CommComm posted on August 20, 2010 19:14

(Nancy Roderer on the left, Catherine on the right)

Before she left Welch, Catherine Craven let me ask a few questions about her time here and her future plans. As mentioned in the interview, Catherine brought a very real energy to her job and also to her duties as Chair of the Communications Committee As a member of that Committee, I can attest to her genuine commitment and passion to the Welch Library and Johns Hopkins. She'll be missed. 


Catherine Craven was her for three years and I’m sure everyone remembers her “go get ‘em tiger!” walk and personality. “Clearly this is THEE most amazing biomedical center in the country and one of the best in the world. You’ll never go anywhere else and get this quality of people working and caring. From the hospital staff, to the people who mop the floors to everybody who works at Welch, throughout the entire clinical group, everybody cares. There’s an intensity here that you’ll never find anywhere else. And that’s a really ideal situation to be able to plug into”.

As Catherine elaborated, it was clear that a lot of her recollections haven’t entirely been relegated to the professional aspects and observations, but also included the personal transitions and occasions Welch has seen during her stay.

“What kind of personal transitions are you speaking about Catherine?”

“You know in just these three years we’ve had family members who’ve passed away, we’ve had births, deaths, some folks have endured illness or injury---all of this has really brought me into seeing Welch as my family. I have ‘real’ family in Missouri and Michigan, but my experiences at Welch have just touched my heart. I know it's corny to say that. But there it is. Long after I reflect on the many individual projects, “important people,” and challenging tasks---what I’ll remember are the people here at Welch that I’ve come to care about”.

We joked about my remembrance of seeing Catherine for the first time. My initial observation was “there goes a hard-charging woman. She’s walking SOMEWHERE”.  She admitted that her walk is unique, and people have commented in the past on it's forcefulness. When I asked about the biggest hurdle she felt when she arrived, “I’ll say it was---well, it was starting to become steeped in the culture and the history of Johns Hopkins. I came to realize how important that culture was to so many people.  I was excited to become part of that. Every single day I think I learned something new. I always tell people that one of the more humbling things around here is the opportunity to work with, and be around so many thousands of truly brilliant people. I hope in my own way I’ve made at least a little small mark.”

“So Catherine what I’m hearing is that you plugged into the---shall we say---"electric atmosphere" right away. But that seems like the same current you operate on as well, yes?”

“I’d like to think that some people have their very own ‘volume dial’ and on a scale of 1-to-10 they can dial it up, but perhaps it takes a little time to get to 10. And then there are other people who dial it up pretty quickly and prefer to work in the---7-to-10 range on the dial, I’ve gotta say that I’m probably one of those 7-to-10 people. At alot of places, that’s probably a little too intense---but Hopkins is a place where, for the most part, that volume is appreciated. That being said, I also have a true appreciation for those who tether the anchor. All in all, it takes that kind of combination to make departments and projects move forward."

Catherine is returning to the Univ. of Missouri to get her Ph.D in Medical Informatics. “It’s an exciting time to go back. I get to polish up some research skills, learn a few technical skills, and to get a few more project management skills. But I have to say---that it would really be an amazing thing if my career blew me back this way. I’m one of those people who LOVES Baltimore, I love this city. I would really, really enjoy coming back here”.

Catherine relayed that the genesis (and actual arrival) of the Welch Facebook page and the library blog came from input she received with the Communications Committee. “I can’t take any credit for that. Basically I just try to bring an energy. I like to bring some energy, some excitement and enthusiasm.”

Catherine is moving back to Columbia, Missouri and has fond memories of her previous time there. “And if anyone from the Welch family is passing through there along I-70 I’ll certainly make room for them in my humble little bungalow”.  


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