Kathleen Feeley, S.S.N.D.

(1929 -  )

Image of Kathleen Feeley, SSND  from Maryland Women's Hall of Fame program.

Through her distinguished career in education, Sister Kathleen Feeley has made enduring contributions to the educational, social, cultural, economic, and spiritual life of the State of Maryland and its citizens. 

Sister Kathleen’s leadership at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland is known and recognized in national and international forums of higher education. When she 
assumed the presidency in 1971, the college offered a traditional program of studies to traditional college women. Nationally, many Catholic colleges for women were merging with colleges for men or becoming coeducational themselves. Under Sister Kathleen’s leadership, the entire college community engaged in a deliberative process and
determined that the College of Notre Dame of Maryland would remain a college for 

With the primary mission clear, Sister Kathleen then led the college as it redesigned the 
programs of study to meet the needs of an emerging population of non-traditional 
students. To adapt to the students’ schedules, Sister Kathleen initiated part-time 
student status, as well as funding the second Weekend College in the nation in 1975. The college expanded its course offerings and in 1984, the college began to offer graduate degrees. Sister Kathleen put the college on the higher education “map” through her vision, her strength of will, her unwavering hope and her reverence for each student. In addition, she founded the Renaissance Institute for older women who are interested in continuing their education. She is an extraordinary educator and after a 21-year presidency, she has returned to her first love- teaching English. 

In 1994, Sister Kathleen was teaching in Australia when she received a call from the 
leadership of her religious community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), to 
undertake a project unlike any she had ever done before. There was a SSNDS-owned 
building in the heart of East Baltimore in need of job skills, education and hope. Sister 
Kathleen’s challenge was to raise money to renovate the building and create a 
programmatic vision for meeting the needs of women in that part of the city. She named 
the project Caroline Center.

The Caroline Center recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. In one year, Sister 
Kathleen raised $1.6 million to renovate the building and provide the first year’s 
operating expenses. In the past four years, the Caroline Center has served over 500 
women providing job readiness, skills training and support in the workplace. 

In 1995, Sister Kathleen was called on by Mayor Schmoke for her assistance. The 
Baltimore City Public School System faced very difficult problems relating to its 
compliance with federal and state laws governing children with disabilities. During her 
tenure as Administrator for Special Education in the Baltimore City Public School 
System, Sister Kathleen’s focus was on student achievement and employee professional 
growth. She courageously tackled previously overlooked systematic issues and sought creative and viable solutions. Her ability to bring a diverse view to her mission of 
assuring growth and success for the children of Baltimore City stabilized the system and 
was an inspiration to her staff and other community leaders. Ultimately, her work led to 
the formation of a unique city/state education partnership that is viewed as a model for 
the United States. The partnership has helped to improve the quality of education in 
Baltimore not only for those with disabilities but also for children served by the public 
school system. 

 Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2001.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2001