Recent News from Campuses
Pope Francis has appointed Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota alumnus the Rev. Michel Mulloy ’75 as the new bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn.
The Rev. Mulloy, 67, most recently served as vicar general and administrator for the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D. His episcopal ordination and installation have been scheduled for Oct. 1.
He was born in Mobridge, S.D., and entered the minor seminary when he was a sophomore in high school. He received his undergraduate education at Saint Mary’s University and Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minn., and attended the Saint Paul Seminary afterward. The Rev. Mulloy was ordained to the priesthood in Sioux Falls on June 8, 1979.
The Carleton College Board of Trustees approved the promotion of five faculty members from associate professor to professor, effective Sept. 1, 2020.
Gustavus Adolphus College rising junior Dalton Dahle ‘22 is the winner of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) in Persian to study in Tajikistan and the Project Global Language Scholarship (GO) for domestic study of Arabic. Unfortunately, the CLS program has been cancelled due to COVID-19 but the GO program will continue online. Dahle’s excellence shown in his applications was recognized by three national selection committees.
“I was pretty excited when I won the scholarships. Instead of working at a gas station this summer, I wanted to go somewhere so I was excited to apply for the two opportunities presented through the fellowship office,” Dahle said.
The CLS Program is a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. A scholarship fully funds intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences in countries essential to America’s engagement with the world.
The GO Program is a Department of Defense initiative aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers. The Scholarship funds critical language education, study abroad, and intercultural dialogue for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students.
“Thankfully, they [GO Program] offered me the opportunity to do online courses. I hope to learn enough Arabic to be able to have a basic level conversation. Be able to read signs and navigate in the speaking country,” Dahle said.
Dahle transferred from Rochester Community Technical College and began his Gustie journey Fall 2019. “I knew at Gustavus I would have assistance with getting study abroad opportunities. Thankfully, a lot of staff have helped me out to get where I’m at right now,” Dahle said.
Currently, Dahle serves as a member of the Army ROTC and a nursing degree candidate. With a packed schedule, he takes things one day at a time. Dahle enlisted in the Army in September 2017, where he spent a year and a half completing basic training and additional schooling as a medical lab tech and phlebotomist.
“Enlisting as a medical laboratory specialist was probably the best decision I have ever made. The most enjoyable thing was being able to give medical care to those in need,” Dahle said.
During Army training, he had the opportunity to learn phlebotomy, where he was able to draw blood from soldiers, families of soldiers, and retired veterans from various cultures and ages.
“This really was a huge confidence booster in my medical experience. It was duties like this which inspired me to apply to the Gustavus nursing program.” Dahle said. “I heard great things about the program and figured the department would help me gain a solid foundation to further become an RN. Then I can provide care in a more hands-on and patient-contact environment,” Dahle added.
Dahle’s ability to speak the Arabic language enhances his rapport as a future RN working in Middle Eastern countries. He started learning Arabic at his previous institution and wanted to learn a language that was valuable and useful not only in the military.
“Arabic is not a common language but being able to have a conversation would be awesome. I think it’s good to respectfully learn the culture of Arabic speaking nations to create better ties in the future,” Dahle said.
After passing nursing boards and receiving his degree, he plans to serve as an Army Reserve nurse aiming to work in an intensive care unit or emergency room.
“Gustavus is a great place,” Dahle said. “I’m glad to have the many opportunities presented to me.”
For more information about the Gustavus Fellowships Office and the support it gives to students, please visit the fellowship website.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Gustavus chemistry professor and chromatography expert Dwight Stoll on working with students in his highly-regarded campus lab, facilitating their development as individuals and scientists, and enjoying the College’s newly renovated and expanded Nobel Hall for state-of-the-art science research and education in the 21st century.
Season 1, Episode 9: The Chemistry Lab and the Alchemy of Student Growth
Learning for Life at Gustavus has produced by JJ Akin and Matthew Dobosenski of Gustavus Office of Marketing. Will Clark, senior communications studies major and videographer at Gustavus, who also provides technical expertise to the podcast, and me, your host, Greg Kaster. The views expressed in this podcast are not necessarily those of Gustavus Adolphus College.
I am delighted to be speaking today with my faculty colleague, Professor Dwight Stoll of the Gustavus Chemistry Department, which he also currently co-chairs.
Unlike many academics, Dwight has been on both sides of the private sector higher ed divide. Before becoming a professor, he worked as a researcher with ZirChrom Separations, Inc. From there, he embarked on graduate studies at the University of Minnesota where he earned his PhD in Analytical Chemistry in 2007.
Dwight is a prodigious researcher, working often in collaboration with Gustavus students. In his first year, since his first year as a Gustavus professor in 2008, he has published more than two dozen peer-reviewed articles, about a dozen of them or more with students. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Agile and Thought Leader Award, the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and the Faculty Scholarship award at Gustavus. Welcome to the podcast, Dwight.
Thanks, Greg. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
My pleasure, too. Thanks.
What, maybe let’s just dive into your research. Could you describe, in layperson terms, what it is you do and what its significance and real-world implications or applications are?
Sure. So the specific technique that I focus on… So I’m, I guess, let me first say that I’m an Analytical Chemist, which means that I spend a lot of time thinking about how to measure various things. And the particular technique within analytical chemistry that I focus on is called chromatography. And chromatography is, in general terms is, we say a separation technique. So it’s an approach to take a mixture of chemicals or compounds and physically separate them. So that could be something as simple as maybe table salt where the main ingredient there, main component is sodium chloride, but there might be some impurities that you’re interested in. Obviously, things can be a lot more complicated than that. Things like river water, blood, urine, things like this where, in those cases, there might be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of different chemical compounds present.
