Saint Mary's Newsroom

Campus Connection

An update from the president to alumni and parents

Spring brings new energy and activity

The hope of spring and longer days bring a freshness and energy to campus. The remaining weeks of the school year are filled with activities and events as we head toward commencement in May on our Winona Campus. Looking back on the winter months, our students have excelled in many ways and made a positive impact on campus and in the broader community. Let me tell you about just a few of the interesting things happening at our university.

— Father James P. Burns, IVD (Spring 2019)

Five honored during annual Founders’ Day celebration

Five honored during annual Founders’ Day celebration

In celebration of its heritage, Saint Mary’s University presented awards to the leader of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, as well as one faculty member, one staff member, and two outstanding seniors at its annual Founders’ Day celebration March 12 on the Winona Campus. Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, Superior General of the De La Salle Christian Brothers received an honorary doctorate of educational leadership. Saint Mary’s also recognized the dedication and outstanding service of two faculty and staff members who have advanced our mission consistently over time with the Brother Charles H. Severin, FSC, Award (Dr. Tricia Klosky) and the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award (Alisa Macksey).

Each year, Saint Mary’s recognizes outstanding undergraduate male and female seniors who have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership, and service. The Outstanding Male and Female Senior awards were presented to Max Champa, son of Bill and Marykaye Champa of Bloomington, Minn., and Bailey O’Hare, daughter of Tim and Brenda O’Hare of Rushford, Minn. Congratulations to these students and the other finalists: Aldontae Guess, Tatiana Jones, Marissa Kinzer, Zechariah Kitzhaber, Erin McCoy, Bailey Melz, Laura Sonday, and Nathan Young.

Photo caption: Max Champa and Bailey O’Hare were named this year’s Outstanding Male and Female Seniors.

Annual benefit raises $22,500 for Winona boy battling leukemia

Annual benefit raises $22,500 for Winona boy battling leukemia

Saint Mary’s University has surpassed its goal of raising $20,000 for this year’s Taylor Richmond Benefit recipient Joseph Row of Winona. Joseph is the 11-year-old son of Darren Row who teaches at Saint Mary’s University. Darren and his wife, Jill (Arens) Row, are also alumni of Saint Mary’s. Joseph was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2018 and faces a three-year course of treatments. Proceeds from the dance and a silent auction are assisting the Row family with medical expenses and travel costs. The benefit has become an annual student tradition since its start in 2001 in honor of Taylor Richmond, son of Saint Mary’s staff member Nikki Richmond. Each year this event benefits someone in need who has ties to the university community.

Photo caption: Joseph Row, this year’s Taylor Richmond Benefit recipient at Saint Mary’s, was able to attend to enjoy Super Joseph’s World.

Concert Band performs commissioned piece

Concert Band performs commissioned piece

The Saint Mary’s University Concert Band presented the world-premiere performance of the composition “Nigun Prophecy” at their spring concert March 10. “Nigun Prophecy” was written by award-winning American composer David Avshalomov as part of the Kaplan Commission Project at Saint Mary’s. The Helen and Sam Kaplan Foundation gave Saint Mary’s a significant financial gift 20 years ago for the purpose of building a Jewish-Christian dialogue and providing means for students to directly interact with Jewish religion and culture. Commissioned work is typically based on Jewish melodic material, either folk or religious sources. The concert also featured works from different musical traditions, including French, Irish, Italian, Russian, and American, which fit the theme of Music In Our Schools Month of All Music All People. Check out a video of their performance.

New Cardinal Virtue series highlights the seven Christian virtues

New Cardinal Virtue series highlights the seven Christian virtues

The public is invited to Saint Mary’s Cardinal Virtue presentations, scheduled throughout the 2018-19 academic year. These speakers and topics were chosen to create thought-provoking dialogue as Saint Mary’s cultivates in its learners virtues that will guide them throughout their educational journeys and as they enter the world as leaders in their professions and communities.

Dr. Eleonore Stump, Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, will discuss Temperance and “Gifts/Fruits of the Holy Spirit” Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. on the Winona Campus. Visit smumn.edu/cardinalvirtuepresentations to get more information and see previous presentations.

Photo caption: Catherine Pakaluk, Ph.D., of The Catholic University of America, visited our Minneapolis Campus to speak on “Justice, Dynamism, and Social Order” in December 2018.

