Recent News from Campuses

2014 - The year in review

Although 2014 wasn't a presidential election year, it was a big year for items associated with presidents at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

WCCO Features Legendary Men’s Tennis Coach Steve Wilkinson

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 11:59am

Steve Wilkinson

WCCO Sports Reporter and Anchor Mike Max recently spent time talking with legendary Gustavus men’s tennis coach Steve Wilkinson. Max and Wilkinson talked about Wilkinson’s career, his new book Let Love Serve, and his battle with cancer. The story aired on Sunday, Dec. 14 on WCCO-TV’s Sunday evening show Rosen’s Sports Sunday. You can watch the story in its entirety on the WCCO website.

Wilkinson  served as the head men’s tennis coach at Gustavus from 1971-2009 and retired from the school as the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories.

Wilkinson’s squads won two NCAA Division III titles (1980 and 1982) as well as 35 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. In addition, his players claimed six national doubles titles, and four national singles titles. He coached 46 players to 87 ITA All-America honors (including current ATP tour player Eric Butorac), 103 players to 226 All-Conference honors, and five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Wilkinson has also played a key role in the fundraising and construction of the Gustavus Adolphus College’s tennis facilities, which are considered to be among the finest in the nation.

The former coach has been involved in numerous national tennis organizations, having served on the executive committees of the USPTA, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the USTA. He was inducted into the U.S. Professional Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013, the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame in 1974, the Northern Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1983 and the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame in 1999.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

Tommie Traditions: January Term

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:01am

If St. Thomas January Term could talk as it approaches the over-the-hill marker of 40 years old, it very well might draw from Rodney Dangerfield, tie askew, handkerchief in hand, lamenting, “I get no respect.” Like a bad printer or vacuum deal, January classes at St. Thomas are a “two-for-one-special” kind of Tommie Tradition: You get the tradition itself of January Term at St. Thomas. And then you get the tradition of talking about whether January Term at St. Thomas should be a tradition.

January Term – “J-Term” to everyone but the course catalog – has been in the curriculum since the 1975-76 school year. Kind of. It started out known as “January Interim.”

Regardless of its title, it always has been accompanied by conversation of whether it should be kept, tweaked or ditched altogether in favor of a different academic model. That healthy, longstanding debate has prompted several changes throughout the decades. It also has laid the framework for more examinations at St. Thomas as a new strategic plan is put in place.

“Educational experimentation”

Like many traditions, J-Term can trace its roots back to the 1960s. Or at least ideas from the 1960s. January Interim became somewhat common in higher education throughout the 1960s and 1970s: “Students may take any interim course offered on the St. Thomas campus, any course on the other campuses in the five college cooperative association (i.e., Augs-burg, Hamline, Macalester, and St. Catherine) or an interim course at selected other colleges around the nation,” read the 1975-76 St. Thomas course catalog.

“That was a period of educational experimentation in this country, the 1960s and 1970s,” said Michael Jordan, current associate vice president of undergraduate studies and academic advisement. “We offered innovative courses that were not part of the regular curriculum. Faculty would develop various courses that gave students the chance to explore different aspects of a subject or the world that weren’t necessarily covered (in traditional classes).”

Non-credit, free classes were offered on everything from canoe building to meteorological education focused on the cold, with undergrads required to complete two courses before they graduated (transfers only needed one and special projects could qualify as substitutes). Even with those flexibilities, early on, January Interim had documented struggles capturing its target audience: “Despite topics covering birth, death and just about all the other games people play in between, many students say the courses offered don’t appeal to them,” a February 1980 The Aquin article said.

Santa delivers change

Other schools dealt with similar feedback, prompting many – including St. Catherine in 1983 – to drop their interim offerings altogether. In that same year, according to The Aquin, St. Thomas tasked a subcommittee with taking a comprehensive look at how the school should handle its winter-month future. Those pointed discussions led to a major overhaul in 1985, prompting the headline, “Faculty vote in new January Term” in a Dec. 13 The Aquin article, which featured the drawing of a faculty member dressed as Santa presenting a wrapped box labeled “January Term” to a happy-to-accept student body.

In reality, the name swap was just the beginning; the biggest change from the 90-68 faculty vote was the move to credited classes in January, either full-credit courses (48 hours) or half-credit courses (24 hours) over four weeks. This also meant a new graduation requirement of 33 courses (132 credits), up from 32 (128).

Not everything changed, though: These new classes would still be free, and students were allowed to take a full-credit or two half-credit classes each January term.

“Students need not come during January, if they choose not to,” then-academic dean John Nemo told The Aquin at the time. “We hope some will because the one course or two half-courses will be free.”

Another makeover, revitalization

As one with the clarity of retrospect might think, students were more than willing to come during January for free credited classes. It took just three years before academic affairs determined the J-Term classes should require payment like normal courses, according to The Aquin.

That decision far from set J-Term’s status at St. Thomas in stone, however. In 1989 the ACTC schools gathered to discuss changing their academic model entirely, considering options that included keeping the current system; going to a different 4-1-4 (J-Term as an open period with no classes); two 14-week semesters (no J-Term); two 15-week semesters (no J-Term); or a 4-4-1 (a four-week class period in May). Summing up the need for the conversations, Nemo said, “The novelty of J-Term may have simply worn off.”

