Carolyn Woo named CEO/president of Catholic Relief Services

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Carolyn Woo

Carolyn Y. Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, will leave the University to serve as president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Woo assumed the deanship in 1997 of the Mendoza College, which currently is ranked No. 1 for its undergraduate business program by Bloomberg Businessweek for the second consecutive year. During her tenure, the college also has received top rankings for its MBA, EMBA and Master of Science in Accountancy programs, as well as business ethics and accountancy.

“Under Carolyn Woo’s leadership, the Mendoza College has made tremendous strides and gained significant recognition as an elite business school,” said Thomas G. Burish, Notre Dame’s provost. “Through her wisdom, unwavering commitment to excellence, and deeply rooted Catholic faith, she has positioned the College – and the University – as an exemplar of all that is good about business education. I am grateful for her years of service and know we will continue to marvel at her achievements as she embarks on this next chapter of her life’s work.”

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in nearly 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. Woo served on the CRS Board of Directors from 2004 until 2010 and will become the seventh chief executive of the organization since it was founded in 1943. She will succeed Ken Hackett, who is retiring after leading CRS for the past 18 years.

“Dr. Woo is a woman of deep faith with a strong commitment to the mission of the Church. She will bring exceptional abilities and gifts to the task of serving the poor around the world in the name of Catholics throughout the United States,” said the Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson and Chairman of the CRS Board of Directors.

“CRS is so blessed to have had Ken Hackett’s leadership these 18 years, now to be followed by another outstanding faith-filled leader in Dr. Woo,” he said.

“I am honored to join an organization that is a true manifestation of the compassion of Jesus Christ and the Church’s ministry of charity around the world,” Woo said. “I look forward to building on the strong accomplishments of Ken and the global staff of CRS.”

Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong, educated by the Maryknoll Sisters of Ossining, and immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics with highest distinction and honors, a master of science in industrial administration with recognition as Krannert Scholar, and her doctoral degree.

Woo previously served as associate executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University. She joined Purdue as an assistant professor in 1981, became a full professor in 1991 and directed the Professional Master’s Programs in the Krannert School of Management from 1993 to 1995.

Originally published by Julie Hail Flory at on June 24, 2011.