25th Women of Distinction Honors Flagg, Grace


Palm Beach Atlantic University will honor Catharine (Cathy) Johnson Flagg and Jane Grace as Women of Distinction 2016 at a luncheon Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, at The Breakers, Palm Beach as the event marks its silver anniversary (25th) year. A pre-luncheon reception begins at 11:15 a.m.; the luncheon follows at noon.

Tickets, at $175 each or tables of 10 for $1,750, may be obtained from the Palm Beach Atlantic University Development Office by calling (561) 803-2971. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit a scholarship fund for deserving female students at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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Born and raised in West Palm Beach, Catharine (Cathy) Johnson Flagg has deep roots in Palm Beach County that strengthen her commitment to serve the community. Flagg graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration from Vanderbilt University. She went to work for Congressman Paul G. Rogers in Washington, D.C. and during that time married John E. “Jack” Flagg.

After their marriage, the couple returned to West Palm Beach where Flagg, who was a member of the Washington chapter of the Junior League, became the treasurer of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches and the Junior League representative on the South Florida Science Center board in West Palm Beach.

Her commitment to community service continued while she became a mother to daughters, Catharine and Maggie. Flagg was appointed a board member of Rosarian Academy from 1991-1998, serving as board president from 1991-1996. Additionally, she chaired the capital campaign for the Mary Alice Fortin Building and was Rose Ball chairman for two years. Currently, she is a director emeritus of the Rosarian Academy Board of Directors.

Since 2002, Flagg has dedicated her time to serving on the board of the Hospice of Palm Beach County Foundation where she was co-chair of Hospice Evening in 2000 and 2012, and board president from 2005-2007. In addition, Flagg was a board member for the Lourdes Noreen McKeen residence from 2010-2014. Currently, Flagg serves as chair of the capital campaign for the Quantum House.

Flagg carries on a family tradition of service. Her father, Richard S. Johnson, served on the Palm Beach Atlantic University Board of Trustees from 1993 until 2010. He also was awarded the University’s American Free Enterprise medal in 1995. Her mother, Pat Johnson, was honored with the Women of Distinction award in 2001.

Flagg has owned and operated Signature Collection, a stationery/gift store in West Palm Beach, since 1997.

Jane Ewing Rovensky Grace was born in New York City to John and Madjesa Ewing Rovensky. She grew up in a Greenwich, Connecticut, home she fondly refers to as Park Hill, which was built by her father in 1920. Known in her youth as an outstanding equestrian, she jumped as a junior rider in Madison Square Garden aboard her horse, Ocala. In 1949, she married Robert M. Grace in New York City and they settled in Palm Beach, where Jane had been a regular visitor with her parents.

Jane Grace became a devoted volunteer to a number of community organizations. In Newport, Rhode Island, she was a member of the English Speaking Union. In Palm Beach, she was appointed by the Town of Palm Beach to serve on the Architectural Commission (ARCOM) and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. She proudly served as a board member of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, the Society of the Four Arts, the Garden Club of Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Zoo and the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. The library at the Preservation Foundation is named in honor of Robert, who was a founder of the foundation, a long-time town councilman and chair of the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. At The Society of the Four Arts, the Rovensky Building is named in honor of Jane Grace’s family. She is the namesake of the Grace Pavilion, a 38,000-square-foot animal welfare center in West Palm Beach operated by the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. In Pennsylvania, the Graces preserved the Log House, the ancestral home of the Ewing family, which is maintained by the Pioneers West Historical Society.

She is the mother of four children, Leonard, Robin, Maisie and Jack, and a grandmother of five. A longtime animal lover, she currently cares for two Jack Russell terriers, Jojo 1 and Jojo 2, from the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, and her horse. 

The luncheon is an annual event that honors women who have made significant contributions to the community. Previous Women of Distinction include Patricia Supper, Rose Sachs, Helen Ross, Carolyn Buckley, Anita Dubnoff, Jean Feather, Mary Schott, Helen Persson, Helen Cluett, Dorothy Schulman, Anita Hamilton Michaels, Nicki Harris, Hillie Mahoney, Kathryn Vecellio, Pat Cook, Kit Pannill, Nancy Brinker, Pat Johnson, Jean Tailer, Susan Keenan, Edie Schur, Maura Benjamin, Sydelle Meyer, Lore Moran Dodge, Barbara Nicklaus, Alicia Blodgett, Julie Cummings, Diana Ecclestone, Frances Fisher, Helen DeVos, Michele Kessler, Sydell Miller, Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau, Gay Hart Gaines, Vicki Halmos, Iris Apfel, Dr. Gail Austin Cooney, Eileen Burns, Suzanne Wright, Joyce Sang, Sally Ross Soter, Gail Coniglio, Danielle Hickox Moore, Susie Elson, Nancy Murray, Sheila Fine and Joan Van der Grift.