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June 2009
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Engaging Alumnae, Now and for a Lifetime

A major initiative is underway to engage alumnae in new, significant ways in the life of St. Catherine University. The concept emerged two years ago when Vice President Marjorie Mathison Hance ’70 learned of a private university that identified alums as "students forever."

After discussing it at length, we began to ask, "What would it mean for St. Catherine to think of our graduates as students who would always be with us, as an integral part of our ongoing work?"

St. Catherine is now a university with four schools, three colleges and a new
strategic plan emphasizing distance learning and graduate programs. The
time has come to consider how we can serve alumnae throughout their lives in professional growth, continuing education, personal development and volunteerism.

St. Kate’s alumna t-shirtThe benefits are obvious for both: the University will benefit by having alumnae help shape and participate in programs, and alumnae will have new opportunities for engagement and intellectual stimulation. At the same time, we want to honor many wonderful initiatives already underway by the Alumnae Association.

What changes will this represent? A new structure will be created to interface more directly with the new colleges and schools as well as areas that provide services of relevance to alumnae. The University is looking at investing more resources in reaching out to alumnae in new ways. The Alumnae Association would become a fully integrated part of the University, and alumnae across the country would have opportunities for connection available throughout their lifetimes.

President Andrea J. Lee, IHM, has formed a task team of key leaders to explore this concept and make the vision a reality. Task team members include:

  • Five representatives of the Alumnae Association (President Yvonne Houle-Gillard ’91, Ruth Brombach ’60, President-elect Linda Thrasher ’88, Board Member Cathy Bendel ’81 and Past President Colleen Curran ’75),
  • Five trustees or trustees emeritae (Ann Buckingham Ryan ’75, Joanne
    Jirik Mullen ’83, Colleen O’Malley’63, CSJ, Jane Keefe Clifford ’45 and
    Anne Ward Miller ’63), and
  • Five faculty or staff members (chair of the task team Vice President Marjorie Mathison Hance ’70, Senior Vice President Colleen Hegranes, Associate Dean Toné Blechert M’67 and MAOL ’93, Beth Koenig ’92, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Sarah Berger ’00, director of the Annual Fund).

Executive Assistant to the President Stacy Jacobson is staff to the task team.

Look for updates and more information at www.stkate.edu/visionforalums.
Alumnae will have opportunities for input as this process progresses. The
task team plans to make its recommendations at the Annual Alumnae meeting
on May 10. Stay tuned!

Pols, Pens, God and MTV

New courses promise to keep Katies thinking

This year, St. Catherine University has introduced a slew of new courses — some are special "topics courses" offered only once; others are offered at certain times of the year. All are relevant to the times in which we live.Here is a sampling of some that intrigued us:

MUSC 2994: History of Rock
Professor Allison Adrian

Designed both for music majors and non-music majors, this course traces the development of rock ’n’ roll by exploring its many styles, including Motown,
progressive rock, punk, heavy metal and grunge.

Assistant Professor of Music Allison Adrian will help students consider how rock contributes to our ideas of youth culture, violence, and race and gender identity.

"MTV has changed the way we hear music because we now see music as well as listen to it," says Adrian.

Students will be required to read Bret Easton Ellis’ 1985 novel, Less than Zero. They’ll also watch classic music videos, including Madonna’s "Like A
Prayer." "It’s a great way to keep students alive and awake and alert in class," Adrian laughs.

ENGL 4860: Writing to Delight, Incite and Pay the Rent
Professor Gay Herzberg

Starving poet isn’t the only career option for English majors. This capstone course gives English majors with a writing concentration some experience they can use in a tight job market.

Divided into three sections, the course focuses first on fiction writing, then creative nonfiction and finally on an on-campus internship with a practical writing component.

"It’s designed to give students a real-life professional writing experience," Herzberg explains. "We want them to learn what sort of careers work well with the skills they’ve developed as English majors." Professional writing projects will give students "an actual writing sample to show prospective employers," she adds.

