Recent News from Campuses

Tommie Traditions: Studying Abroad

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 11:35am

There are countless ways students at St. Thomas find out about studying abroad. Whether discussing a fellow student’s experience over a meal at Scooters, or as a prospective student visiting campus, conversations about study abroad pop up all over.

St. Thomas’ strategic plan also articulated a goal of emphasizing globalization, which should help further a well-established tradition of valuing international education at the university. Part of the strategic plan’s emphasis will undoubtedly be the continuation of students going abroad, a benchmark aspect of a St. Thomas educational experience and overall view of its role in preparing global citizens. It’s an element that is as healthy as it has ever been, consistently placing the school near the top of national rankings for percentages of student participation.

St. Thomas did not always have such a strong emphasis on study abroad; like many characteristics of the university, it has evolved over time. Several key figures were seminal in that evolution, helping turn the idea of studying abroad from something only for the “wealthy few” and foreign language speakers to something everyone should have the chance to take part in.

Photo by Nadine Thibault, London. London Business Semester, Fall 2013. “Drury Lane.”

One here, one there

World War II was tragic on many levels, but part of its legacy was a renewed commitment to peace around the globe. To prevent such conflicts from happening again, citizens worldwide believed they would benefit from better knowing and understanding one another. Studying abroad was intrinsically tied to this pursuit. It was to this end that, in 1946, President Harry Truman signed into law the Fulbright Program, the first major support structure by the U.S. government of scholarship abroad.

Paul Koutny, an Austrian who survived a Nazi prison camp, received a Fulbright scholarship to study in America in 1949. He spent that year at St. Thomas, an experience so profound he dedicated his life to creating similar opportunities for Americans all over the world: In 1951 he co-founded what is now the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES), an organization that has helped nearly 90,000 students study abroad. An annual scholarship from 1958 graduates of the IES Vienna program helps St. Thomas students study abroad to this day.

Despite such roots, St. Thomas students’ own experiences with study abroad post-World War II were far from expansive. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, most studying abroad was facilitated on an exchange basis by individual faculty, with a majority based around the study of foreign languages. No formal programs at St. Thomas coordinated students going abroad.

Foreign Studies Center

German professor Dr. Paul Schons was an active faculty member in these kinds of exchange. In 1973 he formally began investigating ways to open up more opportunities abroad for St. Thomas students. That investigation led to the creation of the Foreign Studies Center (FSC) in 1974 (PDF), which was housed at that point in the Foreign Languages Department. From then on Schons dedicated increasing time to advancing the agenda of the FSC; raising the number of students studying abroad to 30 by 1980 was one of his initial goals.

That goal soon changed to 100, and in 1980-81, 93 students studied abroad, 45 of them over the January Interim period. Schons advanced several other objectives for the FSC’s, including establishing relationships with programs other universities already were offering abroad, many of which continue to this day. Schons also led St. Thomas to join the Upper Midwest Association for International Education (UMAIE), which helped expand enrollment over January as more students took advantage of a growing menu of options for short-term courses. Throughout this period St. Thomas maintained a policy of providing financial aid for students gone for at least one semester, a rare commitment among large universities that still continues.

Photo by Natalie Mathias, Atacama Desert, Chile. CIEE Liberal Arts-Santiago, Chile.

A big step forward

After the FSC saw growth throughout the 1970s, Schons led an investigation in 1981 at the behest of St. Thomas’ new dean, John Nemo, on what the school might do to expand its international efforts (PDF). In his report, Schons articulated why he felt studying abroad was so valuable:

“I believe the overall purpose of the College of St. Thomas study abroad programs ought to be the provision of a variety of means to awaken students to the reality of other peoples, lifestyles and social value structures. Exposure to other languages is and should continue to be a significant part of the education gained in a foreign study program. It is most likely that the United States will continue to be involved increasingly economically, politically and socially with various other cultures around the world. It strikes me as extremely important to provide this means to elevate our students above xenophobic reactions to other peoples.”

Included in his report were 40 recommendations, ranging from requesting that administrators stress the importance of studying abroad in meetings, to raises of $500 to faculty already working with programs abroad. The National Association of Foreign Student Advisors acted as an outside consultant to St. Thomas soon after Schons’ report, and in 1983 his leadership helped secure the creation of the school’s International Education Center (IEC). Dr. Sarah Stevenson was hired as its director (PDF), signaling the university’s first dedication of a full-time professional to international education.

Stevenson and a secretary, Ruth Hennessey, worked in small house on Grand Avenue.

“It was out there on the edge of campus and I thought, ‘We’re out here on the edge of nowhere,’” said Stevenson, who led international education at Gustavus Adolphus College before arriving at St. Thomas. “The dean assured me that every student would come right by us because it was on the way from campus to Davanni’s.”

Arguably the biggest challenge early on, Stevenson said, was to convince faculty and students studying abroad was a good idea.

“Faculty felt (study abroad) was for the wealthy few and weren’t terribly supportive of the idea. We had to do a lot of public relations,” she said. “There were a lot of studies coming out and we were trying to promote the concept on a national basis that this was important for our country, for political, economic, cultural reasons. We needed a population that was better trained, better informed about the world.”

Throughout the 1980s St. Thomas students became more involved in co-sponsored programs, including with professional third-party groups that facilitated enrollment in foreign universities. In 1986 the IEC also began to develop and administer St. Thomas’ own short-term programs, an appeal that grew for those who didn’t want to study abroad for a full semester.

