Recent News from Campuses

Donald McNeely Center presents entrepreneur awards to outstanding graduates

Janet Dryer '83, Rick Bauerly '91 and Krista Carroll '00 will be honored with Entrepreneur of the Year awards on Thursday, Sept. 3, in Minneapolis.

SJU ranked as one of the Most Entrepreneurial Colleges by Forbes Magazine

Magazine ranks SJU No. 21 among 50 American colleges, and is the only Minnesota college or university on that list.

Concordia Families Host Collegetown Students

Concordia College Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 11:00pm
Each summer, students from around the world experience American English language and culture on the Concordia campus.

Arboretum receives 2015 Forest Stewardship Award

Carleton College Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 4:31pm

Cowling Arboretum is the recipient of the 2015 Forest Stewardship Award from the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)

St. Olaf researchers map the historical sounds of a city

St. Olaf Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 2:40pm

St. Olaf researchers (from left) Katharina Biermann ’17, Natalie Kopp ’16, Assistant Professor of Music Louis Epstein, Breanna Olson ’16, and Philip Claussen ’16 are using mapping technology to bring music history to life.

What if a map could not only help us visualize what Paris looked like nearly a century ago, but help us hear the sounds of the city, too?

A team of St. Olaf College researchers, led by Assistant Professor of Music Louis Epstein, is using mapping technology to create a multi-sensory, interactive tool to illustrate the musical geography of 1920s Paris in ways that a book, recording, or paper map could not do alone.

“We want viewers to experience Paris in 1924 — to see physically where concerts were held, listen to a concert program, follow paths historical figures might have taken,” says Natalie Kopp ’16, one of the student researchers working on the project.

The project is part of both the Digital Humanities on the Hill initiative and the college’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program.

Using this type of technology to bring music history to life has only rarely been done before, Epstein says.

“Most historians and scholars use static, paper-based maps that tend to show things such as political, geographical, or topographical context for music history, but these maps tend to be silent and difficult to relate to how music sounds,” Epstein says.

A tool to see and listen
A historical musicologist whose research focuses on the intersections between music, patronage, and politics in France during the 19th and 20th centuries, Epstein earned a B.A. in music from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in music from Harvard University.

For this project, he chose 1924 Paris because of the city’s status as the capital of the music world in the early 20th century, particularly in the post–World War I years. Paris also hosted the 1924 Summer Olympics, an event that drew visitors from around the world to the already vibrant city and encouraged musicians to perform for a wider audience.

This map — one of several on the research team’s public website — visualizes the locations of various musical venues around the city of Paris in 1924, with each category of venue represented by a different layer.

Using mapping platforms like Google Maps and ArcGIS as well as previously non-digitized, historical maps of Paris, Epstein and the student researchers are creating a public website that enables users to see and interact with several different aspects of the city’s musical geography.

One map represents the various performance venues where music was performed — concert halls, theaters, café-concerts, public parks, private salons, etc. Another map offers a way to explore the locations and programs of dozens of performances of a single composer’s works over the course of one year. Yet another map makes it possible to hear the concert programs performed across the city on a specific date. Altogether, there are currently ten maps with which users can interact, with more on the way.

Through a few clicks of the mouse, users can see and hear the music that was performed in a particular venue, on a specific date, nearly 100 years ago.

Adding narratives
Site users can also get a glimpse into the life of a 1924 Parisian through The Unsuspecting Tour Guide, a set of short stories written by student researcher Katharina Biermann ’17.

Using historical data, Biermann recreates the atmosphere of 1924 Paris through a set of fictional first-person narratives.

“I try to present as accurate as possible an image of what it was like to be in Paris in 1924,” she says. “This is especially important in pedagogical terms, because not all students glean equally from images of graphs and statistical analysis. Stories, though, are so distinctly human that they will reveal what graphs and charts cannot.”

Biermann’s short stories are an important part of the project’s larger goal of making music history more accessible to more people.

“Rather than looking at these data to create a thesis or make a comparison, we’ve been trying to piece together enough facts to form a sort of narrative or story — ultimately to recreate a world,” Kopp says. “I hope our project inspires others to create data-narratives as well.”

Why music on a map matters
Epstein says this project provides an opportunity to open music history scholarship to a much wider audience.

“They won’t get the most sophisticated insights through a map, but what they will get is an experience of what it was like to be in a place at a certain time. They can also better understand the context for any kind of music being performed, since most scholarship focuses on art music rather than popular music and the sounds in the street,” he says.

Student researcher Philip Claussen ’16 says while scholars have made interactive academic maps in the past, it hasn’t been done in the field of music history, and certainly not with the kind of scope this project has.

“We are ultimately bringing the musical culture of 1924 Paris back to life in the 21st century, and in a format easily accessible to 21st-century scholars, students, and amateurs alike,” he says.

Epstein hopes this project is a stepping stone for similar — and even larger — projects in the future. And the team agrees that they would like to see other scholars bring their work to life in this way.

“I hope that more academics will consider adding visual elements to their research in order to facilitate the depth of comprehension of that data they are presenting,” student researcher Breanna Olson ‘16 says. “Frankly, an interactive map is a much cooler way to learn than a huge textbook.”

