Recent News from Campuses
Gustavus Adolphus College has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and the Teagle Foundation to support development in the area of Interfaith Cooperation in Professional and Civic Life for the College’s students.
The grant will strengthen existing coursework and support faculty efforts to develop new interfaith programming and offerings, helping students entering a variety of professions to work effectively in a religiously diverse world. The project will focus on fine-tuning a set of three existing courses to expand the relationship between the College’s Department of Religion and Department of Economics and Management. The second initiative of the project will explore partnerships with the Department of Education and pre-professional healthcare programs with the aim of creating a minor or concentration in interfaith studies.
The Gustavus initiative is being spearheaded by project director John Cha (religion), project leader and lead grant writer Marcia J. Bunge (religion), and project leader Kathi Tunheim (economics and management). The team will work closely with IFYC throughout the grant period to collaborate on resource development, consult on syllabi and faculty workshops, and network with other institutions with interfaith initiatives.
“Given that the United States is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, it is imperative that our students learn about these diverse traditions and graduate with the ability to work with people of all faiths or no faith,” Cha said.
The grant will bolster the College’s interfaith initiatives, which include a staff multifaith adviser, a Passover “teaching Seder,” open daily chapel services, and the construction of a new multifaith center that is scheduled to open in January 2017.
“The College’s commitment to interfaith understanding and cooperation is rooted in its mission and Lutheran heritage,” said Bunge, who serves as the Bernhardson Distinguished Professor of Religion. “This grant will help us sustain and enhance our current curricular and extra-curricular programs in the area of interfaith studies.”
Since its incorporation in 2002, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) has worked on five continents and with over 200 college and university campuses, trained thousands in the principles of interfaith leadership, and reached millions through the media. IFYC has worked with partners including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the White House, and the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan.
The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education through initiatives surrounding innovation in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment with an eye towards combining improvements in quality with considerations of cost. As an organization engaged in knowledge-based philanthropy, the Foundation works collaboratively with grantees to mobilize the intellectual and financial resources necessary to provide students with a challenging and transformative educational experience.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Ten recent St. Olaf College graduates have been named Fulbright fellows for 2016–17.
The recipients of the prestigious award include seven members of this year’s graduating class, as well as three 2015 graduates.
Six will use their Fulbright awards to conduct research, and the other four will take on English teaching assistantships.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is sponsored by the Department of State and awards more than 1,500 grants to U.S. students every year. The program operates in more than 140 countries, seeking to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries” and “contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.” Program participants are chosen based on many factors, including leadership potential and academic merit.
The St. Olaf Fulbright recipients and their projects:
Elizabeth Bews ’15 will conduct research on archeological work in the Middle Strymon River Valley in Southwestern Bulgaria, whose history has been neglected despite its pivotal position in the ancient world. She will compare patterns of surveys and excavations in this area with nationalist trends in the Bulgarian government in order to determine why some sites have been neglected. She hopes that her research will encourage collaboration between Bulgarian and American archaeologists. While at St. Olaf, Bews majored in French, history, and Russian area studies.
Mason Braden ’15 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Mexico. He has also proposed a supplemental project that will involve creating and coaching a local basketball team. Having spent four years as a member of the St. Olaf basketball team, he has experienced the power of athletics to bridge cultural and linguistic differences. Braden majored in Spanish and psychology at St. Olaf.
Sophia Butler ’15 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia. She also plans to lead a community music ensemble that she hopes will build strong relationships among people with many different backgrounds. She majored in music at St. Olaf.
Andrew Hoffman ’16 will analyze the atmosphere chemistry of surface snow layers of Northeastern Greenland’s ice sheet. He will conduct this research as part of the East Greenland Project Ice Core (EGRIP) while studying for a master’s degree in climate change at the University of Copenhagen. He majored in mathematics and physics.
Lisa Koetke ’16 will study the diet composition of livestock and wild ungulates through the Wildlife Institute of India. Her research will be used to determine whether the two groups compete for food and whether such competition affects their diets. The results will inform management decisions in the Indian Himalayan region. She majored in biology at St. Olaf.
Sophia Magro ’16 will study teacher-student interactions in elementary schools in Kiel, Germany. The research will examine how communication between native German teachers and Syrian refugee students is related to the development of students’ self-control. She majored in music and psychology with a concentration in educational studies.
Mari McClelland ’16 will conduct research on forest tenure and national forest policy at the local level in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Last year, she was named a Udall Scholar, an award given to students who have demonstrated leadership, public service, and a commitment to careers related to the environment. She majored in Asian studies and environmental studies at St. Olaf.
Erin McHugh ’16 will work as an English Teaching Assistant at the university level in Croatia, which gives only one teaching grant to a U.S. citizen. During the 2016 Interim, she taught U.S history at Kalani High School and Kamehameha Middle School in Oahu, Hawaii. She majored in history with a concentration in educational studies.
Cameron Rylander ’16 will work as an English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. In furthering his experience while in South Korea, he hopes to immerse himself in Korean culture by engaging in K-pop dance performances and joining middle-aged communities to cook authentic Korean cuisine. He majored in Asian studies.
