Saint Mary's NewsroomCampus Connection
An update from the president to alumni and parents
The new school year is well underway on our beautiful Winona Campus. Just a few weeks ago we welcomed both new and returning students. They are already immersed in the pursuit of academic excellence, service activities, and life on our vibrant residential campus. Our community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni continues to grow, and we are all strengthened by their presence and efforts. Here is a sampling of what happened over the summer and what our students are doing now.
— Father James P. Burns, IVD (Fall 2019)
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota rose to No. 33 in the Best Regional Universities of the Midwest category, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 ratings of best colleges and universities in the nation. The ranking positions Saint Mary’s in the top 20 percent of all schools listed in this category and denotes a substantial 34 percent increase from its 2019 ranking of No. 50. Additionally, Saint Mary’s was ranked 13th of 63 schools in the U.S. News category of Best Value Schools Regional Universities of the Midwest. Saint Mary’s ranks first among all Minnesota schools in this category.
For Patrick Laughlin ’20 and Crystal Chavez ’21, a meaningful highlight of attending the Lasallian Leadership Summer Program this past July in France was learning what it means to be Lasallian — and feeling empowered to make a difference. Inspired by Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers and the patron saint of educators, Laughlin and Chavez were motivated to truly change the world, just as he did over 300 years ago.
The event is sponsored annually by the International Association for Lasallian Universities. On the 300th anniversary year of De La Salle’s death, this year’s leadership program, held July 7-20, brought under 100 Lasallian students together to learn of this revolutionary teacher, the sacrifices he made, and his vision to educate the poor. Chavez and Laughlin literally walked in the footsteps of the educational pioneer. Read the full story.
Saint Mary’s University invites the public to a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest residence hall on the Winona Campus, Brother William Hall, on Friday, Oct. 4, beginning at noon. The $6.9 million residence hall has been entirely funded through philanthropic gifts. Two anonymous families chose to not only help Saint Mary’s create a vibrant living facility to attract new students, but also to honor Saint Mary’s 13th president, Brother William Mann, in recognition of his dedicated service and leadership between 2008-2018. The 112-bed, three-story building houses first-year students and some of the best views of Winona. The ceremony will be followed by refreshments and tours.
Saint Mary’s junior Isabel Bettag (second from left) won the Overall #IMPACT Award at the 2019 Summer X Games. This was Bettag’s second year participating in the X Games Student Work Program. She joined five other Saint Mary’s students in the experience Aug. 1-4 in Minneapolis. Bettag said her favorite part was interacting with the kids at the Marvel Ninja Course, where she was the lead worker. X Games Event Development #IMPACT Awards are overall awards based upon the workers’ performance levels throughout the week. An Overall #IMPACT Award, as well as Daily #IMPACT Awards, are conferred. This is the second year in a row a Saint Mary’s student won the Overall #IMPACT Award. Last year Heidi Ledermann ’19 received the honor.
Saint Mary’s Reunion Weekend brought more than 450 alumni and friends home June 20-23. And though some alumni hadn’t visited the Winona Campus for a few years — or even a few decades — conversations picked up right where they left off. In addition to it being a heartfelt reunion, Saint Mary’s also recognizes those individuals who best represent Saint Mary’s mission — alumni who, by example, live ethical lives of service and leadership — during this annual celebration. Read the full story.
Area businesses will connect with Saint Mary’s students at the sixth annual Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Career Fair Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Toner Student Center of Saint Mary’s. It’s a great opportunity for businesses and organizations to introduce themselves and explore internship, job, and continuing education opportunities with them. Saint Mary’s students gain the advanced knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities necessary to be lifelong learners, successful workers, good neighbors, and ethical citizens — in other words, ideal candidates for employment.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has announced the names of more than 100 U.S. educational institutions that are being recognized with 2019 Educational Fundraising Awards. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is one of 19 institutions which received “Sustained Excellence Awards” — awards which recognize institutions that have demonstrated consistent fundraising success over a five-year period. Institutions that have been recognized with an overall performance, overall improvement, or award for excellence in three out of the past five years also receive this award designation. Saint Mary’s has been recognized by CASE for the past four years. In 2016 and 2017, the university was recognized for “Overall Improvement.” In 2018, Saint Mary’s received both “Overall Performance” as well as “Sustained Excellence” honors.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Track & Field and Cross Country student-athletes compete for the love of it. Passion translates to dedication as students reach beyond their goals and develop into nationally competitive athletes. Watch the new video created to highlight Track & Field and Cross Country.
Photo caption: Father James P. Burns, IVD, president of Saint Mary’s, unveils the donor plaque for the Dr. Phil A. Cochran ’77 Auditorium with Phil’s widow, Michelle (Galles) Cochran ’79, M’05, C’07.
In recognition of a renowned scientist, beloved professor, gifted alumnus, and treasured friend, Saint Mary’s University dedicated the Dr. Phil A. Cochran ’77 Auditorium July 12 in its Science and Learning Center. The impact of Dr. Cochran’s sudden death in 2015 left a tremendous void at Saint Mary’s, particularly in its Biology Department where he had taught for 15 years.
Dr. Cochran inspired many students throughout his career and frequently involved them in his extensive field research. His talent and his reputation extended far beyond Saint Mary’s, as he published hundreds of articles on countless topics, presenting his findings throughout the United States and Canada. He also frequently invited renowned speakers to Saint Mary’s, which is why the lecture hall was chosen as the space to best carry his legacy forward to new generations of learners.
The dedication ceremony also recognized the many alumni, friends, and family who generously donated $500,000 for the naming opportunity — to ensure the Cochran legacy would live on at Saint Mary’s.
We greeted enthusiastic first-year and transfer students during Welcome Week and provided a special program of activities to help them connect to each other and the university; to engage with their new home and the broader community; to understand and prepare for the expectations of learning and living at college; and to know the resources available to help them succeed. These 344 students come from 22 states and six foreign countries. And now, we’re proud that they call Saint Mary’s home.
As many as 1,000 visitors have come to Saint Mary’s Winona Campus in celebration of Family Weekend. This year, families are welcomed Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29, with a full slate of activities — many of which are open to the Winona community, including music and theatre events, sporting events, and the Fall Frolic fun run/walk. Find a full schedule of events at smumn.edu/familyweekend.