St. Kate’s board elects four luminary trustees

The St. Catherine University Board of Trustees has welcomed four new members: Mary Jo Abler ’87, Tracey Burton, Samantha Hanson, and Diane Shelstad Huston ’81. A full list of members is available at

“It is with great delight that we recognize Mary Jo, Tracey, Samantha, and Diane as members of the Board of Trustees,” said President Rebecca Roloff ’76. “Their presence as trustees enriches the wisdom of our leadership and invigorates our continued work educating leaders. These four women leaders are wonderful additions to the Board.”

Mary Jo Abler ’87

Currently vice president of new technologies and platforms at 3M, Mary Jo Abler ’87 has applied her chemistry and technology expertise across several 3M divisions for nearly 30 years. She also headed the Communication Markets Division as its vice president and general manager from 2015–2018, successfully leading the division through its divestiture from 3M.

Abler holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Catherine University, a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester, and a master’s in management of technology from the University of Minnesota. She was previously certified as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

“St. Kate’s has a rich history of educating women and fostering more women leaders to positively impact our communities,” said Abler. “Having the opportunity to be part of this organization, pushing boundaries and driving progress, is both energizing and an honor.”

Photo by Natalie Grose ’20.

Tracey Burton

Tracey Burton currently serves as a senior director of corporate responsibility at Target, overseeing philanthropic strategy, governance, and giving. She began her career with Target as a senior counsel, specializing in employment law, and served as human resources director for stores, providing support to more than 1,700 stores in 49 states.

Before joining Target, Burton served as an assistant vice president at the St. Paul Companies, and has also represented plaintiffs in litigation matters as an assistant attorney general for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. She has been involved with a variety of boards including Global Impact, The Conference Board, Penumbra Theater Company, Minneapolis Legal Aid, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Minnesota Women Lawyers, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, and the Corporate Advisory Board for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. A native of Iowa, Burton holds a law degree from the University of Iowa.

“I am inspired by St. Kate’s timeless and compelling mission to change the lives of women in the context of today’s environment,” Burton said.

Photo by Jeremy Morin.

Samantha Hanson

Samantha Hanson is chief administrative officer for North Memorial Health where she oversees HR, IT, strategy, marketing, communications, provider services, quality, customer experience, and innovation. She brings a unique leadership perspective earned from her experience in diverse organizations across healthcare, technology, HR services, and retail industries.

Hanson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and master’s coursework in public administration from the University of North Florida.

“St. Catherine University is a mission-driven organization fueled by a deep history of service, innovation, and unwavering commitment to its values,” said Hanson. “I’m humbled to join this organization as a trustee, and look forward to contributing to the vision-supporting strategies that will ensure St. Kate’s continued success.”

Photo by Jeremy Morin.

Diane Huston ’81

As chief financial officer at Graham Research, Inc., Diane Huston ’81 oversees company finance, administration, and accounting. She has worked at Graham Research for more than 25 years. Prior to her position at Graham Research, Huston was a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC, where she supported technology start-ups and family-owned manufacturing companies. She has provided financial guidance in various volunteer roles in organizations such as the Minnetonka Touchdown Club, Minnetonka Community Education, and Minnewashta PTA.

Huston graduated magna cum laude from St. Catherine University, with a double major in computer science and business administration. 

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve as a trustee for the university that nurtured me,” Huston said of her return to St. Kate’s as a leadership member.

Photo by Jeremy Morin.