Nora Uhrich ’16 will investigate Norway’s response to victims of sexual violence seeking asylum from other countries. Her research involves examining the factors that influence policies and practices for accepting or rejecting refugee women as well as interviewing women who have gone through the asylum process. In conjunction, she will take psychology courses at the University of Oslo. She majored in psychology, religion, and Norwegian.
Journalist Covering Philanthropy and Fundraising for Charitable Causes
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Major: M.A. in Philanthropy and Development
Holly Hall is a features editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Hall joined the publication in its first year and has been covering fundraising and related issues for more than two decades. She writes about such topics as how fundraising is affected by economic cycles, efforts to raise money internationally, unethical fundraising practices, career pressures faced by fundraisers, and how top-performing charities raise money. Hall occasionally hosts The Chronicle’s online discussions and webinars on fundraising topics. She has been a featured speaker at many fundraising events and conferences. Her journalistic experience includes working as a writer for Psychology Today magazine and writing freelance articles for other national publications such as the Washington Post. She also worked for more than three years in communications for the American Red Cross, where she created and edited The Humanitarian, an award-winning quarterly magazine for Red Cross donors and other constituents.
WINONA, Minn. — The husband and wife duo of Janet and Eric Heukeshoven will perform “Duo Concertanté’ with the Winona Municipal Band in Lake Park Band Shell at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22. The new music was commissioned for the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music 2016 European tour. Eric Heukeshoven adapted and arranged music originally written for two trombones by Friedrich August Belcke—a German composer who lived from 1795 to 1874.
Following their Winona Municipal Band performance, the couple will perform the duet with a group of select high school aged musicians from throughout the state as part of the Minnesota Ambassadors of Music 2016 program. Performance venues on this year’s tour include London, Paris, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany beginning in early July.
The Heukeshovens both serve on the music faculty at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The performance on June 22 is free and open to the public.
For more information, please contact A. Eric Heukeshoven at 507-457-7292 or email@example.com.
As the University of St. Thomas community is saddened and shocked by the senseless shootings last weekend in Orlando, we call on our community to recommit itself to the values that we hold so dearly.
These are Catholic values of love, respect and inclusion. Our values call for us to love and respect the dignity of all people as creations of God, regardless of their nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion.
Our values also call for us to work together in unity and insist on an end to tyranny, bigotry and hatred, all of which are unacceptable in any form.
In particular, we stand in support of the LGBTQ+ community. We also find no place for any Islamophobic responses that have emerged in the aftermath of the shootings.
As always, our doors are open for conversations with you, and the university stands ready to help anyone in these challenging times. Please do not hesitate to contact Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Diversity and Inclusion Services, or Campus Ministry.
Dr. Julie Sullivan is the president of the University of St. Thomas, and Dr. Artika Tyner is the associate vice president for diversity and inclusion.
The news from Orlando has been heart-wrenching. Many of us are deeply concerned about the tragedy, and want to show our support for Orlando and for the LGBTQ+ community. “Are there ways to be helpful?” and “how can I manage my stress?” are two very natural questions to ask. Below are some suggestions from the American Psychological Association for coping with difficult news and events.
A reminder about resilience. As concerned or discouraged as you may feel about what happened in Orlando, remember that the human spirit is built for survival and resilience.
Gather reliable information. We feel better when we have clear information than when we are left to hear reports of the news from others. Access your news from a reliable source or multiple sources and focus on facts rather than on opinions on the ground.
Limit your news intake. While it can be tempting to try and learn everything there is to know about the attack in Orlando, it’s also important to know when to stop. Limit your news intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For example, consider reading or watching updates for a half hour in the morning, then another half hour when you get home at night.
Be patient. This tip may be quite difficult. The first few days after a crisis are often marked by chaos. Communication can be difficult, clarity about the extent of loss involved may not be available and you may not know how to help. Try to be patient as facts gradually surface about the extent of damage involved and what is needed.
Try to connect. If you have loved ones in the Orlando area, you certainly can try to connect with them. Hearing that familiar voice or receiving a reassuring email, text or Facebook post can help you to feel better. However, be prepared for the possibility that they may not respond to you immediately. They may be trying to manage their own stress, gather information and obtain local support themselves.
Engage in self‐care. At times of stress, and particularly when we are concerned about others, it’s easy to neglect our own needs. Maintaining a consistent routine and keeping up with healthy practices like eating nutritious meals every day, getting enough sleep and taking time to exercise can help you cope with this crisis and be more effective with those you care about.
Accept practical support. Similarly, at times of crisis, it’s important to let others help you in any ways that they can. If you are too worried about friends, family or your community to focus on cooking a balanced meal, allow friends to cook for you, bring you groceries or walk your dog.
Accept emotional support. It’s not only the practical support we need at such a time – we also need to share our concerns, our frustrations and our hopes for the best with others. Now is the time to let your colleague, your neighbor or your best friend reach out to you. Know that they are unlikely to feel burdened at such a time – and they may feel honored to be able to help.
