Kathryn T. Hutchinson, Ph.D. ’92G, St. John’s University’s Vice President, Division of Student Affairs, has been named Educator of the Year by one of New York City’s leading community-based mental health organizations.
Transitional Services for New York, Inc. (TSINY), based in Flushing, Queens, selected Dr. Hutchinson, a member of St. John’s leadership, for her career-long support of student mental health programs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as St. John’s pivoted to remote learning.
Dr. Hutchinson will be honored at the organization’s annual Autumn in New York Gala on September 20 in Great Neck, NY.
“From Kathryn, we learned how much students were struggling during the pandemic,” said Larry S. Grubler, Psy.D., TSINY’s Chief Executive Officer. “The work that she did during that time with students and families was outstanding, including as an educator and a supporter of mental health nationally and internationally. She deserves to be honored and TSINY is delighted to celebrate her.”
As the pandemic escalated in March 2020, Dr. Hutchinson, a psychologist, and her team helped to implement new health and safety protocols, including the establishment of COVID-19 testing areas across campus, contact tracing, and even the delivery of essentials to students quarantined on campus. As students returned to campus later in 2020, Dr. Hutchinson and her staff made sure students felt comfortable again in a populated environment.
“Initially, we were focused on how to help the students transition back home,” Dr. Hutchinson recalled. “For the students who could not get home, we had to make them as secure as possible.”
“When we returned to campus, the rules were different,” Dr. Hutchinson continued. “It was really important to send an affirming message to the students that it was OK to be here if you follow the state’s rules.”
Students heeded that message, Dr. Hutchinson said, and St. John’s became a role model for universities attempting to cope in unprecedented times. “We were at the epicenter of the pandemic,” she said. “We went through it first and we were designing as we went. Later, we told other schools, ‘We learned this, you should modify that.’ We had an incredible team of people in Student Affairs and I’m incredibly proud of our students.”
Dr. Hutchinson earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Benedict College and a master’s degree in School Psychology from St. John’s. She earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology, specializing in Clinical Psychology, from Columbia University. During her time at St. John’s, she has served on a host of committees and advisory groups.
Transitional Services, founded in 1975, provides a host of services for those recovering from mental illnesses in the hope of facilitating their transition to greater levels of independence. Dr. Hutchinson said she was honored to be recognized by an organization whose work “does such a great service to some of the most underrepresented people in the New York area.”
Dr. Hutchinson is a regular presenter on crisis management and college student mental health issues. She is also a 2020 winner of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Pillar of the Profession Award, one of the organization’s top honors.
Dr. Hutchinson’s work on the reduction of high-risk behaviors among college students and on the reduction of violence on campus has earned her state and federal grants, including a three-year grant to research campus sexual assault from the US Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. Only a handful of researchers nationwide have been funded for this grant three times.
Dr. Hutchinson is the 2021 winner of St. John’s prestigious Vincentian Mission Award, which is given to a member of the faculty, administration, or staff who, outside of regular job responsibilities, has demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the University through sustained service to others. The award especially recognizes a member of the University community whose contributions involve serving those who lack economic, physical, or social advantages.
Dr. Hutchinson is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Niagara University, a Vincentian institution in Lewiston, NY.