POSC 2994: Media and Politics
Professor Mary Margaret Smith

This course endeavors to untangle and explain the complex relationship of politics and the media, examining political and media actors — and the institutions that are shaped by them.

The way that the mass media, television, films and the Internet explore political subjects will get particularly close scrutiny. Besides reading texts and discussing the issues, the 25 students enrolled in the course will also watch political documentaries by Bill Moyers and Michael Moore as well as dramatic films like The Year of Living Dangerously.

THEO 2994: The Mystery of the Human Person
Professor Thomas West

Who and what is the human person, according to Christian theology?

Theology Professor Thomas West will lead students in an in-depth discussion of Adam, Eve and the fall into sin; Christ and redemption from sin; God’s grace and human free will; the resurrection and the hope for eternal life; heaven, purgatory and hell; and human life and the quest for meaning. Effort will be made to place Christian views of the human person in dialogue with contemporary secular thought, including feminist theory and neuroscience.

West relishes the opportunity to lead his students on a rollicking, speed-of-light tour through religious history and thought. "It’s huge," he says. "It’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s crazy what we’re trying to squeeze into one semester.
But it is awfully exciting."

— Pauline Oo and Andy Steiner

Booking it:

St. Kate’s new MLIS director is ready to get to work.

Deborah Grealy, Ph.D.

Deborah Grealy, Ph.D., the new associate dean and director of St. Catherine’s MLIS program, is raring to go. Fresh from the University of Denver, where in 2004 she helped the school’s Library and Information Science program earn coveted American Library Association accreditation, she is eager to work with St. Kate’s on its bid for ALA accreditation this fall.

Grealy moved to St. Paul in February.

What drew you to St. Catherine University? I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to do something that matters, and I think this job matters. There are not that many accredited library schools in the United States. We especially need more private schools with strong commitments to social justice — schools like St. Catherine — to lead the study of library science in our nation.

From your perspective, what gives St. Catherine’s MLIS program such promise? St. Catherine has a long history in library education both individually and collaboratively.Now our program is ready to stand on its own. Once we do that, we can continue to build an influential library program that is socially conscious and socially aware, a program that produces graduates with a commitment to providing equitable service to all information seekers. This will be an achievement that Minnesota can be proud of. And we already have everything it takes to do that.

What makes public libraries so important in our society? The public library is the cornerstone of our democracy, and librarians are the stewards of that cornerstone. The evolution of libraries is tied closely to the evolution of this country. In the 1900s, industrialist Andrew Carnegie invested heavily in libraries. He saw them as the "university of the common man." Resources are available through public libraries in the United States that are not available anywhere else in the world.

Services to underserved populations, to our children, and to our schools are of critical importance. When the economy is bad people don’t buy the computer, they don’t pay for DSL lines. They go to the library.

What are your goals for your initial time at St. Catherine University? My first goal is to achieve initial accreditation. Then I want to help this program achieve regional and national recognition. I’m excited to get to work.

— Andy Steiner

Charlotte Nagel Brentesson ’07, DPT ’09

Charlotte Nagel Brenteson ’07,
DPT ’09, August 22, 2009.

Goin’ to the Chapel...

Our Lady of Victory Chapel is a cherished venue for the many couples who have been married there. This year, on Sunday, February 14, some of those couples joined the Alumnae Association at the Chapel to celebrate their love with a Valentine’s Day Mass and special blessing of vows.

To honor weddings past and present, we’ve culled some fun facts about tying the knot in Our Lady of Victory:

First wedding: January 23, 1926, between Alice Kenney ’25 and Henry Orme

Average weddings per year: 40

Weekend celebrations: Weddings can be held in the Chapel only on Friday nights, Saturday mornings or Saturday afternoons.

Busiest months: September and October. Availability is limited in June due to Alumnae Association reunion events, says Linda Ovadia, wedding coordinator for Campus Ministry.

Get in line. Weddings can be booked 15 months in advance, on a first-come first-served basis.

