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Updated: 1 hour 29 min ago

Heukeshoven composition connects Winona Municipal Band’s past, present

2 hours 40 min ago

WINONA, Minn. — The Winona Municipal Band will bring the music of its first conductor, George A. Colburn, back to life at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, in the Lake Park Bandshell.

“Mr. Colburn’s Miracle; An Audience Guide to the Municipal Band,” written by A. Eric Heukeshoven, assistant professor of music at Saint Mary’s University, is based on a recently discovered theme and variations composed by Colburn. The composition for narrator and band will take the audience on a historical journey—using Colburn’s delightful variations to highlight each section of the band.

The new work was commissioned in celebration of the Winona Municipal Band’s 100th anniversary season. Dr. Dan Barr, a former member of the tuba section, will be featured as narrator with Levi Lundak leading the band as they tell a story 100 years in the making.

The finale concert is free and open to the public. More information can be found on the Winona Municipal Band website,

Dr. Jay Mutter retires from Saint Mary’s after 30 years of teaching

9 hours 40 min ago


Looking back on his career, Jay Mutter, professor of psychology, has no problem remembering the highlights.

For starters, there was his own version of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” Only with Dr. Mutter, they were “Fridays with Brother Charles (Severin).”

The legend that was Brother Charles Severin, a long-time biology professor and inspiring educator, didn’t escape a young Dr. Mutter, just learning the ropes at Saint Mary’s.

“He would come to my office, and he would say, ‘We have to do something about the health of the American family. The fall of the family was the fall of the Roman Empire,’ ” Dr. Mutter recalls.

Brother Charles’ dream had been to create a “Health of the Family” course that crossed disciplines. And although the class never came to fruition, largely because of Brother Charles’ own declining health, those valuable weekly discussions have continued to hold meaning for Dr. Mutter.

He also received a crash course in native plant life via a verbal pop quiz each week from the ardent botanist. “He would ask, ‘Mutter, what’s that tree? You have GOT to know the plants; they are the life of this community.”

In 2001, when Dr. Mutter received the Brother Charles Award for Excellence in Teaching, those memories came flooding back. “It was an extension of him living on through me,” Dr. Mutter said.

After 30 years in the classroom, Dr. Mutter hopes that his former students remember him as a wonderful teacher. “I don’t want to be just a good teacher,” he said. “The wonderful teacher I had was Brother Charles Severin. All faculty here believe the essence of what Saint Mary’s is about: wonderful teaching, not just good teaching.”

TITLE: Professor of Psychology

YEARS AT SAINT MARY’S: Dr. mutter began teaching at Saint Mary’s in 1985.

CLASSES TAUGHT: He has taught a variety of courses in psychology including multicultural awareness, general psychology, developmental psychology, cross-cultural human development, psychology of aging, and capstone.

PLANS FOR RETIREMENT: He hopes to adjunct teach to stay connected to the Saint Mary’s family. He also hopes there are drums in his future, and he might get involved with community theatre productions. He hopes to travel more and plans to continue being a hockey goal judge. One of his proudest accomplishments has been co-authoring a textbook titled, Lives Across Cultures: Cross Cultural Human Development that has been used at universities around the world.

Four years ago, Dr. Mutter attended the International Association of Lasallian Universities gathering in Rome and spent two weeks immersed in the Lasallian mission with other faculty. “I realized how wide the arms of our Lasallian family reached,” he said. “I have never been so transformed. It changed the way I wrote my syllabus, the way I viewed and related to my peers, the way I talked to students and taught, and it give me passion to want to stay connected and grow within the Lasallian mission.”

It’s surprising to hear that the passionate educator hadn’t always planned to teach. Instead, he thought he marched to the beat of a different drum.

He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia and started a musical group called Asia Beat, a large percussion ensemble that toured all around Southeast Asia.

He then taught psychology at the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and received a grant to complete his Ph.D.

After brief teaching experiences in Minneapolis and Winona, he was hired at Saint Mary’s.

For many years, he performed in Blue Angel, Gaslight, and Candlelight. “It was a great way for students to see me outside of the classroom,” he said. “It’s all about that Lasallian connection of relationship- building.”