And the reason we want to separate them physically is because that’s the only, really the only way that we can begin to count how many of each different chemical component is present. And the reason we want to count them is because we, in technical terms, we refer to that as determining the concentration of a particular compound in a particular mixture. So if you want to know how much glucose is in your blood or how much protein is in your blood or how much of a particular contaminant is present in the Minnesota River, once we have those particular compounds isolated or separated, we know how to count them pretty well. But it’s really difficult to count just one type of molecule in the presence of many molecules. And so, that’s the, really the role of separation science or chromatography is to physically separate the components of a mixture so that we can more accurately determine what’s there.
And I guess I think of myself as somebody who’s really interested in the methodology, the technology, the instrumentation behind chromatography and separation science. So I always, when I talk with students, I say, “I don’t really care what problem we try to solve as long as somebody cares about the problem we’re trying to solve.” So whether we’re working on river water or blood or a drug tablet, I don’t really care as long as somebody will support us in doing that. What we do is more focused on sort of the details of the instrument; how does it work? How, where are its weaknesses? How can we make it better? How can we think in innovative ways to do the separation better, where better means usually faster, cheaper, with less user intervention, more automated, things like this. And so…
That is a super clear explanation. Sorry, go ahead.
Yeah. So when I talk with students, when I try to engage them in my work, what I try to do is really try and find out where, on that spectrum of things that I just described, they’re most interested. Because there are some students who are really interested in the applications, you know? They’re really interested in Biochemistry and they want to know, they want to study the, some particular metabolism cycle, for example. And separations can be used to do that. Maybe [inaudible 00:05:30] really interested in Environmental Science or Environmental Chemistry, in which case they’d be really interested in a project that focused on the Minnesota River, for example.
And then, there are other students who are maybe interested in both Physics and Chemistry or maybe they’re going to be a Chemistry major but they’ve done a lot of Computer Programming. And because of the nature of our work, we can, I can usually find a place for them that allows them to engage with our work but also plays to their strengths. And for me that’s, in some ways, part of the fun of it all is, every new student that shows up at my door is a new challenge in terms of understanding what they’re interested in and where they can really contribute to our work.
That is all extremely clear and interesting. Thank you. I was on the, you’re reminding me, I was on the Personnel, the Faculty Personnel Committee. You must have been coming up for promotion, probably. And I have a vivid memory. I may have even asked you about this at the time. This relates to your work with students. And you wrote something. It was in your statement, I believe, about how… I mean, I don’t remember exactly what you wrote, but it was… This is the gist of it. You expected, you held students to professional standards. In other words, they’re undergraduates, but you expected of them the same sort of professional behavior, professional aspirations; on and on and on; as you would in a lab and I guess in the private sector.
I was struck by that. I was so impressed with that. Because I think, too often, we tend to sort of let that go. Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you have any memory of that? Writing that, or… You know, [inaudible 00:07:21].
Yeah, I think so. I mean, the thing is, I guess when I, one of the things I’ve learned… A couple of related ideas, I guess, about things that I’ve learned, working with these students for a little more than a decade now, is that they’re… You know, the average student that we see at Gustavus that’s interested in chemistry or any of the physical sciences, I guess? Is very capable. I mean, on average, they’re really quite smart. And if you put them in a room with the right resources and adequate guidance, I guess, they can really do remarkable things.
And so, I think what I, sort of my approach to working with the individual students is to try to gauge early on what they’re capable of, what their background is, what they walk in the door with in terms of knowledge and skills. And then, put in front of them a problem that’s approachable for them, given what they know and what their skills are, and really try to focus on the gains that they can make from that point.
So you know, the sort of extreme opposite of that would be to put a problem in front of a student that is trivial to them, that they could do without thinking about it very hard. And that, for them, from a learning point of view, is not going to be very useful. On the other hand, it’s also not useful, I think, to put in front of a student, a problem that they’re going to feel is impossible. They’ll get frustrated and not make very much progress.
So again, part of the, sort of the game or the challenge or the fun of it all for me is figuring out what that right level and type of problem is for a particular student. And then, at that point, as you said, hold them to a pretty high standard in terms of how they operate in that context. So to what extent are you applying yourself, doing your work in a rigorous way?
And I think the value of that, as I see it, is that I often use the idea or the line with students. Like you don’t just wake up one day and suddenly be a good writer. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that, “Okay; today I’m going to become a very effective laboratory scientist.” It takes practice. And the four years that a student spends at Gustavus, I think, are a tremendous opportunity to practice those kinds of things. To practice technical writing, to practice their laboratory skill with their hands, to practice their way of thinking about problem solving. And I think without adequate, without being intentional about coaching them in that direction, they simply won’t make as much progress as they will if we do a good job of pushing them a little bit. Not so much that we break them but that it really nudges them in a direction that’s productive.
I couldn’t agree more, especially with your point and your language about, you don’t just wake up; how many times do I tell the students that you don’t wake up and suddenly are a historian, or I used to say a good writer. Like this reminds me of that. One of my grammar professors, she had a… Oh no, she, we, we joked about it. She did. We were going to make t-shirts that said, “Historians are not born. They’re made.” Because she was making us, boy.
Tell me a little bit about how you… Speaking of this, this is a perfect transition. You weren’t, you didn’t wake up one day and say, “I want; Oh, I want to be a…” I’m trying to say how, what’s the journey? What’s the pathway? How did you find your way to Analytical Chemistry? Or did it find you, or a bit of both?
I think more the latter, that it found me. It’s, at that point in my life, I guess when I was, when I would, when I was making the transition to sort of becoming a, aspiring to be a Professional Analytical Chemist, let’s say? That was a very sort of meandering time and I wouldn’t claim that I had any grand plan.
