St. Catherine University

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For the St. Catherine University in Japan, see St. Catherine University (Japan).

St. Catherine University (also known as St. Kate's) is a private Catholic liberal arts university, located in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. Established as one of the first institutions of higher learning specifically for women in the Midwest, the school was known as the College of St. Catherine until 2009.[1] Today St. Kate's offers baccalaureate programs for women plus graduate and associate programs for women and men.

The University enrolls more than 5,000 students annually.[2] It is a leader in recruiting and enrolling minority students and nontraditional-aged students. St. Catherine's Weekend College — now Evening, Weekend, Online Program — was the second such program in the nation and the first in the Upper Midwest.[3] St. Kate’s was also the first private college in the nation to launch an effort to attract, welcome and retain Hmong students — making it home to one of the largest populations of Hmong scholars in the nation.[4]

St. Kate’s ranks 14th in the "Best Value - Regional Universities (Midwest)" category of the U.S. News & World Report's college rankings.[5] The University retains its ranking - 13th among Midwest Regional Universities — in the 2013 “American’s Best Colleges” guide by U.S. News & World Report. St. Kate’s placed second among Minnesota institutions in its category.[6]



St. Catherine University was founded as the College of St. Catherine in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, under the leadership of Mother Seraphine Ireland. The University is named for St. Catherine of Alexandria, the fourth-century Egyptian lay philosopher who suffered martyrdom for her faith.[7]

A site for St. Kate’s was chosen atop the city’s second-highest hill in St. Paul — in the area now known as Highland Park. Hugh Derham of Rosemount contributed $20,000 for the first building. Derham Hall opened in January 1905, offering classes to high school boarding students and lower-division college students. The high school eventually to its own campus and merged with the Lasallian-run Cretin High School to form Cretin-Derham Hall High School in 1987. Upper-division courses were first offered in the academic year of 1911–12. In spring 1913, Bachelor of Arts degrees were conferred on the first two students to complete four years at the new institution. In 1917, St. Kate’s earned full accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[7]

During World War II, St. Kate’s responded to a critical nursing shortage by expanding its programs to include a baccalaureate degree in nursing and assuming leadership of the St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s hospitals and schools of nursing — and partnering with the U.S. Cadet Nursing Corps to provide students with financial assistance in exchange for nursing services. More than 170 St. Catherine alumnae served in military hospitals between 1942 and 1948.[8]

Prior to the 1970s, students would take classes at the nearby University of St. Thomas, which was then a men's college.

Expansion to Minneapolis

St. Kate’s coeducational Minneapolis campus in the Riverside neighborhood offers associate degree and certificate programs in numerous healthcare fields. In 1887, the Sisters of St. Joseph responded to a need for trained nurses in the region founding the St. Mary’s School of Nursing at St. Mary's Hospital in Minneapolis. Student nurses in the three year Registered Nurse program lived in a dormitory at the hospital while studying first year academics at the College of St. Catherine. In 1964, the hospital program was expanded and opened under the title St. Mary’s Junior College. St. Mary’s offered associate degrees in healthcare, including the first occupational therapy assistant program and the first physical therapist assistant program in the United States. St. Kate’s acquired St. Mary’s Junior College in 1985.[8] In 1987, Fairview Hospital combined with St. Mary's Hospital to become Riverside Medical Center.[9]

Move to University

On 1 June 2009, the College of St. Catherine changed its name to St. Catherine University.[5]

National Register of Historic Places

Derham Hall, the University’s first building, and Our Lady of Victory Chapel are co-listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Kate’s presidents

Over the years, 10 women presidents have overseen the growth of St. Catherine University:

  • ReBecca (Becky) Koenig Roloff '76, MBA (2016–currently)
  • Andrea J. Lee, IHM, Ph.D; 1998–2016
  • Anita M. Pampusch ’62, Ph.D.; 1985–1997
  • Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ, Ph.D.; 1979–1984
  • Alberta M. Huber, CSJ, ’37, Ph.D.; 1964–1979
  • Mary Edward Healy, CSJ, Ph.D.; 1961–1964
  • Mary William Brady, CSJ, ’31, Ph.D.; 1955–1961
  • Antonine O'Brien, CSJ, ’26; 1949–1955
  • Antonius Kennelly, CSJ, ’26, Ph.D.; 1943–1949
  • Eucharista Galvin, CSJ, ’24, Ph.D.; 1937–1943
  • Antonia McHugh, CSJ; 1919–1937


