By Anna Spydell
On Aug. 30, the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce convened for their 99th Annual Meeting. Several awards were handed out that evening, including the Young Leader of the Year Award, partially funded by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, but one of the most prestigious of the evening, the ATHENA award, went to President Dottie King. Here is what Dr. King had to say about receiving the award in an email interview.
The Woods: What does the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce award the ATHENA for?
President King: “The ATHENA Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; provides valuable services by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and actively assists women in realizing their full potential.”
The Woods: When did you find out that you had won this distinction?
President King: “I learned that I was being awarded the ATHENA award during the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting as it was being awarded.”
The Woods: What was your reaction?
President King: “I was very surprised by the award. The award recognizes a pattern of service and I am only getting started in that role. I am very humbled to know that someone thought enough of me to nominate me and I am honored to receive the award. The award belongs as much to the College as it does to me.”
The Woods: What kind of example do you think your achievement provides for the students at SMWC?
President King: “I hope that the activities that led to the award demonstrate my commitment to making a positive difference at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, in the community and beyond. The students of The Woods are blessed by a legacy of excellence in education as well as an expectation that they will do something good with their lives. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a Woods education.”
The Woods: What was it specifically that you feel really drew the attention of the Chamber of Commerce?
President King: “I think that there are a number of things going on at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College that are garnering the attention of the Wabash Valley. The Women of Influence event in April, which honored women in our community for their leadership and service, was the first of its kind. The committee who put the event together had three Saint Mary-of-the-Woods employees and one former student as members. Jeanne Knoerle, twelfth president of the College, was one of the inaugural honorees. The STEM initiative, strong liberal arts programs, specialized graduate programs and experience with distance education are all themes of my presentations with local groups.”
The Woods: What does this recognition from the community do for the College?
President King: “The recognition from the community sheds positive light on Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. It helps to spread the word about the excellent opportunities that we provide for students and about the difference we make to the Wabash Valley.”
The Woods: Are there any other representatives of the College – alumnae or employees – who have won this award in the past?
President King: “Both Sister Jeanne Knoerle and Sister Barbara Doherty received the award while they served as president of the College.”
The Woods: How does the Athena represent the values of SMWC?
President King: “Excellence, improving the lives of others and helping women to attain to their potential have been ideals of this College since its beginning. I believe that Mother Theodore spent her life living out these principles!”