Recent News from Campuses
Gustavus Adolphus College has been recognized by MONEY Magazine for excellence in four separate categories in its 2016-17 Best College Rankings. The College ranks in the top 30 on the magazine’s lists of Most Affordable Private Colleges, Best Colleges for Merit Aid, Best Colleges that Add the Most Value, and Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into. Gustavus is also listed as 74th overall out of 705 institutions on MONEY’s Best Colleges list.
Gustavus ranks 28th on the list of the 50 Most Affordable Private Colleges, which comprises high-quality private schools that score best for affordability. Through financial aid packages or tuition prices, the total cost of a four-year education at colleges on the list is below the average for private colleges. Each of the colleges on the list also ranks in the top half of MONEY’s overall rankings.
On MONEY’s list of the 50 Best Colleges for Merit Aid, Gustavus comes in at 29th. The list highlights colleges that have merit aid budgets, average at least $6,000 in grant aid per year, and award merit aid to at least 20 percent of undergraduate students. The College’s 29th place ranking is the best in Minnesota on the merit aid list.
Gustavus ranks 28th on the magazine’s list of the 50 Best Colleges That Add the Most Value. MONEY uses what they refer to as “a comparative-value grade” to assess how each college helps students achieve better-than-expected outcomes based on their academic and economic background. The rankings take into account graduation rates, earnings, and student loan repayment data. Gustavus also ranks first in Minnesota on the added value list.
For MONEY’s list of the 50 Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into, the magazine compiled colleges with rigorous academics that admit at least 51 percent of their applicants. Gustavus, whose incoming class generally averages a 3.7 high school grade point average and 27 composite score on the ACT, ranks 22nd.
Overall, the College is 74th out of the 705 colleges and universities on MONEY’s Best Colleges list. The methodology includes rankings based on quality of education, affordability, and outcomes, with each of the areas counting for one-third of the total score.
“MONEY Magazine’s rankings focus on how outstanding colleges provide affordability and a strong return on investment,” Dean of Financial Aid Doug Minter ’79 said. “We’re proud to support students from all walks of life as they seek a challenging and rewarding educational experience on the hill.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
The cover of the most recent issue of the Journal of Chemical Education features a paper written by St. Olaf College Associate Professor of Biology John Giannini and continuing education student Chris Stewart.
The piece, titled “Inexpensive, Open Source Epifluorescence Microscopes,” explains how to modify or build microscopes for viewing fluorescent cells or other samples by using 3D printing technology or parts available at most hardware stores.
Although similar commercial microscopes typically cost thousands of dollars, a school or research lab could make the models that Stewart and Giannini describe for only a few hundred dollars.
As a result, their article has the potential to greatly expand the use of fluorescence microscopy — and the valuable insights that it can provide — in the classroom and teaching or research lab.
Ultimately, Giannini and Stewart hope that their article will be especially useful in places that have historically lacked the funds for more advanced scientific equipment, such as schools in inner cities, rural areas, or developing nations.
Stewart and Giannini have designed other low-cost scientific instruments and equipment for educational purposes as well, and they are currently working on a series of papers and a website to disseminate these ideas more widely.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In celebration of the success, achievements and advancement of women leaders, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) announced Friday its 2016 Administrator of the Year Award recipients—including Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s Nikki Fennern.
The Administrator of the Year Award is presented each year and honors NACWAA members for significant contributions made in athletic administration. In addition, NACWAA will also present the Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year Award, which honors an administrator who exemplifies the personal qualities and professional accomplishments of Dr. Nell Jackson—courage, conviction and perseverance.
Nominated by their peers and selected by the NACWAA Awards Committee for their service during 2015-16, the 2016 honorees are:
- NCAA Division I FBS: Sarah Baumgartner, Deputy Athletic Director, Rutgers University
- NCAA Division I FCS: Diane Metcalf, Director of Athletics Development, University of New Hampshire
- NCAA Division I: Karina Herold, Associate Director of Athletics-External Relations/SWA, Pepperdine University
- NCAA Division II: Tonia Walker, Director of Athletics, Winston-Salem State University
- NCAA Division III: Nikki Fennern, Athletic Director/SWA, Saint Mary’s University
- NAIA/NJCAA: Krishna Dass, Director of Athletics, Hostos Community College
- Association/Organization: Julie Muller, Commissioner, North Atlantic Conference
- Nell Jackson: Shirelle Jackson, Director of Student-Athlete Development, University of Miami
“Each year, NACWAA is thrilled to celebrate and honor such extraordinary women who live out our mission each and every day,” said Patti Phillips, NACWAA CEO. “We are continually inspired and energized by their commitment and dedication to intercollegiate athletics and the advancement of women both in our industry and beyond.”
