Recent News from Campuses

Commencement Scheduled for May 31

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 9:34am

At 2 p.m. Sunday, May 31, members of the class of 2015 will receive their bachelor of arts degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College during commencement exercises at Hollingsworth Field.

No ticket is required if the ceremony is held outdoors. If weather forces college officials to move the ceremony inside, each student will be given three tickets for family and friends to attend the ceremony inside Lund Center. An overflow area will be available for people to watch a telecast of the ceremony. For those unable to attend this year’s commencement, the ceremony will be live streamed at

Senior Rosalie Repke of Orono, Minnesota, will deliver this year’s commencement address. The Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching will be presented to a faculty member by the 2014 winner of the award, Associate Professor of Classics Matt Panciera.

Graduates will receive their diplomas from the faculty chair in their respective majors, a tradition that began in 1973. For more information about commencement, including a list of answers to frequently asked questions, go online to Questions can also be directed to the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.

Earlier in the morning, the College will host a pair of baccalaureate services at 9 and 10:30 a.m. in Christ Chapel. Complimentary tickets for the baccalaureate services can be reserved online at A Commencement Buffet will be held in the Evelyn Young Dining Room in the Jackson Campus Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $16 each and $7 for children under 6 years of age. Buffet tickets can also be purchased online at

Social Media Tip: Use the hashtag #gusties15 when tweeting pictures or thoughts on commencement day.


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

Reception for Bunton Postponed

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 9:34am

A farewell reception for Dr. Kris Bunton, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences scheduled Thursday, May 21, has been postponed.

Bunton has been named dean of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University.

TCU announced Bunton’s appointment, effective July 1, earlier this month. The college is named after Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent of CBS News since 1982 and moderator of the network’s public affairs show “Face the Nation” since 1991.

Bunton joined the St. Thomas Journalism and Mass Communication Department in 1993. She chaired the department, helped to oversee its merger with Communication Studies to form the Communication and Journalism Department, and served as its first chair. She oversaw the transition from The Aquin, a weekly student newspaper, to TommieMedia, and became associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2011.


A Helping Hand Across Campus

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 9:00am

It’s 3:34 p.m. on a Thursday, and seniors Sophie Gottsman and Jordan McGowan are the only people in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Center cardio room not on their way to breaking a sweat. Watch them for a couple of minutes, though, and it’s clear they’re not avoiding work of their own.

The crisp polo shirts they’re wearing help signal that the pair are here for business. A clipboard and pencil add to the picture of professional attention. With a water bottle dangling from her left hand, Gottsman walks along a line of four men see-sawing their arms and legs on elliptical machines.

“How did those last two sets of intervals feel?” she asks one, cocking her head to the side and flashing a half smile that hints at the unsaid follow-up: I know they were tough.

The response – despite coming mid-workout – is a positive one: “It felt good. Better than it would have a month ago.”

That type of exchange will play out several more times in the next half-hour before Gottsman and McGowan head down the hall to an empty aerobics room. A sweaty crew of men will trail behind them like ducks in a row.

The men are a dozen students at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, St. Thomas’ graduate seminary program located on the souanieth campus; Gottsman and McGowan are undergraduate students in the Health and Human Performance Department’s Exercise Science 432 class. Together, the seminarians and HHP students are part of the Fit For Ministry program, a first-of-its-kind experiment at St. Thomas offering seminarians a comprehensive health and training experience and HHP students the opportunity to design, implement and lead real training. At first glance, the two groups at St. Thomas are quite different, yet together they have created something incredible: a semester-long illustration of collaboration, education, friendship and growth.

‘The program just exploded’

Catholic priestly training includes four pillars of formation: intellectual, spiritual, pastoral and human. A large part of the human pillar is being physically healthy, and the lack of training in physical wellness at the Saint Paul Seminary seemed like a pressing need to Father Allen Kuss. Kuss was a military priest for 20 years before coming to the Saint Paul Seminary in 2011, so some of the lack of attention to physical fitness and diet at his new civilian posting was obvious to him from the beginning.

“I saw it right away,” Kuss says. “But I didn’t know what to do about it.”

He found his answer last summer across Cretin and Summit avenues on north campus at the AARC, where he approached HHP Department faculty about putting together some kind of training program for the seminary.

“He described it very beautifully and it resonated with us. He sees their health and wellness as an integral part of their spiritual health,” HHP professor Lesley Scibora says. “We just said, ‘Absolutely.’”

HHP department chair Bridget Duoos adds, “He knows these individuals are preparing for a very stressful career and would need to deal with their health as they moved along. This was a great opportunity for us to say, ‘Yes, we have the knowledge and skill to help you out.’”

