By Jessie Eden
This year, Gateway Community & Technical College will honor one of its longtime supporters at its annual luncheon event, Gateway to Greatness.
The second annual “Gateway to Greatness” Awards Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, May 30, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Drees Pavilion in Devou Park. This year, Gateway will recognize longtime supporter, Jeanne Schroer (The Catalytic Fund), and Gateway’s long- standing partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare. The formal program begins at 12 p.m.
Getting to Know Jeanne Schroer
Jeanne Schroer, the President and CEO of The Catalytic Fund, has more than 35 years of experience in real estate finance and development. She has worked in the private sector of real estate development with companies such as Corporex Companies in Cincinnati and Urban Investment and Development Company in Chicago. Prior to joining the Catalytic Fund, Schroer was the Interim Director of the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center and Field Service Professor of Real Estate.
Yet, it is Jeanne’s involvement with Gateway that has been a passion project of hers over the years. “In the early days of the Catalytic Fund’s launch (around 2012-2013), I was asked to join the Gateway Foundation Board and served until about 2020. At that time, Gateway was contemplating a plan to redevelop a number of vacant historic buildings in downtown Covington it had acquired into an extensive urban campus Gateway thought my real estate development background could help them in this effort. The projects Gateway executed in downtown Covington at that time, the historic Marx Building became the Center for Technology, Innovation and Enterprise. That project was exactly aligned with the Catalytic Fund’s mission and had so many community and economic development impacts: Urban revitalization, historic preservation, workforce development, and the most important -increasing our residents’ educational attainment.”
With assistance from The Catalytic Fund and with Jeanne’s hard work over the years, Gateway has been able to reach many of its goals. “Jeanne Schroer’s connection to Gateway and her continued support for our mission is invaluable to our college. She is a longtime champion for higher education, and served on Gateway’s Foundation Board, as a trustee, and then again as an officer,” said Dr. Fernando Figueroa, Gateway’s President and CEO, “She has such an admirable track record of supporting the Northern Kentucky region. Jeanne has launched and led countless real estate development projects here in our area, as well as a number of community planning efforts in the city of Covington, home to our Urban Metro Campus on Madison Avenue.”
Passion for the NKY Region
Jeanne’s dedication and involvement doesn’t stop at Gateway either. “Her passion for this region is evident all around us through both personal and professional projects which all move Covington forward, her drive for amplified community involvement, and her continuous philanthropic generosity. Her dedication to our college and the communities that we serve is commendable, and we are forever grateful for Jeanne and her ongoing support,” said Dr. Figueroa, “I feel so glad that Gateway has this opportunity to recognize Jeanne’s accomplishments and ongoing support as an advocate for our students and our region.”
When asked how she feels about being honored, her words were humble and gracious, as always. “I am extremely honored to be recognized by Gateway as this year’s honoree. The Catalytic Fund makes place-based investments to support economic and community development in NKY River Cities’ economic and community development but the investments we make are incomplete without the investments in our community’s residents that Gateway has continuously and consistently delivered,” said Jeanne. “I am also very honored to be recognized along with St. Elizabeth who has made extraordinary investments in all facets of our NKY region and is the ultimate community partner.”
Gateway Community and Technical College has been a large part of Jeanne’s regular community work and she believes in the value of having an educational institution like Gateway in Northern Kentucky. “I am not an expert on all of Gateway’s specific educational programs but what I do know is that a common characteristic of towns on the upswing is that they have and care about a community college,” said Jeanne. “Gateway is an incredible asset for our NKY region and we would not be complete or strong without it.”
A Lasting Impact
As much as Jeanne has been impacted by Gateway, Jeanne has also touched the lives of several people at Gateway Community and Technical College. Adrijana Kowatsch, Executive Director of The Gateway Foundation and Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs, is one of them.
When asked why Jeanne was a great fit for this year’s recognition, one vital aspect of Jeanne’s involvement stood out. “Servant leadership – we are going to be hard pressed to find this high quality in our honorees moving forward. She truly is what this is all about. It’s just a level of community appreciation her work has garnered. We should all be so lucky to have a legacy of what we like and what we’re good at and to have an impact on people around us, she is the standard!” said Adrijana, “She is so humble about it – she was one of the first people I was introduced to when I came to Gateway and she was just so generous with her time and advice. She quickly became a personal friend.”
Gateway Community & Technical College’s “Gateway to Greatness” Luncheon on Tuesday, May 30. To purchase tickets and learn more, visit the event page here.