Yvonne Houle-Gillard

Yvonne Houle-Gillard SP'91.

Leading with Faith

By Deb Olsen Jacobe SP'82

For her service as "an exemplary role model for others," Yvonne Houle-Gillard SP'91 has been named a 2012 "Leading with Faith" award winner by The Catholic Spirit newspaper. She and nine others accepted their awards from Archbishop John C. Nienstedt at a noon luncheon held at St. Catherine University on Aug. 15.

Since 2002 The Catholic Spirit has honored business owners, managers and executives whose business practices reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church. Nominations come from within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Winners fall into three categories: large business, small business and nonprofit organizations.

Houle-Gillard, consumer/office IT manager at 3M Co., was nominated for her ethics and integrity both on and off the job. With a new company-wide computer system on the horizon, she has been proactive in arranging for IT employees to have the training and knowledge needed to move forward in their careers at 3M after the transition. Away from the workplace she serves at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota as parish council member, choir member, church cantor and religious education teacher.

"Yvonne is an exceptional example of 'leading with faith,'" says St. Catherine Vice President for External Relations Marjorie Mathison Hance SP'70, who nominated Houle-Gillard for the Catholic Spirit honor. "She brings her faith into every aspect of her work and interactions with others. She is an exemplary mother, spouse, business leader and volunteer."

Houle-Gillard devotes many of those volunteer hours to her alma mater. She is a member of the St. Catherine University Alumnae Council and served on the Board of Trustees for three years while president of the Alumnae Association. She helped guide the University through two significant changes: the transition from the College of St. Catherine to St. Catherine University, which took effect June 1, 2009, and the formerly freestanding Alumnae Association's integration into the University as a department in the External Relations division, which is headed by Mathison Hance.

Ruth Haag Brombach SP'60, St. Catherine University alumnae liaison, describes Houle-Gillard's leadership during these transitions. "She was a direct, insightful leader who managed the alumnae organization using the terrific skills that she has — business leadership, the ability to look into the future — all done in a framework of ethics and honor. She did a skillful job of asking the right questions, pulling out the right information, pointing out difficulties and moving ahead."

Houle-Gillard says it was particularly meaningful to receive this award on the St. Catherine campus, surrounded by family and friends. She speaks humbly about her accomplishments. "I've just been doing what my parents and mother-in-law have done all their lives — being active in their community."

To learn about all of the 2012 "Leading with Faith" award winners, visit The Catholic Spirit »


June Smith

Beloved library science professor dies

Ruth Haag Brombach SP'60

An inspiring and dedicated St. Catherine faculty member from 1956 to 1975 and chair of the Department of Library Science from 1960 to 1975, June Smeck Smith created a life that was meaningful, full and always interesting. She died on July 8, 2012, at the age of 95.

"Everything I know about being a good librarian, I learned from Mrs. Smith and Sister Marie Inez [Johnson SP'29]," said Therese Sherlock, CSJ, SP'62, a library science colleague and longtime friend of June Smith. "The skills and values they taught and embodied have carried over into all my endeavors."

Raised in Detroit, June Smith graduated from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. She worked for the Detroit Public Library and, during World War II, joined the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of first lieutenant.

After the war, June earned another degree in library science at the University of Chicago. There she met Hannis Smith and they married. In 1956, Hannis was asked to become state librarian in Minnesota and June was hired for the readers' services position at St. Kate's.

June Smith was very proud of the Title II-B grant that the Department of Library Science received from the U.S. Office of Education. It funded a two-week institute in June 1969 on serving disadvantaged adults. The grant was the first of its kind in Minnesota.

June served on the American Library Association's (ALA) Library Services to the Disadvantaged Committee and she chaired its subcommittee on Native Americans. In 1975, both June and Hannis were named the Minnesota Library Association's Librarian of the Year.

June and an alumna friend orchestrated a trip for a busload of residents from her most recent residence, an assisted living facility in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, to St. Catherine for a tour of Our Lady of Victory Chapel with a talk about its history and architecture.

The June Smeck Smith Fund, established by the Friends of the St. Catherine University Libraries, is used for the purchase of books on multiculturalism for the general collection of the St. Catherine University Libraries.