Changing the Face of Science, St. Catherine University Magazine, Fall 2021

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UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

FALL 2021

CHANGING THE FACE

of Science

Expanding HERizons, with guest journalist Kerri Miller (page 18)


BACK AT IT! Students returned to campus and began classes on September 8, 2021, after over a year of virtual or partially virtual classwork. We’re vaccinated, masked (indoors), and happy to be back face-to-face.

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT BETH HALLORAN VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS BETH RIEDEL CARNEY ’82 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR SARAH VOIGT EDITOR KAYLA FORBES MBA’17

DESIGNER EMILY MCDANIEL CONTRIBUTORS RUTH HAAG BROMBACH ’60 KARA DEMARIE MLIS’16 TRACIE FAUTH PHIL HOEPPNER MANDY IVERSON BRITT JOHNSEN KRISTEN LILLVIS, PhD KERRI MILLER MELISSA NEILL MOLLY ORTH JON SCHULTZ

TOCCARA STARK MAOL’09, EdD ANDY STEINER BRYCE WILDENAUER PHOTOGRAPHERS REBECCA SLATER ’10 SARA TUCKER ADDRESS CHANGES 651-690-6666 alumni@stkate.edu mag.stkate.edu

@st.kates @stkate @stkates @St. Catherine University

CORRECTION TO SPRING 2021 ISSUE The article “Data Science: A New Liberal Arts Key to Many Careers” in the Spring 2021 edition printed an error, attributing the donation that made the Mary T. Hill Director of Data Science position possible to the James J. Hill family. The donation was from the James J. Hill Center.


UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

FALL 2021

FE AT U R E S

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Endowed Scholarships Producing Long-term Aid for Students BY PHIL HOEPPNER

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Educating for the Post-pandemic Job Market BY MELISSA NEILL

18 22 PHOTO/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS

St. Catherine University Magazine is published three times a year by the Office of Marketing and Communications. No part of this publication may be reprinted without permission. St. Catherine University was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1905. Learn more: stkate.edu/ourhistory

Expanding HERizons BY KERRI MILLER AND BRITT JOHNSEN

Open for Everyone In historic Mendel Hall, students learn science the St. Catherine way. BY ANDY STEINER

ABOUT THE COVER

In the early 1900s, St. Catherine University was radical because women could access the sciences, a field that presented many barriers in other institutions. Read more about how today, St. Kate’s continues to expand the definition of “accessible” to include all women, inclusive of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, on pages 18 and 22.

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FROM THE PRESIDENT

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COMMENCEMENT 2020 AND 2021

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CLASS NOTES

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KATIES IN ACTION

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BOOKMARK

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AROUND CAMPUS

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IN MEMORY

Back Cover

KATIE DIARY


PHOTO/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS

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From the President There is a feeling of self-empowerment that comes from choosing a path forward. As we at St. Catherine University fulfill our mission to educate women to lead and influence, we choose paths that both guide and aid students in forging their own paths toward their career and life goals, and advance our organizational excellence. Our ability to return fully to campus this fall reminds us that another path — one of living in community and connection — is a cornerstone of both being a Katie and living a life of meaning. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet set our educational course early last century, and we have remained steadfastly true to it, while making prudent adjustments at the right times to ensure that our institutional direction continues to produce successful results. I completed my fifth year as president this summer, and the paths that we have chosen during that period have moved the University forward and increased our effectiveness for the benefit of all Katies. Major advancements have included developing our Setting Our Sails strategic plan and beginning implementation of a new Academic Master Plan and Inclusive Excellence Plan in support of it; launching LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence; and completing the integration of our Minneapolis campus programs with the St. Paul campus after the sale of the Minneapolis property to longtime partner Fairview Health Services.

Of particular note is our new Compass program, put into action this fall. It pairs a focus on academic offerings with a path to guide students’ involvement in co-curricular and career-preparation activities to help them live meaningful lives. Engaged learning, academic discipline, and leadership development are the three key elements. In this issue of the St. Catherine magazine, I hope you enjoy reading about the ever-vital role of endowed scholarship funds (page 4); St. Kate’s preparation of students for the post-pandemic job market (page 6); our legacy of leadership in, and continuing investment in, science education for women (pages 18 and 22); and our wonderful Alumni Award recipients leading lives of meaning (page 28). “Powering Lives of Meaning” is our contemporary expression of the educational philosophy that the CSJs instilled in the University at its founding. If the word “brand” had been a marketing term at the time, the Sisters of St. Joseph surely could have used “Powering Lives of Meaning” as a tagline reflecting their approach in establishing the College of St. Catherine. May we keep their forward-thinking vision always in mind as we continue to make new and meaningful paths for women in the world. ReBecca Koenig Roloff ’76

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Endowed Scholarships Producing Long-term Aid for Students BY PHIL HOEPPNER

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ncreasing access to a St. Catherine education is a major priority of LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence. It connects strongly to the University’s mission to educate women to lead and influence, as well. We achieve this goal largely through scholarships, with endowed scholarships being a long-lasting way of providing this aid. Last year alone, 641 students received more than $3.2 million through 266 scholarships generously endowed by alumni and other friends. The great value of endowed scholarships is that they exist in perpetuity. A gift of $50,000 or more — either through current means or an estate plan — becomes principal in a permanent investment account, the annual earnings of which are awarded as scholarship aid. Student scholarship recipients often share that they would not have been able to attend St. Kate’s and realize their dreams without the benefit of scholarships. Last fiscal year, 21 new named scholarships were established or fully endowed. Here are two examples of this commendable generosity.

PATRICIA BOHEN ROWLEY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FUND Patricia (Trish) Bohen Rowley ’66 and her late husband, Steve (right), both received scholarship aid that enabled them to earn college educations: Trish from St. Kate’s and Steve from St. Thomas. Trish’s mother attended the College of St. Catherine in the 1930s, but was not able to complete her degree because of financial constraints. In gratitude for their own family’s good fortune, over several years Trish and Steve established

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and endowed the Patricia Bohen Rowley Endowed Scholarship Fund (so named at Steve’s loving insistence), which is awarded to St. Kate’s students with the greatest need. Trish was the first woman in her family, and Steve the first person in his, to graduate from college, and they valued that accomplishment enough to want to help others attain it. “We raised four children, all of whom have graduated from college, earned graduatelevel degrees, and have good careers, so we know the vital importance of a liberal arts education,” said Trish. “We have created scholarship funds at both St. Kate’s and St. Thomas, and are pleased to be able to share our blessings with others.”


Legacy Gifts Many estate-gift donors have discovered the joy and satisfaction of providing for future generations of Katies through endowed scholarships, named spaces, or many other options. Their gifts add valuable long-term financial stability to St. Catherine University.

MARILYN S. WOODS AND STEPHANIE J. LUNNING (GRAHAM) ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FUND Bruce Lunning established the Marilyn S. Woods and Stephanie J. Lunning (Graham) Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his late wife, Stephanie (above, left, with Bruce), and her dear friend Marilyn Woods (above, right). It will benefit graduate students with financial need who are enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at St. Catherine University. While neither woman graduated from the University, both were very involved with the physical therapy program. Stephanie was a frequent guest speaker in many St. Kate’s classes on Minnesota’s licensure process, having served as director of the Minnesota Board of Physical Therapy for its first 14 years, as well as being a close friend of DPT faculty member MarySue Ingman, DSc. Marilyn was a longtime leader in the physical therapy field and mentor to many St. Kate’s students. After her death in 2007, her family established a DPT scholarship at St. Kate’s that, with their permission, will be combined with this new scholarship to provide additional aid. “Physical therapy is a caring profession that helps people live their lives to the fullest,” said Bruce. “I wanted to recognize Stephanie and Marilyn’s friendship by offering to join their names with an endowed PT scholarship. Being able to help a person complete the program is good for the profession’s future, too. This scholarship will perpetuate a legacy of helping others, as demonstrated by Marilyn and Stephanie in their lifetimes.”

We thank these and all scholarship donors for their kind generosity. For information about establishing a scholarship at St. Catherine University, visit stkate.edu/designatedgiving.

These supporters have given through vehicles such as: • Bequests • IRA Rollovers • Beneficiary Designations • Charitable Gift Annuities To read stories about generous St. Kate’s legacy donors, visit stkate.edu/legacystories. Many planned gifts count toward LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence.

For information about planned giving, please visit stkate.edu/giftplanning or call 651-690-6812.

Campaign Progress With your help, we can realize our vision to lead and influence. We are well on our way to our goal of $130 million, with $105.3 million raised to date.

LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence progress is current as of 09/30/2021.


St. Kate’s is at the forefront of navigating change and emboldening women to lead, influence, and pursue life with a sense of purpose.

