St. Olaf Campus News
I have heard from a number of people in recent days who continue to be concerned about the post-election environment on college campuses.
Strong feelings as a result of the election are being expressed everywhere, and the discourse happening on our campus is similar to what we see happening in many other communities across the country. We welcome diversity in all of its forms, including political ideology, and we strive to create an environment that promotes the free and respectful exchange of ideas.
When reactions cross this line and lead to bullying, harassment, or other behavior that violates our community standards, we have and will continue to enforce our code of conduct. There is no place for bullying of any kind at St. Olaf, including student-on-student bullying because of a student’s political views. We also do not permit faculty/staff imposing their own views in an academic setting. Here is a link to our policy on harassment and discrimination.
In each case where a complaint was reported to the Dean of Students or Provost, prompt action was taken to address that behavior with the student or faculty/staff member and appropriate sanctions were imposed.
In the days immediately following the election, two separate messages — one from me and another from leaders of College Republicans and College Democrats — affirmed the college’s commitment to honoring and encouraging the diversity reflected in our community.
My message said, in part:
Please remember that, regardless of how you view the results of the election, each of you is a valued member of our community. Seeking to understand different views, and finding ways to support one another is a requirement of life in community with others. I encourage you to continue to engage with one another.
Meanwhile, the commitments of the College remain firm. Access and inclusion remain guiding values. We welcome and respect diversity of persons, of thought and of opinion, and we promote dialogue among those with competing views. As always, we pursue excellence in everything we do.
In the coming days as we as individuals, we as a college, and we as a nation go forward, take care of yourself, take care of each other, and take care of this place.
In their bipartisan message, leaders of College Republicans and College Democrats noted:
Every person on this campus, regardless of race, nationality, creed, sexual orientation, gender, or political affiliation, is an equal part of our community, and deserves to be respected, heard, and to feel safe on campus. We encourage open, civil dialogues across campus and we believe there is a lot we can learn from each other. We condemn any and all instances of hatred and intolerance.
Tensions are high, but at the end of the day we should be able to turn to each other and recognize the special bond we all share as Oles. The sun will rise tomorrow, and we should face the new day as students united, beyond our labels, who ultimately know that our strength lies in what we share, not what divides us.
As we welcome students back from spring break next week, we look forward to continuing to provide an environment where the broadest range of ideas get a full and fair hearing.
President David R. Anderson ’74
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
“He intended to spur an academic discussion but ultimately wound up triggering a historic and theological earthquake that changed the world. The repercussions – positive and negative – can still be seen today,” says St. Olaf College Director of Government, Foundation, and Corporate Relations Helen Warren. “Events and exhibitions to showcase this protagonist of German and European history and to discuss his impact are taking place in Germany, in the U.S. and all over the world.”
St. Olaf will join in the worldwide celebrate of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation by hosting a series of events over the course of the next month. All events and exhibits are free and open to the public.
The event series, Dissonance and Resolution: Musical and Moral Legacies of the Reformation, is supported in part by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
“What we hope St. Olaf students, as well as faculty, staff, alumni and community members, gain from the events is greater understanding of the breadth and sometimes controversial complexity of Martin Luther’s impact in diverse spheres,” says Assistant Professor of German Amanda Randall. “In this way, the event series is a chance not only to highlight, but to give further dimension to the college’s Lutheran heritage.”
The events, public exhibits, and other activities will include:
- A chapel talk by Gustavus Adolphus College Professor Emeritus of Religion Darrell Jodock ’62 on Thursday, March 30, at 11 a.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel, followed by a discussion during community time.
- A performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion (Johannes Passion) by St. Olaf Cantorei, members of the St. Olaf Orchestra, and guest musicians, directed by St. Olaf Assistant Professor of Music James Bobb. The performance will be held during Vespers on Palm Sunday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel, and will be followed by a reception in the Undercroft.
- A Luther-related book display in Rolvaag Memorial Library from March 20 to April 20.
- A “Here I Stand” poster exhibit on the life and work of Martin Luther in the hallway leading to Boe Memorial Chapel beginning the last week of March and going through the month of April.
