Saint Mary's Campus News
WINONA, Minn. — Four outstanding students were inducted into the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) Chapters National Honors Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA). Jasmine Albrecht and Nathan Graff were inducted into the Secondary Chapter for High School Students and Saint Mary’s University students Annabeth Kerr and Anna Nungster were inducted into the Collegiate Chapter for University Students. The students were honored in an afternoon ceremony at the Valéncia Arts Center May 5.
Induction into all chapters is earned through an accumulation of points awarded for dance activities such as rehearsals, performances, research, workshops, or community service activities, along with a GPA of at least 3.0.
This was MCA’s second induction ceremony since becoming a member of the National Dance Educators Organization (NDEO) and receiving approval as a site for Junior, Secondary, and Collegiate NHSDA Chapter.
MCA Director of Dance Tammy Schmidt led the ceremony, which featured a brief history about NEDO and NHSDA, as well as achievements and goals of each inductee. The ceremony also included a slideshow with photos depicting each dancer’s time at MCA and closed with family and friends enjoying conversation and treats.
The third induction ceremony is planned for fall of 2018. Dancers who are interested in learning more should contact Schmidt at email@example.com or 507-453-5502.
Photo caption: From left, Annabeth Kerr, Anna Nungster, Jasmine Albrecht, and Nathan Graff were inducted into the National Honors Society for Dance Arts earlier this month.
SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Students from the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) will perform in the 2018 National Tap Dance Day Celebration Showcase on Sunday, May 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Como Park Lakeside Pavilion in Saint Paul.
The Twin Cities tap dance celebration is one of many happening throughout the nation during May to celebrate Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, an American tap dancer who was one of the first African American performers to go solo and overcome racial barriers in the early 20th century. Robinson is best remembered for dancing with Shirley Temple in a series of films during the 1930s and for starring in “Stormy Weather,” which is loosely based on his life.
MCA’s Tap for Kids and Tap I students will be dancing to “Hair Up” from the “Trolls” movie; Intermediate Tap II and III students will be tapping to “He’s a Pirate;” and Tap IV and V Advanced students will be performing a piece called “Laura” in collaboration with the Twin Cities based Keane Sense of Rhythm Youth Tap Ensemble and “Shim Sham Shimmy” with students from other participating dance schools. Nathan Graff, a Tap V student, will also perform his senior solo “In Walked Bud,” which was choreographed by Lane Alexander of Chicago Human Rhythm Project.
MCA students performing in the showcase include: Coin Cada, Lilia Civettini, Deja Foster, Claire Goeldner, Phoebe Goeldner, Roland Goeldner, Hannah Graff, Natahan Graff, Viva Graff, Clara Heinrichs, Elizabeth Hinz, Kylee Indahl, Mattie Kreisel, Isabell Livingston, Isaac Meinke, Justine Meinke, Preston Meinke, Victoria Schroeder, and Seamus Schwaba.
WINONA, Minn. — Artwork created by local students is now on display in Galleria Valéncia at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA), 1164 W. Howard St. The artwork was created by students of Brianna Haupt, who teaches K-12 at Riverway Learning Community.
Throughout May, visitors can view artwork that was created using a variety of mediums, subject matter, and artistic techniques. Experimentation with textiles, selfies, and still life drawing make this exhibit unique and fun for all ages.
The public is invited to visit Galleria Valéncia at no cost during regular business hours: Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. A generous donation from the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation helped supply a new hanging rail system to display the art.
Dr. Kenneth Solberg, professor and core faculty in the Psy.D. program at Saint Mary’s University, received the Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya Distinguished Elders Award for Leadership in Minnesota Psychology from the Minnesota Psychology Association (MPA). Dr. Solberg was nominated by several people for the award and was honored at the 82nd annual MPA Convention in April. The award is given to elders who have made significant contributions to mental health in Minnesota in their roles as scholars, teachers, mentors, practitioners, and/or advocates for rights and just causes.
“Although I admit to some initial ambivalence about getting an award as an ‘elder,’ I am deeply appreciative of MPA’s recognition of my career in psychology,” said Dr. Solberg. “In many cultures, the status of elder is the highest honor, and I know that this is the tradition in which MPA makes this award.”
