Seton Hill Board Chair Karen Farmer White Honored as a Woman of Influence

Karen Farmer White, chair of the Seton Hill Board of Trustees, was recognized as a Woman of Influence by the Pittsburgh Business Times at an award ceremony on May 25.

“Karen Farmer White is an incredible leader and a woman of great integrity who has devoted herself to improving the lives of others,” said President Mary Finger, who received the same honor in 2020. “She is a kind, caring and thoughtful individual who can connect with people from all walks of life.”

Farmer White is a founding member of the PA Conference for Women, a nonprofit professional and personal development event for women. She chairs the Board of Trustees of Seton Hill University and also serves as Chair of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education where she and her colleagues provide input to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on testing, curriculum and teacher education programs. She also spent many years working as an educational consultant teaching others about diversity and equity.

At Seton Hill, White makes it a point to be present and involved in studentsʼ lives and education, serving as a mentor and role model for current Setonians and planning and participating in regular lunch meetings for students and Trustees.

“She knows that hearing from students in person helps her and all Trustees understand the Seton Hill student experience better. She is constantly advocating for Seton Hill students and working to ensure that their education is of the highest quality,” President Finger said. “I am grateful for Karenʼs efforts on behalf of Seton Hill and for all she does to advance education throughout the Commonwealth.”

“I am just truly blessed to be in a position to share what I know with others,” Farmer White said of her work.

During the awards ceremony, Farmer White danced her way to the stage to the tune of the song, “Happy.” Through a video presentation, she told those gathered at the event that her mother was the biggest influence in her life.

“I was always taught by my mother and my family members that I had a responsibility to give back and give to others,” she said.

Indeed, Farmer White, who earned both a bachelorʼs degree in History and a masterʼs degree in Public Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, has committed her life to improving educational opportunities for all students. In particular, she has been instrumental on a number of fronts on connecting the educational community to the business community to help meet community needs.

She has held administrative and faculty positions at the Community College of Allegheny County; served as the first Director of Community Outreach for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, where she developed arts and cultural educational programs; served as Vice President of Education at WQED Pittsburgh, where she won three Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards for educational programming; and was the executive director of the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE), where she spearheaded a college preparatory program for Pittsburgh youth to help them gain access to higher education.