Pitch in. Whether you want to donate money or reach out in other ways – taking action will likely feel better than waiting.
Seek out professional support. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the attack in Orlando, having difficulty concentrating at work or getting enough sleep, consider the possibility of counseling. Counseling and Psychological Services is available for students and has consultation and referral resources for St. Thomas employees.
Note: This story was adapted from material from the Counseling and Psychological Services office at St. Thomas, the Scripps Research Institute and the American Psychological Association.
Carleton team again part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo collaboration to identify a second gravitational wave event in the data from Advanced LIGO detectors.
For years, Carleton has been lauded for its strength in science education. Now, any school can learn some of the insider secrets, right from the source.
They eye each other warily as they pick up their cards, sorting them by suit and wondering what sits in the other hands. One player purses her lips, another sighs, a third gets a crinkle of a grin and the fourth raises an eyebrow, but it is hard to tell if their expressions are genuine or mere posturing.
Tom opens with a “1 Club” bid.
“1 Spade,” Susan responds.
Tom’s partner, John, ups their bid, “2 Clubs.”
“2 Hearts,” offers Katarina, Susan’s partner this round.
Katarina wins the bid as the others pass.
“You’ll like these,” Susan says, laying down the Ace, Jack, 8 and 6 of Hearts, but Katarina is dubious, having only the King and Queen of Hearts in her hand.
“This is going to be very difficult,” she predicts.
She is right. She is set, failing to win at least eight tricks, and her team loses the game. The men smile, but not too broadly. They know well that it is just a matter of time before they will get their comeuppance, whether this evening or next month.
And besides, they have gathered not to win money or to show off their card-playing skills but to enjoy each other’s company, have a fine meal, gossip a bit and solve the world’s problems. They will do all of this around a card table, and in a manner both collegial and competitive.
The game is bridge, and the players are Sister Katarina Schuth, endowed chair for the social scientific study of religion at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity; Father John Malone, pastor of Assumption Church in St. Paul and former vice president for mission and business law professor at St. Thomas; Dr. Thomas Dillon Redshaw, professor emeritus of English; and Dr. Susan Alexander, executive adviser to the president and professor of economics.
They arrive at Alexander’s home for their Sunday night pastime, and they cordially greet each other as they share hors d’oeuvres and a beverage, followed by a light dinner. They finally settle in around her dining room table for three games of five hands each, with each person having another as a partner during the evening.
“Bridge is like all good games,” Malone says. “It brings out the humanity in people.”
This is a wise group from a card shark’s point of view, having played bridge for a combined two centuries. It is an intelligent group, holding terminal degrees in their respective disciplines and serving St. Thomas for a collective 150 years. And it is an engaging group, full of banter, good-natured ribbing and, perhaps most importantly, an appreciation for the friendship that a deck of cards can engender.
Malone and Redshaw win the opening game 4-1 after setting the women on Schuth’s ill-fated 2 Hearts bid. In between hands, they assess each other’s bridge skills, and it’s hard to tell when they are serious and when their tongues are planted firmly in cheek.
For instance, Redshaw calls Alexander a canny observer able to determine “exactly what every person at the table is holding, maybe not on the first trick but on the second trick for sure.” Malone says she “is an extremely good player who knows all the aphorisms – the rules of this and that – and plays by them” without taking unnecessary risks. “She is crafty, in the German sense,” Schuth says. “Not tricky, but she knows how to play a hand well, especially defensively.”
Malone’s reputation as an accomplished card player – well-honed at numerous kitchen tables in St. Paul (and even a few establishments west of here) – illicits an immediate response. “He is a shark,” Alexander jokes, “And he will cheat.” Redshaw marvels at Malone’s “intuitive” style and how “he goes for a bid that I cannot see and pulls it off seven times out of 10. I can get confused in the middle of his hand.” Schuth interjects that seven out of 10 “is a little high” in terms of Malone’s success ratio, and while she views him as “extra talented,” he can be both “outrageous and a bit impatient when I don’t bid high enough.”
Like many good card players, Redshaw has a streak of unpredictability. Alexander chides him for occasionally “erratic” bidding, “unlike his usual behavior. He will do something wild, even psycho.” Schuth finds him a “very diligent” player who “is exciting to play with because you never know what mode he is in.” Malone calls Redshaw “a true optimist who believes in the strength of fate” (to which Redshaw replies: “I call it providence”).
Even Schuth’s approach is not spared the crosscut of praise and scrutiny from her peers. Redshaw appreciates her “always straightforward” play. Alexander agrees by saying she is “solid, reliable and dependable – not like you,” she pauses, nodding at Malone. He finds Schuth can be impatient, especially with partners (he wouldn’t name anybody …) “who try to push their bids when they aren’t there.”
The needle and the barbs always seem present. In the second game, with Malone and Alexander playing Redshaw and Schuth, Malone fails to follow suit but catches himself and insists they replay the trick. “Cheater!” an observer teases. “Is this how he cheats?” “Oh, no,” Schuth responds. “He’s just a little forgetful at times.” As it turns out, Malone wins his bid.
