Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweeney named vice president for development, alumni

Brother Chancellor Louis DeThomasis has named Joseph P. Sweeney as vice president for development and alumni relations.

Sweeney, a 1981 Saint Mary’s graduate, will begin his new position on Dec. 3. He will oversee the university’s fundraising, alumni relations and advancement services.

Sweeney comes to Saint Mary’s from Loyola Academy, a Jesuit college-preparatory high school in Wilmette, Ill., where he served for 11 years as vice president for development and director of principal gifts. During Sweeney’s tenure, Loyola’s endowment increased from $14 million to nearly $53 million. Previously, Sweeney worked seven years as director of development at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill.

Joe and his wife, Stacey (Sanborn ’82) Sweeney, have four children. Their son Kevin is currently a sophomore at Saint Mary’s.

Saint Mary's reports increase in undergraduate and graduate enrollment

Saint Mary's reports enrollment growth at both the undergraduate and graduate program levels.

As of the fall "enrollment data freeze" dates, Saint Mary's has a total of 5,960 students, up 394 from last year's total of 5,566.

The number of graduate students enrolled is 3,918 (929 in Winona-based programs and 2,989 in Twin Cities campus-based programs). That number is up 170 from last year's enrollment of 3,748. An additional 692 bachelor degree-completion and undergraduate certificate students are enrolled, up 166 from last year's total of 526.

The undergraduate College at the Winona campus shows enrollment of 1,350, up 58 from last year's total of 1,292. (1,276 are full-time undergraduates and 74 are part-time and non-degree-seeking students.) The freshman class of 399 is the second-largest in Saint Mary's history. Adding in transfers and readmitted students, the total of new degree-seeking students is 455.

SMU to host Japanese celebration on Oct. 20

Winona will welcome a delegation from Misato (Winona’s sister city in Japan) this weekend.

Several cultural events will be hosted on the Saint Mary’s campus.

A “Japanese Culture Fest” — free and open to the public — will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Toner Student Center. The event, which will run from 2 to 3 p.m., will include booth displays and demonstrations featuring Shodo, the art of drawing unique characters; Ikebana, art formed with flowers; Kimono, a traditional Japanese dress; and Sado, a tea ceremony.

These events will be followed by Japanese dancers and Taiko drummers from 3 to 4:15 p.m. Saturday in Page Theatre. The dancers will perform an original form of “Nihon Buyo,” which features the use of bamboo props and a beating rhythm. “Senrai,” a group of young Japanese musicians, will share their talents using the traditional instruments of Taiko drums.

A banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Hiawatha Room, located on SMU’s Saint Teresa campus. Admission is $18 per person, and tickets are available at City Hall, 457-8234. The event features the Gate City Jazz Band from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., as well as the International Dancers of Winona and Native American hoop dancer Jackie Bird.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, the Culture Fest will be repeated at WSU’s Kryzsko Commons. Exhibits run 1 to 2 p.m., with performances from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

‘Alexander’ musical on stage tonight

The Saint Mary’s Page Series and TheatreworksUSA’s Two Beans Productions will stage the comical children’s story, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” on Friday, Oct. 19. The hilarious musical will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre.

This timeless story begins with Alexander waking up with gum in his hair, and then he trips on a skateboard, and then he accidentally drops his sweater in the sink – and all this before breakfast! Alexander’s day continues to go downhill as he gets smushed in the car on the way to school and his teacher dislikes his drawing of an invisible castle. There’s no dessert for lunch, there’s lima beans for dinner, and there’s kissing on TV.

Tickets are $6, and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Benefit for SMU faculty, staff flood victims set for Oct. 28

Mark your calendars for a fun-filled evening of music, food and festive bidding that will raise money for the SMU faculty and staff who have suffered severe damage due to the August flood. Several of our own SMU community members have lost their homes and many — if not all — of their personal belongings. Come and support them!

The event, “A Recipe for Relief,” will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, in the dining room. All faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university are invited to attend. Admission will be $25 or $15 for students.

Several celebrity SMU “chefs” will be preparing a huge variety of tasty hors d’oeuvres like walleye strips, bruschetta, ham-filled cream puffs, truffles, stuffed tomatoes and caramelized onion crispy bacon pizzettes. The master chef himself, Brother Chancellor Louis DeThomasis, will give out a special recipe — as well as a live (and lively!) demonstration of how to prepare it.

