Distinguished Awards

2019 Distinguished Alumna Award

Katherine Switz '89

An accomplished student athlete and senior prefect while at St. Catherine’s, Katherine Switz, graduated from Dartmouth College with a B. A. in History and Russian Studies. She later received an MBA from Harvard Business School and launched a distinguished career in global business and nonprofit consulting. She has made her greatest impact, however, in taking her personal challenge of suffering with Bipolar Disorder and leveraging it for good in the 2013 founding and directing of The Stability Network.

The Stability Network unites over 150 inspirational leaders in a variety of fields, from education and law to business, health care, politics, and journalism – all linked by their common struggle with mental health conditions. Katherine’s goals through this network are threefold -- to recruit inspirational leaders willing to share their stories, to train and prepare these leaders to have impact on the broader community, and to provide a platform for their speaking out. Thanks to the Stability Network, these leaders’ voices are heard through mainstream news organizations, speaking engagements, and social media.

Katherine feels passionately that by building this network of support and education, she can help provide both a road map for personal survival and success AND a context for the greater population’s understanding of mental health. Only then will prejudice and discrimination decrease.By connecting with these accomplished leaders and others across a broad spectrum of fields, bringing them together over their mental health experiences, Katherine has made tremendous advances in reducing stigma, providing successful role models to those who desperately need them, and helping others turn stories of suffering to good.

Katherine has also shown remarkable honesty and vulnerability in her own personal storytelling. She has readily shared detailed stories of her own struggle with bipolar disorder with various news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Alumni Magazine, and OneMind.org, an organization that funds and fosters collaborative neurosicence reasarch. She shows great courage in her candor, and it is this openness that is the key to making the change she seeks.

Katherine was inspired from a young age by her civic minded parents, and in college she was involved in prison tutoring and staffing a crisis hotline. It seems to have been second nature to her to find a way to give to others while simultaneously achieving personal success. When Katherine’s condition first sent her to the hospital during Business School at Harvard, her mother brought her a copy of Kay Jamison’s book "An Unquiet Mind " With this book Katherine felt the powerful gift of having a role model to show her a path forward. Here finally was someone’s personal story illustrating for her how she could manage to function in adult life with important work that she believed in. This experience planted the seed for later turning herself into a role model for others.

So, with the help of a supportive family, she has made wellness, intense dialectical behavioral therapy, and storytelling ongoing priorities in her life -- all while immersing herself in both parenthood and the following resume built over the past twenty years:
  • Consultant for the International Finance Corporation in the 1990’s
  • Consultant at McKinsey and Co.
  • Manager at GE Capital
  • Vice President of Unitus, assisting microfinancing companies in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia
  • Senior Vice President of the Initiative for Global Development
  • Senior Advisor for Switchpoint LLC, providing strategy for foundations and philanthropists in the greater Seattle area
  • Senior Program Advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2015
  • Co-Founder and Executive Director of Many Minds Collaborative in the greater Seattle area
  • Founder and CEO of the Stability Network 2013- Present
This list of professional accomplishments alone makes Katherine Switz a distinguished St. Catherine’s alumna, but it is her overarching life view that brings to mind our school motto of “what we keep we lose, and only what we give remains our own.” When asked by a Harvard interviewer if she would trade her difficult condition for a life without it, she says absolutely not – because as painful as it has been, it has offered her the opportunity to experience profound empathy, and to see how deep and rich life really can be.

Distinguished Alumna Award

The Distinguished Alumna Award was established by the Ellett-St. Catherine’s Alumnae Association in 1969 to honor, annually, an alumna who has helped to make her city, state or world a better place by giving of her talents in the true spirit of the school motto: What we keep, we lose; only what we give remains our own. The award is intended to honor a St. Catherine’s alumna who has distinguished herself in her field, either as a professional or as a community volunteer, and who is an outstanding example of what one can achieve when grounded in the St. Catherine’s experience.  

From suffragists, dramatists, artists and writers to preservationists, ministers, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs, St. Catherine’s distinguished alumnae from every decade have exemplified the school motto through their good works and generous spirit around the world.

