Saint Mary's Newsroom

Campus Connection

An update from the president to alumni and parents

Looking back and moving forward

This summer is a unique one as we said farewell to Saint Mary’s 13th President Brother William Mann on May 31 and are welcoming our next President Rev. James P. Burns on July 9. Summer at the Winona Campus is filled with different activities and energy as we host a variety of camps and workshops, community events, and our alumni reunion weekend. This is also a time to freshen up the campus and facilities before we welcome students back in the fall. Still, I reflect on the spring semester and am reminded why we’re really here: to prepare graduates who have the knowledge, skills, and critical-thinking abilities necessary to be lifelong learners, successful workers, good neighbors, and ethical citizens. Enjoy this newsletter with updates about our university and details of how are students are making the most of their college careers.

— Ann Merchlewitz, interim president (summer 2018)

Welcoming our new president

Welcoming our new president

The Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D., dean of the Woods College of Advancing Studies and Summer Session at Boston College, has been named the 14th president of Saint Mary’s University. Mary Ann Remick, chair of the university’s board of trustees, announced the board’s selection on May 1, adding that Father Burns will officially begin his presidency Monday, July 9. Remick also appointed a Presidential Transition Team to assist Father Burns as he familiarizes himself with the needs, goals, culture, and charism of Saint Mary’s. To welcome Father Burns, a number of welcome sessions are scheduled, including events open to the community at each of our three locations. Receptions will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. with brief remarks from Father Burns at 4 p.m. Please RSVP at least one week in advance of the welcome event you will attend at mysmumn.org/WELCOME2018.

  • Winona Community Reception
    July 11
    Science and Learning Center Lobby, Winona Campus
    700 Terrace Heights, Winona
  • Rochester Community Reception
    July 27
    Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center
    2900 19th Street NW, Rochester
  • Twin Cities Community Reception
    Aug. 7
    Saint Mary’s University Center Trustee Lounge
    2500 Park Avenue, Minneapolis

As we anticipate the arrival of Father Burns, you’re invited to welcome him with prayer and add your own personal note.

Celebration of Scholarship highlights student achievement

Celebration of Scholarship highlights student achievement

The sixth annual Celebration of Scholarship on April 27 highlighted and celebrated the diverse talents and skills of Saint Mary’s students across a broad spectrum of academic performance disciplines. More than 150 students participated in the all-day event centered around graduating students and the excellent work they’ve done here at Saint Mary’s. Family and friends of participating students were on campus for the presentations, exhibits, performances, and displays. For more information, a list of presentations, and to view photos from the day, visit smumn.edu/studentscholars.

Expanding in Rochester

Expanding in Rochester

Saint Mary’s University became a more notable community partner in Rochester, Minn., May 24 at a ribbon cutting dedication for a new 10,000-square-foot addition to the university’s Cascade Meadow facility. Starting in July, the addition will house the university’s extensive Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs in Rochester. And, through a special collaboration with the Mayo Clinic’s School of Health Sciences, the facility will house the graduate portion of a proposed 3+2 physician assistant program, which Saint Mary’s anticipates beginning in fall 2019. In honor of benefactors and Cascade Meadow founders Jack and Mary Ann (Wera) Remick CST’64, the addition will be called Remick Hall.

Photo caption: Cutting ribbon were, from left: Laura Smith, associate, DLR Group; Scott Walker, associate vice president of partnerships in Rochester and executive director of Cascade Meadow; Mary Ann (Wera) Remick CST’64, chair, Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees; Jack Remick, founder of Cascade Meadow; Brother William Mann, president, Saint Mary’s University; Dr. Mike Huckabee, director, Physician Assistant Studies Program, Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences; Dan Melbostad, general manager, McGough Construction.

Author tells student leaders ‘Dare to try!’

Author tells student leaders ‘Dare to try!’