Schools and colleges

At St. Catherine University, students enroll in one of three colleges:

  • the baccalaureate College for Women
  • the Graduate College
  • the College for Applied and Continuing Learning

Students then pursue their majors or programs of study, either at the University’s St. Paul or Minneapolis campus, through three disciplined-based schools:

  • School of Business and Professional Studies
  • Henrietta Schmoll School of Health
  • School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences

The Schools, collectively, are home to more than 100 fields of study — many available in both traditional day and nontraditional hybrid (evening, weekend and online) formats.[10] St. Kate’s also has nearly 60 baccalaureate majors, plus another 35 or so through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities, as well as dozens of minors and nine pre-professional programs.


St. Kate’s is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC), a consortium of five private liberal arts colleges located in Minneapolis or St. Paul. The partnership allows students to take classes or complete a major at any one of the other colleges. The University also partners with 900 clinical training sites to make clinical education meaningful and relevant to St. Kate’s students.[11] Partner organizations include Allina Health System, Fairview Health Services, HealthEast Care System and HealthPartners.

In fall 2011, St. Kate’s became the first university in Minnesota to partner with the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program (formerly known as the Peace Corps Fellows/USA program) to offer Peace Corps volunteers a fellowship to earn a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.[12]

Distinguished Mission Chairs and Programs

Unlike many colleges and universities that have established separate departments for Catholic studies, liberal arts and women’s studies, St. Catherine University has established three distinguished chairs:

  • Archbishop Harry Flynn Distinguished Chair in Catholic Identity
  • Sister Alberta Huber Distinguished Chair in the Liberal Arts
  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Distinguished Chair in Women’s Education

Each position is supported by endowed funds and a program endowment. The distinguished chairs will work as a team to:

  • initiate, plan and oversee faculty and staff development programming;
  • fund faculty and staff work focused on integrating the mission into syllabi, program
  • requirements and co-curricular activities;
  • purchase relevant library holdings and other materials;
  • serve as faculty resources, especially for visiting classes, recruiting speakers and planning workshops.

Campus security

Active shooter reports of September 12, 2017

Around 9:30pm, on September 12, 2017, a campus security official sustained a gun-shot wound in his shoulder, while patrolling a wooded area of campus.[13][14][15] The security guard phoned 9-1-1- to report he had been shot.[16] A student with first-aid training provided initial medical assistance. The campus was locked down, until 2am, while local Police conducted an unsuccessful building to building search. The security guard was said to be able to look forward to a full recovery.

Fifty-five police officers, four police dogs, and a state police surveillance aircraft, took part in the search.[17]

Initially no description of the suspect was released.[13][16] But later, on September 13, after local police said the security guard admitted he had made a false report, after accidentally shooting himself.[17] He had initially claimed the fictitious shooter was a black man. Later accounts that the security guard shot himself with his own weapon are at odds with initial reports that St Catherine security officials were unarmed.[14][15]

The University partnered with a website called LiveSafe.[14][15] Faculty, staff and students who downloaded the LifeSafe app to their smartphone were supposed to be able to count on it providing them with prompt official warnings of security threats, on campus. Students, and their parents, voiced frustration over the anxiety they felt, over not being more fully informed as to the progress of the search, during the lockdown.[13][16]

The 25-year-old security guard was arrested on September 13, 2019. The University fired him on September 14.

Arson incident of January 19, 2018

On the morning of January 17, 2018, a series of fires were set on campus. None of the fires caused any injuries, but one fire required 33 children to be evacuated from a daycare.[18][19][20][21] On January 19, 2018, Ramsay County Prosecutors released charging documents, that quoted their suspect's explanation of their motivation. She was a 19-year-old former student. Prosecutors quoted her admitting to starting the fires, and local police said she was caught on surveillance cameras. Prosecutors quoted her expressing regret over not knowing how to build bombs, and that she would have used bombs, if she had known how to built them. Prosecutors said she said her fires were triggered by her sympathy for the victims of American bombs in Iraq and Syria.