The eight honorees will be honored Oct. 11 in Kansas City, Mo., at the 2016 Administrator of the Year Luncheon, in conjunction with the annual NACWAA National Rally.
“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award from such a great organization like NACWAA,” said Fennern, who had four teams play in the conference post-season tournaments last season, including two—women’s basketball and baseball—that reached the MIAC Playoff title game. “I am blessed to be surrounded by a university administration which supports the athletic experience; great coaches and athletic staff members who work so hard day-in and day-out to advance the department; and, most importantly, student-athletes who strive for their best every day in the classroom, on the field of competition, and in the community.
“I am thankful to all of my mentors and co-workers who make an award like this possible.”
Fennern is an active NACWAA member who embodies the mission of advancing women in collegiate athletics. As the director of athletics at Saint Mary’s, Fennern is committed to the education of students both in the classroom and on their respective playing surfaces. Under her guidance, Saint Mary’s athletics enjoyed one of the best years in recent history last school year. On top of encouraging athletic success, Fennern also leads, mentors, and provides vision for her staff, while being a positive role model for student-athletes and up-and-coming young administrators.
“Nikki has many gifts and talents, as well as an incredible drive and desire to champion for the experience of Cardinal student-athletes,” said Chris Kendall, Saint Mary’s associate vice president of Campus Services. “She is a tremendous asset to Saint Mary’s University coaches, faculty and staff, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but mostly, to every student-athlete who puts on a Cardinal uniform.
“Nikki is truly a great source for Cardinal Pride.”
St. Olaf College students Jasmin Aramburu ‘18, Emily Hynes ‘18, Marnicia Johnson ‘18 and Zoua Lor ‘18 have been awarded Graduate School Exploration Fellowships.
The four are part of the first cohort of students selected for the two-year fellowship, which will provide students with a robust set of mentoring, career development, and experiential research opportunities beginning in the fall of their junior year.
The goal of the Fellows Program is to encourage students from backgrounds underrepresented in the professoriate to pursue graduate degrees and careers in academics, particularly as faculty members at liberal arts colleges.
The Fellows Program is a collaboration of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) and the research universities in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, which is a consortium of the members of the Big Ten Conference, plus the University of Chicago.
The ACM and Big Ten Academic Alliance received an $8.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the new program.
Each fellow will participate in a paid research internship next summer at a major research university. They will each be provided with a St. Olaf faculty mentor during their junior and senior years, and they will attend two development conferences alongside other fellows, graduate students, and faculty.
The Fellows Program is part of a wider seven-year initiative by the ACM that seeks to break down the barriers to faculty diversity, especially at liberal arts colleges. The Fellows Program grant will support five undergraduate cohorts totaling 280 GSEF fellows, with up to 20 students drawn from each ACM college.
Champion of Education, Community Developer
Hometown: Kensee Hollow, Ky.
Major: M.A. in Philanthropy
William “Will” Jones grew up poor in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. Now the vice president for external relations at LaGrange College in Georgia, Jones says that education changes lives and he’s living proof. His parents, both eighth-grade dropouts who struggled harder than most to provide for their family, instilled in William as a young boy that he would go to college. After receiving his degree in political science, he began a community development program in his hometown called “Food for Thought.” Through the program, homegrown vegetables are given to seniors in exchange for sharing their histories. The project drew attention from national publications. He also worked to construct homeless shelters, homes for families that needed housing, and a home for homeless teens in the Appalachian region before he began working with “Call to Renewal” in Washington, D.C. “Call to Renewal” is a national faith-based movement to overcome poverty and racism. As the managing director and national coordinator, Jones oversaw 24,000 individual members, 2,000 local partner organizations, and more than a dozen national partners. Jones then returned to his alma mater, Berea College, and headed the Berea Fund, a $4 million fund for unrestricted financial aid, a cause that is dear to Jones’ heart. For Jones, education not only changed his life, it gave him a life.
Ben Preusser, a double major in physics and math, is—no surprise—interested in numbers, and he has always been a fervent fan of facts.