Much like Mark Twain’s famous quip, reports of J-Term’s death at that point proved to be an exaggeration. A February 1990 Aquin headline stated, “Students satisfied with J-Term setup,” and highlighted the start of a decade that saw several reports of increasing enrollment in courses, especially to study abroad. Those stories also timed with St. Benedict’s and St. John’s dropping J-Term in 2001, leaving St. Thomas – along with Hamline – as one of just four Minnesota institutions to keep its January Term.

Continued discussion

More recently, a 2005 curriculum task force at St. Thomas again revisited the overall presence of J-Term. Jordan, a member of that committee, said – then and now – the perceived positives (study abroad popularity, a chance for students to work outside of school, volunteer on VISION trips, take an extended break to travel or recharge between semesters, etc.) always coincide with perceived negatives (not enough offerings for all students, large parts of the student body disengaged from the school for too long, etc.).

“It’s been difficult to reach consensus,” Jordan said.

That, more than anything else, may be the best way to describe the tradition of J-Term and J-Interim at St. Thomas. For many it has contained some of the fondest memories of interaction with their school, whether in a trip abroad or in a particularly engaged, condensed course on campus. For others it has contained seemingly never-ending days and weeks away from school in the heart of another Midwest winter.

With a strategic plan in place and another examination of the overall curriculum coming with it, J-Term will likely soon get another close look, Jordan said. The tradition of debating the tradition will log another chapter and, perhaps, bring about more changes.

Or not. Some say 50 is the new 40, anyway. J-Term may very well be around to find out if it can reach that birthday.

2015 Tommie Award Finalists Announced

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:35am

Harrison Aslesen, Chad Berg and Mariann Kukielka have been voted finalists for the 2015 Tommie Award.

Preliminary voting for the 18 nominees ended Wednesday. Finalists were selected by a vote of students, faculty and staff. The vote to determine the Tommie Award winner will be held Feb. 9-11. To review resumes and testimonials for each finalist please visit the Tommie Award website.

The 15 other nominees include: Joshua Corbin, Kara Gamelin, Michaela Hughbanks, Brittanie Hundt, Kody Kantor, Megan Lauzon, Joseph Lewis, Heather Meeks, Jennifer Murtha, Christine Robbins, Caroline Rode, Peter Scheerer, Jade Schleif, Lisa Thao and Tanesha Williams.

The Tommie Award has been presented since 1931 to a UST senior. It recognizes achievement in scholarship, leadership and campus involvement, and represents the highest ideals of the university.

The Tommie Award is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs. For more information, contact Vern Klobassa, (651) 962-6464.

St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis: Sale Prices for Nonforeclosed Homes in the Twin Cities Have Been Unexpectedly Flat Since April

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:49am

An analysis of the 13-county Twin Cities real estate market data for the month of October 2014 found a 7.1 percent overall increase in median sale prices compared to October 2013. However, virtually all of the increase has been due to higher prices paid for homes with foreclosed mortgages. Traditional home sales, which are those not affected by foreclosures or short sales, were up only .7 percent over October 2013.

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 Twin Cities 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).

Since April 2014, the median price for traditional sales has been tracking very close to last year’s levels.

“For all three types of sales, we had been expecting an annual median sale price increase in 2014 of 4 percent to 6 percent. However, we expected the majority of the increase would come from traditional sales dues to an improving economy and continued low interest rates,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university.

He added that in the Twin Cities the median price of traditional home sales by October had recovered to the pre-housing-crash levels of the second quarter of 2005. “With an improving local economy and a relatively low supply of homes for sale we are expecting that the median price of traditional homes should be running about 4 percent to 5 percent above the previous year’s level.”

While their sale prices have been going up, the number of foreclosed and short-sale homes on the market is expected to decrease. That’s because the number of new foreclosures has been decreasing steadily throughout 2014. In October 2014, for example, the percentage of distressed sales was 12.5 percent, compared to 21.5 percent in October 2013. Tousley predicts that the percentage will decline to 6 percent to 8 percent in 2015.

While the number of homes on the market has increased recently in the Twin Cities, by historical standards that number is still low. In October 2014 there were 17,132 homes for sale; normally there are 20,000 to 25,000 in any given month.

Tousley suggests several reasons for the persistent low inventory, even though more homeowners are considering selling now that values have rebounded over the last couple of years:

  • The question is what homeowners will do after they have sold their home. That would turn them from sellers into buyers in a market that offers them limited choices for their replacement home and the fact that obtaining a new mortgage is still relatively difficult.
  • Although the number of homeowners who are “under water” has decreased significantly, there still are a considerable number who are near negative equity. Even if they are not under water, they have very little equity and when they sell their home they do not have enough money to buy a new one.
  • Two additional factors that could be keeping potential sellers on the sidelines are more restrictive credit standards and little-to-no wage growth in the last several years.

Meanwhile, many homeowners are opting to stay and renovate or add on to their current homes as an alternative to moving. According to the Keystone Report, the number of permits for residential remodels and additions through the end of October are both up 46 percent.

“Most remodelers remain confident that the market will continue to improve as more homeowners undertake renovations and additions,” Tousley said.

While 2014 has been good for remodelers, it hasn’t turned out as well for those who build single-family homes. “Many builders were expecting 20 percent to 25 percent gains in 2014 and are now struggling to build the same number of homes they built last year,” he said.

This year, the number of single-family building permits issued through the end of October was down 9.5 percent and the dollar value of those permits was down 4.5 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

In 2013 there were just under 6,000 single-family housing starts. At this point we are on pace for about 5,500 single-family starts for the year.

One reason for the slower pace, Tousley said, has been the difficulty for builders to find quality lots in desirable locations. Another is that the median sale price of new homes has been increasing more rapidly than the median sale price of existing homes. This has been blamed on a significant increase in the cost of building materials in recent years and a trend to building larger, higher-price homes.