Campus officials used the LiveSafe app to keep students informed about the January 19, 2018 security threat.[22]


St. Catherine is the first Catholic college or university in the world to be granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, in October 1937.[23] St. Kate's graduates have earned advanced degrees at renowned institutions. This tradition dates back to the first president who regularly dispatched instructors for a term, a summer or an academic year to pursue graduate studies.[24] St. Kate’s has produced Fulbright Scholars as well.[25][26]

St. Catherine educates women and men through undergraduate and graduate programs including associates, bachelors and graduate degrees. It has committed itself for more than a century to the rigorous education of women[27] and the values this commitment implies: collaboration, respect for diverse voices and perspectives, and challenging conventional norms while adhering to the highest academic standards.

The student/faculty ratio is 12:1.[2] The average class size is 19 in the traditional/day program, 14 in the Evening/Weekend/Online program and 21 in the associate program.[2] At St. Catherine, classes are lively, involving discussion to improve a student’s communication and critical thinking skills. Students will find a free-flowing exchange of ideas, perspectives and life stories, as well as opportunities for fieldwork, internships, study abroad and collaborative research with faculty.

In addition to taking courses directly related to their chosen majors, baccalaureate students are required to complete one or two additional courses in the arts, humanities and sciences to meet the University’s liberal arts requirements.[28]

Online OTA Program

In 2014, St. Catherine University expanded its Occupational Therapy Assistant program to offer a blended learning option. Starting in Virginia, and then expanding to California and Texas, the Online OTA program features 80% online and 20% onsite curriculum, including skills labs and fieldwork experiences. The accredited program allows students to earn their associate degree in as few as 16 months.

Research and Academic Centers

St. Catherine University offers opportunities for faculty-student research and mentoring through department and grant-funded initiatives — as well as through these programs and national centers:

  • Assistantship Mentoring Program (AMP) — Based loosely on the teaching assistantships (TA) used in graduate programs, AMP pairs students in their junior or senior year with faculty or staff mentors who guide them in achieving a specific project outcome. To make the experience more viable for students, the program pays $10 an hour for up to 13 hours each week.[29]
  • Mayo Innovation Scholars program — This program brings together baccalaureate students from a variety of disciplines to research Mayo Clinic invention ideas and create business plans for a medical product. Graduate students from St. Catherine’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program serve as mentors to student teams.[30]
  • WHIR Center — The Women’s Health Integrative Research (WHIR) Center is a laboratory devoted to interdisciplinary research on women's health. In addition to motion-tracking equipment — such as a 3-D electromagnetic motion system, a metabolic measurement unit and a heart-rate monitoring system — WHIR also has a wet lab that supports the processing and storage of human blood and saliva samples. It's one of few academic facilities of its kind.[31] WHIR also functions as a ladder between degree programs in disciplines such as nursing, where students from two-year associate degree programs work alongside students earning their four-year or graduate degrees.
  • CATIE Center — St. Catherine University established the CATIE Center in 2005.[32] It is one of the six centers working in partnership as the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers. The CATIE Center offers resources and programs such as the Body Language online modules, ASL Immersion, Deaf Mentor Training, and Interpreting for Deaf-Blind Mentorship for students and working professionals. The center hosts the National Symposium on Healthcare Interpreting, drawing more than 150 interpreters to St. Kate’s each year.[33]
  • National Center for STEM Elementary Education — This center houses outreach programs and services related to fostering interest and skill in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students as young as fourth grade.[34]
  • Human Anatomy Lab — St. Kate’s is home to the second largest collegiate anatomy lab in the state.[35] The new 3,600-square-foot space includes two labs — each one large enough to accommodate nine bodies — plus showers, lockers, storage units and a cleaning room.[35] At least eight different academic programs use the lab, including orthoptics (undergraduate), physician assistant studies (master’s) and physical therapy (doctoral studies). A religious service is held at the start of each semester to help students express gratitude for the generosity of their "silent teachers." The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, blessed the lab in September 19, 2011.[36]

Honors program

First-year students or sophomores who have achieved at least a 3.5 GPA are eligible to apply for the St. Catherine University’s Antonian Scholars program, which offers special seminars for enhanced learning and an exclusive place to study or socialize (Honor's Hub) in the Coeur de Catherine student center. Antonian Scholars are required to complete an independent creative project during senior year.