So the undergraduate days are especially wandering in some ways. So I started out undergraduate career as a Mechanical Engineering major. And didn’t take me too long to realize that I didn’t have the math skills that a lot of my classmates had, so. Which was really required for that type of undergraduate studies. So I bailed on that plan pretty early and actually took some time off, about a year off.
So I withdrew from my first year and took about a year off. And then came back to it with a renewed vigor, I would say. And also some, a better appreciation for what it would take to be successful, just in terms of work habits and things like that. And but also, switched to Biology. So my second major was Biology. And I stuck with that to the end and picked up some biochemistry at the end.
And by the end of the four years? I mean, I worked pretty hard those last years. And I think, like a lot of students are at the end of four years, are pretty tired. I was just really kind of worn out. And so, I fully intended to go to graduate school at that point. I kind of took up a pretty strong interest in plant biology actually, plant physiology, as an undergraduate insight. Intended to go to graduate school in that sort of sub-discipline.
But I was really tired, as I said. And so my… I was taking, I guess, what we would call a gap year now. And intended to find some gainful employment in that gap year. And I didn’t find any, at least not quickly. And through an office conversation with a mentor of mine at the time, decided not to pursue a particular job offer that I had because he thought I could do better than that. And at the end of that conversation, you know? This is one of those sort of classic stories. But on the way out of his office, he said to me, “Well, there’s a job posting on the door. You ought to take a look at that. Maybe… You never know, you know? Maybe it’s something you’re interested in.”
And that was the job posting for the job at ZirChrom, actually. And so, one thing led to another and I ended up there. It was kind of… You know, they were really looking for a chemist. I was more of a biologist than a chemist at the time but they took a chance on me. And it was a really small company when I started. At one point when I, shortly after I started, it was, I was literally the only one in the lab. And I learned a tremendous amount because I had to do everything. So I made materials. I characterized them using this chromatography technique that was new to me at the time. I shipped product. I fielded phone calls from customers that were having problems and so on. And over the three-and-a-half years that I was there, we grew a lot. We, by the time I left, we were up to 10 people in the lab.
And so, it was a really rich time. I learned a tremendous amount. And, but it was really during that time that I fell in love with this technique called chromatography and became, came to understand more what the discipline of analytical chemistry was about.
And the president of that company at the time was Peter Carr. And he, I said, “Hey, why don’t I do a Graduate Degree in this field called Analytical Chemistry? Would you be willing to have me in your research group?” And there again he’s, he took a chance, I would say, a little bit, in a way. Because, again, I was… You know, the average student that he would look for as an incoming graduate student would have had a solid chemistry background. And I really didn’t at that point. So I had to take some additional undergraduate courses to sort of beef up a few areas. And then, the rest is history, as they say.
So yeah, I think, to your question, I would say it found me more than I found it. But this is… You know, I think my story is, I tell this, go through this a lot with students because a lot of them wander, too. And I think it’s, in some ways, a good example of how it can all be okay in the end if you don’t all have it, have it all figured out when you first show up at Gustavus.
I’m suppressing cheers and hurrahs. I really can’t agree more. I now start every class, no matter what level, with this. And some of them, some of the students have had to read this two or three times. But it’s a very short article about choosing a major. And the basic thrust of it is exactly what you just said. I’m not sure they use the word wandering, but similar. And so, often it’s not, there’s not a straight line between what you major in and what you wind up doing. I think they cite a guy who was walking, maybe he was in a rock group or something; a musician walking home, looking at the stars; and ultimately became an astrophysicist.
But you just… You know, I think that wandering is so important and so enriching. Parents, of course, aren’t always thrilled with it. But I think it’s important on the list.
What about the rewards of a place like Gustavus for you, not only you personally; of course that; but just in general? I mean, my sense is that a chemist of, certainly of your caliber could get a job in the private sector. What keeps you at Gustavus? What is it about researching with students, students researching with you at a liberal arts college, that you find particularly rewarding?
Yeah. So I spoke a little bit earlier about this. Sort of getting to know students and find out where their interests are relative to my research program and where they can kind of fit. And I, so I would just sort of expand on that a little bit to say that, in that process of sort of getting to know you, there’s an element of, “So tell me about your hopes and dreams and your fears,” you know? “What did you come here wanting to do? Where does that originate from? What experiences lead you to that?” And just as a way of understanding where they’re coming from, where those things originate. And then, like I said, trying to put in front of them opportunities for them to stretch and grow. And without too much pressure at all, I think there’s a lot of, sort of transitions that take place sort of naturally.
So it’s fairly common, I would say, with the students that I work with. There’s sort of a prototypical student, you know? Comes in having really very little idea about what the scientific enterprise looks like in a way, sort of what research is really about.
So they come in not knowing a lot about that. Maybe they have some aspirations for a particular career path. And then, over… You know, again, very sort of slowly over the period of years, they come to understand more about what research looks like as a discipline, as a profession, as a way of professional life, and become very interested. And maybe even the words fall in love are appropriate. And they leave with a completely different perspective, having set their sights on research or science in a broad sense as a career.
And that, for me, watching that transition, is I think the most, certainly one of the most rewarding things. And sort of having the opportunity to guide and support that transition, I think, is, yeah. It’s tremendously rewarding, for sure.
And I think you just offered a wonderful summary, really, of what it means to be, to receive an education. I mean, the transitions one undergoes. I was just thinking, as you were speaking about the students we get in the History Department who, for whom initially, history is simply memorization, that’s how they’ve been taught it too often, the last memorization of names and dates. Which, of course, in a way, has nothing to do with history. It’s all about the method. I can’t say it’s a scientific method. Some historians claim that; I wouldn’t. But it’s all about that; learning what it means to do research, to be a researcher, to have that professional identity.