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  • Past Recipients of the Distinguished Alumna Award

    Katherine Swtiz 1989

    Yiota Souras 1988

    Jane Hyde Williams 1967

    Louise Jenkins Maybank 1956


    Margaret "Mimsy" wood Jones 1955
    Anne "Panny" Gregory Rhodes 1960

    Kimberly Lichtenberg 1994
    Katherine Short Clarke 1949

    Meridith Leigh Rentz 1988

    Helen Turner Murphy 1952
    Mary Zayde (“Bucci”) Rennolds Zeugner 1977

    Geline Bowman Williams 1941
    Liz Gilbert 1986

    Ann Reeves Reed 1950


    Louise Lewis Foster 1959
    Elizabeth McMillan Hagood 1979

    Dina Farley Foster 1983

    Sally Womack Hruska 1957
    Betty Baugh Harrison 1977

    Sally Walden Wieland 1956

    Frances Johnson Lee-Vandell 1960

    Kate Harwood Gooch 1959
    Nathalie Ward 1969

    Janet Patton Lewis 1938
    Dorothy Robertson Parrish 1938

    Anne Stanley Chatham 1937

    Betty Bowe Wallace Hendrix 1946
    Sally James Michel 1956

    Penny Baldwin Williams 1955

    Gene Davidson Dahmen 1959
    Gene Brumfield Edmunds 1959

    Ada Gaye Gregory 1988

    Margaret Davison Block 1950

    Eliza Scott Nevin 1966

    Pamela Tucker 1966

    Minnie Bassett Lane 1949
    Jane Bassett Spilman 1949

    Ella Prince Trimmer Knox 1952

    Pocahontas Wight Edmunds 1921

    Anne Whitfield Kenny 1951

    Jean Staples Showalter 1930
    Margaret Ferguson Gibson 1962
    Caroline Armistead Riely 1962

    Viola Hubbard Woolfolk 1939

    Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek 1933

    Lee Smith 1963
    Elizabeth Davenport Hayter 1948
    Carolyn Buhrman Nettleton 1941

    Molly Haskell 1957
    Carolyn McCue Osteen 1960
    Mary Allen McCue (Honorary) 1959

    Fanny Graves Crenshaw 1908
    Annie Leigh Hobson Broughton 1926
    Cynthia Ann Billings 1950

    Mary Caperton Bingham 1923
    Florence Turner McCullough 1940
    Vienna Cobb Anderson 1953

    Anna Hill Johnstone Robinson 1930
    Fortunata Sydnor Trapnell Vanderschmidt 1947
    Katharine Kniskern Mather 1932

    Frances Laughlin Wadsworth 1927
    Elinor Fry Phillips 1920
    Edith O’Keefe Susong 1909
    Nancy Langhorne Cone 1944

    Adele Clark 1901
    Mary Wingfield Scott 1913
    Natalie McFaden Blanton 1913
    Emma Gray White Trigg 1909

2019 Distinguished Young Alumna Award

Julia Warren '14

Today, and all year ‘round, we celebrate friends, shared experiences and bonds. We celebrate our families with weddings, anniversaries, graduations and birthdays. Imagine never having celebrated that most basic of milestones, a birthday, or even knowing what a birthday is.

When Julia Warren, Class of 2014, was 16, she volunteered as part of her St. Catherine’s community service at an elementary school in one of Richmond’s more challenging districts. There she experienced a heartbreaking moment that changed her life, and consequently the lives of thousands of underserved children. Julia asked a child she was tutoring how old he was and when he was born. “I don’t know”, he replied. “I think I was born when it was cold out.” Julia struggled to process how a second grader could have no idea of his birthday, much less the concept of celebrating the day. When she later asked the principal if the school could do something for the child’s birthday, the response was “When we have the time, we’ll give them a pencil.”

