An update from the president to alumni and parents
Allison Christensen, a senior electronic publishing major (with assistance from Brother Roderick Robertson of the Art Department) designed “Adella’s Diary,” a fictional account of the real-life Marnach family, local immigrants from Luxembourg. Authored by Mary Nilles, the book takes readers back to 1894 when Adella and her family lived near Elba, Minn. The Marnach home has been restored and serves as the site of many educational open houses. (Shown are author Mary Nilles and Allison Christensen with designs for the book’s cover.)
The academic year is ended, but the campus is still humming with activity. We host a variety of camps and workshops, community events, and our alumni reunion. This is also a time to freshen the campus and facilities before we welcome students in fall. But I reflect back on the spring semester and our mission to prepare graduates with the advanced knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities necessary to be lifelong learners, successful workers, good neighbors, and ethical citizens. Please enjoy these stories about our students as they strive to be such people.
— Brother William (Summer, 2015)
The research and talents of our undergraduate students in Winona were on full display April 24 during the annual Celebration of Scholarship. The day-long event featured 130 presentations given by 140 students, highlighting their academic research projects and demonstrating their performance and artistic skills. Presentations in three sessions were held around the campus, capped by a poster session (shown above) in Saint Mary’s Hall. That evening at the Honors Convocation, students were recognized for outstanding activity by membership in honor societies, completion of the honors program, and departmental awards.
See photos from the day.
At the Winona Campus commencement ceremony May 9, we were pleased to award an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to Sister Generose Gervais, OSF, a Franciscan sister and former administrator at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, operated by the Mayo Clinic. Sister Generose was cited for her commitment to Catholic health care and her many years of service at the hospital, where she inspired others by focusing on the needs of patients. She was also honored for helping to establish and lead the Poverello Foundation, which provides support for those who need help paying for the care received at Saint Mary’s.
Commencement is always a special day, with the full spectrum of the university on joyful display. Four-year undergraduates joined with students in graduate programs based in Winona, and several students from our M.Ed. program in Jamaica. Undergraduate reflections were offered by this year’s Outstanding Male and Female Seniors Lauren Salonek, daughter of Joel and Tammy Salonek of Watertown, Minn., and Joseph Budin, son of Bruce and Colleen Budin of Le Center, Minn. All of these graduates have been touched by Saint Mary’s and enriched us as well.
See photos from the day.
Throughout the year, we have focused on raising our visibility and spreading the good news about Saint Mary’s. Our enrollment and marketing departments are communicating our distinctiveness as an institution that provides a high-quality, person-centered, relationship-driven education—a place where individuals matter and are known.
The success of our students and alumni, and retelling of their stories, reflects well on the university. A series of “Saint Mary’s Moment” stories featuring current undergraduate and graduate students are prominently posted on our website homepage and news center.
Excellence in teaching and learning is not confined to the classroom or campus. Eight theatre students and Jason Underferth, Performance Center technical director, attended the U.S. Institute of Theatre Technology annual conference in Cincinnati. Their travel was supported by theatre alumni and the Student Activities Office. USITT provides professional learning opportunities and networking for over 3,700 performing arts members worldwide.
Our students participated in workshops on sound design, lighting technology, prop making, and scenic painting, among others. Another highlight was the Stage Expo floor, with companies from around the world showing off new technology for entertainment. Shown above at the conference are: (in back) Ian Robertson, Dovie Hughes, Arielle Ems, Kathleen Bryant, Miranda Leyson, and Andrew Becker; (in front) Raquel Romo, Jason Underferth, and Matthew Kornegay.
Our chapter of Beta Beta Beta (the national biology honor society) was chosen as the winner of the Lloyd M. Bertholf Award for its activities during the 2013-14 academic year. The Saint Mary’s chapter was selected for recognition out of more than 670 Beta Beta Beta chapters nationwide. The award gives national and local recognition to one chapter for program excellence, including member activity in research; participation in conventions and scientific meetings; and chapter programs and activities.
In April, biology students presented their research at the Iowa Academy of Science / Beta Beta Beta district convention, held at the University of Iowa. Shown are Aleah Bingham, Maddy Stiehl, Jaci Bongard, Amy Zawacki, Katie Stolz, Brandon Larsen, Mary Moats-Biechler, and Dan Carroll.
Students have returned from the travel portions of our three short-term study abroad programs, bringing back new global perspectives and insights. Part of offering a transformative educational experience at our residential College is providing opportunities to get off campus for internships, research, service trips, performances, athletics, and study abroad. These activities enrich the academic program, allowing students to widen their view of the world.