“The gap between the median sale price of new construction and existing single-family homes has been widening steadily since 2007, creating an affordability gap between new homes and existing homes,” he said.

The UST composite indexes

Each month the Shenehon Center tracks nine housing-market data elements, including the median price for three types of sales, and creates an index for each: nondistressed or traditional-type sales; foreclosures; and short sales.

The October composite index for traditional sales is 1055, which is the same as October 2013 and a decrease of 1 percent from September 2014 when the index was 1065. The decline is blamed on the decrease in the number of homes on the market and a significant drop in the number of new listings in September.

The October composite index for short sales was 993, down slightly from the 934 recorded in September. This index has increased 6.2 percent compared to one year ago.

The October composite index for the foreclosure market decreased 1.7 percent, moving from 795 in September to 782 in October.

More information online

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

The index is available free via email from Tousley at

Hamline Named to National Community Service Honor Roll

Hamline University Campus News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:00am
Hamline has once again been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

$1 Million Gift to Help Attract National Merit Scholars to Gustavus

Gustavus Campus News - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 5:16pm

Bob and Cindy Peterson sign the official paperwork for the Robert A. Peterson Distinguished Student Scholarship Fund alongside President Bergman and Vice President for Finance Ken Westphal

Gustavus Adolphus College is pleased to announce that Bob “Stick” Peterson ’74 and his wife Cindy have generously given $1 million for the creation of an endowed scholarship fund intended to attract and retain National Merit Scholars to the College. The fund will officially be known as the Robert A. Peterson Distinguished Student Scholarship Fund.

“This is an exciting and important gift to the College for many reasons,” Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman said. “This gift not only builds momentum toward our $150 million goal for Campaign Gustavus, but it will also help our admission staff continue to recruit the most intelligent, talented, and motivated students.”

Peterson, known by most of his Gustavus friends and classmates as “Stick” due to his slim build as an 18-year old freshman, graduated from Gustavus in 1974 with degrees in economics and environmental studies. After working for two years in the College’s business office, Peterson went on to earn his MBA in accounting at the University of Southern California. He worked for several years in public accounting, private bank management, and venture capital before entering the transportation industry. Since 1991, he has served as President and CEO of Melton Truck Lines, Inc., one of the nation’s leading flatbed trucking companies, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bob “Stick” Peterson ’74

“I have always appreciated the fine liberal arts education I received at Gustavus, where I developed many lifelong friends among classmates, professors, and administrators,” Peterson said. “My 40-year affiliation has forged a strong connection with Gustavus and its mission. Cindy and I feel very fortunate to make this gift and lend our support to the College.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program began in 1955 as an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Approximately 1.5 million high school students across the country enter the National Merit Program each year by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), usually during their junior year. Of those 1.5 million entrants, approximately 7,500 become National Merit Scholars.

“National Merit Scholars have demonstrated strong academic promise as high school students,” said Tom Crady, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “This new scholarship fund will be a wonderful conversation starter when we sit down with National Merit Scholars and their families to talk about Gustavus Adolphus College.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

Doing What the People Love

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 2:49pm

Imagine: You’re competing against a record-breaking number of applicants – more than 15,000. One percent of those you’re up against will be chosen for a coveted position. If you succeed in getting past the dreaded online application, a round of surveys and questionnaires waits to determine if you have the right skill set. After that? Well, phone interviews, video interviews and maybe an in-person interview if you’re lucky.

Four months spent in all, vying for a vaunted position. What position, you wonder? Not a high-level, high-paying job at all, but an internship.

Zach Zumbusch, a communication and journalism major, had to go through that process when applying to be an intern at Discovery – and a similar one to secure another internship at NBCUniversal. He’s spending the semester in Los Angeles, juggling both internships while also attending classes.

Telling stories and sharing a message

At Discovery, his internship covers marketing, branding and designing. In specific, Zumbusch is working on the branding and marketing of the Discovery Internship Program. He started there as an intern over the summer and then was invited back to continue into the fall.

At NBCUniversal, he’s a part of Wilshire Studios, which develops and produces content for E! Entertainment and other notable brands, such as MTV, Oxygen, TruTV and VH1. Zumbusch’s work focuses on the development and production of new show concepts to be pitched to the network. His day might mean researching a developing series, helping with casting or working with the development team on a series before the pilots are filmed.

Both positions, in a way, are dreams come true for Zumbusch.

“(Discovery is) genuine, innovative, inspiring and educational all in one captivating package,” Zumbusch said. “I often tell my colleagues at Discovery that I would have done anything to work for them … Scoring an internship with NBCUniversal was one of my biggest undergraduate goals. People who knew me are constantly telling me that I’d be perfect for E!, so I wanted to prove them right, and I wanted to prove those wrong who said I would never make it.”

Zumbusch described both internships as “hands-on” and said that maintaining a busy schedule at St. Thomas has helped him. He said having a good attitude and being persistent and authentic are important as well – and may have helped him land his positions.

Of course, one of the obvious highlights of working in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry is meeting the talent.

“At the E! offices, you literally run into the most random people,” Zumbusch said. “I was coming back from lunch the other day and Nick Jonas walked by, and you’re just like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ … I mean, let’s get real, Ryan Seacrest literally parks in the same garage as me every morning.”