Study abroad programs

St. Catherine University offers more than 150 study abroad options in 50 countries, ranging in length from January term to yearlong. More than 200 St. Kate's students study abroad each year.[37]

Student life

Residence life

Eighty percent of St. Catherine’s first-year students live in nine residence halls on campus.[38] Students have access to computer labs in the halls and resident advisors (RAs) who provide ongoing support, guidance and social activities. Each year, the University offers learning communities in some residence halls. For example, the Gryffindor Tower Learning Community is located on the fourth floor of Caecilian Hall, and its residents are required to take the four-credit course "Introduction to the Novel" in fall 2012.[39] The course pairs class discussion and written assignments around the seven Harry Potter novels with themed activities — such as trivia and movie nights — in the residence hall.

Clubs and organizations

St. Catherine University has more than 50 student organizations, including student Senate, intramural sports and a women’s choir.[40] Students can work on two student publications (The Wheel and Ariston). The University has over 20 honor societies, in addition to the Antonian Scholars program.[41]


The St. Catherine University Wildcats compete in 11 intercollegiate sports in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).[42] Women's sports include basketball, ice hockey, cross country, softball, swimming and diving, dance, track and field, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Club and recreational sports include aerobics, volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis and rock climbing. The Aimee and Patrick Butler Center for Sports and Fitness at St. Kate's is a women-oriented sports center, complete with an eight-lane swimming pool, weight room, suspended jogging track, spa and sauna. The benefits for student athletes are emerging at the University’s Women's Health Integrative Research (WHIR) Center. WHIR's sophisticated equipment can establish baseline performance measurements and track athletic improvement over time.

Art and archives

St. Catherine University's fine art collection dates back to St. Kate's founding in 1905. Today, more than 1,000 pieces comprise the collection. Among them are works on paper — prints (etchings, engravings, woodcuts, lithographs and silkscreens), watercolors and drawings — as well as paintings and sculpture by artists of different nationalities and periods, including:

  • Corita Kent, one of America’s most influential graphic design artists of the 20th century.
  • Adolf Dehn, who helped define regionalism and caricature in American art.
  • Clair Mairs, featured in Pioneer Modernists: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists.
  • Giovanni Piranesi, one of the most prolific printmakers of the 18th century.
  • Ade Bethune, who made unique contributions during the 20th century to the field of sacred art and architecture as an artist, writer and liturgical consultant.

The majority of artworks that grace the walls and meeting rooms of St. Catherine University were created by women and, often, reflect the realities of women's lives. Kathy Daniels ’73, who curates the collection and is director of the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, has also increased the visibility of women artists at St. Kate's by committing at least two-thirds of the shows at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery to women artists.[43] In addition to paper files, the St. Catherine University archives contains more than 8,000 photographs and 4,500 artifacts.[44] Anyone studying the history of St. Kate's — or of women, Catholicism, the liberal arts, book printing and binding, or children's literature — will find a lifetime's worth of study. The archives are packed with rare and valuable items: some from before the Christian era, others from the early days of printing. Plus, a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, St. Kate’s limited reproduction of this famed bible is a gift to the University by Lois Rogers ’63 and her husband, John, in 2009.[45]