Author and Political Commentator Cokie Roberts to give keynote address at 2019 Hendrickson Forum

Author and Political Commentator Cokie Roberts to give keynote address at 2019 Hendrickson Forum

Saint Mary’s 2019 Hendrickson Forum will feature Cokie Roberts, a New York Times bestselling author and renowned journalist and political commentator for ABC News and NPR. The Tuesday, April 16, event, “Weaving the Social Safety Net at Home and Around the World,” is presented by Saint Mary’s Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership. In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, Roberts has won many awards, including three Emmys. Inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, she was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. Roberts graduated from Wellesley College in 1963, where she earned a degree in political science and now holds more than 25 honorary degrees. She serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions, including the National Archives Foundation, Mayo Clinic, and Save the Children. In 2008, the Library of Congress named Roberts a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor.

The Hendrickson Forum will be held on the Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus this year and is open to the public. More information and online registration is available at smumn.edu/HendricksonForum.

Students write blog posts on plant taxonomy

Students write blog posts on plant taxonomy

Environmental biology students Angela Soto ’19 and Erin Hettinger ’20 recently wrote blog posts for their plant taxonomy course. Check out their work about glacial relics, goat prairies, trees, and more.

Photo caption: Forest consisting of mainly coniferous trees. Photo Taken at Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, Minn., 2018.

Connecting in faith at World Youth Day

Connecting in faith at World Youth Day

Fifteen Saint Mary’s students, staff, and alumni joined a crowd of more than 500,000 gathered in Panama City this past January for World Youth Day — an extraordinary emotional and faith-filled experience. Open to all young people, World Youth Day is an opportunity to experience the universality of the church and share in the hope of many who want to commit themselves to Jesus Christ. The week-long event is a unique way to deepen one’s faith through prayer and sacraments together with others from around the world who share the same interests and ambitions. This worldwide gathering is typically celebrated every three years in a different country. Each day was packed with festival programming and events, including encounters with Pope Francis. Read the full story, which includes thoughts from sophomore Brianna Jacobson and junior Kamila Kuchta.

Photo caption: The Saint Mary’s group poses in front of a statue of Saint John Baptist de La Salle at Colegio De La Salle, the Lasallian High School in Panama City.

Students present research at the Capitol

Students present research at the Capitol

Two students representing Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota shared their undergraduate research posters at the 2019 Minnesota Private College Scholars at the Capitol on Jan. 23. Austin Kleman ’19, psychology major, presented “Alcohol Consequences and Aristotelian Subjective Well-Being.” Mark Leonard ’19 (above), biology major, presented “Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) Scavenging: A Possible Alternate Dietary Substrate.”

Photo caption: Mark Leonard ’19 

Jazz Combo 1 and Chamber Singers go on international tour

Jazz Combo 1 and Chamber Singers go on international tour

Saint Mary’s Jazz Combo 1 students brought the music of pioneering American jazz pianist, composer, and poet Horace Silver to audiences in Germany and Belgium during their recent spring 2019 tour. Concerts took place in Cologne, Germany, and various locations throughout Belgium. The tour culminated with a performance at Brussel’s premier jazz club, The Music Village. Local audiences welcomed the musicians back at their homecoming performance on March 5 in the Saint Mary’s Performance Center.

The 26-voice Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, toured in parallel with Jazz Combo 1, and performed in Wesseling, Germany (combined concert with Jazz Combo 1), Ternat, Belgium (jointly with the choir of the Sint-Jozefsinstituut, a Lasallian school), and Brussels Cathedral. The Chamber Singers also performed for Mass at the Sint-Gertrudiskerk in Ternat. Repertoire included the world premiere of “Father, Forgive” by A. Eric Heukeshoven, who directed Jazz Combo 1 on the tour, with Dr. Janet Heukeshoven on flute. The Chamber Singers performed their homecoming concert on March 7 at the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels in Winona.

Both groups have upcoming performances — the Chamber Singers and Concert Choir on April 27 and Jazz at Saint Mary’s on April 28.

X Games student program proves extremely beneficial

X Games student program proves extremely beneficial

After working on national social media platforms, Saint Mary’s sophomore Alec Rudh knows to keep his statements short and to-the-point. So, in describing what it was like working at the 2019 Winter X Games in Aspen Jan. 22-28, he is concise: “best experience of my life, hands down.” Rudh was one of 17 Saint Mary’s business students who were part of the 2019 Winter X Games Student Work Program. Based on skills and personal strengths, students were placed into different departments throughout the event and received a variety of valuable skills that will transfer to future careers — and had access to the fast-paced action. The annual action sports event features snowbiking, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and skiing events, as well as live concerts with big-name musicians. Read the full story, which also highlights two other Saint Mary’s students, Heidi Ledermann ’19 and Blair Sanders ’20, who received #IMPACT awards.

