19th Fellin Lecture to Feature International Figure, Carolyn Woo | Benedictine College

19th Fellin Lecture to Feature International Figure, Carolyn Woo

Published: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

By Steve Johnson

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Dr. Carolyn Woo, president & CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will speak on “Common Ground, Uncommon Excellence” on Sunday, September 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium on the Benedictine College campus in Atchison, Kan. She is presenting the 19th Annual Mary L. Fellin Lecture, sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. The event is free and open to the public.

Woo was one of five presenters in Rome at the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment in June 2015. CRS, the official overseas humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, works in more than 100 countries around the world, touching the lives of some 100 million people, giving Woo a unique perspective on environmental issues, including climate change, and how they have affected people around the world.

"With my background, I want to reach out to members of the business community, asking them the same question we all must answer; 'What kind of world do we want to leave our children?'" said Woo, who served as dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business for 14 years prior to moving to CRS.

During her time at Notre Dame, the Mendoza College was frequently recognized as the nation's leading business school in ethics education and research. It received and has retained top ranking from Bloomberg Businessweek since 2010 for its undergraduate business program. Prior to the University of Notre Dame, Woo served as associate executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University.

Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong, and immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, and joined the faculty. Her teaching, research and administrative leadership have been recognized through Best Paper Awards by the Academy of Management, selection as one of 40 Young Leaders of American Academe by Change Magazine, the journal of the American Association for Higher Education; distinguished alumna and honorary alumna by Purdue University and University of Notre Dame, as well as the conferral of honorary doctorates from Providence College, Loyola University of Maryland, Manhattan College, Wake Forest University, the University of Notre Dame and others.

Woo was the first female dean to chair the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the accreditation body for business schools, and directed its Peace Through Commerce initiative. She helped launch the Principles for Responsible Management Education for the United Nations Global Compact.

From 2004 to 2010, Carolyn served on the Board of Directors of CRS. Her current board service includes Aileron Foundation; Catholic University of America; Archdiocese of Baltimore Independent Child Abuse Review Board; Migration & Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and the International Policy Committee, United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Representing CRS, Carolyn was featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Foreign Policy as one of the 500 Most Powerful people on the planet and one of only 33 in the category of “a force for good.” Carolyn’s Catholic News Service monthly column took first place in the 2013 Catholic Press Association Awards in the category of Best Regular Column—Spiritual Life. Her faith journey and work at CRS are recounted in her recent book, Working for a Better World, published in 2015 by Our Sunday Visitor. She is also a noted academic, serving for 14 years as the.

Carolyn is married to Dr. David E. Bartkus. They have two sons, Ryan and Justin. Her parish is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.

The Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery present the Fellin Lecture each year with the sponsorship of the Fellin Endowment Fund in order to support the liberal arts orientation of Benedictine College.  Past lectures in the series have included “Soul Food: Kansas Nuns Teach Journalist to Sit Still, Be Quiet, and Find Home” by Judith Valente; “Responsibility of the Artist in View of 9/11” by Sister Diane Couture, SSJ; “Benedict, Francis and Thomas: Contributions to Environmental Ethics from a Catholic, Christian Perspective” by James Schaefer; “Dialogue of Hope: The Future of Catholic Relations with Muslims” by Sandra Keating; and “Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible” by Mary Irene Nowell, OSB.


Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.

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