Additionally beer, wine, pop and water have been graciously donated. A special Polish beer tasting will be offered as well.

Come and enjoy music by our own talented musicians. SMU student jazz combos will be joined by Eric Heukeshoven and Dr. John Paulson. Additionally Chris Kendall will perform folk music. A silent auction will complete the evening.

Some auction items donated so far include homemade jewelry, a guided canoe trip, a dinner from Gary Diomandes, a ticket basket from the SMU box office, a large santa basket, a Starbucks coffee basket, certificates for fresh- baked cinnamon rolls, a personal perennial garden at your home and much more! If you would like to donate an auction item, please contact Katie LaPlant at Ext. 6936 or Nikki Richmond at Ext. 1634.

Babysitting services will be provided. For tickets, go to the Student Services window or contact LaPlant.

SMU community members share flood stories

This is the sixth in a series of stories of SMU faculty and staff who have suffered serious damage because of recent flooding. We hope that these stories bring to light how many people, in how many areas, were deeply affected. Please continue to keep everyone who is fighting to put their lives back together in your prayers.

• • • • • • • • • • •

Renee Knutson’s home in Sunny Acres is pictured on the far left. You can see her double garage doors.

Knutson estimates they got 5 feet of water on the bottom floor of their split-level home.

Renee Knutson
Director of career services
and study abroad

Renee Knutson’s 9-year-old son Bryan wasn’t home when water swept through his Sunny Acres neighborhood Aug. 18-19. But his young eyes have seen — up close — the mass destruction the flood left behind. Thunderstorms now take on a whole new meaning.

“He’s still scared,” Knutson said. “Every time it rains, he thinks it’s going to flood.”

And, quite simply, Bryan misses a lot of his favorite things. Each time he can’t locate something, Knutson said he checks to see if it’s merely missing, or if it was destroyed.

“He keeps asking where such and such is,” she said. “Now he doesn’t want us to tell him anymore what was lost.”

“Stuff” has special meaning to a 9-year-old.

Many of Renee’s things — also destroyed in the flood — held special sentimental meaning as well … the home movies of her mom, who passed away 7 years ago, interacting with her son; items her mom had made for her; her son’s artwork and papers from school; her Christmas ornaments; her parents’ love letters; and her wedding dress, just four months old.

This isn’t exactly the honeymoon Renee and her husband Brian had planned. Lots of people have said to us, ‘What a way to start out a marriage,’ ” Renee said. “We were looking forward to things slowing down. When we were planning for the wedding, things were crazy.”

At the time of the flood, Knutson had just moved several boxes of her and Bryan’s belongings into the basement of the split-level home in Sunny Acres. The closing of her previous home (which stayed dry) was just a week away.

Knutson never got to unpack. The water level reached 5 feet in their basement.

But she is thankful her family is safe and that they still have a house to call home. She recalls how quickly water levels rose in the middle of the night.

At 5 a.m., Brian woke up after hearing neighbors outside yelling back and forth. He noticed that water was building up around their home.

“He said, ‘Renee, you need to come look at this,’ ” she said. The two went to the basement of their split-level home to survey the damage. Initially, she said, there were just a couple of puddles of water and they began pulling items upstairs.

But the situation quickly escalated.

“Within five minutes, water started pouring in, and the door between the garage and the house busted in (from the pressure),” she said.

The two felt safe on their second floor. There was no way, they thought, the water level could reach that height. Then again, she said, the water rose very fast, and they had no idea how high it would eventually get.

They turned down the first rescue boat, directing it to other neighbors first. When it was their turn, Renee and Brian were evacuated to the Red Cross shelter at SMU.

Renee laughs when she says she was so comforted to see Dr. Jeffrey Highland, a familiar friendly face in a crisis. They stayed with friends that evening and were able to go back in to begin cleanup the following day.

“When we first came back, everything was all toppled over and laying all over the place in a couple of inches of mud. It’s amazing what ended up where,” she said. Items from one room were relocated to a whole different section of the house.

It took several weeks to sort out and wash what they could save; scrape the mud out; remove the carpeting, insulation and sheetrock; and wash and bleach everything. The door that broke was finally replaced two weeks ago.

“It’s going to be a long time before things are back to normal,” she said.