- A weekly student reading group led by James Bobb examining Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism and Bach’s St. John Passion by Michael Marrisen. This weekly reading group will be held throughout the month of March and is solely open to students and faculty of St. Olaf.
St. Olaf College students Anne Halloin ’18 and Gabrielle Simeck ’18 have been named Smaby Peace Scholars.
The Peace Scholars Program is designed to expand students’ awareness of current issues relating to peace, justice, democracy, and human rights through a series of educational experiences in Norway. Two students from each of the six Norwegian-American Lutheran colleges — Augsburg, Augustana University, Concordia, Luther, St. Olaf, and Pacific Lutheran University — are chosen to participate. This year the group will also include two scholars from Sacramento State University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Students at St. Olaf receive funding to participate in the program through the Philip C. Smaby Peace Scholars Endowed Scholarship, which was established in honor of the late Philip Carlyle Smaby, a Minneapolis-St. Paul philanthropist who attended St. Olaf and three of whose children are alumni (Mark Smaby ’66, Gary Smaby ’71, and John Smaby ’76).
The 2017 program will begin with six days at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Lillehammer, where the scholars will participate in dialogue sessions with students from the Balkans and Caucasus regions in addition to other conflict areas.
The scholars will then move to the University of Oslo International Summer School, where they will spend six weeks deepening their understanding of the history and theories regarding conflict, war, and peace. In addition to lectures and seminars, they will visit some of the leading peace organizations in Norway, including the Nobel Peace Center and the Peace Research Institute.
Scholars also have an opportunity to take an additional undergraduate course of their choice. Simeck will take a course in Scandinavian government and politics, while Halloin will study international politics.
Simeck, a native of Lake Forest, Illinois, looks forward to focusing on peace studies and exploring questions of conflict resolution and social change.
“The Peace Scholars program was the perfect fit. I’m excited to get a chance to conduct my own research in a vastly different context than St. Olaf and gain practical experience facilitating constructive dialogues,” says Simeck. “I am looking forward to meeting students from all over the world and digging into questions of politics, culture, and identity.”
As a political science major, Simeck has studied international relations, international law, and non-violence resistance.
“As a French major who is currently abroad, I was hoping to continue sharing in an intercultural exchange,” she says. “I look forward to learning about Norway’s unique role in the development of peace studies. I’m thrilled to have the chance to participate!”
Halloin, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, hopes to bring something unique to the program as a religion major.
“The most inspiring part about this program is that violence and conflict are not mysterious happenings, but rather the result of poor international policy and economic patterns — meaning that conflict can be resolved, and violence can be prevented,” says Halloin.
Halloin’s studies have revealed to her that religions — especially monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam — have peace as one of the main elements of their theologies, but can be justified for violence.
“It’s easy to see differences between people, and between different religions,” she says. “But it’s more important to note that every religion ends a prayer (whether that be shalom, salam, shanti, or amen) with asking for peace.”
Meredith Monk, an award-winning composer and singer whose groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument expands the boundaries of musical composition, will visit St. Olaf College March 13 and 14 for a performance and series of workshops.
The concert, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble: The Soul’s Messenger, will be held Tuesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lion’s Pause in Buntrock Commons, and will feature Monk with her world-renowned Vocal Ensemble members Katie Geissinger (voice), Bohdan Hilash (woodwinds), and Allison Sniffin (voice, keyboard). It will be streamed live and archived online.
The concert will be preceded by two workshops on Monday, March 13, in Christiansen Hall of Music 140. The workshop beginning at 4:30 p.m., led by Geissinger, will focus on “extended vocal techniques” specific to Monk’s repertoire. The workshop beginning at 7:30 p.m., led by Monk, will focus on the intersection of voice and movement.
All of the events will be free and open to the public.
Monk’s work unearths feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words. She creates worlds that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception.
“I saw her in Brooklyn a few years ago, and the way that she interacted with the audience and used movement in her performance was so cool,” says St. Olaf Jazz Conductor Dave Hagedorn, who organized Monk’s visit to campus. “She literally came and sang in the middle of the audience, right next to me.”
