St. Catherine University, Fairview Health Services sign purchase agreement on Minneapolis campus

Photo by Rebecca Slater '10 / By Rebecca Studios

St. Catherine University and Fairview Health Services announced today that they have a signed purchase agreement transferring ownership of the University’s Minneapolis campus. The sale closed June 28.

Fairview Health Services agrees to purchase St. Catherine University’s Minneapolis campus

St. Catherine University and Fairview Health Services announced today that they have a signed purchase agreement transferring ownership of the University’s Minneapolis campus from St. Catherine University to Fairview. The sale closed today.

The University, which is currently in the process of moving its Minneapolis-based programs to its St. Paul campus, will lease space within the Old Main and Education buildings on the Minneapolis campus through the end of 2020. Fairview, which assumes property management when the deal closes, will locate some personnel in the buildings during this same period of time. This allows Fairview to bring employees from spaces it rents today in other areas of the Twin Cities to one location adjacent to its corporate offices and the University of Minnesota Medical Center campus.

“Our Minneapolis campus has served an important role in the history of St. Catherine University. Our decision to integrate our campuses is focused upon enhancing the educational experience for all of our students. Last year, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet gifted the Minneapolis property to the University in support of our strategic plan to build a strong and sustainable future,” said ReBecca Koenig Roloff, President of St. Catherine University. “That gift also supported another strategic priority: forge partnerships. Fairview Health Services is a longtime partner of St. Catherine University, and much of our shared history was written within the Minneapolis campus buildings. It is right and fitting that those buildings become part of Fairview’s future.”

“We have a long and proud partnership with the Sisters of St. Joseph and St. Catherine University,” said Paul Onufer, Vice President and Executive System Operations for Fairview. “The focus on learning that has happened in these spaces will continue as we work to apply new knowledge and skills to improve healthcare in the community.”

Minneapolis healthcare history interwoven with the Sisters of St. Joseph

In 1887, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet were invited by Archbishop John Ireland to assume control of a hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy in Minneapolis. That hospital, later named St. Mary’s, became the home of St. Mary’s Nursing School; its first graduating class in 1903 had three students. Meanwhile in St. Paul, the Sisters of St. Joseph opened the first building on the College of St. Catherine campus in 1905.

By 1942, the College of St. Catherine Department of Nursing had assumed control of the program at St. Mary’s. The program, convened in buildings surrounded by the expanding St. Mary’s hospital, was named St. Mary’s Junior College in 1964. In 1987, St. Mary’s Junior College merged with the College of St. Catherine and was renamed the St. Mary's Campus of the College of St. Catherine. St. Mary’s Hospital merged with Fairview Health Services in 1986, and by 1991 the health campus was renamed Fairview Riverside. The Sisters of St. Joseph gifted the buildings and land of what had become known as the Minneapolis campus to St. Catherine University in 2017.

Today, many Fairview employees are graduates of St. Catherine University or enrolled in St. Catherine University graduate programs. A number of employees are involved in partnerships with St. Catherine University to advance healthcare in the region and also educate the next generation of healthcare practitioners.

Building and Planning for the Next Generation of Healthcare

“Our goal in all decision-making is to offer effective and efficient programs with outstanding academic excellence while ensuring St. Catherine University's financial health,” said Angela Riley, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at St. Catherine University. “Integrating our students, staff, and faculty to our St. Paul campus creates cost and staffing efficiencies that are a more responsible use of our financial and structural resources.”

Phase one of the St. Catherine University campus integration was recently completed. The first Minneapolis campus program, Radiography, is now in Whitby Hall on the St. Paul campus. Whitby will be dedicated to several healthcare programs under the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. Renovations continue throughout the building to house Nursing, Holistic Health, Clinical Education, Health Informatics, and Radiation Therapy. The University, as part of its campus integration, is in the process of identifying artifacts to be removed from the Minneapolis property for inclusion on the St. Paul campus.

“Most of the Minneapolis programs have an evening/weekend schedule, which dovetails nicely with the predominantly day-scheduled programming already held in St. Paul,” said Anita Jones Thomas, PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost at St. Catherine University. “Our students will benefit from more equitable access to faculty and campus resources, and strengthen peer relationships at the same time.”