As alternatives to our semester-long study abroad programs, each short-term program included a classroom component during the spring semester, followed by a two-to-three week, faculty-led study tour in May. Shown above, Michael Ratajczyk led a business and cultural tour to China, “Chinese Business and Culture.” Preston Lawing and Rob McColl led an art program to Italy, “Introduction to Italy: History, Art, and Culture.” And, Dr. Kyle Black directed a Spanish program to Buenos Aires, Argentina, “Urban Studies of Buenos Aires Culture.”
After spending the semester learning about organisms and organ function, botany and zoology students got the opportunity to see the uniquely adapted paddlefish up close. Students volunteered to assist Dr. Josh Lallaman with his paddlefish research in the Mississippi River. They applied their classroom knowledge to help investigate how a primitive fish species that has survived since the decline of the dinosaurs is currently threatened by human alterations to river habitat.
At this year’s Relay For Life, held in the fieldhouse on April 17, students joined with faculty and staff in a marathon fund-raising effort for the fight against cancer. Relay For Life events across the globe bring communities together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. All in support of the good cause, our night was a combination of serious intent sustained by entertainment and fun activities (shown above).
The Public Relations/Business Club heard from a panel of five communication professionals at the International Association of Business Communicators’ “Meet the Pros” event in St. Paul. Panelists were experts in the fields of crisis communication, corporate executive communication, public relations agencies, government communication, and internal communication. Saint Mary’s had the largest student contingent of any school. Students and faculty included Jase Pater, Ellen Moran, Gretchen Lueck, Eric Zeitlin, Grace Van Beest, Dean Beckman, Keyanna McGriff, Chloe Morrison, McKayla Collins, Tamerra Levi, and Elizabeth Adames.
In March, senior students in English and history attended “Undergraduates, Inc.,” a conference event in partnership with the Red River Graduate Student Conference at North Dakota State University. “Undergraduates, Inc.” is a rotating conference that was held last year on the Saint Mary’s campus, and it will return to Saint Mary’s next year.
In all, six history students and an English student were in attendance, including Ashling Meehan, Andy Meyer, Christine Volk, Brianna Theis, Naomi Theis, Reikel Biechler (all history students), and Lucas Sansovich (English). In addition to the student presentations, Dr. Erin Mae Clark gave a conference keynote on “Langston Hughes and the Holocaust.”
Students in the Reporting I class had a virtual guest speaker in March, when Steve Adams ’08 joined them via video call from New York City. Adams—who majored in English Literature with a writing emphasis and took several public relations classes during his time at Saint Mary’s—writes for MLBTradeRumors.com and is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Previously he worked as a copy writer and web content manager for a software development firm in the Twin Cities.
Three senior chemistry and biochemistry majors presented posters of their thesis research at national conferences. Biochemistry major Cody Gill and Chemistry major Bryan Lampkin (shown above) presented at the 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Denver. Gill’s poster was titled “Serum Testosterone Response in Mus musculus Supplemented with Creatine Monohydrate,” and Lampkin’s poster was titled “The Role of Acetic Acid on Kinetic Isotope Effects Observed in Pd(liPr)(OAc)2(H2O) Catalyzed Oxidation of Alcohols.”
At the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Boston, Biochemistry major Patrick Sweet presented a poster titled “Exploration of the Protein Cleaving Ability of 1,4,7-triazacyclononanecopper (II) Chloride.”
Baseball player Ben Buerkle led the Cardinals to a 24-12 overall record this spring—their most wins in 20 years—and in the process collected a host of post-season honors. The sophomore from Roseville, Minn. was named Second-Team ABCA/Rawlings All-American, Third-Team D3baseball.com All-American, and Third-Team Capital One Academic All American, along with all-conference and all-region honors.
Other student-athletes standing out in the spring season included track and field’s Morris Dennis, who won the conference title in the 400m dash and qualified for the NCAA national meet; and Tyler Kircher, who won the conference title in the hammer throw. See all the men’s and women’s sports results on the athletics website.
The hope of spring and longer days bring a freshness and energy to campus. The remaining weeks of the school year are filled with activities and events as we head toward commencement in May. Looking back on the winter months, our students have excelled in academics, the arts, and athletics, and they reach out to each other and the broader community. Let me tell you about just a few of the interesting things happening on campus.
— Brother William (Spring, 2015)