SBM.18a01a Sister Remberta Westkaemper, president 1958-1961
FIRST 5O YEARS OF THE COLLEGE OF SAINT BENEDICT (CSB)
A great move forward for the college occurred in 1958 when Mother Richarda decided that the college should have a president other than the prioress."(Up to that time, the prioress, as president of the corporation of the Sisters of St. Benedict had that official title." She appointed Sister Remberta Westkaemper as the first non-prioress president who was assisted by Sister Johanna Becker as dean. Sister Remberta protested this appointment saying, "But I am four years past the age of retirement." However, with a youthful and essentially progressive vigor, Sister Remberta accomplished a great deal. Under her and Sister Johanna's direction:
- a committee was set up to plan the building of the Benedicta Arts Center
- a Tri-college Program (CSB, SJU, St.. Cloud State University) worked out a plan for challenging the better students and a concomitant development of faculty members."(It was the only cooperative plan in the country in which a state college and church-related colleges worked together.)
- faculty travel was promoted - 4 around the globe and 5 throughout Europe. (Sisters Remberta, Westkaemper, Jeremy Hall, Enid Smith, Cathan Culhane, Jacquelyn Dubay, Johanna Becker, Mary Grell and Dr. Davidson.)
- college facilities given a Sister-Formation Summer-Program (BIST) which provided theological studies for sisters in Canada, Mexico and USA (29 motherhouses; 100 students) with MA granted by SJU after five summers (The success of this program is due to Sister Mary Anhony Wagner's leadership, and it gave birth to the Graduate School of Theology at St. John's University.)
- promotion of membership in AAUW (American Association of University Women), a leading voice since 1881 in promoting equity for all women and girls, lifelong education, and positive societal changes
- promotion of Educational Television courses (ETV) with other liberal arts colleges in the state - several sisters presented TV courses for credit (Sisters Inez Hilger, Mary Grell, Joanne Muggli, Colman O'Connell, and Johanna Becker) and many extra programs were presented by the music department.
- inauguration of "Parents' Day" at CSB.
Vivarium; Saint Benedict's Monastery - St. Joseph, MN