On a subsequent hand, Alexander bids 3 No Trump and Malone’s cards fit beautifully with hers, but she hesitates at one point. “She’s pensive,” Redshaw warns.
“More pensive than she ever was in the classroom,” Malone adds. She makes her bid but loses her opportunity for a small slam.
The Malone-Alexander team prevails in the second game, and there is a break for dessert and extended conversation, mostly about church politics (who would be the new archbishop and when would he be named?) and St. Thomas politics. Opinions are plentiful and off the record, of course. What’s said at the card table stays at the card table.
The group also ponders whether bridge, as a game, is dying. Commentators have speculated that younger generations are too consumed by video games and the internet to take time for a game that features complicated bidding and sequencing strategy.
Alexander understands that Generation Z’ers like interaction with other people, “so maybe when we’re in the rest home they’ll come and play with us.” Redshaw has a ready comparison when asked if bridge is dying. “Like the Irish language!” says the founding director of the St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies. Schuth is grateful there “are no modern gadgets and no cellphones at the table.”
The final game features Malone and Schuth against Redshaw and Alexander, with the second team dead set on denying Malone a third win. “They always try to gang up on me,” he says. He tries to encourage Schuth, winless thus far, but after one hand in which she has a 2 through 7 of Clubs and only one face card, she calls her cards “pathetic.” Malone has a different conclusion. “You are bad luck,” he says.
They both are right, and they lose. Malone tallies the points from all 15 hands and announces that he and Redshaw tied at 3,340. “First time ever,” Malone says. “Proves male domination.” Redshaw kindly disagrees: “Proves we got good cards and played them intelligently.”
And with that, the visitors gather their coats, say their goodbyes and disappear into the night. They know they soon will play again, at which time they will solve the world’s problems, gossip a bit, have a fine meal and – most importantly – enjoy each other’s company.
Read more from St. Thomas magazine.
Erik Thurman, a vice president at the University of Minnesota Foundation, has been named vice president for development and alumni relations at St. Thomas.
President Julie Sullivan announced the appointment of Thurman, who will join St. Thomas on Aug. 1. He will oversee the Development and Advancement departments and their 70 staff members.
“I am delighted that Erik will become a member of the St. Thomas community and lead our development and advancement programs,” Sullivan said. “His two decades of experience at the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa have perfectly prepared him to oversee our fundraising efforts. In addition, he is a man of strong values and integrity, the consummate professional and a strategic thinker, and someone I know I will enjoy working with very much.”
Thurman said he was content in his role as vice president of development, corporate and foundation relations and principal giving at Minnesota, but was drawn to the St. Thomas position for many reasons.
“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to work with President Sullivan, the Board of Trustees, a team of talented advancement professionals, alumni, benefactors and the entire St. Thomas community to deliver on what I think is such a compelling mission of advancing the common good,” he said. “That is in close alignment with my personal faith and values, and those of my family.”
He added, “The work we do together to support this important mission will have an impact on St. Thomas today and for generations to come.”
Thurman is impressed with St. Thomas’ evolution into a comprehensive university and believes “you are clearly poised for the next chapter. It will be rewarding to embrace the momentum you have built and to help in taking the next steps to further enhance the student experience.”
Illinois native, Iowa graduate
Thurman was born in Moline, Illinois, and grew up in Sherrard, Illinois, south of the Quad Cities. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa in 1998, and got his first taste of fundraising as a student caller for the university’s foundation.
“I had a choice of two jobs as a student – to drive a campus bus or to work for the foundation’s Telefund,” he said. “The Telefund job paid 50 cents an hour more, so I took it, and I found out that I really enjoyed talking with alumni and asking them to support the university. That experience sparked my enthusiasm for working with benefactors who are passionate about helping students and advancing higher education.”
Thurman remained at the foundation for a year after graduation before becoming a marketing representative at Federated Mutual Insurance Co. in Owatonna. Eighteen months later, he found himself back at his alma mater as an assistant director of development in the arts.
“I was always painting and drawing as a kid, so I had a natural interest in the arts,” he said. “The position gave me an opportunity to get more involved in the visual and performing arts while launching my development career.”
He became associate director of development for University of Iowa Health Care in 2003. He held health care fundraising positions over the next 12 years, moving to the University of Minnesota in 2005 as director of development at the Minnesota Medical Foundation.
“The vice president I worked for at Iowa was going to Minnesota,” he recalled, “and said, ‘Erik, you should come with me.’ A year later, we moved to Minnesota, and a decade later we’re still here. It’s been a wonderful place to live and raise our family.”
Thurman was promoted to associate vice president of development at the medical foundation in 2006, to senior associate vice president in 2011 and to vice president in 2013 (when the foundation merged into university’s foundation). He also served as interim assistant dean for development and alumni relations in the Carlson School of Management for several months last year.
