Murray Institute to present awards May 15

Murray Institute to present awards May 15

The Murray Institute will celebrate its 14th anniversary of service to Catholic educators and present its Archbishop John Gregory Murray Medallion awards at a Mass and dinner on Monday, May 15, at the University of St. Thomas.

Murray Medallions, given for outstanding leadership in Catholic education and service to the Murray Institute, will be presented to Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas; Dr. Karen Ristau, a former St. Thomas faculty member who is now president of the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington, D.C.; and Dr. Margaret Reif, associate professor of education at St. Thomas and director of the Murray Institute.

With its roots in the John Gregory Murray Fund begun at St. Thomas in 1964 for “the training of teachers for St. Paul archdiocesan schools,” the Murray Institute was established in 1992. It has grown into a national model for colleges and universities that help support Catholic K-12 school systems and parish faith formation programs. The Murray Institute enables educators in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to participate in programs that help to develop the professional and spiritual dimensions of their lives.

The institute serves the educational needs of teachers and principals, religious educators, youth ministers and catechists in the archdiocese. It provides graduate courses, degree programs and other continuing education opportunities through its endowment. Many of the participants could not otherwise afford further education.

This unique collaboration between St. Thomas and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis enables archdiocesan educators to earn tuition-free master’s degrees in religious education, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and education specialist degrees. In return, recipients agree to three years of service in archdiocesan parishes and schools.

The Murray Institute currently serves 86 students and will add two more cohort programs in January 2007; its alumni number 476 Catholic school and parish educators.

Murray ’s students typically earn their advanced degrees in three years, taking one course a semester and two each summer. When a new “cohort,” or group of students, begins, they take courses together for the length of the program. St. Thomas full-time and adjunct faculty travel to the students: Currently, cohorts meet at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis; Hill-Murray School in Maplewood; Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park; and Nativity of Our Lord School in St. Paul. Summer classes are conducted on the university’s campus.

The Murray Institute also has funded projects related to Catholic social teaching, initiatives in Hispanic ministry, support for teachers of disadvantaged youth in urban settings, and retreats and summer “think tanks” for Catholic educators.

For more information about the May 15 event or the Murray Institute, call coordinator Jane Fennell, (651) 962-4883.