Recent News from Campuses

Ice Bucket Challenge Coming to Campus Thursday, Sept. 4

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 12:01am

Stay tuned for more details, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is coming to the University of St. Thomas … in a big way.

St. Thomas students, staff, faculty and neighbors are all welcome to participate. You won’t have to BYOB (bring your own bucket). They will be provided, along with ice, water and a towel.

The challenge will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, on the John P. Monahan Plaza outside the Anderson Student Center. While details are being worked out, plans call for registration at 3 p.m. and a mass “ice-water dump” at 3:30 p.m.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is designed to raise awareness and research funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). Voluntary donations for the ALS Association will be accepted at the St. Thomas challenge that day.

You’d almost need to have your head in a pail not to have heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge, but if not, there’s background about it here on Wikipedia. As of late last week, the challenge has raised more than $50 million for ALS research.

St. Thomas was “challenged” to hoist the bucket by the ALS Association Center of Excellence at the Hennepin County Medical Center and by Dr. Bruce Kramer’s congregation, the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church of Edina. Kramer, who is former dean of the School of Education at St. Thomas, is living with ALS and frequently has been interviewed about living with the disease on a series of programs broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio with Cathy Wurzer.

St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan also was challenged recently by junior Sarah LaValla. You can see LaValla making the challenge and getting her batch of ice water here and here (you need to watch both videos).

Another St. Thomas ice-bucket veteran is Rob Vischer, dean of the School of Law. You can see how dignified someone can be while getting a bucket dumped over his head here.

Organizers aren’t sure how many participants will show up for the challenge on Sept. 4, but are planning on hundreds. More details about the event as the date draws closer and plans are finalized.

Hamline at the State Fair

Hamline University Campus News - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 12:00am
Those going to the Minnesota State Fair this year should be sure to stop by the Hamline University booth in the education building for great giveaways and new ways to connect with students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective students, and the public.

Nick Hupton ’99: Impacting Today’s Youth as a Teacher, Coach, and Author

Gustavus Campus News - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 3:55pm

Nick Hupton ’99 lives in Minneapolis and teaches in Bloomington.

Benjamin Franklin once uttered the following on the subject of mentoring: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Those are words to live by for anyone trying to make an impression on today’s youth. They are words that Gustavus alumnus Nick Hupton ’99 has embraced in every aspect of his life.

Hupton is a high school English teacher at Bloomington Jefferson High School where he also coaches the boys’ tennis team. He is also a published author and is getting ready to release his third young adult novel in early September.

“First and foremost, I am passionate about helping kids. Watching a kid learn and grow, both academically and emotionally, is why I got into education in the first place,” Hupton said.

Hupton first started thinking about pursuing a career in education when he was in high school. His mom is a teacher and his 11th grade American literature teacher had a profound influence on him, which he says fueled his passion for helping and teaching others. After graduating from high school in Des Moines, Hupton came to Gustavus to earn his undergraduate degree.

“I had a wonderful experience in the Gustavus education department. I have always felt that the classes I took and the field experiences I participated in helped me prepare as thoroughly as possible for the world of education,” Hupton said. “Anyone who hopes to pursue education as a career should consider Gustavus as an undergraduate option. The program will not disappoint.”

Along with his academic pursuits, Hupton was a four-year member of the Gustavus men’s tennis team. During Hupton’s four years, the team won four MIAC championships, while Hupton was named an all-conference performer in 1998 and 1999. While the team’s success was something that Hupton enjoyed, the life lessons learned from the experience and from former head coach Steve Wilkinson are things that he carries with him today.

Hupton (middle) is the head boys’ tennis coach at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

“Playing tennis for Gustavus had a profound impact on my life. Coach Wilkinson is legendary for a reason: he teaches young men the values of respect and integrity,” Hupton said. “I learned a lot about tennis and became a much better player, and in time, a better coach, because I participated in the Gustavus tennis program. But most importantly, I became a better person and I try to relay the messages of sportsmanship, integrity, and respect to my players today.”

Wilkinson’s biography is dotted with impressive statistics such as the fact that he retired as the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories. He led the College to two NCAA Division III titles as well as 35 MIAC championships. He was also recently inducted into the United States Professional Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame. But perhaps the crowning jewel on Wilkinson’s resume is the fact that he founded the Tennis and Life Camps at Gustavus which have taught tennis, life values, and sportsmanship to more than 50,000 students since 1977.