Helping to establish the Psy.D. program at Saint Mary’s, Dr. Solberg served as its director from 2009-2016. Earlier in his career, Dr. Solberg taught for 18 years in the undergraduate Psychology Department at Saint Mary’s in Winona. He’s worked on and off at Saint Mary’s since 1968.
Photo caption: Dr. Kenneth Solberg, center, receives the Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya Distinguished Elders Award for Leadership in Minnesota Psychology from Bruce Bobbitt, left, Minnesota Psychology Association president, and Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya, right, for whom the award was named after.
WINONA, Minn. — An honorary Doctorate of Humanities was presented to Michael “Mike” Gostomski during the May 12 commencement ceremony at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Gostomski, a 1962 Saint Mary’s graduate, was honored for his work as a longtime benefactor and generous supporter of the university.
A lifelong Winona resident and successful Winona businessman and entrepreneur, Gostomski has served as a strong advocate and ambassador on behalf of the city for many years.
He also served as a Saint Mary’s University trustee from 1995-2005 and 2006-2016, serving as vice chair from 2001-2004 and 2007-2008, and as chair from 2009-2015. In these roles, he has acted as a wise and trusted confidant and counselor of the university’s president.
By displaying characteristics of civic responsibility and ethical leadership, he has transformed the lives of many and has brought honor and credit to the university. He also continues to generously support Catholic and Lasallian education, the Church of Winona, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
Photo caption: Mike Gostomski, center, is hooded by Brother William Mann, left, Saint Mary’s president, and Mary Ann Remick, right, Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees chair.
As part of its efforts to increase the enrollment and visibility of the university — as well as extend its Lasallian mission of making college accessible — Saint Mary’s has formed several international partnerships. This year marks a significant milestone for the international partnership of Saint Mary’s and the Catholic College of Mandeville (CCM) in Jamaica. Ten years ago in early fall of 2008, the first learning community of the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning—Jamaica program was launched. To celebrate this milestone, an alumni event was held at CCM during the annual Master of Education spring conference weekend in April. Several Saint Mary’s faculty and staff were in attendance as well as alumni from almost all eight learning communities. (Learning communities nine and 10 were in the middle of their conference work.) Each year, a number of graduates travel from Jamaica to Winona to commence in connection with Saint Mary’s. Recruitment efforts are underway for the 11th learning community to begin this fall. The program has 245 total alumni as of this month.
Saint Mary’s also has partnerships with Christ the Teacher Institute for Education (CTIE) (located at Tangaza University College) and with the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies (MIAS). Both schools, in Nairobi, Kenya, held a joint graduation ceremony earlier this month. Brother William Mann was there to celebrate the more than 90 graduates earning degrees such as three-year teacher education diplomas, Bachelor’s of Education Degrees in Education (Art and Science), Master of Arts in African Studies, and Master of African Studies. Saint Mary’s celebrates its graduates from across the globe.
Saint Mary’s presented an honorary Doctorate of Humanities to Michael “Mike” Gostomski ’62 during the May 12 commencement ceremony on the Winona Campus. Gostomski was honored for his work as a longtime benefactor and generous supporter of the university.
A lifelong Winona resident and successful businessman and entrepreneur, Gostomski has served as a strong advocate and ambassador on behalf of the city for many years. He also served as a Saint Mary’s trustee from 1995-2005 and 2006-2016, serving as vice chair from 2001-2004 and 2007-2008, and as chair from 2009-2015. In these roles, he acted as a wise and trusted confidant and counselor of the university’s president. By displaying characteristics of civic responsibility and ethical leadership, he transformed the lives of many and has brought honor and credit to the university. He also continues to generously support Catholic and Lasallian education, the Church of Winona, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
Saint Mary’s University celebrated the dedication of The John C. Parmer School of the Sciences on May 11 in the lobby of the Science and Learning Center.
In grateful recognition, Saint Mary’s named its school of sciences in honor of the late John C. Parmer ’50. The university is proud of his keen mind, entrepreneurial spirit, and strength of character as well as his devotion to serving laboratories world-wide through his business, Cole-Parmer Instrument Company. The naming was made possible by a generous gift from the The John C. and Carolyn Noonan Parmer Private Foundation.
The Parmer Foundation’s partnership in the Saint Mary’s Science Initiative lifts up the university’s commitment to laboratory disciplines and is aimed at providing students with the skills and tools they require for success.
