Saint Mary's NewsroomCampus Connection
An update from the president to alumni and parents
Final exams are over, papers have been handed in, our students have returned home for rest and rejuvenation, and many of us will spend the joyous Christmas season with family and loved ones. In a season of giving and receiving, I offer you, as a gift, some of the wonderful moments and memories created by our students who have achieved so much. I hope from these stories you sense the positive impact they make on our campus life and in the larger community. I also want to share some of the exciting events that have happened at the university. Here are just a few snapshots from the semester.
— Father James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D. (Winter 2019)
Saint Mary’s University joined Lasallians across the globe in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of educators and founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. The Holy See declared 2019 a jubilee year in honor of De La Salle and his life’s work of making a quality and relevant education accessible to all students, especially the poor. The jubilee celebrates the impact of the mission De La Salle started, which is present in 80 countries around the world, with between 3,500 and 4,000 De La Salle Christian Brothers and 90,000 Lasallian Partners serving 1 million young people in 1,000 educational ministries. Saint Mary’s University — as one of 65 Lasallian higher education institutions — is one small portion of a global Lasallian network of dedicated educators. Watch this video highlighting the celebrations that took place.
Saint Mary’s has been awarded a $1,732,643 grant from the Kern Family Foundation for the university’s School of Education Character and Virtue Initiative. Using grant funding, Saint Mary’s will develop an enhanced curriculum for current and future educational leaders that places a strong emphasis on moral character, virtue, and ethics. The course content will be enhanced using the University of Birmingham’s (UK) Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue framework. It will be customized to align with the Lasallian Virtues of a Teacher and the Cardinal Virtues matrix already informing the university’s mission and practices.
Last spring, an anonymous benefactor pledged a $5 million matching grant to Saint Mary’s University to be used to renovate and expand the Adducci Science Center’s Hoffman and Brother Charles Halls. The gift is matching, dollar for dollar, all new contributions received since May 10, 2019.
“Our anonymous benefactor is a successful businessperson who supports business at Saint Mary’s and all the great work that’s being done,” said Audrey Kintzi, vice president for Advancement and Communication. “This benefactor understands the importance of providing today’s business students with a quality education that also addresses business ethics, focuses on working collaboratively, and provides real-world experiences.” To take advantage of this $5 million match, contact Kintzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-457-1486.
Photo caption: Draft artist renderings of the proposed Adducci Science Center renovations
An anonymous benefactor has recently pledged a three-to-five-year commitment, totaling $1.5 million, to be used in support of advancement initiatives. The benefactor designated the funding be used each year to assist with Saint Mary’s development efforts — to cultivate and engage top prospects and benefactors, build and train staffing, and ultimately increase alumni giving both by dollars raised and percent of alumni giving on an annual basis.
In November, five Saint Mary’s biology and biochemistry students presented their research projects at the Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium at Viterbo University. Ben Borash received top natural science honors for his oral presentation on “Modeling Human-Snake Conflict for Timber Rattlesnakes in Winona County.” Students presenting included, from left: Ben Borash, Zack Bracken, Natalie Ruesgegger, Jacob Kramer, and Madalyn Bollig (not pictured). Also attending the symposium were Drs. Debra Martin and Benjamin Pauli.
In October, 14 new members were inducted into the Gamma Epsilon Chapter of the Beta Beta Beta (BBB) Honor Society, which is the national honor society for students in biological fields. Students chosen have high academics and an interest in pursuing research. New BBB members include: Lexi Albert, Mariah Bell, Kayla Boettcher, Zachary Bracken, Monet Datari, McKenna Gaalswyk, Alyssa Haram, Samantha Henning, AnnMarie Jacobson, Daynalyn Jostock, Erin Lime, Graham Lorsung, Andrew Tepp, and Cole Van Houten.
Brian Tran has dreams of working on Wall Street. Before he could think about managing accounts at a large private investment firm, however, the first-year student knew where he wanted his time and attention to go two mornings out of the week: “Before you can invest in your future, you have to first invest in yourself,” he said. That belief helped drive him to enroll in a one-credit pilot course called “Career Explorations” on the Winona Campus, which ran for the first half of the fall semester. Taking place at 8:10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the class researched prospective career paths in a group setting. Students in the class took personality/strength assessments (through instruments such as Myers Briggs and StrengthsFinder), developed résumés and cover letters, worked on 30-second introductions, and conducted informational interviews. Read more.
