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Cathy Dawson announces her retirement from seminary "friend raising"

Feb 17, 2006
Louisville Seminary President Dean K. Thompson announced on February 7 that Cathy Dawson, Vice President for Seminary Relations, will retire from her position on May 31, 2007. Dawson, who will turn 60 next year, has led the Seminary Relations department since June 1998, after serving for five years as Vice President for Finance, the first woman to hold a vice president position in the history of the Seminary.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Louisville Seminary, especially during the last seven and a half years, during which I have met many, many faithful Christians who care deeply about the Seminary and the future of the Church in the world. These people have shared their resources and prayers generously to ensure that the faithful have educated, imaginative, and loving leadership,” said Dawson.

During her tenure, Dawson and her Seminary Relations team have raised more than $45 million since 1998. This has included more than $6.5 million in student aid and scholarships, more than $10.8 million in campus improvements, and $2.8 million in faculty endowments, all of which is due to nearly 4,000 stewards and friends who have invested in Louisville Seminary. Some of the tangible results of their gifts are evident in more scholarships for students; the William R. and Ellen Laws Lodge and Retreat Center; and the renovation of the Winn Center, the campus student center.

“Cathy Dawson has served as a deeply caring and brilliant leader in her fields of expertise at Louisville Seminary,” said Thompson. “As Vice President for Finance and as Vice President for Seminary Relations, she has blended first rate competence with exemplary pastoral sensitivity.”

In addition to fundraising, one of Dawson’s chief responsibilities, and delights, has been in “relationship building.” With her team she has led the school to develop lasting associations among many of the Seminary’s constituents. Some of these relationships have been nurtured through the creation of new programs and resources: an alum online community, personalized class year updates, the Senior Challenge for graduating seminarians, the Annual Fund Challenge Grant, and an advisory board for the Seminary’s flagship publication, Mosaic.

“It has been my privilege to work with dedicated colleagues to carry out the mission of Louisville Seminary to equip men and women for ministry, most recently with our new president, Dean Thompson. With his excellent leadership and the creativity of my colleagues, Louisville Seminary will continue to do God’s work, and I look forward to seeing all God has in store for this institution,” she said.

Dawson came to Louisville Seminary from eight years at Lantech, Inc., where she was vice president and general manager for the marketing division, and Whip Mix Corporation, where she served as the director of quality. She is a member and director-elect of the Downtown Louisville Rotary Club. In 1999, she was awarded the Metro United Way Allen Society Community Service Award in recognition of her ongoing volunteerism. The influence of Louisville Seminary on her life became evident in 2004 when she moved her membership to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and was ordained an elder in her church the following year.

Thompson said that a search would commence June 1 and that it would be ideal to have the search completed by the fall “in order to bring the person under Ms. Dawson’s tutelage and mentorship for several months.”

“I look forward to the next sixteen months,” said Dawson, “during which I will do all in my power to contribute to the planning for the next capital campaign to fund the strategic plan that is currently being crafted.”

Then with giddy excitement she added, “In retirement, I look forward to spending time quilting, reading, spending time with my family, and holding babies.”
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