What are some of the student… Sorry, what are some of the things your students go on to do from your lab? Maybe even, if you can, pick a couple of specific examples for us.
Yeah. So as a kind of preface to that, I would say that one of the maybe misconceptions, I think, that people have about a degree in Chemistry or Biology or Physics or whatever is that there’s a chance, a risk maybe, of slotting yourself into that path forever. And one of the things that I’ve seen, just in terms of what students do, so coming to your question, is that’s absolutely not the case. I mean, I think the, what we see, what we experience with students is that actually, a degree in Chemistry from Gustavus can be very flexibly applied.
So in fact, probably, certainly less than 50% of students that graduate with Chemistry majors we would look at today and identify them as “pure chemists.” They do lots of different things. So we see students go on to do, study water chemistry, for example. Which is… Yeah, it’s chemistry, but it’s more focused on, there’s more emphasis on the water than the chemistry. We see students go on to, one of my former research students is now a, let’s say a Forensic Toxicologist, working in the State Crime Lab in Iowa.
A lot of students find very financially rewarding careers in the pharmaceutical industry, simply because that’s where a lot of good paying jobs are. So that’s, for people in my subdiscipline, that’s a really great target. It always has been, historically. We see students doing… So in Chemistry, of course, we see a lot of students with what we call pre-health aspiration. So with degrees in Chemistry, they’ll go on to Medical, Dental, Pharmacy School and so on and have really rich and productive careers in those fields.
Thinking about more recently, we have also had students do Bioinformatics. So degree in Chemistry, but then, probably also some Biology courses and some Computer Science. But then, so the field of Bioinformatics is really… You know, how do we use information in Computer Science to solve or address biological questions. So again, there’s kind of a, it’s a lateral shift in a way, but it’s, we wouldn’t identify that student as doing Chemistry, per se.
So I think one of the things I really try to emphasize with students and parents is, I think it’s a really flexible degree. And for me, it kind of boils down to, I think at the heart of that fact is the realization that really, what we’re doing in a lot of courses is teaching students or helping them learn to be problem solvers. And that might sound like it trivializes the matter, but I don’t think it does at all. I think, at the core of science and research and making progress in any field, is a systematic approach to looking at questions with a foundation and reason and logic. And you know, maybe more than ever, the world needs good problem solvers. So if those problem solvers happen to have degrees in Chemistry, I think that’s totally fine, wherever they end up.
Again, I mean, I’m thinking about history and the parallel for… That’s exactly right, the emphasis on problem solving. There’s a, he’s really, he’s actually in the education department at Stanford, Sam Wineburg; I think he has a BA in History. Brought him to Gustavus some years ago when I was chair of the department. Because he’d then just written this wonderful book called Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts. And the whole point of it is… Yeah, it’s a great title. To be a historian is to… You know, it’s to learn how to practice a certain kind of thinking and problem solving. It isn’t simply memorization of names, dates, and information.
So I do love that. I did not attend a liberal arts college. I attended a state school and then a big, private university. But when I think back on my education, it was exactly those experiences, the professors who posed problems, whether it was a problem we had to solve in an essay, a problem about a book, a novel; it didn’t matter; that are still with me. I mean, I learned so much from those courses and those professors.
I want to switch gears a little bit. Because you’ve been, you can tell me when I’m done asking you the question whether you still are the leader of the Academic Technology Committee at Gustavus. But could you say a little bit about technology and Gustavus? I’m actually impressed with what the college has done. I’ve gone to some other institutions; not to work, but to visit. And I’ve actually been appalled in some cases at how primitive their technology seems. So I’m talking about classroom technology, that sort of thing. Any thoughts about where Gustavus is at in that?
Yeah. So I’m not on the committee anymore, but I was for, I think I’ve been off now for two or three years. I think I was on it for like eight of my nine first years or something like that.
So I think… I mean, one of the things, I guess, I appreciate? I mean, I think it’s a, technology on a college campus, I think, is a difficult thing in the sense that there are so many needs. And it’s expensive. And it’s, so not only expensive in a sort of upfront capital sense, but it’s also expensive in the sense that things are always changing. And so, if you want to sort of be close to the leading edge of one particular area, you have to… You know, it’s like, it’s kind of like being on a treadmill. I mean, you’re always running pretty fast and that gets really expensive.
And one of the things that impresses me quite a lot about the way Gustavus operates with respect to technology, both in terms of what you called out in terms of classroom technology. But I would also say we have tremendous technology needs in the sciences as well, to make sure that we’re providing students with opportunities to work with technology that’s relevant to what they might see when they leave.
So what’s, one of the things that’s impressed me is how clever, how resourceful, how willing to be creative, I would say, a lot of people on the campus have been. So a lot of creative solutions to address what is a difficult problem, which is allocating and finding the resources to do these things.
I think what’s going to be fascinating, really? Given where we are at this moment is what happens post-coronavirus. I mean, there’s just tremendous creativity happening every single day in terms of how technology is deployed to deal with these dynamic times. But I think, whether by choice or not, everybody in higher ed is learning a lot about what technology can do, what things are helpful, but also, where the limitations are. And it’s going to be really fascinating to watch how things look in a year or two, how we learn from this and how the places where real gaps are identified and how those are filled or not, going forward.
Yeah. So that is going to be very interesting. I mean, just in general, the impact on higher ed, for better or for worse, but also that in particular.
And this leads me to, actually reminds me that you are in Nobel Hall, which is undergoing… Or almost done, I guess? Extensive renovations. Can you say a little bit about that? What’s it like in the new digs?
