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st gregory's university

st gregory's university

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Published by: Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Ed on Sep 02, 2009
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The Newman Guide

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

Catholics are a minority and o\ue004en-persecut-

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.

St. Gregory\u2019s University
Shawnee, Oklahoma
quick facts

Founded:18 75
Type of institution: Small liberal arts college
Setting:Subur ban
Undergraduate enrollment: 642 (2008\u201309

academic year)
Total undergraduate cost: $21,798 (tuition,
room and board for 2009\u201310)
Undergraduate majors: Five (and numerous
five key Points
1.\ue000Catholic environment re\ue000ecting
Benedictine abbey in\ue000uence.
2.\ue000Has programs for student evangeliza-
tion and interaction with monks.
3.\ue000Offers \ue000exible course programs.
4.\ue000Appeals to non-traditional students
through the College for Working Adults.
5.\ue000A regional college that recruits primar-
ily from Oklahoma and nearby states.
St. Gregory\u2019s University
The Newman Guide
The university emphasizes its dedication
to the Catholic, Benedictine tradition; its \ue001ex-
ibility in academic programs; and its focus on
a sense of community. The la\ue005er is re\ue001ected

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.

Students can major in several broad
\ue000elds in humanities, theology, business, so-
cial science, natural science and health and

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

particular concentration. In e\ue002ect, this allows
for nearly 50 concentrations.
St. Gregory\u2019s is commi\ue005ed to helping
non-traditional students gain associate de-
grees in a number of \ue000elds, including medi-
cal technician, liberal arts programs and sa-
cred music. The adult campus in Tulsa o\ue002ers

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

higher education is o\ue002ered at a relatively low
cost compared to other states.

The university is separately incorporated but is a \u201ccorporate ministry\u201d of St. Gregory\u2019s Ab- bey. The primarily lay board of 31 members

includes \ue000ve Benedictines as well as Arch-
bishop Eusebius Beltran of the Archdiocese
of Oklahoma City.
St. Gregory\u2019s third lay president, Dr. Dave
Wagie, took o\ue003ce in April 2007. Dr. Wagie has
had an impressive career. In addition to be-
ing an active Catholic, he was a career army
From the
Financial Aid Office
\u201cSt. Gregory\u2019s University is commi\ue005ed

to helping students achieve their educa- tional and life goals. That commitment extends to making our one-of-a-kind ex-

perience accessible and a\ue002ordable. Smart-

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

students received \ue000nancial aid in the last
academic year.
\u201cSGU\u2019s \ue000nancial aid professionals are
available to answer any questions and
show you how to make SGU\u2019s quality
educational experience a\ue002ordable. Call 1-
888-STGREGS or e-mail \ue000naid@stgrego-
rys.edu for more information.\u201d
St. Gregory\u2019s University
The Newman Guide
o\ue003cer, retiring with the rank of brigadier

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.

Public 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.

The university
mo\ue005o is Fides Lu-

men Praebeat or \u201cMay Faith Grant Light.\u201d The com- munity frequently

refers to eight Benedictine traits: hospitality,
community, reverence, a\ue005entiveness, service,
balance, integrity and excellence. Balance is
regarded as especially important; \ue000rmness in
identity and purpose is encouraged without
falling into extremism.

There is an opening Mass at the begin- ning of the academic year. One former student told us, \u201cA question arose whether non-Cath-

olic students must a\ue005end this Mass, and the

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

a\ue005end a Catholic university.\u201d

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-

creasingly strengthened,\u201d Abbo\ue005 Stasyszen
told the National Catholic Register in 2008.
\u201cOne way that we are doing this in the com-
ing year is signi\ue000cantly increasing our schol-
arship program which o\ue002ers support to stu-
dents simply for being Catholic.\u201d

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

that a\ue005racts tourists. Prayer services and
Masses are open to the public.

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

on the perimeter, \ue001ag-

stone walkways and a statue of Mary in the center.

We have found

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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