Thursday, February 26, 2009

Faculty, students, Brothers honored at Founder's Day

Dean Beckman and Dr. Jane Anderson

WINONA, Minn. —At its Founder’s Day ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 24, Saint Mary’s University observed the 75th anniversary of the De La Salle Christian Brothers’ affiliation with the university. Also honored were a dedicated faculty member, a Lasallian educator, and two outstanding seniors. Founder’s Day is the annual celebration of the founding of Saint Mary’s in 1912 by Winona Bishop Patrick R. Heffron.

Starting off the Founder’s Day event, Christian Brothers currently affiliated with SMU were recognized for their service to the university. Provincial Edmond Precourt, Superior of the Long Island-New England (LINE) District, accepted a special recognition on behalf of the Brothers of LINE district for their distinguished service. Three SMU presidents (including Brother President William Mann) have been members of this district, which serves Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New England with provincial headquarters in Narragansett, R.I.

Dr. Jane Anderson was named as SMU’s Distinguished Lasallian Educator for 2009. Dr. Anderson has been on the faculty since 1995 and now serves as Dean of the School of Education. She is recognized for her efforts to engage and support the San Miguel Schools in Chicago and Minneapolis and her career-long commitment to understand and advance the cause of literacy education. Distinguished Lasallian Educator Awards are given by many Lasallian institutions in the North American-Toronto Region of the De La Salle Christian Brothers; they honor contributions and commitment to the Lasallian mission of education.

The 2009 Brother H. Charles Severin Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Dean Beckman, assistant professor in the Social Science Department. Beckman has been a member of the faculty since 2001 and teaches courses in the mass communication program.

Over the years, he has shown consistent excellence in preparation of his courses, in communication and delivery of course material, and in fairness in dealing with students. He joins 21 other past and present faculty members as a Severin Award recipient. Recipients exemplify the teaching excellence and commitment to a student-centered learning that characterize a Saint Mary’s University education.

The Outstanding Male and Female Senior Awards were presented to students who have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership, service to colleagues and the university community. Above all, these men and women have shown genuine concern for meeting the needs of others. The Outstanding Male Senior Award went to Jakub Szymanski, son of Ryszard and Marianna Szymanski of Opole, Poland. The Outstanding Female Senior Award went to Emily Berg, daughter of David and Sharleen Berg of Owatonna, Minn.

Szymanski is an accounting major and a statistics minor. He has worked as a resident assistant (serving as SMU’s first international student R.A.), a New Student Orientation leader, a math and business tutor, and a student manager in the cafeteria. He has also actively participated in mission trips, intramurals, Student Senate, Volunteer Services, and Campus Ministry. After graduation, he hopes to earn a graduate degree in accountancy and start a professional career as a Certified Public Accountant.

Berg is a Spanish and K-8 education major with a concentration in language arts. She has played varsity women’s soccer and participated in various intramural sports. She also plays flute in concert band, wind ensemble, and flute choir. A member of the SOUL (Serving Others United in Love) Council, Berg and has led three service trips to Kentucky, Montana and Illinois. She is a member of ASCD, an education club that promotes excellence in education. She has also served as a tutor, taught religious education and migrant school instruction, and coached club and community soccer teams. After graduation, her goal is to teach through Teach for America, Alliance for Catholic Education, or Lasallian Volunteers.

The following students were finalists for the 2009 Outstanding Senior Awards. Males: Gary Borash, son of Ron and Ann Borash of North Prairie, Minn.; Ryan Langr, son of Ken and Cindy Langr of Coon Rapids, Minn.; Neil Leibundguth, son of William and Laura Leibundguth of Westchester, Ill.; and John Nolte, son of Doug and Ruth Nolte of Owatonna, Minn. Females: Maria Borgerson, daughter of Richard and Carol Borgerson of Bellingham, Minn.; Teresa Gill daughter of Mary and Dave Gill, Fort Collins, Colo.; Kaitlin Depuydt, daughter of Mark and Teresa Depuydt of Mankato, Minn.; and Julia Jergenson, daughter of Skip and Kris Jergenson of Houston, Minn.

De La Salle Week events announced

Students participated in Mardi Gras events during De La Salle Week activities.

The year 2009 marks not only 97 years since SMU’s founding, but 75 years since the De La Salle Christian Brothers came to Saint Mary’s University.

Students, staff and faculty members are invited to a week of participation in these opportunities for learning, reflection, discussion and connection with others.

