Carlow University to honor six as Women of Spirit®

Carlow University will add the names of six outstanding Women of Spirit® to an honor roll that numbers more than 150 at the university’s 15th Women of Spirit® Awards Gala at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Due to ongoing campus changes surrounding the coronavirus, a date has yet to be determined for this event.

Awardees were nominated and then considered by a Women of Spirit® selection committee composed of former awardees and university officials. The awardees were chosen based on several criteria, including a strong commitment to values, accomplishments that have led to new knowledge or discoveries, and innovation or leadership that has brought about change for the good of humankind.

Recipients are:

The Honorable Kim Berkeley Clark, President Judge, 5th Judicial District, Pennsylvania

Kristen Kurland, Professor of Architecture, Information Systems, and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

Karen Larrimer, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer, Head of Retail Banking, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

Anne Lewis, Board Chair, Oxford Development Company

Nancy Washington, PhD, Educator and civic leader

Sister Susan Welsh
, RSM, President and CEO (retired), Pittsburgh Mercy Health System

The six awardees come from different fields but have distinguished themselves and benefited the community in a variety of ways through their leadership, character and accomplishments.

“Women of Spirit® have long been a driving force in our city, and Carlow University itself has an almost century-long tradition of producing exceptional women leaders,” Lewis said. “I’m both honored and humbled to be recognized by this remarkable Pittsburgh Institution and this very special award.”

Carlow’s influence on the community is apparent to both those born and bred in Pittsburgh as well as those whose professional calling brought them to our great city.

“As a native of Pittsburgh, I have seen and felt Carlow’s positive impact on our community. I, too, have strived throughout my career to make a difference not only by building a better PNC in support of our employees and customers, but by helping to better the lives of others through my deep commitment to volunteerism and community engagement,” Larrimer said.

Washington arrived in Pittsburgh in 1969, just as Carlow changed its name from Mount Mercy.

“I have watched and admired the school as it made courageous decisions about programming for working adults and planning for the successful inclusion of all in its academic and athletic structures,” she said. “It is an unexpected delight to be noticed for the work that I have done by an institution that, itself, has demonstrated outstanding work for the benefit of our community.”

The awardees view service as an integral part of the honor.

“Part of Carlow’s mission and values involves service which calls us beyond ourselves to prioritize the needs of others over our own self-interest,” Judge Clark said. “As a public servant, I try to be a servant leader and to make sure that others’ highest priority needs are being served. I am thrilled to be receiving this honor from an institution that has a mission and values that I share.”

Service takes many forms and is a thread that ties each awardee to each other and the community at large.

“I am very honored to be recognized as one of Carlow University’s Woman of Spirit,” Kurland said. “As a native of Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, I’ve dedicated the past 30 years toward improving the lives of its citizens through my teaching and research at the intersection of health, technology and urban design. I’ve also been fortunate to help expand the region’s growth, educational opportunities and equity for all through my work and volunteer efforts.”

Sister Susan acknowledged the original women of spirit who made this all possible.

“To be chosen as a Woman of Spirit by Carlow University is a humbling experience,” Sister Susan said. “I view this recognition as an honor for all of the Sisters of Mercy who worked to make this university a place which responds and adapts to the needs of students and the community.

“For 90 years, Carlow has responded to changing needs.”

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