Zumbusch said he’s already noticed how much he’s grown as a young professional and that he’s made countless connections. (“When people talk about how difficult it is to break into the entertainment industry, they aren’t lying,” he said. “Not knowing somebody can be a huge detriment.”)

In the long term, he says there a lot of opportunities for him to explore and is more concerned with continuing to advance himself, but, if he had to pick, he’d love to be a talent and casting director or a development executive, probably on the network side.

“I feel like people in the entertainment industry do what people love,” Zumbusch said. “I find it extremely fulfilling to entertain and captivate an audience, and entertainment offers a myriad of opportunities for that. Entertainment is all about telling stories and sharing a message, and if you can take someone away from their lives, even for a minute and entertain them, that’s what the industry is all about.”

Janet Jennings Crowned St. Lucia

Gustavus Campus News - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:45am

Janet Jennings ’17 was named St. Lucia for 2014. Photo by Nate Long ’16.

Sophomore Janet Jennings of Inglewood, Calif., was crowned St. Lucia on Thursday morning in Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College’s 74th annual Festival of St. Lucia.

Jennings is a Russian major who intends to add a biology major and follow a pre-med track at Gustavus. She is a Collegiate Fellow in Norelius Hall, Treasurer of the Pan-Afrikan Student Organization (PASO), a Peer Educator in the Diversity Center, manager of the men’s tennis team, chair of the Food Committee for the International Cultures Club, an ally member of Queers & Allies, and a member of the Russian Club.

Every year five or six sophomore women are chosen to serve on the College’s St. Lucia Court based on courageous leadership, strength of character, service to others, and compassion. This year’s court included Sarah Barnes from Prior Lake, Minn., Rachel Hain from Roseville, Minn., Kendyl Landeck from Moscow, Idaho, Sharon Singh from Rochester, Minn., and Laura Swenson from Eagan, Minn.

The Festival of St. Lucia is one of many Swedish traditions during the Christmas season and is traditionally held on December 13. On this day in Sweden, the eldest daughter plays the role of St. Lucia by rising early in the morning to prepare and serve baked goods and coffee to her family. Wearing a crown of lighted candles, Lucia represents the return of light that will end the long winter nights and serves as a symbol of hope and peace for the Christmas season.

At Gustavus, the St. Lucia Court traditionally sings carols through the College’s residence halls during the early morning hours on the day of the crowning and a traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord luncheon typically follows the ceremony. St. Lucia is chosen though a campus community vote.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

Golden Bear Volleyball Has Three Named All-Americans

Concordia University Campus News - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 8:02am

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the 34th annual AVCA-All America Teams for NCAA Division II women's volleyball and Concordia University, St. Paul had three athletes earn recognition on the three teams. Riley Hanson was selected to the First Team, Emma Lange was selected to the Second Team and Kasey Williams was selected to the Third Team while Anna Schlaak also received honorable mention. Hanson also earned Daktronics All-America Second Team honors. 

Hanson picks up her first AVCA and Daktronics All-America selections. She finished off a strong sophomore campaign 13th in the nation and second in the NSIC with a .386 hitting percentage. That mark was the seventh highest in single-season school history and puts her career hitting percentage at .380, which would be third best in school history (26 attempts short of qualifying). Hanson was second on the team with 3.29 kills per set and third on the team with 0.91 kills per set. She set a career high with 20 kills in a pair of matches while putting up a career best nine blocks against SMSU in the final match of the year. 

Lange earns her first AVCA All-America honors. The sophomore stepped into a starting role as a sophomore and delivered with a .324 hitting percentage, good for eighth in the NSIC, and 0.97 blocks per set, second best on the team. She ranked fourth on the team with 2.49 kills per set while also adding 67 assists. Lange finished the season with 13 matches in double figures in kills and 15 matches with four or more blocks. She set a career high with 22 kills against Missouri S&T and a career high with eight blocks in two different matches. 

Williams was named to the AVCA All-American Team for the first time in her career. She claimed the setter position as a junior and ranked fourth in the nation with an impressive 12.44 assists per set. She also ranked third on the team with 2.76 digs per set and fifth on the team with 41 blocks. Williams collected 14 double-doubles, including three in a row to end the season. She finished with 12 matches with at least 50 assists and set a career high with 66 assists against Wayne State in the NSIC Tournament. 

Schlaak grabs her first AVCA All-America honorable mention selection. She emerged in her junior season to lead the team and rank sixth in the NSIC with 3.84 kills per set. She hit .262 and added 2.87 digs per set to rank second on the team. Schlaak was also second on the team with 28 service aces. The junior showed consistency with double digit kills in all but three matches in the season. She collected 14 double-doubles while setting career highs in kills with 25 against Wayne State and in digs with 22 against St. Cloud State.

Concordia's Tom Obarski Earns 2014 AFCA All-America First Team Honors

Concordia University Campus News - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 7:48am

Concordia University, St. Paul senior kicker/punter Tom Obarski (Burnsville, Minn.) has been named to the 2014 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II All-America Team.

Obarski becomes Concordia's second AFCA All-American, joining Zach Moore (2013) who now plays for the New England Patriots in his rookie season. The AFCA only selects one All-America Team, making it the most prestigious All-America honor in Division II football.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. The AFCA Division II All-America selection committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA's nine districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. In addition to the exclusive nature of the award, what makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.

Obarski has already been named a Capital One Academic All-America First Team selection, making him an All-America and Academic All-America First Team student-athlete. He's also currently on the Daktronics All-America ballot as Super Region 3's First Team kicker.