“I use many of Wilk’s philosophies and techniques in my day-to-day coaching and it has become an integral part of the Jefferson tennis program,” Hupton said. “I owe Wilk a great deal. His impact on Minnesota tennis is incalculable. I continue to coach because I love the game, but like teaching, I treasure the evolution I see of the young men in my program. They don’t only grow as tennis players, but as people too. It’s nice to think that I had a small part in that.”

While teaching and coaching in the Bloomington Public Schools, Hupton decided to pursue his master’s degree in 2008. He enrolled at Hamline University in a Liberal Studies program with a concentration in creative writing. During his master’s program he began to write what would eventually become his first published novel, If I Know It’s Coming.

The book tells the story of Tim Hansen, a perceptive, but fairly average 13-year-old boy. Hansen’s mother, an Army reserve nurse is deployed to Iraq and Tim, his father, and sister Jenna, have to deal with the separation of their close-knit family. Tim goes to extremes to fill the void left by his absent mother and he is desperate to create some normalcy again.

Hupton’s third novel, Stone Ridge, will be released on Sept. 5.

“The book is told from Tim’s perspective, so anyone of that age can relate to the voice and the constant middle school adventure,” Hupton said. “But it is also for anyone who has experienced separation, whether it be due to military deployment or for another reason.”

Hupton took a group of seventh graders to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in northern Minnesota for a three-day field trip when he got the inspiration for his next book. While telling ghost stories in the woods, Hupton made up a story about an old hermit who would kidnap Wolf Ridge campers. Ten years later, Hupton turned that story into a much more elaborate and detailed novel titled The Ridge. The story focuses on Zach Sutton, an eighth grader whose brother has been missing for over a year. When Zach travels to northern Minnesota on a school field trip, he begins to piece together the disturbing truth about his brother’s disappearance.

Stone Ridge, which will be released on Sept. 5, is the sequel to The Ridge. It continues Zach’s quest for his brother and his ongoing battle with the antagonist, Victor Leppla. Hupton says that both books are paranormal mysteries, but they also contain serious thematic issues such as separation, family dynamics, and good versus evil.

“Some of the proudest moments in my writing career have come when I see otherwise reluctant readers picking up my books and diving in,” Hupton said. “It’s all about getting young people to read and I hope I have aided in that endeavor at least a little bit.”

In addition to teaching, coaching and writing, Hupton is also a husband and a father. He is married to Tara Anlauf Hupton ’00 and the couple has a son and a daughter. You can read more about Hupton’s books by visiting his website,


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

Myser Initiative welcomes Co-chair of Global Peace Initiative of Women

St. Kate's Campus News - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 8:30am
Joan Chittister, OSB, will be the eighth annual Myser Lecturer on Oct. 30. More »

St. Thomas Sells Gainey Center Property

University of St. Thomas Campus News - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 9:39pm

St. Thomas has closed on the sale of the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna to Meridian Behavioral Health LLC.

The closing occurred Aug. 18, and Meridian will renovate the center for use as a supervised living facility providing counseling and treatment services to people who suffer from addictive diseases or behavioral disorders. Meridian hopes to open the facility in January.

St. Thomas operated the center until the end of June, and 16 employees received separation packages. Meridian has hired three Gainey employees at this point to work at the facility.

The sale included all 180 acres and all of the buildings except the Winton Guest House, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. St. Thomas is exploring options for the house, which can remain on the Gainey property for up to two years.

New Brighton-based Meridian was founded in 1989 and is a leading provider of addiction treatment services in Minnesota, with residential facilities and outpatient programs throughout the state.

The St. Thomas Board of Trustees voted in February to sell Gainey after determining the center could not continue to be operated in a financially sustainable manner and that an expansion plan would not overcome weaknesses in the conference services market. The center struggled financially over the past decade and had growing annual deficits.

Daniel C. Gainey, longtime president and chief executive officer of Jostens Inc., owned the property for more than 40 years, and his foundation left the property to St. Thomas after his death in 1979. The center opened in 1982 and was used by the university, businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies as a venue for retreats and meetings.

