Alumna and trustee emerita Sandra Kamman Butler died on March 10, 2017, at the age of 83. Her leadership at St. Catherine University has left a legacy.
Butler was the first alumna and the first woman to serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees at St. Kate’s. A Trustee from 1983 to 1992, she served as chair from 1984 to 1988 and was on the President’s Forum Executive Committee from 1987 to 1990, as well as a member of the Distinguished Women’s Advisory Council from 1993 to 1995.
She also chaired the Campaign for St. Catherine (1990-93). The centerpiece of the campaign was the Aimee and Patrick Butler Center for Sports and Fitness and the Butler Family Foundation, where Butler served as program director, gave a lead gift of $1 million toward the athletics building, named in honor of her parents-in-law.
She received the St. Catherine Alumnae Award in 1982, and was honored as one of the Centennial 100 during St. Kate’s centennial celebration in 2005.
Butler was he first program director for the Butler Family Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation became a lead philanthropic supporter of women-focused programs, providing early funding for Chrysalis, Domestic Abuse Project, Jeremiah Program, Tubman Family Alliance and Women’s Advocates.
Understanding deeply the call to responsible social engagement so characteristic of St. Catherine's alumnae, she served on numerous nonprofit boards including the U.S. Sugar Corporation, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Minnesota Council on Foundations, the Minnesota Medical Foundation, the University of Minnesota Foundation, the Minnesota Opera, the Center for the Great Lakes, the Ruth Mott Fund, the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Minnesota Women’s Fund.
In 1987, Butler received the Outstanding Volunteer Fund Raiser Award from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, Minnesota Chapter.
She was the 1994 winner of the Edgar Carlson Award from the Minnesota Private College Council for her outstanding commitment to higher education, community service and dedication to expanding opportunities for women, children, and members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
In 2011, she was the recipient of the Mary Lee Dayton Catalyst for Change Award, given by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.
Butler earned a bachelor of arts in communications and theatre from St. Kate’s in 1956. She went on to earn a master’s in library science in 1957. In 1989, she was given an honorary doctorate from St. Catherine University. Her sister Suzanne Kamman Flotten is also a St. Kate’s alumna, graduating in 1956.
Mass of Christian Burial was held at Our Lady of Victory Chapel on the St. Kate’s campus on March 18.