Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame honors MSM senior, alumna

Once again, Mount St. Mary Academy was well represented at the seventh annual Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held Thursday, August 24, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. Eliza Jane Null ’24 was recognized as one of five Girls of Distinction during the event. Additionally, Cathy Hastings Owen ’76 was among the seven women and one organization comprising the latest class of Hall of Fame inductees.


As one of this year’s Girls of Distinction, Eliza Jane was provided the unique opportunity to meet the 2023 inductees and help escort them to the stage during the ceremony. According to the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, the five high school students chosen for this honor each year serve in leadership positions, maintain high academic standards, and strive to make their communities a better place.


“Being honored as a Girl of Distinction was an amazing experience, and I am humbled to have been recognized alongside four other outstanding young women,” Eliza Jane said of her recent honor. “The women inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame this year are truly inspiring and have contributed so much to our state. Their work and ambition are a great example for young girls, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet some of the inductees and hear their story. I hope that I, too, can live a life as influential as these women and make a difference in my community.”


Eliza Jane, who currently ranks first in her class, is very involved at Mount St. Mary. She is senior class vice president, co-captain of the Rockettes dance team, a student ambassador, president of the Investment Club, leader of discipleship for Campus Ministry, and a eucharistic minister, as well as active in Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta.


The Girls of Distinction program was implemented in 2017, and since then Mount St. Mary has had at least one student chosen each year young women have been selected. Stephanie Verdaris ’18 was honored in the inaugural class in 2017, America Alejandri ’20 and Annie Quo ’19 received the recognition in 2018, and Brynne Johnson ’21 was named a Girl of Distinction in 2019. Millie Allgood ’22 was honored during last year’s ceremony after the program took a two-year hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.


Mount St. Mary Academy was also proud to have an alumna, Cathy Hastings Owen, inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame during this year’s ceremony. Cathy was recognized in the latest class of honorees for her achievement in her industry and her community during her impressive 50-year banking career. Cathy is chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust Company, as well as chairman, president, and CEO of State Holding Company. She is the only female to chair the Arkansas Bankers Association in its 132-year history and was named one of American Banker’s “Most Powerful Women in Banking to Watch” in 2022. She currently serves on the board of directors and the executive committee of the American Bankers Association, the largest financial trade association in the United States. Click here to read her detailed bio featured on the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame website.


The goal of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame is to honor, in perpetuity, women whose contributions have influenced the direction of Arkansas in their community or the state. It is dedicated to preserving the history of its inductees’ accomplishments and to providing encouragement and inspiration to women across the state by sharing their powerful stories. The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, founders of Mount St. Mary Academy, were honored as members of the second class of inductees in 2016. Former Mount St. Mary president and CEO Karen Flake ’65 was inducted in 2018, and children and families advocate Amy Rossi ’71 was inducted last year.


We congratulate Eliza Jane and Cathy on this wonderful and well-deserved recognition!