Seeking Equality

Seeking Equality

By Eugene Curtin

Women who are victims of domestic violence have a friend in Kathryn Greene Jacob, BSW’00. And so does Creighton University.

For almost a year, Jacob has been the president and CEO of SafeHaven of Tarrant County, Texas, which, with a population of 1.8 million, ranks as the third largest county in the state. Jacob’s SafeHaven is the largest provider of women’s shelters in Tarrant County, providing 164 beds at two emergency shelters — one in Fort Worth, and the other in Arlington.

It is a level of responsibility that has been steadily making its way toward the 37-year-old Jacob, a 2000 Creighton social work graduate who went on to earn a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University in New York. Named one of the top 2011 “40 under 40” honorees in Dallas, her career since graduating from Creighton has taken her to New York, New Jersey and to a Peace Corps project in Turkmenistan, a central Asian nation bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

She is a mother of two boys, with a third child on the way. Through it all, Jacob said, she has remembered Creighton. “I just love Creighton,” she said. “In fact, it’s on the list of names for our next baby.”

As a native of Chicago, there was nothing foreseeable about Jacob landing at Creighton University. The father of a high school friend suggested she research Creighton as a source of the nursing degree she originally sought. Jacob remembers her response:

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said. “I’m not going to Omaha, Nebraska. None of my friends are going there.”

But then she and her mother — “on a whim,” she said — visited the campus in January of 1996, during a snowstorm, and a new Creighton student was born. The campus, she said, felt just right, and St. John’s Church sealed the deal.

“I wanted to go to a school where there was a church like that just steps from my dorm room. I definitely felt the call,” she said.

It’s a call that has led her to help battered and abused women wherever she finds them.

Having been raised as an only child in a stable marriage where equality reigned between the spouses, the fact that other relationships were a source of abuse touched her conscience.

“I don’t have the answer, but I know how to prevent it. My husband and I model a relationship of equality to our boys, a relationship full of respect and honesty. Because of that, they are learning that women and men are equal.”