Additionally, as part of the dedication ceremony, Saint Mary’s bestowed the Heritage Award for Transformational Philanthropy to The John C. and Carolyn Noonan Parmer Private Foundation. The Saint Mary’s University Heritage Award recognizes special individuals whose exceptional philanthropy has significantly transformed the university and positioned Saint Mary’s for a second century of excellence in education.
Photo caption: Saint Mary’s University President Brother William Mann, right, presents the Heritage Award for Transformational Philanthropy to The John C. and Carolyn Noonan Parmer Private Foundation during the dedication of The John C. Parmer School of the Sciences.
The family who studies together stays together. The Lafond family of Chicago, Ill., took family togetherness to a new level May 12, as William “Bill” Lafond ‘85, M’18, and his two children, Patrick Lafond ’12, M’18 and Lauren (Lafond) Moderson M’18, all received M.B.A. degrees at Saint Mary’s Winona Campus commencement ceremony after completing the online program.
“Graduating with my family is a life highlight,” said Bill, who graduated from Saint Mary’s — the first time — with his wife, Melissa (Kunert) Lafond ’85. His sister Therese (Lafond) Pawlicki ’88 is also a Saint Mary’s alumna.
This time around, Bill said the learning curve was a bit steeper. “Pat and Lauren both helped their father dust off some outdated study habits. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint did not exist when I was at Saint Mary’s as an undergraduate,” explained Bill, now a self-employed Certified Financial Planner. “I printed off reams of paper while doing research, and the kids routinely made fun of me.”
Patrick, who is a claims manager at a transportation company in Minneapolis, said all three of them studied together and talked nearly every day throughout the program. “This was great for me since I live out of state from the rest of my family, including my sister and dad, so the constant communication was especially endearing to me,” said Patrick. “We constantly bounced problems off each other, proofread each other’s papers, and compared results.”
Competition was fierce among the three, although all in good fun. “The phones lit up when grades were posted,” said Bill.
On top of competing with her brother and dad for the best grades, Lauren had her plate full in completing her degree with a toddler at home, working full time as a senior financial analyst, moving to a new home, and welcoming her second daughter in January. She said the online structure was helpful because she didn’t have to physically leave her family at a predetermined time or day of the week. She was able to do coursework on her own time, either before work or after her daughter went to bed.
“It’s a fabulous program,” Lauren said. “I’m proud that one day I can tell my daughters, ‘It CAN be done!’ I had a truly wonderful experience with my dad and brother.”
Patrick is hopeful his M.B.A. degree will help him grow in his risk management career and is grateful for his six years of Saint Mary’s education.
“Saint Mary’s provides a very personal experience, whether it is online or on campus,” Patrick said. “A perceived drawback of the M.B.A. online course setup is the lack of face to face, but I never had a problem picking up the phone and calling a professor for their opinion or using online tools to grow relationships with my classmates virtually. Saint Mary’s has really embraced technology in that regard.”
Bill said he looks forward to watching his children utilize their M.B.A. degrees in the future and added that it was a great experience for all of them. He joked, “I fear the ‘paybacks’ for the help I was given will be never-ending!”
First generation students achieve dream of college graduation
From the moment they first stepped onto the Saint Mary’s University Winona Campus as eighth-grade Countdown to College students, they have been encouraged to build the future of their dreams.
As they walk across the commencement stage Saturday, they are prepared to make those dreams come true.
Established in 2010, the Saint Mary’s First Generation Initiative — which was first articulated by Saint Mary’s President Brother William Mann at his inauguration in 2008 — serves economically challenged students while addressing the growing academic achievement gap. The First Generation Initiative helps ensure academic success for high-need, high-potential, first-generation students from middle school through college graduation.
Through the First Generation Initiative, promising inner city students — who are often the first in their families to go to college — are chosen to attend four summers of college preparation programming at Saint Mary’s. Through Countdown to College, participants meet for two weeks each summer, for four years.
Students who successfully complete the Countdown to College program are eligible for the First Generation Initiative Scholars program, where they receive a full scholarship to attend Saint Mary’s.
“Where these students are from, the high school and college graduation rates are quite low,” said Alisa Macksey, First Generation Initiative executive director. “This program is helping students achieve their dreams.”
