Benedictine monks reached central Oklahoma in 1875 and immediately laid the framework for a Catholic college. By the early 20th cen- tury, the college was moved to Shawnee and became known as the Catholic University of Oklahoma, then St. Gregory\u2019s College. The designation as a university came in 1997 to acknowledge the institution\u2019s modest growth and graduate programs.
The university is the only Catholic col- lege or university in Oklahoma, a \u201cBible Belt\u201d state, that has a Catholic population of about four and one-half percent of its 3.7 million residents. It also is the oldest higher educa- tion institution in Oklahoma.
Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, O.S.B., the chancellor and former president of St. Greg- ory\u2019s, told the National Catholic Register that the university is a \u201cmissionary institution\u2026 located on a frontier of the Church where
ed population.\u201d But the university doesn\u2019t shy away from a strong Catholic identity and is a prominent institution in the local commu- nity.
St. Gregory\u2019s has grown along with the city of Shawnee, which has a population to- day of 29,000 and is located 30 minutes east of Oklahoma City. The university has an undergraduate enrollment of 740 students, a majority of them at the 75-acre Shawnee cam- pus surrounded by the 640-acre St. Gregory\u2019s Abbey. There is also a College for Working Adults at Shawnee and at a center in Tulsa about 100 miles away.
Type of institution: Small liberal arts college
Undergraduate enrollment: 642 (2008\u201309
in what St. Gregory\u2019s calls \u201cA Community for Life,\u201d an appreciation for the sacredness of life and the importance of human relation- ships.
sports science. There also is a teacher educa- tion program. A unique aspect of the curricu- lum is a Design-A-Degree option, by which undergraduates can focus their studies on a
primarily business degrees at the associate, bachelor and master levels. There are 40 grad- uate students at the university.
About 66 percent of the students are from Oklahoma, but they also come from 14 other states as well as 17 other countries.
One unique highlight on the university campus is the 95-year-old Mabee-Gerrer Mu- seum of Art, which was founded by a monk of the Abbey who developed a small art col- lection. The museum\u2019s holdings include arti- facts from ancient Egypt, Mesoamerica, Mes- opotamia, Greece, Rome and China, as well as religious art.
There are not many universities that can beat the price of St. Gregory\u2019s. Total tuition, room and board in 2009-10 was $21,798. The tuition rate has been well below the average for private institutions in Oklahoma, where
The university is separately incorporated but is a \u201ccorporate ministry\u201d of St. Gregory\u2019s Ab- bey. The primarily lay board of 31 members
to helping students achieve their educa- tional and life goals. That commitment extends to making our one-of-a-kind ex-
sized classes and a one-to-one learning environment create a high quality aca- demic experience. Our intellectual tradi- tion comes alive each day in the student- focused curriculum.
\u201cSGU provides a high quality education at one of the lowest tuition rates for a Catholic institution in America. Our fees and living costs are well below the na- tional average and are supplemented by a robust portfolio of grants and scholar- ships. Hospitality and generosity are two of the Benedictine values in evidence at SGU. In fact, more than 90 percent of our
general. He was provost at the U.S. Air Force Academy and has helped establish schools in the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Wagie holds a Ph.D. in aeronautical and astronautical engi- neering from Purdue University.
Dr. Wagie succeeded Abbot Stasyszen, who had been university president for seven years and who promoted Ex corde Ecclesiae. Today he is head of St. Gregory\u2019s Abbey and is chancellor of the university, focusing on the relationship between the two institutions as well as on the university\u2019s Catholic identity.
St. Gregory\u2019s strongly promotes its identity as a Catholic and Benedictine university. Certainly, the presence of the abbey as well as the involvement of the Benedictine monks
has helped. Indeed, the university is viewed as the ab- bey\u2019s \u201cprimary of- fering in service to the Church and to humanity,\u201d accord- ing to Abbot Stasys- zen.
men Praebeat or \u201cMay Faith Grant Light.\u201d The com- munity frequently
There is an opening Mass at the begin- ning of the academic year. One former student told us, \u201cA question arose whether non-Cath-
faculty insisted that the school must maintain its Catholic identity regardless of the varying faiths of the student body. They pointed out that non-Catholic students were choosing to
The university makes recruiting Catho- lic students a priority. \u201cOur goal is to increase the number of Catholic students on our cam- pus so that our Catholic culture can be in-
The monastery and the large Abbey Church are visible signs of the university\u2019s identity. The church was completed in 1945 and features intricate stained-glass windows
In May 2009, the university announced plans for a Rosary Gar- den on the campus, sponsored and land- scaped by the student Knights of Columbus chapter. The garden will feature 50 trees
stone walkways and a statue of Mary in the center.
no evidence that inap- propriate speakers or questionable extracur- ricular activities have taken place on campus. The 2009 commencement speaker was Dr. Michael Galligan-Stierle, vice president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Univer- sities. Other recent speakers have included Linda Schaefer, a former CNN editor who documented the work of Mother Teresa; a lo- cal writer; and a local judge.
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