wwwUST -- St. Thomas internet homeSearchA to ZMyUST -- Personalized web portals for UST students
Faculty Handbook

] [History] [Org Plan] [Benefits] [Faculty Development] [Operating Policies] [Rank & Tenure]


I. History, Mission, General Operation and Governance

A. History of the University
B. Mission/Convictions
C. Assessment of Programs
D. Accreditation/Memberships
E. Organization Charts

A.  History of the University 

The University of St. Thomas was founded in 1885 by Archbishop John Ireland, less than a year after he was installed as St. Paul’s third bishop. What began as the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, with 62 students and a faculty of five - has grown to be Minnesota’s largest  independent university with three campuses and over 10,000 students.

Built near a river bluff on farmland that was still considered “far removed from town” in the late 1800s, the university’s main campus is nestled today in a residential area midway between the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis. 

In its first decade, St. Thomas was a high school, college and seminary; students enrolled in either the classical or theological departments.  In 1894 the theological department moved to an adjacent campus where it became The Saint Paul Seminary.  The classical department, meanwhile, remained on the original campus and became the College of St. Thomas.

The classical department gradually grew to a four-year college curriculum.  The first baccalaureate degrees were conferred in 1910 and St. Thomas was officially accredited in 1916.  The classical department’s first four years became the St. Thomas Military Academy, a high school that moved to a suburban campus in 1965. 

After 92 years of all-male enrollment, St. Thomas became coeducational in 1977.  Today, 50 percent of the undergraduates and more than 40 percent of the graduate students are women.

Coeducation, coupled with new graduate programs as well as new campuses, contributed to St. Thomas’ growth over the past two decades.  Enrollment increased from under 2,500 students in 1970 to over 10,000 today.  The undergraduate College currently enrolls approximately 4,500 students.

Adult students at the undergraduate level were served through New College which opened in 1975.  The Evening Program (formerly School of Continuing Studies), established in 1998, continues to serve adult, part-time, and non-traditional students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with degrees and programs.

Graduate programs in Education, Human Development and Professional Psychology were first established in 1950, and now offer degrees at the masters, specialist, and doctoral levels.  The School of Education and the School of Social Work were both established in 1996. 

Graduate programs in Management, begun in 1974, have developed into the Graduate School of Business, which offers a wide range of business-related masters degrees.

The Graduate School of Applied Sciences and Engineering offers master degrees in software engineering and in manufacturing engineering.

St. Thomas’ original “classical” and “theological” departments came together once again in 1987 through an affiliation between the seminary and the university.  Together they created The School of Divinity which offers graduate degrees in pastoral studies, divinity and theology.

In 1990, recognizing the many changes and the addition of graduate programs to the institution, the  College of St. Thomas was changed to the University of St. Thomas.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, begun in 1991, offers master-level programs in art history, English, and music education.

A determination was made that in order to more fully integrate the business education programs, the undergraduate departments and graduate programs in business would be combined into a College of Business.  This occurred on July 1, 2001.  The College of Arts and Sciences was also created at that time, which combined most of the undergraduate departments and the graduate programs in Arts and Sciences into one unit.

The trustees approved the reopening of a School of Law.  It opened for its first class in August, 2002.

In recognition of the continued growth of the programs and size of the engineering programs, the graduate and undergraduate engineering departments were merged into a School of Engineering on July 1, 2004.

Many non-degree programs are offered by St. Thomas through a number of specialized centers devoted to management and business, senior citizens, life-care, creative studies, Jewish Christian dialogue, and music.

St. Thomas also is home to the undergraduate St. John Vianney Seminary.


B.  Mission/Convictions


The University of St. Thomas is a comprehensive, co-educational, Catholic University. It seeks to develop morally responsible individuals who combine career competency with cultural awareness and intellectual curiosity. In its undergraduate program, the University is committed to the development of the student through a liberal arts education within the living Catholic tradition and through a high degree of personal attention in a spiritually and intellectually stimulating campus environment. Graduate programs emphasize the integration of theory with practice, enhance the professional competence and ethical judgment of their students, and foster personal growth and an appreciation of lifelong learning. In all of its academic programs and other educational enterprises, the University is committed to meeting the diverse, changing needs of the community. Throughout, the University fosters in the student a tradition of service to the public welfare and an energetic, thoughtful approach to the challenges of contemporary life.


1.  The University of St. Thomas is a Catholic, diocesan University, founded on belief in   God and commitment to a life of worship leading to active participation in the mission of  Christ and the Church to the world. In that context and as an important part of its religious witness, the University welcomes and respects faculty, staff and students who do not share this faith tradition. The Catholic tradition fosters a value-oriented education  needed for complete human development and for responsible citizenship in contemporary society.

2.  The university’s educational program provides a liberal arts education as well as education for a career. It strives to give a student a foundation for clear thinking and expression; a sufficient understanding to read intelligently in fields with which an educated person ought to be acquainted; and proficiency in an area of specialization.

3.   The university’s curriculum emphasizes a search for and discovery of truth and judgments of value as well as preserving and transmitting enduring truths and values.

4.   The university seeks to create an international perspective among its students including an appreciation of cultural diversity.

5.   The university strives to anticipate and respond appropriately to changes in its environment.

6.   The university emphasizes excellence in teaching. It also is committed to scholarship  and encouraging service to the University and broader community throughout its faculty.

7.   The university welcomes diversity among its students with respect to age, intellectual  talents, financial resources, and credal, racial and geographic characteristics.

8.    The university fosters the total development of the student through close interaction with faculty, staff and other students within a supportive campus environment.

9.   The university’s metropolitan setting challenges it to participate in community life and to develop innovative programs for persons of all ages within the community.

10.   The university, through its educational programs, student services, and other resources, assists its students in the transition to further education and employment.

11.  The university cultivates lifelong personal contact and communication with its friends and former students.

12.  The university embraces its role in independent liberal arts education because diversity is essential to the health of our educational system, to our national life, and to our  responsibilities in the world community.


C.  Assessment of Programs

The program to assess student learning is an integral part of the university’s commitment to excellent teaching and effective learning.  The assessment effort is sustained by the faculty and is fully supported by the administration.  Information is systematically collected and examined both to document and improve student leaning.  The assessment program itself is routinely updated, and the information gained from the assessment process becomes part of the curricular development.

As a result, students, alumni, and employees, are asked from time to time to participate in testing, surveys, interviews, or other methods of collecting data for the assessment of the academic program.


D.  Accreditation/Memberships

The University of St. Thomas is accredited by the North Central  Association of Colleges and Schools (800.621-7400), the Association of Theological Schools (412.788-6505), the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (202.466-7496).

All University of St. Thomas education licensure programs are approved by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning (651.296-2046).

Programs in chemistry are approved by the American Chemical Society (800.227-5558); the Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (703.683-8080); the master programs in engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (410.347-7700); the music programs are approved by the National Association of Schools of Music (703.437-0770).

The university is a member of the:  

  •  American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

  • American Council on Education

  • Association of American Colleges and Universities 

  • Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

  • Council on Undergraduate Research

  • Institute of International Education

  • International Federation of Catholic Universities

  • Minnesota Private College Council

  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

  • National Catholic Educational Association

The university is an associate member of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business.


E.  Organization Charts

The university's organization charts are stored as PDF files.  PDF files require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software for viewing. If you do not already have this software installed on your machine, please download it now.



Comments, questions, or feedback can be directed to acadaffairs@stthomas.edu
© 2000 University of St. Thomas, Minnesota USA
Handbook last revised July 2001