Archbishop dedicates two-year college at St. Thomas

| October 17, 2017 | 4 Comments


Archbishop Bernard Hebda dedicated the new Dougherty Family College program at the University of St. Thomas Oct. 13. Courtesy Mike Ekern, University of St. Thomas

Archbishop Bernard Hebda blessed the new two-year Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus Oct. 13.

He spoke of how the university’s founder, Archbishop John Ireland, envisioned St. Thomas in 1885 as a place for immigrant children to find an education and make a difference in society.

“As different as our world is today, this new college has the same fundamental goal as its predecessor — to give promising students an education and an opportunity to realize their dreams,” Archbishop Hebda said.

St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan also spoke of Archbishop Ireland’s vision as inspiration for the Dougherty Family College. Sullivan identified the recent achievement gap in Twin Cities as an issue she wanted to address as St. Thomas’ president from day one, she said.

“An early passion of mine upon arriving in Minnesota [in 2013] was to find a way for St. Thomas to play a role in ensuring the future strength of our state’s workforce,” she said. “Currently, unacceptable gaps in prosperity and educational attainment exist in the Twin Cities area. At the same time, dire workforce shortages are projected for our state, and Minnesota ranks 10th in the United States for the percentage of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree.”

Mike Dougherty cuts the ribbon for the new Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus. Courtesy Mike Ekern, University of St. Thomas

The Dougherty Family College opened this year with 107 students who are working toward a two-year associate of arts degree. Upon graduation, they may continue their education at a four-year college. Admission was granted to students who might otherwise not be able to afford a college education.

Dougherty Family College students have come from more than 40 different high schools in the Twin Cities area. Tuition costs $15,000 for the Dougherty Family College this year, but financial aid for the students has kept tuition as low as $1,000.

Donors, particularly the college’s namesakes Mike and Kathy Dougherty, have played a large role in making the college affordable for students. The Dougherty family’s major gift helped the college open, and the school was named in their honor.

Mike and Kathy Dougherty graduated St. Thomas and the College of St. Catherine respectively in the 1960s. They attended the Oct. 13 dedication and participated in the ribbon cutting.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar also spoke at the dedication. Sullivan introduced Klobuchar as a big supporter of educational opportunity in Minnesota and beyond.

“This is exactly what our state needs,” Klobuchar said about the Dougherty Family College.


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Category: Local News