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Alumni Spotlight: Madonna (Warrenburg) Wagner '87

Madonna (Warrenburg) Wagner '87 has worked for the Indianapolis Zoo for seven years. Three years ago the zoo opened the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, where guests can get face to face with the primates.

Name: Madonna (Warrenburg) Wagner
Year of Scecina Graduation: 1987
College/University: Ball State University
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Current Position: Vice President of Finance and IT, Chief Financial Officer of the Indianapolis Zoo

“I strive to work hard and to go above and beyond what is expected, Scecina taught me that, and I attribute those values to the successes I have enjoyed.”Madonna (Warrenburg) Wagner ‘87 

By Rose Branson, Alumni and Donor Relations Coordinator

Madonna (Warrenburg) Wagner ’87 recently was named the 2016 CFO of the Year by the Indianapolis Business Journal (you can read here). Madonna was honored to receive this high recognition for her role at the Indianapolis Zoo.

I visited Madonna at the Zoo to talk about her work and her path through Scecina and beyond. Walking through the warm Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center on a chilly February day, I easily could sense Madonna’s passion for the Indianapolis Zoo and its mission of education, research and conservation. She rattled off the names of the orangutans and could recognize them and speak about their individual personalities. She was excited to show us 1-year-old Max, who recently had arrived from the Jackson Zoo in Mississippi, but the little guy and his mom still were getting acclimated to the other orangutans before entering the exhibit. Madonna clearly has a job she loves every day and is passionate about.

“I am blessed to work with awesome dedicated employees, visionary leaders and supportive Board members,” Madonna said. “Our mission is to empower people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation, so we aren’t just running a zoo, but we are a global leader in saving animal species. It’s a passionate pursuit and one that I feel makes Hoosiers proud. I know I am on a daily basis.”

Madonna grew up in a Crusader household and attended Our Lady of Lourdes. Her father, Jim Warrenburg ’64, sister Katy (Warrenburg) Underwood ’84, aunts and uncles, and countless cousins all attended Scecina. And last, but not least, Madonna met her husband, Chris Wagner ’87, by asking him to the Turnabout Dance senior year. He said “yes”, and they were voted “cutest couple” by their class. Madonna and Chris just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have a son, Kevin, who is currently a sophomore at Wabash College majoring in Economics and Mathematics. Chris also has strong ties to Scecina. All of his siblings and two nephews are graduates while two nephews currently attend.

 Madonna was guided to her calling in life through exploring different classes at Scecina.  “During my senior year, I took my first Accounting class with Mrs. Chenoweth and I loved it! I went on to Ball State and majored in Accounting and have been in the field for 20-plus years,” she said. 

Madonna now is a member of the Indianapolis Zoo’s senior leadership team and is involved in all aspects of the Zoo’s operations, including the annual business planning process and strategic planning. She also oversees the Zoo’s finance and technology departments. 

Madonna, a founding member of the newly established Scecina Women’s Circle, feels the importance of giving back and volunteering. 

“Looking back, I see how the dedication of the Scecina faculty and staff had a positive impact in my life,” she said. “You aspire to be like the role models around you, and I was surrounded by hard-working, devoted and kind people at Scecina who always gave that little extra.” 

You can learn more about the Indianapolis Zoo here: 

“The Indianapolis Zoo is not supported by tax revenues and is totally supported by visitors, members, and donors.” – Madonna 

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