For the first time, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has presented the annual Faithful Steward Award to two individuals, Jane C. Hays of Colorado and Catherine C. Dawson of Louisville, Ky. The award recognizes both women as examples of generosity and dedication to the mission of the Seminary through the faithfulness of their support and advocacy.
The Faithful Steward Award was established in 2003, during the celebration of Louisville Seminary’s 150th anniversary, to complement the institution’s Distinguished Alum and Devoted Service Awards. It was designed to enlarge upon the Stewards Recognition Program, which aims to honor and thank alums and friends who have joined Louisville Seminary in preparing men and women for the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ through generous, long term support. The 2007 Faithful Steward Awards were presented April 20 at a banquet honoring many stewards of Louisville Seminary and held during the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Rev. Jane C. Hays encountered Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary through her spouse James Huff, a successful businessman from Tennessee, who yearned for deeper professional fulfillment, leading him, at age 40, to sell his business and enroll at Louisville Seminary.
Huff’s first and only position was as pastor of a small church in Princeton, Ky. Shortly into his first call, the long-term effects of diabetes brought their shared dreams of a long ministry to an end through his death.
After Huff’s death, Jane remained in Princeton. She later married William Hays, an elder in the church. They stayed there for three years before moving to Colorado. After raising her children, the call to ministry that Jane had been unable to follow in her youth resulted in her earning degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.
During the mid-1970s, Jane’s sociology and psychology studies led her to work in the area of transactional analysis in a church. The pastor quickly recognized in her gifts for other kinds of ministry, and said, “Jane, you belong in church ministry; you need to go to seminary.” She earned the Master of Divinity Degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver. As an ordained minister of the Word and Sacrament, Jane became parish associate at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, where she served until her retirement in 1995.
Jane has remained passionate about and connected to Louisville Seminary, particularly as she has supported women and men who have followed the call to serve Christ in the world, no matter the cost. Her commitment to theological education and preparing excellent ministerial leadership for the future has been demonstrated through years of faithful annual giving and a life gift to Louisville Seminary, which she established as a charter member in the Seminary’s Caldwell Society in 1996.
Jane has also worked purposefully to avoid recognition for her gifts to the Seminary. Only the opportunity to inspire others to take responsibility to provide passionate and thoughtful pastoral leadership for the church has caused her to lift this restriction. “There is a time, when sharing what you do financially is a part of one’s witness. If it will be helpful to others…,” she said.
Catherine C. Dawson has devoted her career to excellence in business and in theological education. One of the very few women to have served as the Chief Financial Officer of an American theological school, she was Louisville Seminary’s first woman Vice President – in two positions.
From 1993-1998, she served as Vice President for Finance. Then, as Vice President for Seminary Relations, beginning in 1998, she was instrumental in the success of the 150th anniversary campaign that raised more than $59 million by the campaign’s conclusion in 2003. Cathy is also the architect of the innovative Stewards Recognition Program. Celebrating the amount of one gift with another’s equal investment of faithful support over time, the Stewards Recognition Program gives testimony to a journey of giving and partnership. Out of this program came the Faithful Steward Award.
“Cathy has served this community as a deeply caring and brilliant leader in her fields of expertise,” said President Dean K. Thompson. “She has blended first-rate competence with exemplary pastoral sensitivity.”
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 for campus improvements, and $2.8 million in faculty endowments, all of which is due to the generosity of 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.
In addition to faithful service and devotion to the mission of Louisville Seminary, Cathy and her husband Tom have invested in preparing men and women for ministry through ongoing faithful giving, including a gift to name a room in Laws Lodge in honor of their parents.
However, more than all of these accomplishments, Dawson’s work in external relations has helped to foster and nurture a legacy of relationships for the future LPTS. “Because of you,” said colleague and LPTS Professor Dianne Reistroffer, “the future generations of Louisville Seminary students, faculty, administrators, and staff will continue their equipping ministry in the name of Jesus Christ, as they stand at ‘the entrance to all the gifts of the universe’ and everlasting life. By God’s grace, you have left a legacy of gifts that will fund our work for years to come.”
In February 2006, Dawson announced her retirement, effective May 31, 2007. It was the honor of the Board of Trustees, the President, and every member of the Louisville Seminary community to recognize Cathy Dawson’s gifts of hospitality, leadership, and vision with the 2007 Faithful Steward Award.