“(All students) should all major in physics and math; there are no other majors,” he says with a laugh.
It could be this positive attitude, coupled with his love for learning that helped Preusser acquire a spot in the NASA Student Airborne Research Program, an eight-week summer immersion program in California.
The Saint Mary’s University senior from Belle Plaine, Minn., heard about the internship through Dr. Paul Nienaber, SJ, the Physics Department chair, who regularly sends out internship information and encourages students to apply.
Preusser said only one in eight students who applied were chosen for the unique experience.
The Student Airborne Research Program provides students with hands-on research experience in all aspects of a major scientific campaign, from detailed planning on how to achieve mission objectives to formal presentation of results and conclusions to peers and even NASA officials.
“They expose students to the whole range of collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting data,” Preusser said, explaining that the 32 students are broken down into smaller multi-disciplinary teams that study surface, atmospheric, and oceanographic processes. Preusser’s group is looking at land imagery.
The students traveled to Palmdale, Calif., and during the first two weeks, they took measurements at field sites and flew onboard the NASA DC-8, a flying laboratory, from which they sampled, collected, and measured gases at different altitudes.
Preusser said his group was fortunate to have more instrumentation on the plane than in previous years; he and other participants were exposed to as many as 20 different instruments.
Preusser’s group went up in the DC-8 during a day when smoke from a California wildfire affected their results. As a result, studying atmosphere corrections for smoke became his research project. “They have algorithms for correcting on clear air, but on one of our days, a wildfire spewed a lot of smoke on flight path. I’m looking at where in the light spectrum smoke is affecting our data and running different atmospheric corrections software to see if I find a setting that makes it look the best. It just so happened that because of our time constraint, we were presented with a unique data set to analyze how smoke is affecting our results and if it’s possible to correct that.”
For the next six weeks, teams are working at the University of California, Irvine where they are analyzing the data. Each student will then complete an individual research project from the data collected. The experience concludes with individual presentations.
Although Preusser said it’s unlikely any highly major discoveries will result from this summer’s research, the experience is invaluable.
“The program has broadened my horizons and exposed me to things I didn’t have access to,” he said. “It’s an eye opener. We have an opportunity to listen to a few NASA officials and scientists. I feel I know more about how NASA works now.”
Preusser said he felt his classes at Saint Mary’s prepared him well for the experience. “All the physics makes sense,” he said. “And the math is pretty complex but when I put in the time, it make sense. It’s hard to be completely prepared for the work that we’re doing, but I’ve learned a lot, and I don’t think the learning is done yet.”
Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Robyn Wangberg, Preusser’s academic adviser, wrote to recommend him for this position, and noted that she looks forward to Preusser’s presentation on his project fall semester at Saint Mary’s.
After completing his studies at Saint Mary’s next year, Preusser admits he isn’t sure which direction he is headed, but he is definitely interested in getting his Ph.D. He’s excited to have the internationally known and respected name of NASA on his résumé.
And, if NASA unexpectedly offered him a job, Preusser said he definitely wouldn’t decline it.
Photo caption: Senior Ben Preusser, left, takes measurement at the Sedgwick Reserve during the NASA Student Airborne Research Program. Photo courtesy of Dr. Dar Roberts, University of California, Santa Barbara.
WINONA, Minn.—Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is continually recognized for its quality education and affordable programs, both in person and online. Most recently Forbes and three other rankings favorably rated Saint Mary’s educational offerings.
Forbes’ annual “America’s Top Colleges” list ranks Saint Mary’s in the top 100 among colleges in the Midwest and in the top 400 in the nation. Only 19 Minnesota colleges are included in the national ranking, which is based on academic excellence and student satisfaction. Published this month, the full list can be viewed at forbes.com/top-colleges.
Money recently recognized Saint Mary’s as a valuable university in terms of educational quality, affordability, and alumni success. Saint Mary’s is listed in the top 400 of this nationwide list. Published this month, the full list can be viewed at time.com/money/best-colleges.
Additionally, OnlineU and Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration included Saint Mary’s online business and healthcare programs in their nationwide lists based on academic strength and affordability. OnlineU examines online programs around the country and compiles several annual lists to help students find a degree that is affordable, accessible, and high quality. In addition to academics and affordability, Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration also considered accreditation, variety of programs offered, and peer assessment when building their list.