“I do think the curriculum had a lot to do with (the growing popularity of J-Term courses abroad at St. Thomas.) Our students didn’t have as many electives as other traditional liberal arts schools,” Stevenson said. “Our students are very focused on graduating on time … January (programs provided) an easy way to get an international experience that you knew you could count toward your graduation requirements.”

Stevenson said a growing reputation of positive experiences helped too.

“Also, in the early years (the J-Term courses) weren’t as academically challenging. Not that they didn’t learn … but it wasn’t as much the traditional exam, papers,” she added. “As the January Term courses changed on campus, the J-Term courses changed overseas as well. By the time they became more traditional courses … the tradition was well enough established that it didn’t scare students away.”

Stevenson herself took advantage of an opportunity abroad in 1990, spending a year in Japan. When she returned, much like Schons before her, she advocated for yet another expansion of St. Thomas’ international efforts.

Photo by Lauren Buchholz, Wadi Rum, Jordan. “Camel Games.”

A changing culture

Slow but steady growth continued throughout the early 1990s; it was later in the decade that things took a major jump forward at St. Thomas. Stevenson’s advocacy helped lead to the creation of a task force that, in 1995, implemented a Five Year Internationalization Plan. Well beyond the scope of just study abroad, this plan oversaw a vast expansion of international education offerings and programs, and addressed the overall attitude on campus toward international learning. Included was the addition of a coordinator for international admissions, an ELS Languages Services program and the creation of an international programs matrix that centralized St. Thomas’ efforts.

More than anything, the plan signaled a cultural shift throughout the university.

“That period is the real springboard,” said Sarah Spencer, St. Thomas’ current director of Study Abroad, International Education. “You had not just study abroad, but a huge number of internationally focused things going on.”

Included in that five-year growth was the creation in 1995 of the first semester abroad course by St. Thomas, the London Business Semester, which soon was followed by Don Briel founding the Catholic Studies program in Rome in 1998. Both programs continue today.

The turn of the century also saw the beginning of a dramatic uptick in St. Thomas faculty-led J-Term courses.

“As more faculty members became involved themselves, that did change their attitudes about the value of studying abroad,” Stevenson said.

Photo by Lisa Northenscold, Rome. Catholic Studies, Fall 2013. “Shadows of Rome.”

Upward and outward

The decade-plus since then has seen a continued understanding of that value, reflected in the hundreds – sometimes more than 1,000 – St. Thomas students who go abroad each year. That tradition continues building through new, improved experiences: from the guarantee to incoming students they will have an opportunity to study abroad no matter their major, to helping them articulate the value of their time abroad in personal and career development.

“To take that foundation we had and really help it grow, it has been very exciting,” Stevenson said. “You certainly knew you were doing something wonderful for students’ education. That was the best part of it.”

Similar to the five-year internationalization plan of 20 years ago, St. Thomas’ new strategic plan has formed a vision of increasing the university’s global engagement. It is difficult now to forecast the many opportunities that may come out of this renewed focus and set of goals, but if the history of study abroad offers any clues, it is this: “You need all of these factors of our university in play for global engagement to work and stick,” Spencer said. “We had Sarah Stevenson; dedicated leadership; a great plan; administrative support of that plan under (then-president) Father (Dennis) Dease; and faculty, staff and students across campus working together. It truly took the community to create this progress, and we continue to experience it first hand today.”

Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity Names Administration Building in Honor of Former Rector Father Charles Froehle

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 8:24am

The administration building of the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas has been named in honor of the late Father Charles L. Froehle, a parish priest who also served the seminary for 25 years as a professor, dean and rector.

Father Charles Froehle

The seminary’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to name the building in February. Following its Thursday, April 30, meeting, the board will dedicate a “Father Charles Froehle Administration Building” plaque that will be installed at the entrance to the building’s main conference room.

Archbishop John Nienstedt, chair of the seminary’s board, will lead the dedication and blessing of the plaque.

Froehle, a native of St. Cloud, died at age 77 on Jan. 6 following a lengthy illness. He graduated from the Saint Paul Seminary and was ordained in 1963. Five years later, after completing a doctorate in theology in Rome, he returned to the seminary, where he initially served as professor of sacramental theology, dean of studies and vice rector.

In 1980 he was appointed rector and was one of the major architects – along with Monsignor Terrence Murphy and Dr. Charles Keffer from St. Thomas and Archbishop John Roach from the archdiocese – of the 1987 affiliation of the seminary with the then College of St. Thomas. That year he became the vice president of St. Thomas for the School of Divinity.

In the years immediately following the affiliation, Froehle directed a $9.1 million capital campaign to design and build the seminary’s new administration building and residence hall, and to renovate St. Mary’s Chapel. The seminary campus, established in 1894, is at the western end of Summit Avenue and overlooks the Mississippi River valley.

After retiring as rector of the seminary in 1993, he served as pastor of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Buffalo from 1994 to 2001 and of Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis from 2001 until 2012. When he left the seminary in 1993, St. Thomas awarded him an honorary doctorate. A citation that accompanied the degree described Froehle’s “remarkable expertise, sensitivity and patience in dialogue with all those who had stake in this new School of Divinity.”

“Father Froehle’s was a quiet, gentle presence at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity,” said Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, the seminary’s rector since 2005. “He realized his call as a priest was to preach, teach and sanctify. He gave noble witness to the call in the many years he spent himself forming the hearts of scores of good men, after the heart of the shepherd.”

Dr. Vic Klimoski, a former academic dean of the seminary, said, “Father Froehle was masterful in guiding discussions about the new administration building by reminding us that our decisions were about the larger good of the seminary and its mission, not our particular preferences. As in all aspects of his leadership as rector, mission trumped everything else.”