Renee and Brian hope to get their stairs, landing and insulation installed before winter. The two did not live in a flood plain and did not have flood insurance. FEMA gave them $5,000 to help with damages.

“At least we’re safe. We’re alive,” she said. “It could have been a lot worse. We’re very fortunate we didn’t lose everything. A lot of people lost everything, which is something I almost feel guilty about.”

Renee said she is amazed by the support they’ve seen from SMU, from Bryan’s school (Bluffview Montessori) and from their church (Saint Mary’s.) Many friends and family members have come to lend a hand. And all the help has made it all a little easier. She says, “I don’t know how I could have done it alone.”

Kabara Institute hosts Digicom speaker Oct. 23

The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies will kick off its 2007-08 programming on Oct. 23 with guest speaker, Russ Neitzke, founder, president, and CEO of Digicom, Inc. Neitzke is a 1991 graduate of Saint Mary’s with a degree in accounting.

His presentation, “First-Generation Owner, Second-Generation Entrepreneur,” will be held in the President’s Room from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and is open to all students, faculty and staff.

Founded in 1993, Digicom, Inc. provides the latest in data, voice, video and sound communications.

SMU exhibit examines cultural, social forces through paintings, audio

"Samiha" - encaustic painting by Michal Sagar

"Hinda" - encaustic painting by Michal Sagar

Minneapolis artists Michal Sagar and Francisca de Beurges Rosenthal present a thought-provoking and inspiring exhibit titled, “Branches: A Contemporary Convivencia” through Nov. 10 at Saint Mary’s.

“Branches” will be on display in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. An opening reception is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

The show, which includes encaustic on wood by Sagar and an audio installation by de Beurges Rosenthal, explores a poetic interplay of social and cultural forces between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Specifically, the two focus on where human tensions interact with the natural world, leaving their imprint on each other.

Sagar has created portraits of Jews, Muslims and Christians — from their home countries and from the U.S. — to understand what separates us and what binds us together. Their memorable faces are captured in encaustic paintings on wooden panels.

De Beurges Rosenthal interviewed some of the people depicted in Sagar’s beautiful, yet haunting, pieces. An audio installation from these interviews accompanies the paintings.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, call Ext. 1652.

Get set to scream at annual Saint Mary's Walk of Horror

This year’s Saint Mary’s University Walk of Horror is again guaranteed to give you goosebumps. New scares are planned around every corner.

The 11th annual hair-raising fundraiser for the SMU Cardinal fastpitch softball team will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 19-20 and 26, 27 and 31 in the SMU bluffs. Walkers are asked to meet on the lighted path between the SMU baseball and softball fields, where the haunted walk will begin.

Groups are then escorted through the dark bluffs surrounding the SMU campus for approximately 20 minutes.

The cost is $5 for adults, $4 for students with ID, and $4 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the gate.

SMU head fastpitch softball coach Jen Miller said the event is fun for all ages. The scare level is toned down for younger children and turned up for groups bold enough to face their fears. Last year more than 1,000 brave souls took SMU’s Walk of Horror.

Proceeds from this event will be used for the softball team’s spring trip to California for a tournament. For more information, contact Miller at Ext. 6923.

Halloween Fun Night for kids is Oct. 29 at Saint Mary’s

Elementary and preschool children from the Winona area are invited to attend the seventh annual Saint Mary’s University Halloween Fun Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29.

Young trick-or-treaters should start out the evening at the Hall of Fame Room, where face-painting, a coloring station, bucket toss and other fun games will be offered, and the Cardinal mascot will greet pint-sized ghosts and goblins.

From there, SMU students will lead groups of trick-or-treaters through the residence halls of the university, where they can go door to door for candy.

Last year more than 600 youth participated in this free, safe and fun event, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life.

Donations of candy or money can be dropped off through Oct. 29 in the Student Development Office or call Ext. 1409 for a candy pickup.

Common Threads clothing sale will be Oct. 25-27

The sixth annual Common Threads clothing sale will be held Oct. 25-27 in the Hall Fame Room.

Gently used clothing and footwear for men, women, youth and infants will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, through Saturday, Oct. 27. The public is welcome.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry and the student Peace and Justice group. Each year the money raised — along with the leftover clothing from the sale — goes to local organizations that help those less fortunate.

