New Chief Human Resources Officer
Kathy Arnold has been named the first vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO) at St. Thomas. She began her role on July 30.
As CHRO, Arnold will lead efforts to modernize and align human resources, compensation and hiring functions across campus and reward and retain talent. She’ll also help embed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) priorities across the university.
“I look forward to working with Kathy to further strengthen our culture so that we can continue to thrive as a university and grow the impact of our mission,” President Julie Sullivan said.
Most recently, Arnold was at Willis Towers Watson (WTW), a global risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company in Bloomington, Minnesota, where she counseled corporate leaders on workplace issues.
“I’m excited to partner with the many diverse and important constituencies at the university – the leadership team, the faculty, staff and HR team – to make St. Thomas a leader in talent practices in higher education,” Arnold said.
In-person Commencement Returns
In-person commencement ceremonies returned to St. Thomas in May. While the ceremonies looked different than in years past to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, the same St. Thomas personal attention was present.
Arranging all the details for socially distanced, but meaningful commencement ceremonies took in-depth planning by university administration, faculty and key student representatives. The university held multiple, smaller and shorter ceremonies with a set number of guests per graduate.
For those who couldn’t attend in person, the ceremonies were livestreamed and recorded. In addition, students who chose not to participate in person were able to send in their photo to be included virtually. There were a total of eight commencement ceremonies for the nearly 3,000 graduating associate degree, undergraduate and graduate students.
School of Nursing Gains Momentum
The School of Nursing in the Morrison Family College of Health continues to make progress toward launching its proposed bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs. In addition to receiving the green light from several governing bodies to proceed with development of the programs, the school has hired inaugural faculty, staff and clinical coordinator positions.
“We are confident we will begin enrolling undergraduate and graduate nursing students in the fall of 2022, on target with our original timeline,” said Dr. MayKao Y. Hang, vice president and founding dean of the College of Health.
The School of Law Celebrates 20 Years
St. Thomas Law originally launched in 1923, but shuttered after a decade due to the devastating effects of the Great Depression. St. Thomas reestablished the School of Law in 1999 and reopened it in 2001 with a mission focused on "integrating faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice." The school has been recognized for faculty scholarship, practical training and its high quality of student life.
“The law school’s mission, vision and values have shaped the culture of our law school community and the type of law school education we have consistently provided over the years,” President Julie Sullivan said. “I am very proud of how our law school, consistent with our university educational mission, focuses on the development of the whole person. Our law school faculty and staff work closely with our students in the formation of their professional identities and in ensuring their spiritual, mental and physical well-being.
"I also am very proud of the focus on community and our responsibility to accompany others that is reinforced in the law school," she continued. "We work to equip our students to build relationships across difference and to interact in community in accordance with the principles of Christian love.”
Minnesota Institute For Trauma-Informed Education Launches
Trauma affects many children every day in different ways. It could result from sexual and physical abuse, racism, school bullying, hunger and neglect, and even stress caused by returning to the classroom full time after a global pandemic.
Educating teachers to understand and address trauma is vital when it comes to nurturing a child’s ability to learn.
As a result, the School of Education and the Morrison Family College of Health teamed up to form the Minnesota Institute for Trauma-Informed Education (MITIE). The institute helps to develop, support and advance the field of trauma-informed and trauma- engaged education. Course offerings extend to school social workers, coaches, administration and, of course, classroom teachers.
With funding from the Carolyn Foundation and the Sauer Family Foundation, MITIE launched in May and offers the Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) course Becoming Trauma-Informed: A Primer for Educators.
Pope Francis Appoints St. Thomas Trustee
Pope Francis appointed Board of Trustees member Sister Mary Haddad ’07 MBA, RSM, to membership in the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. This Vatican office focuses on health care, immigration, charitable works and climate change to promote the well-being and flourishing of the human family worldwide. Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson is prefect of the dicastery and has led since the creation of this new office in 2017.
Dicastery members are selected from the different regions of the world and represent various fields of expertise. As a dicastery member, Haddad, who is president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, will represent Catholic health care in the United States.
St. Thomas Airs Prime-Time Ads
Prospective college students have myriad higher education options, including nearly 200 in Minnesota alone. In the hopes of enticing more prospects to choose St. Thomas, the university rolled out four new student- centric TV commercials that used suspense, drama and intrigue, mirroring teasers for some of the popular prime-time TV shows in which they appeared.
The videos, part of a “We Are Tommies” marketing campaign, aired during morning news and prime time on all four Twin Cities major TV stations and Fox Sports North from mid- February through late April. They appeared locally during shows, including “Shark Tank,” “The Voice,” “The Bachelor and the Grammy Awards. Sports fans saw them during Gopher and Timberwolves games, as well as the NCAA Final Four National Championship. The commercials even caught the attention of Adweek.
New Art On Display
Religious art lovers have yet another reason to flock to north campus. An eight-foot-tall bronze sculpture of St. Thomas Aquinas that was installed earlier this year now looms large outside of the Iversen Center for Faith. The university commissioned world- renowned Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz to design this 900-pound piece of vibrant art, which is the first permanent bronze sculpture on campus of the university’s namesake.
The Iversen Center for Faith has interior permanent art exhibits as well. Mary Griep’s “Tell Me A Story” exhibit portrays 14 sacred spaces from around the world: seven Christian traditions and seven non- Christian, including Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. Artist Kelly Kruse’s two triptychs, commissioned as a set for the space, translate St. Paul the Apostle’s biblical descriptions of human beings into visual form. In addition, the Hoedeman Gallery of Sacred Art’s three alcoves display three separate exhibits, two of which will rotate on a biannual schedule.