Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas dinner scheduled for Dec. 21

The faculty and staff Christmas dinner will be held Tuesday, Dec. 21. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails begin at 6 p.m. in the dining room. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m.

Eisenhower Dance Ensemble to perform Jan. 22

The Eisenhower Dance Ensemble will present, “On the Move,” a program that promises both innovative hilarity and soulful introspection at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, in Page Theatre.

The Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, the Midwest’s premier contemporary dance company, was founded by artistic director Laurie Eisenhower in the summer of 1991 in metropolitan Detroit. Since its inception, the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble has been dedicated to the performance of a diverse range of contemporary dance works.

According to Dancer Magazine, “Eisenhower provided the framework for what turned out to be an electrifying dance experience. The dancing was filled with charismatic and artistic emotional execution and an extraordinarily high degree of technical precision. The music was diverse, inspiring and tastefully selected. The combination of excellent music, choreography and dance held my undivided attention from curtain to curtain … pushing the envelope of modern dance creativity and innovation to new limits, Ms. Eisenhower and Co. are clearly on the cutting edge. The genuine article. Highly recommended.”

Tickets for this Page Series performance are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and are available at the Box Office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or at

Reception for Brother Paulos, Father Kirwen is Dec. 17

A reception for our colleagues from Saint Mary’s institutes in Nairobi, Kenya, Brother Paulos Mesmer (director of Christ the Teacher Institute for Education) and Father Michael Kirwen (director of The Maryknoll Institute for African Studies), will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, in the Toner Student Center Lounge. A presentation will be given from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Punch, beer, wine and cheese, and hot hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Jazz notes

Swing, Inc. performs 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday until Christmas Eve at Signature’s Restaurant.

Jazz combos to perform Dec. 19 at Acoustic Cafe

One Saint Mary’s University jazz combo performing Dec. 19 includes, from left, Marie Stier, Jessica Bouska, Jessica Giers and Kara White.

Two jazz workshop combos, directed by John Paulson and Eric Heukeshoven of the Music Department, will present a free concert Sunday, Dec. 19, from 2-4 p.m. at the Acoustic Café, 77 Lafayette St.

This event will feature student musicians who have been playing together all semester, and it will serve as their “final exam.” They will be playing well-know jazz standards by composers like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Miles Davis, as well as some unique hybrid arrangements of popular jazz tunes blended with familiar Christmas tunes by Heukeshoven. An added plus will be the “Smashing the Windows” folk trio, featuring SMU students Kara White, Marie Stier and Hugh Stier.

SMU hosts Frozen River Film Festival documentary

As part of the Frozen River Film Festival, a screening of the documentary “FEAT” will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, in Figliulo Recital Hall.

The documentary chronicles Tim Borland’s coast-to-coast quest to run 63 marathons in 63 days for kids battling the rare, terminal disease ataxia telangiectasia, or A-T.

The makers of this film, Deborah and Bradley Carr, are both seasoned television and documentary producers. They met in college, where they were also introduced to their first A-T family. The couple collaborated to produce the first A-T Children’s Project Telethon at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2000. The eight-hour live broadcast served to educate the surrounding community about the orphan disease ataxia- telangiectasia, while simultaneously raising funds to support research. The telethon has grown to become an annual event at the University. Nikki Richmond’s (Campus Ministry) son, Taylor, has ataxia telangiectasia.

The producers of the film, Deb and Brad Carr, and Shjon Podein (a retired NHL player) have been invited to attend. There will be discussion after the movie.

If you would like more information about this documentary, go to

Students donate tie blankets to Gifts for Winona

Students in Dr. Janet Heukeshoven’s First-Year Seminar class made more than 20 children’s tie blankets as their Lasallian community service project. The class is the Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute section. The blankets were given to families with young children who asked for help through the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program. These blankets will help make many children’s holidays warmer and happier.

Gifts for Winona a success

The Saint Mary’s University gifts for Winona program is once again nearing completion. For nine years, the SMU community has sponsored and organized this communitywide gift giving program. Many thanks to go all the generous benefactors, shoppers, organizers, wrappers and other volunteers who helped this year. Because of your support, we were able to fulfill wishes for more than 1,400 tags. Each of these tags represents an individual who received not only gifts, but also the knowledge that this community truly cares!

Faculty, staff members eligible to participate in SOUL Trips

All employees are eligible to participate in the faculty, staff and administrative SOUL Trips taking place Jan. 12-14 and May 16-18. Participants will visit the San Miguel Schools in Chicago.

