Thursday, October 3, 2013

Family Weekend draws crowds to campus activities

The inflatables were a big hit.
Leading the Fall Frolic

Posing with Big Red
SMU’s Family Weekend Sept. 27-29 included a full slate of activities for the SMU community, and many events brought in members of the Winona-area community as well. In previous years, as many as 1,000 visitors have come onto campus for Family Weekend music and theatre events, sporting events, the Fall Frolic, and other games and activities.

More than 250 people participated in the 26th Fall Frolic 5K fun run/walk Saturday morning.

A joint performance of the Saint Mary’s Concert Band, Chamber Singers and Choirs featured the world-premiere composition, “Katanya” by Larry Bitensky of Centre College, Danville, Ky.
“Katanya” was commissioned by the Helen and Sam Kaplan Foundation. Additionally, the Saint Mary’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo I and the Department of Theatre and Dance performed.

In addition to athletic events on campus, a legacy dinner, hosted by the Office of Admission, celebrated multiple generations of Saint Mary’s students and alumni.

To see photos from the weekend, go to

New Christian Brothers statue dedication is today

The new De La Salle Christian Brothers statue on the Winona campus plaza will be dedicated during a brief ceremony on today, Friday, Oct. 4, at 11:45 a.m.  Students, faculty and staff are invited. The statue honors the De La Salle Christian Brothers’ 80 years of service to Saint Mary’s. Benefactors of the project, Bernie and Jan Wagnild, Robert ’49 and Frances Perry CST ’51 Skemp, and the Class of 2013, will be recognized.

News from Nairobi

Discovering anew through field research
By James Chege, librarian
Maryknoll Institute for African Studies

The first week of the semester saw students in various courses offered by MIASMU undertake their first field research. The field research was conducted under the guidance of the faculty on various topics in accordance with the courses being taken. Each student was assigned a field assistant, a university graduate, who functions as a tutorial assistant.

In one of the student field studies, it was discovered that the Luhyia of Western Kenya officially recognize the wise elders by giving them symbolic gifts of spears. The is to demonstrate  that during times of aggression and attack from enemies the elders are expected to give wise counsel that would protect the community from defeat. This shows that the Luhyia recognized that wisdom is essential to the preservation of the community, a preservation  which could not be achieved  solely by the strength of the warriors.

The field research is essential because literature on African cultural beliefs and practices is scarce and a lot of it misrepresents reality. To overcome this, students are required to undertake field research of at least four hours per course per week in order to gather first-hand knowledge of contemporary cultural realities.

The field research, therefore, is a unique aspect of the MIASMU courses offered and a real eye opener to the students. Through field research, students get a unique opportunity to discuss pertinent issues and interact with people who are living the very cultural realities that are being taught in the classroom.

SMU Page Series to feature folk singer Susan Werner

The next Page Series will feature some sweet songs about sustainability by folk singer Susan Werner.

Werner will present work from her “Hayseed” project at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, in  Page Theatre.

Born in Manchester, Iowa, Werner grew up on her family’s hog farm, but she took to singing rather than farming. She began making a name for herself in the folk scene of the early 1990s in Philadelphia, New York and Boston. She recorded five albums from 1993 to 2001 in the folk genre. Her next recording in 2004, “I Can't Be New,” was a departure encompassing Tin Pan Alley, early torch, and jazz standards. Now based in Chicago, Warner’s most recent music is infused with the rustic roots of American folk, blues and country music. Her 11th recording “Kicking the Beehive” includes guest appearances by Vince Gill, Mo’Keb and Paul Franklin.

Werner’s newest project, “Hayseed,” contains 12 songs on the subject of farming, rural America, locavores, food safety, and the comic potential of herbicides. With this work, she returns to the language and characters she knows best.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $22 for students and seniors and are available at or at the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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 17th annual hair-raising fundraiser for the SMU Cardinal fastpitch softball team will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 25-26 and 30-31 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 1,100 brave souls took SMU’s Walk of Horror.