Yeah. The new digs are wonderful. It’s a beautiful space. I guess the things that I would highlight are that the space now is built in a way that really reflects the practice of science in 2020 as opposed to the practice of science in 1960 or 1990, depending on which iteration of the former Nobel Hall you experienced.
And that has lots of facets to it. So one is safety. We’re just much better equipped with proper ventilation and proper spacing for safe work in a laboratory. Those are all great things. Just in terms of utilities, a lot of the… I mean, the vast majority of the equipment in the building now didn’t exist in 1960 or maybe even in 1990. So how those pieces of equipment are supported in terms of ventilation, power, gas supplies, and all these things. We’re just in a so much better position to, again, really put in front of students equipment and technology that’s going to be relevant to what they’re going to see in two or three or four years after they leave Gustavus.
Sorry. I was… Go ahead.
Yeah. The space is, one of the things that’s really exciting to me, especially about the long term, is that the building is so much more designed with flexibility in mind than it was in the past. So you know, one of my frustrations, I would say, when I came to Gustavus in 2008 is just how inflexible the spaces were, you know? A lot of furniture, fixtures, were sort of bolted to floors and walls. And if you wanted to change something, it was really difficult. And now, the vast majority of fixtures and equipment and infrastructure and the building is flexible. It’s on wheels or it’s easily movable. And I think that’s going to serve us really well.
And the last thing I would say is just the way that we’ve designed spaces is going to support so much better the way science is done now, which is highly collaborative. So in 1960, a typical lab experience would have been a student in front of a bench with a bunch of equipment. You did your thing and you hope that nobody made a mistake next door that was going to screw up what you were focusing on. These days, it’s… We, more and more, have students working in groups and teams. And the, just the way rooms are designed and in proximity and things like that and how students can use computers outside of a laboratory to control equipment inside of a laboratory. All these things are, sort of reflect the way science is done today.
So it’s… Yeah, it’s wonderful. And it’s… You know, as I’m telling prospective students these days, “It’s a wonderful time to be a science student at Gustavus.” For sure. No question about it.
And wonderful is the word that comes to my mind. I’ve been through it just a few times, just to… You know, I’m passing through to visit a class or something. But just the space, the light, the airiness. The coffee, by the way. I’ll put in a plug for that.
Yeah. For sure.
So yeah. I hope any prospective students listening will come and visit, if they haven’t already, for the Nobel Conference. Maybe they’ll be there in the fall. And if they’re interested in chemistry, seek you out for some superb mentoring.
Dwight, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Take care.
Okay. Thanks, Greg. Take care.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
The Carleton Class of 1970 announced the largest 50th Reunion class gift in the history of the college, contributing $64.2 million.
Originally, this was going to be an essay about how the Lasallian virtue of zeal is essential in the enthusiastic and persistent pursuit of business academic scholarship. I had pithy quotes from both the 17th and 21st century, humorous stories, and a “get it done” message to wrap it all up. But all of that changed in three stages. First, a good friend decided to take a new job in Texas, which meant I temporarily added a second job as vice provost to my duties at Saint Mary’s. Next, was a global pandemic that turned our operating world upside down and quickly transformed our planned and organized weeks into running triage between one difficult and unplanned situation to another. Finally, the horrors of murder, civil unrest, and riots. I really don’t have the words to express, nor could I or should I try to explain, all that has happened. I do know it seems that an essay on zeal and scholarship seems incredibly out of place at this time and moment in history.
That said, I think the virtue of zeal, or zele in a 17th century French context, is a worthwhile one and one that has modern-day application. To Saint John Baptist de La Salle, zeal was the synergy of self-effacement and commitment molded into the service and caring for students (Botana, 2004). In his world of 17th century French spirituality, zeal (or zele as De La Salle would have said it) should infuse your conduct and breathe life into all you do. In contemporary terms, this translates to a commitment of thinking and acting beyond yourself for the betterment of others.
Transformational and servant leadership lived in today’s business world have this common understanding of zeal at their base. For me, this connection has a Hebraic spirituality; that is, as theologian David Ranson suggests, that acting with force and energy to help others beyond self is to find vitality in life and to “come awake.” How then, as scholars and practitioners in the business disciplines, can we come awake?
One of my favorite ideas within the discipline of spirituality and management is the concept of discernment, which can be thought of as entering praxis to determine the true calling or direction in your life. Brother Fred Mueller, scholar of Lasallian pedagogy, suggests a deep discernment helps one determine “where your great passion meets a great need of the world.” Authors in philosophy, such as John Dewey and Malcolm Knowles, would suggest this crossroad of passion and need is where one’s true vocation is identified. Some enter into this discernment through meditation and prayer, others through exercise, some through experiences in nature. There is no right or wrong way; just find what works for you.
So as a business scholar and leader, what is your vocation? Where do your greatest passions lead to the betterment and service of others? How can you use this new knowledge gained in a doctoral program for good?
Take a breath, take some time, give it some thought. The business world needs you.
Botana, A. (2004). The educator’s life journey. Rome: Brothers of the Christians Schools.
Ranson, D. (2002). Across the great divide: Bridging spirituality and religion today. Strathfield: St. Paul’s Publications.
We have all heard the phrases, “A purpose-filled life,” “Living life with passion,” “Living life with zeal,” etc. Well, we can’t leave out “YOLO.” About a decade ago, one of my sons was telling me he wanted to do something I considered reckless. I told him to wait. His response was, “Life is short. This is something I am compelled to do now. YOLO.” I gave him a blank look and he responded with, “You have to live life to its fullest. Any moment wasted is never recaptured. Sometimes, you have to be reckless.” I am not asking anyone to be reckless. However, I do implore you to live life with meaning. Live life with a sense of urgency. In life, there is no do-over, nor is there a dress rehearsal. Are you living your one life to its fullest? Hence, the title for this essay is YOLO (you only live once).