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Educating for the Postpandemic Job Market BY MELISSA NEILL

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n the mid-1600s in France, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet followed a clarion call — a gospel call to love God and neighbor without distinction and a wholehearted response to do all of which women are capable. The Sisters’ journey was fraught with obstacles and challenged by change in the beginning. They were suppressed, imprisoned, and worse. Yet they persevered. In 1905, the Sisters established the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) to educate and empower women as a part of their clarion call. And to this day, St. Kate’s responds to this call — now resounding globally — to educate women to lead and inf luence by powering lives of meaning. Not unlike the Sisters’ journey, the path to educating women at St. Kate’s has required flexibility, adaptability, and the courage to challenge social norms. The Mendel Hall classroom and laboratory space for chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and psychology opened at a time (1927) when the topic of women in science was controversial. Fifty years later, the institution launched the Weekend College in 1979, which inspired more women than anticipated to seek a degree beyond high school.

Today brings new challenges, and St. Kate’s is at the forefront of navigating change and emboldening women to lead, influence, and pursue life with a sense of purpose.

THE NEWEST CHALLENGE: A GLOBAL PANDEMIC When COVID-19 was discovered in late 2019, lives continued as normal, with a watchful eye on what was unfolding in China. The United States’ economy was booming. It grew for 42 quarters — the longest economic expansion on record — and unemployment was at its lowest level since 1969.1 Annual hires also rose in 14 of 19 industries in 2019, showing growth across low-wage and high-earning jobs.2 Then the reality of COVID-19’s impact on the workforce hit in early 2020. The magnitude of job loss in March and April of that year had no precedent since the end of World War II. At its peak, unemployment reached 14.7% in April 2020. 3 Jobs that require a high level of physical proximity were hit the hardest, including wait staff, hotel receptionists, leisure-industry workers, and others in low-wage positions. Women, people of color, and those less educated were most impacted, deepening preexisting inequities.4

Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2020/article/job-market-remains-tight-in-2019-as-the-unemployment-rate-falls-to-its-lowestlevel-since-1969.htm 2 Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2020/article/job-openings-hires-and-quits-set-record-highs-in-2019.htm 3 Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/unemployment-rate-rises-to-record-high-14-point-7-percent-in-april-2020.htm?view_full 4 McKinsey: https://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/overview/in-the-news/how-covid-19-will-change-the-low-wage-labor-market-permanently 1

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PHOTOS/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS

Even before the challenges we see with COVID-19, our world was becoming more complex. – ANITA THOMAS, PhD Executive Vice President and Provost

According to McKinsey, a global management consulting group, COVID-19 accelerated three broad trends that may reshape work after the pandemic recedes. 5 First, remote work and virtual meetings are likely to continue. Restaurants, retail, and public transportation in downtown areas would see a decline in demand, and industries that serve business travelers may not fully rebound. COVID-19 may also induce faster adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), especially in jobs with high physical proximity. A global survey of 800 executives in July 2020 showed that two-thirds were increasing investments in these technologies. Many companies had also already deployed automation and AI to reduce workplace density and support increasing demand. And the mix of jobs may shift, leading to almost all growth in high-earning occupations. The largest negative impact would fall on workers in food service, customer sales and service roles, and office support roles. Jobs in warehousing and transportation may increase due to growth in e-commerce and delivery, but they would not likely offset the disruption in lowwage jobs. 5

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PREPARED FOR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE Unaware of what 2020 would bring, yet recognizing the opportunity to prepare students to make positive change globally, St. Kate’s released its Setting Our Sails 2028 strategic plan in 2018. The plan outlined strategic goals and initiatives for the next decade, including six key priorities. The first: Strengthen Academic Excellence. “Even before the challenges we see with COVID-19, our world was becoming more complex,” said Anita Thomas, PhD (above, left), executive vice president and provost. “No one predicted the pandemic, but we knew we needed to help students integrate coursework and advanced thinking skills to solve bigger world problems.” St. Catherine University’s Academic Master Plan defines an academic vision statement grounded in educating women to transform the world. In the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Kate’s continues to build a foundation for students to create a world in which all can thrive by fostering self-exploration and partnership to address societal challenges, the use of leadership skills to create transformation, and the implementation of value-based and data-informed actions in the fight for social justice.

McKinsey: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/the-future-of-work-after-covid-19

ST. CATHERINE UNIVERSITY • FALL 2021


Human skills are more important now than ever: proficiency in teamwork, leadership, communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and resiliency, among others. –MAY THAO-SCHUCK Teresa Rolling Radzinski Vice President of Career and Professional Development “The skills women need in life and in the workforce are different today than they were previously,” noted May Thao-Schuck (above), Teresa Rolling Radzinski Vice President of Career and Professional Development. “Human skills are more important now than ever: proficiency in teamwork, leadership, communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and resiliency, among others.” Tarshia Stanley, PhD (right), dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, and her team are using the framework of the Academic Master Plan to embed career readiness and preparation directly into the academic curriculum. “We are taking more responsibility for the interaction and inf luence the academic curriculum and faculty have over students to help them translate their knowledge and content into career skills.” Through Stanley’s work, faculty have support to identify concrete skills students need and a framework to outline career skills and competencies students are learning in the classroom. The goal is not only to help students develop career readiness skills, but also to articulate skills they possess to future employers. “St. Kate’s is changing its overall approach. We’re not just talking about programs. We’re ensuring every student has an opportunity to explore interests and determine how their interests connect to certain sectors,” said Thao-Schuck. “Everyone is coordinating and working together to meet each student where they are to build focused, intentional experiences.”

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THE COMPASS: BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER As Thao-Schuck describes, education is more than what happens in the classroom, and what students need to create their paths to success may look different from student to student. The University designed a “Compass” to intentionally connect all of the pieces, from the classroom to co-curricular activities to internships and mentoring. Through guidance and support, students identify and respond to their vocational callings while discovering how to be active and engaged citizens. A Compass guide team helps students navigate their college experiences. “We’re working to create a culture where students know who their people are and understand why they need a team supporting them,” noted Assistant Professor Katie Campbell, PhD (right), who was tasked with directing the Compass. “We’re creating fewer cracks for our students to fall through as they create their paths to a meaningful life at St. Kate’s and beyond graduation.” The Compass guide team supports and mentors students to intentionally and ref lectively align their experiences within and outside the classroom. Compass guides will include academic advisors, faculty mentors, career coaches, and peer mentors. The Compass rolled out this fall with first-year undergraduate students, although all students will benefit from components of the Compass before it is fully integrated.

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“The Compass is designed to make a Katie a Katie,” said Thomas. “It helps our students find their passion, fuel their passion, and stand ready to serve as leaders within the world.”


St. Kate’s is helping Katies to navigate the changing world around them.

THE ST. KATE’S PERSPECTIVE As St. Kate’s drives forward the student experience with flexibility, adaptability, and the courage to think differently, Thao-Schuck is optimistic as she looks at Minnesota and the work St. Kate’s is doing to prepare women for the changing workforce. “Our strategy is to be in relationship with employers — to understand how the pandemic is affecting them and to help them find good candidates. We also keep a pulse on economic trends in job growth, so we prepare our students for the careers of the future.” St. Kate’s is looking at which industries are declining and how skills used in those industries can map to areas where jobs are growing. Often, with minimal additional training and support, workers can transition to betterpaying jobs. And digital literacy skills are increasingly important across the board. According to Thao-Schuck, jobs in education, healthcare, manufacturing, and technical fields remain strong. But connections are just as important as skills, and the University’s support through the Compass helps students grow their networks to create employment opportunities locally. “Employers in Minnesota are intentional about where they are hiring,” said Thao-Schuck. “They want to hire from their backyard, even with the ability to pursue remote talent. They recognize that if the community doesn’t thrive, society doesn’t thrive. They care about and want to invest in their local community.” For

example, public health is an area of increasing need, of interest to the St. Kate’s student body, and a field in which St. Catherine University has much expertise. Employees are also doing more to hold companies accountable for improving employee and community well-being. There are strong expectations around company culture; supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; work/life balance; and mental health. As a result, companies are focusing more on culture, beliefs, values, how they structure teams, and people they hire. Values between employer and employee need to align.

WHAT’S NEXT The Minnesota unemployment rate remained lower than the national average at 3.9% in July versus 5.4%. This is an indication that companies are feeling confident in hiring again. St. Kate’s is helping Katies to navigate the changing world around them. A sustained recovery will require a workforce trained with the skills to work within an increasingly complex and interconnected sphere. But our thoughtful plan, adaptable curriculum, and strong connections to local employers and workforce trends are ensuring that St. Catherine University continues to educate women who transform the world.

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CONGRATULATIONS, Classes of 2020 and 2021!

PHOTOS/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS

Welcome to the St. Catherine University alumni community. We are thrilled to have you join our community of more than 52,000 alumni across the globe who are here to network, mentor, and support one another forever.

