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August 3, 2001


LA CROSSE, Wis—Viterbo University will seek accreditation for a new graduate program that will lead to a Master of Arts in Servant Leadership. The first 3-credit course, "Spiritual Development across the Life Span," will be offered beginning this fall.

Classes will be held one weekend approximately every month beginning  September 21.and a special scholarship fund has been created for eligible applicants. Portfolio and transfer credit will also be available for adults who bring their experience and previous training to the classroom.

According the Tom Thibodeau, chair of Viterbo's religious studies/philosophy department, the new 32-credit graduate program will be one of the first of its kind in the nation. "The program has tremendous flexibility and will appeal to working professionals who seek to integrate  their faith with their work, so that they can simultaneously lead and serve their organizations and colleagues."

Although details of the program have just been announced, Thibodeau has already
fielded more than a dozen queries from individuals who heard informally of the program.

University officials say that candidates for this master's degree will likely come from a number of sources including the Franciscan Spirituality Center, regional retreat centers, the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, and the laity involved in programs offered by the  Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

Nationally known teacher and author Carl Koch, Ph.D.,will be at Viterbo to teach "Spiritual Development across the Life Span" and several other course in the master's degree sequence. Koch served as a senior editor at St. Mary's Press (Winona) for 15 years and is also recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Saint Mary's University School of Graduate Studies. He is currently on staff at the Franciscan Spiritual Center.

"This will really be a wonderful opportunity for a number of people," Koch said. "Many of the candidates who will find this program attractive will not have undergraduate degree in theology . Instead, this masters in Servant Leadership is really a practitioners degree. It will empower people with the skills to lead so that regardless of vocation, they are ministering to others."

Viterbo currently offers two other graduate programs: A Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Science in Nursing.

Individuals interested in enrolling in Koch's course or seeking more details about the proposed new master's degree can contact  Peg Beirne at Viterbo University at 796-3080. The cost of the program is $180 per credit before scholarship assistance is applied.

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