October 2011 cover SCAN"St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
June 2012
 
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Dear Friends,

Commencement weekend simultaneously exhausts and exhilarates. Each year, May seems to swallow up every snippet of time and energy, as we move from one powerful St. Catherine experience to the next, culminating in graduation with three commencement ceremonies and three different baccalaureate services or liturgies. I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

During the waning days of the semester, 19 Antonian Scholars in our Honors Program presented their senior projects and research at individual sessions and, in some cases, at professional conferences. Their research topics ranged from American neo-Imperialism to neuroscience; from water and sustainability to sex-trafficking; from neurodevelopmentally vulnerable children and children's Holocaust literature to immigration, emigration, and art and healing. These students match sheer intelligence with equal parts creativity and diligence.

Writing a tribute for each retiree was truly graced time that left me awash in gratitude.

On Honors and Awards day in Rauenhorst Ballroom, we celebrated 15 new Phi Beta Kappa members; a panoply of individual scholarships and awards; our Thomas More student leadership awards; and our top students, recognized for outstanding student leadership with the Dean of Students' Award (Isabella Muhia), the Mother Antonia McHugh Award for exceptional academic achievement (Sarah Nelson, daughter of trustee Jean Delaney Nelson '80), and the Mary E. McCahill Memorial Award — St. Catherine's most prestigious — recognizing both academic excellence and student leadership (Latifah Kiribedda). Another proud and exhilarating day!

At the annual retirement party, I recognized 11 faculty and staff members leaving the University with combined service of 323 years. I gave the tribute for each, and preparing these remarks was beautifully rewarding work. Writing the tributes provided a chance to spend quiet time focused on each retiree, to think about my personal encounters with each of them over the years; read about their accomplishments; search for quotes that describe something about each one; and then try to capture the essence of each of these individuals. It was truly graced time that left me awash in gratitude.

By mid-month, the Alumnae Annual Meeting drew several hundred to campus. What a joy to see the creative and energetic evolution of our work with alumnae in the Twin Cities region and beyond. Awards again to stellar recipients: Sara Hietpas Gavin '77, Harriet Hentges '62, Christine Palumbo '75, Pamela Wheelock '81 and, our "Rising Star", Annie Ballantine '05.

Commencement weekend arrived: hot and muggy, then cold and rainy. At the baccalaureate liturgies, the readings were exquisitely proclaimed; lovely music and sacred dance injected beauty and energy into the packed chapel; the graduates were resplendent in their academic gowns and newly bestowed hoods. Joy everywhere!

In the midst of this typically "over-busy" month came intense preparatory work for our decennial accreditation visit from the Higher Learning Commission in February 2013; preparing a new strategic plan to take us from 2013 to 2017; and traveling to California, Arizona and Colorado. That plus working on a number of boards, task teams and councils more than consumed my time.

I particularly enjoy my work with the Archdiocesan School Council — and point with pride to the two most recent national Catholic school principals of the year: Kate Wollan '86 (Nativity of Our Lord) and Jane Killian Schmidt '78 (Highland Catholic), both in St. Paul. They're featured in our cover story in this issue of SCAN.

Summer is upon us. May the season bring you moments for sustained reflection; time to regenerate your spirit and energy; time to spend with those who help you be your best self; and time for doing — well, nothing. Here's to beach novels and long walks in the woods.

 
President Andrea J. Lee, IHM

President Andrea J. Lee, IHM

Mission Statement

St. Catherine University educates students to lead and influence. Inspired by its visionary founding in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, more than a century later the University serves diverse students, with a baccalaureate college for women at its heart and graduate and associate programs for women and men.

At all degree levels, St. Catherine integrates liberal arts and professional education within the Catholic tradition, emphasizing intellectual inquiry and social teaching, and challenging students to transformational leadership. Committed to excellence and opportunity, St. Catherine University develops ethical, reflective and socially responsible leaders, informed by the philosophy of the women's college and the spirit of the founders.

Vision Statement

To be a leading Catholic university distinguished by its innovative spirit and premier baccalaureate College for women.

PHOTO BY ALLI JAGODA