“Father Froehle was a man who saw the gifts and talents of others and encouraged them to develop and use those gifts,” added Janet Gould, executive assistant to the rector and another colleague of Froehle. “It was quite a fine quality in a man who was charged with forming leaders for the church.”

The School of Divinity today enrolls men who are studying for the priesthood and lay men and women preparing for service in the church.

68 CSB and SJU students to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa April 22

The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at Alumnae Hall, Haehn Campus Center, College of Saint Benedict.

Seventh Annual Relay For Life Starts Friday

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 8:06am

The cadence of pounding feet looping around a track was the only company Dr. Gordon Klatt ’64 had during his 24-hour solo relay in Tacoma, Washington, in 1985. Alternating between walking and running laps, Klatt traveled 83 miles around the track and raised $27,000 in donations from family and friends in what would become the 30-year-old-and-counting Relay For Life.

This year’s event, which will take place April 17-18, is the seventh annual Relay For Life at St. Thomas. Approximately 500 people, made up of students, faculty, alumni and family members of participants, are expected to partake in the relay. The coordinators of Relay For Life encourage anyone to attend the event, whether or not their lives have been touched by cancer. It will last 6 p.m.-4 a.m in the AARC field house.

The money raised at the event goes to American Cancer Society programs, including cancer research, cancer patient housing and transportation, and a 24-hour support hotline.

Klatt, the founder of Relay For Life and a recipient of the 2012 St. Thomas Day Humanitarian Award, died Aug. 3, 2014, after battling stomach cancer. Caity Kubicek ’15, president of St. Thomas’ Colleges Against Cancer, said Klatt “started the fight for more birthdays.” Klatt gave the opening speech at St. Thomas’ Relay For Life in 2013 and led participants around the first lap, which is dedicated to cancer survivors.

“Having Gordy personally inspire students at St. Thomas to continue the fight was very touching,” Kubicek said. She added that Relay For Life plays a slideshow each year to honor those who lost the battle to cancer or in support of those still fighting it within the St. Thomas community. Klatt will be honored in this year’s slideshow.

Kubicek, who became involved with Relay For Life in honor of her late grandmother, said planning an event that celebrates and remembers survivors and fights against cancer fulfills the flame inside her to make the world a better place.

The planning for the 2015 Relay For Life took nine months, and the event has an “Around the World” theme. Activities representing each continent will be held every hour. Participants can get henna tattoos, receive free food from Subway, Toppers Pizza and KIND Healthy Snacks, participate in a photo booth and cake walk, and see performances by Duniya Drum & Dance ensemble and magician Matt Dunn.

Traditional activities such as a silent auction, survivor dinner and luminaria ceremony also will be included.

Rahel Lemma ’16, vice president of Colleges Against Cancer, said the goal of Relay For Life is to show cancer patients that everyone is in the fight together.

“We celebrate the survivors, remember those who have lost their battle with cancer and fight back by making a commitment to help save lives,” Lemma said.

Laura Tormanen ’17, Colleges Against Cancer president elect, said the luminaria ceremony is her favorite part of the event. “During this time of the night, we turn off all of the lights and place glow sticks in the luminara bags bordering the entire track,” Tormanen said. “Each bag is decorated by a participant in honor or memory of a loved one. The sight of the massive amount of glowing bags really tugs at your heartstrings.

“It is truly an inspiring event that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime,” Tormanen said.

Students team up to study ant behavior

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 8:13pm

Mae Yang ’15 and Aleah Bingham ’15 learned a lot about the common, western thatching ant after six months of intensive study—including that they bite.

Bingham, a Biology major and Chemistry and Environmental Biology minor from Eden Prairie, and Yang, an Environmental Biology major and Zoology minor from Minneapolis, paired up on a multidisciplinary thesis this past year.

The pair decided to study this particular species of ant for a variety of reasons, including that it gave them a reason to combine their knowledge of biology and chemistry; it gave them a reason to continue working closely with Dr. Moni Berg-Binder of the Biology Department and Dr. Jaime Mueller of the Chemistry Department; and simply because ants are cool.

“I chose to work with ants because it’s very unique how their community is structured,” Yang said. “They are so complex even though they are so little.” Bingham added, “With their interesting social structures, each individual has a role to play in their colony.”

Last fall, the two collected their specimens at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, where Dr. Berg-Binder knew of active mounds as she used the same species for her doctoral research. But that’s where the similarities of their studies ended.

Ants use chemical communication extensively, including to help them determine “friend” or “foe” or (nestmate vs. non-nestmate). Bingham and Yang investigated the role that diet plays on the external chemical signature of the ants. They geared their research based on a paper they found detailing a study on a different species of ants. The results found that different diets changed the ants’ cuticle (or covering) and, in turn, changed how they interacted with different ant colonies.

The pair chose to feed their ants crickets, which have their own unique chemical signatures. Yang fed different ant colonies one diet to determine whether they would recognize each other more as friends. Bingham split up one colony of ants and fed them different diets (crickets vs. eggs) to see if they would become more aggressive toward each other.

Bingham’s work was more about nestmate recognition, and Yang’s was more about changing chemical signatures.

Although they still have much data to analyze, the two say they did not find a highly significant change in the behavioral tendencies of their subjects. In fact, they say with a laugh, they found the ants far more aggressive toward their researchers than each other.

But both Bingham and Yang say they found a lot of satisfaction in the process of their research. That, and they found a lot more respect for ants. “

“I really think that it’s great that we have opportunities to do research with our professors,” Bingham said. “It’s a lot of work, but by the end of the project, you really feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.”