Proceeds from this event will be used for the softball team’s travel expenses.

For more information, contact Miller at Ext. 6923.

SMU hosts Caravan du Nord Minnesota musicians Oct. 18

Night Moves

Saint Mary’s Off the Page Series will host an impressive lineup of talented Minnesota musicians as part of the “Caravan du Nord 2013” concert series Friday, Oct. 18.

In its third year, the Caravan du Nord concert tour starts Oct. 11 in Austin, with stops in Winona, St. Cloud and Detroit Lakes before ending in Red Wing on Nov. 16. Each event features live performances by artists in a wide range of genres.

The Winona lineup includes some of the most talked about up-and-coming artists — Night Moves, Southwire and Mike Munson — converging on the SMU Page Theatre stage, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Night Moves is based out of Minneapolis and has been receiving airtime on MPR’s The Current; they have been described by Spin magazine as “cosmically expansive and yet twangily intimate.” Southwire, from Duluth, has been praised by City Pages as providing “haunting melodies that sound like they have been carried on the winds of the past.” Winona’s own Mike Munson was recently on the nationally broadcast WPR show “Whad' Ya Know” and is regularly heard around town performing his blues-influenced solo guitar.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and are available at or at the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The SMU Student Activity Committee is co-hosting this event.

Members of Night Moves and Minnesota’s top music industry professionals will provide insider insight about marketing, songwriting and more at a workshop Friday, Oct. 18, from noon to 3 p.m. at Sum Some Studios, 168 E. 3rd St. The event is free and open to the public.

Lasallian Week of Peace events continue

Alum Mary Gleich talks about Target Corp. during the Week of Peace Symposium.
Catholic musician Sarah Hart
A Dine with the Divine topic on a Lake City Catholic Worker community.

Only a few days remain of Lasallian Week of Peace. This year’s theme is “Care for God’s Creation.”

Highlights of the week have included a concert with Catholic musician Sarah Hart, a presentation about the Lake City Catholic Worker community (the Jagerstatter Farm), and the Week of Peace Symposium, “Caring for the Environment in Our Professional and Personal Lives” featuring presenters from Gundersen Health Systems, J.R. Watkins, Hoch Orchard, The Blue Heron, Winona County, and others.

Events yet to come include:

Sunday, Oct. 6
Service opportunity at Jagerstatter Farm (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Connect back to the Monday night Dine with the Divine by helping out at Jagerstatter Farm.

All Week: 
Throughout the week there will be a table where you can contribute to a community mosaic project that depicts the beauty of our natural surroundings.

Prayer for Peace at the Peace Pole (12:35 p.m. daily in front of the chapel). Every day, following daily Mass, community members are invited to gather at the Peace Pole in front of Saint Thomas More Chapel for a brief prayer for peace and the care for God’s creation.

‘Make a Difference Day’ and ‘Lasallian Day of Service’ are Oct. 26

In recognition of national “Make a Difference Day,” Saint Mary’s Volunteer Mentors group is inviting Winona residents and nonprofit agencies to submit requests for service.

The university hopes to get as many students as possible out into the community between 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. Students are willing to help individuals and organizations with anything from painting to yard work.

“Make a Difference Day” is a national day of helping others, a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Created by USA WEEKEND magazine, this annual event takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. For the sixth year, SMU is proud to join the millions of people throughout the nation who are participating.

Lasallian Day of Service

Also on Oct. 26, alumni are invited to participate in the fifth annual Lasallian Day of Service. This is a day that allows alumni to come together in the spirit of the Lasallian mission in service to others.

The alumni association has established a volunteer site for the Winona area at the CSTea House, 357 Gould St.

The CSTea House is the home of the College of Saint Teresa Alumnae Association. It is located next to Lourdes Hall and adjacent to the Chapel of the Angels and the Alverna Center. Fifteen volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to organize and clean the basement.

Sites have also been confirmed in the Chicago, Twin Cities, Saint Louis and Denver, Colo., areas. Alumni who reside outside these locations have been encouraged to arrange their own service project(s).