Dr. Mutter still finds ways to incorporate music into his classrooms, using lyrics or music for setting a tone. “Music is the international language,” he said.

An animated educator, he also demonstrates developmental milestones. “I’m well-known for acting out kids’ development, crawling and jumping around in demonstration,” he said. “This was before Tegrity, so it was never recorded.”

“My forte is teaching,” he said. “When I enter a classroom, it’s magic sometimes. I feel like the technology would almost turn on by itself. I’ve never felt I was going to a job.

“I will miss my students more than anything else in the world. My students are my best teachers. I will also miss my faculty colleagues and peers. They’ve been another major voice in my family.”

Dr. Mutter said the give-and-take interaction and sharing among faculty members has been instrumental through the years. He is thankful for the wisdom handed down from those wonderful teachers and administrators before him.

When he needs perspective, he enjoys walking down the first floor of Heffron Hall, past the wall of presidential portraits. It reminds him that Saint Mary’s is special. “It’s not just a place,” Dr. Mutter said. “It’s organic and alive. It’s a place that’s transformational both for faculty and for students.”

Searching for a cure

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 3:00am

Katie Leisen ’15 watched as her grandfather and great-grandmother struggled with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

She felt their frustration over losing their independence while trying to make sense of a world that no longer made sense.

So, when Leisen wanted to become part of an Alzheimer’s research team at the Mayo Clinic, she channeled that passion into an internship. “My goal is to help people from going through what my family has,” she said. “It’s sad to watch someone go through that, and there’s nothing you can do.”

Leisen, a senior biology major from Kellogg, Minn., said she has always had a desire to work in the sciences, particularly because she enjoys the hands-on work and the potential to truly help people. Becoming a science major, she felt, opened up a world of professional directions and opportunities.

Last year, a faculty member at Saint Mary’s encouraged her to apply for a summer undergraduate research program through which she was able to work at Mayo Clinic this past summer.

It was a foot in the door and an invaluable opportunity to network. She eventually emailed Zvonimir Katusic, M.D., Ph.D., to inquire about volunteering in his lab in the Anesthesia Department where Alzheimer’s research was being done. He informed her that volunteering wasn’t a possibility, but she could work in his lab for college credit. When describing the opportunity, Leisen uses words like amazing, fascinating, and beyond words.

“I’ve always gone to the Mayo health system since I was a child, and it’s always been my dream to work at Mayo,” she said.

As a research intern, Leisen is examining the effects different chemicals have on nitric oxide levels by analyzing brain microvessels of mice. Her work requires her to do microvessel isolation, protein quantitation, Western Blot Analysis, and Li-Cor image development. She uses a microscope to precisely isolate one of the main arteries of the mouse’s brain.

She finds it interesting that her current studies at Saint Mary’s directly correlate to the work she is doing in her internship.

“The techniques I’m doing now, I’ve done in a (Saint Mary’s) lab before,” says Leisen. “We get into it with more depth, but I already had the basic knowledge. The Biology Department did a great job putting together the core classes. They give you a good view of the whole picture.”

After being a part of medical research, Leisen knows she wants to obtain her Ph.D., and eventually continue research in Alzheimer’s. “You need to find that passion that wakes you up in the morning every day, and I have.

“I’m hungry to learn more,” she said. “I don’t want to stop. Research is extremely important, especially when you consider that by 2050, every 33 seconds someone in America will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”

Will there be a cure during her lifetime? Leisen crosses her fingers and smiles as she says, “I hope so, and I’m hoping I can put my name on it.”

3rd Cup just as sweet for Blackhawks’ McDonough

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 10:01am

John McDonough, President and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks, may not be fluent in Latin, but after his team won its third Stanley Cup title in the last six seasons, those three simple words seem rather fitting.

“Omne trium perfectum”: Everything that comes in threes is perfect.

And right now, life as a member of the Blackhawks’ organization is feeling pretty perfect.

Thanks to their 2-0 Game 6, Cup-clinching victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15, the Blackhawks became just the sixth franchise in National Hockey League history to win three Stanley Cups in a six-year span. The Detroit Red Wings were the most recent, winning in 1997, 1998, and 2002. The Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders did so in the 1980s. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs complete the elite list.