This Is Your Time! #TIYT contest

Saint Mary's University Campus News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 9:42pm
Tell us your Saint Mary’s University experience! Tell us about your most memorable or life-changing Saint Mary’s experience. Using Twitter, show us your favorite Saint Mary’s University location in a photograph and tell us why it’s so special. Share your success story on a video or in a blog article. Link your story, photo, or video [&hellip

Jenni Harms ’14: Lifelong Gustie Starts Next Chapter at Cargill

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:53pm

Jenni Harms ’14

With two Gustie alumni as parents, Jenni Harms ’14 needed no introduction to Gustavus when it came time to make her college choice back in 2010. She had attended the College’s Tennis and Life Camps for seven years and had also attended signature events like Christmas in Christ Chapel since she was a young child.

That familiarity was definitely a factor in Harms’ decision, but it was something else about Gustavus that eventually sold her on the school.

“A major reason why I wanted to go to Gustavus was because of the student to faculty ratio (12:1),” Harms said. “I did not want to be a number at a large university. I wanted to be recognized as a person and have the opportunity to build relationships with my professors.”

Harms built those relationships with faculty members, traveled the world as a member of two music ensembles, studied abroad for a semester in Ireland, developed close relationships with peers as a member of a sorority, obtained two valuable internships, and is now in the early stages of her professional career at Cargill—one of the most respected corporations in all of Minnesota.

“Gustavus helped prepare me in so many ways for post-grad life. The work ethic that was needed to succeed in classes at Gustavus is what has been most prevalent to me,” Harms said. “Going into work already knowing how to multitask and delegate time has helped me so much with my full-time job at Cargill. Also, the ability to learn things quickly and having a liberal arts education is really beneficial in the business world.”

After starting her four years at Gustavus as an environmental studies major, Harms decided to switch courses and become a mathematics major with a minor in management. She was also able to remain involved in music as a flutist in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra.

Harms said her involvement in the two ensembles provided her with a great community of friends and many opportunities to travel the world. She went to South Africa in 2012 with the Symphony Orchestra and to Eastern Europe in 2014 with the Wind Orchestra. Being part of a world-class music program and traveling the world was a rewarding experience, but Harms also harkens back on the mentoring relationship she developed with Dr. Douglas Nimmo, the now retired conductor of the Wind Orchestra.

Harms and fellow 2014 alumna Janelle Derbique on graduation day.

“Almost every faculty member at Gustavus positively influenced me in some way, but Dr. Nimmo was a particularly strong mentor for me,” Harms said. “He was always willing to talk and give me advice about music, school, post-grad decisions, and just life in general. Having a professor who cared so deeply about things that weren’t just related to band was something very special that Gustavus provided me.”

Gustavus also provided Harms with a chance to study abroad. Almost half of Gustavus students study abroad during their four years and Harms chose to do so in Galway, Ireland during the spring semester of her junior year. Harms calls it the best decision she made during her four years at Gustavus.

“It opened me up to so many different cultures and really shaped me into the person I am today,” Harms said. “Many of my job opportunities wouldn’t have happened if I did not study abroad because companies look so highly on candidates who have international knowledge and the ability to adapt.”

Her experience in Ireland helped Harms land an internship as a business analyst for Delta Airlines the summer after her junior year.

“Since Delta works consistently with partners that are international companies, it was important to them that I studied abroad in Ireland for six months,” Harms said. “I absolutely loved the internship. I learned so much about the business world and was able to work on many different projects that helped me grow professionally.”

With her undergraduate degree from Gustavus and her impressive resume that she was able to build during her four years at the College, Harms landed her first job at Cargill—the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue. Harms, an Apple Valley native, has relocated to Nebraska and is an Associate Buyer for the company.

Her primary responsibilities involve managing the timely and cost-effective procurement of maintenance and repair materials and services and requisite contracts and agreements to support the company’s production activities. Harms is assigned to the North American Oils Canada plants and recently spent a week in Canada to help facilitate the implantation of SAP (Systems Applications and Products) software to two of the company’s plants.

“The trip was a great experience and I enjoyed being able to put faces to names for people I communicate with daily in Canada,” Harms said. “I have only been working at Cargill for a month, but it is such a wonderful company to work for. I am learning so much and am looking forward to all the opportunities for growth.”


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

Kathy Lund Dean Named Erskine Fellow for Spring 2015

Gustavus Campus News - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 2:51pm

Dr. Kathy Lund Dean

Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Ethics Professor Kathy Lund Dean has been awarded a Visiting Erskine Programme Fellowship for the 2015 spring semester by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her second Erskine award, Lund Dean will partner with faculty at the University of Canterbury’s School of Business & Economics to determine best practices in embedding experiential learning within large, traditionally lecture-based courses.