For more information go to:

Alumnus returns to SMU for exhibit titled ‘Excessibility’

These pancake pillows are just some of the unusual pieces to be featured in "Excessibility."

Las Vegas artist and 1994 Saint Mary’s alumnus Todd VonBastiaans — along with friend and colleague Bryan McCarthy — will curate the next Saint Mary’s University exhibit, “Excessibility.”

The show, which depicts luxury and celebrity accessibility is subtitled, “Access 2 Excess” and features works from 1939 to 2013, including Banksy, Ed Ruscha, Sol Lewitt and Andy Warhol. VonBastiaans and McCarthy will also display their new pancake pillows.

“Excessibility” will run Oct. 10 through Nov. 10 in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries, located in the Toner Student Center.

A reception for the show will be held 4:30 to 6 on Thursday, Oct. 10. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and the show is free and open to the public.

Special Halloween ‘Boo-fet’ and costume contest is Oct. 31

Doin' the 'Jailhouse Rock' last year
Last year's winners -- the Business Office with the Centennial celebration theme.

Start planning your spooktacular Halloween costume now; get your office or department together and vie for the highly coveted traveling Halloween contest trophy. The last costume contest winners, the Business Office, aren't going to give it up easily!

This is the SMU Volunteer Committee’s first “Let’s Do Lunch” potluck/fundraiser.

This year’s winner will be able to direct their $500 winnings to their choice of the following worthy causes: Winona Food Shelf, scholarships at SMU, SMU in Jamaica, Habitat for Humanity, the First-Generation Initiative or the Red Cross.

The lunch, hosted by the Student Success Center and iT, will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, in the Common Room. All faculty and staff are welcome!

It’ll be a frightfully good time; ghoul be glad you came!

Hans Heukeshoven to present senior percussion recital

Senior Hans Heukeshoven will present his B.A. in Music Performance senior recital Saturday at 3 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall. It will include works performed on a variety of instruments from mallet percussion to jazz drum set.

Study Abroad Fair a success

SMU alum Marcy Mueller talked to students at Salesian Lay Ministers
Last Thursday Saint Mary’s hosted its first Study Abroad Fair. The event was well-attended and showcased the various study abroad programs available to Saint Mary’s students. Study abroad office staff, students who studied abroad, representatives from affiliated programs, and faculty leaders of short-term study abroad programs were all on hand to answer questions. Furthermore, the Office of Campus Ministry and representatives from volunteer organizations provided information on opportunities to volunteer abroad.

Lawing to display series of work in Decorah, Winona

“Elegant Decay,”new work by Preston Lawing of the Art and Design Department, is on display at the ArtHaus Gallery in Decorah, Iowa, beginning today, Oct. 4. This exhibition moves to Winona with an opening reception Nov. 5 at the Lyon Smith Gallery, 199 E. 3rd St.

SMU in the news

Here is one way Saint Mary’s is making the news this week:
• SMU volleyball player Lexi Assimos was highlighted in the Sept. 29 Winona Daily News story titled, “Emotional Leader.” Go to

Alum’s son featured on 'X-Factor'

Tim Olstad, whose mother, Julie (Savant) Olstad is a 1976 alum, has been regularly featured on “X Factor.” Tune in to FOX Oct. 9-10 to watch more of the four-chair challenge to see if Olstad advances in this national singing competition.

Congratulations to O’Shea, Welch, Driesen families

Three baby girls were born recently — all to faculty from our Department of Music.  Camille (Mimi) Charlotte O’Shea was born on Thursday, Sept. 26 to Dr. Patrick and Lindsy O’Shea; Anastasia Marie Welch was born on Sept. 30 to Jen (Thad) Welch; and Rayna Driesen was born to Dan (Kari) Driesen. The Saint Mary’s community extends its congratulations to these families.

Sympathy to Pilarski family

Rita Husman, Sandy Pilarski’s (Human Resources) mother, died on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

The Saint Mary’s community extends its sympathy to the Pilarski family.