“To win three Cups in six years, after where we were as an organization seven-and-a-half years ago, has exceeded my expectations, and my expectations are quite high,” said McDonough, a 1975 graduate of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. “When I took over, we needed to get the organization back on track and going in the right direction, and we had to make some tough decisions.”

McDonough has proven to have the Midas touch when it has come to making the right decisions, as his Blackhawks have now been post-season bound seven years in a row, reaching five Western Conference Finals and three Stanley Cup finals—all three times culminating in the hoisting of Lord Stanley’s Cup.

“I go into every year expecting us to be a playoff team—a team that is in position to make a deep (post-season) run,” McDonough said. “It’s been a great run over the past six seasons, but we were off the map for many, many years. Success is measured in decades, not just a few years.”

This is why McDonough quickly points out that it’s important to savor the moment, but not get too caught up in it—and never, ever take winning for granted.

“In this business, success is not promised to anybody. You are not entitled to anything,” said McDonough. “You can’t afford to take anything for granted. If there is one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that there is no master plan, no script to work off of. In fact, whatever you think is going to happen, probably won’t.

“There are so many variables that play a role in a Stanley Cup run: injuries, bounces, hot goaltending … . I watched this team ratchet it up to another level from the last game of the season to the playoffs. They went into an incredible reserve tank. Eighty-two games is a long grind and to watch what they did in the post-season was inspiring.”

Inspiring, but—believe it or not—not a lot of fun to watch.

“Not one second is fun to watch,” McDonough admitted. “You are on this death-coaster where no lead is safe—two goals, three goals … . I remember early in my Blackhawks career, we were playing the (Minnesota) Wild and led 5-1 in the third period, only to have the Wild score four goals and beat us in either overtime or a shootout.

“You want so badly for them to succeed, but it’s hard to watch.”

What wasn’t tough for McDonough to watch, however, was the celebration that took place following that Cup-clinching win over the Lightning—a feat made even more special because it took place on the Blackhawks’ home ice.

“That was the ultimate reward—to be able to win the Cup in Chicago on our home ice,” he said. “We won our first two Cups on the road, the first in Philly and then in Boston, and to do it at home was surreal, better than anticipated.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet that we won the Stanley Cup again,” McDonough added. “I have great respect for the trophy—it’s history and what it represents. It’s incredible to be able to share that with friends and family—to be able to bring it back to my alma mater, Saint Mary’s University—that’s one of the most fulfilling parts.

“I never really knew before we won it the first time the impact the Stanley Cup has on people. The trophy itself is so magnetic, people just gravitate to it. It’s a celebrity on its own level the likes of which I’ve never seen before.”

Despite being the “puzzle master,” who ultimately must find a way to put all the pieces of a championship-caliber team together, McDonough isn’t one who savors his time in the limelight; he quickly deflecting any accolades thrown his way.

“This really isn’t about me. Everyone in our organization deserves credit for our success,” McDonough said. “My secret is pretty simple—hire really bright people and allow them to do their jobs. Hiring is probably the most important, underrated executive skill.

“Our hockey people are at the elite level in professional sports, and we are very fortunate to have them as members of the Chicago Blackhawks,” added McDonough. “Add to that a great support staff made up of tireless workers and it just makes my job that much easier.”

Two members of that highly touted support staff, Adam Gill ’08 and Eric Lear ’08, join McDonough as alumni of Saint Mary’s—something that the president of the Blackhawks is well aware of.

“For me, Saint Mary’s was a place that was comfortable, but challenging; competitive, yet inspiring—qualities that helped change my life,” McDonough said. “The faculty and staff provide you with everything to put yourself in position to succeed. It was the perfect environment in which to learn, and I was able to carry those skills into my professional life.

“Being able to hire two quality individuals like Eric and Adam from my alma mater is special,” said McDonough, who employs Lear as a team reporter-new media and Gill as a video coach for the Blackhawks’ Rockford Icehogs affiliate. “I recognized that because of what they went through socially and academically at Saint Mary’s, they would be ready for this challenge. I’m really proud of both of them. I’m proud of all our people regardless of what school they come from—but with Eric and Adam, it’s nice to have that Saint Mary’s brotherhood.