Student connects audiences to art through Boston museum internship

St. Olaf Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 1:58pm

St. Olaf student Taylor Davis ’16 outside Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where she is interning this summer.

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, home to one of the most comprehensive collections in the world, welcomes more than a million visitors each year.

And this summer St. Olaf College student Taylor Davis ’16 is working to ensure that those visitors get the most out of their experience.

As part of her internship at the MFA, which is supported with a grant from the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career, Davis is helping facilitate the museum’s various educational programs. This includes special museum tours for toddlers, art-making activities for children and their families, and drawing in the museum galleries for adults.

“Helping run these programs has given me valuable insight into the behind-the-scenes work of museum programming, and has allowed me to observe how diverse audiences interact with and respond to the collections of the MFA,” Davis says.

The MFA’s encyclopedic collection includes nearly 450,000 works of art, ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts and French impressionist paintings to the largest and finest collection of Japanese art outside Japan.

Beyond educating children and guiding visitors, Davis is also working with the museum’s Head of Gallery Learning, Brooke DiGiovanni Evans, to create an Art Connections Card for MFA’s younger visitors. Art Connection Cards are self-guided activity sheets that children and their families can pick up at the museum to help guide their visit.

“The theme of my Art Connections Card will be bugs. I’ll be guiding children on a hunt for bugs depicted in artworks from several different cultures, including an ancient Egyptian heart scarab and a tiny gold beetle on a 17th-century German automaton,” Davis says.

The world of fine art is an essential part of this Tallapoosa, Georgia, native’s life. An art history major at St. Olaf, Davis will be conducting independent research about “Art and Feminisms” this fall.

Her passion for working at an institution like the MFA has grown as she has learned more about museum education, a branch of museum operations that she believes is one of the core functions of all museums.

Davis says she is constantly inspired by both the people with whom she works and by the artworks and exhibits she is able to experience at the MFA. This inspiration has, in turn, enhanced her interactions with the museum’s diverse visitors.

“Undoubtedly, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I absolutely love museums,” Davis says. “I knew I loved them as a visitor. But the opportunity to work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has shown me that I love being part of what makes it all work even more.”

St. Olaf names Ryan Bowles as athletic director

St. Olaf Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 11:36am

St. Olaf President David R. Anderson ’74 has announced the appointment of Ryan Bowles as the college’s athletic director.

Bowles, who is currently the associate athletic director for administration at the University of Maryland, will join St. Olaf on September 1.

Bowles has an extensive background in college athletics, both as a student athlete and administrator.

In his current position at the University of Maryland, where he has been a member of the athletic department staff since 2003, he oversees 11 varsity sports and serves on the department’s leadership team. He is also the liaison to the Athletics Council, a group of faculty, staff, and students that advise the President’s Office on matters regarding intercollegiate athletics at Maryland.

Bowles also oversaw Maryland’s transition last year from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten, and he currently serves on the Big Ten’s Sports Management Council.

In his prior roles at Maryland, Bowles directed the NCAA and conference championship events hosted by the university. He also played a leadership role in the development and rollout of a five-year strategic plan for athletics at Maryland.

Bowles began his intercollegiate athletics career as the Asa S. Bushnell Intern for Championships at the Eastern College Athletic Conference in Massachusetts. There he was also involved in event management and was the liaison for a number of championship committees.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from McDaniel College, where he was a four-time letterwinner for the men’s soccer team.

“St. Olaf is committed to achieving excellence in everything we do, including athletics,” Anderson says. “Ryan’s passion for Division III athletics, born of his experience as a student-athlete at a respected liberal arts college, combined with his demonstrated leadership in an excellent Division I program, equip him well to lead the athletics program at St. Olaf. We look forward to his arrival on campus.”

St. Olaf sponsors 27 varsity sports, more than any other school in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), and competes at the NCAA Division III level.

As athletic director, Bowles will be responsible for maintaining and enhancing the integrity and competitiveness of the intercollegiate athletics program at St. Olaf, including recruiting and retaining an exceptional coaching staff and promoting the success and physical well-being of the college’s student-athletes.

“St. Olaf has an outstanding tradition of academics and athletics, and the college’s values match my own,” Bowles says. “I look forward to serving the St. Olaf family as we continue the tradition of graduating student-athletes, developing leaders in life, and competing for MIAC and national championships.”

Gaitan Making an Impact for Team Colombia at U19 World Championships

Concordia University Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 10:44am

Concordia University, St. Paul head women's lacrosse coach Mo Gaitan has had a productive summer, serving as assistant coach for the U19 Colombian Women's National Team at the FIL Rathbones Women's 2015 U19 Lacrosse World Championships at the University of Edinburgh.

While Gaitan will be breaking new ground as Concordia starts a women's lacrosse program (the first offering scholarships in Minnesota), she's also helping break ground in the sport on a larger scale. Colombia's U19 Team is the first women's lacrosse team in Latin America and Gaitan helped the team to its first-ever win against the Republic of Korea on Friday, July 24.

