“A Meaningful Life” Set the Tone for Opening Celebrations at St. Catherine University

Students celebrating the start of the academic year

First Year students paused to cheer before beginning the procession to The O'Shaughnessy for Opening Convocation. Photo by Rebecca Slater ’10 / By Rebecca Photography

Following a year unlike any in the history of the institution, St. Catherine University opened the academic year with a nod to beloved rituals: celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit in Our Lady of Victory Chapel, and hosting the Opening Convocation at The O’Shaughnessy.

Woven throughout each was the theme for the year: “A Meaningful Life.” Through the chosen readings and reflection shared at mass, the students, faculty, and staff who gathered in person and online were reminded of the simple yet powerful decision to choose a life of meaning and purpose. 

From there, the group processed through the quad to The O’Shaughnessy, where the President and her cabinet welcomed the community to celebrate the many ways St. Catherine University supports those who seek to lead a meaningful life.

After welcoming the audience, a panel comprised of alumnae Comfort Dondo ’15 and Sen. Mary Kunesh ’95 discussed how their St. Kate’s journeys helped them find their ways to lead lives of meaning. Both alumnae were honored at the 2021 Alumni Awards celebration held in the spring.

A commitment to Academic Excellence is one way St. Catherine University embodies the pursuit of a meaningful life, and so the second part of the event celebrated the endowed chairs and professorships at St. Catherine University, and introduced Kristen Lillvis, Ph.D, the first professor to sit in the Mary Alice Muellerliele ’60 Endowed Chair in English.  

Before coming to St. Kate’s, Lillvis most recently worked as the director of the Digital Humanities program at Marshall University. Her areas of expertise include Digital Literary Studies, Coding for the Digital Humanities, Contemporary American Literature, African American Literatures, Technology and the Evolution of Human Identity, and Posthumanism. Lillvis also teaches electronic and traditional works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and speculative fiction, as well as graphic narratives and video games, by multicultural authors.

“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,” said Anita Thomas, PhD, executive vice president and provost at St. Catherine University.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.”


Happy New Academic Year.