Saint Catherine Medal Awarded to Sarah Lipinski ’15

Sara Lipinski '15 displays the Saint Catherine Medal she received as a surprise at Honors Convocation on Sunday, May 4.
Sara Lipinski '15 displays the Saint Catherine
Medal she received as a surprise at Honors
Convocation on Sunday, May 4.
Gwen O’Brien

Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College
(574) 284-4579

May 7, 2014 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College President Carol Ann Mooney presented Sarah Lipinski ’15 of Canton, Mich. with the Saint Catherine Medal at Honors Convocation on Sunday, May 4. Each year Saint Mary’s College awards the medal to a sophomore or junior who demonstrates high standards of personal excellence and scholarship and contributes to the College community in the spirit of Christian leadership. The award commemorates Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of scholars (especially women scholars). Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic Honor Society, sponsors the award.

“I would not be where I am today without the guidance and support of my professors who pushed me to ask deeper questions about the world around me,” reflected Lipinski, who was surprised by the recognition. “The award is a testament to my hard work ethic and unfaltering determination. I don’t have all the answers and have failed on numerous occasions, but I’ve learned to dust myself off and carry on even stronger than before. If everything was easy, there would be nothing to aspire to.”

Sarah Lipinski '15, the 2014 recipient of the Saint Catherine Medal, poses with her parents outside O'Laughlin Auditorium following Honors Convocation. Not only was Sarah surprised by the recognition, she was surprised that her parents were there.
Sarah Lipinski '15, the 2014 recipient of the Saint Catherine Medal,
poses with her parents Paul and Jennifer outside O'Laughlin
Auditorium following Honors Convocation.
Lipinski is a global studies major with concentrations in global business administration and international higher education administration. She is a person who integrates faith and reason, generous service, and global responsibility into each day’s work, according to the award citation. She is described as a leader among her peers who, through her enthusiasm and humility, encourages everyone to analyze, contribute, foster community development, and social change.

While studying abroad in Ireland, Lipinski and a small team of international students in an entrepreneurial course developed an award-winning ride-share application. The smart phone app was designed for commuter students looking for a quick ride to campus. Meanwhile, for an anthropology course at Saint Mary’s, she completed an ethnographic study on the impacts of race and class in the Greening of Detroit tree-planting movement.

“As a resident of the metro-Detroit area, I have long observed the divide between the suburbs and the inner city, as Detroit is one of the most racially and economically segregated areas in the United States,” Lipinski explained. “Through my ethnography, I sought to challenge the systems of power and privilege present in urban revitalization, which while fostering the growth of worthwhile causes, may fail to truly listen to the people they claim to be helping.”

According to the award citation, Lipinski has helped the College’s global understanding efforts through her work as the Ireland Study Abroad Program assistant and through her upcoming Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership-sponsored research on attitudes toward diversity in Ireland. Lipinski’s work is of such a high caliber that her paper on Irish feminism and the Catholic Church was selected for presentation at the Midwest American Academy of Religion Conference in April.

Lipinski has also made major contributions to the College’s spiritual and musical life as a Campus Ministry pastoral music leader and member of Bellacapella, a student a cappella group.  She served as the copy editor of the Saint Mary’s College yearbook, Blue Mantle. And in the broader community of South Bend, Lipinski has volunteered at Our Lady of the Road Catholic Worker house and was invited as the keynote speaker for a dinner held by the Gender Relations Center at the University of Notre Dame.

Students, faculty and staff nominate candidates for the Saint Catherine Medal and the Academic Affairs Council makes the final selection. The recipient of the award is kept secret until Honors Convocation.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. The College’s single-gender environment has been proven, in study after study, to foster confidence, ethical leadership, and strong academic success. Saint Mary's College ranks 76 among the 248 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2014 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College’s mission is to educate women and prepare them for postgraduate success whether it’s a first job, graduate school, or postgraduate service.