The Tribute to Katherine will bring the community together to celebrate the life of Katherine Ann Olson through music and performance while raising $100,000 for the memorial scholarship set up in her name at St. Olaf college.
Use this site to learn more details about the concert as they become available, donate to the scholarship fund, get involved as a volunteer, become a sponsor, sign-up for periodic e-mail updates, or just explore!
Katherine Ann Olson was energetic, exuberant, vivacious, intensely curious, creative, and talented. She was passionate about life.
Whether she was performing in choir, acting in a play, or mentoring her Latina “little sister,” Katherine was a role model. She achieved honors of co-valedictorian of her high school class and graduated summa cum laude from St. Olaf College. Following college, she taught Spanish lessons to elementary students, nannied, waitressed, and coached the Saint Paul Highland Park High School speech team.
A restaurant colleague of Katherine’s recalled that she would always find Katherine in the kitchen—conversing in Spanish with the Latino staff. “She would smile and laugh and probe them with questions, making the rest of us want to be a part of their special conversation. And when times were slow, one would find Katherine helping them translate their paperwork.”
Preparing to study in Spain in the fall of 2008 for her master’s degree in Spanish, Katherine hoped to become a professor, combining her loves of Spanish, youth and performance.
In line with Katherine’s passion for our community and Latino culture, the Olson family established a scholarship fund at St. Olaf College.
To honor Katherine’s passion for Latino youth, the proceeds from the memorial concert will benefit the scholarship fund through which her light will continue to shine as a beacon of hope.
Katherine the FRIEND
When we picture Katherine, we see her dancing, laughing, singing. She exuded a zest and passion for life that was infectious. As a friend, Katherine was intimate and intense. She amazed us with her stories (be they recounted at home, on stage, or on the town), the joy with which she shared her gifts, and the intimacy of her friendships. Intimacy in relationships came to Katherine so naturally that it might have been like breathing. She looked for the friend in everyone, making sure to let us know how much she cared, and why. She wouldn’t stand for surface-level connections.
She dug in deep, asking the questions that really mattered. She loved people and proved always to be non-judgmental and considerate. We never felt alone in the world with Katherine; love, with her, was everywhere: shining through her curly, fire-red hair, the warmth of her smile, the music of her laugh, and her affectionate hugs. She was, and always will be, a true and treasured friend.
Katherine The Sister
Katherine was a kind, generous, and wonderful sister who helped me process all aspects of life. Katherine was a fine listener, a person who took genuine interest in me and in others and made sure to follow up on life events and past discussions. Never was a discussion finished with Katherine, because she always had a way of continually asking the right questions.
I was very close to Katherine – the original KO – and have fond memories of our vacations and conversations over the years. Even now, almost a year after her death, I find myself laughing and crying, thinking and writing on a regular basis about the ways she has touched me.