The Erskine Fellowship Programme ranks among the most prestigious educational awards in New Zealand and is made possible by a visionary bequest from Canterbury alumnus John Angus Erskine. Erskine, along with fellow Canterbury alumnus Ernest Rutherford, performed pioneering work in magnetic screening in the late 1800s. The Fellowship Programme was designed to bring renowned scholars from all over the world to Christchurch, enriching the University’s ability to serve its students and scholarly community.

Lund Dean utilized her first Erskine award in 2009 by teaching a wholly experiential management course in Canterbury’s executive MBA program.

“While experiential learning techniques such as class discussion, role-play, and community fieldwork are well integrated into American business courses, the New Zealand educational system has held to a tradition of lecturing,” Lund Dean observed. “It took a class session or two for the students to feel comfortable interacting with me and with each other.”

For most students, even on a graduate level, it was the first time they had ever participated in an experientially-based course, and the results were transformative—so much so that the University of Canterbury’s School of Business & Economics is deliberately building experiential learning capacity and expertise.

“I was so proud of the students’ willingness to take risks. They had never even had classroom discussion before, and there they were, doing role-plays in front of their peers. It was one of the most humbling teaching experiences I have ever had,” Lund Dean noted.

Lund Dean works with three students in a Beck Hall classroom.

The School of Business & Economics’ commitment to building experiential learning expertise in its faculty led to Canterbury lecturer Sarah Wright’s professional development goal of learning American techniques in experiential teaching. Wright, with whom Lund Dean worked during her 2009 Erskine stay in Christchurch, became determined to hone experiential learning expertise after observing significantly improved MBA student learning outcomes.

In 2010, Wright and Lund Dean participated in the OBTC Teaching Conference for Management Educators, run by the most innovative management education experiential learning society in North America. Additionally, Wright earned a 2011 Erskine visit to Lund Dean’s U.S. institution at the time, Idaho State University, to team-teach a summer course.

“We are honored to host Kathy in 2015,” Wright said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge in experiential learning, and injects enthusiasm and energy into our classrooms here at UC. Her willingness to mentor faculty in experiential learning is extraordinary, as is her dedication to help others engage in professional development opportunities. We look forward to welcoming her back in 2015!” Lund Dean and her family will be in Christchurch from mid-February to the end of April.

At Gustavus, Lund Dean is the inaugural holder of the Board of Trustees Distinguished Chair in Leadership & Ethics. She teaches courses in the College’s Department of Economics and Management, is responsible for internal and external stakeholder engagement in order to grow College programs, and is also charged with creating new experiential learning opportunities for Gustavus students. In addition, the Chair supports Lund Dean’s long-term leadership positions in the Academy of Management, OBTS Teaching Society for Management Educators, and the Journal of Management Education to enhance Gustavus’ international scope and reputation.


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

<i>Free Press</i> Features Gustavus Senior Daniel Venn

Gustavus Campus News - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 11:17am

Daniel Venn

Gustavus Adolphus College senior elementary education major Daniel Venn has had a rewarding last 15 months. Venn decided to push back his anticipated graduation date from Gustavus by a year in order teach English to students in South America. Venn’s experiences were chronicled on the Gustavus website in October of 2013.

Venn was recently featured by the Mankato Free Press and reporter Jessica Bies after being named one of the most influential college students in the United States by the website Here is an excerpt from Bies’ story:

A Gustavus Adolphus College student was recently named one of the top 11 most influential college students in the U.S., singled out for volunteer work undertaken during what would have been his final year as a Gustie.

Daniel Venn, from Cannon Falls, spent the summer of 2013 working in an elementary school in Riobamba, Ecuador, teaching students as well as planning and implementing an English-intensive summer camp for young children.

Instead of returning to college in the fall, he moved to the Galapagos Islands, recognizing a need for the students there to learn English, especially if they wanted to become a part of the islands’ tourism-driven economy.

Venn spent the fall semester on San Cristobal Island, teaching in a local high school during the day and offering free English lessons for adults at night. In January, he moved to Peru, where he joined with a group of Gustavus students working to provide both health care and education to citizens of the impoverished community of Chimbote.

You can read the entire article on the Mankato Free Press website.


