Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cardinal Plunge Feb. 7 to raise money for alumna

Brave souls and warm hearts are invited to join Saint Mary’s University for the sixth annual “Cardinal Plunge” noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Lake Lodge Recreation Center, in coordination with the Winter Carnival Goose Bump Jump. Several celebrity plungers including Chris Kendall, vice president of student life; John Duerst, residence life director; and Christian Brothers Robertolino, Christhian, Peter, and Miguel are braving the cold for a good cause.

This year, Cardinal Plunge participants will again be freezin’ for a reason. Proceeds will be given to Juliana Piscitiello, a 2006 Saint Mary’s alumna who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a genetic, auto-immune disease and a chronic progressive form of arthritis which is destroying her spine. Piscitiello, former part-time faculty member at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, has enjoyed ballet since the age of 3 and has assisted with dance choreography on campus. Funds will be used to assist with the expense of her ongoing therapy, much of which is needed to reduce the severity of her painful symptoms. She could also benefit from adaptive equipment.

She is the daughter of Kathy (Ordahl) CST’70 Piscitiello and Tony Piscitiello ’69, senior advancement director at Saint Mary’s.

The cost to plunge is $20 ($15 for the Saint Mary’s community). Registration runs from 11:30 a.m. to noon, and a silent auction will be held inside the lodge between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Future Alumni Committee. Donations can be dropped off with Alex Bilski in the Development Office (60 Heffron Hall) or mailed to campus mailbox #21 with attention to “Cardinal Plunge.”

Pre-register online at For more information, contact Alex Bilski at 457-6675 or Conner Ellinghuysen at 429-7960.

Page Series to host puppet pirates Feb. 5

The Page Series will present the world’s only puppet, rock, yoga opera for families in search of calm during the Z Puppets Rosenschnoz production of “Monkey Mind Pirates” Feb. 5.

The epic tale, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, details how a sea captain discovers the secrets to navigating the stormy seas of stress. When Captain Fitz sets out for the Legendary Waters of Calm, the unruly Monkey Mind Pirates hijack his ship with anxiety, depression and distraction. The chaos turns his ship upside down and drives the captain overboard where he meets the Wise Sea Monkey. Find out how the captain learns to turn his “Arrghs” into “Oms,” regain peace, and tame the Monkey Mind Pirates.

Based in Minneapolis, Z Puppets Rosenschnoz tours their family-friendly comedies across the country. Z Puppets artists Shari Aronson and Chris Griffith have earned many awards, including support from the Jim Henson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Puppeteers of America and the Minnesota State Arts Board. The Monkey Mind Pirates CD is winner of an award of excellence from Creative Child magazine and featured as a top pick by Creative Play Retailer.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $6 for seniors and students and are available online at or at the box office, Ext. 1715, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

La Crosse Chamber Chorale concerts feature music faculty

The La Crosse Chamber Chorale will feature the talents of three Saint Mary’s music faculty in their upcoming “Prayers and Visions” concerts on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Concerts are 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 and 3 p.m. Feb. 1. Set in the beautiful Mary of the Angels Chapel in the St. Rose Convent (901 Franciscan Way, La Crosse), the concert will include compositions by Dr. Patrick O’Shea and A. Eric Heukeshoven as well as performances by violinist Dr. David Leung.

O’Shea’s “Nocte fletuum angelis” (Night of the Weeping of Angels) was composed in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The work was jointly premiered by The Singers and the Saint Mary’s Chamber Singers in February 2014.

Heukeshoven’s “Preghiera Semplice” (Simple Prayer) was commissioned for the Saint Mary’s Chamber Singers’ 2012 tour to Italy. The work is based on “The Prayer of Saint Francis” (“O Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …”) and received its premiere in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Dr. David Leung will be the featured guest artist in performances of Jacob Avshalomov’s setting of the Rune of Hospitality, “I Saw a Stranger Yestere’en” and in “Pietà” by Reed Criddle, inspired by Michelangelo’s famous sculpture.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Complete information can be found at

Hot employee chili cookoff competition is Feb. 5

At least three or four more chili makers are needed to be able to conduct our annual faculty/staff chili cookoff.

Test your award-winning chili in the annual faculty/staff chili cookoff on Thursday, Feb. 5. Prizes will be awarded to the top three chillis.

Please let Deb Nahrgang (Ext. 6966 or know by the end of the day today (Friday) if you plan to enter the contest, so we can be sure we have enough to go around.