Notable alumnae


See also


  1. “St. Catherine University”, MNOpedia, January, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Quick Facts. Retrieved September 26, 2012., St. Catherine University.
  3. "Educating the Whole Person", SCAN, January 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  4. "One Big Extended Family", SCAN, June 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 St. Kate's ranks sixth among Regional Universities in the Midwest in faculty focus on teaching in "America's Best Colleges." Retrieved September 26, 2012., St. Kate’s News.
  6. St. Catherine University ranking remains high in U.S. News ‘America's Best Colleges', St. Kate’s News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Our History., St. Catherine University. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Our History With Healthcare, St. Catherine University. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  9. Fairview Health Services Physician Recruitment and Retention. "Provider Opportunities at Fairview -- Our History". Fairview Hospital. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  10. Admission, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013
  11. Community Partnerships, Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  12. “Peace Corps Partners with MAOL”, SCAN, February 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Safety officer injured after shooting at St. Catherine University". KSMP-TV (St Paul, Minnesota). 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2018-01-25. "St. Kate's launched its security protocol, alerting students and staff on campus via text, email and other social media, to shelter in place." 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Kate Raddatz (2017-09-13). "St. Catherine Students Upset With Administration’s Response To Shooting". WCCO-TV (St Paul, Minnesota). Retrieved 2018-01-25. "The shooting happened just before 9:30 p.m. in a wooded area near Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul. An unnamed security guard was shot in the shoulder after confronting the suspect." 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Mary McGuire (2017-09-13). "St. Catherine’s ‘All Clear’ After Security Guard Shot; Suspect Still On The Loose" (in English). WCCO-TV (St Paul, Minnesota). Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Lockdown lifted after St. Kate's shooting, classes to resume". KARE 11. 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2018-01-25. "Meantime some students are critical of the lack of information they received from the University during the lockdown." 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Nick Woltmann, Josh Verges (2017-09-13). "St. Catherine guard shot himself, made up the gunman-on-campus story, police say". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Retrieved 2018-01-25. "That set off an extensive manhunt that lasted till midnight and included 55 officers, four dogs and a Minnesota State Patrol aircraft. No suspect was located nor was a physical description ever detailed." 
  18. "Child Porn to Pyromania: New Terror Cases in the US". Clarion Project. 2018-01-21. Retrieved 2018-01-22. "No one was hurt in the fires, however one of the fires was set in a building that housed a daycare center. Thirty-three children, eight adults and 10-15 students were evacuated from that building." 
  19. Tad Vezner, Sarah Horner (2018-01-19). "‘You guys are lucky I don’t know how to build a bomb,’ St. Kate’s arson suspect allegedly said". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Retrieved 2018-01-22. "A former St. Catherine University student charged with setting fires on the college’s St. Paul campus told police she did it because she’d “been reading about the U.S. military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing,” according to a criminal complaint filed Friday." 
  20. Chao Xiong (2018-01-18). "Former student set fires on St. Catherine campus in retaliation against U.S. military intervention". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2018-01-22. "No one was hurt in the incident that began about 11:40 a.m. with the first reported fire, and ended about 2 p.m. with Hassan’s arrest on campus. Ramsey County jail records show that she was arrested at the school’s Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium at 2004 Randolph Av." 
  21. Steve Karnowski (2018-01-19). "Prosecutors: Woman mad at US actions abroad set campus fires". ABC News (Minneapolis). Retrieved 2018-01-22. "A criminal complaint said Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, a former student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, admitted to investigators that she started the fires on Wednesday, including one in a dormitory that housed a day care center. She's charged with first-degree arson." 
  22. Dwayne Harmon (2018-01-21). "Term multiple contained fires on campus Newburgh Gazette". Newburgh Gazette. Retrieved 2018-01-25. "In the same tweet, the university reminded students that emergency alerts would continue to come through the app LiveSafe. Newburgh Gazette" 
  23. Phi Beta Kappa Society, St. Kate’s chapter. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  24. "A Higher Calling.”, SCAN, June 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  25. “St. Kate’s alumna lands Fulbright scholarship”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  26. St. Kate's alumna garners Fulbright Research Grant, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  27. Mission and Vision, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  28. Goals for liberal arts core requirement., St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  29. “Lifelong Learners”, SCAN, June 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  30. “Anything But Ordinary”, ""SCAN,"" June 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  31. “Alive and Kicking”, ""SCAN,"" June 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  32. CATIE Center, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  33. “Healthcare interpreters give voice to patients”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  34. Team Teaching, National Center for STEM Elementary Education. St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  35. 35.0 35.1 “The Hidden Wholeness”, ""SCAN,"" October 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  36. “Archbishop blesses new anatomy lab at St. Catherine University”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  37. Global Studies, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  38. Residence Halls and Apartments, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  39. “Eat, Sleep, Learn", ""SCAN,"" October 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  40. Clubs and organizations, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  41. Honors, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  42. St. Catherine University Athletics, Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  43. "Womanly Arts”, ""SCAN,"" October 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  44. "Preserving a Century of Stories", "SCAN," June 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  45. "St. Kate’s owns a limited reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible.”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  46. "US News Education Rankings and Advice". US News Corp. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  47. Kennedy, Patrick. "Minnesota Nonprofit 100". Minneapolis StarTribune. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  48. 48.0 48.1 "Quick Facts". Saint Catherine University. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 

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External links