On April 25, 2022, St. Catherine University celebrated outstanding graduates with the yearly Alumni Awards, which go to Katies who demonstrate excellence in leadership; service to others; an influential role in profession, community, church, or volunteer activities; and the values of the University.
Beth Riedel Carney ’82, vice president of Development and Alumni Relations, led the Alumni Awards ceremony and commemorated the incredible honorees: “This evening we celebrate the achievements of our alumnae and how they live the St. Catherine mission in their life and in their work,” she said. “We are so proud to claim you as Katies as you transform the world.”
Alumni Award Winners
Hlee Yang ’18
Public Health Specialist for the City of Bloomington
A love for helping others drew Yang to St. Kate’s — originally, she thought that the nursing program was her calling. After getting to know the public health program and meeting program director Mary Hearst, PhD, Yang knew that her path for helping the community and advocating for improved health among community members was through a public health degree.
She credits her St. Kate’s experience for recognizing her leadership abilities. An introvert by nature, Yang appreciated the emphasis her faculty and peers placed on identifying all leaders, not just the ones at the front of the line.
After graduating from St. Kate’s, Yang began her career as a council member for the Tobacco Advisory Group at the Hmong American Partnership. She then joined the Hmong Health Care Professionals Coalition.
As a public health specialist in the City of Bloomington, Yang is currently focused on keeping community members connected to their services during the COVID-19pandemic. As they move forward from pandemic response, Yang will develop an after-action report to identify ways to improve programs for community health outcomes.
Part of a family of nine, Yang grew up on the East Side of Saint Paul. She received her degree in public health from St. Kate’s in 2018.
Audrey Betcher ’83
Director for the Rochester Public Library (retired)
If asked, Betcher will tell you that libraries have always been her happy place. She knew from a young age that she would go into the field, and even wrote a career report on being a librarian when she was in ninth grade.
Attending St. Kate’s had a profound impact on her life. Betcher grew up in a traditional household in a small town, so seeing women leaders on campus was empowering for her. Combined with the focus of social justice at St. Kate’s, Betcher found a path to building a more fair and just world through libraries.
After graduating from St. Kate’s in 1983, Betcher worked automating libraries all over the world before returning to Rochester, Minnesota, to run the SELCO automation system and then joining the Rochester Public Library. She served as library director for 21 years, and she and the Library have been honored with numerous awards under her leadership. Many of these are for equity and inclusion programs, working to make the Library a welcoming place for all in the community. These initiatives include efforts in racial justice, LGBTQIA equity, adapting the Library to continue to serve the community during the pandemic, and working and partnering with groups and organizations to create a day center for people experiencing homelessness.
Marna Anderson MAOL’08
Director for Nonviolent Peaceforce
Having the flexibility to complete her Masters in Organizational Leadership was an important factor in Anderson’s St. Kate’s story. With a young child and new jobs, a more deliberate pace helped Anderson keep her goal of degree achievement while applying her learnings along the way.
Anderson leads with her heart, which has served her well at the many places she has worked: Sexual Violence Center program coordinator, program director for Human Rights Education at Advocates for Human Rights, development associate at the Nature Conservancy of MN, executive director of WATCH, and senior directorof development at Planned Parenthood.
At Nonviolent Peaceforce, Anderson leads teams that try to find and use nonviolent approaches and unarmed means to reduce conflict and deter violence. This means not taking sides in any conflict, but rather working to understand all the different perspectives of the conflict and seek a resolution without violence.
Anderson employs the lessons from her MAOL to lead her teams in successfully applying different models of conflict resolution anywhere in the world, using empathy, creativity, and commitment — the same skills that brought her to St. Kate’s in the first place.