More than 35 Saint Mary’s undergraduate student leaders learned how to engage and innovate from international best-selling author and global consultant Dr. Jackie Frieberg at the 2018 Hendrickson Forum on April 24. The students met Dr. Freiberg, recognized as one of the Top 30 Minds on Leadership by Leadership Excellence Magazine, on the Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus in Minneapolis. Dr. Freiberg delivered a lunchtime keynote address to approximately 280 people, including area business leaders and community members. After the keynote, the Winona Campus students spent an hour with Dr. Freiberg. Majoring in various subjects including business, the students shared a common interest in innovation and leadership. During their time together, Dr. Freiberg imparted the college students with 10 leadership“isms” for life:  

  1. Keep great company (and be good company) … People want to be and work with someone who dreams big, gets stuff done, and knows how to have fun.
  2. Build bridges … What you know and who you know is important.
  3. Learn like crazy … Life is a journey. Don’t fake it. Be a lifelong learner.
  4. Show up … Get to know people and their backstories.
  5. Dream big … Dreams choose people; people don’t choose dreams. Capture your dreams, write them down, visualize them every day.
  6. Dare to try … Don’t make excuses. Rise above your fear.
  7. Choose carefully … Be a gentleman (or a lady), not a jerk. Be classy, not catty. Temporary pleasures lead to permanent reminders.
  8. Find a cause … Work to have an impact on society in a positive way.
  9. Play hard … You’ll work harder if you’re happier.
  10. Work hard … Don’t count on someone else to do it for you.

Read the full story, watch a video, and see more photos.

First generation students achieve dream of college graduation

First generation students achieve dream of college graduation

From the moment they first stepped onto the Winona Campus as eighth-grade Countdown to College students, they have been encouraged to build the future of their dreams. As they walked across the commencement stage, they were prepared to make those dreams come true. On May 12, eight students from the very first Countdown to College class graduated. Countdown to College is a component of the First Generation Initiative, which was established in 2010 to help ensure academic success for high-need, high-potential, first-generation students from middle school through college graduation. In Countdown to College, promising inner city students who are often the first in their families to go to college are chosen to attend four summers of college preparation programming at Saint Mary’s. Participants meet for two weeks each summer for four years. Students who successfully complete the Countdown to College program are eligible for the First Generation Initiative Scholars program, where they receive a full scholarship to attend Saint Mary’s.

Photo caption: The First Generation Initiative Scholars Class of 2018 (who were in the inaugural Countdown to College Class of 2013) include, from left: back, Alexis Cummins, Javier Madrid, Cuauhtemoc Zarate; front, Marisol Martinez, Caren Cazares, Maria Antonieta Morales-Lozano, Nathalie Urbina, and Diana Servin.

Breaking ground on a new baseball clubhouse

Breaking ground on a new baseball clubhouse

Saint Mary’s broke ground May 1 on a new $704,000 baseball clubhouse. The project was made possible through the generosity of a lead gift from Marc Weisenburger ’75, and more than 50 other young alumni have stepped up to bat to join Weisenburger in this dream by sponsoring lockers at $2,000 or more. The 2,500-square-foot facility, which will be referred to as Pudge’s Place in recognition of Weisenburger’s nickname during his playing days, will include:

  • a locker room with 46 locker stalls
  • a players’ lounge with spaces for athletes to study, have team meetings, and enjoy quiet time
  • big screen TVs, a ping pong table and gaming area
  • a coaches’ space
  • bathrooms and a shower facility
  • a laundry facility and storage

Photo caption: Breaking ground were, from left, Willy Dickenson, vice president, Schwab LLC Construction Services; Joe Seegers ’18, Cardinal baseball team; Nikki Fennern, athletic director; Nick Winecke ’07, assistant athletic director, head baseball coach; Marc Weisenburger ’75, lead benefactor on this project; Brother William Mann, president, Saint Mary’s University; Jake Mencacci ’18, Cardinal baseball team; and Owen Warneke, lead architect, OWA Architects.

PR/B Club visits Hormel

PR/B Club visits Hormel

The Saint Mary’s Public Relations/Business Club interacted with a panel of business professionals at Hormel in Austin, Minn., on April 6. They discussed mergers/acquisitions, investor relations, and certifications. Club members, seen above with Saint Mary’s alumnus and Hormel Financial Analyst David Dahlstrom, also toured the Hormel plant and the SPAM Museum. The club’s faculty adviser is Department of Communication Chair Dean Beckman.

Track athlete is All-American in triple jump

Track athlete is All-American in triple jump

Saint Mary’s junior Becca Dup of Albert Lea, Minn., earned her first All-American honor at the NCAA Division III national championships in May. After 17th- and ninth-place finishes in the triple jump in her first two NCAA Division III national championships, Dup uncorked a leap of 11.79 meters to place sixth overall and earn the All-American title. Read more about her success and journey.