Monk has been dubbed “one of America’s coolest composers,” and her work has won a number of prestigious honors. President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts in 2015, and she also received the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Grant’ Award in 1995.
“Meredith Monk is an enormously talented musician — she’s won virtually every major award and grant you can as an artist, and her work is incredible,” Hagedorn says. “It’s really exciting to have her come to St. Olaf.”
Monk was raised in New York and Connecticut, and is the fourth generation singer in her family. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a combined degree in music, dance, and theater in 1964. Her career grew as she discovered the “extended vocal techniques” unique to her work, and through the founding of her own company, The House, dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance. She formed Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble in 1978 to expand her musical textures and forms.
“If Monk is seeking a place in the classical firmament, classical music has much to learn from her,” Alex Ross wrote in the The New Yorker. “She may loom even larger as the new century unfolds, and later generations will envy those who got to see her live.”
Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney says the St. Olaf Choir’s performance of “City Called Heaven” is among 10 songs that shaped his life.
In an interview with Out Magazine that was published the day after Moonlight won Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards — as well as Best Adapted Screenplay for McCraney and Barry Jenkins — McCraney describes the songs that have made a lasting impact on him.
The first song on his list is the St. Olaf Choir’s “City Called Heaven,” which is featured on the ensemble’s Advance Australia Fair album.
“I heard this song in my first year of college, during winter break when everyone else had gone home,” McCraney tells the magazine. “It rang out and shone a spotlight on a pain I could not gather and pull out on my own. It spoke of slave narratives and cotton fields but also of not being enough for this world and longing to be accepted, to be gathered up and taken to the next — something I had felt my whole life but could not express. The lyrics talk about hearing of a city where there is peace and the need to call that city, Heaven, one’s home.”
St. Olaf Choir Conductor Anton Armstrong ’78 says he’s “honored and humbled that our performance had an impact on such a talented man.”
Listen to the St. Olaf Choir perform “City Called Heaven” below.
City Called Heaven
arr. Josephine Poelinitz
The St. Olaf Choir
Anton Armstrong, Conductor
Albert Jordan, Tenor
Matthew Schwinghammer, Piano
Thomas Phelps, Tambourine
Music © Colla Voce Music
Posted by permission
Available on St. Olaf Records
“Advance Australia Fair” E=2173
Four St. Olaf College students will present their archaeological research at a symposium on photogrammetry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City March 7-8.
Letitia (Claire) Mumford ’18, Marja Ronnholm-Howland ’17, Jackson Hubler-Dayton ’17, and Anders Cologne ’17 are the only undergraduate students invited by Cultural Heritage Imaging, which is partnering with the Met to present the symposium.
“It is such an honor to be invited as an undergraduate,” says Mumford.
The symposium, titled Illumination of Material Culture, is devoted to Reflectance Transformational Imaging (RTI) and related techniques in computational photography.
RTI is a type of photo capture and processing that constructs the depth of an object by measuring the distance between multiple photos taken of it.
“Basically, we take photos of an object with light coming from different angles and then use photo editing to compile the images and learn more about the surface of the object,” says Mumford.
Mumford and the rest of the research term used RTI at St. Olaf’s Archaeological Methods Field School course during the summer of 2015 to read the surfaces of ancient Roman coins in Turkey. This summer, they will apply the method at the Jeffers Petroglyphs, a North American indigenous rock-art site located in southwestern Minnesota.
This new Archaeological Methods Field School course, taught by Professor of History and Ancient Studies Tim Howe, provides an opportunity for the students to “analyze the site by finding new patterns and drawing connections between symbols that may not be visible to the naked eye,” says Ronnholm-Howland.
Mumford says, “The symposium offers a unique opportunity to consult professionals from all over the country in order to enhance our course with state-of-the-art technologies as well as photogrammetry capture and processing techniques.”
“I’m most excited to hear from other experts — we truly are learning from the best, which will enhance our field school so much more,” Mumford goes on.
Ronnholm-Howland agrees: “I’m really looking forward to talking to specialists about what they do. I’m also really excited to see how an academic conference like this functions, since this will be my first.”