Soon after offering to work with Kuss and the seminary, the HHP faculty learned they were going to have more of a challenge than they had expected.

“We invited the seminarians to participate thinking we would maybe get 20, 25,” Scibora says. “We ended up getting 59. The program just exploded.”

That meant some major design shifts in how HHP students and faculty would handle the project. Each student in the Exercise Science 432 class took on about four seminarians instead of one or two. “Everyone was a little nervous about that at first,” senior HHP student Alex Altenbernd says. HHP also pulled in students enrolled in a bio-mechanics class to do gait analysis for each seminarian and asked St. Thomas’ health services to do blood profiles of the seminarians.

“It really has been a huge collaborative effort,” says adjunct professor Angela Effertz, who teaches Exercise Science 432 and took the lead in organizing the student training portion of the project.

Initial testing came at the outset of the fall semester, giving the seminarians and their trainers a baseline to work from for the next few months. It also provided data for an ongoing research project that will show the results of, by all accounts, a first-of-its-kind experiment anywhere with seminarians.

The study – titled simply, “Fit For Ministry” – has been approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board for research involving human subjects. It will use data from both the pre- and post-assessments to gauge “how a student-led fitness program impacts cardiovascular, strength and other fitness aspects for a group of seminarians,” Scibora says. That data will be evaluated throughout the spring and help inform the feasibility of continuing similar studies both at and outside St. Thomas.

“It’s not every day you get almost 60 people from one group willing to take part in a semester-long study like this,” Scibora says. “They’re very representative of the overall population, which is great for a study to make a valuable scientific contribution.”

Growing students

Once the baseline numbers were in place for each seminarian, the work on improving them began. Under the guidance of Effertz, HHP students designed weekly workout routines that helped move each seminarian toward his individual health goal. For some, the goal was to lose weight. For others, it was to learn more workout routines they could use in the future. For others, it was to gain a better understanding of an overall view of their health.

“They’re all varied and it can be hard to create a workout that suits everyone,” Gottsman says. “There are a few guys who ran the last Twin Cities Marathon next to some guys who are obese. Trying to accommodate all that is a skill.”

“Right away it was kind of overwhelming,” Altenbernd says. “You’re kind of playing it by ear and seeing how each day went.”

Effertz, Scibora and Duoos all described seeing – over the course of the first few weeks and throughout the semester – the HHP students embracing this professional role and its complex demands.

“I’ve really seen that come through in them. It’s fascinating watching them and how it has forced them to embrace this as a clinical situation as opposed to just a lab class,” Effertz says. “We teach, teach, teach all this stuff in the classroom, and then when it comes to the application it’s, ‘How do we connect it? How do we really take our students’ brilliance so they can use it to talk to someone else about what’s going on in their body?’ That’s what they’re doing with Fit For Ministry.”

Scibora seconds that view. “It was fun to see how much they grew in terms of professional development, skill development and their ability to interact in different situations with people they hadn’t met before,” she says. “It was very real world for them. They took it seriously and stepped up.”

The students also saw their own growth.

“My first day, I was so nervous. I was scared of my verbiage, how to approach (the seminarians) in a personal matter,” Gottsman says. “Once we got in there … we fell into the role and I wasn’t nervous. It has become very natural to be able to do this.”

Part of the reason Fit For Ministry could happen, Effertz says, is because HHP faculty already emphasize students’ active learning, rather than acquiring knowledge solely through lecture. Because hands-on learning has long been a benchmark of the department, giving students the responsibilities required for this project wasn’t exactly plotting a new course.

“This whole department excels in that area, giving students the opportunity to do things realistically,” Effertz says. “That’s what this program is built upon. It’s rare throughout the exercise science discipline. This is a very student-driven department … and what we saw in FFM is a representation of what other faculty do here in all of their classes. It’s so amazing. And the students really appreciate and recognize that.”

HHP students and faculty said a huge part of the program’s success was the buy-in from the seminarians.

“This was much needed. There hadn’t been much talk about physical fitness at the seminary because we have so much else to focus on,” seminarian Barry Reuwsaat says. “But it’s so important. It helps us relieve stress, work with mental clarity and just be healthier. I’m really thankful Father Kuss got this rolling.”

Kuss also secured the funding to equip every one of the participants with fitness trackers, which generated friendly competition as the seminarians counted their steps. More importantly, the program created a renewed focus on the importance of these men developing healthy habits they can carry forward when they are on their own as church leaders.

