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2021 HHS Distinguished Alumni Announced

Photograph of Distinguished Alumni Catherine Cole smiling with her hair down and a red and turquoise necklace and white shirtEvery year Holden R-III School District honors a past graduate who exemplifies the values, traditions, and successes of Holden High School by naming a Distinguished Alumni. Recipients of this award have shown dedication to and excellence in their chosen field. This year’s Distinguished Alumni is Dr. Catherine Cole, 1989 Holden High School graduate. 

In 1986, Dr. Cole moved to Holden with her parents James L. Young, Sr. and Mary Ellen Young along with younger brother James L. Young, Jr. She began at Holden High School her sophomore year and was active in volleyball, track, drama club, and academic bowl team. Dr. Cole went on to attend Truman State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Justice Systems and joined the United States Army Reserves. Dr. Cole received an Honorable Discharge after serving 8 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Continuing to further her education, Dr. Cole earned a M.S. in Administrative Studies with an emphasis in Applied Communication from Missouri State University and earned a Ph.D. in Human Capital Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Dr. Cole is a researcher, professor, and commentator of human capital development, entrepreneurship, organizational culture, and qualitative research. She’s presented her research at academic and professional conferences in the United States, Canada, and Lithuania. Currently, Dr. Cole serves in a leadership position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is an adjunct professor in the School of Professional and Graduate Studies at Baker University. She is often heard on XM radio as a commentator on human capital challenges and research in the trucking industry. 

Recently, Dr. Cole was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to conduct human capital research and teach at ISM University of Management and Economics (ISM) in Lithuania. Dr. Cole’s research explores human capital needs of Lithuanian entrepreneurs and Lithuanian initiatives advancing entrepreneurship. Lithuanian initiatives include creating business clusters and networks in agriculture, animal production, forestry, and agro-food processing. At ISM, Dr. Cole served as guest lecturer and research consultant for doctoral students.

The Fulbright Scholar Program selects recipients based on their academic and professional achievement and demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Dr. Cole joins an elite group of Fulbright alumni, many who have gone on to earn Pulitzer Prizes, the Nobel Prize, and MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

A longtime volunteer, Dr. Cole spent over 10 years as a volunteer tutor at Literacy Kansas City. She currently volunteers as a Dissertation Mentor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development at The University of Southern Mississippi. In addition Dr. Cole holds a voluntary position on the Mazuma Credit Union Supervisory Committee. The Supervisory Committee works with credit union management and Board of Directors to review internal and external audits towards compliance with policies and procedures devised to safeguard members’ assets. 

Dr. Cole and her husband Tony live just north of Holden. An avid outdoorsman, you can find Tony fishing for crappy and riding horses. Dr. Cole enjoys writing, cooking, photography, and most recently, gardening. Both Dr. Cole and her husband enjoy traveling, camping, and hosting family gatherings.

Dr. Catherine Cole will be recognized and is addressing the graduating class at the Holden High School graduation ceremony
on May 16, 2021 at Holden High School at 2:00pm.