“As proud as Saint Mary’s seems to be of me, I’m more proud to call Saint Mary’s my alma mater.”

A surgery with hope and faith

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 3:00am

Feb. 17, 2015, was a very long day. For Dr. Denise Klinkner ’97 and a large team of surgeons and medical personnel, it was a day about “hope” and “faith.”

On Feb. 17, Dr. Klinkner played a role in successfully separating conjoined twins Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

The highly complicated—and highly publicized—separation took 18 hours in all, surgeons worked on Knatalye for 23 hours and Adeline for 26 hours. Specialists were brought in from pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, urology, liver transplant surgery, orthopedic surgery and pediatric gynecology. And as many as 30 medical personnel were involved in the complex operation.

The two girls, just 10 months old at the time, were joined at the chest and abdomen, and Dr. Klinkner has known them since birth.

“I was one of the first members of the surgery team to meet the twins when they were born,” she said. “From there, there was a lot of planning and working with all the different teams of people.” The twins’ parents opted for separation surgery, wanting to give their daughters a chance at normal and independent lives.

“It was a very unique case,” Dr. Klinkner said. “There are some twins who simply cannot be separated based on their anatomies. In 14 years, I’ve happened to see only two different cases.”

Dr. Klinkner’s role, as a fellow in pediatric surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, was largely the twins’ day-to-day care during the perioperative time period.

At certain points during the operation, she and another pediatric surgery fellow assisted with the separation process. “I was there for the GI tract and part of urogynecologic side of things,” she said. “Those are the parts I worked on after they were separated. I stayed with the second twin, Adeline.”

It was an emotional day, but the doctors and nurses needed to push their feelings aside while in surgery. “I would say there’s no particular training for the emotional side of things,” she said. “When you are focused on the particular task that needs to be done, you get engrossed in what you are doing. It’s in the back of your mind that things can go wrong, but if you get distracted by that, you can’t function.

“The emotional side of it happens when everything is done. I think there’s relief that everything was successful,” she said. “It’s exhausting to be involved in that long of a procedure. That’s why there are different teams and people taking breaks. People needed time to recover and be able to be there for the twins. And the meeting of the family afterward brings a whole different set of emotions to the field.”

The twins remain at Texas Children’s Hospital where they are undergoing a slow but successful recovery with no unexpected developments. Dr. Klinkner takes particular interest in their recovery. “When you make that kind of commitment it’s hard not to,” she said.

She and other hospital personnel were excited to help celebrate the girls’ first birthday on April 11. Fans of the twins are easy to spot; family, friends and hospital staff all sport faith and hope T-shirts.

When thinking about career choices, Dr. Klinkner originally thought she’d be operating on animals as a veterinarian. Growing up, the rural St. James, Minn., farm girl was especially fascinated by conjoined piglets. In high school, a teacher convinced her to study medicine.

After a teacher recommended Saint Mary’s, she enrolled and majored in biology.

A young Dr. Deb Martin, who had just started teaching in the biology department, became her first mentor. “She and I were both farm kids,” Dr. Klinkner said. “She has been a very strong role model for me in that regard, being a mom and a professional, and taking on things that aren’t typical for women with our particular backgrounds. My memories of Saint Mary’s are all of the different friendships I made. I think the fact that I still have so many connections to Saint Mary’s says a lot about the university.”

After graduating from Saint Mary’s Dr. Klinkner originally planned to go into family practice, but after doing a one-on-one with a general surgeon, she knew that surgery was her calling. “I was always a doer,” she said. “I wanted to be doing things which is probably why I’m more of a surgeon. The field is one in which it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, it’s of use to help somebody.”

After her two-year fellowship program at Texas Children’s Hospital ends this summer, Dr. Klinkner will begin as a pediatric surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester this fall and will serve as their trauma director.

“Timing was just right,” she said. “As long as it’s taken me to get where I want to be, I don’t regret any of the stages. I like to think I make an impact in every individual, hopefully in a positive way. It’s an honor and a blessing to be able to do that.”

Feature photo caption: Dr. Denise Klinkner ’97 played a role in successfully separating conjoined twins Knatalye and Adeline Mata, shown here in surgery. Photo Credit: Allen S. Kramer, Texas Children’s Hospital.

