June 2009 Cover SCAN - St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
June 2009
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Words of WELCOME

Welcome to St. Catherine University!

Since 1923, visitors and students have been welcomed with iron gates — on Randolph and Cleveland avenues and on Randolph just east of the main entrance — bearing the name of the College of St. Catherine.

This spring, the headers to the gates were removed and updated. The reconfigured gates, which were erected in May, now say simply "Saint Catherine" to better reflect the institution's evolution to St. Catherine University, which took place June 1.

Monument signs at all campus entrances and signage throughout both the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses will be changed this summer. The goal is to have all University signage in place by the end of August, in time for the start of fall 2009 classes.

Ceramic bowl by Monica Rudquist



This spring, when Mary Armstrong '11 competed in her first college bowl, she made sure to invite a few key members of her family to cheer her on.

"It was exciting," says Armstrong, a sophomore at St. Kate's. "There were a ton of people there. I brought my mom and sister."

Although Armstrong's college bowl was titled "College Bowl 1/09," it wasn't a sporting event. It was a multigenerational juried exhibition of ceramic art by students from four-year institutions in Minnesota. St. Kate's ceramics instructor Monica Rudquist nominated Armstrong and classmate Kaitlyn Peterson '10 to be in the show, held at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. The students' work was selected to be in the show, which featured ceramic art created by students from the University of Minnesota-Morris, Hamline University, and the Minnesota State University campuses in Bemidji and St. Cloud.

Rudquist didn't have a hard time selecting students to participate.

"Kaitlyn is totally prepared," she says. "She was ready for the challenge. Mary knew what she was about already. She was an obvious choice."

Despite trying economic times that might lead students to more "practical" endeavors, ceramics remains a popular course with many St. Kate's students. "My classes have filled every time with a bit of a waiting list, "Rudquist says.

The judges selected one piece from each student for the show. Armstrong's "narrative" work, titled "Story Cup III," started out as a mug, but "it evolved from that into a bigger piece. It's sort of folksy," she explains. "It is based off the Chronicles of Narnia stories."

Even though the College Bowl had no official winner, Armstrong still felt like a champion.

"It was really cool to see our works on display," she says. "I've never been in a show. It was an amazing experience."

Paying it Forward

Graduates of the nursing class of '54 lend a hand each year to someone starting out.


As young women training to become nurses at St. Mary's Hospital in St. Paul, the 44 members of the College of St. Catherine's nursing class of 1954 were a close bunch.

"We worked hard together," recalls BeverlyWurnig Albanese, one of the graduates. "It was a wonderful program. The training and the education were excellent."

Members of the class went their separate ways after earning their degrees, but they managed to stay in touch. Albanese married and moved to Boston, where she raised four daughters and worked as a surgical and post-op nurse.

One member of the class died shortly after graduation, and the experience brought members of the class back in contact with one another. Some 20 years later, another classmate died. With the help of fellow graduate Lois Lindquist Willette, who kept a detailed list, Albanese reached out to the remaining members of her class.

"When our second classmate died, I took it upon myself to contact people," Albanese says. "We wanted to do something to honor her memory, so I had the idea to gather donations for a scholarship fund."

The idea resonated with members of the class of '54, who understand how difficult it can be to finance a college education. "We wanted the money to go to someone who really needs it," Albanese says.

Unsure what the response would be, she sent a letter explaining the scholarship idea to everyone on Willette's class list. The group responded enthusiastically, with more than half sending donations of varying amounts.

"A few years later, another classmate died," Albanese recalls. "I said to myself, 'Why not make this a thing we do in honor of all of our classmates who pass away?' That's how it got started." Since then the group has lost seven or eight classmates. Remaining members of the nursing class of '54 have continued to support the scholarship, which goes to a current nursing student after a member of the class dies.

"People look forward to donating now," Albanese says. "They are very willing and happy to honor our classmates that way."

"Why notmake a donation in honor of all our classmates who pass away?"

