First woman to lead Catholic Charities USA will speak at Seton Hill University commencement May 11


Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, will be the featured speaker at Seton Hill University’s spring undergraduate commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11 at 10:30 a.m. in the Salvitti Gymnasium in the McKenna Center on the Greensburg campus. Markham will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the ceremony. 

“Sister Donna Markham has dedicated herself to caring for the most vulnerable members of our society through her work with Catholic Charities and as a leader in behavioral healthcare,” said Mary C. Finger. “We are honored that she will share with the Seton Hill Class of 2019 the important work she continues to do to advocate for those with mental illness, lift up children and families in poverty, and provide support to migrants and refugees. She is a wonderful role model for Seton Hill graduates as they go into the world prepared to bring about positive change.”

“I am humbled to be recognized by Seton Hill University with an Honorary Degree and to have the opportunity to address the graduates of the Class of 2019,” Sister Donna Markham said. “These students, educated in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, understand the importance of service to others, and I am delighted that I will be with them as they begin the next step of their journey.”

Sister Donna Markham is the first woman to serve as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) in the organization’s more than 100-year history. 

An Adrian Dominican sister with a doctorate in clinical psychology, Sister Donna served on CCUSA’s Board of Trustees for eight years, two of which were as Board Chair. In addition, she has served in leadership positions in behavioral healthcare both in Canada and the United States and is an internationally-recognized author and speaker in areas pertaining to transformational leadership, organizational change management and the effective treatment of the mentally ill.

Sister Donna received her doctorate from the University of Detroit and has been involved in executive leadership development, organizational transformation and clinical practice throughout her professional career. Prior to coming to CCUSA she served as president of the Behavioral Health Institute at Mercy Health System where she led the transformation of the delivery of behavioral health services across the seven geographic regions of the health system.

Her academic outreach has included faculty positions at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Michigan and the Kellogg School for Non Profit Management at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Sister Donna is a Fellow in the American Academy of Clinical Psychologists. She is also engaged in global peace initiatives directed toward building bridges of understanding and collaboration across conflict zones.

In addition to her work at Catholic Charities, Sister Donna serves as a consultant to three committees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Migration, Domestic Policy, and Racism.



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