Find out how the twins are doing now with this video from ABC News.


Lear nets reporter position with Chicago Blackhawks

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 1:34pm

Chicago Blackhawks team reporter Eric Lear ’08 won’t forget the importance of a good first (second, and third) impression.

While covering the Minnesota Wild- Chicago Blackhawks playoff hockey game in 2013 for KTTC-TV (Rochester, Minn.), Lear’s name was recognized on a press box seating chart by a Blackhawks employee.

The employee remembered Lear, who had previously interviewed for two jobs with his home-state NHL team, and they became reacquainted. The two stayed in touch, and talks turned serious in December of 2014 when there was a sudden opening in the Blackhawks’ new media and creative services department.

Eight days later, Lear was named the new team reporter for Chicago’s professional hockey team—working in a sportswriter’s dream role, especially as an Illinois native.

“I started talking with the Blackhawks in college, but after getting passed up for a couple jobs I knew that I needed more experience,” Lear said. “I kept working hard, getting better and moving up in the journalism business, and the next time they called I was ready. It was a long road, but I needed to make every step along the way.”

After graduating from Saint Mary’s in 2008, Lear found a sportswriting position at the Red Wing Republican-Eagle and worked there for a year and a half. After that, he returned to Winona and did some work for Hiawatha Broadcast Company (HBC) before joining Rochester’s KTTC-TV as a sports anchor.

Lear wore many hats at each job leading up to the Blackhawks. He learned how to be a jack-of-all-trades and work a busy schedule while still in college.

“I did a lot of different things at Saint Mary’s,” Lear recalled. “I played basketball for four years and golf for two years. I did improv comedy and edited the sports page of the student paper. I had a part-time job at HBC, and started helping at the Winona Daily News. I gained a variety of experiences, and I became used to being busy.

“Without working at HBC and without a background at the newspaper at Saint Mary’s, I would have looked a lot less attractive to employers coming out of college. It gave my portfolio a journalism base. I had real-world experience as a junior in college.”

The hectic schedule as an undergraduate helped prepare Lear for the whirlwind schedule that he now manages. He hit the ground running in his new job, immediately beginning to produce stories on morning skates, game previews, game wrap-ups, and features. During home games, you can see Lear reporting live on the Jumbotron or anchoring highlights or statistics to send to media members. Schedules for road games are so fast-paced that he often ends up publishing website content while he rides the team bus to the airport.

“Professional sports is a pretty demanding career in terms of hours,” Lear said. “You don’t get many days off plus you work a lot of nights, weekends, and holidays. Pretty tough to complain, though: I work in my favorite city for a championship-caliber organization that I grew up watching.”

From his days on campus to his new gig with the Blackhawks, Lear has valued career guidance from faculty member Dean Beckman in the Communication Department at Saint Mary’s. Beckman is known for maintaining links with his students after graduation, continuing to help with advice and networking.

“I’ve stayed pretty close with Dean over the years,” Lear said. “I’ve bugged him a lot for advice. That’s one cool thing about Saint Mary’s—he was my adviser and my professor, and he also cared about me. He was one of the first to call and congratulate me when I got the Blackhawks offer.”

Down the road, Lear will likely pass on the same advice that Beckman once gave him: get involved, start small, and go upwards from there.

“You have to work in small markets and work your way up,” Lear said. “You’re not going to make very much money for a long time. But if it’s what you love doing, keep working hard.

“If you do your job well and you’re fun to be around, things are going to go well for you.”

Saint Mary’s takes ownership of Rochester’s Cascade Meadow center

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 5:01pm

University will expand educational offerings for schools and businesses

ROCHESTER, Minn. — On July 2, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota officially assumed ownership and operation of the Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center in Rochester.

The property, which includes a state-of-the-art facility and 90 acres of restored wetlands, was transferred at no cost to the university. Additionally Jack Remick, Cascade Meadow founder, also made a generous financial investment with the university to assure a smooth transition, and to support future growth in programming beneficial to the Rochester area.

Scott Walker, Saint Mary’s associate vice president for partnerships – Rochester, and executive director of Cascade Meadow, said Saint Mary’s plans to increase use of the facility by high school science classes in topics related to energy resources, water resources, and sustainability.