Recipients of the award have contacted Albanese to thank her class for their support. Although the award is usually under $500, it serves as an important gesture of support for a young nurse from women who have been out in the world for more than 50 years.

"I loved nursing," says Albanese, who's now retired. "I always felt it was exactly what I should've been doing. I think many of my classmates felt the same way. That's why we want to give a little encouragement to someone just starting out."

Trash to Treasure

St. Kate's finds green solution to disposing of old computers.


Managing computer resources at St. Catherine University means purchasing and maintaining hundreds of computers — and disposing of them safely when they're obsolete. And since computers are composed of hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, asbestos and beryllium, safe disposal can be a costly enterprise.

But St. Kate's Institutional Technology Director John Jeries has found a way to save money in disposal costs and help those in need. He's partnered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to find homes for the computers, keeping them out of landfills and extending their useful lives.

Jeries was volunteering with the men's club in his parish when a fellow volunteer told him about his work repairing donated electronics for St. Vincent de Paul. Jeries realized that the computers he was charged with replacing would be excellent candidates for nonprofit organizations. Computers at St. Kate's are upgraded approximately every three years, and at a disposal cost of approximately $50 per computer, donating the machines meant significant cost savings to the University and a significant contribution to St. Vincent de Paul.

"It's a win-win for St. Kate's and St. Vincent de Paul."
That was a year ago. Since then, more than 500 St. Kate's computers have been scoured of their data and picked up by St. Vincent de Paul, where they're refurbished and sold at a reasonable price in the society's two retail stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul. According to Edward Koerner, executive director of the society, some of the equipment is also donated to school children and others who can't afford it.

"This is a Godsend for us," says Jeries. "We used to have to ensure that the computers were disposed of safely. That was costly and involved a lot of paperwork. That work is now eliminated. It's a win-win for St. Kate's and St. Vincent de Paul. Donating the computers helps with the environment, helps St. Kate's reduce costs and helps St. Vincent de Paul with their mission."

EXIT Interviews Two deans leave St. Kate's for the next adventure.

This year, St. Catherine said goodbye to two longtime leaders, Susan Cochrane and Margaret K. McLaughlin. After 10 years, McLaughlin, dean of health professions, is leaving St. Kate's for Pittsburgh to become provost and vice president of academic affairs at Carlow University, a women-focused Catholic university. Cochrane, dean of professional studies, has been at St. Catherine since 1986, when she was hired as a professor of social work. She is retiring.

We asked them to tell us about their plans for life after St. Kate's.

Margaret K.McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Why she's leaving: To become provost and vice president for academic affairs at Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

How she feels about leaving the College: I'm still getting used to the transition. While I'm incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead, I will miss St. Kate's more than I can say. In my resignation letter I said, "I've always loved my work, but I've never loved a place. I really love this place."

What she's learned here: At St. Kate's I developed a deep and abiding respect for educational missions that are espoused by Catholic institutions of higher education. Living in this particular learning environment has further committed me to fostering social responsibility in students.

Carlow has a lot of similarities to St. Kate's. It used to be a women's college. It began accepting men a few years ago but retains its women-focused mission. It is now a Catholic, liberal arts, women-centered university. They started their weekend college around the same time that we started ours. They understand the needs of adult women learners. Their diversity is similar to St. Kate's.

Home, sweet home: I'm very connected to Carlow — and to Pittsburgh. My kids went to the Carlow University lab school when I was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. My husband is originally from Pennsylvania. We are an East Coast family. We've had a fabulous 10 years here, but our roots aren't in the Midwest.

Childhood dreams: Growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian. (McLaughlin earned her B.S. in animal sciences from Rutgers.) But I graduated from college in 1972, back in the day when very few women got into vet school. Only two women a year from New Jersey got accepted to veterinary programs. I wasn't one of them. Instead I earned an M.S. and then a Ph.D. in reproductive physiology.