Saint Mary’s was ranked in the top 15 for best value online project management and accounting programs by CollegeU and in the top 15 for best online M.A. in Health Administration program by Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Saint Mary’s offers one bachelor’s completion and 10 master’s degree programs online. Learn more at smumn.edu/online.
Students at Gustavus Adolphus College often use the three-month summer break to get hands-on experience through internships, research, or study-away opportunities. This summer, a trio of students are getting their hands dirty too – while studying how changing agricultural practices might improve water quality in the Minnesota River basin.
Under the direction of geology and environmental studies professor Laura Triplett, the students are collecting samples, analyzing water clarity, and setting up new monitoring stations in the first year of a long-term project to study water quality in the Seven Mile Creek watershed.
“People, environment, climate, and culture all impact water quality,” Triplett said. “Gustavus is setting up for a five to 10-year project to explore how much water improvement we can get when farmers and homeowners try new approaches on their land.”
“We’re putting the puzzle together,” added junior biology and environmental studies major Jake Westfield. “We want to learn as much as we can about this watershed.”
The team collects samples from streams and creeks that are part of the Seven Mile Creek watershed, checking for water clarity on-site before returning to their lab in the Nobel Hall of Science to measure more aspects of water quality. Back on campus they filter the water to collect sediment and also measure concentrations of nitrate and E. coli bacteria. By taking water samples at different times of the day and after different weather patterns, they are building a database to analyze how streams vary based on time of year, amount of precipitation, and which farm management practices are used. The resulting knowledge will help inform future agricultural and land management practices to support clean river systems in southern Minnesota.
In addition to exposing the students to both lab and field science, the project has allowed them to collaborate with community and governmental groups working in the Minnesota River basin, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nicollet County, the nonprofit Great River Greening, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, University of Minnesota researchers, and others.
“Getting first-hand experience out in the field has been incredible. Making connections with the community organizations has also been helpful as I explore what my career path might be,” junior geology major Caitlin Clause said.
“At Gustavus, we get to work to solve problems with our peers instead of competing for a grade,” senior geology major Connor Smith said. “The opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and get to know other students I wouldn’t have met is the best part of the summer research experience.”
“We catch each other’s mistakes and make sure we’re always using the correct methodology,” Westfield added.
Triplett, the trio’s research adviser, agrees. “I love the community aspect of science,” she explained. “People picture scientists sitting alone in a lab, but that’s not how environmental studies works. The team dynamic and energy that each student brings is what makes our project click.”
The project is funded by a $75,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation that allowed Triplett to hire student researchers, buy new monitoring equipment, and support the scientific research on clean rivers. The grant will also allow Gustavus to begin building research opportunities into regular classroom assignments during the academic year to expose more students to the project. Additional funding and support for the Minnesota River basin research came through the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, a Gustavus Presidential Faculty-Student Collaboration Grant, and the College’s Environmental Studies Program.
“This is why I chose to work at a liberal arts college like Gustavus,” Triplett said. “Real-world environmental problems are complex, and to solve them we need to tie together knowledge from geologists, biologists, chemists, geographers, historians, and more. Here, both professors and students love that kind of challenge, and we’re ready to build something awesome.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Concordia University’s Buetow Music Center Auditorium will have a completely different look and feel when the 2016-17 academic year begins as it is currently undergoing a complete renovation thanks to the generous gifts of several benefactors. When completed, the 42-year old facility will be transformed into a modern, state-of-the-art performance venue that will greatly enhance the student experience at CSP.… Read More
Concordia University senior English major Mainhia Moua has been selected to serve as in intern for a summer seminar focusing on the fifth-century Greek historian Herodotus, who is often referred to as the “Father of History”. Co-sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS), the seminar is designed for higher education faculty members in all fields.… Read More
The post Senior English Major Selected to Intern at Seminar on Ancient Greece appeared first on Concordia St. Paul.
Residents of the Merriam Park, Mac-Groveland and Desnoyer Park neighborhoods are invited to NeighborFest at the University of St. Thomas from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, on the university’s St. Paul campus at Summit and Cretin avenues.
“Come Together. Celebrate. Come Back!” is the annual event’s theme. “NeighborFest is a chance to introduce neighbors to one another as well as to the many ways they can take part in campus life,” said Amy Gage, neighborhood liaison at St. Thomas.
The 35th annual event will feature bluegrass music, free drinks and snacks, dinner baskets for purchase and family-focused entertainment, including the Tommie mascot, a bubble artist and face painters.
