Celebrate the Women of Spirit®

In the Beginning

The Women of Spirit® Award program was established in 1993 by former Carlow President, Grace Ann Geibel RSM, to recognize outstanding women, who, as leaders in the community, exemplify the Carlow University mission. The title was chosen to honor the first real “women of spirit”—the University’s founders, the Sisters of Mercy. Women of Spirit® have had a profound influence over Carlow University since its founding nine decades ago. The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Pittsburgh from Carlow, Ireland, in 1843 with a spirited mission to serve the poor, the sick, and the uneducated. These determined women established the college in 1929 with 24 freshman, five faculty, and makeshift classrooms in the Mercy Convent.

For the celebration of its 90th anniversary, Carlow University is pleased to honor six outstanding Women of Spirit® awardees at the university’s 15th Women of Spirit® Awards Ceremony on April 2, 2020, at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

2020 Women of Spirit® awardees

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

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

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

Anne V. Lewis
Board Chair, Oxford Development Company

Nancy D. Washington, PhD
Educator and civic leader

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

Awardees were nominated and then considered by a Women of Spirit® selection committee made up 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.


2020 Women of Spirit® Awards Ceremony

Women of Spirit Gala

Thursday, April 2, 2020
Carnegie Music Hall
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, Pa 15213

6 p.m. Dinner Reception
7 p.m. Awards Ceremony

Register to attend the Women of Spirit® Awards Ceremony
Please register by Monday, March 23, 2020.


About the program

The Women of Spirit® Award program has earned a distinguished place as a Pittsburgh treasure. Since its beginning in 1993, women leaders have been recognized for their professional and personal leadership and their service to others. In turn, they share their expertise with the Carlow community by actively participating in the life of the University and in the development of its students.

View the past Women of Spirit® award recipients.