The team continued its run as an emerging lacrosse player at the World Championships by picking up a 15-8 win on Wednesday over Israel before falling in a competitive contest to the Czech Republic today. Colombia will square off with Finland in the 11th place game tomorrow (Friday) to conclude its World Championships tour.

"To be an emerging country and play for 11th place (of 14) is amazing for us!" explained Gaitan. "Our team's spirit and passion to be here has transformed Colombia into the darling team that many here at the championships who were not already affiliated with us are now cheering for Team Colombia!"

Read the entire story at

Studying Nationalism at a Historic Crossroads

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 10:26am

An odd headline ran in The New York Times on Jan. 1, 2013: “Used to Hardship, Latvia Accepts Austerity, and Its Pain Eases.”

I say this is odd, because I fail to understand why we would assume that “Latvia” – think of this as shorthand for the three Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and their constituent nations – is somehow more naturally accepting of hardship than, for example, Greece or Portugal. Why should a reporter for The New York Times make such an assumption? And why do readers, other media figures and American politicians echo this assumption, particularly when praising the Baltic governments’ austerity efforts and “stiff upper lip” of their populations while shaming the so-called PIIGs (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece) for their popular protests against such measures?

The short answer is: Most people have assumptions about East European nations. The most pervasive stereotypes of Eastern nations are two: In the positive camp, we have the relative fiscal responsibility of the East European EU member states, and the ways in which observers link this behavior to national identity. Rather than viewing this political behavior as an example of practical decisions made by East European lawmakers – and, one might add, in response to the demands of very powerful forces such as the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the global economy – this fiscal responsibility has been molded into an assumption about Eastern nations and their nations’ collective acceptance of suffering. East Europeans are “accustomed to hardship,” rather than “responding rationally to external economic incentives.”

It also echoes, uncomfortably, the romantic notions of the East European populations forwarded by 19th century German writers like Herder and Fichte, who believed that different ethnic groups displayed particular characteristics that were largely biologically determined. Herder praised the Slavs for their innate work ethic, for example. If this sounds a bit familiar, it should, given the assumption discussed above.

In a current research project, I am examining neoliberal economic policy adoption – in other words, the choice of austerity and fiscal restraint policies – by East European states and its connection to the European Union, as a means of critiquing this “essentialist” assumption and hopefully bringing a deeper understanding of how the East European states have been affected – positively and negatively – by EU membership.

The second, less-flattering stereotype attributed to Eastern nations is their purported ethnolinguistic and exclusionary character. “Eastern” nations are purportedly exclusive, hostile to minorities and anti-democratic, or so the myth goes. This assumption pervades civil society and even worms its way into academia, so that when a so-called Eastern nation chooses a model of national identity that does not fit this stereotype, it may be dismissed as lacking a national identity entirely! In this case, the Belarusian nation has been labeled as “denationalized” because it chooses, at least for the time being, to eschew the path of ethnolinguistic exclusivity.

It is hard to resist an opportunity to critique “common knowledge,” particularly when that common knowledge appears to be factually incorrect and stereotypes entire populations of individuals. Since 2009, I have been fortunate to engage in a number of research projects regarding nationalism in East Europe with my department chair, Dr. Steven Hoffman, and two co-authors from Belarusian State University: Victor Shadurski and Marharyta Fabrykant.

Our published research has focused on the characteristics that comprise national identity in Belarus and Lithuania, and in each case we have found that reality bore little resemblance to the assumptions about these nations. Yes, Lithuanians believe that speaking Lithuanian is an important part of being part of the Lithuanian nation, and this fits with the “linguistic” part of the ethnolinguistic assumption. However, many Lithuanians care a great deal more about democracy than they do religion or ethnicity when they draw their mental boundaries of the Lithuanian nation.

Belarus is even more interesting. We found that ethnolinguistic and exclusive ideas of what it means to be Belarusian are not only not salient to our survey respondents – they are downright frightening to many. To understand this, it is necessary to think of Belarus as a historical crossroads: one that has seen the rise and fall of many official languages, religions and regimes.

This has lent a richness and diversity to this territory that pervades the country – Catholic and Orthodox churches face each other across city streets, often alongside other houses of worship, whether Protestant, Jewish or Islamic. The Russian language is used everywhere today, while two other languages, Trasianka (a hybrid of Russian and Belarusian) and Belarusian are sometimes seen and heard. In the 19th century one would have heard Polish, Russian, Yiddish or Belarusian spoken in the streets and in peoples’ homes.

If that richness is the bright side of being a crossroads in history, the dark side is war. Belarus, as was the case with most of Eastern Europe, was brutalized throughout history by one conquering force or another. Napoleon’s troops fought (and lost) in the Belarusian forests where today families go on mushroom-gathering trips every fall. Those same forests were the sites of brutal partisan battles against the Nazis.

In Minsk, one can visit a park with a sculpture that memorializes the deaths of Jews in pogroms, see the boundaries of the Jewish ghetto to which nearly 100,000 Jews from throughout East Europe were sent and see the names of Belarusian citizens granted the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” for protecting Jews during the Holocaust.