“You can’t just live a healthy lifestyle if you have no knowledge to draw from. This is setting us up for the future,” Reuwsaat says. “The connection of the body and soul, you can’t disconnect the two. We’re helping that (connection).”

Crossing campus

Duoos says HHP students were pleased to help foster that connection, too. “Our students have had this impact on a group who will go out into the community and will have an opportunity to make huge differences from their leadership positions. Sort of like teaching, you don’t realize how wide your net is cast when you train someone here who then goes out and influences a whole different group of people.”

Conversations have also allowed HHP students to learn about the seminary, an area of their university they otherwise might have never known, and about priests-in-training who showcase a high level of discipline and determination.

“As we are able to teach and guide the seminarians, I know many of the student trainers have learned a lot from them,” senior Sam Sutton says. “They show up to each training session with a positive attitude. Their schedules are very busy and each day is most likely not their best day, but they always show up motivated to work out.

“They not only want to learn about exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle choices, but they are genuinely interested in learning about us as people,” he adds. “This helped me better see the importance of relationships you make with others around you, no matter what type.”

Seminarians also benefitted from getting to know the HHP students. “I think initially we were maybe a little scared of them and they were maybe a little scared of us. Some of these guys are on the football team, in great shape, and we’re seminarians from south campus,” seminarian TJ McKenzie says. “They’re hopefully seeing we’re not weird or anything, and we’re seeing them as people who have a lot to offer. We can learn a lot from each other.”

As St. Thomas continues to emphasize cross-collaboration between departments and groups across campus, Fit For Ministry has proven to be a showcase of what’s possible when two seemingly different groups of people come together.

“It’s a great example of how different disciplines can find a common language. In this case that common language is health and fitness, and a way to bring these seemingly disparate groups together to learn from each other,” Scibora says. “Our students learn from the seminarians and see the way they interact with one another, and the way they approach life and their health. The seminarians were able to see a completely different side of how they might view health and fitness. They came together on these topics and had a really interesting dialogue.”

Still climbing

Back in the aerobics room, Gottsman and McGowan lay down their workout mats as the seminarians spread out in a curving row across from them.

“We’re going to run through some of the same core exercises we’ve done in the past,” Gottsman says. “Let’s start with the bridge.”

Ten minutes later a fresh sweat gleams on the foreheads of most everyone in the room. Aloe Blac’s voice pumps over the speakers: “I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man, yes I am, yes I am, yes I am!”

“I can really feel that in my lower abs,” one seminarian admits as the seconds crawl by and he maintains a plank pose.

“Make sure you’re continuing to breathe and engaging your core,” Gottsman reminds them from her own planked position.

At the end of the session most of the seminarians linger, visiting with one another and their trainers before heading off in ones and twos to the locker room. It’s the final workout before Thanksgiving break and there are large meals all over the country to look forward to, after dietary indulgences during the fall have been much less common for the seminarians in Fit For Ministry.

Two months later Gottsman sits outside T’s in the Anderson Student Center, thinking back through that pre-holiday session and so many others that made up a semester’s worth of dedication and payoff.

“Saying goodbye to the seminarians was bittersweet. It was a lot of work off my shoulders, but it was sad because I enjoyed them so much,” she says. “It was a really, really good experience and an awesome opportunity. I’ve heard from other students that have taken this class last year and it was, ‘Wow, I’m bummed I didn’t get to do this.’”

If all goes well more students will get to take part in the future: HHP faculty and Kuss met after the semester to break down how things went and everyone came away hoping they can put together a similar program again.

“I asked Father Kuss to give me a sense on a continuum of how were your expectations met, or not met. He said, ‘Far exceeded,’” Scibora says. “That just spoke volumes to me. I thought, ‘OK, wow, this was really, really fantastic.’ He was just really pleased with how the men responded, we were so pleased with how our students stepped up to this professional challenge, and it all came together and exceeded expectations. It was a home run.”

Duoos notes, “To be able to see the pride (the HHP students) took in what they were doing, there was just so much student growth. They learned so much and to discover that what they learn can really make a difference, that’s such an important takeaway for them. They’re so proud of what they’re doing.”

There’s plenty to be proud of already and – with nearly 60 seminarians and seminary faculty ready to use what they’ve learned on a daily basis – there’s almost certainly going to be more to be proud of. Thousands of miles from the AARC in January, McKenzie and his peers were in the midst of proving that in Rome.

“I’m still wearing my Garmin Vivofit (fitness tracker) and I’m averaging 15 miles a day, but I’m not too sore because Fit For Ministry got me ready for it,” McKenzie says in an email. “Yesterday we climbed to the top of St. Peter’s (Basilica) and we didn’t choose to take the elevator since we wanted more steps in.”

