St. Catherine University

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

Seal of St. Catherine University
Type Private
Women's liberal arts college (undergraduate)
Established 1905
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Endowment $74.8 million[1]
President ReBecca Koenig Roloff [2]
Academic staff
Students 5,055[3]
Undergraduates 3,491
Postgraduates 1,564
Location Saint Paul / Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
44°55′29″N 93°10′56″W / 44.92472°N 93.18222°W / 44.92472; -93.18222Coordinates: 44°55′29″N 93°10′56″W / 44.92472°N 93.18222°W / 44.92472; -93.18222
Campus Urban
Colors Purple and Gold          
Athletics NCAA Division IIIMIAC
Nickname Wildcats
Mascot A Wildcat
Affiliations NCA

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, "the Nation's Largest College for Women."[4] Today St. Catherine offers baccalaureate programs for women plus graduate and associate programs for women and men.

The University enrolls more than 5,000 students annually.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

St. Kate’s ranks 14th in the "Best Value - Regional Universities (Midwest)" category of the U.S. News & World Report's college rankings.[8] 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.[9]


Derham Hall
Our Lady of Victory Chapel


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.[10]

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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[11] In 1987, Fairview Hospital combined with St. Mary's Hospital to become Riverside Medical Center.[12]

Expansion to Virginia

In 2014, St. Kate expanded their Occupational Therapy Assistant program into Virginia. The online OTA program has an offline component in partnership with Genesis Rehab Services' locations in the state of Virginia. The program is in the process of seeking accreditation. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education(ACOTE) has approved the program to start admitting students.

Move to University

On 1 June 2009, the College of St. Catherine changed its name to St. Catherine University.[8]

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:


Schools and colleges

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

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

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

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:

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


St. Catherine is the first Catholic college or university in the world to be granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, in October 1937.[16] 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.[17] St. Kate’s has produced Fulbright Scholars as well.[18][19]

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[20] 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.[5] The average class size is 19 in the traditional/day program, 14 in the Evening/Weekend/Online program and 21 in the associate program.[5] 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.[21]

Ethics, social justice and women’s education

An ethics component is woven into every course at St. Catherine, from apparel design to biology. This curricular commitment in business courses, in particular, has made St. Catherine a model for other universities.[22] Our faculty members present ethical principles and moral or ethical problems in case studies or class discussion and then encourage students to examine or solve them.

Research and Academic Centers

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

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.[31]

Service learning

From nursing and English to business and nutrition, classes and programs at St. Catherine University incorporate service-learning. Students discuss issues of justice and then go into the community to address them firsthand through nonprofits and local organizations. The University’s Center for Community Work and Learning assists faculty in integrating this component into their curriculum. Each year, more than 500 St. Kate’s students participate in service-learning opportunities off campus.[32]

Student life

Campus ministry

St. Catherine University’s Catholic identity shapes life on campus, its priorities, its ongoing commitment to social justice — and its openness to students of all faiths. Whether Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim or another faith tradition, each student at St. Catherine is welcome to explore her or his spirituality and take part in Catholic or interfaith services organized by Campus Ministry. Graduate students in the University’s spiritual direction program serve as spiritual mentors, helping others to explore their faiths and also cope with relationship, school and work issues. Campus Ministry’s responsibilities include offering Mass on Sundays and services on Good Friday, opportunities for social justice work, retreats and campus programming, such as Prayer Partners, which connects students with a Sister of St. Joseph or with faculty, staff and neighbors of St. Catherine. These partners and students make a one-year commitment to pray for each other. Campus Ministry manages an interfaith prayer room, complete with soft light and prayer rugs.

Residence life

Eighty percent of St. Catherine’s first-year students live in nine residence halls on campus.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36]


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).[37] 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:

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.[38] In addition to paper files, the St. Catherine University archives contains more than 8,000 photographs and 4,500 artifacts.[39] 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.[40]

Notable alumnae

See also


  1. "US News Education Rankings and Advice". US News Best Colleges 2015. US News Corp. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Quick Facts". St. Catherine University. Saint Catherine University. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  4. “Becoming St. Catherine University.”, SCAN, June 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 Quick Facts. Retrieved September 26, 2012., St. Catherine University.
  6. "Educating the Whole Person", SCAN, January 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  7. "One Big Extended Family", SCAN, June 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  8. 1 2 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.
  9. St. Catherine University ranking remains high in U.S. News ‘America's Best Colleges', St. Kate’s News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  10. 1 2 Our History., St. Catherine University. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  11. 1 2 Our History With Healthcare, St. Catherine University. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  12. Fairview Health Services Physician Recruitment and Retention. "Provider Opportunities at Fairview -- Our History". Fairview Hospital. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  13. Admission, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013
  14. Community Partnerships, Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  15. “Peace Corps Partners with MAOL”, SCAN, February 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  16. Phi Beta Kappa Society, St. Kate’s chapter. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  17. "A Higher Calling.”, SCAN, June 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  18. “St. Kate’s alumna lands Fulbright scholarship”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  19. St. Kate's alumna garners Fulbright Research Grant, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  20. Mission and Vision, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  21. Goals for liberal arts core requirement., St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  22. Marketing and management major, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  23. “Lifelong Learners”, SCAN, June 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  24. “Anything But Ordinary”, ""SCAN,"" June 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  25. “Alive and Kicking”, ""SCAN,"" June 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  26. CATIE Center, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  27. “Healthcare interpreters give voice to patients”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  28. Team Teaching, National Center for STEM Elementary Education. St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  29. 1 2 “The Hidden Wholeness”, ""SCAN,"" October 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  30. “Archbishop blesses new anatomy lab at St. Catherine University”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  31. Global Studies, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  32. Center for Community Work and Learning, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  33. Residence Halls and Apartments, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  34. “Eat, Sleep, Learn", ""SCAN,"" October 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  35. Clubs and organizations, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  36. Honors, St. Catherine University. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  37. St. Catherine University Athletics, Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  38. "Womanly Arts”, ""SCAN,"" October 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  39. "Preserving a Century of Stories", "SCAN," June 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  40. "St. Kate’s owns a limited reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible.”, St. Kate’s News. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
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