Living Into ‘One University’

Integration of the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses has provided an even more accessible, cohesive, and connected St. Kate’s experience.

From the St. Catherine University Magazine spring 2023 issue. 

"When students come here, they’re experiencing a university environment — they feel like they’re part of St. Kate’s,” says Scott Haglund, radiography program director, musing on his department’s four years in St. Paul.

It was no small feat getting there. In 2017, a comprehensive assessment of the University’s facilities on both the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses found that the Minneapolis campus’ annual operating expenses, combined with a list of necessary repairs, made the second campus location unsustainable. Those factors, along with future programming needs and limited parking, led the administration to decide on integrating the two campuses into a single location in St. Paul. 

Scott Haglund

Scott Haglund (photo by Tara Sloane)

Thus began years of work toward the “One University” plan. In January 2019, the radiography program became the first from the Minneapolis campus to transition to St. Paul, where it is now housed on the ground floor of Whitby. The last of the Minneapolis academic programs and offices completed the move to the St. Paul campus in June 2020, six months ahead of schedule.

Campus integration involved moves and updates to:

  • 20 departments

  • 300+ offices

  • 15 study rooms

  • 15 meeting rooms

  • 2 student lounges

  • 19 labs and simulation spaces.

Updating and upgrading

With St. Kate’s strategic plan priorities of “Strengthen Academic Excellence” and “Build a Strong and Sustainable Foundation” in mind, University committees used the integration as an opportunity to rethink and reshape spaces for learning and gathering. Among the goals: enhance students’ academic experience, create a more vibrant campus community in St. Paul, and provide more robust services to the students, faculty, and staff formerly located in Minneapolis.

“There was an opportunity to grow and expand, and do things in a fresh, new way,’’ says Haglund. “When we look at the physical space and technology, the timing for us was perfect.”

Now, students across disciplines receive plentiful experience with the current trending technology just steps away from their instructors’ offices, rather than waiting to get their first glimpse of it when they start their clinicals.


Collaborative access across health disciplines

The integration plan re-envisioned the St. Paul campus with vibrant new learning spaces for both students and faculty, including a centralized hub for humanities and arts programs in Coeur de Catherine. Whitby is now dedicated to several healthcare programs, joining nursing programs there with the BSN, holistic health, health informatics, and radiation therapy programs that moved from Minneapolis.

“Chief among the benefits of having all of our health science and nursing programs on one campus is the opportunity for collaboration,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, interim dean of health sciences and associate professor of interprofessional education. “For instance, we will bring students from multiple programs to work together in our Institute of Simulation and Interprofessional Learning (I-SAIL). By working in interprofessional teams on simulated patient cases, students learn and practice critical collaboration skills.”

Prior to campus integration, opportunities for collaboration between students on separate campuses were rare due to timing and logistical challenges. Now healthcare students can more easily reap the benefits of teamwork and simulation opportunities.


Enriching student life on campus

While joining the two St. Catherine campuses strengthened the academic experience for many students, the physical improvements to student life are felt by all who visit.

The St. Paul campus is known for its vibrant beauty, and now all students enrolled in in-person programs get to enjoy it together. Parking is more available, and there are expanded, comfortable places to eat, study, and meet friends throughout the day. Coeur de Catherine’s renovations included updates to the library, Career Development Center, Antonian Honors Program, and Dew Drop Lounge, as well as the addition of new lounge
space for adjunct faculty.

Max Macemon '19

Max Macemon ’19 (photo by Rebecca Zenefski Slater ’10)

Max Macemon ’19 began his radiography degree on the Minneapolis campus and completed it after the integration. Despite his initial discomfort with the idea of switching campuses, he says, “Right when I stepped foot on the St. Paul grounds, I knew this home would be easy to live in, learn in, and grow into the grad I am today. Having accessibility to various resources — the gym, the lab, the cafeteria — made everyday student life smoother.”

Haglund has also noticed the tangible difference made in the experience of students like Macemon. “There’s a sense of community,” he says. “People are showing up early and staying late on campus now. They never did that before.”

Part of a larger whole

The University has been enriched by “merging of the best parts of the two different [campus] cultures,” says Michael Peterson, the Counseling Center’s director of community mental health relations and one of the campus integration committee members.

In addition to the fusion of Minneapolis and St. Paul campus counseling resources, Peterson says he sees the larger University integration as a way to “amplify the community-serving endeavors which were in place on both campuses, as we strive together to address the great needs of the world around us.”

As St. Kate’s continues to fulfill its mission of serving the community and educating women leaders, its St. Paul campus remains a welcome home to students, faculty, staff, and alumni — another step into fostering Forever St. Catherine, and a shared future built on connection, engagement, and an enduring legacy.