From the President
IN JANUARY EACH YEAR, many students are abroad or away from campus, and this offers the blessing of time to reflect on deeper questions about our mission and purpose. A pivotal question focuses on what leadership means at St. Catherine University.
Through magnificent vision and dogged execution, the Sisters of St. Joseph established an inspiring example of leadership for us. They did so by believing that a college education for women in the upper Midwest was desirable and possible, then making it a reality despite staggering challenges. Women should excel in the sciences, believed Mother Antonia McHugh, and so, in the 1920s, she sent Sisters abroad to study in Europe’s most prestigious universities and raised the funds necessary to build Mendel Hall, a state-of-the-art learning facility for its time. Facing insurmountable challenges, Mother Antonia’s bold “act as if” mantra encouraged even the faint-hearted to push forward in pursuit of the grand vision.
In 1979, St. Kate’s Weekend College — the first higher education option of its kind in Minnesota and model for many like it — was an imaginative and leading-edge innovation, not only meeting emerging needs, but anticipating them. More recently, our transition to St. Catherine University — featuring the largest and most comprehensive Catholic college for women in the U.S., an expanding graduate college, and the college for applied and continuing learning, along with four distinct schools housing a broad array of academic programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels — offers clear testament to St. Catherine University as leader and innovator.
As we move confidently into the future, both opportunities and challenges lie before us. From repurposing and strengthening academic programs to expanding degree options and ensuring that students are a step ahead of emerging employment trends; from planning new facilities to designing and marketing programs that position St. Catherine for long-term growth and success, this issue of SCAN highlights some of our most exciting work. For example, how collaborative research might enhance quality of life for an increasingly aging population, as well as how technology is changing classroom pedagogy and revolutionizing how we prepare future teachers.
Big dreams don’t just “come true.” Instead they are realized through the talent and perseverance of a stellar faculty and staff, and the hard work and sheer intelligence of our amazing students. Such dreams need and inspire the support and investment of our generous alumnae and benefactors. Your generosity and individual leadership matter. They matter to the University and to the faculty and students who count on you. Thank you for supporting us in so many ways. We’ll work very hard to make your investment yield rich fruit.
One note, sad and profoundly inspiring: as I write about leadership at St. Kate’s, I’m sure that Catherine and Peter Lupori, Ann Lachenmayer Connelly ’84 and Jane Keefe Clifford ’45 come to the minds of many. Incredibly dynamic leaders and inspiring individuals, each of them. Catherine, with her intense commitment to women’s education and, of course, books! Her husband, Peter, our sculptor-in-residence whose legacy is carried into the future by every St. Catherine graduate; Jane, the quintessential volunteer, fund-raising professional and mother of seven, including two daughters and a daughter-in-law who are Katies; and Ann, a groundbreaking professional for women in technology and inspiring presence among us. Their loss to us and the world is incalculable, challenging us as they so magnificently did, to transformational leadership.
May spring come soon, with new growth, fresh perspectives and many adventures — raw materials of leadership and excellence. As always, you are in my prayers and thoughts.
Photo by Alli Jagoda.