A Letter from the President
Dear Alumni and Friends,
The university has reached a new milestone this summer. The university now has a doctoral program, a doctor in physical therapy. The physical therapy program is crown jewel a top five master’s degrees and 26 undergraduate degrees. We have over 323 nursing students combined in the traditional four year BSN program, the online RN-BSN, and the new accelerated nursing program. Health information management has launched this fall and the master’s in nursing is slated to start in the fall of 2013. Saint Mary is now well on its way to being a regional leader in health care education built on a liberal arts foundation.
Berchmans Hall that housed hundreds of students over the years is the new home of Saint Mary’s health care education. Physical therapy has already settled into the ground and first floor. Nursing will join them on the second and third floor and the fourth floor will be the home of the physician’s assistant program that is still in the planning stage.
In the early stages of our planning the doctorate in physical therapy program, we had no greater fan than Sr. Mary Kathleen Stefani. Sister, a native of Butte, Montana and a graduate of Saint Mary, was a scientist herself. She was educated as a physics, math, and chemistry teacher. Sister was a fabulous teacher and a leader. Like all natural leaders, she was soon called on to lead, first in high schools and then in our community. She served on Sisters of Charity Leadership team for 24 years. Sister passed away in 2010.
The university is proud to name the physical therapy program in her honor. Some of her former students have stepped forward with generous donations in her honor. Knowing sister, I am sure she is both humbled at the honor and proud that we have successfully established the program she so deeply cared about.
Our physical therapy faculty welcomed 37 students into the inaugural class in June. After more than four years of planning, raising funds, remodeling, building curriculum, and seeking accreditations, there was both great joy and a deep sense of satisfaction that the hard work and the efforts of many had brought a dream to reality, a dream Sr. Mary Kathleen shared. May she continue to pray for us.
Peace and blessings to you,
Sister Diane Steele, SCL, Ph.D., C'83