Any interested candidates should send a statement of interest to Chris McClead at or Box 42. Statements should explain why you are interested in the trip and how your work will benefit from the initiative.

Public invited to SMU 10K ski races Sunday, Jan. 30

Saint Mary’s is inviting the public to the annual “SMU 10K” classic ski event on Sunday, Jan. 30. A classic-style citizens ski event will begin at 10 a.m., and a skate race will begin at 1 p.m.

“We’re very fortunate to have an excellent trail system here that is both scenic, as well as challenging," said Chris Kendall, vice president of student life.

Both races will be held at Saint Mary’s University, home to one of the region’s finest cross country trail systems. The trails wind through the bluffs and valleys above the Mississippi River.

The event is open to the public.

On-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. for the classic ski and 11 a.m. for the skate race, both at the SMU Toner Student Center. The cost is $10 for one race or $20 for both; the fee includes a souvenir race bib. Medals will be awarded for men and women in open and recreational classes.

For more information or to receive a registration form, call Gary Borash at Ext. 8740 or e-mail

Finnerty delivers seminar at North Dakota State University

Dr. Casey Finnerty delivered a seminar titled “Scolexin, an Unusual Serine Proteinase from Manduca sexta” Nov. 12 at North Dakota State University. Dr. Finnerty was jointly hosted by NDSU’s Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Protease Research. Dr. Finnerty reports that his seminar was enthusiastically received, and he was also able to discuss collaboration opportunities with his NDSU colleague, Dr. Kendra Greenlee. Senior Nicole Clammer went along on the trip, as she is interested in pursuing graduate school after Saint Mary’s.

Prairie restoration pilot project underway

Dr. Casey Finnerty, Gary Borash and Marissa Wollak pause from sowing prairie seed to record the historic moment.

The SMU Biology Department now has its first prairie restoration pilot project underway —Led by Dr. Casey Finnerty; guided by Dr. Phil Cochran and Dr. Ray Faber of SMU, Dr. Bruno Borsari of WSU, and Bill Carter of Prairie Moon Nursery; and assisted by Saint Mary’s students and staff.

Two 25’ x 50’ plots located along Gilmore Creek on the north side of campus were prepared with the help of SMU’s Maintenance Department. One plot was tilled and the other sprayed with herbicide to see which method is substantially better for reducing competing weeds and establishing native plants. Seed from native prairie plants was donated by Prairie Moon Nursery and Dr. Borsari and his students at WSU.

Much of the seed needed to be milled by hand to release it from pods, and thanks go to Gary Borash, director of Outdoor Leadership, and students Paige Jenson, Matt Traxler and Marissa Wollak for assisting with this task. On Nov. 20, Borash, Wollack and Dr. Finnerty, assisted by Dr. Finnerty’s daughter, Grace, sowed the seed by hand onto the plots.

Information learned from this pilot project will be used to develop an outdoor learning laboratory for future students and will serve as a model for sustainable land use and conservation.

Clammer, Ohl present poster at Minneapolis conference

Dr. Doris Taylor meets with Clammer and Ohl.

Seniors Nicole Clammer and Sean Ohl, accompanied by their research advisor Dr. Casey Finnerty, jointly presented a research poster at the 2010 Life Science Alley Conference and Expo Dec. 8 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Their poster was titled “Expression Optimization and Purification of Baculovirus Fibroblast Growth Factors” and reported on work they had completed over the summer as R & D Systems Summer Research Fellows in Saint Mary’s Biology Department, guided by Dr. Finnerty.

This was the first experience for both students at presenting scientific research outside Saint Mary’s, and they benefited from the opportunity to meet and discuss their work with colleagues. The highlight for both students and faculty was listening to and meeting the closing keynote speaker Dr. Doris Taylor, who addressed “The Art and Science of Regenerative Medicine.” Dr. Taylor was introduced as one of the top two heart researchers in the world, and her group at the University of Minnesota was the first to grow a functioning biosynthetic heart.

Kirk serves as guest artist

Dr. Ned Kirk, chair of the music department, was recently a guest artist at the University of Chicago. Kirk gave a master class to graduate piano students and performed a public recital.

Reminder: This is last ‘Campus Notes’ before break

Because of Christmas break, the next issue of "Campus Notes" will be Friday, Jan. 21. The deadline for that issue is Wednesday, Jan. 19. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!