“Saint Mary’s has been great experience for me,” Yang added. “Working on this thesis has really helped me understand and appreciate the value of research. The trials I have overcome this year have really enabled me to become a better critical thinker. Also, being able to do research with Dr. Berg-Binder and Dr. Mueller has been really inspiring. I have gained so much from their guidance and patience. It’s these interactions with the professors on campus that make the difference.”

CAPTION: Aleah Bingham and Mae Yang work on the GC-MS while researching western thatching ants.

Amie Goblirsch ’16 to Take Part in Archaeological Project in Portugal

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 4:05pm

Amie Goblirsch ’16 in Gaeta, Italy during her semester study abroad experience in the spring of 2014.

Every college student looks forward to the summer for one reason or another, whether its reuniting with family and friends, going on vacation, or completing an internship. For Gustavus Adolphus College junior Amie Goblirsch, this summer will be about taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime archaeological dig overseas, thanks to a unique gift from a Gustavus alumna.

Goblirsch will travel to Redondo, Portugal this summer to participate in the Santa Susana Archaeological Project. The project, which is approaching its third season, is attempting to excavate an ancient Roman villa. The opportunity for a Gustavus classics major to participate in the project came to be thanks to a generous offer from Gustavus alumna and classics major Emily Kehm Smith ’06 and her husband Austin. Goblirsch, who is the current president of Eta Sigma Phi, the Gustavus chapter of a national classics honor society, was selected by the department.

“I am extremely excited to have this opportunity. When I first heard the news I literally could not sit still for the rest of the day,” Goblirsch said. “I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in this excavation. This isn’t something every undergraduate has a chance to do and because of the cost usually associated with these digs, it is something I never thought I would be able to do.”

The site of the excavation holds a villa complex important to the understanding of the processes of colonization and settlement in this particular corner of what was the Roman Empire. Preliminary work at the site suggests a rich artifact assemblage dating from the 1st century C.E. through the 5th century C.E. Goblirsch and other field school students will receive instruction in surveying techniques, the handling and processing of artifacts, and the recording of exposed areas and features. She will also have an opportunity to work with a fellow Gustie in Betsy Bevis ’00, who is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and one of the project’s supervisors.

“Currently I am hoping to attend graduate school for archaeology after Gustavus, which is one of the reasons why I am so excited to have this opportunity,” Goblirsch said. “Not only will it give me valuable field experience, but it will also give me a feel for what a career in archaeology might be like.”

Goblirsch says that she decided to study classics at Gustavus because it had everything she wanted to study—language, history, poetry, and music—combined into one major. She has also been impressed with the quality of the faculty in the department.

“Classics challenges you every day and teaches you to think critically and analyze the world around you. I just think it is an extremely interesting period of history that is still very relevant to the world around us today,” she said. “The faculty in the classics department is one of the biggest reasons that my academic experience at Gustavus has been as great as it has been. On top of being active scholars, they are excellent professors and always go above and beyond for their students. The expertise and insight they bring to every class is invigorating and really motivates students to want to engage with the material. I am thankful to all of them for all the guidance each of them has given me along the way.”

In addition to her academic work in the classroom, Goblirsch plays the trumpet in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, the Adolphus Jazz Ensemble, and the Frost Jazz Combo. She also plays on the women’s rugby team and is one of five Gustavus students participating in a collaborative research project under the guidance of Professor Eric Dugdale called the Homer Multitext Project, which seeks to present the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey in a historical framework.

More information about the Santa Susana Archaeological Project is available online at


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

A Thousand Stories at St. Thomas’ Libraries

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 3:53pm

“Oh, I’m here multiple times a day. I like to get my work done here. I’m definitely more focused while I’m in the library.”
– Freshman Grace Winker, second floor O’Shaughnessy-Frey

The University of St. Thomas’ libraries are many things to many people. They are where all the books you need for class or research are. They are the quiet places you need to focus and study. They are the not-so-quiet places you need to focus and study. They are – as St. Thomas O’Shaughnessy-Frey director Dan Gjelten has heard them described – “the heart of the university.”

“I’ll typically study here because there are less distractions … not at home. There’s laundry there.”
– Teaching license student Alison Rubbelke, second floor Charles J. Keffer

St. Thomas houses four separate and distinct libraries, two each on its campuses in St. Paul and Minneapolis. In St. Paul, O’Shaughnessy-Frey towers above the lower quad on north campus, while Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library sits above The Grotto, just south of the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity on south campus. In Minneapolis, the Schoenecker Law Library and Charles J. Keffer Library are both on the downtown campus, across 11th Avenue from each other.

“The first semester is the learning curve, and you notice the people who are more successful are spending more time here. That becomes the expectation.”
  –1L student Josh Damberg, lower level Schoenecker

All told the libraries host tens of thousands of visitors per school year, many of them dedicated, repeat customers. The reasons they choose to come – and where exactly they go to in each library, often with remarkable consistency – vary greatly, but all contribute to the tradition of scholarship and learning so beloved in academia.

“It’s quiet. Very quiet. Undergraduates haven’t totally discovered this place in some ways. It’s a nice place to get away. Solitude and a quiet time for reflection and writing are essential, and you get it here.”
– Theology professor Paul J. Wojda, Tier 3 Ireland


Over the last two-plus decades, Gjelten has overseen many changes at O’Shaughnessy-Frey, the main undergraduate library. When he started in 1991 a strict no food or drink policy was in place; now, a coffee shop on the first floor buzzes with customers. Years ago students needed to go next door to O’Shaughnessy Educational Center to use computers; in 2004 dozens of desktop units were brought into the southwest corner of the first floor. Bright, lightweight furniture, the likes the library had never had before, also was moved in.

