.H.M., please email