Monday, May 9, 2016

Archives Display: St. Kate's First 10 Presidents

As St. Kate's prepares for a new president we  look back on past ones.  Becky Roloff will be our eleventh president, so who were the women who came before her?  This display commemorates the first ten presidents of St. Catherine University, with artifacts connected to them drawn from the University Archives.  From Mother Antonia McHugh, famed for being our first college president, to Sister Andrea, who is just leaving us now, each president is represented.

One thing that is made clear through these artifacts is the constant communication between past and present presidents.  The Phi Beta Kappa pin of President Antonine O'Brien is accompanied by a note from President Alberta Huber, explaining that it was a loan Sister Antonine did not want returned.  Also on display is friendly correspondence from Sister Mary Edward Healy (president 1961-1964) to Sister Mary William Brady (president 1955-1961) concerning trips to Ireland and Rome.

Also evident is the recognition of St. Kate's presidents.  Class pins, honors pins, and a rosary gifted by Pope John XXIII sit beside documents celebrating presidents.  Not only was May 1st, 1979 declared Sister Alberta Huber day by the mayor of St. Paul in honor of President Huber's dedication to education, but President Anita Pampusch was invited to the White House by then First Lady Hillary Clinton in recognition of women in higher education.  Inside the envelope, beside the invitation, is a request from the Social Secretary of the White House asking President Pampusch to respond at her earliest convenience, "giving date of birth and social security number."  An invitation photo ID were needed to enter the visitor's entrance of the White House.  It is lucky we do not need such rigorous documentation to make appointments with the president of St. Kate's!

From Mother Antonia's passport photo and monogrammed silverware to a paperweight donated by Sister Andrea, this collection of artifacts and documents gives just a hint at the presidents of St. Catherine University.  To learn more, stop by the display itself, or, even better, come and visit us!

For more information on the history of St. Catherine University, visit the Archives and Special Collections online or in person in Room 062 in the lower level of the Library; open Monday-Friday from 9:30-4:30.

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