“Our hope is to create a more robust partnership with area high schools in terms of science education,” he said. “We will also continue our programming for elementary school students and increase the scope of courses, all meeting a topic within Minnesota science standards.”

Most recently, Cascade Meadow hosted high school students from Saint Mary’s Countdown to College program, and these past two weeks area middle school students attended a STEM camp at the facility.

High schools looking for more information are welcome to call Cascade Meadow at 507-252-8133 and speak with education program coordinator Stefan Theimer.

In the future, Saint Mary’s hopes to offer professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers within a STEM curriculum. Walker is also pursuing additional opportunities to increase the center’s reach in the general Rochester population, and forge partnerships with area businesses for adult education opportunities such as degrees and graduate certificates.

Cascade Meadow opened in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) environmental education facility serving primarily school-aged children and local visitors. The center has hosted field trips for elementary students learning many topics in environmental science, including energy use, water use, and waste production and elimination—all meeting current state science standards.

The Cascade Meadow facility is LEED Platinum-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing the highest level of environmentally responsible design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The Cascade Meadow grounds, located on Rochester’s northwest side, also features a variety of wetland restoration projects in progress.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,800 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis with programs offered in Rochester, Apple Valley, Oakdale, throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, and fully online.


Saint Mary’s to host Information Session July 23 at its Apple Valley Center

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 2:40pm

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will host an Information Session from 5–7 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, at its Apple Valley Center.

All are invited to attend the event but especially individuals who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degree completion or advanced degrees offered in Apple Valley. Register online at

Saint Mary’s began offering graduate school courses in Apple Valley during the summer and fall of 2003. Since then, Saint Mary’s Apple Valley Center has expanded to include bachelor-completion and master’s degree programs in business and police science as well as advanced degrees in education. Nearly 5,000 students have benefitted from Saint Mary’s presence at the Apple Valley location.

“Serving learners in a variety of locations fits Saint Mary’s mission, and we’re proud to have provided education south of the river for more than 10 years,” said Brother Robert Smith, FSC, Vice President of the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs at Saint Mary’s University. “There are so many great stories of people in that area who have reached their goals with the help of Saint Mary’s.”

Programs offered through the Apple Valley Center include:

For more information on the open house or courses offered in Apple Valley, call 612-238-4551, email Cheryl Cox or visit The Apple Valley Center is located at 14200 Cedar Ave., Apple Valley, MN 55124.

About Saint Mary’s University

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of leadership and service. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom—whether in person or online—a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,800 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at


MCA presents 2015 summer dance intensive showcase

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 5:00pm

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will present the Summer Dance Intensive showcase 7 p.m., Saturday, July 25, at the Valéncia Arts Center Academy Theatre, 1164 West 10th St.

The showcase, free and open to the public, features works that the students participating in the Summer Dance Intensive have learned during the two-week dance camp. A variety of dance forms will be presented including: classical and contemporary ballet, jazz, musical theatre dance, and modern dance. The works were choreographed by MCA guest artists Dustyn Martincich, Allan Kinzie, Jen TeBeest, and Tammy Schmidt.

In addition to learning showcase pieces, students have been participating in comprehensive dance training including technique and theory classes. Class studies have included ballet, pointe, variations, pas de deux, repertory, jazz, hip hop, rhythm tap, Irish dance, African dance, modern, musical theatre dance, piyo, choreography, and improvisation.

The students are from Minnesota and Wisconsin, range in age from 11 to 18, and were selected for the program by audition.

For more information about the Summer Dance Intensive showcase or future MCA program offerings, visit, email, “Like” them on Facebook, or call 507-453-5500.

Windley-Daoust’s book wins national competition

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 4:09pm

WINONA, Minn. — Dr. Susan Windley-Daoust, associate professor of theology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, received national acknowledgement at the 2015 Catholic Media Conference on June 26, when her 2014 published academic book, “Theology of the Body, Extended: The Spiritual Signs of Birth, Impairment, and Dying,” won first place in the “Best Book by a Small Publisher” category in the 2015 Catholic Press Association Book Awards.

