Theology Department

Theology strives to understand and interpret the Christian faith and religious experience, addressing the big “meaning of life” questions (What is God? Who am I? What is the good? Why is there evil?) through examining revelation in concert with logic, language, and symbols.

It is an academic discipline always in dialogue with other disciplines and the human experience, because Lasallian Catholic Christianity holds that faith and reason, properly understood, work in harmony toward a greater understanding of God.

Integrated General Education

Undergraduate students interact with the Theology Department through the integrated general education program. All students are required to complete two courses: Thinking Theologically, as part of the First Year Experience program, and one other course of their own choosing (students in the Lasallian Honors Program are required to complete Thinking Theologically and another course embedded in the Honors program). Students may complete their second Theology course as part of the general education interdisciplinary minor. These classes touch on such areas as different interpretations of the Bible, distinctive elements of the Roman Catholic tradition, what it means to be human, the historical development of doctrine, moral and ethical behavior, and exploring controversial questions. Students also gain an awareness and appreciation for how religion interconnects with life in contemporary society.

Theology at Saint Mary's

As an institution grounded in the Lasallian Catholic heritage, Saint Mary’s is focused on instilling in students a world vision rooted in the Lasallian Catholic intellectual tradition. The Theology Department at Saint Mary's assists in this process of discovery by helping students understand and appreciate this heritage and the Lasallian Catholic faith, empowering them to ethical lives of service.

Programs Offered

In addition to basic studies, the department offers both a theology major and minor. Additionally, there is an option for students to study Theology with a Pastoral and Youth Ministry concentration. A major may prepare students for teaching high school theology, youth ministry, directing religious education, working with faith based social justice organizations, graduate study, and more. A minor complements any major in the liberal arts and also helps further enrich the person’s relationship with God.

Goals for Our Students

Courses offered in the theology department assist all students in attaining:

  • Knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of it as a primary source of God’s revelation
  • Recognition of the distinctive elements of the Roman Catholic tradition, and an understanding of the relationship between faiths, beliefs, moral and ethical behavior, and religious practice
  • Foundational comprehension and acquisition of skills, attitudes, and intellectual capacities involved in the engagement of faith and life
  • An appreciative understanding of the relationship between theological study and its critical engagement with contemporary society both locally and globally


Susan Cosby Ronnenberg, Ph.D.

Dean of the College

Saint Mary's Hall, SM133B

Campus Box: # 20

(507) 457-6900

Robert Horihan, Ph.L.

Visiting Assistant Professor

Campus Box: # 43

Robert Horihan Ph.L.
Joyce Bautch, Ph.D.

Theology - Associate Professor

Saint Mary's Hall, SM223A

Campus Box: #1469

(507) 457-1424

Joyce Bautch Ph.D.
David Kwon, Ph.D.

Theology - Assistant Professor

Saint Mary's Hall, SM223B

Campus Box: #1450

(507) 457-1995

David Kwon Ph.D.
Bishop John Quinn, M.A.

Theology - Adjunct Faculty

Bishop John Quinn M.A.
Kenneth Stenstrup, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor - Theology

Saint Mary's Hall, SM223D

Campus Box: #1440

(507) 457-6625

Laura Ziliak, M.A.

Theology - Adjunct Lecturer

Campus Box: #1425