For both Ronnholm-Howland and Mumford, the research and the upcoming symposium — which will bring together conservators and humanities collections professionals, photographers, curators, archivists, imaging experts, researchers, and technology experts — represent a significant step in their studies at St. Olaf.
Ronnholm-Howland, who is studying history and music, says that the research “goes well with my previous archaeological experience and my general interest in material culture.”
“I’m considering going into museum law or cultural properties law, which I think directly relates to our research,” she says. “And I’m hoping this symposium will give me the practical experience I’m looking for and help me figure out where my own interest in legal and ethical questions fits in.”
Mumford is a sociology/anthropology and French major with a concentration in management studies. Independently, she studies ancient and medieval archaeology and has participated in four field schools and internships during her time at St. Olaf.
This past January, Mumford presented research conducted at the Roman site of La Biagiola in Tuscany, Italy at the Annual Meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America in Toronto. She was one of only two undergraduates invited to participate in the poster session, which featured presenters from leading research universities from all over the world.
“This was an incredible opportunity to present my individual research, as well as learn from others and see their research and techniques,” she says.
Mumford says, “I hope to work either in field excavations following graduation or in a museum setting in collections management, database management, or curation. Eventually, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue archaeology and museum studies.”
Former NFL player Wade Davis will visit St. Olaf College March 9 to deliver this year’s James Reeb Memorial Lecture, titled Masculinity in the Locker Room.
The lecture, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Lion’s Pause in Buntrock Commons, is free and open to the public. It will also be streamed and archived online.
Davis — who played for the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks, as well as for two different teams within the NFL Europe league — is now a writer, public speaker, and educator on gender, race, and orientation equality.
In 2014 he became the NFL’s first Diversity and Inclusion consultant, where he leads training sessions and national engagement initiatives such as the Hi-Five project, which works to further create safe space in sports for LGBT athletes. Davis is also the executive director of the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination, sexism, and homophobia in sports.
He is currently at work on a book that focuses on how masculinity, gender, sexual orientation, and more all collide within the NFL.
As an educator, Davis was an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business, and served as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration. Davis has lectured on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and sports at universities nationally and internationally, and is the former assistant director of academic enrichment and work-readiness for the Hetrick-Martin Institute, where he taught at-promise LGBT youth how to define success.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Davis graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2014 Davis received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Northeastern University for his leadership and ongoing efforts to eradicate homophobia and sexism in athletics.
About the Reeb Memorial Lecture
The James J. Reeb Memorial Lecture series brings nationally and internationally renowned speakers to campus each year whose life, work, and dedication to the cause of social justice and human rights are an inspiring example for the St. Olaf community.
The endowment to support the lecture series was established by Paul Jeffrey Parks in memory of his companion, Stephen Henry Oertel, who died of AIDS in 1989. Parks hopes that this annual series contributes to ongoing conversations about social justice and serves to remember Oertel and his commitment to these issues.
The lecture series is named in honor of St. Olaf alumnus James Reeb ’50, who in 1965 answered Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for clergy to march with him in Selma, Alabama. Shortly after arriving in Selma, Reeb and two other clergy members were attacked by white supremacists as they were leaving a diner. Reeb died from his injuries two days later. His death inspired a wave of nationwide protests and served as a catalyst for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
An upcoming event in Viking Theater will be fraught with mystery, murder, and mayhem.
A panel of St. Olaf College experts, authors, and enthusiasts will discuss their favorite international crime fiction writers and why they are drawn to this genre.
The discussion will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, and will be followed with refreshments. It is free and open to the public.
St. Olaf President David R. Anderson ’74, a fan and scholar of hard-boiled detective fiction, will discuss Rex Stout, author of the popular Nero Wolfe series.
Associate Professor of French Jolene Barjasteh will focus on works by the award-winning French female crime fiction writer Fred Vargas.
Professor of French Mary Cisar will present Louise Penny, author of cozy mysteries set in the Canadian province of Quebec.
Visiting Associate Professor of English Bjorn Nordfjord, who has an interest in Nordic Noir, will talk about authors from Sweden (Sjöwahl and Wahlöö), Norway (Jo Nesbø), Denmark (Jussi Adler Olsen), Iceland (Arnaldur Indridason), and Finland (Matti Joensuu).