De La Salle Week events are sponsored by the Offices of Mission and Student Development.


8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Fair Trade Sale, first floor, Saint Mary’s Hall.

12:10 p.m. — Liturgy, Saint Thomas More Chapel.

4 p.m. — “Lasallian Hour” with Brother Christopher Soosai, SMU graduate student from India, Common Room.

7 p.m. — Movie time with Brother Jerome Rademacher, Christian Brothers’ Residence, including Brother Jerome’s famous popcorn! (Limited to 20 people; sign up in Student Activities.)


8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Habitat for Humanity Service Trip.

Noon to 5 p.m. — “Just Bouncing Around” Ping-Pong Tournament, Toner Student Center Game Room.

6 p.m. — “Africa Night,” Common Room; Dinner (first 100 people); 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. music and dance, hosted by Intercultural Awareness Association (ICAA).


10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. — Liturgy for the first Sunday of Lent, Saint Thomas More Chapel. Refreshments follow each Mass, compliments of Campus Ministry.

SMU to host night of Irish music with David Munnelly Band March 5

Audiences are invited to a high-spirited show in celebration of the music and dance of Ireland on Thursday, March 5, at Saint Mary’s University.

Celebrate the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day early with Ireland’s young, multi-award winning David Munnelly Band — hosted through SMU’s Page Series.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Page Theatre. Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for seniors and students and are available at the Box Office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays or online at

The David Munnelly Band is fast becoming one of the most sought-after groups in Irish music. Led by button accordion wizard David Munnelly, who toured with The Chieftains for four years, as well as with DeDanaan and other legendary groups, the band plays with an exuberant style not often duplicated. The group combines button accordion, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bodhrán and flute for a high-spirited instrumental sound colored with a bit of jazz and ragtime. Munnelly and his band create “pure Irish magic” through their contemporary reinterpretation of the music of the 1920s most widely associated with The Flanagan Brothers.

Saint Mary’s students to stage ‘Long Christmas Ride Home’

The heart — and the heartbreak — of family dynamics are closely examined in the hopeful drama, “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” to be presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Saint Mary’s.

In a seemingly Rockwellesque beginning, author Paula Vogel introduces audiences to a family of five, traveling by car to their grandparents’ house on Christmas Day.

Arguments ensue, unfortunate words are spoken, and we discover that memories of this dysfunctional and poignant car ride play a pivotal role in how the family’s three children mature into adulthood.

As the author intended, the three children are portrayed by Japanese Bunraku-inspired puppets. In this production each puppet is controlled by two black-cloaked figures, and one of their puppeteers (whose face is not obscured) then becomes an adult version of each child as the story flashes forwards.

Audiences also discover that the opening car ride is a memory of one of the children, Steven, who has died of AIDS. Though somewhat damaged by their past experiences, the three siblings have an enduring bond that transcends life itself.

“It’s universally beautiful,” said director Sarah St. Laurent, an SMU senior theatre major. “We all have a family, and no family is perfect. Family comes with a lot of baggage, but there are also redeeming qualities.” St. Laurent and Preston Lawing, chair of the SMU Department of Art and Design, constructed the puppets used in this presentation.

“The Long Christmas Ride Home” will be staged at Academy Theatre, located at the Valéncia Arts Center, 10th and Howard streets. The show runs 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 26-28 and Monday, March 2; a matinee performance is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1. The show contains several adult themes and is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets are $10, $5 for students and seniors and are available at the Box Office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

National Women’s History Month is March

During March, Saint Mary’s will join thousands of other institutions across the United States in recognizing the significant role of women in American history and contemporary society for National Women’s History Month.

The 2009 theme is “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet.” The 2009 national honorees are women who have demonstrated leadership in protecting the environment on a local, state, national level, or international level. The most well-known 2009 honoree is Rachel Carson, who authored “Silent Spring” and who is widely recognized as the founder of the current environmental movement. Other honorees include women who are scientists, engineers, business leaders, writers, filmmakers, conservationists, teachers, community organizers, religious or workplace leaders and others whose lives show exceptional vision and leadership to save our planet. For information about all honorees, go to

SMU women also take the lead in saving the planet through a variety of activities and initiatives and these projects will be highlighted during March. Mark your calendars —Thursday, March 12, will be the annual Women’s History Month reception. Look for more information throughout the month about local projects to save our planet.