There are 320 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. And it’s a good bet the members of the Fit For Ministry program won’t stop their climbing there.

Read more from CAS Spotlight.

Words of Wisdom from Graduates

Hamline University Campus News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 12:00am
What words of wisdom to graduating seniors have for current and future Hamline students? Emma Scott, who studied anthropology, Latin American studies, and Spanish, shared some sage advice earned during her time at Hamline.

Words of Wisdom from Graduate Miiko Taylor

Hamline University Campus News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 12:00am
Graduating seniors have gained a lot of wisdom and experiences during their years at Hamline, we asked political science and communication studies double major Miiko Taylor to share some of his advice for current and future students.

Minnesota Marine Art Museum teams with Minnesota Conservatory to offer new camp

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 3:11pm

WINONA, Minn. — Art, music, and theatre collide in the first integrated arts summer camp in Winona. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) are teaming up to offer an exciting weeklong arts camp where students will explore the theme of rhythm through music and dance lessons, hands-on art making activities, and theatre games. “Winona Arts Camp: Feel the Rhythm” will run Aug. 10-14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to students in grades two through eight.

From slinging paint to strumming a harp, from stomping in tap shoes to comedy improv, camp participants will build capacities of the imagination. Students will gain valuable knowledge of multiple art forms, as well as build skills such as teamwork and confidence as they prepare for a final showcase on the last day of camp. At the end of each camp day, campers will be treated to a live demonstration or performance by a local artist or group in each of the four arts disciplines. Families will be invited and encouraged to join their camper to enjoy this special experience. The camp will be offered at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 W. 10th Street in Winona, but will also include a tour of the MMAM.

The cost is $150 (by June 1) and $175 (after June 1) per camper, this fee includes a camp T-shirt, daily snack, and admission to the MMAM. Thanks to the generous support of the Winona Fine Arts Commission, five students will receive full scholarships and five will receive partial scholarships. To register for camp or for scholarship information, families should call MCA at 507-453-5500 or visit

MMAM is a nonprofit art museum and education center supported by more than 1,000 members, donors, granters, and sponsors. MCA, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, is a nonprofit organization that offers programing in dance, music, visual art, and theatre.


WACS artwork now on display at MCA

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 2:32pm

WINONA, Minn. — Galleria Valéncia at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is filled with 19 unique pieces of artwork created by LaDawn Kovala’s art students at Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS). Contributing artists range in age from first- through 12th-graders and attend Madison Elementary’s Spanish Immersion Language Program and the Winona Area Learning Center.

Visitors to the gallery will enjoy colorful artwork that was created using a variety of mediums and elements of design. Students’ work showcase projects after lessons on Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, the Chinese New Year, and more. The galleria will be open during regular office hours and while classes are in session. Visitors are encouraged to sign the guestbook, so that the young artists know who attended the show.

MCA is in the process of setting up art shows for the upcoming school year. If schools or artists are interested in displaying their work in Galleria Valéncia, contact Jamie at

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University, a nonprofit organization, offers programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for youth ages 3 and older through adults at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. For more information go to, email, or call 507-453-5500.

Heukeshoven to compose for Municipal Band Centennial

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 2:26pm

WINONA, Minn. — This marks the centennial year of the Winona Municipal Band. In celebration of this landmark event, A. Eric Heukeshoven, assistant professor of music at Saint Mary’s University, has been commissioned to compose a new work to be premiered at the final concert of the season on Aug. 12, 2015.

The Winona Municipal Band is the oldest continually performing city band west of the Mississippi River. Each Wednesday summer evening, the band performs a concert in Lake Park Band Shell from 8 to 9 p.m. Members of the ensemble range from talented high school and college students to veteran performers—some with 30 or more years of service to the group.

The Winona Municipal Band Centennial Committee is planning many special events and surprises to mark this important milestone. More information can be found at


Dr. Darrin Good Named VP of Academic Affairs at Whittier

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 2:11pm

Dr. Darrin Good

Gustavus Adolphus College Provost and Dean of the College Mark Braun announced Monday that Dr. Darrin Good would be leaving his post as Associate Provost and Dean of Sciences and Education in mid-June to assume the role of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Whittier College in California.

Dr. Good came to Gustavus in 2012 from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where he served on the faculty in the biology department since 1995. He also chaired the Division of Natural Sciences, representing and supervising six departments with 16 majors, 10 pre-professional programs, and 48 faculty members.

“With Darrin’s wealth of experiences as a faculty member and as a leader of divisions and departments at a variety of private colleges, I am confident that we have found the right person to spearhead the College’s area of academic affairs,” said Whittier President Sharon Herzberger in a release on the college’s website.