“NeighborFest is our celebration of community and a thank you to campus neighbors who work with us throughout the year,” Gage said.
City Council President Russ Stark and Western District Commander Ed Lemon are among the invited speakers to this year’s event, which will take place on John P. Monahan Plaza, just south of the football stadium.
In addition, Vice President for Government Relations Doug Hennes, Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Lange and other senior leaders will welcome neighbors to campus. The St. Paul Mounted Police Unit also will have an officer and a horse on hand.
Neighbors are encouraged to walk or bicycle to the event. Free parking will be available at Anderson Parking Facility at Cretin and Grand avenues.
A variety of campus and community resources will have tables at the event. Vendors include:
- Union Park District Council
- Macalester-Groveland Community Council
- O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library (which allows neighbors who live within the Student Housing Overlay District to check out books)
- The Selim Center for Learning in Later Years
- Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour (which starts and ends on the south campus of St. Thomas; this year on Sunday, Sept. 11)
- The St. Thomas Alumni Association (where alumni neighbors are invited to complete a survey about neighborhood relations)
- Natural Ways Chiropractic in Merriam Park.
WINONA, Minn. — Employers, graduate schools, and other vendors are invited to register now for the third annual Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Career Fair, to be held 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20.
Last year the university welcomed more than 40 employers, graduate schools, and organizations to campus for the career fair, and this year organizers are hoping to expand and improve upon the event.
Saint Mary’s graduates 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 at your company or enrollment at your school.
The event will be held in the Toner Student Center on Saint Mary’s Winona Campus. Register now and save; the fee before July 31 is $75. Beginning Aug. 1, the registration fee is $95. (This cost includes two lunches.) To register, go to smumn.edu/careerfairregistration.
For more information, contact Michael J. Hagarty, 507-457-6695 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINONA, Minn. — The whimsical drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Winona artist Nia Lacy are on display through July 31 at Galleria Valéncia, located at the Valéncia Arts Center.
The public is invited to celebrate this exhibit and meet the artist from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Valéncia Arts Center. The galleria will also be open during regular office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., as well as while evening and weekend classes are in session.
About the Artist
Lacy, a Washington native, has always been powerfully drawn to nature and all its phenomena. She started drawing as a child and has looked to it as a form of self-expression. A self-trained artist, Lacy grew up in Boise, Idaho, and after graduating high school pursued a career as a barista. In 2013 she moved to Seattle and continued working at coffee shops. She has exhibited her work in many small galleries. Now living in Winona, Lacy is working at a soon-to-be certified organic farm.
Lacy’s main medium is ink, however she also works with paints, charcoal, and natural materials such as wood, rocks, metals, coffee, ceramics, and fire. She simply observes, absorbs, analyzes, and then projects her understanding. She rarely draws from scenes; nearly all of her works she describes as “imagineered.” She also enjoys working with negative space and natural patterns.
For more information about Lacy’s artwork, call 208-972-7918 or email email@example.com.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University, a nonprofit organization, offers programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for youth ages 18 months and older through adults at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. MCA is still seeking an artist to exhibit during the month of August. For more information visit: www.mnconservatoryforthearts.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 507-453-5500.
Saint Paul Fire Chief, Instructor, 2014 Fire Officer of the Year
Hometown: Maplewood, Minn.
Major: M.A. in Public Safety Administration
In 2007, Tim Butler was appointed fire chief of the Saint Paul Fire Department. Butler’s day-to-day duties place him in charge of the operations and administration of the 475-person fire department. Butler spends a good amount of his time teaching—sometimes with the young firefighters in his department and sometimes as an adjunct at Saint Mary’s for the same program from which he graduated. In 2014, he was named Fire Officer of the Year by his fellow state fire chiefs. He was cited for his commitment to safety programs and training, including a home smoke-alarm program and EMS training opportunities for minorities. Butler helped create Project Safe Haven, which sends firefighters to St. Paul homes to check smoke and carbon-monoxide alarms and help create a family escape plan. He also assisted St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, city departments, and outside organizations to create the EMS Academy, a tuition-free training program designed to serve low-income and minority residents. The training qualifies participants in CPR and first-responder certification. Upon completion of the program, participants are eligible for EMT certification and nine college credits. “America needs the values that we stand for, and that goes back to Saint Mary’s Lasallian principles, too,” he said.