This category judges all books published in 2014, submitted from publishers with gross sales under $500,000 per year, on any topic under Catholic interest.

Dr. Windley-Daoust’s book was described as being well-written and insightful. The category jury added, “It applies the Theology of the Body to themes rarely discussed and illustrates how God’s grace lifts up the suffering, dying, and those with disabilities. The author combines compelling research with beautiful reflections on what it means to be a person in communion with God and with others.”

Dr. Windley-Daoust has been teaching undergraduates, graduate students, and lay ministers for over 15 years. She also has been very involved in the life of her parishes and the local Catholic Worker community.

“Theology of the Body, Extended,” comes out of a weaving of many threads in her life: a professional interest in 20th century personalism and phenomenology, the excellent questions her students ask, the surprises found in reading John Paul II’s theology of the body audiences, ongoing community relationships that attend to the poor and vulnerable, giving birth, adopting, working with people with disabilities, watching people die, learning and offering spiritual direction. Many of the books written about the Theology of the Body have focused on its impact in understanding sexuality and marriage. Windley-Daoust argues that if the ensouled body is, as Michael Waldstein says, a “pre-given language of self-giving and fruitfulness,” there must be other primal human experiences that have a meaning that points us to the lavish love of God: giving birth, living with impairment, even dying. All these could and should be part of the Theology of the Body, as well.

But more than anything else, she offers that the Theology of the Body is about perception, or seeing. How do we learn to see more clearly the work of God in our lives, and how do we grow in that relationship with God? Beyond acknowledging our original creation as a sign that points to God, we are called to see the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives on a daily basis.

Dr. Windley-Daoust has also written a book on the image of God, and has contributed to books on Catholic and Christian blogging. She has published articles in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, America magazine, and Sojourners, as well as academic journals.

Twin Cities Campus Information Session July 16

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 3:30pm

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will host an Information Session from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, at its Twin Cities Campus. All are invited to attend the event, but especially individuals who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degree completion or advanced degrees offered in Minneapolis. Register online at

“We have offered adult education opportunities in this area for more than 30 years,” said Brother Robert Smith, FSC, Vice President of the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs. “Our degree and certificate programs are designed for dedicated learners, keeping flexible scheduling and quality programming in mind.”

Programs currently offered at the Twin Cities Campus include:

Adult Undergraduate Degree Completion

Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting

B.S. in Accounting
B.S. in Business Administration
B.S. in Healthcare & Human Services Management
B.S. in Human Resource Management
B.S. in Information Technology
B.S. in Marketing
B.S. in Nursing
B.S. in Police Science
B.S. in Psychology
B.S. in Sales & Marketing

Graduate School of Business & Technology

M.S. in Accountancy
M.A. in Arts & Cultural Management
M.S. in Geographic Information Science
M.A. in Human Development
M.A. in Human Resource Management
M.S. in Information Technology Management
M.A. in Management
M.A. in Organizational Leadership
M.A. in Philanthropy & Development
M.S. in Project Management
M.A. in Public Safety Administration
Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science

Graduate School of Education

M.A. in Education
M.A. in Education (Wisconsin)
M.A. in Educational Leadership
M.A. in English as a Second Language
M.A. in Instruction (leading to initial licensure)
M.A. in Instruction (additional credentials: licensure(s) and/or endorsements)
M.A. in Lasallian Leadership
M.A. in Literacy Education
M.A. in Special Education
M.Ed. in Learning Design & Technology
M.Ed. in Teaching & Learning

Graduate Certificate in Culturally Responsive Teaching
Graduate Certificate: K-12 Reading Teacher

Ed.S. in Educational Administration

Ed.D. in Leadership

Graduate School of Health & Human Services

M.A. in Counseling & Psychological Services
M.A. in Health & Human Services Administration
M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy
Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies

Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology

For more information on the open house or courses offered at the Twin Cities Campus, call 612-728-5100, email or visit the location website.

About Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of leadership and service. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom—whether in person or online—a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,800 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at

Summer renovations will enhance learning

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 3:17pm

Through the university’s master planning process, spaces were examined on both campuses to determine how to best utilize our facilities to meet the needs of our students, enhance learning, and encourage connectivity and collaboration. This summer we are undertaking the first projects in response to the recommendations.

