Throughout the long history of St. Catherine University, the 2019-20 academic year was like no other. For many in the University community — and around the world — the pivot point in March to a virtual state of being intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 also created a sense of suspension in the normal rhythm of campus life.
As the faculty and staff of St. Kate’s prepared for a new academic year this summer, inspiration was found not just in the extraordinary group effort to convert an entire campus to online communities in less than a month this past spring, but the memorable and meaningful moments of the first half of the 19-20 academic year. That is why, over the past couple of months on social media, St. Kate’s shared a collection of special memories that the community created during the 2019-20 academic year. In case you missed it, here is a recap of the events that were highlighted.
Kicking off the 2019-20 academic year in September was the Opening Celebration when the President Becky Roloff ’76 joined with the McDonald Sisters and student leaders to reflect on the founding social justice principles of the University that are still alive today.
The next event St. Kate’s highlighted was the September Jonas Brothers Raffle that Xcel Energy Center hosted on campus for two students to attend the concert. Emma Meyer and Asia Robles each won a pair of tickets to experience the Happiness Begins tour in real life at the Xcel in September 2019.
Along with happiness, fall 2019 also brought sweetness with the Pollinator Commons opening party held in the Dew Drop parking lot. The grand celebration exhibited the symbiotic collaboration between the St. Kate’s BioClub, Food Justice Coalition, and numerous departments like the Art Department that had a hand in the creation of the “bee condos.”
The volunteering tradition, Citizen Katie, continued in October 2019. Citizen Katie gives students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to volunteer at nonprofit organizations like Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women and Dress for Success Twin Cities. Katies also prepared and created pottery for the Empty Bowls project that fights world hunger.
The Feast of St. Catherine, held on November 25, 2019, filled the air with feelings of gratitude and hope as students, faculty, staff, and community members gathered in the Our Lady of Victory Chapel for a candle-lit evening to commemorate Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the namesake of the University.
February marked a success for the Wildcat swimming and diving team when they received their first Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) championship. Additionally, the student athletes were recognized for their top-ranking GPA in both men’s and women’s Division III swimming and diving.
February ended with a visit from Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, who shared wisdom about criminal justice and capital punishment at the Core Convocation in the Rauenhorst Ballroom. Her lecture capstoned a wider discussion prompted by this spring 2020 Integrated Learning Series.
The second annual Give to Honor Her Day drew 300 donors who gave to honor 600 inspiring women in their lives. “With Give to Honor Her, St. Kate’s celebrates women changemakers in a unique way,” said Beth Riedel Carney '82, Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations.
This year in review would not be complete without honoring that this recent year has proven we are stronger than we recognize. It is a blessing to be able to pause and reflect on the moments — those peaceful and challenging — that remind us of our resilience. We can persevere through anything life throws at us, together.
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