Provost Braun said that the College would announce plans to replace Dr. Good in the coming weeks.


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

CSB ultimate Frisbee club team finishes 13th at national tournament

Four club teams from CSB and SJU place at national tournaments as SJU lacrosse team falls in national quarterfinals, SJU rugby places third and CSB lacrosse finishes ninth.

Building a globally focused career

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:54am

Katarzyna “Kasia” Plawiak entered and won a highly competitive scholarship competition in Poland, offered by the Wasie Foundation, the Gostomski Family Foundation, and Saint Mary’s University. The six-month process involved writing an essay, making a presentation, and an interview. First prize was a full scholarship to attend Saint Mary’s.

“First prize was really amazing,” she said.

The Computer Science and International Business double-major hasn’t wasted any time since arriving in the U.S.

“I studied international business two years in Poland,” she said. “When I was choosing my career path, it was a few years after Poland entered the European Union. From a global aspect, I could see changes that had occurred in my own country. I thought this major would lead to a good job that would involve travel, seeing the world, and meeting new people. Businesses want people who are able to work in a global environment.”

For her second major, Plawiak said she knew that business and technology were tightly interrelated. “Technology impacts business to a large extent,” she said. “These two majors teach problem solving, critical thinking, data analysis, and creativity. The opportunities are endless. And I saw many pathways for my career.”

Plawiak put the knowledge she has acquired to work this past summer as an application developer for J.P. Morgan in Chicago, where she worked on software solutions for big clients.

“Internships are a practical implementation of knowledge,” she said. “And employers are not only looking at your GPA, they are interested in hearing about your practical training. I met great people during my internship,” Plawiak said. “It was a great learning experience. It taught me a lot about the social aspects and about collaboration; you have to know how to communicate with different personalities.”

This summer, she will intern at Credit Suisse in New York as an application developer.

Plawiak said attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing that she and other students have attended twice, once in Minneapolis and once in Phoenix, was very helpful in making business connections.

The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.

“There are not enough women in I.T., and it’s visible,” Plawiak said. “At this conference women help each other, exchange ideas, network, and come up with ideas to help other women. It was a field dominated by men from the beginning, but fortunately that’s changing.”

At Saint Mary’s, Plawiak has also been involved with the business club, computer science club, and Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies activities.

In Poland, she attended a university with more than 20,000 students; classes were largely lecture-oriented and theory-based and stressed memorization. Plawiak said Saint Mary’s classes, in comparison, are more hands-on and provide useful, practical knowledge that will prepare her for the next stages of her career or graduate school.

“(In Poland), none of the teachers knew me,” she said. “Here the teachers know me and I can just stop by their offices. I value the relationships and all of the help and advice I can get from them. They are very supportive. Attending Saint Mary’s has been a great experience.”


Naughton Named Director of Catholic Studies

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 8:00am

Dr. Michael Naughton, a St. Thomas faculty member since 1991, has been named director of the Center for Catholic Studies and also will hold the Koch Chair in Catholic Studies.

Dr. Terence Langan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, made the appointment of Naughton after a national search. Naughton will become the second director of the center, after having served as its interim director this year.

“The Center for Catholic Studies has been an important part of the University of St. Thomas for many years,” Langan said. “I am looking for bigger and better things from the center, and I believe that Mike is the person who will deliver them in collaboration with many others from across the College of Arts and Sciences and the university.”

“I am humbled by this appointment,” Naughton said. “The incredible work done by so many, including faculty, staff, administrators, donors and students, has created a center of national and international stature. I pray that we will be able to continue this good work and create more bridges and relations both within St. Thomas and in the larger academy and church.”

Naughton co-founded the Center for Christian Social Thought and Management at St. Thomas in 1992, and it later became the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought within the Center for Catholic Studies.

As institute director and holder of the Alan W. Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought, Naughton has organized international conferences on the theme of Catholic social thought and management as well as faculty and administrative seminars on the mission and identity of Catholic universities. As holder of the Moss Chair, Naughton has held a joint appointment in business and Catholic Studies.

Naughton has been an extensive collaborator with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, organizing conferences and participating in research projects as well as coordinating and writing the Vocation of the Business Leader, which the council issued in 2012.

He serves as board chair for Reell Precision Manufacturing, a St. Paul-based global producer of innovative torque solutions for transportation, consumer electronics, medical and office automation products. He also has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Seeing Things Whole.

Last January, Naughton received the Monika K. Hellwig Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Life from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

He received his Ph.D. in theology from Marquette University (1991) and an M.B.A. degree from St. Thomas (1995).