Outside of Minsk is the Khatyn Memorial, which reminds visitors of the more than 600 villages burned to the ground, with all inhabitants, by Nazi reprisal squads. Many university-aged students still go visit their grandparents to help with harvesting the garden every fall, and while harvesting their grandparents tell them about the “Great Patriotic War” and its horrors.

All of this has led many Belarusians to value tolerance and fear those individuals and groups that would pit the diverse religious, linguistic and ethnic population of Belarusians against one another. Clearly this is not a formula for rabid ethnolinguistic nationalism.

The lessons learned from this research may seem specific to a particular region, and indeed the particulars of the history, geography, economics and politics of Eastern Europe are an important part of the content of my Politics of Post-Soviet States and Politics of the New Europe courses. Students who choose one of these courses are interested in the specifics of the region and enjoy these details. I enjoy bringing in the hands-on experience – either with data or with research abroad – into these classrooms and making it accessible to students.

However, the broader lessons revealed by this research – the horrors and causes of war, the foundations of ethnic hatred, questioning “common knowledge,” and considering the policy consequences of assumptions and actions – pervade all of my courses, and I would say, all of the international relations subfield. International relations, as a “practitioners’ discipline,” teaches us to be ever aware that misunderstandings, erroneous assumptions and faulty “common knowledge” extract a huge price from our own country and from humanity in the shape of wars, exclusion and hatred.

Since a natural career path for students in my field is foreign policy analysis, and a number of graduates have pursued this career, there is a real-world impact from the teaching of these lessons. Other students may not pursue careers in policy, but will, one hopes, form a key part of the critical citizenry that elects and critiques our government’s foreign policy decisions, and for them these lessons are equally important. I consider this the unique contribution that my department, my subfield and my research can make to the training of UST students to be morally responsible, critical thinkers.

Or, as a favorite UST student and research assistant of mine once put it: “International relations: solving the world’s problems one uncomfortable topic at a time.”

Associate professor Dr. Renee Buhr teaches in the Department of Political Science. 

From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.

Alumni in action: Bill and Mia (Cacciabondo) Geheren

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 8:00am

Bill and Mia (Cacciabondo ’90) Geheren ’90

Caring parents and inspirational role models
Hometown: St. Paul, Minn., and Chicago, Ill.
Majors: Marketing/Management and Elementary Education

Bill and Mia (Cacciabondo) Geheren met as students at Saint Mary’s in 1986 and both graduated in 1990. Bill received a degree in marketing while Mia received a degree in management and elementary education.

Shortly after getting married in 1993, they moved back to Winona where Bill worked at Saint Mary’s Press and Mia was a hall director at the university. After moving to campus their first child Michael was born. He spent his first four years as a “Little Cardinal.” Upon leaving Winona, Bill and Mia embarked on a journey of adopting children. Their three youngest boys have special needs that range from moderate to severe. Their four boys are their life!

They say, “We have been blessed in this life – truly blessed. Although we have had our share of challenges, knowing God is looking out for us has carried us through this journey.”

Read more Alumni in Action stories!

Auditions open for St. Catherine Choral Society

St. Kate's Campus News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 9:44am
Director Patty Connors is holding auditions for community singers through August 14. More »

Summer intern profile: Amirah Ellison '18

Carleton College Campus News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 9:26am

Though Amirah Ellison ‘18 may not be an official Washington insider, she certainly looks the part on Facebook.

Next ‘M’ Club Weekend set for Sept. 11-13

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 8:00am

Come back to campus Sept. 11-13 for the next round of student and alumni athletes to be honored during the annual Cardinal ‘M’ Club Weekend.

Friday night’s Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony—honoring the alumni inductees and student athletes—will kick off the weekend’s events. Alumni athletes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame include: Missy (Westergren) Kuntz ’01, a member of the first-ever Saint Mary’s women’s varsity hockey program; Missie Meemken ’03, a mainstay on the early Cardinal women’s hockey teams; and Corby Manes ’95, one of the most prolific offensive threats in Saint Mary’s men’s hockey history.

Saturday’s activities include a golf tournament and dinner at Cedar Valley Golf Course and an alumni and friends evening social downtown. As the weekend coincides with Young Alumni Weekend, there are even more reasons for alumni to return to Winona, and more alumni joining in weekend festivities. Sign up for the golf tournament early, as this popular event fills quickly.

And on Sunday, several alumni games and events will be held on campus. This is a great opportunity to get back on the court, the field, or the ice and relive your glory days. Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal!

“Each year we look forward to connecting our alumni with our students,” said Athletic Director Nikki Fennern. “Listening to the connections that are made and the shared stories and experiences our athletes have is an amazing experience. ‘M’ Club Weekend has grown into a true celebration of our athletic successes, and the people who made those successes possible.”

2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

Missy (Westergren) Kuntz ’01

Missie Meemken ’03

Corby Manes ’95

St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis: Strong May and June Helps Return Twin Cities Market to Pre-Crash Levels

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 7:00pm

A strong first half of 2015 — and an especially robust second quarter — has for the most part returned the Twin Cities housing market to a level of health not seen here since the pre-crash years of 2005 and 2006.

