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SUA Honors Knudson and Paolo with Angela Merici Award

Photo: L-R: Sister Mary Jerome Buchert, OSU, Lelia Keefe Kramer ’77- President, Sister Margie Efkeman, OSU -General Minister, Kat Suddendorf ’19, Dr. Jane Kundson- Honoree, Rick Paolo- Honoree, Dr. Mari Thomas- Principal

Saint Ursula Academy honored two very special people at the president’s annual Angela Merici Reception. The event was filled with special guests who have generously given of their time and advice, as well as financially. The Angela Merici Award is the highest honor given to individuals who support and make a meaningful impact at Saint Ursula Academy and with the Ursuline Sisters of Cincinnati.

This year’s honorees are Dr. Jane Knudson and Richard A. Paolo. Knudson and Paolo have served Saint Ursula and Ursuline Sisters of Cincinnati in ways that are deeply impactful. They are special stewards and advisors who have spent years ensuring SUA is the best it can be for the students it serves.  Photo: L-R: Sister Mary Jerome Buchert, OSU, Lelia Keefe Kramer ’77- President, Sister Margie Efkeman, OSU -General Minister, Kat Suddendorf ’19, Dr. Jane Kundson- Honoree, Rick Paolo- Honoree, Dr. Mari Thomas- Principal

Dr. Knudson, an experienced educator and former Superintendent of Indian Hill Schools, joined the Saint Ursula Academy Board of Trustees in 2012. She also joined the Academy’s Education Committee. Dr. Knudson served in both roles for the last six years. During that time, she shared her wisdom, insight, perspective, kindness, and support. She was instrumental in helping SUA advance its academic goals through work on the Long Range Strategic Plan, in which she served as co-chair of the LRSP Education Committee. 

Mr. Paolo is an attorney with Aronoff, Rosen and Hunt, LPA with expertise in the areas of real estate and administrative law. He first joined the SUA Facilities Committee as an advisor, and shortly after joined the Saint Ursula Board of Trustees in 2012. He later became chair of the Facilities Committee and then chair of the Board of Trustees.  
His experience and counsel was invaluable to SUA through the Long Range Strategic Planning process and also through the resulting capital projects that emerged from goals set in that LRSP process. Paolo also lent his expertise as a legal advisor for the Ursulines of Cincinnati, the Sisters who created and sponsor Saint Ursula Academy.  He continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Ursulines of Cincinnati Charitable Trust. 

“At Saint Ursula Academy, we follow St. Angela Merici's example in finding women and men who are committed to our school community in transforming our students into young women setting out to make the world a better place,” said Saint Ursula Academy President Lelia Keefe Kramer ’77.  “We would not be the amazing place we are without the giving counsel of our special board members like Jane and Rick.”

A student spoke to the guests during the event about the importance of their support of her and the school community.  Kat Suddendorf ’19, thanked them for their contributions to Saint Ursula Academy through their time, talent and treasure and shared what her Saint Ursula education means to her. 

In 1535, St. Angela Merici founded the Ursuline Order, the first religious order in the Church to undertake the personal formation of young women. She was a woman who invited others to join her to serve as advisors and spiritual companions. In her effort to be inclusive, she became a woman who was respected and admired by many within the church and across the region. Saint Ursula is happy to offer this annual award in St. Angela’s name on behalf of the Academy and the Sisters.