A native of Chicago, Naughton and his wife, Teresa (CSMA ’15), live in St. Paul and have five children: Clare ’11, Noel ’14, Mary ’17, Eamon and Annie.

Speakers Announced for 2015 Commencement Ceremonies

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 8:00am

Commencement 2015

Speakers and details have been announced for the University of St. Thomas commencement exercises.

A website devoted to commencement can be viewed here. About 2,100 graduate and undergraduate students will participate in the ceremonies.


The ceremony for non-business graduate students will be held 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 23, in the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

Carolyn Woo

Dr. Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, will be the commencement speaker. The university will present to her an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Woo immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University, where she received her B.S., M.S.I.A. and Ph.D. degrees and later became a faculty member. After a long and notable career in academia, Woo came to her current position in January 2012.

Woo’s service includes various board positions for AON Corp., NiSource, Catholic Charities USA, the Aileron Foundation, the University of Portland, the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Archdiocese of Baltimore Independent Child Abuse Review Board. She also serves on the Executive Council on Development of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on its International Policy Committee and for its Migration and Refugee Services.


Mark Crea ’78

The ceremony for St. Thomas undergraduates will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23, outdoors in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.

Mark Crea ’78, executive director and CEO of Feed My Starving Children, a Minnesota-based nonprofit Christian organization “committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit,” will be the commencement speaker.

Crea began his career with the Hazelden Foundation after graduating from St. Thomas with a degree in business and economics. He began there as an intern his senior year and left 17 years later as the foundation’s national sales and marketing director. Soon after he accepted a position as director of development at Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

He was recruited to helm Feed My Starving Children in 2004 when the organization was rededicating its mission back to its original, Christian-based roots. Since then it has grown 48 percent annually, growing from 3 million meals in 2003 to 229 million meals in 2014 with nearly 900,000 volunteers. Last year FMSC produced its 1 billionth meal and has plans this year to produce over 270 million meals with 1 million volunteers.

In the event weather does not permit the ceremony to be held in the stadium, an announcement will be posted on the commencement website, Facebook and by text message (see information below about receiving text messages) by 11:30 a.m. the day of the ceremony. The rain site is the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. Seating in the field house is limited, and rain-plan tickets are required for admission. Visit the Undergraduate Commencement website and then click on Sever Weather Plan for more details. Video viewing locations around campus also will be available for additional guests.

To receive text messages about conditions for the undergraduate commencement ceremony, text “TASSEL” to 80077 (more information). You will receive up to 10 messages pertaining to the ceremony. (Regular rates and conditions will apply based on your carrier agreement.) This is a no-reply text messaging system, and recipients will not receive a response if they reply directly to these messages. For help email

Graduate business

Archie Black

The ceremony for graduate-level business students will be held 7 p.m. Saturday, May 23, in the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. The commencement speaker is Archie Black, president and CEO, SPS Commerce, the retail industry’s largest trading community with more than 60,000 customers in over 50 countries.

Black is one of the pioneers of cloud computing and has led SPS Commerce with a vision to transform the retail industry by replacing traditional enterprise software technology with a more responsive, agile cloud platform. Under his leadership, SPS Commerce has experienced 56 consecutive quarters of increased revenues and expanded its international presence to include offices throughout North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

His past work experience includes auditor with Price Waterhouse and senior vice president and chief financial officer at Investment Advisers, where he helped the company grow from $3 billion under management to $17 billion. He serves on the board of Benilde-St. Margaret’s School.

School of Law

Jessica Slattery

Ceremonies for School of Law graduates were held 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16 in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The commencement speaker was Jessica Slattery ’06 J.D., a foreign affairs officer in the U.S. State Department who works in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

She holds a B.A. in management and communications from College of Saint Benedict, an M.A. in international relations from the University of Tartu in Estonia, and an M.A. in international relations and affairs from Collegium Civitas in Poland.

Commencement Mass

The annual Commencement Mass will be celebrated 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22, at the Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave.


University recognizes staff and faculty at year end ceremony

St. Kate's Campus News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 2:52pm
St. Catherine University’s annual Faculty-Staff Awards and Employee Recognition event celebrates achievement and milestones. More »

Two CSB graduates receive Critical Language Scholarships

Erin Kelso will study in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Jessica Raboin will study in Ankara, Turkey, thanks to the U.S. Department of State and its Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program.

Class of 2015 Largest in Concordia's History

Concordia University Campus News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 9:46am

Concordia University, St. Paul’s 2015 commencement marked the largest graduating class in its history as 1,263 degrees were awarded among the three commencement ceremonies May 8-9 at the Gangelhoff Center.