Kabara business plan competition for students

The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies announces the second annual Student Business Plan Competition.

Participants must be full-time undergraduate students on the Winona campus, may participate as an individual or as a team of two students, and can have any major.

Students are asked to develop a business plan for a business that they would like to start. The business does not need to be an on-campus business. The projected start-up costs and initial capital required may not exceed $10,000.

A hard copy and electronic copy of the business plans must be submitted to Teresa Speck by noon Monday, March 2. Semifinalists will present their plans to a panel of judges on Friday, March 13, and winners will be announced within a week.

For more information, go to or contact Speck at or Ext. 1449.

Next SMU exhibit to feature digital photography, paintings

“Old Media, New Ways and New Media, Old Ways” — featuring the work of two Chinese-American artists — will be on display through March 20 at the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

Jing Zhou, Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., is displaying digital photography and Ming Zhou, University of Missouri, Columbia, is displaying paintings.

The Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries are free and open to the public and are open daily between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. For more information, call Ext. 1652.

SMU’s Day at the Capitol is March 5

Saint Mary’s students have been actively involved over the last few years in Minnesota’s Private Colleges Day at the Capitol. On this day students meet with their legislators at the State Capitol to advocate for student financial aid, specifically the Minnesota State Grant Program. Between February and April 2007, more than 400 students developed skills on how to be effective citizen lobbyists and urged their hometown legislators to support Minnesota students.

Saint Mary’s will be at the Capitol on March 5. Anyone can attend Day at the Capitol — students, professors, parents, or administrators. Last year 40 students took advantage of this opportunity. Student Senate is trying to increase these numbers this year.

Minnesota undergraduate students and their families had to borrow more than $1 billion dollars in 2005 to pay for higher education — an amount that has grown 162% since 1995. The value of state grants dropped 14 percent from 2000 to 2005. Only 2 percent of public spending for Higher Education goes to private schools while 28 percent of state graduates come from private schools like Saint Mary’s.

With 71,108 students receiving need-based aid through the State Grant Program and our state budget deficit for the next biennium forecasted to be at least $4.8 billion, preserving the State Grant program and keeping the cost of education low is even more important.

Go to the Minnesota Association of Private College Students’ (MAPCS) website at for more information. Students will be able to register on the MAPCS website or through Student Senate as the event draws nearer.

In addition to excusing students to attend, faculty are encouraged to promote conversations about the cost of higher education and the problems our state is currently facing.

If you have any further questions, contact Mary Gleich, Student Senate vice president for external affairs, at

Money appropriated for SMU on listed of federal projects

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., has listed federal projects that will be headed to his district — courtesy of the Omnibus Appropriations bill — if both houses approve it in the coming days and it's signed by President Obama.

A total of $190,000 would go to Saint Mary’s University’s Teacher Mentorship Program to help expand the university’s educator professional development programs by using technology to allow greater outreach to teachers in Minnesota, with impact on thousands of students in critical STEM subjects.

Common Threads Clothing Drive is March 20-22

On March 20-22 the Peace and Justice Club will be having a clothing drive/sale for the SMU community and the Winona community.

Students showcase work at the Capitol

Melissa Wolf, Carina Woodward and Sarah Windschitl participated in Private Scholars at the Capitol Day.

Private Scholars at the Capitol Day, a gathering of undergraduate scholars and their faculty research mentors, was held at the State Capitol Rotunda on Feb. 19. The event, sponsored by the Minnesota Private College Council, is a celebration of the scholarly excellence of undergraduate student researchers and their faculty mentors at Minnesota’s private colleges.

SMU students participating (along with their projects and advisors) were: Melissa Wolf (biology, Dr. Jeanne Minnerath), “A comparison of heat versus methanol fixation for gram staining bacteria”; Sarah M. Windschitl (psychology, Dr. Beth Seebach), “Role models and their influence on self-objectification in college women”; and Carina Woodward (biology, Dr. Jenny Shanahan), abstract of “Recreating reality in one hundred years of solitude.” They joined 26 undergraduate scholars from around the state.

Gaslight performances near

Gaslight music show performances will be March 13-14. For more information, contact Kaitlin Depuydt,

Grover participates in Birkebeiner Classic

John Grover, Information Technology, placed 32nd in the age 65-69 category in the Birkebeiner Classic with a time of 7:02:08.9.

SMU in the news

Here is a recent mention of SMU “making the news” — in the Winona area and beyond.