In this essay, I will use analogies from my hobbies as an avid gardener and beekeeper. In the winter, everything in the plant world shuts down. In the honeybee world, everything slows down. During the fall, the plants and bees store energy to prepare for the eight months of Minnesota winter. Okay, I am kidding. It is probably closer to five months. But, it is this stored energy that allows them to come alive in the spring. Without this stored energy, they would die. Also, for some plants, this timeout in winter allows seeds to become ready for germination. For example, an apple seed would not germinate without the dormancy of winter.
Coded into seeds from many years of evolution is the message: As soon as spring comes, they need to explode in growth and capture the right moment to germinate. They have to be ready to take advantage of the long daylight hours, capture the energy from the sun, and put it into plant growth for seed production. For example, the pervasive crabgrass that is the bane of many lawn folks is eagerly awaiting the soil temperature to reach 55 degrees for a few days before germinating. At this temperature, it has probably figured winter has passed and the likelihood of freezing to death has passed.
However, once it germinates, its sole purpose is to grow and produce more seeds for the ensuing generations. You can say, the plant has a zeal for life. It has a purpose. Its goal is to live life with zest and grow vigorously as it sends out roots to take in as much nutrition from the soil as it can and put it toward leaf and seed production so it can survive another brutal winter. The better the seeds the grass produces, the better they will survive winter and flourish the next year.
For the bees, a similar thing happens. Going into fall, they store many gallons of honey which they will use as a source of energy. They also collect a lot of pollen which they use as food protein. In the winter, a hive will probably use a gallon of honey a month. In Minnesota, if they are to survive, bees have to have about 5-7 gallons of stored honey. Now to do this, bees must exploit every available moment in the summer as they visit flowers to get nectar and pollen. These are stored within the hive. If these bees do not have passion, zeal, zest, etc. in the summer, they will not survive winter. If they do not live with a sense of urgency, they will literally freeze to death in the winter. They use the honey to generate heat to stay alive. Wired into the bees is the code that says, if we are to survive, we must live life with purpose. The zeal for life is what makes bees so busy.
Fun bee facts:
- Honeybees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey.
- One bee has to fly about 90,000 miles — three times around the globe — to make one pound of honey.
- The average bee will make only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- A honeybee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
- A honeybee can fly for up to 6 miles and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
- The bee’s brain is oval in shape and about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has a remarkable capacity to learn and remember things. For example, it is able to make complex calculations on distance traveled and foraging efficiency.
- Honeybees communicate with one another by dancing.
- A colony of bees consists of 20,000 to 60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honeybees are female, live for about 6 weeks, and do all the work.
So, whether you are a seed or honeybee, it is imperative you live life with passion, zeal, zest, and a sense of urgency. How can we apply this philosophy to our professional life? We need to find places to work where we can identify and resonate with the organization. A few months ago, I read in The Wall Street Journal some comments from employees who worked with enthusiasm, passion, zest, and zeal. Here are the comments:
“Literally helping to save the entire world right now.”
“It’s the first time I felt this isn’t only a job. We’re on the front lines now.”
“Hey, I work at the place that makes that.”
“It feels like we have a responsibility now.”
“Everybody is counting on us to do our part.”
Now, are these people working at some prestigious, glamorous company? No, they work for Lysol. Sometimes, we postpone our passion waiting for the right opportunity to live life with enthusiasm and zeal. So, whether you use the analogy of the seed or the bee, remember it is imperative to hustle when the moments are right and not waste the resource of time. Have a plan and execute it. At the end of the day, it is not the right company that matters. It is the mindset and a choice to live in the moment to the fullest. Remember, YOLO.
Phillips, M. (2020, April 21). The workers at a Lysol plant have a mission now; At a New Jersey factory making the disinfectant spray, employees are feeling inspired and on the front lines against the coronavirus. The Wall Street Journal (Online); New York, N.Y.
Matter of Trust.org. (n.d.). 20 amazing honey bee facts! Retrieved from https://matteroftrust.org/20-amazing-honey-bee-facts/
Zeal is the first to arrive and the last to leave class. She sits in the front row, shares her M&M’s.
She is chatty and reads … everything — even the optional articles. She giddily posts and reposts in online discussions.
Zeal turns her work in early and always helps classmates.
You leave inspired after spending time with Zeal. She appreciates you. She values you. Your hopes and dreams grow. You are your best self around Zeal.
Zeal celebrates everything — successes, birthdays, Wednesday nights.
She has worked many jobs.
She is funny. She is best friends with Generosity and Humility.
Her glass is not half full or half empty … it’s overflowing.
Best of all, Zeal’s research matters. She is making the world a better place.
Learners pursuing advanced degrees face a surfeit of challenges. The list of trammels is too numerous to name in this short reflection. However, in an attempt to provide some context, the obstacles range from the changes linked to content delivery due to COVID-19, to managing the competing obligations associated with family and work. As learners search for strategies to overcome such roadblocks, Brother Agathon reminds us of the importance of zeal. It is with zeal that we pursue our fullest human capacity. The following paragraphs will offer the reader a few tools in order to reach such aims.
Zeal is greater than an enthusiastic pursuit of one’s dreams. It’s more replete than exhibiting resilience in the face of challenging times. Zeal is the ability to become stronger in lieu of life’s tribulations. Therefore, zeal is associated with what Professor Nassim Taleb calls anti-fragility. Taleb argues the construct of anti-fragility falls on a continuum. At one extreme is a fragile system. Fragile systems or individuals break during stressful times. As we ascend the continuum, we arrive at what is known as a robust system. These individuals are able to withstand the shock but do not become better because of it, nor are they able to enhance their capacity. An anti-fragile system becomes better when stressed. According to the researcher, during unprecedented pandemics, becoming anti-fragile is the key to accomplishing one’s fullest potential.
