Catalysts for Good

There are 58,000+ alumni who are making a mark on the world, advocating for women and social justice. For Women's History Month, we're spotlighting just a few Katies who have changed the landscape in education, healthcare, corporate culture, and more.
Abigail Quigley McCarthy
Abigail Quigley McCarthy ’36


In 1972, McCarthy published her critically acclaimed memoir, Private Faces, Public Places. McCarthy was a visionary Catholic feminist whose promotion of equality for all led to prominence in national politics, a regular column in Commonweal, advocacy for women in the church, promotion of Catholic women's colleges, and leadership in interracial justice and interreligious understanding. St. Catherine University's Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women is named in her memory.

Mary Madonna Ashton
Mary Madonna Ashton, CSJ, ’44

In 1983, Sr. Mary Madonna became the first woman and non-physician commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health. She served in this position until 1991. During her tenure as commissioner, she worked to protect blood supplies during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and advocated for policies to ban smoking in public spaces. She was president and CEO of St. Mary's Hospital for 20 years. In 1992, she cofounded Carondelet LifeCare Ministries to address healthcare for Minnesota's uninsured. In 2016, she was a National Women's Month honoree.

Anne Joachim Moore
Anne Joachim Moore, CSJ, ’37, ’47, MAT’01, EdD


In 1964, Sr. Anne Joachim founded and served as president of St. Mary's Junior College, the nation's first college dedicated to healthcare. She led St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing and then its transformation into a thriving two-year college. The college's guiding plan was to educate the student as a person, not a worker, and to welcome underserved students. In 1986, the college merged with what was then the College of St. Catherine, forming the University's Minneapolis Campus.

 Janet Dolan
Janet Dolan ’71

In 1999, Dolan was named president and CEO of Tennant Company. At this time she was the first Katie — and among only 22 women — to lead a U.S.-based New York Stock Exchange listed company (out of 3,000+ companies). She now serves on the board of Travelers Co. and is founding president of Act III Enterprises.

Melissa Reuter Brechon
Melissa Reuter Brechon ’77

In 2011, Reuter Brechon was a pivotal player in the successful accreditation of the St. Kate's Master of Library and Information Science program, which is the only MLIS program based in Minnesota. Brechon has devoted her career to libraries, both locally and abroad. As a librarian and public library administrator, and in her continued work as a consultant, she develops lasting systems and spaces for information access.

Bao Vang
Bao Vang ’91 

In 2008, Vang was named president and chief executive officer of the Hmong American Partnership (HAP), where she has more than tripled the nonprofit's budget, allowing HAP to support even more refugee and immigrant families in Minnesota. Through Vang's mentorship, she diligently encourages women around her to discover their own leadership pathway.

Philomena Morrissey Satre
Philomena Morrissey Satre MAOL’08

In 2017, Satre was hired as the first full-time dedicated director of diversity and inclusion at Land O'Lakes, Inc. Satre creates important corporate culture shifts, and draws on her deep community network to build bridges that drive change. She also brings her passion for inclusion to the next generation of leaders as an adjunct professor in St. Kate's Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program.

Taylor Harwood
Taylor Harwood '15 

In 2016, Harwood was named a 2017 Marshall Scholar. She is the first St. Catherine University graduate to receive a Marshall Scholarship, which is awarded to fewer than 50 U.S. students annually to study at the graduate level in the United Kingdom. She aims to work as an archivist and ensure that the history we capture represents a wider range of voices and experiences.