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17864Unique college readies for inaugural graduating class

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    May 8, 2013
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      Unique college readies for inaugural graduating class

      Lillian Cox May 7th, 2013

      Two years ago, Dr. Frank J. Papatheofanis made a major career move by
      retiring from his teaching position at UCSD Medical School to fulfill a
      personal goal: to launch St. Katherine College, an undergraduate college
      of liberal arts and sciences that integrates Orthodox Christian principles.

      It’s the first educational institution of its kind in the nation.

      “It’s an idea I’ve incubated for three decades,” he said. “I’m the
      founder, as well as the president, and also the person who is cutting
      all the checks.”

      Degree programs include art, biological sciences, chemistry and
      biochemistry, economics, English language and literature, history,
      interdisciplinary studies, management science, music, philosophy, public
      health and policy studies and theology.

      Each course of study comes with a heavy emphasis on writing.

      “We require our students to take a writing seminar each semester of
      enrollment from their freshman year to the first semester of their
      senior year that is taught by a professor of English with an extensive
      background in writing and teaching,” Papatheofanis said.

      “The second semester of their senior year students are required to write
      a thesis that is an original work. For example, an English major might
      produce a portfolio of 25 poems or a chemistry major might conduct a new
      experiment and publish an article about it.”

      In the fall new master’s degree programs will be offered in management
      and leadership of nonprofits, and public health and policy studies.

      Instruction began in February 2011, with the college preparing for its
      first graduating class this spring. Both students have already been
      accepted to graduate school.

      “We started out with 12 students and now we have 40,” Papatheofanis
      said. “We have 150 applications for the fall so we are on a pretty steep
      growth trajectory.”

      Not only that. The baseball team has already earned a reputation locally
      by winning 20 games, and losing six, with players being heavily
      recruited by baseball farm teams, he added. Basketball, women’s
      volleyball and softball and men’s and women’s soccer teams are in

      Students from outside of the area are provided private housing in two
      bedroom, two bath townhomes. All students receive a membership in the
      Magdalene Ecke YMCA.

      The college will hold its second annual President’s Gala, “One World,
      One Night!” May 18 in the Paddock area at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. All
      proceeds will go toward scholarships.

      Channel 10 News co-anchor Kaushal Patel will serve as the master of
      ceremonies. California State Sen. Mark Wyland will be the keynote speaker.

      “I am honored to keynote St. Katherine College’s inaugural graduation
      and am confident St. Katherine’s graduates will live up to the school’s
      vision to increase knowledge that benefits our society, both culturally
      and economically,” he said.

      The gala will begin with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m., and a silent
      auction at 6 p.m., followed by dinner featuring international cuisine.

      The Peter Pupping Band will perform Latin jazz, Nuevo flamenco,
      contemporary acoustics and jazz standards. The St. Katherine Chorale,
      which sang the National Anthem at a Padres game last summer, will
      perform. Cost is $125 per ticket.

      Papatheofanis explained that the roots of the Orthodox Christian church
      can be traced to the Great Schism of 1054 which resulted in the Eastern
      (Greek) and Western (Latin) branch which later became commonly known as
      the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively.

      “We are unique in that all of our bishops and the clergy can trace
      ordination to the apostles,” he said.

      Students at St. Katherine College today run the gamut from
      nondenominational protestant to evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics.

      “We started small but have garnered a lot of interest because the
      education is top flight, teachers have doctorate degrees from top
      colleges, classes are small and we are trying to keep the tuition
      affordable,” Papatheofanis said.

      “We would like to have as much of the community join us as at our gala
      as possible.”

      For sponsorship opportunities or other information about the gala visit
      stkathgala.com. St. Katherine College is located at 681 Encinitas Blvd.,
      Room 201 in Encinitas.

      For more information, visit stkath.org or call (760) 943-1107.
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