A team from Concordia University led by Dr. Mark Schuler has begun its fifteenth season of archaeological excavations at Sussita National Park in Israel, which overlooks the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The site is the location of Antiochia Hippos, a Decapolis city and possibly the “city set on a hill” to which Jesus referred in the Sermon on the Mount.… Read More
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WINONA, Minn. — With a recent $1.5 million donation, Betty Kabara—current trustee and longtime supporter of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota—is enhancing and furthering the university’s science and business initiatives.
Through her generosity and partnership, Kabara, a resident of Galena, Ill., will help Saint Mary’s prepare tomorrow’s students to meet the challenges and demands of the future.
This transformational gift will be used to:
- establish a Dr. Jon ’48 and Betty Kabara Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation;
- build the Dr. Jon ’48 and Betty Kabara Chemistry Lab, a premier organic/inorganic laboratory promoting chemistry in the new Science and Learning Center on the Winona Campus; and
- create the new Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Office Suite in the Adducci Science Center’s Hoffman Hall, also on the Winona Campus.
With the Adducci Science Center Hoffman Hall revitalization project, Saint Mary’s is bringing together two strong academic areas of the university, business and science. Innovation occurs at the crossroads of business and science, and the late Jon Kabara’s life is a prime example of this. As the founder of Med-Chem Labs, Inc., Jon was a successful and dedicated man of business and science. Betty, an entrepreneur in her own right and currently CEO of Med-Chem Labs, is equally committed to this dream. Expanding and upgrading these facilities will provide opportunities to foster interdisciplinary education and creativity—tools that are invaluable for today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.
The Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be the catalyst for the study of entrepreneurship and innovation at Saint Mary’s. The individual, holding a faculty appointment, will serve as the university’s full-time director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. The goal of this institute, established by the Kabaras in 2005, is to incite a passion for entrepreneurial spirit in students across the university, as well as to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of entrepreneurship in our society. The Kabara Institute currently offers a wide array of activities and programs to engage students in entrepreneurship. The endowed chair will build on current programming and expand opportunities for involvement at the graduate level. Additionally, the endowed chair will teach a series of courses related to the topics of entrepreneurship and innovation each semester to students across the university, regardless of major.
The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Office Suite will be relocated in the revitalized hall, and the suite will provide the Dr. Jon ’48 and Betty Kabara Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation an open and inviting space and will foster faculty and student interaction, coaching, and mentoring, all of which are hallmarks of a Saint Mary’s undergraduate experience. The strategic location of this unique space will serve as the center for entrepreneurial studies. Located adjacent to the new high-tech Marketing Intelligence Center and Sales Training Centers, students and guests will feel at home in an environment which promotes innovative and entrepreneurial thinking.
The Jon ’48 and Betty Kabara Chemistry Lab will be designed to promote chemistry discovery, innovation, and project-based learning. The premier lab in the Science and Learning Center is structured to foster scientific discovery with a flexible configuration, piped services, fume hoods, and state-of-the-art scientific research equipment.
“The Kabaras have long been instrumental partners in enhancing the student experience at Saint Mary’s,” said Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s. “Tomorrow’s successful business and science leaders and entrepreneurs need ethical and vigorous training, state-of-the art facilities, and valuable mentoring. We are extremely grateful for Betty’s generosity and her extraordinary vision in these endeavors.”
It was summer 2013. I agonized over selecting an outfit that would make me look effortlessly cool during my eight-hour first-year orientation. I’m not sure I succeeded on the cool front, but the compliment I received on my signature curls was a win.
What remains of my orientation are vague memories of James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall, lunch in Scooter’s with fellow freshmen I have yet to see again, a miraculous first-semester schedule with no Friday classes and receiving an ID card that, three years later, features a barely recognizable, faded-out face. I also remember some kind of sing-along, thankfully before the days of “Frozen.”
This is normal. After all, Assistant Dean of Students Josh Hengemuhle said students aren’t expected to retain everything they learn in that jam-packed day.
“Students are coming in with a whole lot of different experiences and expectations, but they want their class schedule; they want to meet people,” Hengemuhle said. “Those are the two most important things for them on that day, and everything beyond that is always going to be work to get them engaged, and even more work to get them to remember. Maybe if students leave the day remembering 10 percent of the information we gave them, we’ve done a good job.”
