From new facilities that include the Schoenecker Center and the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena to the first Master of Science in Nursing graduates, the University of St. Thomas is being bold in a changing higher education market. And the Minnesota business community is taking note.
Twin Cities Business recognized two of the university’s high-profile leaders on its list of “TCB 100: Newsmakers and Innovators to Watch in 2024.” St. Thomas President Rob Vischer and Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Phil Esten ’95 were among the “business leaders, trailblazers and newsmakers poised to make an impression in 2024” who were honored by the magazine at a ceremony Dec. 4. Twin Cities Business describes the list as the “‘little black book’ of people in and around Minnesota business likely to make news and drive change in the year ahead.”
Regarding Vischer, Twin Cities Business wrote: “Robert Vischer, inaugurated this year to the St. Thomas presidency, is only the second layperson to lead the 138-year-old Catholic university. In 2024, Vischer is looking forward to the university breaking ground on the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena, made possible by a $75 million gift from billionaire philanthropists Lee and Penny Anderson, which will house St. Thomas’ men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams. While it’s exciting to see new facilities rise, ‘for me, what’s always going to be most significant is the work we do on culture,’ Vischer says.”
In its description of Esten, Twin Cities Business wrote: “Phil Esten is no stranger to big-time college athletics, serving tours of duty at UC Berkeley, Penn State, and the University of Minnesota. It was a natural that St. Thomas looked to him to guide the school’s unprecedented transition from Division III athletics to Division I, since the goal was never about better football, but instead about extending its brand and putting St. Thomas in a national conversation for prospective students. ‘We’re leveraging athletics to tell a story beyond this marketplace,’ he explains. 2024 is all about staying on that path, while completing fundraising for and breaking ground on St. Thomas’ Lee and Penny Anderson Arena for hockey and basketball on the St. Paul campus.”
The TCB 100 list is featured in the December 2023/January 2024 issue of Twin Cities Business. See the whole list here.