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Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.
Sister Jean Patrice Harrington is a paradox. A member of the Sisters of Charity, she packs the determination and tenacity of Rocky Balboa, traits in full evidence as she led the College of Mount St. Joseph back from educational obscurity and dire financial straits.
She took the helm of the Mount in 1977, when the school was $1.2 million in debt and facing declining enrollment. When she retired 10 years later, enrollment had nearly doubled from 1,225 to 2,219. The budget was balanced and fund-raising targets were being surpassed.
Sister Jean, a 1953 Mount St. Joseph graduate, used a decisive and hands-on approach to address the many vexing problems confronting the college. In so doing, she changed its image from a Catholic girls’ school to a highly respected co-ed institution.
Sister Jean, 73, also has been a player in the business arena. She serves on the boards of Good Samaritan Hospital, The Springer School, Carillon Funds Inc., the Samaritan Health Resources Inc., Star Bank and Miami University, where she is chairman.
In all, Sister Jean has served on the boards of 42 organizations, including the Chamber from 1978-84, and was executive director of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative from 1988-90.
“I have been overwhelmed by the goodness of so many people in this community,” Sister Jean said. “I don’t understand why I have been so blessed. Everything that is coming to me could never have happened without so many people being supportive and doing the hard work. It humbles me.”
Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization