From the President

From the President

Andrea Lee, IHM

Dear Friends,

A new year: J-term followed by a new semester and, of course, the long Minnesota winter. Somehow, it all coalesces into a surfeit of quiet time for taking stock; for ensuring that our decisions, actions and energy align closely with St. Catherine’s goals and vision; and for reflecting on what we are doing and why.

Occasionally, such reflection comes into “high def” focus, and we both rejoice in our collective accomplishments and see more clearly a path that outlines the roughest of sketches for the work ahead. Such time never fails to stoke my energy and reignite my commitment to St. Catherine’s incredible mission and to our vision “to be a leading Catholic university distinguished by its innovative spirit and premier baccalaureate college for women.”

In October, the Board of Trustees approved the second phase of our 2020 Vision Strategic Plan, outlining priorities for 2013–2017. Our plan is aimed directly at attaining our vision, and we are hard at work bringing it to life.

I’ve asked the University’s senior leadership to reimagine our work and how we spend our time; to think of new ways to approach our ambitious goals by combining and recombining our various perspectives and talents; and to move deliberately outside our spheres of comfort to establish partnerships that will take St. Catherine where it needs and wants and plans to be.

We offered the same challenge to our deans, directors, faculty and staff at our “State of the University” session in early December. Part of this work will engage our friends, our educational and business partners, and, of course, our alumnae who lead and influence and change the paradigms and priorities of the world in so many ways, in so many places.

And our students! Whether they are learning about how intelligence, athletic prowess and perseverance can serve them well in their professional and personal lives; traveling to Japan, South Africa, Ecuador, Haiti or Rome and allowing the cultures of the world to transform and shape their thinking and creativity; interviewing as a Rhodes scholarship finalist; starring in a play; applying for a highly prized internship; or engaging in important research as colleagues of their faculty mentors, they are smart, principled and overflowing with potential.

Every day, problems and challenges demand attention, resources and time:

  • healthcare and where it’s going and the role St. Catherine University will play in that complexity;
  • keeping our eyes focused squarely on all three elements of our mission — women, Catholic and liberal arts — and shaping from them an integrated whole;
  • controlling the cost of higher education and wrestling with fierce and escalating competition;
  • securing funds for facilities that mirror the quality of our academic programs and the intelligence of the students pursuing them.

As I write, I am in a Miami hotel, preparing to fly to Haiti tomorrow. There I’ll meet our students and faculty who will arrive from the Dominican Republic for a few days of engagement in the St. Luke Foundation’s transformational ministry, before leaving for the final segment of their J-term class in Cuba.

The TV is on — it’s Golden Globes Awards night. Although somewhat redeemed by the actual show’s enthusiastic appreciation for excellence in the film and television industry, the “let’s watch the stars arrive on the red carpet” pre-show was a stunning study in self-absorption and excess. Juxtaposing that with what I’ll witness among our students over the next few days makes the case for St. Kate’s and fills me with invigorating pride.

Thank you for supporting such important work. 


"Our students are smart, principled and overflowing with potential."

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Amy Gage

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