“I like to have a quieter place to study. I can’t do the student center or T’s.”
– Junior Willie Faust, lower level O’Shaughnessy-Frey

In the lower levels, more computers sit alongside tables students use for both individual and group study. In the higher levels individual work is the norm, with the third and fourth floors designated quiet spaces.

“I feel like people here look for the quiet, and that’s why they come to the third floor. I’m a senior, and this has been my escape place to come. It’s refreshing to get out of your room and have somewhere else to work hard.”
– Senior Kaitlin Becker, third floor O’Shaughnessy-Frey

Private study rooms can be used on almost every level.

“I’m pretty much always on the second floor. The higher you go the quieter it is, so this is kind of in the middle. And, you don’t have to climb as many flights of stairs.”
  – Senior Andrew Luedtke, second floor O’Shaughnessy-Frey

O’Shaughnessy-Frey’s six floors offer a wide range of options, which is exactly the way Gjelten wants it.

“There are parts of the library that are like a church; it’s the same as it always has been, always will be that way, the same things have happened. But what all do people want from the library? Do they want that sacred aspect? This new, colorful, lightweight and playful style? I have come to decide it’s got to be both. When you start talking with students some like that part, some like that part, some want to sit right down by the coffee shop as people come by all day long. Others go to the fourth floor where presumably it’s quiet … and isolate themselves up there.

“All said, this is where learning is designed to happen. To the point we can design it to happen and facilitate it happening, that’s where we’ll be successful.”
– Director Dan Gjelten, second floor O’Shaughnessy-Frey

Nearly 60,000 people pass through the doors of O’Shaughnessy-Frey each month, meaning people pass in and out of the doors with 2,000 different each day.

“It’s a great place to study late @ night … Lots of services … A place to escape the madness of campus, a.k.a. it’s too busy everywhere else … A tasty beverage and enough stairs to burn it off … Knowledge … VHS tapes from 1982 … The best library and reference staff in the world … Sleep.”
– Anonymous answers to the prompt, “What can you get at the library that you can’t get anywhere else?”, first floor O’Shaughnessy-Frey

Busy library, busy people

“We’re small, but we can do pretty much anything people want us to do.”
– Research and Instructional Librarian Merrie Davidson, second floor Charles J. Keffer

On the second floor of Opus Hall in Minneapolis, the Charles J. Keffer Library supports the College of Business and the College of Applied Professional Studies. That means most student visitors are returning to school for a higher degree or certificate, which equals a higher rate of traffic in the late afternoon and evening.

“I like having some quiet, but having some background noise is nice. This is a good combination of both.”
– Law student John Fandrey, second floor Charles J. Keffer

Although its square-footage pales in comparison to O’Shaughnessy-Frey or Ireland libraries, Charles J. Keffer shares the resources of St. Thomas’ entire library system and quickly can get students what they need online or in print. The library houses a large collection of children’s literature on its main floor, along with 34 computers on a lit second floor with natural light pouring through large windows. A silent study area downstairs sits adjacent to several deep stacks of books.

“The computers are very useful to me. I can search for all my materials, check my emails, and save many files onto the system. If I have a presentation in the classroom I know I can find my folder in the system easily. It’s very useful.”
– ESL student Yu Zhang, second floor Charles J. Keffer

A theological gem

“It has these great, intellectual tomes, all these great pieces from a rich history of Catholic intellectual tradition.”
– Philosophy professor Tim Paul, lower level Ireland

The graduate theology library of both St. Thomas and the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, the Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library has a long and storied history. Its collection originally started in large part with donations from Archbishop John Ireland’s personal collection back into the late 19th century; the building that stands today was completed in 1950.

“It’s close to the science building, so in between math classes it’s convenient for me. It’s usually easier here to find a quiet spot than anywhere else.”
– Junior Katie Wefvat, main floor Ireland

One of the country’s preeminent theological libraries, Ireland works with both St. Thomas and the larger archdiocese community. Theological scholars travel from around the country to use some of Ireland’s rare resources, and it provides an excellent home base for students and professors from both St. Thomas and the Saint Paul Seminary.

“It’s really conducive to studying. With our schedule at the seminary we have to be that much more intentional with our time; that’s one of my biggest reasons for coming here.”
– Pre-theology two student Tim Cone, main floor Ireland

Library employees long have made an effort to draw more people to Ireland, which boasts the most consistently quiet atmosphere of all St. Thomas’ libraries.

“We have three or four faculty members who I think just come in their pajamas and stay. They want to keep it secret, but we don’t want to keep it secret. We’re proud of it and proud of St. Thomas.”
– Director Curt Le May, main floor Ireland

A place for students

Across 11th Avenue in Minneapolis from Charles J. Keffer sits the St. Thomas School of Law and its library, Schoenecker. Up a flight of stairs from the school’s main atrium is the library’s entrance and main floor, an open, well-lit expanse of carpet, tables and books that law students flock to for their work.

“It’s a great place to go between classes. I try to get most of my work done here and go home with as little as possible.”
– 1L law student Dan Lenhardt, second floor Schoenecker

Boasting four levels, Schoenecker’s second floor is the only one not designated as a “quiet space.” Many study rooms surround the outside ring of the second floor, offering prime meeting spaces for students to work together.

“Part of the appeal is definitely social. A lot of our work is in groups, so this is where you meet people.”
– 1L law student Josh Damberg, lower level Schoenecker

Similar rooms surround the other three levels; students in the main sections of each floor can work at large tables or tables with dividers. Power outlets and Internet jacks are in abundance on the tables of all four levels.