At the foundation, Thurman is one of four vice presidents of development and manages a portfolio of $5 million-and-higher donors and principal gift prospects. He led teams to raise some of the largest gifts in the university’s history, including a $40 million biomedical research gift and a $25 million corporate gift. During his senior associate vice presidency, his teams were responsible for $475 million of the $1 billion goal of the Vision 2017 health sciences campaign.
Thurman and his wife, Emily, have a daughter and a son, Elizabeth and Crosby. They are members of Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in St. Paul, where he is on the school advisory board and she is on the parish’s Council of Catholic Women. He is also the board chair of Dodoma Tanzania Health Development, a Minneapolis-based non-profit supporting healthcare for children and adults in the Dodoma regional of central Tanzania.
WINONA, Minn. — Each year during summer Reunion Weekend festivities, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota honors outstanding alumni.
This year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient is Merle F. Wilberding of Dayton, Ohio; the Alumni Appreciation Award will be given to Renée Garpestad ’81, D’03 of Minnetonka, Minn.; the Lasallian Service Award will be given to Barb McQuillan ’76 of Minneapolis, Minn.; and the Outstanding Young Alumna Award will be given to Clair (Zauhar) Pennycuff ’06, M’07 of Augusta, Kan.
All four will be honored during a reception Saturday, June 25, on the Winona Campus.
More than 350 alumni, family, and friends will return for Saint Mary’s Reunion Weekend festivities, which begins Friday, June 24, and will run throughout the weekend. To register, or for more information about the many activities and events planned, go to mysmumn.org/rw16.
2016 Saint Mary’s Reunion Weekend Honorees:
Merle F. Wilberding ’66
Distinguished Alumni Award
Throughout his career as an attorney in Washington, D.C., and Dayton, Ohio, Merle F. Wilberding ’66 has accrued a lengthy list of prominent legal achievements and worked high-profile national cases. He has repeatedly received the highest ratings from his peers and is continuously named an “Ohio Super Lawyer” and included in the “Best Lawyers in America,” among many others. In 2012 the Ohio State Bar Foundation gave him the Ramey Award for Distinguished Community Service. He received national recognition as an Army JAG Captain, representing the government in briefing and arguing the appeal in U.S. vs. Lt. William L. Calley, otherwise known as the “My Lai Massacre,” a case that will go down as the most notorious court-martial arising out of the Vietnam War. In 2008, on a substantially pro bono basis, he represented the family of LCpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was savagely murdered and buried in the backyard of Cpl. Cesar Laurean in North Carolina. As part of the case, he was interviewed on CNN’s morning news, The Today Show, and other national news shows and testified in hearings before the U.S. Congress. Subsequently, he became a national spokesperson for the victims of sexual assault in the military. At Saint Mary’s, the Merle F. Wilberding Alumni Room has been named in his honor. An active community leader and volunteer and a prolific writer, Wilberding has dedicated a lifetime of service for the benefit of his fellow man.
Clair (Zauhar) Pennycuff ’06, M’07
Young Alumna Award
Clair (Zauhar) Pennycuff ’06, M’07 empowers her students to grow not only in their academic knowledge but to live ethical lives as well. After completing her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Saint Mary’s, she moved to Kansas and became an English teacher at Kapaun Mount Carmel Catholic High School (KMC) for the Diocese of Wichita. Pennycuff shares her caring demeanor, with a touch of humor, to her students—holding very high expectations for them all. Her leadership abilities do not stop in the classroom. She has helped many other teachers by explaining the process of renewing their teaching license. She has also mentored new teachers. Pennycuff is also a part of the school technology committee and is involved with many other teacher and student groups, along with community activities. In 2012, she received the Gold Apple Award from KAKE news and was named Faculty Member of the Month in 2013. In 2014-15, she was named Teacher of the Year at KMC. This came after a difficult year involving a situation in which students had been caught cheating. It means a lot to her that this same set of students later helped nominate her for this award.
Barbara McQuillan ’76
Lasallian Service Award
Barbara McQuillan ’76 has dedicated her life to helping others. In 1993 McQuillan found her calling at Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation (TCHDC), where she worked her way quickly to executive director. TCHDC is a non-profit developer and owner of affordable rental housing for families in St. Paul, which has developed or preserved over 2,700 units of affordable rental housing in the Twin Cities metro area. McQuillan was awarded the LISC 2005 Community Development Leadership Award for TCHDC’s work related to the acquisition of tax credit properties. TCHDC properties not only provide high-quality affordable rental housing for low-income families, but often also help bring stability to the neighborhoods in which the properties are located. She has also been active on the boards—and held leadership positions—for three other nonprofit organizations: New Connection Programs, Inc., an adolescent chemical dependency treatment program in St. Paul; Neighborhood Involvement Program, a medical, dental, and mental health community clinic serving uninsured and underinsured individuals in Minneapolis; and Wayside House Inc., a chemical dependency and mental health treatment program for women.
