University of St. Thomas Campus News
- St. Thomas Student Anna Nolan to Join Gov. Dayton on Economic Mission to Mexico
Many St. Thomas students dedicate parts of their summer to mission trips, traveling around the state, country and world to volunteer building homes, to serve the poor and to dedicate manual labor. Junior Anna Nolan is putting a different twist on the idea of summer mission work.
From Aug. 9-14 Nolan will join Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and a group of business, education and cultural leaders on a mission to Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico, aimed at promoting economic ties with our nation’s southern neighbor. As the sole college student invited to be part of the delegation, Nolan, an economics major, will represent Minnesota, St. Thomas, college students and herself on what she described as “such a cool opportunity.”
“It is so exciting. I’m just really honored to be invited to go on this trip,” Nolan added. “It will be a really packed six days and a great learning experience.”
Dayton’s office detailed the mission’s goals to “promote Minnesota exports and key industries as well as help Minnesota companies establish and build relationships with potential buyers, distributors and partners. The Governor will also showcase the opportunities and market advantages that exist in Minnesota for Mexican companies looking to expand operations into the United States.”
Nolan described the mission’s three pillars – agriculture, education and manufacturing – and the role she is expected to play representing the educational aspect in particular.
“I’ll be attending all the roundtables dealing with education, although I am interested in the economic portion as well,” she said. “I’m just wildly excited. Mexico is our second largest export market, so strengthening these ties is crucial to our economy. I’m so excited to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.”
Nolan said she also will represent formally Study Minnesota, an organization St. Thomas is part of that is dedicated to promoting Minnesota as an educational destination for students around the globe. As an Aquinas Scholar who speaks Spanish and has mission work experience in Ecuador, Nolan was a prime candidate to be Minnesota’s collegiate representative on the trip.
“We are thrilled Anna was chosen for this opportunity,” said Karen Lange, St. Thomas vice president for student affairs. “We know she will do a great job representing the University of St. Thomas and the state of Minnesota. She will be a great ambassador.”
Nolan was granted a professional development grant from the St. Thomas Luann Dummer Center for Women for her trip, and Student Affairs contributed to Nolan’s mission support fee. Looking forward to a full itinerary, Nolan said she was most excited to “learn about the merging of two vastly different cultures and how they come together to reach one economical deal. It’s a really interesting relationship we have with Mexico. On a business level I’m excited to see how I can impact and help this situation.”
After returning from Mexico, Nolan is slated to be the inaugural resident adviser for St. Thomas’ Aquinas Scholars Honors Living Learning Community.
- Finding Answers – and Questions – Through Teaching and Research
When I originally came to St. Thomas over 30 years ago, I was not expected to be involved in substantive business and legal research, but over the past decade I have truly developed and enjoyed my research. As a faculty member at St. Thomas I believe my role encompasses teaching, research and service – balancing all three is just a matter of dedication and time management. I also believe that both faculty and students are researchers and learners. I am fortunate in that the courses I teach are aligned with my research interests. It is those courses that, in turn, further develop and deepen these interests. My research helps me because it is way of checking my ideas and seeing if I can make them practical and meaningful to my students.
Since becoming a faculty member at St. Thomas, I’ve developed three primary research streams: a) legal issues and performance-enhancing drugs in sport; b) legal issues in sport and risk management; and c) legal issues dealing with employment and trade secret law.
The business of sports is a multibillion-dollar global industry. My interest in legal issues and performance-enhancing drugs in sport comes from serving as one of the few members from the United States on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is located in Lausanne, Switzerland. Often referred to as “Sport’s Supreme Court,” the CAS is an institution independent of any sports organization, which provides services to facilitate the settlement of sport-related disputes. The CAS does this through arbitration or mediation, by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sport world. With less than 300 arbitrators from 87 countries throughout the world, these arbitrators are chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and sports law.
While being part of the CAS has made it logical for me to conduct research in this area, I also have chosen this stream because I firmly believe that doping is a dangerous health risk for the youth of the world today. Doping is contrary to the basic principles of sport and fair play. Most recently I have been working on the need to consolidate and harmonize the fight to protect clean competition for athletes throughout the world. It is essential for the integrity of sport. From conference presentations and citations of my work, I have seen that my research has raised an awareness of the problem and has stimulated discussion and debate.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Sport has the power to change the world … it has the power to inspire.” At the same time – as seen from the tragic events at the 2013 Boston Marathon – because sports are so strongly associated with American economy and culture, they have been considered significant targets of terrorism attacks. The heroic “Boston Strong” recovery showed that sport can truly inspire and unify. Yet I also believe it showed that there is a need for sport event managers to create a risk management plan. Risk management is more than just looking at potential losses; rather, it is important to emphasize that modern risk management is now structured around a comprehensive process for assessing and addressing risks.
In order to fully comprehend their legal responsibilities, event managers must gain an appreciation for the development of risk management plans specific to their activities. Risk management should be used to assist sport event managers in providing a reasonably safe environment for their contestants, guests and sponsors. As such, risk management may be perceived as constituting a fundamental way in which decision-makers solve problems. By possessing this awareness, event organizers may minimize the likelihood of future potential litigation that negatively impacts the reputation and financial considerations of the organization. Best practice models provide access to event processes that appear to describe the best ways of preparing, organizing and conducting an event.
My third area of research and teaching interest – employment and trade secret law – comes from my personal experience in business and law. I have been fortunate to be a member of a family business that is the premier source for structural steel bending in the United States. Additionally, in my private practice I had the opportunity to provide legal advice and counsel to clients in the areas of employment and business law.
I have been extremely fortunate to have the support of my chairs, the deans and the college to continue to expand my research. It is also exciting because my research is interdisciplinary and has given me the opportunity to work not only with colleagues in the Opus College of Business, but also with colleagues throughout the country – crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries of inquiry.
Finally, I firmly believe that my research has and will continue to enrich my teaching just as my teaching enhances my research. When I first came out of law school and graduate school and started teaching, I was foolish enough to think I knew the answers. Over the years, I have learned from my students and my research that I still may not know the questions. Life is a journey, so we can enjoy the ride.
Professor Dr. John Wendt teaches in the Opus College of Business Ethics and Business Law Department and has served as MBA director for Sports and Entertainment Management.
From Exemplars, a publication of the Grants and Research Office.