Each month the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business looks for real estate trends in the 13-county Twin Cities region and tracks the median price for three types of sales: nondistressed or traditional; foreclosures; and short sales (when a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage balance).

Additionally, as part of its analysis, the center creates a monthly index score by tracking nine data elements for those three types of sales, including categories like the number of closed sales, how many days homes are on the market, and what percent of the asking price sellers receive. The researchers started the index at January 2005 and for that month gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

For several years running, the Shenehon Center had to report some dismal news in its monthly analyses. Although there were both ups and downs along the way, the index for traditional homes (not short sales or foreclosures) dropped into the 900s in early 2007 and eventually bottomed out at 889 in February 2012.

The traditional home index has since rebounded and reached an all-time high in June 2015. “At a level of 1,120 the June index is the highest that has been observed since it was created in 2005,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university. The June 2015 index is up 4.2 percent from the same month a year ago, and is up 2.8 percent from May 2015.

“This monthly increase is the continued result of both a relatively low number of homes available for sale and a significant increase in the number of buyers in the market,” Tousley said.

The St. Thomas researchers found six categories that had especially healthy numbers in June and contributed to that record-high composite index score:

  • Median price of all homes: The median price of the three types of sales (traditional, foreclosures and short sales) in June was $229,900, a level not seen since August 2007.
  • Median price of traditional-sale homes: The median price for a traditional-type sale (not a foreclosure or short sale) in June was $235,500, also the highest since August 2007.
  • Percent of distressed sales: The percent of distressed sales in June (foreclosures and short sales) was 7.7 percent of all sales. The percent has not been that low since mid-2007.
  • Number of closed sales: The 6,980 closed sales in June was the highest number since the St. Thomas index was created in January 2005.
  • Number of pending sales: The number of pending sales for the last 90 days was more than 6,200, the highest since spring 2005. This high number of pending sales indicates that the number of closed sales should remain strong for the rest of the summer.
  • Sale price as percentage of asking price: In June the sale price as a percentage of the original asking price increased to 98.6 percent, a level not seen since spring 2005. The inventory of homes for sale at 16,718 in June remains historically low, and is one reason for a higher number of multiple offers and, in some cases, homes that are sold for more than the asking price.

Construction of new homes

With such a shortage of homes on the market, the Shenehon Center checked on the number of new homes being built to meet the demand. It found that while there has been some improvement over the past three years, the number of single-family-home permits has been flat over the past year.

So far this year 2,224 permits were issued, compared to 2,270 for the first half of 2014. The dollar value of the permits, however, has increased from $319,254 per home last year to $335,295 this year.

“There are several factors that explain this increase,” Tousley said. “There has been a marked increase in the price of building materials such as concrete and drywall. Secondly, due to a shortage of quality buildable lots, land prices have also increased considerably.”

He said the average sale price of an existing home is $121 per square foot while the average sale price of a new home is $162 per square foot. That’s a 34 percent premium for a brand-new home.

“While many homebuilders have focused on building higher-priced homes because the profit margins are higher, the low supply of existing homes available for sale is creating a pent-up demand for construction of lower-priced homes,” Tousley said. “There are a number of homebuilders who are starting programs to profitably build entry-level homes that provide a bit more than the basics to entice first-time and entry-level buyers. An example of this is D.R. Horton’s Express Homes program. The company has been aggressively rolling out this program on a national basis as a way to add to the supply of moderately priced homes available for sale.”

More information online

The Shenehon Center’s charts and report for June can be found here.

The index is available free via email from Tousley at

Graduate program in Philanthropy and Development celebrates 25th anniversary

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 1:01pm

Photo caption: Guest Speaker Adrian Sargeant, director of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University, England, and the world’s foremost expert on the research in fundraising, addressed guests celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Saint Mary’s University M.A. in Philanthropy and Development program.


WINONA, Minn. — Fundraising professionals from England, Canada, and from across the United States discovered Saturday that the path to successful philanthropic efforts is universal.

Alumni, students, and staff from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s M.A. in Philanthropy and Development program gathered Saturday in celebration of the program’s 25th anniversary.

Guest speaker Adrian Sargeant, the world’s foremost expert on the research in fundraising, addressed how and under what circumstances organizations develop exceptional fundraising. Sargeant is consistently voted one of the top 10 most influential people in the field by readers of Professional Fundraising Magazine and currently serves as the director of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University, England.

The Philanthropy and Development program, which welcomes students from across North America and beyond, features a concentrated schedule of summer classes combined with online study. Participants are fundraising professionals from some of the country’s most prestigious for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Participants enhance their development and organizational skills within a classroom of like-minded professionals, facilitated by faculty who are top practitioners and leading consultants.

Current student Cathy Mann runs a consulting firm, Cathy Mann & Associates Inc., out of Toronto. She was drawn to the program through word of mouth and has particularly enjoyed networking with instructors and others professionals in her cohort. “I’m thankful for what the program has given me; it has helped me start a conversation about collective impact in the world of philanthropy,” she said.