• Stories about 2006 alum Maddy Loftus’ death in a New York plane crash were published across the United States. SMU staff fielded calls from local, Twin Cities, Chicago, and New York media. Articles about Loftus ran in CNN, the New York Times, and on national network news including ABC, FOX, NBC and CBS.

• Tycho de Boer, history, was interviewed in a Winona Daily News article on Feb. 16 titled, “Make room for Millard.”

• An article titled “SMU send-off: Seven destinations, seven days, one mission” about SOUL trips ran in the Feb. 14 issue of the Winona Daily News.

• A story about SMU’s “The Long Christmas Ride Home” production ran in the Feb. 24 issue of the Winona Daily News. Theatre major Sarah St. Laurent was interviewed for “No strings needed for these masters of puppets.”

• Photos of SMU students with Winona Bishop John Quinn appeared in the February edition of “The Courier.” Quinn was at SMU for a vocations breakfast, hosted by the SMU Women of Faith Discernment Group.

• Articles about this year’s “Above and Beyond” students have been running each Wednesday in the Winona Daily News. SMU is a sponsor of the Above and Beyond program, which recognizes high school seniors who have overcome obstacles or performed outstanding community service.

• A story about the David Munnelly Band, appearing March 5 at SMU, appeared in the Winona Daily News Thursday, Feb. 26. The article was titled, “Luck of the Irish.”

• Ray Faber sent an e-mail to Denny Long and Jim Gilbert of WCCO radio in mid-February. The two have a program called Nature Notes on Sundays. Long read the whole email on-air. Jim’s response was “I took a couple of courses in Winona and those guys were just great.”

The e-mail read, “A pair of bald eagles was at their nest near Pickwick along the Mississippi River on Saturday. Deer in the Ridgeway area (south of Winona) have been exhibiting nutritional stress since late December. Last week a fawn stayed in the same place without moving for two days, then died underneath a crabapple tree right in front of our house. We moved it away from the house and into an open field on Sunday afternoon. Within two hours a pair of bald eagles were circling the carcass and have been feeding on it ever since. This is almost 10 miles from open water! Eagles regularly fly through the area in winter, on the lookout for victims of winter. Last night I counted 39 deer within sight of my house.”

Jazz and rock notes

Dr. John Paulson and Miles Johnston Quartet will perform 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. March 6 at the Starlite Lounge in La Crosse, Wis., and 8 p.m. March 14 at the Oak Center General Store in Oak Center, Minn., just outside of Lake City.

Admission Counselor Adam Stasica will be performing with his band BAKKUS at Johnny Ringo's in Spring Valley, Minn. Showtime is 9 p.m. to close. No cover. The group covers songs from Judas Priest to ZZ Top to Jimi Hendrix.

Tune in to watch High School Challenge on Fox 25/48

On Saturday, Feb. 23, High School Challenge, a tournament of knowledge sponsored by Saint Mary’s, ended the 2008-2009 season with the Consolation and Super Challenge Championships. Eight games were played and taped by Fox 25/48 and will air at 10 a.m. on Sundays March 8 through April 26.

Thirty-two area high school teams began competing in the fall for a spot in the Super Challenge Tournament. Teams that won their second games advanced to the Consolation Championship games.

The first game on Saturday, Feb. 23, was the Consolation Championship game between La Crosse Central High School and Holmen High School – White team. Tune in March 8 to see who becomes the Consolation Champion.

La Crescent, Winona Senior High, Logan Red, Eau Claire Regis, Cotter, Onalaska, La Crosse Aquinas and Eau Claire North competed for the Super Challenge Champion title

Watch these schools in action in the quarter-finals, starting March 15 on Fox 25/48 with La Crescent playing against Winona Senior High School. Logan Red plays Eau Claire Regis on March 22. Cotter plays Onalaska on March 29 and Aquinas plays Eau Claire North on April 5. Winners will advance to the quarter-finals, starting April 12.

A very special thank you to all the schools that competed, Altra Federal Credit Union and Lewiston Auto for their support this year, and to Winona National Bank for the sponsorship of the Closed Captioning.

Sympathy to Schneider family

William B. Schneider, father of Sherry Boynton (Development and Alumni), grandfather to Emily and Sara Boynton '08, died Sunday, Feb. 22.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at noon, today, Feb. 27, at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

The Saint Mary’s community extends its sympathy to the Schneider and Boynton families.