On the Winona Campus, to enhance learning, space is being renovated in the Hendrickson Center and Griffin Hall, including the World Room, Room 181, and the gathering lounge located between the two areas. In addition to utilizing new technology in both classrooms, the layout and furniture will enable these learning spaces to be easily reconfigured. Additionally, the lounge in this area is being updated so it can continue to be a comfortable collaborative space for students and faculty.

New furniture in two classrooms on the Twin Cities Campus will provide flexibility in learning configurations and thereby enhance student learning. A wrought-iron fence has been added near Mother Teresa Hall to provide a safety barrier between Saint Mary’s and neighboring residences that are part of the Lutheran Social Services properties. Finally, the exterior entrance and patio to La Salle Hall will be renovated, and flowers and shrubbery will be added to improve the connectivity of the campus.

Information session is today at Oakdale

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 10:05am

Whether you’re looking to advance your career or you’d like to complete that bachelor’s degree, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs can help you reach your goals.

Saint Mary’s University offers a variety of programs that are affordable and at convenient locations throughout Minnesota. Visit the bachelor completion and graduate admission pages to learn more about specific programs Saint Mary’s offers, or have your questions answered and meet with staff members at the event detailed below.

Oakdale Center Information Session
Thursday, July 9, 2015 from 5–7 p.m.
7200 Hudson Boulevard N, Suite 200
Oakdale, MN 55128-7098
(612) 238-4550
Programs Offered
Click Here to Register

About Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of leadership and service. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom—whether in person or online—a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,800 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at

New medical school student finds undergraduate research experience invaluable

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 4:51pm

Jose Castellanos is hitting the books this summer, trading fun and sun for round-the-clock studying.

Fueled by a desire to help others, the 2015 biology graduate is already applying the skills he learned at Saint Mary’s in a summer program at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Castellanos will do his first year of medical school at the Urbana-Champaign campus and then his second through fourth at the Peoria campus.

His goal: to graduate from medical school in four years and become a surgeon.

“I’m confident,” he said. “I can see how I’m performing in comparison to other students who went to bigger universities. I’ve developed good study skills and that has translated well into the medical school pace,” he said.

Castellanos did extensive lab research in his Saint Mary’s undergraduate program, and presented those findings publicly. And that experience already gives him an advantage. “I’m finding that’s not something everyone does during their undergraduate years,” he said. “Very few students from bigger schools were able to do research alongside someone with their Ph.D. If they did research, it was with another student.

“For me, that’s a big deal, to be able to work with professors who teach you their techniques,” he said. “I enjoyed applying the things we learned in the classroom, seeing how things actually work.”

Castellanos’ senior project involved the effect of over-expression of TBX2 in Mus musculus epidermal cells and migration.

“We know this gene has been linked to melanoma, a very invasive type of skin cancer,” he said. “There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the cancer. We wanted to know specifically what triggers the invasive characteristics. We put the gene in the skin cells of mice and measured the migration. We found significant migration of the TBX2 gene, compared to the control, so we were able to conclude the overexpression of that gene in skin cells led to more cell migration.”

Castellanos says he was exposed to operating rooms at a young age since his father is an anesthesiologist in the Dominican Republic.

After moving to Chicago in 2006, an inspirational biology teacher at Noble Street College Prep, reaffirmed his desire to go into the medical field.

Coming from a small high school, Castellanos said he found a good fit with Saint Mary’s. “Saint Mary’s provided me with a good amount of space to grow,” he said. “Everyone was very friendly. It felt right.”

Castellanos said he valued the personalized attention he received from Saint Mary’s faculty. “Classes could be tough, but professors there to guide us through it,” he said.

He also took advantage of the university’s close proximity to Mayo Clinic. “We’re only 45 minutes from one of the best hospitals in the country,” he said. “I had the opportunity to volunteer with patients in the heart and lung transplant unit. It definitely helped me during the medical school application process. And it made me more open to the healthcare aspect of medicine, the whole idea of caring for the person.

“I love working with my hands—and this is very black and white—but I like the idea of helping good people having bad days,” he said. “Being able to surgically help a patient who is sick is something that drives me.”