This year proceeds will go to the Winona Catholic Worker House.

Items can be dropped off, beginning at 9 a.m., Oct. 22-24 at Room B of the Toner Student Center.

Summer schedule for Gilmore Creek Theatre announced

Andrew Greene ’06, Steve DiBlasi, and Chris Kernan got a lot of laughs in “Lend Me a Tenor.”

Steve Di Blasi and Jolene Davis in last years’s Gilmore Summer Creek Theatre Production of “Lend Me a Tenor.”

A man-eating plant and a phony foreigner will headline Saint Mary’s University’s second annual Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre. The professional theatre company summer lineup will include the popular musical “Little Shop of Horrors”; the hilarious comedy “The Foreigner”; and a yet-to-be-named children’s production in rotation throughout July and August at SMU’s Page Theatre.

Judy Myers, returning for a second year as artistic director, is excited to bring a talented cast of performers from throughout the United States to Winona. Myers said this year’s productions are guaranteed to leave audiences laughing. “These familiar favorites will be popular with audiences of all ages,” she said, “We hope they serve as a complement to Winona’s other rich summer theatre offerings.”

“Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Myers, follows Seymour, a down-and out skid row floral assistant who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant, which he names Audrey II, with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon Audrey II grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore that offers him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite. Audrey II finally reveals itself to be an alien creature poised for global domination. Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this musical is based on the film by Roger Corman and screenplay by Charles Griffith. Anthony Freeman will serve as the musical director.

“The Foreigner” by Larry Shue demonstrates what can happen when a group of devious characters must deal with a stranger who (they think) knows no English. The locals of a rural Georgian fishing lodge are told that an innocent, shy young man named Charlie speaks no English. As the plot progresses, Charlie overhears more than he should: the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister's pretty fiancée is pregnant; and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn't understand a word being said. The wildly funny climax separates the "bad guys," and the "good guys" and ensures a happy ending.

“The Foreigner” will be directed by Steve Snyder, a faculty member of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., who returns to GCST after having directed last summer’s successful production of “Lend Me a Tenor.”

Gary Diomandes will again serve as GCST’s artistic associate and Kit Mayer is returning as production manager and resident scene designer.

GCST will also include a children’s theatre production in its 2008 season. Performance dates will be announced at a later date.

Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre Schedule:

July 10-12, “Little Shop of Horrors" — 7:30 p.m.
July 13, “Little Shop of Horrors” — 3 p.m.

July 17-19, “The Foreigner” — 7:30 p.m.
July 20,“The Foreigner” — 3 p.m.

July 24, “The Foreigner” — 7:30 p.m.
July 25, “Little Shop of Horrors”— 7:30 p.m.
July 26, “The Foreigner” — 7:30 p.m.
July 27, “Little Shop of Horrors” — 3 p.m.

July 31, “Little Shop of Horrors” — 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 1, “The Foreigner”— 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 2, “Little Shop of Horrors” — 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 3, “The Foreigner” — 3 p.m.

SMU students to perform, study in London first semester

Saint Mary’s theatre majors are staging “The Shadow Box” Oct. 17-20 at London’s New Wimbledon Studio. Qualified theatre majors at Saint Mary’s are studying theatre in London, England, this semester through the Stefannié Valéncia Kierlin Theatre in London Program.

Next Let’s Do Lunch has Halloween theme

This next Let’s Do Lunch, hosted by Student Services, is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 31. Proceeds will go to faculty and staff who have lost their homes or had significant flood damage.

Get your Jeans for a Cause sticker today

Today, Oct. 19, is our “BONUS” Jeans for a Cause Friday. If you would like to wear blue jeans to work that day, please stop in Student Services with your donation and pick up your “Blue Jeans for a Cause” sticker.

SMU Chemistry Nights planned for Oct. 25 & Nov. 1

Area high school juniors and seniors (and their teachers) will learn the importance of chemistry in everyday life via hands-on activities 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 during Chemistry Nights at Saint Mary’s.

Chemistry Night, sponsored by the SMU Department of Chemistry and the La Crosse-Winona section of the American Chemical Society, is an annual event to help students explore the discipline of chemistry and appreciate the positive role chemistry plays in the world.