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Stay in touch with us! alumni@stkate.edu facebook.com/katiealumni St. Catherine University Alumni ALL GRADUATES FROM THE CLASSES OF 2020 AND 2021 GRADUATED VIRTUALLY, BUT IN MAY 2021 THE UNIVERSITY OFFERED THEM A CHANCE TO PROCESS SAFELY IN THEIR GARB IN AN OUTDOOR GRAD WALK.

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Class Notes 1960 MARGARET POLGA HINKLE ’61, JD, a former Massachusetts superior court judge (from 1996–2011), was selected by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to chair a new policing reform commission. Hinkle recently worked for JAMS, a private alternative dispute resolution provider, and earlier in her career was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston on the Economic Crimes Unit.

1980 SHARON SMITH ’73 published her fifth book, titled Murder on Cathedral Hill, the fifth installment of the Pete Culane Mystery series, based in iconic Minnesota locations.

WENDY RASCHKE ’82 published a book titled The Roughest Courage in October 2020.

1970 Alumnae from the 1970 class met virtually every week throughout the quarantine, hailing from five states and five time zones. From top (L-R) Adrienne Smith Brennan; Mary Tibesar Riley; Colleen Hand Welty, MAED; LaDene Krug Diamond; Colleen Nuese-Marine, MA; Katherine R. Vaughn, MBA; Kathleen McCauley; Dorothy Nollet Sankey, MA.

PAM STEGORA AXBERG ’85, MBA, was named the CEO of Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities.

PAM STEGORA AXBERG ’85

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2000

ROBERTA CHMIELECKI PELLANT

1990 ELIZABETH GOUDY ’91, MA, was elected to the council of elders of the Metropolitan Community Church in Ocala, Fla. JULIE BECKEL NELSEN ’91, MBA, PhD, assistant professor of business at St. Kate’s, celebrated earning her PhD in interdisciplinary, strategic business communication from Marquette University. In 2020, she earned a graduate certificate in integrated marketing communication from St. Catherine University. Nelsen also recently earned a John R. Lawrence Fellowship from the Case Research Foundation.

’93, MA, PhD, was named the vice president of knowledge and communications for US Capital Global, an investment firm in San Francisco, Calif. Her book, Women Who Empower, published in December 2020, was a #1 international best-seller in three countries on Amazon. RESHMI DUTT-BALLERSTADT

’94, PhD, was named the editor of Inside Higher Ed’s column for scholars on the margins of academe called “Conditionally Accepted.” MELISSA MUSICH CHIODO ’95,

MA, chief of police for Inver Grove Heights, Minn., was featured in the PBS documentary “Women in Blue,” which highlights women officers fighting to reform the Minneapolis Police Department.

EMMY VADNAIS ’96 published a book titled Intuitive Development: How to Trust Your Inner Knowing for Guidance with Relationships, Health, and Spiritualit y in November 2020. JULIE BECKEL NELSEN ’91, MBA, PhD PAULA SCHWICHTENBERG MESKAN ’92, MAOL’12 was named the CEO of River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic in St. Peter, Minn. in spring 2021. Meskan also became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders.

JOYCE BRABON CHRISTIAN ’00 was commissioned a Stephen Minister and elected a church elder at Lakeway Church in Lakeway, Tex.

JULIE CLINEFELTER MLIS’01, director

of the Austin Public Library (Austin, Minn.), recently was featured in the Austin Daily Herald. STACIE JONES STANLEY ’02, MAED’05, EdD, was named the superintendent of Edina Public Schools in a unanimous vote. Stanley had served as the associate superintendent of Eden Prairie Public Schools since 2018. ANGIE HOWE BASKIN ’04, MBA, was promoted to assistant vice president of loan operations at First National Bank. KATELYN HANSON ’05 was

promoted to principal mobile UX designer at VF Corporation, a worldwide apparel and footwear company in Denver, Colo.

LISA WHALEN-KOCHMANN ’96,

MA, published her debut book,

Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, a story of

resilience, empowerment, and the transformative power of the human-animal bond.

KATELYN HANSON ’05

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KIMBERLY MALRICK KELLER ’05 accepted the position of city manager for the City of St. Louis Park. Keller previously worked for the City of Minneapolis as the director of regulatory services. SR. ROXANNE SEIFERT, PBVM,

MAT’07 joined the Avera Health Board of Directors in July 2021.

2010

JENNA BOWMAN ’10 recently was selected to serve as the strategic communication and engagement director for the City of Rochester, Minn. Prior to this, Bowman served as the executive director of the Rochester Downtown Alliance.

JESSICA JONES ’14 began cohosting a new weekly bookreview podcast, Outta Five Stars, in December 2020.

DIANA PEYTON SMITH ’07, MA, recently was elected president of the Iowa Nurse Practitioner Society, where she had served on the Board of Directors since 2016. HILLARY SPREIZER ’07 was named president of The Latitude Group, a Twin Cities-based technology firm.

ALYSSA PETERSON HOMAN ’14 married Christopher Homan on June 5, 2021, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

RUMBIDZAYI NZARA ’08, MD,

joined the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center as a general surgeon. Nzara holds certifications in laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery, as well as advanced cardiovascular life support, and is a member of the Association for Women Surgeons.

JENNA BOWMAN ’10 JENNIFER TEPLEY-MAHN ’08,

MAED’11 celebrated 10 years with the Red Wing Public School District. EMILY CARDINAL WEY ’13 married

CARA CRADDOCK ’15 completed her master of education in applied and behavioral analysis from Arizona State University. Additionally, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in 2020.

Peter Wey on May 15, 2021, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

BENJAMIN KLAS MLIS’13

published his second middlegrade novel, Everything Together, in August 2021.

LAUREN GREWACH SCHARFF ’14 RUMBIDZAYI NZARA ’08, MD CARISSA SAMANIEGO ’09, MFA, was

selected to be the resident artist for the 2021 Border Art Residency in El Paso, Texas. Samaniego is a sculptor who works with unconventional materials to articulate a distinct voice.

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married Eric Scharff on July 17, 2021, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

CARA CRADDOCK ’15


PAULA HART MAOL’15 accepted the position of executive director at Encore Network, an international coalition of leaders who champion the civic, social, and economic contributions of people 50 and older, in December 2020. CAMILLE LABRESH FALKOWSKI ’15,

MSN’19 married Alan Falkowski on April 24, 2021, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

ELIZABETH FLICEK JESKA ’16,

REBECCA ZAHR KELLY ’17, MAOT’18 married Seamus Kelly on June 12, 2021, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel. ANDREA DUARTE-ALONSO ’19 received the Innovator Grant from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota for 2021–22. As a past recipient of the grant, Duarte-Alonso organized storytelling workshops for young women of color in greater Minnesota.

MAOT’17 married Ryan Jeska on September 12, 2020, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

KIRSTIN KNUTSON MASLOWSKI ’16 married Daniel Maslowski

JONATHAN OKSTAD MBA’19 was awarded the Loyola University Chicago School of Education Service Leadership Excellence Award, which recognizes a graduate student who has shown significant leadership in service to their school, university, community, and/or field.

2020

WARDA ABDULLAHI ’20 published a book titled Warda: My Journey from the Horn of Africa to a College Education in December 2020. Upon release, Abdullahi’s book reached #1 in new releases in the category Teen and Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies.

on June 26, 2021, at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

LAURA MUELLER DPT’17 and

Juan Natera welcomed their baby, Johan Daniel, on March 4, 2021.

ANDREA DUARTE-ALONSO ’19 BRITTNEY FRENETTE ’19 was featured in WorkRamp’s blog series “#WomenLEAD – Female Leaders in Enablement and L&D That You Should Know” in 2021. Frenette works as a revenue enablement manager at Four Winds Interactive in Denver, Colo.

WARDA ABDULLAHI ’20 PHOTO/JOHN SCHAIDLER

SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE CONTACT US Online: stkate.edu/alumni Phone: 651-690-6666 Email: alumni@stkate.edu

JOHAN DANIEL

facebook.com/katiealumni St. Catherine University Alumni

BRITTNEY FRENETTE ’19

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PHOTOS/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS


MPR’S KERRI MILLER (BOTTOM) HOSTED “BLACK AND BROWN WOMEN CAN SAVE THE WORLD,” A TOWN HALL FEATURING A PANEL OF WOMEN FROM ST. CATHERINE UNIVERSITY (TOP LEFT-RIGHT) PEACE SINYIGAYA ’19, ENGINEER; TAVIARE HAWKINS, PhD, CHAIR OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS; AND ANITA THOMAS, PhD, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST.