On May 12, eight students from the very first Countdown to College class will be graduating — a fitting culmination for what is Brother William’s final commencement ceremony before he steps down as president.
“These students have been part of the Saint Mary’s community since the summer after eighth grade,” said Macksey. “We have seen them grow in their confidence and self-esteem. They are more articulate and believe in themselves and their abilities. I’ve seen them support and encourage each other through both good times and challenging times.”
Javier Madrid ’18, is a marketing major and Spanish minor, who grew up in Naco, Ariz. He had just moved to Tucson, Ariz., at the age of 13 when he got the opportunity to enter the Countdown to College program through San Miguel High School (Cristo Rey Network). Madrid said the Countdown to College program provided “an outstanding advantage” because he was familiar with the Saint Mary’s campus — as well as several faculty, staff, and students — before he started college.
“Coming to college at Saint Mary’s was definitely a little bit of a culture shock, but I think it really helped me grow in terms of perspective,” said Madrid, who never imagined leaving Arizona. “I grew up in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood and went to a high school that was mostly Hispanic. Having done Countdown to College every summer really prepared me. It definitely helped to have already met kids from Chicago, Milwaukee, and other cities.”
One of those students was Alexis Cummins ’18, a human services major from Chicago who attended John Marshall Metropolitan High School while in Countdown to College. Cummins said being part of the First Generation Initiative has helped her grow.
“The biggest thing it’s helped me with is my communication skills and community building,” explained Cummins. “Before, I was someone who was very distant and didn’t want to be around people I didn’t know. But in Countdown to College and in the First Generation Initiative we do a lot of team-building exercises to make everyone feel welcome. It’s really helped me break out of my comfort zone and not be as shy.”
Cummins explained that having mentors available was helpful, especially during her freshman year of college. “I was nervous, stressed, and in a whole new environment. But the same mentors I had in Countdown to College were there when I started college, which was great,” she said.
Madrid and Cummins are both thankful to the benefactors who have partnered with Saint Mary’s to make the First Generation Initiative possible
“We all have a responsibility to do our best in our academics. There are people investing their money in us and taking a chance on us. I definitely don’t want to let them down,” said Madrid, who was chosen to travel to Washington, D.C., his sophomore year when Pope Francis visited and was also selected as one of 35 students globally to go to Rome last summer as a Lasallian Leader.
“I feel so blessed for all the opportunities I’ve had because of the First Generation Initiative, because of the [De La Salle Christian] Brothers especially. Everything they’ve done for me since high school, I’m so grateful to them,” Madrid said.
First Generation Initiative Scholars receive enhanced academic, financial, and social support services designed to achieve the goal of college graduation within four years, which includes supervised study halls and shared experiences that draw the students closely together.
“We’re family. We look out for each other,” said Madrid, who plans to work in the insurance field and continue his education at the University of Arizona next spring in a master’s program. “We work better as teams, two is better than one. I feel so fortunate to have had that support, and now I’m inspired to pay it forward.”
After graduation, Cummins plans to move to Racine, Wis., and live with her sister. She hopes to continue work in the social services field and wishes her fellow graduates good luck. “We all got through this together. Now it’s time to start our own journeys.”
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will conduct a ribbon cutting and dedication of the 10,000-square-foot expansion of its Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 24.
This expansion will house the graduate portion of a new 3+2 Physician Assistant Program, a collaboration between Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic’s School of Health Sciences, which is being developed to meet future patient needs in the area.
“This addition, made possible through the generosity of longtime supporters Jack and Mary Ann Remick of Rochester, allows us to expand our Rochester presence, which includes the addition of the new 3+2 Physician Assistant Program,” said Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s University. “This program, which we anticipate starting in fall 2019, will greatly benefit our students who will be given the exceptional opportunity to learn from world renowned physicians and educators at Mayo. We are excited to welcome these talented young minds, who will one day help to fill the national need for primary physicians, particularly in rural areas.”
Students successfully completing the program will earn a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota or the University of Minnesota Rochester, and a master of health sciences degree in physician assistant studies from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.