The searing realization that this child was one of many lit a fire in Julia’s heart, leading her to found the non-profit Celebrate! RVA in January 2013. She was a junior at St. Catherine’s, and dedicated herself to the cause as its executive director when most contemporaries were planning spring break trips or outings with friends. Passionate about the power of celebration and joy in a child’s life, Julia works closely with corporate and small business sponsors to help create a culture of community giving and philanthropy. She was named one of The Prospect’s 20 Under 20, The Law Firm of Allen & Allen’s 2015 Hometown Heroes, and Richmond’s Inno Top 25 Under 25. She received the Thousand Points of Light award in Nov 2018, the same week that its founder George HW Bush passed away.

The premise of Celebrate! RVA is simple but mighty: making sure disadvantaged children in Richmond are given a birthday party that makes them feel happy and special no matter their circumstances. Thanks to Celebrate! RVA, more than 2,000 birthdays have been celebrated. From homeless shelters to the pediatric oncology unit, Celebrate! RVA has grown its mission to bring joy to children who need it most. Half-way through her undergraduate double-major in business and economics at Randolph-Macon College, Julia met with a financial planner, who recognized Julia’s passion for bringing love and joy to underserved children and posed the question, “How important is it to you to finish college in 4 years?” Julia, struggling to manage the demands of being a full-time student, and executive director and working multiple part time jobs, made the decision to put college on hold in order to concentrate on the increasing impact of celebrate! RVA.

The organization continues to grow, and has recently announced that they will be opening a community center in January 2020. Undergoing construction right now, the center will be a space where children can experience joy and love every day through a specialized curriculum centered around trauma-informed care.  Julia observed that “our children were having trouble regulating joy and happiness.  Their brains were conditioned for trauma, so much so that they literally rejected the possibility of love.  [Our] curriculum finds ways to introduce that concept in developmentally, socially and culturally appropriate ways.” 

Julia returned to college in 2017, taking classes in the evenings and is now just one semester away from earning her BA in Non-Profit Administration, Business, and Child Development.  Now she is able to direct all of her incredibly focused passion into making the lives of children brighter and better.  “These kids,” says Julia, “often come from difficult places, but to see them smile or blow out a candle is a great privilege.  I get so much joy out of doing it.”  The joy Julia feels is real and all encompassing, and epitomizes the words we speak when we celebrate our St. Catherine’s experience:  What we keep we lose; only what we give remains our own.  

Distinguished Young Alumna Award

In honor of St. Catherine's 125th Anniversary, the Distinguished Young Alumna Award was established by the Alumnae Association to recognize an alumna who is celebrating a 20th reunion or younger. The award is given to an alumna who has demonstrated distinction through her volunteer work or through her leadership, achievements and accomplishments in her career or community.

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Outstanding Service Award

The 2019 Outstanding Service Award will be given at graduation on May 25, 2019.  Check back for an update on this year's recipient. 

The Adelaide Rawles Flippen '30 Outstanding Service Award

The Adelaide Rawles Flippen '30 Outstanding Service Award was created in 1994 to honor that individual (not necessarily an alumna) who shows an outstanding level of commitment and service to St. Catherine's School. The recipient will have spent a great deal of productive time, energy and thought in helping the school on a particular project or will have demonstrated continuing dedication to St. Catherine's over many years. This award will probably not be given to a present school employee. The presentation of the award normally takes place at Graduation. 

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  • Past Recipients of The Adelaide Rawles Flippen '30 Outstanding Service Award

    Chris Williams


    Missy Gullquist

    Dee Dee Butler Sutton '76


    Lucy Stockdell

    Jean Cameron Grainger ’66


    Katherine MacNaughton Whitney '75


    Elizabeth Cabell Jennings '81

    Margaret and Dave Bloor

    Lang and Molly Gayle Meem '73

    Jackie Wilkins

    Cal and George Jennison


    Gussie Johns Bannard ’73

    Susan Pfefferkorn ’73

    Annabel Morgan Edge ’64

    Bill Armstrong, Business Manager

    Mert Jones

    Jack Kenny

    Virginia Jones

    Frances Brown
    Peggy Ross

    Wesley Wright, Jr.

    Mason New (awarded posthumously)

    Dixon Christian

    Ted Price

    Betty Molster

    Cabell Goolsby West '64