Immediately after graduating from the College of St. Catherine — the future St. Catherine University – Judi Druke Teske ‘66 moved to Washington, D.C. to launch her career as a national leader in healthcare. That career would span several decades and touch the lives of many Americans, but Teske never forgot where she came from.
“St. Kate’s fit all the boxes for me,” says Teske. “I credit my education at St. Kate’s – and its emphasis on lifelong learning – for nurturing me as a young adult, and I want others to have that same opportunity.”
St. Kate’s mission as a Catholic women’s institution with excellent academic standing and a strong science department attracted Teske. As the first in her family to attend college, she needed the support of a University that fiercely believed in her potential while offering both the rigor and resources to launch her career in STEM. Thinking back, she says, “As a woman, as a lifelong Catholic, as a budding scientist, and as a true believer in the value of a liberal arts education, I was drawn to the College of St. Catherine. I have a strong sense of gratitude for the scholarships I received from St. Kate’s that allowed me to attend a top college – now University – that I grew to love.”
Despite relocating to Washington, D.C. — where she remains to this day —Teske did not say goodbye to St. Kate’s at graduation. She remains deeply connected to the University and its work, most notably through funding an endowed scholarship for biology students with high academic standing, strong leadership aspirations, and financial need.
“I love feeling a part of the University as it grows and evolves,” says Teske. “It keeps me focused on my roots in Minnesota and at St. Catherine University. Over the years, I have served from afar in various roles, including as chair of the School of Health’s advisory council. My entire career was in healthcare, so I want to see the University continue to educate science leaders for the future.”
Teske spent her career working in healthcare strategy in Washington, D.C. as a lobbyist, fundraiser, political appointee, philanthropist, and executive at the biotechnology corporation Amgen. As a lifelong leader with a yen for bringing people together to accomplish great things, Teske sees unique value in the two buildings on campus that the campaign seeks to preserve and renovate.
“While I feel all of the campaign’s goals are appealing, I am particularly interested in the renovations to Mendel and Our Lady of Victory Chapel,” says Teske. “While studying biology and chemistry, I spent most afternoons for four years in Mendel laboratories, so I know firsthand the importance of up-to-date science facilities in order to meet the needs of today’s students. And the Chapel was always the center of campus where we gathered for celebrations of the Mass. I love Our Lady of Victory Chapel’s simple but soaring beauty.”
Preserving our Chapel and renovating science facilities in Mendel are key priorities of LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence. For the Chapel, funds will support the restoration of pews and windows as well as structural updates and repairs to the building itself. As to Mendel – Teske’s academic home on campus – the campaign envisions new flexible research spaces and technologically advanced labs to enhance our reputation for excellence in the sciences and to best support our nationally recognized STEM students.
To those alumni and friends of St. Kate’s who have not yet considered giving to the University, Teske asks: “What are you waiting for? Just think for a minute of all that your education has meant to your development as a woman. Giving to St. Catherine University is an opportunity to give back just a bit of everything you received when you were on campus as a student.”