Sister Amata Award honors faculty and staff commitment to Catholic mission

In a year unlike any other, St. Catherine University’s Catholic mission — deeply informed by the foundation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet — became still more relevant within the extensive challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two members of the St. Kate’s community were recently recognized for living out this mission.

At the 2021 Winter Faculty-Staff Institute in January, Sharon Howell, CSJ, director for the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice, Archbishop Flynn Endowed Chair for Catholic Identity, and director of the Myser Initiative, presented the Sister Amata Catholic Mission in Action Award to Amy Kelly, MD, MPH and Suzanne Burke-Lehman, DNP, RN, PHN.

The Sister Amata Catholic Mission in Action Award, created in 2017 in honor of professor emerita Amata Miller, IHM, recognizes one faculty member and one staff member each year for their commitment to St. Kate’s Catholic mission through demonstrated service to faculty, staff, and students and to the building of a more inclusive community.

Dr. Amy Kelly

Amy Kelly, MD, MPH

Director, Health and Wellness Center

For 13 years, Dr. Kelly’s direction of the Health and Wellness Center has served our students, faculty, and staff in meaningful and myriad ways. The pandemic has placed her leadership at the forefront of the University’s response to COVID-19, a role she has taken on with grace, courage, and giving.

Dr. Kelly “exemplifies a commitment to our Catholic Mission,” says Sr. Sharon. “We present this award to her in gratitude for her exhaustive efforts to secure the safety and wellbeing of the St. Kate’s community through demanding circumstances, her ongoing bridge-building with other health institutions — during the pandemic and otherwise — and her consistent dedication to serving the community.”

Dr. Kelly joined St. Kate’s in 2006, and has served as director of the Health and Wellness Center since 2008.

Suzanne Burke Lehman, DNP, RN, PHN

Baccalaureate Nursing Program Director, College for Women; Associate Professor of Nursing

In the space of only two years as program director, Dr. Lehman has made a singular impact on her community, balancing the demands of her position with the compassion and attention that make her students and colleagues “feel truly seen and heard,” as one nominator wrote.

Dr. Lehman “is above and beyond deserving of this recognition, and so much more,” Sr. Sharon says. “Her warmth and support has enabled her community members, inside the nursing program and out, to adapt to the rapidly shifting challenges of COVID-19. Dr. Lehman and her investment in our community enriches our University more than professionally and academically, but rather on a human-to-human level.”

Dr. Lehman has served as nursing faculty since 2006, and has been program director since 2019.

Dr. Suzanne Burke-Lehman

About Amata Miller, IHM

The Sister Amata Catholic Mission in Action Award was created in 2017 to honor economics professor emerita Amata Miller, IHM. Sister Amata was the first Archbishop Harry Flynn Endowed Chair in Catholic identity and founding director of the Myser Initiative for Catholic Identity, which has brought numerous Catholic theologians to campus for public lectures since its inception in 2006. Sr. Amata was recognized in 2011 by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities with the Monika K. Hellwig Award for outstanding contributions to Catholic intellectual life — the first non-theologian honored with the award.


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