Katherine “Kit” Jagoe Preston Heidt ’61 is Selwyn’s first female graduate. She began her career at Selwyn as a Sophomore in 1959, when the school opened its doors to girls while meeting together at the old Oakland campus. She continued as a Junior as the school grew to 85 students, prompting them to move into a building that two months before had been a cattle barn. Thanks to the Selwyn ‘all hands-on deck’ approach, the students started class in their new space in September of that year.
Kit graduated the year that Mr. and Mrs. J. Newton Rayzor gifted 100 acres of land that would become the 380 (University) campus. Though she did not attend the University campus, she does remember visiting afterward and was glad to see the Selwyn spirit continue on, as students, faculty, parents, grandparents and others continued to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and construct new buildings to accommodate Selwyn’s growth as it established its reputation as the premiere preparatory school in the area.
Kit attended Tulane University before meeting and marring Fr. John Harrison Heidt in 1964. Shortly after, they relocated to Keble College, Oxford, England. During their three years there, the Heidts made invaluable connections in the church, including a friendship with C.S. Lewis’s personal secretary. Fr. Heidt served as assistant chaplain of Keble College and at S. Mary Magdalene, at that time a noted Anglo-Catholic shrine. In 1967, Fr Heidt received his Bachelor of Letters.
In 1968, Fr. Heidt accepted a call as episcopal chaplain at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and taught on the faculty of Marquette University. Kit became a trustee at Nashota House Seminary in Wisconsin where her husband received his M.Div. While serving on the board, she was awarded an honorary doctorate.
In 1972, they returned to England, this time staying 18 years, where Fr. Heidt was awarded his Doctorate. She supported and encouraged him as he served as assistant priest of St. Mary Magdalen, co-founded the Christian World newspaper and took an active role in the English Church Union, while founding the Catholic Renewal movement.
In 1980, Fr. Heidt became Vicar of SS Philip and James in Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, where he and Kit remained for the next 16 years. Kit was a member of the Church of England’s General Synod Gloucester for 12 years. She and John worked tirelessly for Catholic orthodoxy, helping to found Cost of Conscience (later Forward in Faith). Kit was on the executive committees for Women Against the Ordination of Women and the English Church Union.
The Heidts returned to the United States in 1996, when Fr. Heidt accepted a call as rector of Christ Church in Dallas, where he began a lively Hispanic ministry. Fr. Heidt retired in 2003 and accepted the appointment as canon theologian for the Diocese of Ft. Worth. Fr. Heidt passed away on October 23, 2009. Katherine and Fr. Heidt had two sons, Michael and Christopher, three daughters, Elizabeth, Katherine and Teresa, and six grandchildren.