Renée Garpestad ’81, D’03
Alumni Appreciation Award
Renée Garpestad ’81, D’03 has been a longtime partner of Saint Mary’s University. She graduated egregia cum laude from Saint Mary’s in 1981. After earning her M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in 1985, she returned to Saint Mary’s to obtain her Ed.D. in 2003. Garpestad began her sales and marketing career with Control Data, and she currently is senior vice president of business development at Lee Hecht Harrison. As an adjunct instructor at Saint Mary’s and St. Thomas, she has shared her expertise by teaching marketing and leadership. Garpestad has further shared her talent by serving on the Alumni Board of Directors from 1989-93 and as alumni board vice president from 1992-93. She also served two five-year terms on the Saint Mary’s University Board of Trustees and was named a Fellow of the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership. In addition to participating in numerous university events, Garpestad was involved with many campaign steering committees and focus groups over the years such as The Next Step, Millennium, Context and Vision, and the Centennial Celebration. In honor of the Centennial, she was recognized as an alumna who is living the Saint Mary’s mission.
Each of St. Thomas’ alumni has a unique story. Helen Love brought hers – and a little-known piece of St. Thomas history – to the forefront when she attended an alumni event in Denver last December. Her name tag was the first indication: Helen Love ’54.
There was some confusion for the event’s organizers as St. Thomas didn’t become coeducational until 1977 – nearly a quarter century after Love’s purported graduation year. (There was some confusion for Love too; she actually earned her bachelor’s degree in 1957, only 20 years before women were “officially” allowed on campus.)
“When you get your degree piecemeal like I did, it can be kind of hard to keep track,” Love said.
“Piecemeal” is just one of the ways you could describe the story of how Love earned a bachelor’s degree. Another way is “rare”: Love is one of just 60 women who received their bachelor’s degree before St. Thomas went coed, and many of those women are now deceased. Another way is “unknown”: It’s not exactly common knowledge that women were conferred degrees at St. Thomas prior to 1981.
Yet there she was, 85 years old and appearing seemingly out of nowhere because she felt meeting the university’s first female president – Dr. Julie Sullivan – was important. Love represents a group of women who showed why the desire for education should be respected and rewarded. And she brought forward a piece of St. Thomas history that shows how an all-male college helped many women realize their educational aspirations.History of Women at St. Thomas
Dig into the list of St. Thomas’ alumni and you’ll find the names Margaret Burke and Agnes Mahoney, the first two women graduates, earning degrees in science and English, respectively, in 1922. Both their names have a “Sr.” designation in front of them, a common signifier before the names of women degree-holders. It stands for sister: Nuns represent the majority of St. Thomas early female alums.
The opportunity for them to attend St. Thomas was possible thanks to agreements between the leaders of local orders and those at the college. Letters between those leaders document the arrangements that, for several decades, saw nuns continue their education at the all-male school.
“Dear Reverend Father: As our Mother Provincial is planning to have several sisters return from the missions to take up the studies of the next semester, we are again calling upon your kind help in planning the courses,” writes Sister Mary of the Convent of the Good Shepherd to the college’s dean, the Rev. William E. O’Donnell, on July 22, 1947.
“Dear Sister Jane Margaret: Enclosed are official schedule blanks for the registration of nuns from the Convent taking courses through St. Thomas,” reads another letter from the St. Thomas records office to the Convent of The Visitation on May 18, 1956.
Burke and Mahoney were as under the radar as degree recipients can be; officially, 1923 was the first year the college offered classes for any women. A Sept. 28 article from the student newspaper, The Aquin, reads, “A Night School of Commerce has been instituted. … The classes are open to both men and women – to anyone who wishes to develop mentally. This is the first time that anyone but men have come to the College of St. Thomas to attend classes.”
Most nuns took courses through a combination of methods: St. Thomas professors would come to the schools where the sisters taught; the sisters would meet with professors independently, similar to an independent study; and the sisters would attend classes on campus at night and on the weekends. This was still the case when Love, as well as Helen Nalodka (B.A. in history, ’63) and Barbara Peterson (B.A. in sociology, ’58) arrived.
“The teachers were so sweet,” Peterson said. “They were very kind and considerate.”
“You would feel a little bit like an odd duck sometimes [on campus] as a woman, but most times they made you feel very welcome,” Nalodka added. “There was comfort from individual students and the professors were always so kind. I don’t recall a teacher who wasn’t understanding or didn’t do something extra if you needed it.”
St. Thomas launched a Master of Education degree in 1950 that was open to both men and women, so by that time women on campus were a more common sight. More than 900 women would receive their master’s through that program before 1977, the vast majority of them nuns. More quietly, though, the tradition of women collecting their requirements to earn bachelor’s degrees continued on throughout those same years. As Love and Nalodka can attest, it wasn’t necessarily an easy path to take.Work, Work and More Work
After a year at Mankato State, Love joined the School Sisters of Notre Dame and eventually began teaching at St. Francis de Sales in St. Paul in summer 1953. Further education for the sisters fit in well with the convent’s mission, which Love appreciated.