High expectations: I had a unique father. He had two girls and five boys. I never knew until I went to college that some women didn't have careers outside of the home. My dad wanted me to be an engineer. The fact that I was a girl never entered into the equation. School was important in my family. My dad had to drop out of college during the Great Depression. My siblings and I are all first-generation college students. Every one of us has a graduate degree.

Next steps for St. Kate's: I'm thrilled about the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. I think it's an expression of the history of the College. It's a natural evolution from what got started when the place was founded. It's a real expression of all that has come before. It pushes us to think into the future. I am certain the School of Health will be a huge success.

Susan Cochrane, MSW, LICSW

Why she's leaving: To spend more time on her life and with her family.

On retiring at age 62: I want to find balance again in my life, or a different balance. My husband's been retired for seven years. During the week, I live in a condo in St. Paul. I commute back to St. Croix Valley on the weekends. I'd like to spend more time in my garden and doing yoga. I'd like to find other things that I love.

The culture of St. Kate's: People like the history to be respected. People like to be involved and consulted and heard. People want to be respected for their strengths and their contributions. Maybe what's different from other institutions is the hierarchical piece — that people would never be paid attention to elsewhere. Here, the Sisters of St. Joseph established this egalitarian view; everybody's voice counts. We're all working on this together, and that just permeates our culture.

Her own contribution: I pay attention to process and who the constituents are, how we need to think about asking the question and involving people and coming to consensus. I want to hear people's perspectives, and that's a skill from my social work background. But I also can put a plan into action and follow up.

Men at a women's college: What's good for women is good for the world. I think male graduate students, as they learn about how we teach, really come to appreciate it — and appreciate being heard and listened to. They learn to listen to others, learn to collaborate. It's hard for some in the very first class if they've not been familiar with that, but they talk about it pretty profoundly when they finish.

St. Catherine University: It really is who we are, and it will tell the world who we are. It's more accurate. It also gives a different sense of what potential we have, and it may help people to think bigger and differently, which is what we need to do.We're well poised, and we're certainly qualified to do this. We're good!

A new journey: I've been reading and preparing a lot for my retirement. The experts suggest taking a gap year, not launching into something as a reaction. On the other hand, I know that sustaining your momentum is important.

I crochet prayer shawls as part of a shawl ministry for hospice. I may take a master gardener class. But when school starts in September, I'm going to be canoeing down the Missouri River with my husband, Wes, and our dogs. It will be the first time in 20-some years that I haven't been on campus in September.

—Andy Steiner and Amy Gage

From the Heart of the Campus

Kicks for Cash

This spring, a group of students came up with a unique way to raise money for the senior class gift: an all-campus kickball tournament. Many players took part, including (L to R) Mike Woychek, Rachel Hilger, Becca Clemens, Amy Horwath, organizer Stacy Rooney, Cassie Strauss, Colleen Fitzpatrick and Anna Heithoff. The tourney raised spirits — and $655.

Distinguished Alumna Helps Showcase Renowned Poet

Rita Dove (left), the former poet laureate of the United States, was a scholarin-residence at St. Catherine this past winter, thanks to donor Joan Kelly.

When Joan Kelly '46 decided to make a major gift to her alma mater, her goal was to ensure for future generations the fine education she had received. An English major and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Kelly credits both her parents' open-mindedness and her liberal arts education at the hands of the Sisters of St. Joseph with her success bringing national prominence to the business her father founded.

The most effective way to give back to the College, she reasoned, would be to benefit students — potentially for generations.

Kelly established three annual activities named in honor of her late older sister, Bonnie Jean Kelly, who died suddenly while a student at St. Kate's. The Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Faculty Excellence Award carries with it a $10,000 cash prize and has been presented three times, most recently to Laurie Swabey, a professor of American Sign Language and interpreting.

This past year, Kelly's two other projects came to fruition. The Student Excellence in Writing Award was presented to Allison Current '08 and Amanda Yourchuck '08 last September, and six other students won the award in May. And in March, the campus welcomed Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove as the inaugural Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence.

Says Kelly, a member of the College's elite Centennial 100: "I want to both celebrate and further academic excellence."