Michael Hemesath to be inaugurated as 13th president of Saint John’s University

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October 5, 2012

SJU President Michael Hemesath

Live Video of Inauguration Mass and Ceremony

The inauguration for Michael Hemesath as the 13th president of Saint John's University will occur during a campus ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 20, in Collegeville.

The inaugural festivities will begin with a lecture titled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing Catholic Higher Education Today" by the Rev. James Heft, S.M., at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater on the SJU campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. Heft is a leading scholar in the Catholic intellectual tradition and is president of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Saturday will begin with a bike ride, fun run and walk at 8:30 a.m. All three events start in the Warner Palaestra parking lot, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Hemesath will lead the bike ride and College of Saint Benedict President MaryAnn Baenninger will lead the walk. The first 250 people to register online will receive a free t-shirt at the event.

Visitors on Saturday morning can also visit the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, home of The Saint John's Bible; the Saint John's Pottery Studio; Saint John's Abbey and University Church; and the Saint John's Bookstore.

The day will continue with Mass, celebrated by St. Cloud Bishop John Kinney, at 11 a.m. in the Saint John's Abbey and University Church.

The inauguration ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. in the Saint John's Abbey and University Church, with prelude music starting at 1:30 p.m. It is the formal beginning of the new presidency and a celebration of the intellectual mission of the university.

Hemesath became the 13th president of SJU on July 1, 2012. A 1981 SJU graduate, Hemesath is the first layperson appointed to a full presidential term at SJU.

Hemesath graduated summa cum laude with a degree in economics and received his master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard University. After graduate school, he was on the faculty for two years at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., and worked as a consultant for Health Economics Research in Needham, Mass. He returned to the Midwest and was an economics professor at Carleton College from 1989-2012 and served as faculty president from 2009-12.

In addition to teaching micro and macroeconomics, Hemesath taught courses on international economics, the economics of multinational enterprises, the British Industrial Revolution, Soviet and post-Soviet economics and health economics. He also taught in the master's degree program at Kiev-Mohyla Academy in the Ukraine. He has done research in health economics, student attitudes toward markets and education in transition economies. Hemesath was a Mondale Policy Fellow at the Hubert Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota during the 1993-94 academic year and was president of the Minnesota Economics Association in 1995-96.

Hemesath is deeply committed to off-campus studies programs, and has directed three Associated Colleges of the Midwest programs in Krasnodar, Russia. He was faculty director for Carleton's Economics Seminar at Cambridge University six times, most recently in the summer of 2012, and served as the director of the "Ethical Inquiry at Carleton" (EthIC) program.

Hemesath has a deep and abiding commitment to Catholic higher education. He is passionate about SJU's ability to transform young men's lives through its commitment to the liberal arts and its embodiment of Benedictine values.

Hemesath is married to Elizabeth Galbraith, who teaches in the religion department at St. Olaf College.  They have a son, Cameron.

Additional information on the inauguration can be found at www.csbsju.edu/sjuinauguration