“I love the library, especially the third floor. There’s hardly anyone that comes up here so I’m usually totally alone. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but working like that has always been best for me.”
– 1L law student Alyssa Wojack, third floor Schoenecker

While Schoenecker doesn’t house a massive book collection directly on its premise (there are many book stacks on every level), its membership in the Minnesota Law School Consortium (with the University of Minnesota Law School and Mitchell | Hamline Law School) gives it access to a vast set of legal resources.

“I get here at 7 a.m. and there are already people in here working, and when we close at night there are people working in here … Not everyone is a library user, but the ones that are tend to be heavy users.”
– Research librarian Megan McNevin, second floor Schoenecker

Technological advances push the evolution of libraries’ roles at a university, and the limitless reasons why people visit and where they go in each of St. Thomas’ libraries change. For Gjelten, Le May and others who work hard to make sure St. Thomas’ libraries are the best they can be, the hope is one thing will never change: People always will want to use the library.

CSB/SJU announce Student Employees/Team of the Year awards

Amanda Tate, Nicholas Maher and the student grounds team at CSB have been named Student Employees/Team of the Year at CSB and SJU. The winners were announced April 14.

Extending the Link wins NATAS – Upper Midwest Regional Student Production Award

The CSB/SJU documentary group took home the award April 12 for their 2014 film, ‘Ger Kler: A Journey of Untold Strength,’ in the college non-fiction category.

CSP Marketing Students Take Top Honors at LCEF Sponsored Competition

Concordia University Campus News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 7:31am

A team of five Concordia University, St. Paul marketing students under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Harrower took top honors at the 2015 National Student Marketing Competition, sponsored by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), April 10 in St. Louis.

CSP’s team of undergraduate students Brandon Wagner, Hillary Minnaert, Dillon LaHaye, Nancy Mohammed and Tom Obarski earned $5,000 for their winning presentation. The first-place showing marked the second-consecutive year a team from CSP has earned top honors at this event.

Teams representing nine Concordia Universities from around the country participated at the fourth-annual competition, where teams presented a comprehensive marketing plan to a group of prominent judges.

The 2015 competition assignment asked students to develop a marketing plan that raises the awareness of LCEF and how it impacts the LCMS, and ultimately on communities and individuals—how LCEF is a catalyst for empowered ministries and people sharing the Gospel. The campaign should motivate LCMS members to actively become a partner through an investment, a loan, a gift or the use of a support service.

St. Thomas to Host Feed My Starving Children MobilePack Event May 6-7

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 3:01pm

The University of St. Thomas will host a Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event Wednesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 7. During the MobilePack, volunteers from the St. Thomas community will pack more than 100,000 meals for starving children around the world. The event, themed Tommies Together, is free and open to St. Thomas students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors and friends.

Volunteers may choose from three shifts: 4-6 p.m. or 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, or 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 7. All shifts will be held at Campus Way on the second floor of the Anderson Student Center.

The Tommies Together MobilePack event was initiated by Father Larry Snyder, vice president for mission, in conjunction with the annual St. Thomas Day celebration. According to Snyder, the event is an effort to respond to the university’s strategic planning goal of establishing a culture of service. “This annual day of service tied to our celebration of St. Thomas Day is a visible reminder we have an obligation to share our talents and to give back by working for the common good,” he said. “That’s all part of being a Tommie.”

Learn more and register for the MobilePack event at

A Christian nonprofit founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children tackles world hunger by sending volunteer-packed, nutritious meals to 70 countries, where they are used to operate orphanages, schools, clinics and feeding programs to break the cycle of poverty. Last year, FMSC welcomed nearly 900,000 volunteers to pack more than 229 million meals. The Minnesota-based charity spends 92 percent of total donations directly on feeding the hungry and has earned the highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator for 10 consecutive years.

MobilePack events enable people across the United States to pack FMSC’s life-giving MannaPack meals. Churches, businesses, community groups and schools in more than 35 states have hosted these food-packing events as a way to foster teamwork and unity, while making a real difference in the fight to prevent and reverse malnutrition. FMSC provides guidance and logistics. Local donors and volunteers provide funds and labor to pack the meals.

FMSC’s CEO Mark Crea is a 1978 St. Thomas alumnus and is this year’s undergraduate commencement speaker. He was featured in St. Thomas magazine in 2013.

Fruit at the Finish Triathlon takes place April 25 at SJU

The CSB/SJU Outdoor Leadership Program, SJU Outdoor University and the Peer Resource Program is hosting the 20th annual race Saturday, April 25, beginning at Warner Palaestra, Saint John's University.

From Here to Haiti

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 10:58am

University of Saint Thomas serving in Haiti from Michael Stoebner on Vimeo.

In January, 13 St. Thomas business undergraduates traveled to Haiti with Healing Haiti, a nonprofit organization leading mission trips to the Caribbean nation since 2006. What began as a fulfillment of a service learning requirement for students became a life-changing experience. They were required to step out of their comfort zones and experience a culture and a way of life starkly different from their own in a community where residents live on less than $2 per day, 70 percent have no access to clean water and the unemployment rate is more than 40 percent.

The students delivered clean water to residents of Cite Soleil, the poorest city in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. They visited hospitals and orphanages to care for infants and toddlers, traveled to a remote area of Titanyen to visit with elders, treated a group of orphans to enjoy a day at the beach and visited Haitian-run businesses to better understand the challenges the business owners face.

This service-learning trip, part of UST’s Business 200 program, helps business students learn about the partnerships necessary between businesses and communities to advance the long-term viability and health of both. It also reflects the Catholic social justice component of the university’s mission.

