The next level of academic excellence

Campaign Categories

By Bethany Caitlin-Johnson, for St. Catherine University Magazine fall 2022 issue.

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In any discussion of what makes St. Catherine University so meaningful to so many, the impact of our faculty almost always comes first — as committed educators, trailblazing scholars, and dedicated community members. Not only do they build outstanding curricula and advance their fields with innovations in research, they facilitate students’ development long after graduation and throughout their lives.

Our faculty are both a key priority and a motivating factor for the largest campaign in the history of the University, LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence. As we look to the future of St. Kate’s, the evolving needs of our students and our ongoing commitment to academic excellence call for greater investment in our faculty than ever before.

The campaign seeks to develop our educators by funding robust mentorship for new faculty, additional research opportunities, and interdisciplinary and community partnerships. Additionally, the campaign’s foundation of the Center for Innovation and Inclusive Excellence reflects our commitment to fostering an equitable and inclusive working environment to support our current faculty members and attract new faculty from diverse backgrounds.

As of August 2022, we have raised $120 million for the campaign, thanks to the remarkable generosity of over 15,000 members of the St. Catherine community.  Donors have demonstrated resounding support for our faculty, with gifts and grants totaling $40.6 million. Through the campaign, St. Kate’s has established two brand-new endowed chair professorships, the Mary Alice Muellerleile Endowed English Chair and the GHR Endowed Chair in Health Education and Research.

As LEAD & INFLUENCE enters the final stretch, we encourage alumni and friends to consider donating to a campaign priority that speaks particularly to you. Just as so many St. Catherine community members made gifts to honor the impact of our faculty in their lives, you too can give back to a campaign priority that is meaningful to you. The campaign helps support all students, faculty, and facilities that together make up the incredible St. Kate’s impact. Planned gifts for donors sixty years and older count for the campaign, and we celebrate the generosity of each and every contribution.

Gifts to our faculty in action

While the campaign forges ahead, gifts are already building out an expanded foundation for our faculty. Some highlights include:

  • GHR Foundation gifted $18 million to advance growth and innovation in healthcare education, including funding of a newly-established endowed chair. The gift honors St. Catherine University alumna and GHR co-founder Henrietta Rauenhorst ’49.
  • A gift from Brenda Grandstrand Woodson ’80, JD, established an endowed chair in honor of Mary Alice Muellerleile ’60, her former advisor, English professor, and fellow alumna. Kristen Lillvis, PhD, is the position’s first appointee.
  • The James J. Hill Center donated $1 million to create a directorial position named for the nonprofit’s first board trustee, Mary T. Hill. In 2019, Monica Brown was named the University’s first Mary T. Hill Director of Data Science.
  • Lilly Endowment awarded a $1 million grant to help establish the St. Catherine University Initiative for Contemplative Discipleship. This initiative, spearheaded by the St. Kate’s theology department, works to unite local Christian congregational leaders in understanding and navigating changing social and cultural contexts.
  • An anonymous gift further enhanced the Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Distinguished Visiting Scholar Fund, which facilitates the exchange of ideas and expertise by bringing electric new voices to speak on campus. Author Louise Erdrich, 2023 Kelly Visiting Scholar, will speak on International Women’s Day (March 8).