In order to become anti-fragile, individuals and systems must exhibit five key characteristics.
- Strength. In experiencing external stress, they become stronger. Those who workout or have trained for a marathon can relate. Your body is put through stressful situations in order to make the muscles stronger. When the body faces a similar future encounter, the impact is less extreme.
- Eliminating unnecessary interventions. If the tension is removed too early when stressed, the individual or system is not afforded the opportunity to learn and grow. Parents can relate to the analogy of allowing children to fail successfully so they learn from their mistake.
- Exponential relationship between stressors and growth. According to Taleb, anti-fragile systems become exponentially stronger in lieu of shocks. Economists refer to this phenomenon as economies of scale. Thus, small, additional stress makes for a much more robust system.
- Building in redundancies. Traditional business theories berate redundancies as they reduce efficiencies. However, duplicate systems allow individuals to withstand extreme shock. Take the human body for example. Most people are born with two kidneys. If one were to fail, the body can still survive.
- Diversification. Anti-fragile systems invest approximately 80% of resources into normal operations and 20% into high-risk, high-return endeavors. Consider a business that invested 20% of its profits into online/curbside product delivery.
In unprecedented times, it is not enough to be strong, we must become anti-fragile learners in order to combat the various stressors faced by a stochastic future.
We know it well, the daily chaos which we now accept as the new normal, at least for the moment. Each day brings its own set of challenges and choices: Helping children with their schooling while still making progress on your own studies, finding a steady stream of motivation to fuel your work when turning on the computer feels tasking, considering if you can even continue your education with new changes in employment or benefits.
Of all the dreams you’re deciding to put on hold or let go of altogether, your education does not have to be one of them. Know that you can confidently plan on your doctoral education continuing, whatever phase you are in. Though we as your faculty and program staff may not yet know how it will be delivered to you, we do know that we’ll continue to provide high-quality education. You can depend on us. We’re here to serve and happy to do so.
Saint Mary’s has a rich history of Lasallians going the extra mile for their students, and this is still very much a living part of the culture today. Blessed James Miller is the utmost example of this, making the ultimate sacrifice of his own life in 1982 to put his students first and remove incredibly dangerous barriers to their education (Schmidt, 2020). In more recent times, Brother Tom Johnson emphasized in a February talk at the Twin Cities Campus that it’s not exclusively educators who can embody the Lasallian charism. Brother Johnson explained that staff and all who work to support students can be Lasallian by “placing one’s energy in educating young people by using a combination of faith and zeal, an appreciation for the presence of God, care and concern for the poor and marginalized, and a trust in the providence of God to form an educational faith community” (Schmidt, 2020).
Whether you are spiritual or otherwise, our Lasallian heritage strengthens our commitment to you, not only in this challenging time, but always. We approach our work with passion and a desire to serve. We do so in hopes that the energy and zeal we put into what we do flows through to you. We hope our support empowers you to get through this trying experience and others you may face so that through your educational journey, you may be transformed.
Schmidt, S. (2020, April 16). Exploring the charism of the modern-day Lasallian: Part 1. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Retrieved from https://newsroom.smumn.edu/2020/04/16/exploring-the-charism-of-the-modern-day-lasallian-part-1/
Schmidt, S. (2020, April 16). Exploring the charism of the modern-day Lasallian: Part 2. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Retrieved from https://newsroom.smumn.edu/2020/04/16/exploring-the-charism-of-the-modern-day-lasallian-part-2/
Moorhead artist Kim Jore recently brightened the concrete walkway between Concordia’s Knutson Campus Center and Old Main academic building with a chalk mural.
“Love, Harmony & Peace” depicts two outstretched hands cradling the world in their palms. It was sponsored by the Student Life and Campus Development department.
Jore says she designed the mural with Concordia in mind, saying, “I thought the theme fit perfectly for Concordia, as Concordia means double hearts.”
“Love, Harmony & Peace” is the seventh of 10 total chalk murals that Jore plans for Moorhead sidewalks. Before coming to Concordia, Jore’s chalk murals briefly brightened the entrances of Moorhead locations including the sidewalks near Walgreens, Ace Hardware and Hornbacher’s.
Jore says she began the project in mid-April in order to get outside during quarantine while her Riverzen hair salon and art gallery was temporarily closed.
“I love being outdoors, it’s my passion,” Jore says. “I’m doing it out here where people walk to bring a little joy to everybody.”
Jore says she spends about four hours completing each mural, relying on a miniature sketch of her design as a guide while drawing. While chalk can sometimes be tricky, Jore has a lot of familiarity with the medium.
“I’ve been involved in chalk festivals and have been commissioned to do sidewalk art,” Jore says. “I sort of know the lay of the land when it comes to chalk, how to make it stay, what color and contrast to use, and working on all sorts of surfaces.
Once a mural is completed, she seals the chalk with a spray adhesive that helps each piece shine and temporarily preserves them from the wind and rain. The colorful chalk naturally washes away after a few days, so Jore makes sure to share pictures of them on social media for everyone to enjoy.
Watch Kim Jore complete her mural "Love, Harmony & Peace" below.local-artist-brightens-concordia-sidewalk
Seniors Daniel “Trey” Weisbrod III and Hannah Jahner received awards from the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF).
Weisbrod received the Outstanding Senior in French Award. Only one person per institution can be nominated for this prestigious award made annually to a graduating senior. Jahner received the Excellence in French Award. Both awards are given to students who have demonstrated excellence in the study of French, as well as an exceptional commitment to the French language and the many cultures where it is spoken.