Beginning July 2, at the start of the university’s second summer term, the Cascade Meadow expansion will also house all of the university’s growing Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs in Rochester. Saint Mary’s has had an educational presence in Rochester since 1985 and currently offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Rochester including:
Business and Technology
B.S. Business Administration
B.S. Human Resource Management
M.A. Organizational Leadership
M.B.A. (Master’s in Business Administration)
M.S. in Project Management
M.A. Human Development
ED.S. Educational Administration
M.A. English as a Second Language
M.A. Literacy Education
Graduate Certificate: K-12 Reading
Professional Development Initiatives
Health and Human Services
B.S. Healthcare and Human Services Management
M.A. Counseling and Psychological Services
M.A. Health and Human Services Administration
DLR Group has served as the architect of the project, and McGough Construction has served as general contractor. R.S.V.P.s for the ribbon cutting are requested by May 17 to smumn.edu/cmopen.
Open house May 24 at Cascade Meadow
An open house is also scheduled for the day of the dedication from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend the open house and see the new facility, but especially individuals who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degree completion or advanced degrees offered in Rochester. Light appetizers will be provided, and admissions staff will be on hand to answer questions about how you can reach your next step. Register online at smumn.edu/gradinfosession.
The university will recognize four outstanding alumni at a ceremony June 23 during Reunion Weekend on the Winona Campus.
Dr. Bobbie (Smith) Gostout ’83 will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in career and community and the Lasallian values of mentoring and service to others. In her role as vice president for Mayo Clinic, Gostout is accountable for setting vision and providing oversight for the Mayo Clinic Community Medicine practices, including 18 regional hospitals and 68 regional clinics. She is chair of the Mayo Clinic department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and serves as a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors.
Judy (Mullins) Lucas ’83 will receive the Alumni Appreciation Award which honors and thanks alumni for consistent and valuable volunteer efforts to further the goals and success of the university. Lucas and her husband, John Lucas ’84, and their families are longtime supporters of Saint Mary’s University. Judy Lucas has been an avid supporter of Saint Mary’s athletics and serves on the Athletic Advisory Board. The Mullins and Lucas families have taken leadership roles with several university events. The Lucas family created an endowed scholarship, the Daniel E. ’47 and Veronica M. Lucas Legacy Scholarship, which supports children of undergraduate alumni.
Sarah (Bellingham) Laitinen ’07 will receive the Lasallian Service Award which goes to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the Lasallian spirit of faith and zeal and exemplify the highest of Lasallian values. Laitinen has dedicated her life to Lasallian service. She’s served in many roles, including as a Lasallian Volunteer and faculty member at the San Miguel School in Providence, R.I. She serves on the International Council of Young Lasallians and has participated in many formation programs and Lasallian gatherings. Laitinen is the director of Lasallian Programs in the Office for Lasallian Education at Christian Brothers Conference.
Ania McNamara ’11 will receive the Outstanding Young Alumna Award which goes to a young alumna who has made significant professional accomplishments and served her alma mater and society. A senior marketing professional who specializes in digital marketing, McNamara is finding success in her career and in her personal passion. She founded McNamara Marketing in 2016 which provides full-service marketing to businesses worldwide. In her spare time, McNamara organizes the CCF4Orphans Project, a 10-year initiative sending Christmas gifts overseas to children who reside in Polish orphanages. This cause is close to her heart as she and her sisters were adopted from an orphanage in Poland as young children.
In April, the Saint Mary’s Winona Campus united to raise awareness for sexual assault alongside the national “It’s On Us” pledge and theme Embrace your Voice. Students, faculty, and staff joined together in solidarity to support survivors by placing teal handprints on a banner to serve as a year-round reminder of our joint efforts. As the month concluded, the banner was displayed in the plaza along with teal balloons which included powerful written messages of hope and change.
Let’s renew our commitment to ending sexual misconduct on our campus. The university’s concern has always been and will continue to be protecting the safety, security, and rights of every member of our community. This is our shared challenge. All of us are and must be part of the solution – each and every one of us. Additional resources can be found on the Saint Mary’s Title IX page. To report sexual misconduct, go to smumn.edu/report.
More than 35 Saint Mary’s University undergraduate student leaders learned how to engage and innovate from international best-selling author and global consultant Dr. Jackie Freiberg at the 2018 Hendrickson Forum on April 24.
