The Mission of the University of Saint Katherine is: To provide a balanced education in the liberal arts and sciences, founded and rooted in the life of the Orthodox Christian Tradition – Inquiry Seeking Wisdom.

Saint Katherine is a nationally-recognized university of arts and sciences that focuses its integrated, interdisciplinary teaching in the core areas of Composition, English Language and Literature, American Government and History, Economics, Business, and the Sciences as part of an innovative approach to general education. Students may complete degree (BA/BS) programs in eleven concentrations, pre-professional studies (health sciences and graduate studies), and PK-12 teacher credentialing preparation. Outstanding teaching and research – with relevance to the practical world and Christian witness as guiding principles – is our primary aim.

The University of Saint Katherine emphasizes interdisciplinary collaborations, laboratories, field experience, international study and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries. We realize these aims in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society. Instruction at the University of Saint Katherine reflects on and emphasizes awareness and understanding of cultures worldwide.

University of Saint Katherine is not-for-profit, WSCUC-accredited, independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. The University of Saint Katherine admits students of all religious and faith backgrounds. All classes are taught by experienced faculty who have earned terminal degrees and possess substantial experience in their academic field.

Key Facts







San Marcos,








237 (FTE)

Student Enrollment


Global Studies



Religious Affiliation



Middle New SAT Range


Christ-Centered Life

The University is an independent institution of higher education formed in the Orthodox Christian tradition. There are approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide committed to the undivided Christian faith as revealed in Holy Scripture, the Nicene Creed, and the historic texts and Ecumenical Councils of the Christian Tradition. The University has received the blessings and encouragement of the western Orthodox Christian hierarchs who act as advisors. The President serves on the Theological Education Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. The University is named for the 4th century martyr Saint Katherine of Alexandria.

The Office of Faith and Service, in conjunction with the Student Success and Services Coordinator, supervise a rich program in spiritual formation at the University. Two chapel services are celebrated each week with the entire community.  There is an active chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus. Students are encouraged to attend regular services at a church of their choice and participate in the life of local church communities.


The University Seal represents the basic elements upon which the University stands. It is in the form of a circle with a Cross to represent that we are an inclusive Christian community. The Book represents the Gospel from which all of our beliefs are derived. The crown is for the Kingdom of God which exists here on earth and into eternity and for which we strive. The “chi-rho” symbol is that of ancient Christianity, often found in early churches, and representative of the ancient Orthodox Christian faith. The wheel with spikes represents the life and martyrdom of Saint Katherine and the idea that we are all witnesses (martyrs) of Christianity.


Dear Lord, Jesus Christ, we thank you for all that you provide.
Please bless the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Saint Katherine today.
Please give us all strength, patience, and the love we need to honor You, one another, and the mission of this Holy University.
We pray for this in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For Christ is our life. Amen.


The University is constructing a new campus in San Marcos. The campus will include classrooms, conference rooms, and laboratories to complement existing facilities. Construction of new facilities is a multi-year process involving extensive planning and coordination with the City of San Marcos. The architectural renderings shown here convey the first phase of planned campus construction.

 The construction of a campus also requires extensive capital investment. If you are interested in helping the University develop our campus, please contact us for more information.


“The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) today announced that San Diego-based University of Saint Katherine has earned an “A” rating in the nationwide What Will They Learn?™ (WWTL) survey. It is clear that the faculty and leadership of University of Saint Katherine came together and determined the skills and knowledge that all its graduates must have in common, whatever their majors might be. This is a sign of true academic excellence and commitment to student success,” said ACTA’s President, Dr. Michael Poliakoff.    American Council of Trustees and Alumni

“There are very few colleges and universities that earn an “A” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for having a solid curriculum and I was delighted to learn that a new college recently was added to ACTA’s list: University of Saint Katherine. This tiny school located near San Diego is an educationally serious place with a religious orientation.”    The National Review

“Saint Katherine thus joins historic universities such as John Erskine’s Columbia and Robert Hutchins’s University of Chicago that embraced a structured, coherent, transformative curriculum in which what comes before serves as ground for what comes after with the aim of graduating students who have absorbed a truly liberal education.”    The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

2015 Business of the Year Finalist   San Marcos Chamber of Commerce

2016 Mid-Sized Business of the Year   California Legislature Assembly


Frank J. Papatheofanis, MD, MPH, MLitt (Div), PhD

President and Founder - fpapath@usk.edu

David Huwiler, PhD.

Chief Academic Officer - dhuwiler@usk.edu

Ryan West

Chief Financial Officer - rwest@usk.edu

Marina Karavokiris, M.A.