Student Brittany Kolb summed up the week best when she said, “Haiti is a place that breaks your heart in every way, yet leaves you with more joy than you ever thought possible.”

We hope you enjoy these photos as a small window into our experience.

Kristine Sharockman is director of St. Thomas’ Master of Science Degree in Accountancy program.

Read more from B. magazine.

Junior Eric Hanson ’16 Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 9:28am

Eric Hanson ’16

Gustavus Adolphus College junior mathematics major Eric Hanson ’16 is the recipient of a 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award for students pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Hanson, an Apple Valley native, is the 20th Gustavus student since 1992 to receive a Goldwater Scholarship.

“I am honored to have been chosen as a Goldwater Scholar,” Hanson said. “It would not have been possible without the guidance of the Gustavus Mathematics Department and support from other faculty.”

Hanson is currently studying abroad through a program called Budapest Semesters in Mathematics. Hanson is one of about 50 students currently in the program, which draws professors from several of the top universities and research institutions in Budapest.

“The courses are all very rigorous, but the material is interesting and it makes the work well worth it,” Hanson said. “I am enrolled in courses on abstract algebra, algebraic topology, combinatorics, mathematical problem solving, and the philosophy of mathematics. Aside from my studies, I have had time to travel within Hungary and recently took a trip to Switzerland and France during my spring break.”

Next fall, Hanson will be back at Gustavus where he has flourished in the College’s Mathematics and Computer Science Department. Outside the classroom he plays the saxophone in the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, a saxophone quartet, and a jazz combo. He also tutors and grades for the Mathematics Department and is a member of the Math and Computer Science Club.

“Eric is a very hard working and insightful student who picks up on things really quickly,” said Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Terry Morrison. “He is interested in things outside the classroom, is very conscientious and is the ideal student that we love to have here.”

“My experience with the Mathematics Department at Gustavus has been very positive. All of the professors have been very supportive, and I have been able to establish friendships with the faculty that go beyond coursework,” Hanson said. “I have had the opportunity to perform research with both Tom LoFaro (Math and Computer Science) and Jessie Petricka (Physics) and both have been fantastic mentors. Dr. LoFaro’s willingness to perform mathematics research with me has allowed me to put myself in a position where I feel prepared to pursue mathematics at the graduate level.”

Hanson’s research work with LoFaro came at the intersection of dynamical systems and knot theory. In particular, he studied a system of differential equations known as the Newton-Leipnik equations, that have a strange attractor. The objective of Hanson’s work was to develop a geometric model of this strange attractor based on LoFaro’s previous research and use that to determine whether the attractor might contain knots of all possible classifications. The two plan to continue working together when Hanson returns from Hungary.

“It was wonderful to work with Eric on this project. He is an incredibly enthusiastic student who was tremendously dedicated to the project,” LoFaro said. “At the beginning of the summer, we started down a different path and he stuck with it even after we decided to abandon the original path. It turned out that his persistence paid off and that was a fundamental reason why he made considerable headway once we discovered a more reasonable avenue of research.”

After graduating from Gustavus in the spring of 2016, Hanson says he plans to pursue a doctorate in mathematics. His ultimate goal is to be a mathematics professor, preferably at a liberal arts college similar to Gustavus.

Hanson is one of 260 undergraduates to receive a 2015 Goldwater Scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year for two years. Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,206 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by faculty members of colleges and universities nationwide.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by the United States Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The scholarship program aims to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers and to provide a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research.


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

Marek leads ‘Web Series 101′ workshop with theatre students

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 8:53am

Sarah Jane Marek ’04, M’07 didn’t want to sit around waiting for her big break.

The aspiring New York City actress harnessed the humor of going to low-budget basement auditions, attending bizarre and eccentric acting classes, and meeting a cast of slightly crazy characters into a successful web video series titled, “Off Awful.”

After completing a season of shows, garnering some awards, and making plans to move the series to Los Angeles, she returned to Winona April 11-12 to impart her wisdom and lead a workshop with Saint Mary’s theatre students, titled “Web Series 101.”

As part of the workshop, participating theatre students read the textbook “Byte-Sized: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet” by Ross Brown. Marek, once a theatre student at Saint Mary’s herself, reviewed the basics of what it takes to make a web series from concept to creation. Students were asked to come up with a pitch for a web series topic, and the winning concept was fleshed out in class.

“The best way to learn is hands-on,” Marek said. “I wanted the workshop to be really interactive.” Marek also arranged for Brown and other web series creators to Skype with students.

Her key advice: “Whether you want to be an actor or a journalist or in the business world today, you have to chase it. Things aren’t going to fall in your lap. You have to make your own opportunities, and that’s a huge reason why we made the web series.”

Marek, who continues to divide her time between Naples, Fla., and New York, had been doing some off-off-Broadway plays, doing improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade, going to auditions, and taking acting classes, when she found herself in some surreal situations.

“I began encountering odd characters and people, things that made me sit back and say, ‘Is this really happening? Do these people exist in real life?’ I met a girl in my first acting class in New York; we were in this awful class together. We said, ‘Let’s write a web series about this stuff.’ The whole web series concept was not as explosive then as it is now.”

Quickly growing in popularity and scope, web series are vastly different but no less valuable than the communication vehicle used by her father, fellow alum Patrick Marek ’79, publisher of the Winona Post newspaper.

After some starts and stops, and a lot of learning on the job, Sarah Jane Marek said “Off Awful” picked up momentum in 2013 with a director and an official budget. Throughout the process, Marek has served as producer, actress, and co-writer.

“We took our common experiences—loosely based on some of the things we experienced or our friends experienced—and decided to show what being a beginning actor in New York looks like,” she said.