The students met Dr. Freiberg, recognized as one of the Top 30 Minds on Leadership by Leadership Excellence Magazine, on the Saint Mary’s Twin Cities Campus in Minneapolis. Dr. Freiberg delivered a lunchtime keynote address to approximately 280 people, including area business leaders and community members. Focusing on three critical roles for organizational success (notice, lead, and engage), Dr. Freiberg’s keynote empowered attendees to take on these roles and begin taking advantage of opportunities to transform new ideas into real solutions.
Isabel Bettag ’21, accounting and sports management double major who is also on the basketball team, came to the Hendrickson Forum because she was interested in learning about what being a leader truly means. Bettag has an older sister and a cousin who are also attending Saint Mary’s. “One message that stood out to me was that leadership is what people say about you when you leave the room,” said Bettag. “I have a big family, and I don’t want anything I do to reflect badly on my family name. When I walk out of a room, I want people to think well of me and hold me to high esteem.”
After the keynote, the Winona Campus students spent an hour with Dr. Freiberg. Majoring in various subjects including business, the students shared a common interest in innovation and leadership. During their time together, Dr. Freiberg imparted the college students with 10 leadership“isms” for life:
- Keep great company (and be good company) … People want to be and work with someone who dreams big, gets stuff done, and knows how to have fun.
- Build bridges … What you know and who you know is important.
- Learn like crazy … Life is a journey. Don’t fake it. Be a lifelong learner.
- Show up … Get to know people and their backstories.
- Dream big … Dreams choose people; people don’t choose dreams. Capture your dreams, write them down, visualize them every day.
- Dare to try … Don’t make excuses. Rise above your fear.
- Choose carefully … Be a gentleman (or a lady), not a jerk. Be classy, not catty. Temporary pleasures lead to permanent reminders.
- Find a cause … Work to have an impact on society in a positive way.
- Play hard … You’ll work harder if you’re happier.
- Work hard … Don’t count on someone else to do it for you.
Abram Whitebird ’18, history/social studies major who is also involved in Campus Ministry, said the ninth leadership“ism” stood out to him. “I tend to push myself to my limits, and it’s important to take a break, take a walk, do something you love, and then get back at it,” he explained.
Kate Dulak ’19, public relations major, secretary of the Public Relations/Business Club, and vice president of Big and Little Pals, said one of her favorite messages from Dr. Freiberg was that leadership is a choice. “You can sit in the back and not do anything, or you can choose to participate, be there, and be present,” explained Dulak. “It can be hard to be a strong leader when you’re busy, but I plan to take that idea back to the activities I’m involved in on campus. I want to be more of an active presence and and be more vocal.”
Attending her fourth Hendrickson Forum was international business and marketing major Maria Antonieta Morales-Lozano ’18. She’s the president of the Saint Teresa Leadership Club, an organization she was introduced to at her first Hendrickson Forum. As she’ll be graduating this year, Morales-Lozano asked Dr. Freiberg for advice about how young professionals can make their mark when starting a new job after college.
Dr. Freiberg’s advice was to learn the lay of land first. Build a network, be interested, find the leaders and influencers, learn the culture, find the pockets of toxic energy — she emphasized the importance of learning these before trying to leave your mark or make a difference. And when you lift up a problem, Dr. Freiberg added, always offer a solution, even though it may not be the right solution.
“This event means a lot to me. It brings to light ideas that are bigger than ourselves,” said Jacob Petraitis ’19, a business intelligence and data analytics major who was attending his second Hendrickson Forum. “It’s a great networking event and really gives you something valuable to walk away with.”
Serving as Miss Winona, Casey McCarraher ’20 proudly wears a sparkling crown and sash, as she waves in parades and makes countless guest appearances.
Behind her outgoing personality and beautiful smile, McCarraher is also spreading a very serious and personal message that she hopes ultimately saves lives. She calls it, “It’s your choice.”
“It’s about bringing awareness to and preventing drunk driving,” the Pastoral Youth Ministry major from New Vienna, Iowa, said.
It’s a platform that’s deeply personal to her.
As an eighth-grader, McCarraher received a phone call from her older sister that she can still recall vividly. She was told that her brother, a junior at the time, had been involved in a serious car accident.
McCarraher soon learned that her brother had made the choice to drive drunk. While leaning over to throw up, her brother’s vehicle struck an elderly couple’s vehicle, causing his car to flip and start on fire. Although he recovered, her brother was in a coma for four days.