Expanding HERizons The science pipline is “leaking” women of color. St. Kate’s knows how to fix that. BY KERRI MILLER AND BRITT JOHNSEN

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f Peace Sinyigaya ’19 had listened to one of her science teachers in high school, she never would’ve gone on to study physics at St. Catherine University. But she ignored him when he told her she wasn’t cut out for a degree in science, and after graduating with honors in 2019, she took a job as an engineer at a Minnesota laser manufacturer called Vixar. When Medtronic research specialist Kay Adamski told a teacher in her high school that she was interested in studying science, he, too, discouraged her ambition. And she’s never forgotten it. The skepticism that both young women confronted was an outdated but stubbornly persistent perception of what a scientist looks like. Sinyigaya and Adamski were among the women who confided their struggles and successes in an October 5, first-of-its-kind town hall in the Chapel at St. Kate’s, which launched the University’s Expanding HERizons project, which is designed to attract more BIPOC women to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degrees. The town hall was moderated by MPR’s Kerri Miller and featured Sinyigaya; Anita Thomas, PhD, executive vice president and provost at St. Kate’s; and Taviare Hawkins, PhD, professor of physics and chair of the math and science division at St. Kate’s. Hawkins is one of only 100 Black women in the country with PhDs in physics. In fact, overall, African Americans are significantly under-represented in science fields like computer science, life sciences, and engineering, and Black women

hold an even smaller percentage in the workforce. Black students are earning only 7% of the degrees in the STEM field. If the world is going to create truly universal solutions to the big problems we face, then we need to change the faces of our scientists, and include Brown and Black women scientists. They can save the world. Which is why St. Kate’s, whose BIPOC student population exceeds 40%, markedly higher than the 13% average Black population at private, nonprofit colleges and universities, (according to a June 2020 report from the Postsecondary National Policy Institute) is determined to do its part in doubling the number of women of color in science, technology, engineering and math fields in the next five years. But graduating more young women and BIPOC students with science degrees is just the beginning. The panelists reminded the audience that the primary focus must be encouraging young women to imagine themselves as scientists and to keep them on track. When they’re kids, women of color enter what Hawkins calls a “leaky pipeline.” From as early as sixth grade, there are myriad ways BIPOC women are discouraged or weeded out. At every level of the journey, the pressure to be unwaveringly perfect remains high. “There’s a lot of pressure to stay on course,” Hawkins said during the town hall. Thomas says that although access to the academic or corporate track for BIPOC people has slowly improved, the levels of recruitment, mentorship, and promotion are still startlingly low. Women’s research

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(LEFT) MORGAN BATISTE-SIMMS ’22 SPEAKING HERE WITH KERRI MILLER AT THE TOWN HALL EVENT ON OCT. 5 IN THE CHAPEL, SHARED WITH THE PANEL (RIGHT) HOW EMPOWERED SHE FELT RECEIVING ENCOURAGEMENT TO PURSUE BIOCHEMISTRY FROM HER PROFESSOR.

projects are funded less often, more jobs go to male scientists, and women scientists are penalized more often for attending to personal obligations like child care. Implicit bias, poor representation, and microaggressions still run rampant at schools, universities, and other organizations. The wounds of white supremacy and colonialism remain today. Sinyigaya described a workplace where, as one of only two people of color, she questions how well she fits in. That uncertainty about belonging resonates with Hawkins. Although she knows what it means to be an “only” and a “first,” she has some bracing advice for women in those situations: trust your instinct. Hawkins described being conflicted about missing a staff meeting a while back to see Serena Williams play in the US Open. Then she asked herself, “What would my white male counterpart do?” You guessed it. She went to the tournament. Yet, for as confident as that sounds, Hawkins also conceded to her own moments of self-doubt. “I still deal with imposter syndrome,” she admitted. “We all have scars.” Another challenge for women of color in science is the need to code switch to fit in. Thomas described it as changing the way someone speaks to fit into the dominant culture of their environment. Sinyigaya said she code switches, not only at work but also among various groups of friends. So what are the solutions to these problems? The panelists said confronting microaggressions, biases,

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and gatekeeping — and having hard conversations like the one at St. Kate’s. Representation, storytelling, and mentoring also matter. And none of it can be done without putting more women of color into the science pipeline on their way to leadership roles. “It really means we have to roll up our sleeves every day,” Thomas said. Rolling up the sleeves pays off. Morgan Batiste-Simms ’22 is a biochemistry major at the University but, after struggling with chemistry in high school, she questioned whether she was cut out for it. So when her chemistry professor, Annalisa Jordan, PhD, asked if she’d considered pursuing chemistry, Batiste-Simms was surprised. With tears in her eyes, Jordan listened as BatisteSimms recalled how empowering the exchange was for her. “When it comes to encouraging students,” Jordan said, “it’s not hard. I see myself in my students. Impostor syndrome is real. We find reasons to not belong.” She added, “...our field is a field of failure, right? You fail, you learn, and you try again. And [I want to] help my students to discover that and let them know it’s OK to be passionate about it at the end of the day.” Yet, despite the challenges, Hawkins sees progress on the horizon. “This generation, they’re going to change the script,” she said.


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PHOTO/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS


Open for Everyone In historic Mendel Hall, students learn science the St. Catherine way. BY ANDY STEINER

Hawkins already feels a deep connection to the mission of St. K ate’s founders, and suppor ts the University’s ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of its changing population of students. She believes St. Kate’s unique approach to science and mathematics education, combined with a strong commitment to equity and inclusion, positions the institution for success far into the future. “When I first learned about St. Kate’s,” Hawkins said, “one thing I noticed right away is the fact that the model of [loving] the dear neighbor extends to everybody.” This welcoming ethos, she said, combined with a commitment to hiring leaders like her who mirror the experience of the student body, means that young women from a variety of backgrounds are able to picture themselves in STEM majors and careers. It’s moving the University’s mission forward into the future. “You need people with vested interest to convince, to train, to motivate young people of color to go into STEM disciplines,” Hawkins said. “This is not to say it can’t be done by others, but it is a much easier lift if it is done by people who look like you, who come from the same places you come from.” St a n le y ag re e s. “ W hat ’s unique about the mission of St. Kate’s is the kind of thinking that solves problems and meets challenges and creates leaders,” she said. “Having women of color in visible positions of leadership underscores that commitment — and expands opportunity for all students.”

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PHOTO/SARA TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY

F

rom the very beginning, St. Catherine University’s founders knew they were going to do things differently. Educating women at a time when most people thought college was something for men was radical enough: Educating women in math and sciences, outside of healthcare, was even more so. Mendel, St. Kate’s science building — constructed at a record pace in 1927 under the firm hand of Mother A ntonia — stands as a lasting symbol of that commitment. Today, Mendel remains a hub of activity where scores of students study science the St. Kate’s way: with collaboration, support, and high expectations. Tarshia Stanley, PhD, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, said what makes St. Kate’s approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) unique is its focus on the academic strengths and needs of its student body. “Our approach is ‘for women, by women,’” Stanley said. “It is a collaborative way of doing science that leaves it open for everyone. Our students learn to conduct scientific research. It is a way of thinking, of gathering evidence, of developing a hypothesis.” As the world continues to change, so does the University. St. Catherine is one of just six colleges and universities in the United States that is both a Minority Serving Institution and a women’s institution. St. Kate’s STEM advocates are focused on attracting and educating a new generation of women from a range of backgrounds to lead the world into the next century. Taviare “Tav” Hawkins, PhD (right), St. Catherine University’s new division chair for math and sciences, is well-suited to head the University’s STEM efforts. An experimental biophysicist and former professor and chair of physics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, she has built a career focused on improving the representation and success rates of underrepresented students in the sciences.

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PHOTOS/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS AND MAGGIE SINGERHOUSE ’17

SENIOR RELIABILITY ENGINEER AT MEDRONIC MAGGIE SINGERHOUSE ’17 CREDITS HER CONFIDENCE AND SUBSEQUENT SUCCESS TO HER ST. CATHERINE EDUCATION.

Maggie Singerhouse ’17, neuroscience

“You could ask questions.” As early as third grade, Maggie Singerhouse (above) knew she was interested in being a scientist. “We did some chemistry experiments where we made toothpaste and soap,” Singerhouse recalled. “At that point, I decided I wanted to be a chemist like Marie Curie.” But Singerhouse said the way guidance counselors in her rural hometown channeled her interest in STEM hinged on her gender: “The way my small-town high school was structured, if you were a girl who was good at STEM, they encouraged you to go into nursing.” With that direction in mind, Singerhouse, a firstgeneration college student, enrolled in St. Kate’s with the goal of earning a nursing degree. It didn’t take long for her to realize that it wasn’t the right path. “As I started going through my classes, I pretty quickly realized I didn’t want to do nursing,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve always been a little squeamish about blood.” Plus, other degree paths drew her attention. “I was really loving my STEM classes,” Singerhouse said. Faculty mentors recognized her struggle and helped her find a direction that matched her skills and interests: “With their help, I was able to switch to a major that was something I really wanted to do.” Singerhouse said that from the beginning she appreciated the fact that St. Catherine faculty and staff were interested in supporting her, in helping her make

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decisions that best suited her passions and interests. That perspective of cooperation and community-building was evident in the way science courses are taught. “The way the labs were set up at St. Kate’s was very collaborative,” Singerhouse said. “In my high school, labs never felt like that. At St. Kate’s, we had small groups focused on solving a specific problem. And because the ratio was small, we always had the support of the professor, who encouraged us to participate in class discussions.” With her mentors’ support, Singerhouse earned a degree in neuroscience through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) exchange program. This meant that many of her classes were held at the University of St. Thomas, where she saw a clear difference in the academic environment. “At St. Kate’s, I felt comfortable speaking up, speaking my mind and asking questions in class,” she said. “At St. Thomas, it took a little bit of effort to put myself out there and share and speak out and ask questions.” Today, in her career as a senior reliability engineer at Medtronic, Singerhouse sees the St. Kate’s approach to science education as a continued source of her professional success. “It was an environment where you could ask questions and not fear that anyone would judge you,” she said. “You were able to ask anything that was on your mind to make sure that everyone was on the same page. There was a camaraderie and connection among students and faculty. It built my confidence and helped me believe that I could succeed.”