Each year students solve a challenging but fun chemical problem based on the National Chemistry Week theme; this year’s theme is “The Faces of Chemistry.”
Students will be distributed into small teams and will work with instrumentation in the SMU Department of Chemistry, under the guidance of chemistry majors.

During the event, students will have hands-on exposure to various chemical instrumentation and wet chemistry. Prizes will be awarded including 12 SMU scholarships of $2,000 and $1,000.

The event is free, and there are still openings. Students who are interested should have their high school science teacher contact Dr. Jim Vogel at Ext. 1558.

Upcoming events for internships, study abroad

The fourth annual Government Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, in the Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Government agencies meet with students and alumni from 27 participating Minnesota 4-year colleges and universities.

Pre-registration is required; stop by Saint Mary’s Hall, Room 136 to register for this event or call Ext. 6996. The registration period ends today. For more information, contact Jackie Baker at Ext. 6695.

Red Cross Blood Drive scheduled for Oct. 22, 23

Blood donations will be taken in the Hall of Fame Room from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, and Tuesday, Oct. 23. The blood drive is sponsored by Sigma Alpha Iota.

Blue Angel auditions begin Oct. 19

Blue Angel is an annual variety show put on by the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Auditions are open to anyone who wants to get an act together and audition. This is a good chance for students to get out and show their musical talents.

Sign-ups for audition times will be posted next week on the door to the Phi Mu Alpha Room, Toner Student Center Room 16. Auditions are today, Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20.

The dates for the show are Nov. 2 and 3. For more information concerning Blue Angel, contact Rick McCoy at Ext. 7124.

Grace Place fundraiser concert is Oct. 21 at SMU

The “Savin’ Grace Concert,” a fundraiser for Grace Place in Winona, will be held 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Figliulo Recital Hall. It is the mission of Grace Place to provide Christian guidance, support and encouragement for women with unplanned pregnancies and for families experiencing brokenness and change.

Chris Kendall starts the first concert at 1 p.m., Jackie Bode performs at 2:30 p.m. and the Winona Fiddlers take the stage at 3:15 p.m. The The women of the Sigma Alpha Iota women’s music fraternity here at SMU will perform in the lobby during the intermission.

Tickets are $10 for either concert or $15 for all and are available at the door or at Grace Place, 66 E. 2nd St.

Jazz event calendar

Swing Inc., including Eric Heukeshoven, will perform at 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at Waterfront Restaurant, La Crosse, Wis.

The John Paulson Trio performs 6 to 9 p.m. today, Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday Oct. 20, at Michael’s Restaurant in Rochester.

Career Fair 2007 is Oct. 24

Career Fair 2007 — sponsored by WSU Career Services, Saint Mary’s University and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical — will be held noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at WSU’s McCown Gym.

Career Fair 2007 is an informal opportunity for all students, first year through graduate level, to gather information about a variety of career fields. Employers and graduate schools who attend the fair are available to discuss career information, internship requirements and graduate school entrance requirements.

Over 120 employers and graduate schools (including SMU) are registered to attend this year.

All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. For more information, call 457-5340 or e-mail:

New employees named

• Roberta Hornberg, Oct. 18, custodian, Winona.
• Debbie Watson, Oct. 15, administrative assistant (half-time), Rochester.
• Allison Heille, Oct. 9, administrative assistant, Twin Cities financial aid.

McCullough conducts poetry workshop in Plainview

On Oct. 6, Ken McCullough, director of the PASS program and assistant director of academic advising, conducted a poetry workshop at the Rural America Writer’s Center, Plainview.

Rushford Area Society for the Arts presents Floodapalooza

A celebration for the flood victims of Rushford and the surrounding area titled, “How to Talk Minnesotan” will be held 1 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Rushford-Peterson High School gymnasium.

There will be no charge for the event, but donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go to flood victims through the fund at the Associated Bank of Rushford. There will be brats and pop for a small charge and all profits will also go to the flood fund.

Judy Myers, theatre department, will direct the Southeast Minnesota Showtune Choir in “Rain Medley, Patriotic Medley and Tunes You’ve Loved Forever.”

Congratulations to Popp family

Stacy (Communication and Marketing) and Steve Popp had a son, Tye Steven, on Monday, Oct. 15. Notes of congratulations can be sent to S2882 Alfred Dr., Fountain City, Wis., 54629. The Saint Mary’s community extends its congratulations to the Popp family.