The wedding coordinator. Sister Helen Margaret Peck ’24 oversaw 479 weddings between July 3, 1975, and June 2, 1984. "The weddings never bored me," she wrote in SCAN, summer 1984. Instead, they gave her "a pleasant way of spending long weekends."

Age-old tradition. Brides for years have returned to the Chapel after the festivities to lay their bouquets at the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Most unusual request: A bride wanted to ride her beloved horse down the aisle. (She was refused.)

Tsk-tsk. Only a few weddings were held in the Chapel following the Kenney-Orme marriage in 1926 because the Chancery office of the Archdiocese frowned on marriages held outside the parish of the bride. In 1974 St. Kate’s received permission to marry alumnae, students, faculty and staff in the Chapel.

Fact or fiction? A story still circulates that unattached Katies liked to reserve the Chapel several years in advance. Then they’d go find a groom in time to make the reserved wedding date. "That’s a myth," insists Ovadia, "and we have tried to stop it from spreading."

Speaking of horses... Jacqueline Southward ’78 and John Nakasone left the Chapel in a horse-drawn carriage, complete with a coachman and the skirling of bagpipes.

— Pauline Oo


From the Heart of the Campus

You Don’t Say...

"Tweet and text all you want. It
will never replace a long talk with a good friend. Zip off e-mails or memos by the gigabyte; they’ll never replace a thoughtfully constructed letter. Talking through lawyers, mediators, intermediaries, third parties or cyberspace does work, but never as effectively as face-to-face conversation, problem solving around a table, and asking for or granting forgiveness while looking someone straight in the eye."

— President Andrea J. Lee, IHM
University of St. Thomas Commencement speech
December 18, 2009

Educating to Lead and Influence

The St. Catherine Forum on Women in Leadership celebrated women in business February 9 at an event unveiling The 2009 Census of Women in Corporate Leadership. The report, produced by St. Catherine and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable (MWER), examined the percentage of women on the boards and in the executive suites of the state’s 100 largest public companies.

President Andrea J. Lee, Jeff Ettinger and Rebecca Roloff ’76 at the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable

Hormel Foods President, CEO and Chairman Jeff Ettinger (center) was the first man to keynote the Forum in its 17-year history. He is shown here with St. Catherine President Andrea J. Lee, IHM (left) and Minneapolis YWCA Chief Executive Rebecca Roloff ’76, president of MWER.

Researched and written by Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Professors Rebecca Hawthorne and Joann Bangs, the Census revealed that women hold only 14 percent of the board seats in Minnesota’s 100 largest companies. View the website or download the full report at stkate.edu/mn_census.

Young Scholars at Work

Senior history major Erin McDonald presented her research paper, Questioning Caesar’s Primary Source Credibility, to lawmakers in February at the Minnesota Private College Council’s Private College Scholars at the Capitol event.

Standing next to her poster presentation, she felt buoyed by the strong support of Emily Blanchard West, an assistant professor of classics and history at St. Kate’s and McDonald’s collaborator on the research project.

Last summer West and McDonald, a McNair scholar, together read Caesar’s De Bello Gallico in the original Latin and then analyzed his ethnographic knowledge of the Celtic people.

Over the summer McDonald studied Caesar’s writings and then discussed her findings with West, who provided guidance with her interpretations. Later she reviewed McDonald’s finished paper. "We had a fun time working on it," West says, "but Erin really did it all herself. She is a self-motivated, independent person."

The pair’s project typifies the collaborative approach that St. Catherine professors take with students. "Our students are constantly presented with opportunities to work closely with faculty," West says. "It’s one of the things that sets us apart."

— Andy Steiner

Deborah Grealy: Fast Facts

  • Past employment: Former assistant professor and director of the Library and Information Science Program, University of Denver

  • Education: Ph.D. in higher education with a focus on the adult learner, University of Denver; Master of Library Science, University of Oklahoma; Master of Arts (history), Kent State University; Bachelor of Arts (anthropology and English), Kent State.

  • Awards: Meritorious Achievement Award, Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, 2000.

  • Recent Publications: From Research to Practice: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in LIS.