PHOTOS/RUMBI NZARA ’08

GENERAL SURGEON RUMBI NZARA ’08, MD, SAYS THAT BEING TAUGHT BY WOMEN, AND WORKING WITH PUBLISHED RESEARCHERS INSPIRED HER TO EXPAND HER EXPECTATIONS FOR HERSELF.

Rumbi Nzara ’08, MD, chemistry

“They wanted everyone to be part of the conversation.” Rumbi Nzara (above) was raised in Zimbabwe by her grandmother, a tenacious woman who saw education as a worthy investment. “She had a strong focus on educating women,” Nzara recalled. “She valued education so much — even though she had gone to only a few years of high school. She recognized that it was a way to lift women, to help them to move forward.” Although not raised by her father, Nzara credits him with being “my biggest cheerleader alongside my dear grandmother.” When her uncle, a Hamline University alumnus, suggested she apply to St. Catherine, she took his suggestion seriously. “He admired the school’s focus on empowering women,” she said. “He thought that the mission of educating women to lead and influence would be a good environment for me, and it would be in line with my interests.” When she was accepted at St. Kate’s and made the long journey to Minnesota, Nzara was happy to discover that the University’s approach to teaching and learning were exactly what she needed. “It is an environment that pushes women to feel comfortable leading, to feel comfortable in positions where they are directing a team,” she said. “That skill set has been very important as I’ve moved along. I’ve learned to be a thoughtful leader, a leader who is able to communicate effectively and get things done at the same time.” In all of her classes at St. Catherine, but especially in her science courses, Nzara recalls that it was impossible

to be anonymous. Across the board, professors insisted that all students contribute and that everyone’s opinions were important. “St. Kate’s stood out in that they wanted everybody to speak,” she said. “They wanted everyone to be part of the conversation in every class.” And because her fellow students were all women, Nzara added, “It was a safe space to speak and grow confidence in your own voice. That experience was instrumental later in my feeling confident speaking up during medical school and residency.” At St. Kate’s, students have the opportunity to study in an intimate college setting without giving up the research opportunities of large university. When she went to medical school, Nzara learned that this was a rare and valuable opportunity. “Being in a place where you can find mentorship, when you can see women who are professors in science and researchers in STEM, who are publishing in the field, who encourage you to take part in their research, helps you to see yourself in different roles and not limit your possibilities going forward,” she said. “It is incredibly impactful to have that experience.” These days, Nzara, who works as a general surgeon specializing in bariatrics, believes that her grandmother’s — and her alma mater’s — focus on educating women was far ahead of its time. “More colleges are trying to create an environment where women are expected to excel, to take on the most challenging jobs,” she said. “Places like St. Kate’s have been doing that since their inception. My grandmother understood that was important, too. They had the vision before anybody else came on board.”

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PHOTOS/ASHLEY GRELL ’13

THE STUDY OF BIOLOGY AT ST. KATE’S WAS AN EYE-OPENING AND EXPANSIVE OPPORTUNITY FOR ASHLEY GRELL ’13 TO SEE THE POTENTIAL SCIENCE BRINGS TO OTHER FIELDS, LIKE HER NONPROFIT WORK.

Ashley Grell ’13, biology

“Being in class with all women felt open and welcoming.” Ashely Grell (above) always assumed that when she went to college she’d be an English major. “When I was in high school, I always had in the back of my mind the idea that women aren’t as good at science,” Grell said. “Plus, I don’t have family members who are really into science, so I never thought that was a field I would go into.” But the truth was that Grell had been fascinated by science ever since she learned about evolution in her high school biology class. She explained that she’d been raised in a “very conservative, religious suburb,” and the idea that scientific thought could explain everything “opened up a whole new world for me.” In her first semester at St. Kate’s, Grell took a biology class. When the professor discussed evolution, once again Grell’s brain went into overdrive. That first bio class led to another, which eventually led her to dive headfirst into science. Grell said that what sealed the deal on her science degree was the unique approach her professors took to teaching their subjects. “One indication that St. Kate’s did things a little differently was that we always were assigned a ‘nonscience’ book as a requirement for our STEM classes,” she said. Books like My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult or Still Alice by Lisa Genova helped put scientific topics in the context of everyday life, expanding the reach of the subject matter and demonstrating the relevance of STEM research and learning.

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“Those books were some of the best parts of class,” Grell said. “Even though they were non-science books, they allowed us to have these discussions about how you would apply the science that we were learning to real situations, to understand how science impacts humans and their life decisions and emotions.” St. Kate’s nontraditional approach to teaching science helped Grell feel welcome — even if she’d never thought of herself as a potential scientist. “Something I felt right away when I started taking STEM classes at St. Kate’s was the overriding idea that science was for everybody,” she said. “When I was growing up, science used to feel so intimidating. I wonder if I went to a coed university, would I have chosen a STEM major? Being in a class with all women felt open and welcoming.” Ultimately, that open approach to education meant that Grell felt confident taking the skills she gained earning a degree in biology and applying them to a career as the Step Up manager of employer engagement at the nonprofit AchieveMpls. “In my science classes, there was always a part of every class where you had a research project that required you to put together a list of primary and secondary resources,” she said. “Those skills transfer really well to my job today. Thanks to St. Kate’s, I was able to see that science skills are not limited to science.” When science is taught the right way, she said, “it is relevant in just about any situation.”


ONE DAY FOR ALL KATIES! Show your St. Kate’s pride on our biggest day of giving! stkate.edu/gokatiegive

Kate Nordstrom ’23

PHOTO/SARA TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY

Corinne Burrell MLIS’23

Inspire classmates to participate by signing up as an ambassador today! stkate.edu/ambassador All gifts to the Katie Fund contribute to the success of LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence.


PHOTO/REBECCA SLATER ’10, BY REBECCA STUDIOS

Katies in Action BY SARAH VOIGT AND KAYLA FORBES MBA’17 Since 1979, St. Catherine University annually recognizes outstanding graduates who demonstrate excellence in leadership; service to others; an influential role in home, profession, community, church, or volunteer activities; and the ideals of St. Catherine University. Each award recipient exemplifies the mission of the University and how our graduates foster Forever St. Catherine.

Comfort Dondo ’15, social work PHOTO/MARY KUNESH ’95

Executive Director, Phumulani Minnesota African Women Against Violence

PHOTO/NAN SKELTON ’66

Comfort Dondo (left, top) recognized the need among African immigrant women experiencing gender-based violence, and in 2016 founded Phumulani Minnesota African Women Against Violence, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing gender-based violence and sexual abuse in communities of color throughout Minnesota and the world. She credits her St. Kate’s education as a catalyst for her growth into community leadership. “When I came to St. Kate’s, I was a very young woman coming from a very patriarchal society, and I had to unlearn a lot of cultural norms and limiting beliefs,” Dondo said. “St. Kate’s is where I really learned how to either invite myself to the table of power where decisions are being made and/or find a way to have the voice of my community be at those tables of power.” With community social change as her mission, Dondo worked as a public policy coordinator at Isuroon, where she lobbied for policy changes specific to African immigrant women. She also worked at Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence as the underserved community empowerment coordinator, and she was a team leader for the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota for Governor Dayton. Dondo was born in Zimbabwe and immigrated to the United States in 2004. She graduated from St. Kate’s in 2015 with a degree in social work. She went on to earn a master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and currently is enrolled in the doctoral program in leadership at St. Mary’s University.