In addition to its record-setting size, the Class of 2015 produced several other areas of note, including the first class of graduates in Concordia’s Ed.S program, 33 summa cum laude honorees (3.9 GPA or above with 64 or more credits), and the largest group of international student graduates (25). 

Concordia’s traditional undergraduate programs awarded 282 diplomas to eligible graduates; adult undergraduate programs saw 300 learners receive degrees, while 681 diplomas were awarded to students in CSP’s graduate and Ed.S programs.

 The previous record number of Concordia graduates was 972 in 2014.

The Future Diplomat

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 2:04pm

When Adam BenSalem ’15 was deciding what university to attend, he knew he wanted a justice and peace studies major. His selection came down to the University of St. Thomas and the University of Missouri. He admitted he didn’t know much about St. Thomas when he picked the state of Minnesota over the state of Missouri.

But he used his time at St. Thomas well, partnering his justice and peace studies major with a political science minor, and joining the Foreign Affairs Club and Model UN. He finally spent parts of 2014 with the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP), a locally based nonprofit that works to rebuild relationships and understanding between Iraqis and Americans.

BenSalem, originally from Kuwait, aided in that mission by translating materials and providing insight into the people and customs of the Middle East.

“I had a different view coming in, and they were really interested in what I had to say, (how) to better understand the different relationships, (and) how society worked,” BenSalem said. “I helped develop their sense of relationship between Americans and Arabs.”

Building relationships

IARP has a number of programs that contribute to its overarching objective. It facilitates visitors between Iraq and America, such as professionals in government, academic and medical fields. Kathy McKay, executive director and co-founder, said they have hosted approximately 50 guests in the last seven years.

She added that St. Thomas has invited some of these guests into the classroom, particularly in the Justice and Peace Studies Department and through the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. The bond between St. Thomas and IARP is further strengthened by Father David Smith, professor emeritus of theology at UST and IARP board member, and Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada, an associate professor of music at UST and former IARP board.

Minneapolis also has a sister-city relationship with Najaf, Iraq, which IARP coordinates.

BenSalem said he tried to provide vision into cultural differences and ways to make Iraqi guests as comfortable and welcome as possible.

“(I provided) a more insightful view for them to consider in the future when they want to bring more delegates to visit here, so they would have a better idea of how to treat and interact (with them),” BenSalem said.

McKay added she learned information about Kuwait she didn’t previously know.

Water for Peace is another of IARP’s major programs. Water for Peace educates Americans about water-related issues in Iraq while collecting donations for water systems and water filters with the intention of establishing relationships between Americans and Iraqis while ensuring Iraqis have access to clean, safe drinking water. McKay said they have provided water generators and filters to around 70 schools.

The Iraqi Art Project showcases art from Iraqis and Americans to create a dialogue, with proceeds from any sales returning to the Iraqi artists.

Letters for Peace connects schoolchildren, predominantly elementary-school-aged, in America with those in Iraq. BenSalem helped to translate some of these letters.

“It’s nice to see that there were kids that were taking up interest in this that a lot of people don’t as adults,” BenSalem said. “They can understand more about what’s going on in the world.”

McKay said BenSalem’s fluidity with Arabic was a great strength for IARP, because they like to have as many of their materials in both English and Arabic as possible. It also allowed them to experiment in having some things in both languages that they hadn’t tried before, such as a Facebook page that facilitated conversations between Iraqis who had been to the United States and their American hosts.

Building the self

McKay said IARP’s internships are designed to be flexible, and are often built around specific projects or the needs of the intern. Interns should walk away with a few common lessons though.

“I would hope people reinforce a commitment to dialogue between cultures, and meeting and interacting with people of different backgrounds,” McKay said. She added that interns should come away with a basic understanding of the structures of nonprofits, particularly when it comes to finances.

That of sort of independence to grow was important to BenSalem. He said he liked learning how to work well with other people in an office-based setting while also being trusted with his own projects.

BenSalem said he appreciated IARP’s dedication to educating and working against ignorance and miseducation. He said the work he did with IARP complemented his coursework through Justice and Peace Studies.

“One of the goals (is) trying to better the relationship of people between different cultures, reducing the clash of civilizations, so it was great to be able to work with that,” BenSalem said. “I learned a lot about politics of the region and everything going on. I think it was a perfect fit.”

Currently, BenSalem is looking for more work based in the United States to add his already impressive list of international experiences. He plans to eventually move back home to Kuwait, and his ultimate goal is to become a diplomat for his country, either by working at an embassy or in a ministry of foreign affairs.