As part of the festivities, the university honored the late Tim Burchill, who co-created the Philanthropy and Development program in 1991 and taught each summer. Well respected for his work, Burchill was an active and successful fundraiser and served as the national director and ethics chairman for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

To learn more about the M.A. in Philanthropy and Development Program, go to

Heukeshoven composition connects Winona Municipal Band’s past, present

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:01am

WINONA, Minn. — The Winona Municipal Band will bring the music of its first conductor, George A. Colburn, back to life at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, in the Lake Park Bandshell.

“Mr. Colburn’s Miracle; An Audience Guide to the Municipal Band,” written by A. Eric Heukeshoven, assistant professor of music at Saint Mary’s University, is based on a recently discovered theme and variations composed by Colburn. The composition for narrator and band will take the audience on a historical journey—using Colburn’s delightful variations to highlight each section of the band.

The new work was commissioned in celebration of the Winona Municipal Band’s 100th anniversary season. Dr. Dan Barr, a former member of the tuba section, will be featured as narrator with Levi Lundak leading the band as they tell a story 100 years in the making.

The finale concert is free and open to the public. More information can be found on the Winona Municipal Band website,

Dr. Jay Mutter retires from Saint Mary’s after 30 years of teaching

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 3:00am


Looking back on his career, Jay Mutter, professor of psychology, has no problem remembering the highlights.

For starters, there was his own version of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” Only with Dr. Mutter, they were “Fridays with Brother Charles (Severin).”

The legend that was Brother Charles Severin, a long-time biology professor and inspiring educator, didn’t escape a young Dr. Mutter, just learning the ropes at Saint Mary’s.

“He would come to my office, and he would say, ‘We have to do something about the health of the American family. The fall of the family was the fall of the Roman Empire,’ ” Dr. Mutter recalls.

Brother Charles’ dream had been to create a “Health of the Family” course that crossed disciplines. And although the class never came to fruition, largely because of Brother Charles’ own declining health, those valuable weekly discussions have continued to hold meaning for Dr. Mutter.

He also received a crash course in native plant life via a verbal pop quiz each week from the ardent botanist. “He would ask, ‘Mutter, what’s that tree? You have GOT to know the plants; they are the life of this community.”

In 2001, when Dr. Mutter received the Brother Charles Award for Excellence in Teaching, those memories came flooding back. “It was an extension of him living on through me,” Dr. Mutter said.

After 30 years in the classroom, Dr. Mutter hopes that his former students remember him as a wonderful teacher. “I don’t want to be just a good teacher,” he said. “The wonderful teacher I had was Brother Charles Severin. All faculty here believe the essence of what Saint Mary’s is about: wonderful teaching, not just good teaching.”

TITLE: Professor of Psychology

YEARS AT SAINT MARY’S: Dr. mutter began teaching at Saint Mary’s in 1985.

CLASSES TAUGHT: He has taught a variety of courses in psychology including multicultural awareness, general psychology, developmental psychology, cross-cultural human development, psychology of aging, and capstone.

PLANS FOR RETIREMENT: He hopes to adjunct teach to stay connected to the Saint Mary’s family. He also hopes there are drums in his future, and he might get involved with community theatre productions. He hopes to travel more and plans to continue being a hockey goal judge. One of his proudest accomplishments has been co-authoring a textbook titled, Lives Across Cultures: Cross Cultural Human Development that has been used at universities around the world.

Four years ago, Dr. Mutter attended the International Association of Lasallian Universities gathering in Rome and spent two weeks immersed in the Lasallian mission with other faculty. “I realized how wide the arms of our Lasallian family reached,” he said. “I have never been so transformed. It changed the way I wrote my syllabus, the way I viewed and related to my peers, the way I talked to students and taught, and it give me passion to want to stay connected and grow within the Lasallian mission.”

It’s surprising to hear that the passionate educator hadn’t always planned to teach. Instead, he thought he marched to the beat of a different drum.

He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia and started a musical group called Asia Beat, a large percussion ensemble that toured all around Southeast Asia.

He then taught psychology at the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and received a grant to complete his Ph.D.

After brief teaching experiences in Minneapolis and Winona, he was hired at Saint Mary’s.

For many years, he performed in Blue Angel, Gaslight, and Candlelight. “It was a great way for students to see me outside of the classroom,” he said. “It’s all about that Lasallian connection of relationship- building.”

Dr. Mutter still finds ways to incorporate music into his classrooms, using lyrics or music for setting a tone. “Music is the international language,” he said.

An animated educator, he also demonstrates developmental milestones. “I’m well-known for acting out kids’ development, crawling and jumping around in demonstration,” he said. “This was before Tegrity, so it was never recorded.”

“My forte is teaching,” he said. “When I enter a classroom, it’s magic sometimes. I feel like the technology would almost turn on by itself. I’ve never felt I was going to a job.

“I will miss my students more than anything else in the world. My students are my best teachers. I will also miss my faculty colleagues and peers. They’ve been another major voice in my family.”