Earlier on the day of the accident, McCarraher said that her brother had offered to give take her skiing with his friends, but she “shoved him off.” McCarraher said that for a long time she felt guilty for not being there to stop him.
Now, McCarraher wants to use her Miss Winona platform to make a difference. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through, what my family and my community went through,” she said.
During her time as Miss Winona, she hopes to get the message out about how to handle situations where someone may be on the verge of driving drunk. She believes that everyone, no matter who they are, can take steps to prevent drunk driving throughout the community.
She tells others, “It’s up to you to make the decision to not drive drunk, and it’s up to you to step up and step in when someone else is about to get in a car under the influence.”
Saint Mary’s alumna Serica Rowley ’13, a theatre and musical director at McCarraher’s high school, encouraged and motivated McCarraher to take her platform for preventing drunk driving to the Miss Winona Pageant held last November. Rowley, who is a former Miss Winona herself, helped McCarraher prepare for the pageant.
The Miss Winona Pageant, which is a scholarship program, was McCarraher’s first pageant. Although she was hopeful that she would win, she but didn’t really expect to do so, which made the announcement of her win a surprise.
“I was full of shock and so much joy,” McCarraher said. “I don’t even remember them putting the crown on my head.”
McCarraher has since adapted to her role as Miss Winona and is continuing to balance her college life with the responsibilities of her title. Along with strenuously preparing for the Miss Minnesota pageant on June 15, McCarraher is continuously working to promote her platform in a variety of ways.
Along with giving talks at the Winona Senior High School related to preventing intoxicated driving, McCarraher also held “drunk goggles” demos at Winona State University to show people what it’s like to be drunk while they’re actually still sober.
McCarraher has also gone on a ride-along with Winona deputies around “bar time” — 10 p.m. to midnight — so that she could experience what it would be like to pull over someone who is driving while intoxicated.
Additionally, last November, the same month that McCarraher was named Miss Winona, she submitted a proclamation that was accepted and signed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declaring the month of December to be “Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month”.
McCarraher credits her success at interacting with people out in the community to the overall atmosphere of Saint Mary’s. Through her involvement with Campus Ministry and choir, she feels part of a “close-knit family who will always be there.”
“It’s my home,” she said.
By Courteney Jacob ’19
The Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D., dean of the Woods College of Advancing Studies and Summer Session at Boston College, has been named the 14th president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Mary Ann Remick, chair of the university’s board of trustees, announced the board’s selection on Tuesday, May 1, adding that Father Burns will officially begin his presidency Monday, July 9.
“I am honored to have been chosen to lead this wonderful Lasallian and Catholic university, to help it fulfill its considerable potential, and to bring it to higher prominence by focusing on academic excellence, innovation, and community,” Father Burns said. “It is especially fitting that the announcement of my presidency is occurring in May, which we celebrate as the Month of Mary.”
Saint Mary’s broke ground May 1 on a new $704,000 baseball clubhouse, and excitement was in full swing.
Assistant athletic director and Cardinal head baseball coach Nick Winecke ’07 told the audience, “Having a facility that sets us apart from the competition will help us with recruitment, and it will also help us ultimately on the playing field. Our athletes will be able to use this facility year-round to study in, to learn from each other in, and to further bond as a team off the field.”
The project was made possible through the generosity of a lead gift from Marc Weisenburger ’75, and more than 50 other young alumni have stepped up to bat to join Weisenburger in this dream by sponsoring lockers at $2,000 or more.
On Saturday, May 12, the Winona Campus will host a joint commencement ceremony for Winona undergraduate and graduate students, beginning at 11 a.m. in the gymnasium.
Undergraduate student reflections will be offered by this year’s Outstanding Male and Female Seniors Daniel Olajonlu — son of John Oluwafemi, Roseline Olajonlu, and Sandra Ajugba — who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and currently resides in Rogers, Minn.; and Regina Bettag — daughter of Drs. Mark and Teresa Bettag of Sheboygan, Wis. Bettag is an education major and Olajonlu is an accounting major.
Representing Saint Mary’s Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, Dzenan Berberovic, a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development student, will also give a reflection. Berberovic is from Sioux Falls, S.D. Caitlin Hagar, a Master of Science in Geographic Information Science student, will be presented with the Outstanding Graduate Final Paper Award.