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Mary Kunesh ’95, education

Nan (Steele) Skelton ’66, history

Minnesota State Senator, District 41

Co-Director (retired) of the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University

A member of the Minnesota Democratic-FarmerLabor Party (DFL), Mary Kunesh (left, middle) is one of the few Indigenous members of the Minnesota Legislature. As a St. Catherine University alumna, her career led to meaningful opportunities to connect her voice to her calling: to bring the light of truth to the hidden tragedy of murdered and missing indigenous women. “I remember arriving [at St. Kate’s] on the first day, and just being able to walk around campus and connect with all these young girls — it was one of the most memorable days of my life,” Kunesh said. “After about a year and a half, I took a break, had some really great life adventures, three kids, and then I returned to St. Catherine for Weekend College. And I finally got my teaching degree in 1995, at the ripe age of 35 years old.” Kunesh was born in St. Paul and raised in Sartell, Minn. Her mother is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “I am just really super proud of coming from a long line of St. Kate’s grads. My grandmother, my three aunties, and tons of cousins and nieces all are graduates of St. Catherine University. And among all of us, I think we’ve created quite a force of strong women who lead with pride and good values and genuine concern for our communities.” Her family’s life lessons, combined with her St. Kate’s education, gave Kunesh the foundation she needed to create a path of meaningful work — first as a teacher in Robbinsdale Area Schools, and later as a member of Minnesota’s House of Representatives, where she passed the first bill to establish a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. She also helped increase the number of Minnesota Family Investment Program grants — the first increase made in over 30 years. Her work is grounded in her connections to the community, such as her time as a member and chair of the New Brighton Parks, Recreation and Environmental Commission.

Nan Skelton (left, bottom) credits her St. Kate’s education and its connection to the CSJs for inspiring her to lead with a commitment to social justice and community. Skelton’s personal mission “to meet the needs that are revealed to her” perhaps is why she found herself as co-director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship (which later became Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship), which focuses on civic engagement and democracy education. “St. Kate’s definitely inspired me when I was there, by the values, by the questioning of situations and issues that were happening. At that time, we were in the throes of the Vietnam War,” said Skelton. “How the war was talked about — the concerns that students had, that teachers had, and the willingness to share our concerns — and the curiosity to figure out why things happen and what we can do about it … that was very much a part of the education that I had. “And the values that I learned through the Sisters of St. Joseph were critical and stayed with me, particularly the importance of community and how it’s built, and how we care for it. And the importance of questions and living into the answers. I have been living into the answers. I don’t have them all yet, but I’m still working on it.” In 1996, Skelton co-founded the Jane Addams School for Democracy, a democratic education initiative where “everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner,” based in St. Paul’s West Side. During its 13 years of existence, hundreds of immigrants became naturalized citizens. The school and several Hmong community members were pivotal in lobbying in Washington, D.C., to change citizenship testing rules to allow the test to be taken in Hmong, or a person’s native language. Skelton said her experience with the school was one that taught her as much as, if not more than, she taught others. Education has been a strong theme in Skelton’s life. She also co-founded the Neighborhood Learning Community, a larger community initiative to connect nonprofits and community members on the West Side to educational opportunities. Skelton served as an assistant commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Education from 1983 to 1990, and provided leadership on youth development legislation, AIDS education, school-to-work initiatives, and dropout prevention research with the National Governors Association.

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Bookmark Reading Recommendations From Kristen Lillvis, PhD, the Mary Alice Muellerleile ’60 Endowed Chair in English BY KAYLA FORBES MBA’17

St. Catherine University is thrilled to welcome Kristen Lillvis, PhD (left), as our first Mary Alice Muellerleile ’60 Endowed Chair in English. Lillvis researches issues of identity in diverse texts, and she’ll bring her expertise to St. Kate’s through courses on contemporary American and African American literature, as well as digital humanities. Lillvis has a passion for introducing students to English in an accessible way, often through digital media and games. In her new role, she is ready to engage middle school, high school, and college students in the arts by hosting workshops in which they’ll build simple narrative video games. By creating a video game, Lillvis said, “they learn to appreciate stories and literature from the inside out … and explore their creative potential.” We asked Lillvis to share more about her plans for this new, unique chair position — here’s what she had to say. What do you find particularly motivating about teaching students at St. Kate’s? I love the mission — to educate women to lead and influence — and I’m excited to be part of a university where the values of community, integrity, and social justice are tied to that mission. When students choose St. Kate’s, they’re signing up to be ambassadors for those values not only during their college careers, but throughout their lives. It’s an awesome responsibility and opportunity, and I am thrilled that I get to be part of the process.

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What is one thing you would like the St. Catherine community to know? I would like to highlight Mary Alice Muellerleile ’60, PhD, JD, and Brenda Grandstrand Woodson ’80, JD, two women whose commitment to St. Kate’s brought me to this institution. I was lucky to meet them in person at Convocation, where they shared with me their love for literature and lifelong learning. We talked about the importance of English, not only for those students who major in the discipline, but for students throughout the University. By studying English, they learn important close reading, critical thinking, and writing skills that benefit them, regardless of their area of focus or future career. I’m grateful to both women for enabling me to help spread their message about the relevance of English at St. Kate’s and beyond. Speaking of relevance, what’s your reaction to people who doubt the importance of the humanities? I have witnessed how stories save lives. I’m the project director and co-editor of Movable: Narratives of Recovery and Place (movableproject.org). I’ve helped individuals in recovery tell stories that highlight and document their recovery from substance and alcoholuse disorders. One project participant, Paula, said in an interview published on the site, “We have to share our stories; even if it helps one, it’s worth it.” And she’s not alone — in almost every essay, video, collage, and poem on Movable, individuals in recovery communicate how sharing has benefitted them and helped others. Movable is only one example of how storytelling and the arts can change lives and transform communities.


ST. KATE’S 2021–22 BOOK EVENTS Finally, what would you recommend for us to add to our reading lists? A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler by Lynell George, 2020 This biography perfectly captures the importance of the liberal arts. Not only does George trace how stories shaped Octavia E. Butler’s childhood, framing how she saw the world and herself as a writer, but the book also stands as a testament to the importance of research and writing. As we read about Butler’s experiences visiting libraries, we see traces of George’s own time in special collections, in the form of fullcolor images of archival documents, including notes in Butler’s own hand. Subscribe to a literary magazine! Subscribing to a literary magazine gives readers regular access to the creative writing, literary criticism, and even art and music. Oxford American publishes an annual Southern music issue that includes curated playlists, and I’m a big fan of Sewanee Review and New Ohio Review. Finding an issue in my mailbox is such a treat, and I always discover a favorite new author after reading.

CARNIVAL LIGHTS AND A COUNCIL OF DOLLS November 4, 2021 A special book discussion in partnership with The Loft Literary Center. Native authors speak on the continuing horrors of colonization for Native people. stkate.edu/loft

CONVERSATION WITH BOOKS February 5, 2022 Don’t miss this beloved event. A panel of faculty and alumni will discuss the best of new fiction and nonfiction. Watch for the booklist in At St. Catherine newsletter in early winter. (Don’t get At St. Catherine? Contact alumni@stkate.edu to sign up.)

ST. KATE’S READS March 31, 2022 The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes Carlson: Catholic, Socialist, Feminist By Donna T. Haverty-Stacke Join author and historian Donna Haverty-Stacke, PhD, in a virtual discussion of her book about the life of alumna Grace Holmes Carlson ’29, PhD. Watch for event details.

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Around Campus

“A MEANINGFUL LIFE” SET THE TONE FOR OPENING CELEBRATION St. Catherine University opened the academic year with a nod to beloved rituals: celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit in Our Lady of Victory Chapel and hosting the Opening Convocation at The O’Shaughnessy. Woven throughout each was the theme for the year: “A Meaningful Life.” Through the chosen readings and reflection shared at Mass, the students, faculty, and staff who gathered in person and online were reminded of the simple yet powerful decision to choose a life of meaning and purpose. The celebration continued at The O’Shaughnessy, where the community celebrated the many ways St. Catherine University supports those who seek to lead a meaningful life. A panel comprised of alumnae Comfort Dondo ’15 and Sen. Mary Kunesh ’95 discussed how their St. Kate’s journeys helped them find their ways to lead lives of meaning. The second part of the event celebrated the endowed chairs and professorships at St. Catherine University, and introduced Kristen Lillvis, PhD, the first professor to act as the Mary Alice Muellerleile ’60 Endowed Chair in English.

“St. Catherine University’s unique approach to mission is faculty-driven, collaborative, and integrative. The three components of the St. Catherine mission — Catholic, Women, and Liberal Arts — spring from St. Catherine’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet,” said Anita Thomas, PhD, executive vice president and provost at St. Catherine University. “This vision continues to evolve as St. Catherine prepares a new generation of women to take their place as leaders in a world that needs them.”

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ALUMNI CELEBRATE REUNION VIRTUALLY

KATIE LEADERSHIP IMPACT DIRECTOR NAMIBIA LITTLE (RIGHT) WITH SUBAN ABDI ’21 (LEFT)

Alumni from across the country gathered online June 15–19, 2021, for St. Catherine University’s first virtual reunion. Alumni Relations celebrated graduates from the classes of 1945, 1946, 1950, 1951, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016.