“The School Sisters of Notre Dame, that was their whole thing: They wanted to be good teachers,” Love said. “In the 1950s before high school accreditation and all that, it was allowed [that you taught even if] you didn’t have your degree to teach. We wanted more than that.”
Love attended class on Saturdays and mixed with both men and women, the latter of which were studying mainly for their master’s in education.
Their schedules were perhaps the most difficult thing to negotiate: Love taught both fifth and sixth grade while completing her studies, along with all the day-to-day responsibilities in her order.
“It was hard. Especially when you’re not a seasoned teacher. You had to prepare your classes, spending a lot of time going over that on Sundays for the whole week. Then you [had] to get your prayers in, cleaning duties, other duties. We kept really busy,” Love said. “We got flashlights because our mother would throw the electricity switch [at the convent]. Every night we would beg to stay up later, leave the lights on. She was pretty sure we needed more sleep and she didn’t know how long we’d use our flashlights.Click for a list of notable female occurrences at an all-male college
1922: First bachelor’s degrees conferred to women.
1923: Night School of Commerce opens for men and women.
1948: Mary Keef becomes school’s first full-time female faculty member.
1950: Master of Education program opens for men and women.
1951: Sister Maria Stephen Lamm becomes first female to receive master’s degree from St. Thomas.
1977: Connie Pocrnich is first female student admitted after the college becomes coeducational.
“I know as I got closer [to completing my degree] I was happy to think that even though it looked piecemeal, all the pieces were coming into one quilt, so to speak,” Love added. “I was really happy to have [my degree] completed.”
Nights, weekends and summers also were key for Nalodka, a Toledo, Ohio, native who began taking courses at St. Thomas as a Sister of St. Francis a few years after Love earned her degree in 1957. After taking classes from a St. Thomas professor who would come to where she was teaching – Holy Cross Elementary on University Avenue – Nalodka continued pursuing a history degree with courses on campus in the summer and evenings.
“We weren’t permitted [by our convent] at certain times to go to the library, so I remember I prized Monsignor Nicholas Molter because he gave me lots of books. He and many professors went out of their way to help you,” Nalodka said. “I never really thought about us being coed. We just went along with it back then; you didn’t challenge some of those ideas.”
Both Love and Nalodka continued their educations after they left St. Thomas: Love received a degree in French from Laval University in Quebec and Nalodka earned her master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Both ended up leaving their orders in the years following the Second Vatican Council, which stirred up many changes in Catholic orders throughout the world. Love continued teaching until she went back to nursing school and worked in health care before retiring in 2005; Nalodka was a counselor, then the director of a senior center before she finished her career working for the state of Ohio.
For both, the opportunities they were afforded at St. Thomas helped launch legacies of lifelong learning that carried them throughout the decades. Nalodka said she loved traveling and learning about other countries, but one stop in particular meant a lot: Her love of Greek history was stoked in her courses at St. Thomas, and in 1990 she fulfilled her lifelong dream of visiting Greece. She spoke at length about the beauty of her experience there, the hanging baskets and rich history she had learned about in her studies.
“Education has always been important in our family,” said Nalodka, whose mother came from Ukraine and couldn’t read or write. “I always have encouraged women to go on to more learning, more education, whatever possible to better yourself. I’m always trying to instill that in my nieces and nephews.”A Lasting Connection
Nalodka hasn’t kept in touch with St. Thomas much through the years; she said she hasn’t been back since her graduation in 1963, but still has her commencement program and pictures from her time here. Love has kept in touch more, returning to campus in 2000 after attending a gathering of the School Sisters of Notre Dame to show her husband, Richard, where she went to school.
“I had no idea how much it had grown,” she said. “When I think back, we were only about 800 students in the ’50s. To hear that you’re 10,000 students now is really amazing.”
The evolution of St. Thomas was a topic of conversation between Love and Sullivan when they met in Denver.
“She felt St. Thomas was a very important part of her own formation, and it’s a joy to see its continued growth and development as an institution in ways she really appreciated,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan later acknowledged Love during her speech in Denver, stating to everyone’s surprise that the oldest alum in the room wasn’t a male Tommie. Learning more about Love’s experience and about others like her further cemented a lesson Sullivan said she’s been learning since she arrived at St. Thomas.
“It was one more example of what I’ve seen over and over since the founding of St. Thomas, and that’s the progressiveness of the leaders here,” she said. “It would have been really easy to say, ‘Sorry, we don’t [teach women],’ but clearly, the leaders at the time said, ‘We are all male, but we understand the need for your sisters to be educated and we want to contribute to that.’ That showed a lot of foresight.”
In a final serendipitous connection, Sullivan was approached last year to speak to the School Sisters of Notre Dame on campus in March, when they came to St. Thomas for a women’s leadership luncheon. Sullivan spoke of the need to advance the common good, a bond that already has been shared between the two groups through those like Love.
“You see things that have happened at St. Thomas throughout the decades under different leaders who have exhibited a lot of vision and foresight. And willingness to think about something differently. [These women getting their degrees] is another one of those examples,” Sullivan said. “It gives you a real inspiration.”