The AATF was founded in 1927 and has as its mission the promotion of the study of French language and French-speaking literatures and cultures at all levels. It recognizes the achievements of outstanding students and their teachers. The awards are given in hopes the students will continue the study of French through a career in teaching or another complementary profession.
“I was faced with a difficult decision in whom to nominate for AATF awards this year,” said Dr. Gay Rawson, chair of World Languages and Cultures and professor of French. “We had a lot of great French majors and minors this year, like most every year. In the end, Trey and Hannah rose to the top of my list.”
Rawson said that Weisbrod made an immediate impression on her, with his passion and advocacy for French, specifically, and languages and cultures in general. Weisbrod was involved in every opportunity the department had to offer: French Club president, office worker, tutor, studying abroad, small group conversation leader, Concordia Language Villages liaison, and more. He also connected with leaders from the other languages to help develop programming across world languages and cultures.
“During COVID-19, he made himself available to students to continue mentoring them and helping them be successful with French. His enthusiasm and energy are hallmarks that we will miss immensely,” Rawson said. “Whatever he decides to do with his talents, I know that he will be sharing his passion for the French language and Francophone cultures and shaping people’s lives.”
Weisbrod has applied to be a teaching assistant in France as part of France’s national program.
“The French program has taught me to look beyond what I can see on the surface and to think about the deeper layers of culture that lie beneath everything,” Weisbrod said. “It has also taught me to be an advocate for my passion and to defend the things that I care about. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had not studied French at Concordia.”
Jahner was also a French Club officer, student office worker, department tutor, and more. She completed her majors in French and education and will be a K-12 French teacher.
“I am excited to know that she will be guiding K-12 students in the future,” Rawson said. “She is a dedicated advocate, a talented teacher, and a caring mentor who will make a difference in her students’ lives. We need her quiet leadership skills and competence as she gets a new generation of students excited about French and languages.”
Jahner’s favorite experience outside the classroom was studying abroad in Tours, France.
“I got to live surrounded by the language and culture I love,” Jahner said. “I chose to involve French into my life every day for the rest of my life. It has become part of who I am and I can’t imagine what I’d do if I had never studied French.”
Rawson said that Hannah and Trey were inseparable for much of their time at Concordia.
“They studied abroad in Tours the same semester,” she said. “They both have strong French language skills and intercultural competency.”seniors-receive-french-awards
After graduating from Concordia, Christie Manisto ’93 attended grad school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, earning a Master of Education degree and a teaching certificate. After 10 years of teaching in Minnesota (mostly Roseville), she made a career switch that took her to Egypt.
“I finally followed a call to seminary – that truly began when I was at Concordia being challenged and dazzled by the religion professors there at the time,” Manisto said. “Thank you, Sister Shawn Carruth and Dr. Larry Alderink.”
Manisto attended the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree. After being ordained in 2008 in the ELCA, she served as an associate pastor for seven years at Trinity Lutheran Church in Princeton, Minn., and three years at a congregation in Vancouver, Wash. Following that, she left parish ministry and did a one-year CPE residency at Portland Providence Hospital. Once that was completed, she and her husband, Steve Saari, thought about what they wanted to do next. That’s when a friend who serves in global mission told them about a call in Egypt.
“We applied thinking there was NO way we’d get the job as we were sure we were not qualified,” Manisto said. “God had other plans and here we are and we love it.”
Manisto and Saari accepted a call through ELCA Global Mission to St. Andrew’s United Church of Cairo and St. Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Cairo, Egypt, and began their ministry in August. Manisto serves as pastor to the international congregation and is the pastoral associate to StARS. Saari, a special education teacher, works with StARS to provide support services to students with cognitive disabilities.
“We‘ve been amazed and grateful at the welcome and beauty we’ve already experienced in Egypt,” Manisto said.
She said Egypt is a whirlwind of incredible sights, sounds, and smells – from the small shops where all are invited to drink tea and stay awhile to the dusty streets filled with cars honking, people talking, dogs barking, and the beautiful call to prayer rising above the cacophony five times a day from the city's many mosques.
“Every corner is alive with ancient history, modern urban living, and food stands ready and waiting to serve you koshari, fresh mango juice, and more,” she added. “The best part of Cairo is that amidst all that could seem like chaos there is an underlying kindness, a common and genuine concern for the other person where we have felt welcomed as family coming home.”
Manisto and her husband also appreciate the interfaith and ecumenical nature of the ministry. At St. Andrew’s, she says, everyone is welcome just as they are and just as God has made them.
St. Andrew’s has served international and refugee congregation members since it was established in Cairo in 1899. In 1979, a ministry serving individuals who had been forcibly displaced was started. Initially created to be a safe gathering place and tutoring program, this ministry has evolved and today serves more than 40,000 people with refugee and migrant status through medical, housing, psychosocial, and education support. StARS is also a model organization founded on the idea that the best people to assist refugees are refugees themselves. Eighty-five percent of the StARS staff, which includes the team of directors, are refugees. StARS continues to work internationally to advocate for this model “for refugees by refugees.”
“It is a place where Muslims, Christians of many denominations, as well as other faith traditions and no faith traditions, find welcome, care, and support,” she said. “It is not unusual to find Muslims and Christians both playing and praying side by side in this place and feeling safe doing so. It is one of the many ways this ministry is unique.”
More information can be found about these ministries, including how to support them, on the St. Andrew’s United Church of Cairo website.
Editor’s note: The family was evacuated in mid-March but will be returning to Egypt once things have settled and airports are reopened.pastor-serves-in-global-mission-in-cairo