UNDERGRADUATE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM LAUNCHES

More than 500 alumni joined in class gatherings, lectures, and presentations. The Alumni Relations team was on hand all day to help with questions to make sure that technology challenges didn’t restrict participants’ opportunities to reconnect with their beloved friends. “We missed gathering with everyone on campus, but it was so fun to see alumni engage in the virtual environment — some who might not have been able to attend in person,” said Mandy Iverson, director of Alumni Relations (above). “The Alumni Relations team learned a lot about the ins and outs of online engagement, and although we hope to be able to return to Reunion as an in-person event going forward, we’ll look to see where we can supplement with virtual elements to accommodate those who have an easier time connecting that way.”

SAVE THE DATE REUNION 2022 June 10 –11, 2022 We will celebrate class years ending in 2 and 7 that graduated at least five years ago. ALL-CLASS REUNION PARTY REUNION WEEKEND All alumni may attend this annual party. Watch for details.

St. Catherine University launched a new leadership program this fall called Katie Leadership Impact. The undergraduate program fosters leadership capabilities through coursework, applied learning, professional activities, and student support. A $1.25 million grant from Manitou Fund will be allocated over three years and covers launching and sustaining Katie Leadership Impact. “Manitou Fund is excited for the partnership to design the Katie Leadership Impact program for women who will be future leaders of business, communities, and social justice,” said Greg McNeely, trustee of Manitou Fund. “I feel confident that the new leadership program will be a great add and look forward to a bright and successful relationship with St. Catherine University.” “The grant from Manitou Fund affirms the need for next-level education and provides hope and inspiration for the future of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Ben Whitney, dean of the University’s School of Business. “St. Kate’s has the experience, faculty, infrastructure, and student talent from all backgrounds to build this high-impact leadership development program. With this grant, Katie Leadership Impact will give St. Kate’s one of the most comprehensive undergraduate women’s leadership programs in the nation.”

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CATIE CENTER SECURES TWO DoE GRANTS The CATIE Center at St. Catherine University was awarded two grants from the Department of Education to continue and expand their programming. Ways to Work: Enhancing Proficiencies for Novice Interpreters aims to increase the competence of Novice Interpreters in order to grow a diverse workforce of interpreters who can serve the increasing number of deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind Vocational Rehabilitation clients in employment settings. To do this, the CATIE Center will design, pilot, evaluate, and refine curriculum and materials for a three-phase cohort model (20 participants per AY) to prepare Novice Interpreters to attain the required credentials needed in the locations in which they work. Project Level Up: Advancing Healthcare Interpreter Competencies wants to increase the number of working interpreters who are trained and qualified to interpret in healthcare settings, reducing the gaps in equity in healthcare communication for deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind, and hard to serve individuals. The CATIE Center will do this through collaborating with partners including Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, State Coordinators for the Deaf, community organizations, and individuals from deaf and hard of hearing diverse and underrepresented communities to provide online specialized training and induction in healthcare interpreting.

UPCOMING EVENTS GIVE TO ST. KATE’S DAY November 17 FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE November 22 REUNION 2022 June 10–11 See events at stkate.edu/events

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100 percent of the total costs of the program or project which will be financed with federal money. $2,100,000 of federal funds will be allocated over five years for each program. None of the total costs of the project or program will be financed by nongovernmental sources.

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PHOTO/MICHAEL MURRAY PHOTOGRAPHY

WOODEN STATUE OF SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX, “THE LITTLE FLOWER,” IN OUR LADY OF VICTORY CHAPEL.

In Memory w Our deepest sympathy to the families of the following graduates and faculty of St. Catherine University. Susan Welch, assistant professor of English, 1987–2020 w September 4, 2021 Anita Dumas Espinel ’41 w January 3, 2020 Leah Pease Hillesheim ’41 w July 11, 2019 Rita Freese Simones ’42 w February 15, 2020 Marguerite Hoffman Foster ’42 w March 6, 2021 Phyllis Kohler Favors ’42 w November 5, 2020 Jane Cook Thames ’43 w November 25, 2020 Mary Jo Franey Coyle ’43 w June 7, 2020 Lois Gruenenfelder ’43 w December 3, 2020 Colleen Duffy Couteaux ’44 w June 11, 2021 Mary Koch Keogh ’44 w February 12, 2021 Shirley Leroux Hoshal ’44 w November 16, 2020 Margaret O’Connell Tschida ’44 w December 12, 2017 Jane Erickson Wizik ’45 w February 21, 2018 Teresa Ferrando Dumas ’45 w September 23, 2020 Dorothy Huppert Cobian ’46 w December 2, 2019 Irene Maslowski Crutchfield ’46 w March 19, 2018 Mary Alexius Portz, SSND, ’46 w December 13, 2020 Laurianna Schulte Sjogren ’46 w May 16, 2021 Eraine Ste Marie Schmit ’46 w November 2, 2020 Lorraine Witt Olson ’46 w June 30, 2020 Shirley Cunningham Pallansch ’47 w April 21, 2021 Dorothy Donovan McGuire ’47 w December 13, 2020 Margaret Fleagle ’47 w November 2, 2020 Dorothy Hovelson Gunn ’47 w January 9, 2021 Verda Kopetsky Otten ’47 w October 10, 2020 Helen Mahl King ’47 w October 18, 2019 Mary Ellen Foley Porwoll ’48 w October 13, 2020 Mary Carol Friberg ’48 w June 15, 2021

Rosemary Melancon Peacock ’48 w January 25, 2021 Amy Peschel O’Neill ’48 w July 3, 2018 Loretta Schuster Giesen ’48 w January 9, 2021 Virginia Svoboda Scanlan ’48 w November 23, 2020 Mary Nicholas Vincelli, CSJ, (Eleanor Vincelli) ’48 w June 1, 2021 Mary Jane Young Ruff ’48 w November 1, 2020 Helen Budde Weides ’49 w February 16, 2021 Maura Coughlan Robertson ’49 w December 8, 2020 Joan Franzen Nimps ’49 w May 19, 2021 Rosemary Glennon Freitag ’49 w April 14, 2021 Bernele McKenna Schultz ’49 w November 3, 2020 Margaret Pieters Stringer ’49 w February 12, 2021 Mary Prendergast Kelly ’49 w November 12, 2020 Patricia Bennett Ryan ’50 w November 27, 2020 Mary Elizabeth Dempsey ’50, PhD w February 22, 2021 Janet Evanson Stewart ’50 w December 26, 2020 Helen Heaney McGrath ’50 w July 13, 2020 Marjorie Kight ’50, MLIS’56 w February 26, 2020 Rosemary Fallon Nichols ’51 w May 17, 2021 Ruth Halloran Johnson ’51 w April 15, 2021 Marjorie Lynch Meany ’51 w November 2, 2020 Dolores Schultz Kurz ’51 w December 14, 2018 Dorothy Tammen Cummens ’51 w February 27, 2021 Lois Bukolt Ludewig ’52 w December 17, 2020 Jean Dodge Moline ’52 w February 8, 2021 Mildred Haviland McCoy ’52 w January 1, 2021 Helen Litchy Perry ’52 w November 14, 2020 Patricia Reiling Ratelle ’52 w November 22, 2020 Mary Jo Ryan Richardson ’52 w March 7, 2021 Genevieve Schweizer McCarr ’52 w March 28, 2021

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Would you like to make a memorial or tribute gift? Please contact 651-690-6976 | giving@stkate.edu Contact us to share news of a death 651-690-6666 | inmemory@stkate.edu