View more details about Obarski's career at

Visitation, Funeral and Memorial Services for Erik Nielsen Announced

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 5:30pm

The times and dates for visitation, funeral and memorial Mass have been announced for Erik Nielsen, a University of St. Thomas sophomore who suffered a brain aneurysm and died Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

The visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 7075 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines, Iowa, 50266.

The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1627 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, Iowa, 50265.

Directions to the services can be found on these three websites: Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Church and Hamilton’s Funeral and After Life Services (Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway).

A memorial Mass will be held at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the university’s St. Paul campus.  The campus carillon bells will chime from 8:25 to 8:30 p.m. that evening in Erik’s memory.

Erik’s parents, Tim and Beth Nielsen, have asked members of the St. Thomas community who are coming to the services to wear something purple. “We would love it if students wore something ‘St. Thomas’ if possible so our friends and family could see what a wonderful community Erik chose to be part of,” they said.

Members of the St. Thomas community who are in need of someone to talk to are welcome to contact Campus Ministry, (651) 962-6560, or Counseling and Psychological Services, (651) 962-6780.

St. Paul Mayor Names Dec. 15, 2014, ‘Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas – BUSN200 Program Day’

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 4:18pm

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has declared Dec. 15, 2014, “Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas – BUSN200 Program Day” in the city of St. Paul.

BUSN200 is a tuition-free, noncredit service-learning course that is required of all business majors and minors. Students contribute more than 35,000 service hours annually at more than 500 community partners, including the St. Paul Public Library, Caring Bridge and Project for Pride in Living.

Barbara Gorski, Ph.D, BUSN200 center director said, “This honor recognizes the sheer numbers of hours of service, organizations served and global involvements of this program began in 1991.”

St. Thomas staff, students and faculty are invited to stop by the BUSN200 center in McNeely Hall, Room 215, between 2-4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, to celebrate with cookies and hot chocolate. Students’ “Final Reflection” projects showcasing the service that has been done this semester will be on display.

Mayor Coleman’s proclamation reads as follows.

The Opus College of Business at the University of Saint Thomas
BUSN200 Proclamation

WHEREAS, undergraduate business students in the Opus College of Business at the University of Saint Thomas through the Business 200 Program have completed over 1.1 million hours of service to the Twin Cities communities and globally.

WHEREAS, since the start of the Business 200 Program in the fall of 1991 more than 26,000 undergraduate business students have served at more 3500 nonprofits within the United States, especially within the Twin Cities and in 34 countries internationally.

WHEREAS, these University of St. Thomas business students have been working together with schools, nonprofit organizations and community partners.

WHEREAS, these undergraduate business students have found their own lives and those they have served to have been immensely affected.

WHEREAS, these St. Thomas students have partnered with adults and youth, social service organizations, business leaders, and elected officials in a common enterprise.

FINALLY, WHEREAS, these Opus College of Business undergraduate students have embraced the philosophy that for businesses and communities to thrive they must collaborate for the common good.

Now, Therefore, I, Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor of the City of Saint Paul, do hereby proclaim Monday, December 15, 2014, to be:

UST’s Opus College of Business – BUSN200 Service through Learning Day

in the City of Saint Paul.

In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Saint Paul to be affixed this Fifteenth Day in the Year Two Thousand Fourteen.

Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor


James Patrick Miller Conducts Stephen Paulus <i>Concerto</i> to GRAMMY Nomination

Gustavus Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:55am

James Patrick Miller holding a copy of Fantastique

Once again an individual with a Gustavus connection has been nominated for a GRAMMY™ Award. When the nominations for the 57th annual GRAMMY™ Awards were announced on Dec. 5, James Patrick Miller, the Douglas Nimmo Professor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra was among those nominated in the “Contemporary Classical Composition” category.

Dr. Miller was nominated along with Eric Berlin, Richard Kelley and the UMASS Wind Ensemble for their recording of Stephen Paulus’ Concerto For Two Trumpets & Band. The number was recorded as part of the album Fantastique: Premieres for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble, which was released September 1, 2014. The album is available for purchase on the MSR Classics label.

“This nomination is all about our dearly missed friend and colleague, Stephen Paulus. His magnificent Concerto for Two Trumpets and Band exemplifies a compositional voice that was austerely beautiful, deeply passionate, and one of the most heartfelt and honest styles that I have ever heard. To have worked with him on this project and to have played a small part in bringing his concerto to international acclaim is an honor that humbles me to my core,” Miller said.

“The talent, dedication and professionalism of Eric Berlin and Richard Kelley first brought our album into the national spotlight, and not enough could ever be said about the extraordinary contributions of my former University of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble students. As the conductor I am the only person on that entire album that never makes a sound – I am merely along for an incredible ride. Stephen’s concerto is so captivating in both its boldness and sensitivity that The Recording Academy nominated, for one of the first instances in history, a band recording. And for that I would like to deeply thank The Academy,” Miller said. “The pride that has welled up inside of me for Stephen, for Eric and Richard, for my students, and for the entire genre of band and wind ensemble is so overwhelming, that I am left without words to clearly articulate the degree of joy I am feeling. To share in celebrating this GRAMMY™ nomination with my family, especially my wife Heidi, friends, students, and the entire community at Gustavus is incredible. ”

If the Concerto were to win in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition the composer, Stephen Paulus, or in this case his family, would take home the GRAMMY Award.