Read more from St. Thomas magazine.
A retirement party will be held June 21 for Dr. Susan Alexander, executive adviser to President Julie Sullivan and a faculty member since 1981.
The party will be from 3-4:30 p.m. in the backyard of Morrison House, the president’s residence at 2045 Summit Ave., with a brief program at 3:30 p.m. In case of rain, the party will be moved to the Iverson Hearth Room (Room 340) in the Anderson Student Center.
Alexander joined the economics faculty in 1981 and chaired the department from 1987 to 1992. She served as interim dean of the undergraduate college in 1993-94, interim associate vice president for academic affairs in 2000-01 and interim vice president for academic affairs the following two years. She became executive adviser to Father Dennis Dease, then president, on Jan. 1, 2007.
Her faculty colleagues elected her Professor of the Year, along with the late Dr. Michael Jordan, in 1997.
The growing demand for healthcare workers creates pressure for employers to attract, develop, and retain a highly skilled workforce.
The career pathways for workers in the healthcare field vary as much as the preparation to become one—from short term on-the-job training to medical school—and education plays a key role. Although certificates or two-year-degree credentials often provide immediate employment, a sustainable career in today’s larger health systems often requires advanced training and education.
Employees at all levels benefit from more education—added credentials improve the quality of their skill sets, increase their chances for advancement, and ultimately advance their socioeconomic status if they earn a higher wage. On the other hand, employers benefit from a more qualified workforce as highly educated employees are more likely to stay in their positions longer.
Employment in Minnesota’s healthcare sector is projected to grow faster than other employment as a whole. The job growth in the category of workers referred to as “healthcare support” is forecast to grow nearly 30 percent over the next decade. The majority of the roles include positions that are non-physician or nursing, such as surgical technologist, home health aide, dental hygienist, paramedic, medical lab technician, etc. As these roles become more professionalized, career pathways are needed to not only attract workers into the jobs, but also to retain them.
One employee who hopes to gain from advancing his education is Gideon Nyakundi, a current student enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare and Human Services Management program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota on their Twin Cities Campus. Nyakundi is a certified biomedical technician at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis.
Since completing a two-year biomedical technician degree at Dakota Technical College, Nyakundi spends his workday repairing and maintaining simple to complex equipment and machines, such as ultrasound and anesthesia machines, neonatal incubators, and modern patient monitoring telemetry support. His ability to work on complex equipment, due to his extensive continued training, has made Nyakundi a sought-after employee. But he lacks one thing—a bachelor’s degree.
“My experience and education laid the groundwork for my career here, but I need a bachelor’s degree to move up in the organization,” Nyakundi said. “I am lucky to work for an organization that values education and supports me finishing my degree.” An added bonus is that, as an employee, Nyakundi receives a 10 percent discount because HCMC and Saint Mary’s have a corporate partnership, he explained.
Program Director Susan Jarosak said many students are just like Nyakundi.
“Our program attracts healthcare workers who have earned either a two-year degree or certificate credential. Students tell me that, even though they have years of experience in the field, they are often passed up for promotions because they lack a bachelor’s degree,” Jarosak said. “Our program coursework teaches skills that will provide a competitive advantage within the healthcare sector, such as ethical and legal issues, information management, public policy, writing, and presentation skills.”
Jarosak added, “The skills transfer readily across many different industries. With so much growth and change in the industry, it’s an exciting time to pursue a degree related to healthcare management.”
Nyakundi said he did not believe it when he was told that he could finish his bachelor’s degree in less than two years by attending class just one or two nights a week. But he is glad he started because he plans on finishing in just three semesters.
“The evening courses have worked well with all my work and family obligations and I’m learning new things that will help me be a leader,” Nyakundi said.
“Our degree programs are designed for busy working adults—and our professors are working professionals in the field of healthcare who bring real-world perspectives into the classroom,” Jarosak said. “And so do the students—just ask Gideon Nyakundi.”
The popular Lighten Up Garage Sale is Saturday June 18th and Sunday June 19th.
Academic growth was a certainty at Carleton, but in our final senior exit interview, Hannah Nayowith '16 reflects on the importance of personal progress.
St. Cloud Police Chief
Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
Major: Police Science, M.A. in Public Safety Administration
William Blair Anderson was selected as St. Cloud’s police chief in 2012. Prior to that, Anderson served as chief deputy sheriff at Carver County and he spent 16 years in the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department, overseeing many divisions there. Anderson is St. Cloud’s first African American police chief, and he’s believed to be the first in Minnesota outside the Twin Cities metro area. Prior to entering the police force, Anderson served eight years in the U.S. Army. Anderson frequently advocates for programs to help inmates better succeed in re-entering society, and he is making the St. Cloud Youth Leadership Academy program and Police Activities League (PAL) top priorities for his department. These are crime prevention initiatives; Anderson believes in devoting resources to mentoring and guiding the young people of St. Cloud down the right path. Under his guidance, the police department governs itself using the principles of the “Wheel of Integrity”: respect, transparency, accountability, honesty, and humility.