The sessions on inclusivity, safety, billing and financial aid, academic expectations, study abroad, career exploration, living on or off campus and the information fair are presented to students as appetizers, ways to whet the appetite for what they will experience as Tommies.
“We can’t just be a fire hose spraying them with information,” Hengemuhle said. “Part of the reason we only do 10 minutes of study abroad is because too much more than that isn’t where they’re thinking at that point in time. There’s a reason we don’t have a lot of content about major selection because they’re a year or two away from that.”
First-year orientation is a foundation, a transition piece into the St. Thomas community.
At first glance, this foundation seems unchanging. Each year students and their families split up to learn relevant information. Each year, these orientation attendees are grateful for the air-conditioned student center. Each year features 12 student orientation leaders teaching similar content.
But no two orientations are ever exactly the same.
For example, before 2009, first-year orientation spanned two days instead of one. And before that, orientation was held right before the school year began – instead of during July. As the strategic plan developed, so has the orientation program content, and this year’s orientations will incorporate the new “all for the common good” theme.
“That’s one of the things I love about orientation: We can try new things,” Hengemuhle said.
St. Thomas has held nine orientation sessions in July over the past several years, and recently added a 10th right before first-year move-in. This extra orientation session is for students coming from a distance, and this year, half of the seats are reserved for far-away domestic students. The other half? For first-year international students.
International students have had a separate orientation for as long as Hengemuhle can remember, but will now get the chance to interact with domestic students and even go to the Minnesota State Fair together as an introduction to their new Midwest home.
Hengemuhle is in charge of hiring, training and selecting the staff who work orientation, as well as doing program planning and implementation.
He has a wizard-behind-the-curtain sort of role. “My hope is to do a good job of getting stuff done behind the scenes so that our dean and our vice president and all the other people who do great things around here can really be showcased,” he said.
Other members of Hengemuhle’s behind-the-scenes-team are one graduate assistant, two undergraduate interns and 12 student orientation leaders, all of whom are different every year. These staff members are so valued that they are invited to an annual orientation leader reunion to showcase their work and reminisce with fellow leaders.
This St. Thomas conviction for personal attention is perhaps most present during the academic counseling sessions at orientation. Long ago, according to Hengemuhle, students were walked to computer labs in the science building during the last hour or so of orientation day to register for courses. “But they didn’t know what they were doing; there wasn’t adequate time to explain the process, the core curriculum, etc.” Hengemuhle said. “So now academic advisers create the schedules and have 15-minute meetings with each student, giving the opportunity for one-on-one connection and explaining, ‘this is your schedule and here’s what that means.’”
Planning for first-year orientation is a yearlong process, with the programs themselves in July followed by transfer student orientations in August, assessing survey results in September, processing how it went with orientation presenters in October, hiring Hengemuhle’s orientation team in November and so on.
With about 1,400 incoming freshmen each year and a myriad of moving pieces and people orchestrating orientation, when asked what surprises him every time Hengemuhle joked, “To some degree, that we pull it off!”
The University Relations Department recently received some accolades from the publishing and design communities.
St. Thomas magazine won first place for Best Issue at the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists awards banquet on June 15. Judges praised the magazine by commenting, “A good mix of short, in-depth and profile pieces. Well-designed, beautiful photography (especially the profile of designated hitter Ryan Gerber) and portraits of alums. This is a magazine that people who are not University of St. Thomas grads would be interested in reading.” Magazine staff include Brian Brown, Patty Petersen, Sara Klomp and Mike Ekern.
Other award winners were:
- Mike Ekern, who finished second in the Photography/Best Portrait Photography for a three-photo portfolio. The photography category included entries from magazines, newspapers and broadcast stations.
- Jordan Osterman, who placed second in Magazines/Best Profile for his article, “The Power of Faith, the Necessity of Justice,” about former law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds.
- Kate Metzger, who finished third in Online/Best Institutional Social Media Account for her work with Instagram.
In addition, five entries from Design Services within University Relations were selected as winners in the 2016 American In-House Design competition sponsored by Graphic Design USA. The following designers received Certificates of Excellence:
- Pete Borden for the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship annual report
- Colin Hall for the Department of Admissions academic requirements and course catalog
- Sara Klomp for the spring 2016 St. Thomas magazine
- Colin Hall for the Institutional Advancement retreat fundraiser illustrated beverage labels and
- John Mau for the University of St. Thomas Strategic Plan.