Dr. Miller first joined the Gustavus music faculty in 2008 as interim conductor of the Gustavus and Vasa Wind Orchestras, while also teaching courses in conducting and music education. From 2009 to 2014, Miller was Assistant Professor and Director of Wind Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he led the wind ensemble, symphony band, summer conducting institute, and taught graduate and undergraduate conducting. Miller returned to Gustavus in the fall of 2014 following the retirement of Dr. Douglas Nimmo, the longtime conductor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra.

Originally from Winona, Minn., Dr. Miller holds a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting from the University of Minnesota where he was named a College of Liberal Arts and School of Music Graduate Research Fellow. He also holds a master of music degree in conducting from Ithaca College and a bachelor’s degree in music education from St. Olaf College.

As noted earlier, Miller is not the first individual with a Gustavus connection to be nominated for a GRAMMY™ Award. Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, a member of the Gustavus class of 1989, is a GRAMMY™ Award winner who has had all 10 of his albums nominated for a GRAMMY™ Award in some fashion. This year’s GRAMMY™ Awards will be presented at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 8.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

Christmas in Christ Chapel Live Stream Attracts Thousands

Gustavus Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:44am

As is tradition, Gustavus Adolphus College packed Christ Chapel for five services in three days as part of the College’s 42nd annual Christmas in Christ Chapel, “Tender Rose, Starry Night”. For the first time this year, the College produced a live stream of the Saturday evening service so that alumni and friends of the College all around the world could enjoy this holiday tradition from the comfort of their own homes. The live stream was extremely successful as more than 7,500 people tuned in from 24 different countries and 49 different states.

“Christmas in Christ Chapel is a tradition that has been treasured by the Gustavus community for over four decades. When presented with an opportunity to share this distinctive worship celebration with people in places like never before, we embraced the challenge, and our students were truly spectacular throughout,” Chaplain Brian Konkol said. “The remarkable response showed that sharing Christmas in Christ Chapel around the world was a worthwhile undertaking.”

Heroic Productions, which annually provides audio, video, and lighting solutions for both Christmas in Christ Chapel and the Nobel Conference, produced the live stream with the use of nine different cameras.

“Heroic is very proud of its relationships with Gustavus,” said Jon Young ’77, President and CEO of Heroic Productions. “Our goal for Christmas in Christ Chapel was to provide “front row seating” to people watching around the world without disturbing the integrity of the worship experience for those participating live in Christ Chapel.”

A tradition since 1973, Christmas in Christ Chapel is a time for the Gustavus community to celebrate the holidays with one another through music, dance, spoken word, and prayer. Approximately 350 students, faculty, and staff bring the program to life each year through the use of music and visual art. A new theme is chosen each year in order to educate participants and audiences alike about faith and cultural traditions. Choirs and orchestras lead the five services, with approximately 1,200 people attending each one.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas

Depth of Field: Photo Services’ Best of 2014

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 8:08am

The quiet contemplation of a documentary videographer. The excitement of a football fan. The rapture of a musical performance. We’ve picked these moments, and the others you see here, from the more than 5,000 we collected in 2014 as our favorites of the year.

Make no mistake – this collection of images is not comprehensive. The life of the St. Thomas community is far too complex to be fully captured by staff photographers who eventually have to stop shooting to eat and sleep. But what I hope comes through in these photos is the pride and care we take with the slices of St. Thomas we encountered in 2014.

Read more from Depth of Field.

Money, Melody and the Sweet Medley of Music Business

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 8:01am

A smile sneaks onto junior Nick Meyerson’s face as he leans forward, neglecting the support of his chair’s backrest during a conversation in the lobby of St. Thomas’ O’Shaughnessy Educational Center. A first-generation college student from Delano, Minnesota, who goes by the artist name Nick Jordan, he describes the creative evolution that has played into the near-completion of his latest musical project.

“I feel like I want to just get rid of everything I’ve ever done before,” he says. “This is going to be so much more.”

“More” is an apt word for music, an intrinsically human creation that can – and does – connect people throughout time and space.

Across Summit and Cretin avenues days after Meyerson’s optimistic dialogue, music professor Chris Kachian, within his office in Loras Hall, laments a more negative mentality that has pervaded his occupational field for millennia.

“This concept of starving artists has always bummed me out,” he says. “We need to step up.”

More than 1,500 miles away at her home office in Los Angeles, 2014 St. Thomas graduate Rachel Siteman revels in the knowledge she is starting her career on a promising path: a marketing position at Universal Music Group, the largest music corporation in the world.

“I love this job,” she says. “The creativity is what I enjoy the most. I’ve always been a creative person. I played an instrument, I can draw … and marketing is the culmination of all my creative interests.”

On the first floor of McNeely Hall back at St. Thomas, Georgia Fisher approaches the marriage of music and business with a daughter and son-in-law who both are working artists.

“The thought was evolving from music as an art form, performance as an art form, and not a thought as to how you make a living with this if you don’t go on to become a performer or teach,” says Fisher, the assistant dean of undergraduate students at the business school. “How do you make a living out of music?”

Across Summit Avenue at the Anderson Student Center, 1997 grad Aimee Petra talks about the decade she toured the world as an opera singer, then about the consulting firm in the mental health industry she now runs.

“The reality is a musician can look at a blank piece of paper and create music where there wasn’t before,” she says. “That’s a different way of thinking than most other competitors in the business world.”

Back in Loras Hall, music business director Steve Cole notes the reality his students face as they prepare to enter a constantly changing world of music.

“There’s full acknowledgement that this ain’t easy,” he says. “It takes a very strong desire to succeed in this industry. And a passion for whatever they want to do. It sounds really cliché, but you truly have to have a passion for this.”