Dr. Mutter said the give-and-take interaction and sharing among faculty members has been instrumental through the years. He is thankful for the wisdom handed down from those wonderful teachers and administrators before him.

When he needs perspective, he enjoys walking down the first floor of Heffron Hall, past the wall of presidential portraits. It reminds him that Saint Mary’s is special. “It’s not just a place,” Dr. Mutter said. “It’s organic and alive. It’s a place that’s transformational both for faculty and for students.”

Student group nurtures alternative music scene on campus

St. Olaf Campus News - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 3:15pm

St. Olaf students (from left) John Kronlokken ’16, Christian Wheeler ’16, and Colin Loynachan ’16 are the organizers of DNNR PRTY, a student-run record label that has helped cultivate an alternative music scene on campus.

Many people know that St. Olaf College has a renowned music program, with choral and instrumental ensembles that tour internationally. What most don’t know is that for the past two years a new project named DNNR PRTY has started to shape and cultivate an alternative music scene on campus.

DNNR PRTY is a student-run record label that encourages musicians to share and work on original music. The group has successfully recorded, mastered, and released 23 songs from 19 different student music groups and individuals.

Started by Horacio Lopez ’14, DNNR PRTY is focused on cultivating a campus band and singer/songwriter base unlike the traditional ensembles St. Olaf is known for.

“We’re here for people who are dedicated to music beyond the classical realm,” says Colin Loynachan ’16, one of the organizers of DNNR PRTY.

The group’s goal is to cultivate an alternative music scene and provide students with the resources they need to work on their music.

“I think it has also become a place for established artists and upcoming artists alike,” says John Kronlokken ’16. “There is a network of support, and I think this is really important.”

DNNR PRTY is focused on cultivating a campus band and singer/songwriter base unlike the traditional ensembles St. Olaf is known for.

Since its founding, DNNR PRTY has released a 14-track record and a video session series.

First Feast, DNNR PRTY’s first project, is a compilation CD featuring campus bands and individual artists. For some, the recording provided an opportunity to share their work for the first time. For others, it was a chance to explore a new music genre.

Fox example, Michael Betz ’15, a member of the St. Olaf Orchestra and St. Olaf Band, was well known on campus for his classical music compositions. DNNR PRTY gave him an opportunity to showcase a different side of his composing.

“There were a lot of people who hadn’t heard Michael Betz’s electronic stuff,” says Christian Wheeler ’16. “A lot of people freaked out at the 8-bit vibe.”

This year’s DNNR PRTY project focused on recording live sessions. This meant a smaller group of campus artists, but still a strong compilation of the talent St. Olaf has to offer.

The response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive. Support from the St. Olaf Music Department, Broadcast Services, the Admissions Office, and other student organizations — like the Music Entertainment Committee and KSTO Radio Station — have helped integrate DNNR PRTY into campus life, and the group’s Facebook page is well-supported by students.

Last year 89.3 The Current highlighted DNNR PRTY in a piece showcasing the strong campus band scene at St. Olaf.

The college’s Admissions Office recently sent out the Oles Rock CD, which features four songs recorded by DNNR PRTY, to approximately 1,500 prospective students.

In addition to its recording projects, DNNR PRTY  has hosted songwriting workshops and collaborated on events with MEC and KSTO.

This fall, for example, Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith was on campus leading a songwriting workshop where students brought questions and their music. During the spring semester, Chris Koza ’01 hosted a similar workshop and performed.

And DNNR PRTY isn’t just for musicians, but also those who play a behind-the-scenes role in music-making. Last year this involved a lot of filming and video editing for the “Live in Studio A” music videos. The whole video compilation is available online on the DNNR PRTY website and on the group’s Youtube channel.

“It’s also an experience for us,” says Kronlokken. “I want to do this as a job for the rest of my life, so this is a great and unique way for me to gain experience in a nontraditional way.”

The Scroll: The Dean and Scooter

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 8:13am

Several people stopped me last week after they read a newspaper obituary on retired Dean of Students Bill Malevich and saw my quote that Malevich and the late Monsignor James Lavin were perhaps the two most-beloved figures of the past half century at St. Thomas.

“Really?” they asked. “How so?”

They didn’t doubt my observation but simply were curious why I felt that way. They were relative newcomers to St. Thomas and they wanted to know more about the impact these two men had on the life of the university. I tried to explain that in a few words but I feared I wasn’t doing justice to their legacies, so I want to offer my thoughts today.

Lavin participated in the 2000 Ireland Hall teeter-totter marathon.

Both men were natives of Minnesota’s Iron Range, Lavin hailing from Aurora and Malevich from nearby Eveleth. Both held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Thomas. Both spent most of their careers here, Lavin as a theology professor, counselor and special assistant in the alumni office from 1946 to 2002 and Malevich as a counselor and dean of students from 1965 to 1993.

But as important as longevity can be, because they came to know many generations of students, it was their interaction with those students that made Lavin and Malevich special. They always put the welfare of students first. They had an innate, almost magical ability to ascertain when a student was in trouble, homesick, broke, struggling with classes or at odds with roommates, and they knew the right thing to say or do to turn that student’s life around.

