Stories of Excellence - Kay Thompson Baxter

The story of Mitchell is told not only by our current students but also our numerous outstanding alumni. Catherine “Kay” Thompson Baxter is just one of these alumni.


Kay Thompson enrolled at Mitchell - then a Presbyterian junior college - in 1932. That same year male day students were first admitted. The total student body, she recounts, was around two hundred. She graduated from Mitchell College in 1934 with a Class C Teacher’s Certificate, won the English and Bible medals, was valedictorian and May Queen.


Although she never pursued a teaching career instead finding her path in nursing, her time at Mitchell provided the foundation for her ten year service as a Navy nurse (1941-1951). She served in World War II, attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was decorated with the American Defense ribbon, American Campaign Medal and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation ribbon and Navy Unit Commendation. She was also featured on the below 1950 “Join The Navy Nurse Corps” recruitment poster. 


Kay Thompson Baxter passed away January 10, 2010. Her legacy lives on in her recently published memoir Make Way For The Lady Ensign: An American Memoir. New York Times Best Selling Author and Biographer Antonia Felix calls it an “unforgettable coming-of-age memoir” and says it makes her “proud to be not just a woman, but a red-blooded, all-American female.”


Learn more about how you can start your legacy at Mitchell Community College. Discover degrees and programs Mitchell offers then find out how to apply. For additional support, speak to a counselor at (704) 878-3242 or


Kay Thompson Baxter in a 1950 US Navy Recruitment Poster