The thread of music connects these people. More than that is the connection they share through St. Thomas’ music business education, which has a long tradition dating back to the 1970s.

But today’s program is not leaning on that tradition; it is forging a new one. A dedicated effort, born of a commitment to creating cutting-edge professionals who not only thrive in the industry they enter but can shape it moving forward, has taken place in recent years. This effort has resulted in the reimagining and revising of how music business students are prepared for careers.

“We want students to feel like they’re architects,” Cole says. “We want them to realize there’s an opportunity to take part in how this industry evolves.”

A new aim

Like many ideas before it, the origins of the music business program at St. Thomas as it stands today came over a cup of coffee. Several cups, actually. A little less than a decade ago Kachian dropped his daughter off at school each day at 8 a.m. and didn’t start teaching until 10. In that downtime he thought through how St. Thomas music students were being educated. At that point there was a music business degree, but it was used sparingly and didn’t emphasize what Kachian believed it should.

“I kind of had to decide how I wanted our music business to be different than all the others,” he says. “(I thought,) ‘The way we’ll produce people … is to make sure we have people with credibility.’ The credibility artists have for one another is, ‘Can you play? Can you produce?’ So all our music business majors will have some business sense … and make sure they’re still prolific in all kinds of music.”

So, in 2006 Kachian and several colleagues set out to redesign the program, reaching out to Fisher and the business school for help. Up until then the music business degree had been the full requirements of a music performance degree, plus microeconomics, entrepreneurship for non-majors and four other business courses of the students’ choosing. Kachian and his colleagues wanted to strengthen the connection between music and business courses, further emphasizing the dynamic skills students would need in the wide-ranging, ever-changing music industry.

“Those students who are really focused on the craft, making music, they take the business courses because it’s going to help them do well with what they want to do,” Fisher says. “Still, their primary focus is always going to be on the music.”

The redesign appealed to students and – as things continued evolving in the coming years – began to see a growth in interest. As numbers increased Kachian sought to bring someone else in to head up the program and landed on Cole, a distinguished jazz musician with experience teaching music business at Columbia College Chicago and McNally Smith College of Music.

“Steve’s the best thing I ever lucked into,” Kachian says. “He’s taking this whole thing to the next level.”

Since taking over three years ago Cole has emphasized his students’ roles in developing their own directions and ways of thinking. That started right from square one, Siteman says, when he asked for student opinions and desires in how things should go.

“This group of kids got together and the Music Department let us sit with Steve … and we sat in that room for probably two hours giving a back and forth for what would happen with Steve and with the department,” she says. “We wanted to keep this dream alive for our students to be professionals in the music industry. People graduating before me were going out … and dropping out of the music industry. Steve said, ‘We have to do this to make kids understand they can be a part of the music industry, here and now.’”

Evolving world = evolving education

Remember, if you can, the emergence of Napster in 1999. The hand-wringing that started then has never really ceased when it comes to the recording industry, a 15-year search of how to repair what was once a seemingly infallible financial juggernaut. Such struggles are often the first thing that jumps to people’s minds when considering the music industry, an omnipresent warning sign to students and their parents. It is also a major misconception.

“People often define the music industry as the recorded music industry. But that’s really not it. That’s only a part of it. There are many other aspects of the music industry that are strong, growing and have opportunity,” Cole says. “It’s not as dire as people think it is. Yes, the recording industry is facing a challenge but there’s a broader scope to the music industry that encompasses a lot of things.”

Think instead of music’s place in our society, not simply what’s on your radio or iPhone or Spotify.

“Music’s everywhere. We’re drowning in it,” Kachian says. “And every time you hear music somewhere, that’s a contract.”

That monetization of human talent is the key to all things music business, Kachian adds, and lies at the heart of St. Thomas’ program: create professionals who are musically trained – their true credibility in the industry – and have the ability to tap into a limitless pool via their business education.

“What we focus on here is not what the past was or is and trying to recreate it or defend it, but to understand what is happening in the industry, where it’s going, developing the curiosity and innovation in our students to look at what opportunities this technology has created, and be able to capitalize on it,” Cole says. “To see the evolution of this industry as presenting opportunities, as opposed to simply challenging the status quo. That’s really the focus of our program and the future of music.”

Keeping pace with – and trying to get ahead of – an industry that’s constantly in shift requires a higher level of adaption than many educational fields, meaning revisions and on-the-fly shifts within classes all the time.

“I can’t teach the same lecture from semester to semester. I used to teach economics. I could teach that course over and over and intersperse some new contextual things … but I can’t teach introduction to music industry in 2014 like I did in 2013,” Cole says. “Look at all that has happened in one year. Our courses are always … evolving, and that’s what is exciting about our program.”

Such constant change brings inherent challenges to a student, made all the more difficult by the program’s emphasis on innovation and coming up with new ideas. Meyerson describes a recent assignment that required him to turn in three music demos within a week, a challenging prospect in and of itself.

“I grinded away on that and presented it and was very proud of it, and immediately we’re on to the next thing,” he says. “It’s encouraging. It’s that idea of, ‘What are you going to do next?’”

Such mentality is seemingly necessary to separate yourself in a world that – thanks to the continued democratization of music creation because of accessible technology – requires more passion and skill than ever.

“Instead of looking at (a changing industry) as a discouragement you can see it as a challenge to rise up to,” Meyerson says. “With the digital age the pool has gotten much bigger. We’re not controlled by what radio and what big records want to play. People have more of a voice in what we want, so how do you make your mark in that?”

