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Andrea Lee, IHM.

President's Message

Dear Friends,

It’s October? Not possible. Still, the campus gardens are offering their last vestiges of beauty, and some 5,000 students are well into the work of the semester. It is October.

We are deep into preparation for the first meeting of the Board of Trustees for this academic year. The Board’s primary agenda is focused on the 2013–2017 phase of St. Catherine’s Vision 2020 strategic plan.

Priorities for the next several years include:

  • Fully establish the Graduate College.
  • Realign the College for Applied and Continuing Learning and our Evening/Weekend/Online programs to more effectively meet student needs.
  • Develop new programs in public health, neuroscience, health informatics and environmental science, among others.
  • Expand our array of varsity sports and undergraduate student research opportunities.
  • Strengthen the Honors Program.
  • Build partnerships that drive enrollment and philanthropy.
  • More fully integrate Alumnae Relations into the University.
  • Capitalize on the reputations of key faculty and highly rated programs in the national arena.

Our capital priorities over the next several years will allow us to fund and build a state-of-the-art science building to address our growing baccalaureate majors in biology and chemistry as well as other STEM programs; expand the Butler Center and build a facility to address the needs of the track and field and tennis teams; renovate the old Fontbonne Gym for new classrooms and offices; and renovate portions of the first level of both buildings on the Minneapolis campus to address student life needs.

Lots of work and lots of money. We are, however, incredibly frugal and thoughtful about our planning for new and renovated facilities. I am proud of how efficiently we use our resources and am grateful for the generous help of our alumnae and friends.

As you will read in this issue of SCAN, St. Catherine University has been awarded a $3.3 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to design and promulgate a campaign to celebrate the accomplishments of Catholic women religious. The grant is attracting a lot of attention across the nation — including letters from key leaders of prominent U.S. universities like Fordham, Creighton and Notre Dame. St. Kate’s will be the center for this national effort, and our students and faculty will be at the forefront of this exciting work.

On another front, we are partnering with the Catholic Health Association to design and export an online nurse assistant educational program for women religious in a developing country who are unable to leave the region to study abroad. It’s another “side job” with enormous possibility and implications.

The recent “white coat” ceremonies for new classes in our physical therapy and physician assistant programs would have reinforced your confidence that the future of healthcare is a lot brighter than the popular press would have us believe. Impressive students, talented faculty and high expectations for excellence, compassion and committed service in a whole new world.

And, oh, did I mention waiting lists in the hundreds for these programs?

New students have settled in; heads are down and focused on hard work; and spirited, engaging conversations are everywhere. I hope you will find your way to campus soon.

It would be great to show and tell you more.

You are always in my prayers. God’s blessing for a wonderful autumn and year end.

“ New students have settled in. Heads are down and focused on hard work, and spirited, engaging conversations are everywhere.”