Assistant Professor of French Maria Vendetti will explore the Mediterranean Noir novels of Jean-Claude Izzo.
“In a globally engaged community like the one at St. Olaf College, it seems fitting to heighten awareness of the genre and its global popularity. We can learn much about the perspectives of others through literature,” Barjasteh says. “For those on the panel, crime fiction is also worthy of scholarly investigation regarding its relationship to critical narrative theory, moral theory, gender studies, and its role in a larger social and historical context.”
Barjasteh has organized an annual St. Olaf faculty panel, often interdisciplinary in nature, over the past several years. These panels allow faculty members to collaborate on a common project of interest and share their expertise on a particular topic or author for a wide audience — students, faculty, staff, and members of the Northfield community. This year, she chose “International Crime Fiction” as an appropriate theme since this genre appeals to an ever-increasing and diverse readership.
“On a bleak and dreary midwinter evening, there is nothing quite like curling up in a quiet corner on campus or elsewhere with a well-written tale of mystery, mayhem, and, of course, murder,” Barjasteh says.
A $1 million gift from Carol and Ward Klein ’77 is transforming one of St. Olaf College’s oldest and most iconic academic buildings into its newest high-tech learning space.
Holland Hall, built 90 years ago and modeled after the Mont-Saint-Michel monastery in France, is currently undergoing a $13 million renovation. This project, combined with the generous gift from the Kleins, is changing the building into a flexible, light-filled learning environment that better showcases its iconic architecture.
The Kleins’ gift is supporting the installation of presentation, lecture capture, and interactive classroom technologies, as well as software licensing for these systems in Holland Hall and across campus. With these tools, educators can use more class time to engage students in discussion, group work, and other active learning techniques. In gratitude, St. Olaf will name a sixth-floor seminar and study space inside Holland Hall the Carol and Ward Klein Learning Loft.
This contribution is among the latest that donors have generously provided for St. Olaf’s $200 million For the Hill and Beyond comprehensive campaign.
How students and faculty access and share information has changed dramatically since Holland Hall first opened in 1925.
“Digital technologies have opened up inquiry and teaching in exciting ways,” says Provost and Dean of the College Marci Sortor. “They provide students and professors classroom access to everything from ‘big data’ and geographic information to scanned and searchable copies of early printed books. These resources enrich learning, expand the possibilities for mentored research, and help our educators spend more time working directly with students. We are deeply grateful to the Kleins for advancing learning in this important way.”
As an economics major, Ward Klein spent a lot of time in Holland Hall shortly after an extensive 1969 renovation prepared it to house St. Olaf’s Paracollege, as well as its Economics, Home Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology departments — a remodel that also sacrificed much of the hall’s interior character.
“It always struck me as the most beautiful building on the outside, but not the inside,” says Klein. “Even so, I have a lot of fond memories from my time spent there. I was also drawn to the current renovation project by the technology upgrades being done. In my senior year at St. Olaf, I did some heavy statistical analysis that required computing. Back then St. Olaf had one major computer in the Science Center. Programs were coded on a series of punch cards and run through the machine — if you dropped your punch cards on the floor, your program would crash! So I am very happy to support upgrades to help students and faculty.”
Klein credits his St. Olaf education with providing the skills he needed to launch his career. Following his graduation from the Hill, Klein earned a graduate degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and then worked for Ralston Purina and Energizer Holdings, advancing to become Energizer’s CEO and guiding the firm through a separation of its household and personal care companies until his retirement in 2016. He now serves on the St. Olaf Board of Regents.
“Education is a strong focus for our giving,” Klein says. “St. Olaf gave me a great academic underpinning — I tested out of most of my core requisites at Kellogg because of the great courses I had at St. Olaf, and my leadership skills came from opportunities I wouldn’t have found at a larger institution.
“I am also mindful that my contributions didn’t cover the full cost of my tuition nor all that I got out of St. Olaf — my education depended on the gifts of others,” he adds. “Now that we are in the position to give, we felt a moral imperative to give back. St. Olaf is really a college that changes lives.”
The renovation of Holland Hall will be completed this August in time for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.