‘A lethal combination – in a good way’

In the eyes of Cole, part of the appeal to the kind of education St. Thomas music business majors receive is that their skills are not isolated to the music industry. Nothing about being musically trained constrains a students’ career choices; in fact, it makes them all the more versatile away from music, Cole says.

“We’re training great professionals, period. It’s the creativity, the ability to communicate on such a granular levels like musicians have. The courage they have in standing up and performing in front of strangers, or, even more scary, friends. The problem-solving they have to do as musicians dealing with so many possibilities and finding their unique vision of how to combine those things, that’s creative sensibility. That’s innovative training. Put that together with management, you’re making a creative manager. A creative problem-solver,” he says. “I think these types of programs with an arts component are going to be what’s more and more desired by business in the future. A natural byproduct of what we do … is we’re creating well-rounded, creative, innovative professionals. They happen to also have a specific knowledge of a field but whose skills are transferable among any field.”

Petra lives that out in her daily life after going from world-class opera performer to the CEO of her own company.

“Our entire company is infused with a mission, creativity and a service-based mentality that I don’t think we would have if I was just a straight business person,” she says. “Our ability to think outside the box, to take a situation that on paper looks cut and dried and be creative with it … it’s literally the neurons that get trained when you’re studying music. I know I bring a perspective, and our company brings a perspective, that nobody else in the market has. One thing informs the other with music and business.”

Such a marriage is what Cole calls “a lethal combination – in a good way.”

“It was the secret of the room: We’re all learning how to creatively problem-solve,” Siteman says. “It came naturally from all the material, all the courses. I can look back and say they taught me a way to problem-solve that isn’t routine, but will help me succeed in one way or another the rest of my life.”

Problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking: all pursuits familiar to many across the liberal arts landscape of St. Thomas. It should come as no surprise then, that two areas of study – so different on the surface – have found a way to complement each other to form such a dynamic education.

“We’re so fortunate in that we have other schools we can work with in this program who are excited to collaborate with us and who love our students,” Cole says. “It’s wonderful to have such collaboration between our two programs to create this.”

The curriculum will continue to evolve, students and professors working together to determine how they might shape their world moving forward. Difficult and demanding as it might be, students have continued finding their way to the program: More music business majors graduated in the last three years than in the previous 15 combined.

Meyerson’s optimism for his own work, then, seems a fitting viewpoint on what lies ahead for music business at St. Thomas as well: “This is going to be so much more.”

Diversity and Inclusion Officer Named

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 7:25am

Dr. Calvin R. Hill, director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity at Worcester State University in Massachusetts, will become university officer for diversity and inclusion at St. Thomas, effective Jan. 26.

Calvin Hill

Hill’s responsibilities will include advancing St. Thomas’ mission and goals related to diversity, equity, affirmative action, inclusion and human rights by supporting existing programs and policies and developing new initiatives.

He will be a member of the President’s Cabinet and the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee, as well as co-chair of Diversity and Inclusive Culture Task Force that will develop initiatives for the strategic plan priority on Embracing our Differences as One Human Family. He will report to Father Larry Snyder, who will begin his duties as vice president for mission on Feb. 1.

“Calvin’s experience in working on diversity and inclusion issues in higher education over the last two decades have prepared him well to lead our efforts in these areas,” President Julie Sullivan said. “Working with Father Snyder in the Office for Mission, Calvin’s leadership will be pivotal to realizing and sustaining our strategic plan vision of an environment of radical hospitality premised on the development and flourishing of every community member.”

Hill described himself as “energetic and passionate,” and said he is looking forward to collaborating across St. Thomas’ campuses on diversity and inclusion issues to strengthen existing polices and develop new initiatives.

“The primary appeal is that I’ll be focusing on an area in my professional development that I’ve been looking at for 25 years,” Hill said. “I’m excited to be a part of a campus that is looking at how it is going to lead initiatives. Reading up on President Sullivan and St. Thomas’ mission, a lot of things fit with where I want to be professionally.”

Hill earned his Ph.D. in political science from Howard University in Washington, D.C.; a Master of Science in personnel administration from Emporia State University in Kansas; and a Bachelor of Arts in history-political science from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Other past positions include associate provost and chief diversity officer at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston; assistant dean and director of diversity programs as well as director of minority affairs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts; and admissions counselor at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas.

Hill said it’s been about 20 years since he’s been to Minnesota but he has fond memories and is excited to relocate to a new region of the country, particularly because of the diversity in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

“I’m looking forward to a lot of opportunities to engage in cross-cultural dialogue,” Hill said.

Please Remember Erik Nielsen in Your Prayers

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 5:31pm

Please pray for the repose of the soul of University of St. Thomas sophomore Erik Nielsen, and also remember in your prayers his family and friends.

Erik, a Catholic studies student, suffered a brain aneurysm while on campus Monday. Several hundred students, staff and faculty attended a prayer service for him Tuesday afternoon.

An adoration service will be held from 9 to 10 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 9, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the university’s St. Paul campus. Funeral services have not been finalized but plans for a memorial service on campus will be announced shortly.

Members of the St. Thomas community who are in need of someone to talk to are welcome to contact Campus Ministry, (651) 962-6560, or Counseling and Psychological Services, (651) 962-6780.


MBA students advise company in Spain

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 3:16pm
Imagine visiting a friend’s home and sitting on a couch that would look great in your own living room. You take a photo of the couch with your phone, and an app brings you to an online store where you can view a 3-D model of how the couch would fit into your space, order [&hellip
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