A group of five students representing the Department of English and World Languages traveled to Dubuque, Iowa, to participate in the 12th annual Streamlines Undergraduate Literature and Writing Conference. Sponsored jointly by Clarke University and the University of Dubuque, the conference afforded students from universities and colleges in the Upper Midwest the opportunity to be inspired by each other’s submitted work in a variety of categories by taking part in readings, followed by panel discussions led by faculty moderators. Read more.
Photo caption: Senior Daniel Collette, senior Emilie Steingraeber, junior Maggie McGee, senior Emma Lay, and senior Ian Hebeisen
Junior education major Kristin Burke was awarded first place in the Lasallian Essay Contest, as part of Saint Mary’s #300 celebration — honoring Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the patron saint of educators, who died 300 years ago. Read Burke’s essay, “Empowered in Lasallian Tradition.”
Additionally, four Saint Mary’s and Immaculate Heart of Mary students, Isaiah Lippert, Timothy Welch, Riley Becher, and Nathan Budde, won the Lasallian talent contest, also part of the #300 celebration, with an original song about De La Salle’s inspirational life.
How do 20 students write a song together? Finding inspiration in the impact of modern protest songs is a good place to start. Students in Janet Heukeshoven, D.M.A.’s first-year anchor class, Music that Changed the World, composed, performed, and recorded a song titled “For the Life of Us” about the issues of discrimination and equality. The course spends much of the semester learning about music that had significant impact on the world, from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to the Hong Kong protesters’ song that has become the national anthem of their revolution in recent months. Read more and listen to the song.
It’s safe to say that the students in the First-Year Experience anchor course, taught by Jeanne Minnerath, Ph.D., will never look at a grocery store the same way again. After learning about the intricacies of the relationships between those foods and microorganisms in the classroom, the class went on to produce, process, and sell approximately 200 jars of raspberry jam, 100 jars of apple butter, 80 bottles of honey, and 60 jars of salsa — with all profits going to the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services later in the year. The $1,800 in profit will be added to the efforts of the fall 2018 class, for a combined total of approximately $3,000, Dr. Minnerath said. Read more.
Fifty years ago, full-time undergraduate women were welcomed into classrooms of the Winona Campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for the first time. Saint Mary’s decision to create a co-educational learning environment was the start of tremendous growth and change. Currently, at the undergraduate campus in Winona, women slightly outnumber men. A variety of events were held in October on the Winona Campus that highlighted successes, provided networking opportunities, and were fun for all attendees. Watch this video celebrating 50 years of women at Saint Mary’s.
Saint Mary’s celebrated the beatification of Blessed Brother James Miller, FSC, an alumnus of Saint Mary’s, who earned his undergraduate degree in 1966 and his graduate degree in 1974. A group of Saint Mary’s administration and De La Salle Christian Brothers traveled to Huehuetenango, Guatemala, for his official beatification ceremony. In Guatemala, Saint Mary’s presented two Signum Fidei Awards in honor of Brother James, who was only 37 when he was shot and killed in 1982, as he was mending a wall outside a school where he worked in Guatemala. Simultaneously, a celebration also took place on the Winona Campus. More information can be found at smumn.edu/brotherjames.
The Brother James Miller No Cell Phone Day, held Nov. 25, was a success with close to 300 students, faculty, and staff giving up their cell phones for the day — and raising exactly $1,000 for students in Guatemala. This was matched by another $1,000 gift from a Saint Mary’s trustee, a $1,000 match by the Office of the President, $1,000 match by Saint Mary’s Press, and another match of $1,000 by the Christian Brothers’ community, for a grand total of $5,000. The event was held in honor of Brother James Miller, who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Saint Mary’s in 1966 and 1974, who was only 37 when he was shot and killed as he was mending a wall outside a school where he worked in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, in 1982. Funds raised were donated to Casa Hermano Santiago Miller, the school where Brother James worked that now bears his name, to provide registration fees, tuition, and books for several students who otherwise would have limited opportunities to attend school. The idea for the project started with Brother Pat Conway, FSC ’75, M’80, Ed.D., assistant professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Education, and was supported by the Student Senate and several athletics teams.
The inaugural class of the 3+2 Physician Assistant Program began its studies this past fall. Working in collaboration with Mayo School of Health Sciences, the five-year accelerated program allows undergraduates to have an immersive educational experience at several state-of-the-art facilities. “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity, not only for Saint Mary’s to continue to meet our mission, but it also provides us an opportunity to really interface directly with healthcare providers and healthcare provider educators,” said Todd Reinhart, Sc.D., dean of the School of Sciences and Health Professions at Saint Mary’s University. Read more.