They did it in very different ways. Lavin lived in Ireland Hall for 60 years – four as a student and 56 as a floor priest – and he became legendary for his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a door that always was open. Malevich was more proactive, camping out in The Grill across from his Murray-Herrick Campus Center office, setting up a “Dean, Dean the Answer Machine” booth and writing an “Ask the Dean” column for a decade.

These were different approaches, indeed, and not surprising when you consider that Lavin was more of an introvert and Malevich was an extrovert. But they were equally effective because they were grounded in a simple desire to help others. They had, in today’s parlance, students’ backs.

William Malevich

The incredibly devout Lavin saw service to students as a natural part of his priestly ministry, and they respected him both because of his Roman collar and his quiet, avuncular nature. After Lavin died in 2012, Tim Fischer ’84, now an athletics and reunions gift officer at St. Thomas, told a story about his first encounter with the man widely known as Scooter.

Fischer lived in Ireland Hall and returned to campus early one morning after having been over-served at a local bar. He took pool balls from the basement to the second-floor hallway and set them up on the terrazzo floor. “Laying down, I felt a tap at my ribs,” Fischer said. “I looked around and it was Father Lavin. ‘What in the world do you think you’re doing?’ he asked me. ‘Playing pool,’ I said. ‘Pick ’em up and follow me,’ he said. I followed him upstairs and he quietly proceeded to fix me a sandwich, sat me down and explained how things worked at St. Thomas. From that time on, he was a mentor and friend.”

Malevich’s efforts to reach out to students stemmed from his own experience as a freshman. “Bill was scared to death when he got here,” Father John Malone said after Malevich’s death. “He wasn’t going to let that happen to students when he was dean.” He became what Al Sickbert, who worked for him and then succeeded him, called “an old-fashioned dean – someone whose whole focus was to be a dean who talked to students.”

“He wasn’t that interested in policies and going to meetings,” said Sickbert, now dean of students at Hamline. “He created with every student who ever got in trouble a very personal relationship. He invited students in and got to know them as real people – not just as students. It was all about personal touch.”

Personal touch. Fischer experienced it that night in Ireland Hall, just as thousands of other students came to witness it over nearly six decades.

Personal touch. Malone saw in Malevich “a substitute grandpa” who went out of his way to help others. “He was one of those people lucky enough to find the job that suited him,” alumnus Bill Collins ’87 said, “and then spent his lifetime doing it well.”

We should all be so lucky. More importantly, we should all be grateful. This community filled the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas three years ago to pay their last respects to Monsignor Lavin. I expect a similar crowd will be on hand at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday (Aug. 1) for Dean Malevich’s funeral in the chapel. See you there.

Searching for a cure

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 3:00am

Katie Leisen ’15 watched as her grandfather and great-grandmother struggled with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

She felt their frustration over losing their independence while trying to make sense of a world that no longer made sense.

So, when Leisen wanted to become part of an Alzheimer’s research team at the Mayo Clinic, she channeled that passion into an internship. “My goal is to help people from going through what my family has,” she said. “It’s sad to watch someone go through that, and there’s nothing you can do.”

Leisen, a senior biology major from Kellogg, Minn., said she has always had a desire to work in the sciences, particularly because she enjoys the hands-on work and the potential to truly help people. Becoming a science major, she felt, opened up a world of professional directions and opportunities.

Last year, a faculty member at Saint Mary’s encouraged her to apply for a summer undergraduate research program through which she was able to work at Mayo Clinic this past summer.

It was a foot in the door and an invaluable opportunity to network. She eventually emailed Zvonimir Katusic, M.D., Ph.D., to inquire about volunteering in his lab in the Anesthesia Department where Alzheimer’s research was being done. He informed her that volunteering wasn’t a possibility, but she could work in his lab for college credit. When describing the opportunity, Leisen uses words like amazing, fascinating, and beyond words.

“I’ve always gone to the Mayo health system since I was a child, and it’s always been my dream to work at Mayo,” she said.

As a research intern, Leisen is examining the effects different chemicals have on nitric oxide levels by analyzing brain microvessels of mice. Her work requires her to do microvessel isolation, protein quantitation, Western Blot Analysis, and Li-Cor image development. She uses a microscope to precisely isolate one of the main arteries of the mouse’s brain.

She finds it interesting that her current studies at Saint Mary’s directly correlate to the work she is doing in her internship.

“The techniques I’m doing now, I’ve done in a (Saint Mary’s) lab before,” says Leisen. “We get into it with more depth, but I already had the basic knowledge. The Biology Department did a great job putting together the core classes. They give you a good view of the whole picture.”

After being a part of medical research, Leisen knows she wants to obtain her Ph.D., and eventually continue research in Alzheimer’s. “You need to find that passion that wakes you up in the morning every day, and I have.

“I’m hungry to learn more,” she said. “I don’t want to stop. Research is extremely important, especially when you consider that by 2050, every 33 seconds someone in America will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”

Will there be a cure during her lifetime? Leisen crosses her fingers and smiles as she says, “I hope so, and I’m hoping I can put my name on it.”

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