“Just to do something that involves international work and working with other cultures and different parts of the world … would be awesome,” BenSalem said.

The Saint John's Pottery to host two Jerome Foundation emerging artists

Artists Erin Anderson and Kevin Lips will spend June in intensive residency at The Saint John's Pottery.

Making positive changes in the medical world

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 11:20am

When Abdulahi Hashi was a child in Somalia, he had little access to medical care.

“I know how life is when you don’t have quality healthcare,” Hashi said. “I was one of those kids who got sick easily and ended up in the hospital. It seemed like every month I was sick with something different.”

He came to the United States eight years ago when he was 19, possessing only a high school diploma. After taking English classes and earning two associate’s degrees in community college, he enrolled in Saint Mary’s B.S. in Health and Human Services Management program with the intention of making positive changes in the medical world.

“I know what I want to do,” Hashi said. “My goal is to be a physician’s assistant. I’m finishing my four-year degree at Saint Mary’s, and then I’ll apply to graduate school. I will continue my education as long as I have the time and the opportunity. If I have the ability to become a surgeon, I will take that chance because I want to save peoples’ lives when they need me most.”

Hashi has taken a special interest in researching healthcare management and healthcare reform. His research has been augmented by his ever-improving English skills.

“English is my second language,” Hashi explained. “So when I write a paper, I bring it to Cheryl (Prentice) in the Writing Center. She finds the errors and, most importantly, gives me good advice. I’ve seen myself get a lot better, and the improvement is clear. I feel like at the Writing Center, Saint Mary’s is offering me a helping hand.”

In addition to his studies, he’s also gathering valuable experience by working as an instrument technician at a St. Paul hospital at night. After he completed a two-week clinical at the hospital, his managers were impressed with his work and retained him. For more than two years, Hashi has been preparing instruments for surgeries and watching physician teams at work, closely observing their trade and professional practices.

“Sometimes when work is slow, I can watch the operating room and see how they use certain instruments,” Hashi said. “I am always gaining experience for my future studies.”

When he’s at the Twin Cities Campus, Hashi’s work ethic shines along with his modest, friendly nature. Between classes, fellow students cheerfully greet him in the hallway, and faculty know him as a hard-working individual.

“I could tell right away that Hashi is a very motivated student,” said Susan Jarosak, interim dean of the Graduate School of Health and Human Services. “He has done exceptionally well at Saint Mary’s while balancing his work and family time. The flexibility of the bachelor degree completion degree fits him very well.”

The flexible scheduling at Saint Mary’s allows Hashi to balance all of the important things in his life. With school during the day and work at night, he added another time commitment to his life last year when his daughter was born. Hashi thanks his wife for helping with the day-to-day obligations of taking care of their baby, and he credits his larger family with helping motivate him toward a bigger goal.

For somebody who has to juggle family, work, and school, Hashi has found a great fit in Saint Mary’s.

“Saint Mary’s helped me in many ways,” Hashi said. “I have learned more about how to do
research and I’ve gained more confidence in my writing and grammar skills. I feel welcome in every department in the campus. I call it ‘home.’ Saint Mary’s gives hope to everyone who has goals and dreams.”

Hash said his older brother and he share the same goals are both are going to graduate at the same time, his brother in kinesiology. “We challenge each other to make our dreams happen while both of our parents are still watching us,” he said.

Junior Rachel Gray Competing at 2015 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships

Concordia University Campus News - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 6:21am

Junior Rachel Gray qualified for the 2015 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships by placing third overall at last week’s NCAA Central Region Women’s Golf Championships. Gray, who helped led the Golden Bears to a fifth-place team finish, grabbed the top individual qualifying spot with her performance.

The junior from Coon Rapids, Minn. is Concordia’s second NCAA Division II Championships individual qualifier, joining Kelly Godwin who competed in the 2007 Division II Championship. She’ll compete at The Meadows Golf Course in Allendale, Mich. on the campus of Grand Valley State University from May 13-16 in a four round event.

Gray fired a 78 in the third round and finished the tournament at +15, just four strokes off the individual regional champion Sierra Langlie of Augustana. Gray was two strokes out of second place Marla Souvannasing of Central Oklahoma. In the tournament, Gray shot rounds of 77-76-78 for a 231 cumulative score. She delivered 29 pars out of the 54 holes which ranked 12th among the 49 players, but it was her tournament leading seven birdies that propelled her to a third place finish. She delivered a pair of birdies on the front nine in the final round where she was +1 (37) at the turn. In the tournament, Gray dominated the front nine as she shot +1 in the second and third round and even in the first.

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