Mary Ellen Welsh Leaper ’52 w June 16, 2021 Mary Claire Doyle ’53 w August 9, 2020 Bonnie Hammond Ulrich ’53 w July 27, 2020 Mary Keefe Grossman ’53 w September 16, 2019 Lucille Koller Roby ’53 w December 2, 2019 Mary Pietsch ’53 w May 4, 2021 Rosemary Ryan Scanlan ’53 w April 14, 2021 Bette Strand Gillespie ’53 w February 12, 2021 Joan Tuberty, OSF, ’53 w June 26, 2021 Ursula Bieter Schorn ’54 w February 10, 2021 Octavia Braun Connolly ’54 w May 1, 2020 Lucia Carlin Seidel ’54 w April 16, 2021 JoAnn Schultz Plumhoff ’54 w September 28, 2020 Susan Streff, CSJ, ’54 w May 15, 2021 Mary Pat Delaney True ’55 w November 26, 2020 Margaret O’Hair Boardman ’55 w April 23, 2020 Patricia Stepan Nakladal ’55 w April 10, 2021 Jean Wagner McKenzie Johnson ’55, Cert. ’84 w November 2, 2020 Mary Ann Halliday ’56 w December 12, 2020 Elizabeth Kowalczyk Kennedy ’56 w December 7, 2020 Mary Joe Sandberg Smith ’56 w February 1, 2021 Margaret Schneider O’Loughlin ’56 w March 4, 2021 Ann Busch Mykleby ’57 w January 10, 2021 Patricia Fischer-Larson ’57 w December 24, 2020 Betty Grundner ’57 w April 4, 2021 Lucy Knoll, CSJ, ’57 w June 12, 2021 Ann O’Neill, CSJ, ’57 w January 15, 2021 Mary Porter Buckles ’57 w March 26, 2021 Marian Vogel Theis ’57 w March 22, 2021 Carol Bauer Rose ’58 w September 28, 2020 Donna Drew Incaudo ’58 w January 11, 2021 Georgia Frankus ’58 w February 27, 2018 Mary Jane Mertz Baechler ’58 w January 27, 2021 Mary Sutmar Parnell ’58 w March 19, 2021 Mary Zander DeRocher ’58 w February 3, 2021 Emily Bleedorn Honebrink ’59 w March 24, 2020 Anne Jansen ’59 w August 13, 2019 Patricia Riley Houston ’59 w April 13, 2021 Marcia Stromme Bailey ’59 w January 30, 2021 Barbara Boyce Van Den Eeden ’60 w January 10, 2021 Judy Canney Zervas ’60 w December 3, 2020 St. Luke Copeland, CSJ, (Mary Emma Copeland) ’60 w January 13, 2021 Carole Ellingsworth Zahariades ’60 w January 23, 2021 Kathleen Malone Prantner ’60 w June 27, 2021 Mary O’Keefe Negri ’60 w February 18, 2021 Rose Ann Boll Williams ’61 w September 9, 2020 Kathleen Donahue ’61 w July 1, 2021 Mary Kay Frazier Caron ’61 w June 19, 2020 Helen Howell ’61 w May 30, 2021 Nancy Nuffer Bevilacqua ’61 w December 25, 2020

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Helena Sheridan, CSJ, ’61 w October 19, 2020 Virginia Fargione Swallow ’62 w May 22, 2021 Joan Hesse Glisczinski ’62 w February 13, 2021 Barbara Niemiec Knudsen ’62 w January 8, 2021 Mary Agnes Parker LaFontaine ’63 w March 29, 2021 Gloria DeVore ’64 w January 17, 2021 Jeanne Johnson Dooley ’64 w September 12, 2020 Beverly Bergeron Horak ’66 w April 21, 2021 Felicia Finsterwalder Forder ’66 w November 10, 2020 Judy Hoffert Harvey ’66 w May 4, 2021 Mary Ann Schaaf McGuire ’66 w September 15, 2020 Catherine Yunker Miller ’66 w November 23, 2020 Carmel Hogan Matuseski ’68 w April 15, 2020 Kathleen Kane Hamari ’68 w March 5, 2021 Sharon Lohmar ’68 w October 27, 2020 Janice Ann Fiola ’69 w May 15, 2021 Barbara Gerlach ’69 w December 29, 2020 Catherine Smith Edlund ’69 w July 4, 2021 Janice Marie Micek ’70 w October 19, 2020 Jean McIlquham Stalcup ’72 w January 7, 2021 Mary Borer ’74 w January 21, 2021 Jeanette Ringwelski ’74 w July 8, 2020 David Richard Mruz ’75 w December 20, 2020 Norma Jean Seivert ’76 w September 13, 2020 Lynn Sorila Landgren ’76 w February 3, 2021 Laura Gause Kaas ’77 w December 24, 2019 Virginia Trueman Dwyer ’77 w May 5, 2021 Molly Baker Mohrbacher ’80, ’05 w December 10, 2020 Sheila Malley Kozar ’84 w March 2, 2021 Jeanne Warner Nelson ’85 w June 23, 2021 Kathleen Casisky Martin ’86 w January 23, 2021 Karen Dahl ’86 w December 28, 2020 Joyce Garver Franchett ’86 w November 1, 2020 Richard Liljenquist MAT’87 w February 27, 2021 Betty Shakal, FSPA, MAT’87 w May 3, 2021 Paulette Jacobs Svoboda ’89 w November 18, 2020 Lynn Varpness ’90 w May 11, 2021 Harriet Beery O’Brian ’92 w June 21, 2021 Carol Breza Wooden MNP’96 w April 2, 2021 John Morrison Hawkins ’97 w October 8, 2019 Janet Pink Specht ’98 w January 28, 2021 Brenda Quade ’98 w February 4, 2021 Elizabeth Larson Nagel MAT’03 w June 3, 2021 Beverly Jean Mueller MSW’03 w March 26, 2020 Mary McLaughlin Antila MAOT’04 w September 14, 2020 Joyce Marie Anderson Cert’05 w January 5, 2021 Ruth Brooker, CSJ, ’06 w June 30, 2020 Anna Tews Denardo ’08 w November 17, 2019 Denise Bierwerth Langenfeld ’10 w April 16, 2021 John Daniel Dietzen MSW’10 w April 29, 2021 Mary Therese Hanlon Sinnen DNP’10 w April 22, 2021 Mary Lynette McKinley MHS’17 w November 30, 2020


BISHOP EMERITUS MONS. PETR ESTERKA

LORRAINE MAJERUS NADLER ’53

Bishop Emeritus Mons. Petr Esterka, faculty emeritus of theology, passed away on August 10. He was 85 years old. Petr Esterka was born on November 14, 1935, in Dolní Bojanovice, Czechoslovakia. He was persecuted as a student for religious-political beliefs and in 1957 he escaped to Austria to spend three months in a refugee camp near Salzburg before moving to Rome, where he was admitted to the Pontifical Lateran University. Esterka later wrote a book, Never Say Comrade, about his escape from Czechoslovakia. Esterka was ordained to the priesthood in 1963. After receiving his theology license, Esterka was assigned to the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas. He was awarded the title of Monsignor in 1987, and in 1992 he was appointed honorary prelate. He came to Minnesota in 1967, teaching in the theology department at St. Kate’s until 1993. He was best known for his Marriage and Family course. Esterka became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1968, and joined the Air Force Reserves in 1974 as a military chaplain, retiring after 21 years with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was based in Minneapolis, with the 934th Tactical Airlift Group, until 1995.

Lorraine Majerus Nadler ’53, trustee emerita, passed away on September 6. She was 92 years old. Born March 6, 1929, Nadler was the eldest of four girls who were raised in Minnesota. She graduated in 1946 from St. Felix High School in Wabasha, Minn., and in 1953 from the College of St. Catherine with a degree in home economics and sociology. She moved to California in 1958, where she earned her master’s from California State University, Long Beach, and taught in junior and senior high schools in Los Angeles. Nadler met her husband Mike in 1963, and they married in 1969. The two enjoyed traveling the world together for many decades, skiing and playing tennis in far-flung places. In the early 1970s, Mike’s job took them to Newport Beach, Calif., ultimately settling in Corona del Mar in 1976. In partnership with Mike, she became an entrepreneur, and launched a business called Cecelia, that manufactured women’s sportswear. Nadler was generous to both her family and larger community. St. Kate’s was a focus of her philanthropy, volunteering on many significant fundraising initiatives. She served on the Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2007, and established the Lorraine Majerus Nadler Southern California Endowed Scholarship fund, which supports women from California pursuing a St. Catherine University education.

PHOTO/DAVE HRBACEK, THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

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Katie Diary Bulletin of the

COLLEGE OF ST. CATHERINE JULY 1939

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PHOTO/UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

During the evening study hour, you do not go from room to room for visiting or even for books. You sharpen your pencils, stock up on graph paper, and borrow your neighbor’s reserve book before the study hour begins. You wear soft-soled bedroom slippers; the click of high heels is most annoying during the quiet hours. Nor do you play your radio then. You’re a fortunate girl if you have one — more fortunate if you know how to use it. Enjoy your radio at the right times. But you simply cannot study and listen to Charlie McCarthy at the same time. We have tried it, and know it can’t be done.

LEFT: A LIVELY MOVE-IN DAY 1959. RIGHT: EXCERPT FROM THE JULY 1939 BULLETIN OF THE COLLEGE OF ST. CATHERINE, SERIES XX NUMBER 1.

Among the many exciting aspects of arriving on the St. Catherine University campus each fall — especially in a student’s first year — is finding and setting up one’s residence-hall room (forever to be called the “dorm room” by many alumnae). Over the decades, this sentimental rite of passage has remained largely the same, with family members “helping” to decide where furniture should be placed, which clothing items should be hung in the closet versus folded and put in drawers, and precisely where on walls posters should be located. For most students, this is their first foray into independent living. While the rules of campus living have changed dramatically, many time-honored traditions of res-hall life have been passed down from Katie generation to Katie generation. Living on campus is a journey of making friends and learning to live with others. The many St. Catherine buildings that have housed students have provided countless valuable and memorable experiences.