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

Research Project Takes Students and Professor to France

Gustavus Campus News - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 4:52pm

Senior Amy Christiansen, junior Alexa Peterson and Associate Professor of Chemistry Amanda Nienow.

Story by Erin Luhmann ’08

Intensive lab work by day, culinary explorations by night – this sums up the week Alexa Peterson ‘16 and Amy Christiansen ‘15 spent in France to assist Associate Professor of Chemistry Amanda Nienow in a foreign lab.

The trio recently traversed the Atlantic to collaborate with their French counterparts on an herbicide photochemistry research project that cuts across borders. Professor Nienow secured funding through the National Science Foundation in 2012 and elected to bring both Christiansen and Peterson abroad this summer from June 15 to 22. While the research is ongoing, this leg of the collaborative experience yielded some unique opportunities for professional and personal development.

“Going to work in another lab, especially one abroad, is a unique and eye-opening opportunity for students,” said Professor Nienow. “They have the chance to connect with other scientists, see how science is done in other labs, and to explore slightly different research questions. This exploration can have a profound impact on a student discerning their career aspirations and short-term goals.”

Opportunities like this start from a place of passion. For Professor Nienow, her focus has always been on environmental chemistry issues. At Gustavus, she has concentrated on the degradation of imidazolinone herbicides, which are commonly used in U.S. farming. Initially, her research centered on how various herbicides degrade in water when introduced to sunlight or lamps in the lab. Now, she has scaled-up her research project to explore the photodegradation of imazethapyr on soy and corn waxes.

“Our projects provide a more realistic picture of the fate of herbicides in the environment by examining their chemistry when sorbed to cuticular waxes and plant foliage,” she explained. “The research has implications for environmental modeling and pesticide regulation and our methods can be extended to other environmentally relevant organic molecules and surfaces.”

Christiansen and Peterson

Beyond the research, Professor Nienow holds a strong appreciation for her two lab assistants. Through the course of their partnership – more than a year – she has come to know both students well, and recognized their potential for growth through an international lab collaboration experience.

Peterson, a biology major who plans to pursue a career in medicine and health care, said the invitation to travel abroad to study the photoproducts and the photodegradation mechanism of these herbicides in France seemed like a “no brainer.”

“Personally, I think it gave me a lot more confidence in the lab – being able to know that I can conduct myself in a professional way,” she said.

She was impressed with the English language skills of their French colleagues and was energized from engaging in a week of cross-cultural communication and collaboration. This experience has left her eager to pack her suitcase again.

“I think health care work or medical work abroad would be an amazing experience,” she said. “It’s something that I’m looking forward to.”

Christiansen, an environmental studies and chemistry double major, also saw it as an asset to her future ambitions – to pursue a PhD in chemistry, followed by a career in industrial research and development.

“I think being able to collaborate with people in different countries and having that experience will set me apart from other students applying for graduate school, or in my career, because I’ll have that experience of being able to deal with other researchers in a professional way,” she said.

From a cross-cultural standpoint, both students were intrigued by the fact that their counterparts used similar lab equipment at the University of Blaise-Pascal, but followed different procedures when it came to conducting research. For instance, they logged roughly 10-hour days.

Peterson, Nienow, Christiansen and Claire Richard.

“I think their actual work ethic and practices are pretty similar to us. The timing was just very different,” said Christiansen.

Everyone put in long days – jet lagged or not – but they still found time to enjoy the local sites and culture. Professor Nienow enjoyed dining at a couple of French homes and exploring the countryside surrounding Clermont-Ferrand, where she hiked among a chain of 80 active volcanoes.

For all three Gusties, learning to communicate in an environment where English isn’t the default language posed a welcome challenge.

“It was interesting to experience a new culture and to have that language barrier and have to work through that,” said Christiansen.

Language issues aside, this research team – comprised of partners at Gustavus, in France and others in Minnesota – has collected high-quality data that’s being used to write a co-authored paper. This paper will be sent out for peer review in the fall of 2014.

“We learned many lab techniques, saw how other researchers are approaching similar research questions, and were inspired by the intense periods of work,” said Professor Nienow. “We returned home with a long list of research ideas and things to do!”

About the Author

Erin Luhmann graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008 with a major in English and a minor in peace studies. She then taught English in Kyrgyzstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer (’08-’10) and completed a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. As a graduate student, she won a New York Times contest to travel and report alongside columnist Nicholas Kristof in West Africa. She now works as a freelance reporter in Minnesota.


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

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