For almost 30 years Kathy Fell has been a mainstay at the University of St. Thomas. When Fell started at what was then the College of St. Thomas, there was no Minneapolis campus, the south campus was the St. Paul Seminary, and the college was just starting to admit women. As a support staff member of the Science Department, Fell was one of only two such women in Albertus Magnus Hall (now John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts). In 1988 she moved to the Theology Department. Eight years later, as the new Center for Catholic Studies was created, Fell moved once again to become the first support staff member for the center.
For the past 10 years Fell has been the hub of the center’s everyday operations. Besides dealing with all the day-to-day activities and the occasional crises, she managed the details and smoothed the way for the many Catholic Studies students who studied in Rome. With her comprehensive knowledge and ability to handle any situation with a cool head (including dealing with the Italian Consulate), Fell has made a real difference in the lives of many faculty, staff and students.
Fell has been married to her husband, Duane, for 42 years, and their daughters, Vicky and Mo (Maureen), attended St. Thomas. In retirement Fell plans to continue some of her favorite activities such as gardening, browsing at weekly garage sales and reading mysteries, but she also will be busy with her three grandchildren who live in town, and visiting Vicky’s family in Florida, which includes three more grandchildren.
As she looks back on her years at St. Thomas, some favorite memories stand out for Fell. “Picking up live rats and frogs from the post office and carrying them across campus” for the Science Department was memorable, and for many years she would regularly meet with other staff members for lunch in The Grill. But without a doubt, her best memories are working with the students.
At several of her retirement celebrations, many people expressed their gratitude for all that Fell has done in her time at St. Thomas. Here are a few statements from students:
“You always had a smile to give, and your deep commitment to students and their needs and questions made me feel welcomed, cared about and believed in.”
“Kathy has changed the world by being who she is. She is real and genuine and because of this, makes everyone else around her real.”
“Kathy is always a friendly face that is so joyful to see every time I walk into the Catholic Studies building. She is compas- sionate and knows how to help in every situation or question asked. What a blessing, and she will be missed!”
She will be missed, indeed. Happy retirement, Kathy!