“Off Awful” was part of the LA Web Festival 2014 and took home two acting awards. This past fall the series was one of 154 web series accepted into the Miami Web Festival, where “Off Awful” was one of five web series nominated for best comedy. Additionally, one of the actors was nominated for best supporting actress, and the series took home an award for best director.

These successes have opened additional doors and opportunities for Marek and garnered more attention for the series, which will relocate to L.A. for next season, and will begin depicting the experiences of new actors.

“Have we arrived? No, I’m still not making any money from this,” Marek says with a laugh. “But it was a launching pad and we have next-level opportunities because of it.”

To learn more about “Off-Awful” visit or follow “Off-Awful” on Twitter at the handle @offawful.

Historic Pipers Baseball Game

Hamline University Campus News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 12:00am
The Hamline University baseball team made history on Saturday, April 11, 2015 when the Pipers played and won the first-ever game at CHS Field in Lowertown Saint Paul. 

Celebrate Piper Baseball's Opening Day at CHS Field

Hamline University Campus News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 12:00am
Come out the ballgame and cheer on the Pipers at the inaugural men's baseball game at CHS Field in Lowertown Saint Paul on Saturday, April 11 at 1 p.m.

Majora Carter shares six key steps of social entrepreneurship

St. Kate's Campus News - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 3:21pm
Compassion, hope and conviction were overarching messages from this year’s Kelly Scholar. More »

Education and partnerships can prevent cyber wars

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 1:44pm

Cyber security is an issue that affects us all, yet it is not being discussed often enough nor being addressed systematically, according to Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Stavridis was the keynote speaker for the Saint Mary’s University 2015 Hendrickson Forum on April 9.

How do we keep our personal and professional information safe? How does the government protect confidential files from hackers? How can our communities keep key services intact, such as power grids, despite attempts to compromise them?

During his talk on the Twin Cities Campus in Minneapolis that was also streamed live to the Winona Campus, Adm. Stavridis offered solutions to prevent cyber attacks and “cyber war.”

Developing a cyber security force, forming public and private partnerships, holding training sessions, and working collaboratively were some of the solutions Stavridis posed to the audience of nearly 400 people.

The retired U.S. Navy officer and NATO leader said the U.S. ought not wait for a debilitating event to occur before acting. He noted that 82 other nations fund and operate cyber security teams.

A public citizenry that’s aware is also an ethical move forward in the prevention and action against cyber security breaches, Stavridis said, urging all audience members and university members at Saint Mary’s and elsewhere to become educated on the issue.

Just yesterday, some non-classified White House files were hacked and a major French TV station was hacked by an Islamic terrorist group that broadcast a message across all viewers’ screens, Stavridis said. There’s also the “Deep Web,” a sub-Internet network that quietly engages in activity such as drug trading, computer hacking, and human trafficking without detection. High-profile leaks of personal information and media have been in the news in the last year, and the general public has rightfully raised concern about their own chances of being digitally compromised.

Stavridis conveyed a personal example as well, saying his own teenage daughter’s Facebook account was hacked a few years ago.

So what’s the solution? What can we do, and what can our government do to protect our security online?

“We should put reliance on international networks,” Stavridis suggested. “When we’re in an alliance, sharing among neighbors and collaborating is a powerful way to increase the ability to resist challenges. Not only should we have alliances, but we should also have collaborations. It’s a very powerful approach.”

Stavridis addressed the quandary through an ethical lens. Where do we settle on the spectrum of security, keeping privacy and civil rights in mind?

“Should we live in a world where there’s total privacy? Or one where everything is revealed?” Stavridis questioned. “Too often the debate tends to be like an on-and-off switch, where everything is completely private or everything is going to be revealed. In reality, ethical behavior is often about finding the point of balance. What’s the government role and what’s the free market role? We have to stay in balance with these enormous ethical questions that we live with.”

He went on to assure the audience that, despite concerns and anxiety stemming from online crises, technology is incredible and has brought the world so many opportunities. It just has to be approached ethically.

“It feels a little rocky right now, but we have to understand and celebrate the extraordinary gift that the cyber world gives,” Stavridis said. “It allows us to move forward in education, it allows us to connect around the world. We just have to keep in mind the values that we talked about today, the same ones moved forward by Saint Mary’s University. Those are values of compassion, caring, listening, and reflecting. If we do that, I think we’ll be in a better place.”

In addition to Stavridis’ address, Saint Mary’s Hendrickson Institute awarded HealthPartners President and CEO Mary Brainerd the Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership. Brainerd was honored for ethical leadership in the healthcare industry and in the community.She was previously named Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2007 Executive of the Year, and twice named one of the Business Journal’s Most Influential Women in Business, in 2002 and 1999.

The Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at Saint Mary’s University serves as an educational and transformational resource to the community. The Hendrickson Forum is an annual event that has brought national speakers to Minnesota since 2008 to discuss ethical issues. The institute honors Bill Hendrickson, a native of Plainview, Minn., who received a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s in 1939 and earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hendrickson worked as a chemist and senior executive of American Home Products Corporation, and later became chair of St. Jude Medical Inc.



Carleton Invites Community to Annual Holocaust Remembrance Service and Vigil

Carleton College Campus News - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 12:22pm

Carleton College will observe Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with a vigil and service on Sunday, April 19 in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Author Peter Grose will be the featured speaker and Carleton associate chaplain Rabbi Shosh Dworsky will lead the service, which begins at 5 p.m. A vigil/name reading of Holocaust victims will precede the service, beginning at 12:30 p.m. For a detailed schedule of the event, visit This event is free and open to the public.

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