St. Catherine University’s unique approach to mission is faculty-driven, collaborative, and integrative. The three components of the St. Catherine mission — Catholic, Women, and Liberal Arts — spring from St. Catherine’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In 1905, their vision was an institution that educated women to “do all of which woman is capable and which will most benefit the dear neighbor.”
This vision continues to evolve as St. Catherine prepares a new generation of women to take their place as leaders in a world that needs them. Three endowed chairs have been established to ensure that mission permeates the University's curricular and co-curricular offerings.
Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity
Sharon M. Howell, CSJ, serves as the Archbishop Harry Flynn Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity, director of the Myser Initiative, and director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice.
As a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sister Sharon brings a love for academia, the church and serving others to St. Kate’s. In this role, follows her passion for working as a student affairs professional and church administrator within our community to serve the interests of students, staff and faculty, and promote the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Endowed Chair in Women's Education
Sharon Doherty, PhD, director of the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women and professor of women’s studies, serves as the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Endowed Chair in Women's Education and director of the Otte Initiative in Women's Education.
Sharon is dedicated to helping St. Catherine faculty, staff, students, and alumni connect their talents to the women’s mission. In her two-plus decades at St. Kate’s, she has focused on students as members of diverse communities within and beyond the university. As a cultural anthropologist who anchored her graduate work in feminist studies, Sharon takes an intersectional approach to race, class, gender, and other differences. She sees St. Kate’s as an important source of hope in the world today.
Endowed Chair in the Liberal Arts
Pa Der Vang, PhD, associate professor of social work, serves as the Alberta Huber, CSJ Endowed Chair in the Liberal Arts and director of the Evaleen Neufeld Initiative in the Liberal Arts.
Professor Vang's interdisciplinary work is firmly rooted in the values and goals of the liberal arts at St. Kate's. In addition to her leadership in Critical Hmong Studies, she teaches a Global Search for Justice course on Dismantling Racism as both a semester course and as January-term course. She took her most recent class to Laos and Thailand.
Supporting the Endowed Chairs and Program Funds
Each position is funded by an endowment that supports programming. The endowed chairs are collaborating to initiate, plan, and coordinate faculty and staff development opportunities.
We are grateful to the following benefactors who made gifts of $25,000 or more for the endowed mission chairs and program funds:
Nancy JP Anderson '01
Sandra Kamman Butler '56, MLS '57 and Peter M. Butler
Colleen Curran '75
Charles M. Denny, Jr. and Carol Easley Denny †
Gloria DeVore '64
Janet M. Dolan '71 and William G. Moore
Frances Culligan Galvin '54 and Michael J. Galvin, Jr.
Patricia Simms Gries '69, MAT '89 and John R. Gries
Corrine H. McCarthy '51
Andrea Schweizer McGough '54 † and Lawrence J. McGough
Susan Schmid Morrison '60 and John M. Morrison
Patricia O'Connor Myser '56 and John T. Myser †
Evaleen Everson Neufeld '46 † and Joseph A. Neufeld †
Margaret R. Otte '81
Thomas J. Pacholl
Lois Gross Rogers '63 and John E. Rogers
Ann Ryan '75 and Patrick Ryan
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province
Marcella Flaten Wartman '49 and Thomas G. Wartman †
† indicates deceased.