Recent News from Campuses
Thanks to Carleton's CCCE office, Cynthia Chang '17 began to view a career in medicine differently.
Major League Baseball Player, Active Volunteer, Business Leader
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
Major: Business Administration
David Thies has had many roles throughout his lifetime. During a brief but successful career as a major league baseball player, Thies played for Kansas City in the early 1960s. Now retired, Thies had a successful career in business and investments, serving as president of Thies and Talle Enterprises from 1977 to 1996. At first the business developed and syndicated rental properties, and later expanded into property management. But the hallmark of his life’s journey has been his devotion and commitment to charitable work. A trustee emeritus, Thies served Saint Mary’s for more than 20 years. A generous benefactor, the David R. Thies Court on the Winona Campus is named in his honor. He also served in the highest leadership positions in three consecutive capital campaigns for Saint Mary’s. He has received numerous honors from the university including the Alumni Appreciation Award, being named to the Athletic Hall of Fame, and becoming an affiliated member of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
Betty Duda, a longtime benefactor to Concordia University, St. Paul, passed away Dec. 24. She also served CSP as a former member of the President’s Advisory Council and Board of Regents.
Born in Chicago on Sep. 9, 1932, Betty attended Concordia University, Chicago and was subsequently called to teach at St.… Read More
The post Longtime Concordia Benefactor Betty Duda Passes Away appeared first on Concordia St. Paul.
As a shy, 4-year-old curly-haired blonde, Ania McNamara’s life was changed forever. She and her three older sisters were adopted by Bill ’76 (now deceased) and Grace McNamara ’77 who brought their new daughters back to the United States from Poland in 1993.
In 2009, McNamara—then a sophomore at Saint Mary’s University—underwent another life-changing experience. While studying abroad in Italy, she decided to extend her stay and make her way back to the orphanage she and her sisters had called home for four years.
With some heavenly guidance and knowledge of a few key Polish phrases, she found her way to Chotomow, a small town outside of Warsaw. There a local woman directed her to the orphanage with a hand-drawn map, scrawled on a napkin.
When McNamara saw the green gates of the orphanage’s entrance, a flood of memories came back. She was quickly reunited with a nun who raised her and instantly recognized McNamara’s face as belonging to one of their “pearls of the orphanage.” One of the other nuns briefly left the room and returned clutching a framed photograph of the four sisters with their adoptive parents.
During her brief visit, McNamara met with the children of the orphanage who instantly took hold of her heart. That year, with the help of her friends and support from the Saint Mary’s community, she organized a massive gift-giving program for the orphans of the Dom Dziecka Chotomow (Home of the children). Salvi Lecture Hall was transformed into Santa’s workshop.
For the past seven years, McNamara ’11 has continued the gift exchange. In her spare time, the marketing major has put her skills to use with the small non-profit CCF4Orphans Project. She also expanded the gift exchange to a second orphanage, Dom Dziecka Oswiecim.
“We sponsor an average of 60 kids a year, who are ages 3 all the way to 20,” she said. “The best thing is that every October, I write the orphanages and ask the directors to ask the children what they would like. The kids submit simple wish lists from sports equipment to clothing and from cosmetics to toys and necessities. A lot of them ask for shoes because they all share the same shoes so if it’s a gift, they get to keep it. Some kids really like cooking, so we’ll get them some baking stuff.”
Each year, she operates the program by trial and error, navigating the language barrier, as well as sizing and shipping issues. This past year, she invited people to directly sponsor children.
“This year everybody bought their own gifts, wrapped them and included cards and photos and even pictures of their pets,” she said. “They customized them and made them fun.
“The really cool thing is the sponsors get to be creative,” she added. “They often get items embroidered with the kids’ names or find out the colors they really like. They get to know a little more about the kids.”
McNamara also has traveled back to be with the children in Poland during Christmas time. “I wanted to not just be a person who sends gift but also be a face they can connect with,” she said. “I want them to understand I’m not some sort of government assistance. I was supposed to be them. That was supposed to be my life. My birth mother and father gave us up, and the odds of all four of us being adopted together was 1 in a million.
“When I went back first time in 2009 and connected with those orphans and saw these kids, it hit home for me. I try to go back every year. Some of these kids have been there for many years, and I’m watching them grow up. It’s impossible for me to pretend they aren’t there.”
McNamara said her work with the orphans is both emotional and overwhelming.
“It’s very rewarding but sad at the same time,” she said. “There’s this sense of wanting to do more and to bring them back to America. I constantly want to do more. When I was in Poland last year, I found myself extremely overwhelmed with emotions and holding back tears.”
McNamara is able to continue her program—both in Minnesota as well as in her current Tampa, Fla., location—with the financial generosity of others, as well as volunteer support, but she is hoping to branch out to other partners.
She is thankful for those at Saint Mary’s who have been supporting her since the beginning. “Dr. Mary Fox inspired me to follow my heart,” she said. “I had so much support from Saint Mary’s and I still do. That’s the incredible thing about Saint Mary’s—it’s a community of people who follow you, and seven years later they’re still there.”
To learn more about the project, go to www.facebook.com/ccf4orphans.
Successful Architect, Talented Artist
Hometown: Macao, South China
Antonio “Tony” Maio’s passion was sculpture, and he was commissioned to complete many pieces throughout the United States. Also a talented architect, he worked for Armstrong, Torseth, Skold and Ryde in the Twin Cities area, and worked on both the Met Center renovation in Minneapolis and Sharks arena in San Jose. He designed the original Saint Mary’s Press building in Winona in 1967, while still a student, as well as the addition and remodeling project in 1989. He designed the McEnery Center, the front portion of the Winona Campus library, which contains study and meeting rooms and features a unique design. He also designed the university’s plaza, which serves as a popular gathering spot in the center of the Winona Campus. Never one to want recognition, he believed his work served as his signature.
WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is having a “FREE-4-ALL”—a day of free classes on Jan. 7, 2017 for the whole family. This event will feature classes for both youth and adults, so bring some friends and try a class or two. All classes are free, but space is limited so preregistration is recommended online, by phone, or in-person.
Participants should wear clothing that is easy to move in; no dance shoes or special attire is required. For tap class, MCA will have tap shoes for use with socks. All other classes may be taken barefoot or in the case of hip hop classes, clean gym shoes (that have not been worn outside) may be worn.
This is also an opportunity to tour classroom and performance spaces, learn about the dance program, meet faculty, and get fitted for dance shoes and tights. Participants who register on this day for any dance or theatre class in the winter session will receive $10 off. Classes Jan. 7 include:
My Grown-up & Me (for children ages 18 months to 3 years, with an adult); only 30 minutes
Ballet I (for 7- to 13-year-olds)
Ballet 101 (All ages can learn about MCA’s ballet program.)
Hip Hop Cardio (for 14-year-olds through adults)
Musical Theatre Acting (for 7- to 13-year-olds)
Barre Sculpt (for 14-year-olds through adults)
Tap and Jazz (for 6- to 13-year-olds)
Pre-Ballet (for 4- to 6-year-olds)
Hip Hop (for 6- to 13-year-olds)
Boys in Motion (for 4- to 6-year-olds)
Dance Technique for Boys (for 7- to 12-year-olds)
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, is a nonprofit organization, offering programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for youth ages 18 months and older through adults at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. For more information, go online to www.mnconservatoryforthearts.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 507-453-5500.
In our Sesquicentennial year, we wish you joy for all seasons.
Gustavus Adolphus College was recently named a winner of the inaugural Minnesota College Ballot Bowl, a voter registration competition led by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in which campuses across the state competed to register the most students to vote in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Sixty-three percent of Gustavus students registered to vote during the Ballot Bowl, a mark that was 24 percent higher than the second-place college.
“I believe that Gustavus students were active in this process not only because they wanted to exercise their rights as citizens, but also because they understood the greater impact of the election for a variety of people and policies at both the local and national level,” Gustavus Student Senate Co-President Herchran Singh ’17 said.
The contest, which consisted of 68 colleges and universities from across the state, ran from the first day of classes through October 18. Gustavus ranked first among all Minnesota colleges and universities in student participation with 63 percent and was also first among private colleges and universities in total students registered with 1,318.
“Gustavus students are very active in the community, which allows us to gain perspective about the things we care about, and how our decisions effect others. By engaging in conversations about politics for the sake of learning, sharing personal thoughts and beliefs, and voting, Gusties show that they understand the importance of civic engagement and their responsibility to their community,” Singh explained.
Several efforts led to the high turnout at Gustavus, including a successful voter education and registration table in the Jackson Campus Center, televised debate viewing parties, and an on-campus debate between student political organizations.
“Gustavus students understand the role they play as citizens in the democratic process and they care about their community,” Gustavus Vice President for Student Life JoNes VanHecke said. “Students from our Voter Education Committee worked collaboratively not only to ‘get out the vote’ but to provide their peers with great educational programming throughout the election season.”
“Thanks to the hard work done by student leaders across the state more Minnesotans than ever were registered to vote before Election Day, and Minnesota’s voter turnout of 74.72 percent is likely to be number one in the nation,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a release. “It’s important we continue to get good habits started early with young Minnesotans and I look forward to working with campus leaders to find new and innovative ways to increase civic engagement.”
Secretary Simon will present student leaders with a Ballot Bowl award in early 2017.
To learn more about the Minnesota College Ballot Bowl and see the results, visit the Secretary of State’s Ballot Bowl webpage.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
St. Thomas Liturgical Choir to sing at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican
In late December, 48 members of the University of St. Thomas Liturgical Choir and 26 of their family members will embark on a 10-day pilgrimage to Rome, Florence and Assisi under the direction of Dr. David Jenkins and Dr. Jill Nennmann.
The Liturgical Choir will serve as music ministers during Masses at the Basilica of St. Paul in Rome, the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. The highlight of the tour will be the choir’s participation in the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, presided by Pope Francis. Alongside the Coro Guida (Guiding Choir), the Liturgical Choir will guide the congregational singing and be seated with the Sistine Chapel Choir.
The Liturgical Choir is comprised of undergraduate students who sing for Sunday Masses in the university’s Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The choir’s trip includes visits to holy sites including the Scavi, the excavation of the necropolis under the floors of St. Peter’s. These tours are only possible with permission from the Fabbrica di San Pietro that oversees the site and the Basilica.
Choir members and their families also will attend the papal blessing and Angelus on Christmas, and attend a papal audience on Dec. 28 to hear the Holy Father’s message to the faithful, to pray the Pater Noster, and to observe the pope as he blesses religious articles.
This will mark the fourth time the Liturgical Choir has sung for the Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s. Robert Strusinski, the founder of the choir, led the St. Thomas choir in these Masses in 1987, 1997 and 2007. To serve as the choir guiding the congregational singing, the St. Thomas ensemble was required to submit recordings to the Vatican for approval.
The Christmas Eve Mass with Pope Francis can be seen on the EWTN television network at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24.