Students advocate for diversity and inclusion

Students advocate for diversity and inclusion

The YES! (Youth Equity Solutions) Leadership Team conducted professional development training for Student Success Center staff on March 15, which gave them the opportunity to share their expertise and leadership on important issues surrounding diversity and inclusion with staff. Created by the Missing Voices leadership group, the YES! Leadership Team is comprised of 10 Saint Mary’s students (six First Generation Initiative students and four other students of color), as well as some high school students. These students are leaders in the movement to improve classrooms through the use of advocacy, art, and narrative. They help plan two large-scale events that happen each year, the Youth Action Retreat and the Missing Voices: Equity in Education Summit. These individuals are empowered to add their unique voice to the equity conversation in order to take action and make change in the community.

Photo caption: Some of the participants from the YES! Leadership Team professional development training included, from left: Esther Peralez, dean of Student Success, and students Monikaben Patel, Enitan Onayiga, Tiarra Thompson, Aldontae Guess, and Ruba Kenyi.

Weekend retreat focuses on servant leadership

Weekend retreat focuses on servant leadership

Fifty students participated in a retreat in April that focused on learning and reflecting on the foundation and development of servant leadership. The retreat was led by Daniel Pearson, assistant men’s basketball coach for Canada’s University of Calgary Dinos, 2018 national champions. Pearson has traveled extensively to learn about servant leadership through interactions with Jean Vanier, Canadian Catholic philosopher, theologian, humanitarian, and founder of the L’Arche community; and the Sisters of Charity, the religious community of Mother Teresa. The Saint Peter and Teresa Leadership Clubs (SPTLC) at Saint Mary’s collaborated with Campus Ministry to present the retreat. Outgoing SPTLC officers Jacob Mencacci and Mari Morales-Lozano were student leaders in the experience which served as an intentional student leadership opportunity. Campus Ministry leaders, Athletic Advisory Council members, and SPTLC members were all present at the retreat, made possible by a grant from the M & M Flynn Charitable Gifting Fund of the Catholic Community Foundation.

New Cooperative Education Program launches

New Cooperative Education Program launches

Saint Mary’s is launching a new Cooperative Education Program that will incorporate significant, sustained professional career experiences into an undergraduate degree. The program will complement classroom experiences with placement in a work setting and, in turn, help advance partnering organizations. Students in the program will work full-time or nearly full-time for a semester, giving them practical learning opportunities. They’ll remain housed on campus, take flexible supporting classwork, and participate in campus activities. Our Winona Campus is located near a nationally and internationally renowned manufacturing, health care, and arts hub. Several local businesses are interested in partnering with Saint Mary’s, including Fastenal. Fastenal is specifically seeking business and communications students, who will be fully immersed in the company’s operations and culture by rotating through multiple departments, all before college graduation. By immersing students in organizations while they’re still in college, there is a good chance they’ll have an opportunity to matriculate into full-time employees post graduation, bringing passion, energy, and vibrancy to the Winona community.

Photo caption: Andrew Scott, assistant professor of Business, speaks to students during a class. Scott has been an instrumental leader in getting the Cooperative Education Program started, along with Dr. Tom Marpe, dean of Business and Technology.

$72 million reasons to celebrate

$72 million reasons to celebrate

The 2018 Celebration of Excellence was held May 19 on Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus. Student showcased some of their research before the evening dinner and program began. Among many reasons to celebrate, Brother William Mann was honored with a heartfelt tribute for his decade of inspiring leadership as president. In his honor, the Brother William Mann, FSC First Generation Endowed Scholarship was announced by Mary Ann Remick, chair of the Board of Trustees. With more than $500,000 already raised, this endowment helps ensure that Brother William’s inaugural vision of making Saint Mary’s accessible and affordable to all — regardless of their background or financial status — will continue to reach deserving young students. Terry Russell, chair of the “Discover Inspire Lead” capital campaign, also announced that the campaign surpassed its $57 million goal and reached an astounding $72 million, a historic moment for Saint Mary’s. Many academic and facility accomplishments were also celebrated.