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Associate dean to deliver Associate Commencement address

Toné Blechert '67, MAOL '93
Toné Blechert '67, MAOL '93
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

Toné Blechert ’67, MAOL’93 will give the address during the Associate Commencement Ceremony at 11 a.m. on May 19.

Blechert, who has worked for St. Catherine University since 1971, is the executive director for the College for Applied and Continuing Learning, and associate dean of health professions and two-year programs in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. After 41 years of service, Blechert will retire from St. Catherine University this year. 

Life-long connections

Since birth, Blechert has had a connection with the Minneapolis campus of St. Catherine University. She was born in St. Mary’s Hospital (now Fairview) in Minneapolis, right across the street from St. Mary’s Junior College, which is now the University's Minneapolis campus and home to the College for Applied and Continuing Learning.

Blechert graduated with an A.A.S. from St. Mary’s Junior College in the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program then worked for two years in a mental health facility in St. Paul. She was invited to return and teach in the OTA program at St. Mary’s in 1971 and taught for several years before completing her bachelor’s degree at Metro­politan State University. She went on to receive a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) from St. Catherine University in 1993.

When St. Mary’s Junior College merged with St. Catherine University in 1986, Blechert worked to unite the campuses while maintaining the uniqueness of the Minneapolis campus.

She served as assistant professor on the faculty of both St. Mary’s Junior College and St. Kate's, teaching in the OTA and MAOL Programs. She chaired every elected committee as well as contributing to the University's mission through initiatives on Catholic Identity, leadership and diversity.

In 2005, Blechert was named to St. Kate’s Centennial 100 for her leadership and numerous achievements.

A leader in occupational therapy

In addition to working as a curriculum consultant, Blechert authored and co-authored chapters on professional socialization, interprofessional team building, leadership models and group dynamics in occupational therapy assistant text books. She also co-wrote and directed three major Bush grant initiatives focused on collegial unity, diversity and democracy.

Blechert served in multiple capacities for the American Occupational Therapy Association including the Ethics Commission, Government Relations Commission, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

She received numerous awards at both the state and national level including the Communication Award and the Award of Excellence. Blechert was elected to the Roster of Honor of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 1985.

Blechert was also active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center. She was appointed by the Governor to the Charter Commission of the City of Excelsior, where she served three terms, and she was a
Founding Board member of COFHED, a nonprofit organization focused on Health,
Education and Development in Lougou, Haiti.

On May 3, Blechert was recognized for her service to St. Catherine University during the retirement reception, where she credited the Sisters of St. Joseph with inspiring her to greatness. She received a standing ovation from the administration, faculty, staff and several Sisters who were in attendance.

Related stories:

May 19, 11 a.m., Graduate Commencement Ceremony speaker: Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe

May 20, 2 p.m., Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony speaker: Kathleen O'Brien ’67

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May 10, 2012 by Pauline Oo and Melissa Kaelin

See also: Catholic Identity, Faculty, Leadership