Dean of Admissions and Registrar - mkaravokiris@usk.edu

Christos Korgan, PhD

Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness - ckorgan@usk.edu

Board of Trustees: Arturo Alemany, Daniel Braun (Chair), Penny Brunner, Dr. Thomas Buchanan, John Dempsey, Angelo Georggin Esq., Despina Georggin Esq., Steven Kreta, Dr. Frank Papatheofanis, Saba Saba, Concetta Smarius, Carol Vassiliadis, James Waters Esq.

Hierarchical Advisors: +Metropolitan Joseph, +Archbishop Benjamin, +Metropolitan Gerasimos, +Bishop Maxim, + Bishop Irenei

Clergy Advisors/Chaplains: Fr. Jon Braun (Emeritus), Fr. Bratislav Krsic, Fr. John Reimann

President's Welcome

Welcome to the University of Saint Katherine website!

As one of the youngest universities committed to the arts and sciences in the nation, our history has yet to be written and our legacy is yet to be defined. Fortunately, we stand on giants’ shoulders through a historic Orthodox Christian lineage in higher education that dates back to the 5th century. This lineage continues the tradition of analytical thought and academic discipline that holistically transforms the individual through scholarship, research and service to others. Accordingly, as you explore our website, you’ll come to understand that Inquiry Seeking Wisdom has been the unifying aim of transformative education for centuries.

Students today have a wide choice of colleges and universities. Do we need another institution? We think we do, and embarked on the inauguration of this new institution with cautious optimism. We distinguish ourselves from other colleges and universities in our commitment to the education of each individual student as evidenced by our faculty and staff dedication, an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum, and student-centered support services.

There are no cookie-cutter rubrics for degree completion here. Students are engaged in every aspect of learning and scholarship alongside their professors. The faculty in turn is available and engaged with students and other faculty and academics, and students benefit from this collegial culture. Every student completes a four-year integrated, interdisciplinary sequence in core subjects as well as studies in their degree-specific discipline; they do not pick general education classes from qualifying lists.

This integrated, interdisciplinary core sequence intentionally enhances and solidifies students’ understanding of the world around them and is a distinctive feature of the University of Saint Katherine. Appropriately, all of our students also study science and mathematics, the languages of contemporary civilization, before embarking on studies in their major area of concentration. Foreign language proficiency is also a requirement. Additionally, all University of Saint Katherine students study theology and learn what it means to be an active Christian witness in a complex and intricately connected world.

University of Saint Katherine is ideal for students seeking a rigorous education underpinned by Christian identity and the sense of adventure that only comes with creating and building something new. While our website provides an extensive overview of the University and its programs, please know that it is unable to convey adequately the character and commitment of our students, faculty and staff. So please browse our website and contact us with your questions – we look forward to hearing from you and learning about you.

     Frank J. Papatheofanis, MD, MPH, MLitt(Div), PhD

     President and Founder


Frank J. Papatheofanis, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist and educator with over 30 years of leadership experience in academic medicine and science. His research career began in the Department of Neurology at the University of Chicago. He subsequently directed the Biomaterials and Bioengineering Laboratory in the Department of Orthopaedics and served as Assistant Research Professor at the University of Illinois where he earned a doctorate in biochemistry and a medical degree; he then completed postgraduate residency training and served as chief resident in the Department of Radiology at Loyola University Medical Center. He also completed advanced training in health policy and economics and earned the Master in Public Health (MPH) degree at Johns Hopkins. Papatheofanis subsequently completed graduate studies (MLitt Divinity) in theology at the University of St Andrews (Scotland). He founded and directed the Advanced Medical Technology Assessment and Policy Program at UCSD where he also directed the Science, Technology and Public Affairs Program, was attending physician in radiology, and served on the faculty for over 15 years.

Dr. Papatheofanis serves as editor, editorial board member, and peer reviewer for many leading professional publications. He is the author or co-author of over 200 scientific and medical peer-reviewed publications, chapters, and books; he is emeritus editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Risk Management and Health Policy. His research currently focuses on interdisciplinary learning and Christian higher education. He serves on the Theological Education Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. He also serves on the boards of Viking Scientific, Inc., the LaJolla Bioengineering Institute, and the Boy Scout Eagle Board of Review.

Dr. Papatheofanis and his wife Dr. Julie Papatheofanis have three children and reside in San Diego. Dr. Julie Papatheofanis is a practicing physician, serves on the Board of FOCUS NA, and Chairs the Board of Trustees of Project Mexico and St Innocent Orphanage. They founded the Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies at Wheaton College (IL).