Saint Mary’s dedicates new baseball clubhouse

Saint Mary’s dedicates new baseball clubhouse

As the Cardinal men’s baseball team entered their new clubhouse for the first time, selfies were taken; high-fives were given; and exclamations of excitement filled the air. A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in January, as Saint Mary’s unveiled its new $704,000 baseball clubhouse to the team for the first time. The 2,500-square-foot facility was made possible by a generous lead gift from alumnus Marc Weisenburger ’75. The players walked around their new locker room and players’ lounge with big-screen TVs and couches — as well as the coaches’ space, bathrooms/shower facilities, and laundry and storage areas — all impressively branded with Cardinal Pride. Weisenburger, of Plymouth, Minn., made the lead gift in honor of his experiences at Saint Mary’s, both in school and on the field — particularly under the guidance of Hall of Fame Coach Max Molock. The clubhouse will be named “Pudge’s Place” after Weisenburger’s nickname from his playing days as a catcher with the Saint Mary’s baseball team from 1971 to 1975. A public open house for the clubhouse will be held the afternoon of April 27, and more details will be announced soon.

Photo caption: The lead benefactor of Saint Mary’s University’s new baseball clubhouse Marc Weisenburger ’75 (center) poses with head coach Nick Winecke (right) and current baseball player John Heim, a senior at Saint Mary’s. 

Student-led campaign promotes community through handwritten letters

Student-led campaign promotes community through handwritten letters

A student group ran a month-long letter writing campaign to promote positive vibes on campus. Now in its second year, Spread the Love was created with the idea of building community and expressing gratitude and appreciation for others on campus. The campaign works this way: people on campus submit names to the Spread the Love team, who then creates and sends personalized letters, accompanied with a Spread the Love button. The Spread the Love mission: Everyone has value, and we are on a mission to share it! Spread the Love promotes friendship and unity by sending personal messages to the Saint Mary’s community.

Breaking the cycle of injustice and inequality

Breaking the cycle of injustice and inequality

Portia Mensah ’19 spent a semester working alongside teens in an urban school in the Twin Cities and literally walked in the footsteps of a homeless person. Tyler Aliperto ’19 worked for a political organization which focuses on pending elections and educating others about the candidates’ stances on gender, economic justice, and social justice. Mensah and Aliperto are two of a growing number of young people with a desire to leave the world a better place — a desire to make a difference. Their recent internships, both completed with the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) Study-USA program, fueled this passion. HECUA’s Study-USA program structure includes seminar-style discussions mixed with field visits and guest speakers. By participants’ second week, they are placed at internship sites where they begin working 20 hours per week. Each Study-USA program offers a different theme and experience. Both Saint Mary’s seniors chose “Inequality in America,” through which students examined the growing gap between rich and poor in the United States as well as gained concrete change-making skills through internships and discussions with effective activists. Read the full story.

Excelling in Business [video]

Excelling in Business [video]

Students in the Saint Mary’s University Business Department have endless opportunities to tackle real-world scenarios. Skills are built in and out of the classroom as students work alongside peers who share their passion to solve problems of the future. Saint Mary’s professors help students reach their goals as they prepare to find a job they love after graduation. Watch the new video created to highlight the Business Department.

Discover, Inspire, Lead campaign exceeds goal with record $73 million

Discover, Inspire, Lead campaign exceeds goal with record $73 million

Saint Mary’s University recently completed the school’s most ambitious capital campaign in history. The Discover, Inspire, Lead Campaign, which concluded Dec. 31, 2018, raised a record $73 million for Saint Mary’s — far exceeding its $57 million goal. The university’s most recent capital campaign raised $30 million more than a decade ago. At the center of the campaign was the Science and Learning Center, a $19.7-million-dollar state-of-the-art facility completed in 2017. Another major highlight includes the growth in the First Generation Initiative (FGI) endowment, which supports First Generation Scholars at Saint Mary’s, which started with less than $500,000 and now is close to $5 million. Altogether, the campaign supported many initiatives, including athletics, scholarships, business programs, the facilities and programs at the Twin Cities Campus, Lasallian formation, and the Saint Mary’s Fund. These are in addition to the aforementioned key strategic campaign priorities. Read the full story.

Father James P. Burns

The Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D.
President
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

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Email: chahn@smumn.edu

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