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About us

Our mission here at the Catholic Student Center is to inspire disciples who pray, serve, and belong! We have been dedicated to this mission for over 125 years (1897-present) and as a result we are the oldest UNI student organization on campus.

Professional Staff:
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Paul Lee
Julie Feldhake
Fr. Mark Murphy
Joe Shatek
Rita Smith

Office Manager

Mary Murphy
Peer Ministers:
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Jenna Becker

Service and Justice

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Mitchell Augustine

Community Life

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Maggie Nelson

Marketing & Outreach

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Grayson Rowlet

Liturgy/Spiritual Life

Focus missionaries:
Jake Freitas
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Hannah Freitas
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Abigail Jarrett
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Eric Macsay
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Teressa Macsay
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Allison Olsson
Leadership Councils:

Savannah Stalzer (Chair)
Morgan Herrig

Mike Hansel

Linda Jacoby
Lisa Geisler
Jim Cayton

Amanda Thilges (ex-officio)

Pastoral Council

Finance Council

Amanda Thilges (Chair)
John Hlas (Vice Chair)
Phil Simpson (Secretary)

Travis Hoerig
Lexi Gootee

Kathleen Niedert
Savannah Stalzer (ex-officio)

Our Story

Anna E. McGovern our founder is credited with organizing UNI’s first group of Catholic students. In the beginning students took part in weekly study groups and fellowship activities and still do to this day. When we started, we were called the Newman Catholic Association having been affiliated with the nationally recognized Catholic Student’s Association. From the 1940’s to 1966 we were known as the Newman Club although we were not officially a club. Then in 1966, the student center took on its current name St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center.

Early students did not have an on-campus student center. These students walked from campus in groups to Mass as St. Patrick's Parish in downtown Cedar Falls. In 1909, a car was chartered for students to go to church on Wednesday mornings at 5:40.

The student center gained a presence on campus when it took over a two-story house on the southeast corner of College and 23rd street in 1948. This chapel seated 150 people. There was a library separated from chapel by a folding door which held an additional 20 people. The groundbreaking and the laying of the cornerstone at the current location took place in 1990. The dedication and first Mass took place in 1991. The dedication began at the old location with a procession to the new location followed by Mass.

The current chapel holds 325 people. Our tabernacle is off to the side of the chapel for a few reasons. You can see onto the campus as you look at the tabernacle from in the chapel, to serve as a reminder that wherever you go, Christ goes with you.

Throughout the years, faculty, alumni, benefactors, parents, Knights of Columbus councils, local parishes in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area, the Archdiocese of Dubuque and many friends have contributed to the ongoing work of the Catholic Student Center in many selfless ways. To our founders and many benefactors, we offer our heartfelt thanks and prayers.

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