A reception on the plaza will follow the ceremony. In case of inclement weather, the reception will be held in Gostomski Fieldhouse.
Prior to the ceremony, a Baccalaureate Mass will take place in Saint Thomas More Chapel at 8:30 a.m.
Limited parking will be available. More information is posted at smumn.edu/commencement.
Saint Mary’s recognized outstanding senior students April 27 at the annual Honors Convocation. Highlights of the evening included the announcement of graduate and professional school acceptances, grants and fellowships, and the awarding of the following special honors:
Lasallian Honors Program Outstanding Lasallian Honors Student Award — Regina Bettag
Creative Spark Award (art and design award) — Grace Homer
Biology Academic Achievement Award — Elizabeth Atneosen, Regina Bettag, Michael Cimba, Carina Friend, William Grillo, Jeremy Heinle, and Angela Messer
Bios Award — Chelsea Hiltner
Kevin Martineau Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding International Business Major (business award) — Emily Lais
Outstanding Accounting Major (business award) — Daniel Olajonlu
Outstanding Business Intelligence and Analytics Major (business award) — Shawn Gilbert
Outstanding Entrepreneurship Major (business award) — Sean Butcher
Outstanding Finance Major (business award) — Jared Johnson
Outstanding International Business Major (business award) — Emily Lais
Outstanding Management Major (business award) — Sarah Hanus
Outstanding Marketing Major (business award) — Sara Lind
Outstanding Sport Management Major (business award) — Allison Borawski
American Institute of Chemists Awards (chemistry award) — Meaghan Campbell, Carina Friend, and Brenden Amiotte
Outstanding Senior Award (communications award) — Emily Loof
De La Salle Outstanding Pre-service Teaching Awards (education award) — Regina Bettag and Sr. Marie Faustina Wolniakowski
History Department Distinction Award — Stephen Fishbune
The Brother J. Robert Lane Historical Essay Prize — Stephen Fishbune
Brother Leo Northam Awards (math award) — Stephen Fishbune
Brother Laurence Walther Founder’s Award (music award) — Chad Cagle
Performance Award (music award) — Rachel Prince
Saint Thomas Aquinas Award for Excellence (philosophy award) — Luke Range
Father Andrew Fabian Scholarship (philosophy award) — John Zweber
Psychology Department Distinction Awards — Jessica Cwik, Brett Giesen, Jamie Henderson, Alyssa Johnson, Ruba Kenyi, Gloria Kranenburg, Summer Lardy, Hanna Potter, Mandy Sailor, and Bailey Windsperger
Marilyn Frost Awards (psychology award) — Ruba Kenyi and Summer Lardy
Larry Luttmers Awards (psychology award) — Hanna Potter and Mandy Sailor
Millie Harrison Spirit Award (theatre award) — Courtney Govan
The Michael G. Flanagan Ghost Light Award (theatre award) — Taylor Novak
Gerald Sullivan Outstanding Theatre Major Award (theatre award) — Celeste Nygren
Saint Mary’s theatre and dance students will perform in “Kaleidoscope” Sunday, May 6, at 3 p.m. in the Page Theatre. The free performance will feature students from Tammy Schmidt’s Dance Composition class performing original choreographed pieces, students from Jen TeBeest’s Musical Theatre Dance class performing final assignments from the musical “Legally Blonde,” and students from Judy Myers’ Musical Theatre II class performing scenes from a variety of musicals.
Choreographers: Kate Alley, Liam Hahn, Tabitha Hanson, Karly Lunda, Taylor Novak, Anna Nungester, and Abigayle Wishy
Performers: Leah Baechle, Darren Cajipo, Courtney Govan, Liam Hahn, Margo Hanson, Stefan Kahlstorf, Victoria Madigan, Taylor Novak, Anna Nungester, and Rebecca West
Additional dancers: Mavel Buczko, Kyleigh Chandler, Anna Dale, Hanna Hagberg, Annabeth Kerr, Nadia Lane, Maggie McGee, Amanda Pohlman, Marlee Ressa, Danielle Schleich, and Alyssa Sloneker
Stage manager: Parker Kaeding
Lighting designer: Shania Merchlewitz