Then, just bring your “unmarked” crockpot to the Common Room by 11 to 11:15 a.m. Everyone is invited to eat chili between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Proceeds will go to CTIE in Nairobi.

Schild to read from poetry collection Feb. 3

Dr. Steve Schild, Communication Department, will read from his recent poetry collection “Eros in Autumn” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the Book Shelf, 162 W. 2nd St., Winona.

Schild’s poetry has appeared in a number of literary venues including Elysian Fields Quarterly, ArtWord Quarterly and Whiskey Island Magazine as well as the anthologies 33 Minnesota Poets, Witness, and Growing Season.

An open mic will follow Schild’s reading, which is part of the Laureate Reading Series.

MCA offers drawing workshops for youth

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Visual Arts Division invites students in grades 4-7 to participate in drawing workshops from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, March 9, and April 13.

Drawing is a great skill for students to learn observation, memory, and dexterity. Young artists will explore still-life imaginative works, portraiture, and Japanese brush painting during these once-a-month workshops with local artist Julie Johnston.

New students are welcome, and those who have participated previously will be challenged with new themes and works. The price for all three workshops is $35 and includes all supplies.

For more information, go to, email, or call 507-453-5500.

MCA announces auditions for Summer Dance Intensive

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Summer Dance Intensive offers comprehensive dance training for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 11 to 22.  Auditions are required for acceptance. Boarding and non-boarding camp options are available.

Summer Dance Intensive students participate in approximately eight hours of technique and theory classes each day, as well as a final showcase performance. The auditions will include a full ballet class. Students with pointe experience should bring pointe shoes to the audition class. Following the ballet class, students may choose to show a prepared jazz, modern, tap, or character dance center combination of at least 64 counts or 16 bars. Showing a prepared piece is optional.

Audition information:

La Crosse Dance Centre, 2716 Commerce St., La Crosse, Wis.; 608-783-5155; Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. to noon

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, 1164 W. 10th St., Winona; 507-453-5501, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m. to noon

Cowels Center/ James Sewell Ballet, Studio 2B, 528 Hennepin Ave., Suite 215, Minneapolis, Sunday, April 26, 1 to 3 p.m.

Talent-based scholarships are awarded on a case-by-case basis. For students who are unable to attend one of the audition classes, video auditions will be accepted through April 20.

For a brochure, registration form, and more information, visit, e-mail, “like” them on Facebook, or call 507-453-5500.

H3O jazz trio fundraiser for Misato student ambassadors

The father and sons jazz trio known as “H3O” will be featured at “Jammin’ at the Well” on Sunday, Feb. 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Wellington’s Pub & Grill (1429 Service Drive). Eric Heukeshoven of the Music Department (piano) is joined by his two sons, Hans ’14 on drums, and Max ’19 on bass.

The H3O Trio began this successful fundraiser for the Winona Area Public Schools Misato Ambassadors program in 2013 when Max Heukeshoven traveled with the group to Winona’s sister city in Japan.

Joining the trio this year is Minnesota Music Hall of Famer Les Fields with his pocket cornet. There is no cover charge for the event and rumor has it that several other well-known jazz musicians might stop by to sit in with the trio. There is no cover charge and donations will be gratefully appreciated.

For more information please contact A. Eric Heukeshoven at Ext. 7292 or

News from Nairobi

By James Chege
Head librarian
Maryknoll Institute for African Studies

MIASMU January Semester Begins

The second semester of the 2014/15 academic year at the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies began with a day of orientation on Jan. 23. The orientation brought together a host of new and returning students as well as field assistants. The total number of students hit an all time high for semester programs with a total of 36 students and 53 class registrations spread over six courses.

Students and field assistants listen keenly to the opening address by Father Michael Kirwen.

Proceedings began with a preliminary address by program founder and director, Prof. Michael Kirwen who welcomed the students and gave a brief introduction on the MIASMU programs by highlighting their focus on a systematic study of African cultures while at the same time fostering understanding of one’s own culture of origin. The assistant director Denis Odinga outlined what is expected from the students and field assistants during the semester, followed by the program editor, Father Joseph Oindo, a recent MIASMU M.A. graduate, who spoke at length about the unique MIAS method of learning.
Students and field assistants have a chat and a coffee break during orientation.

The students and field assistants mingled and socialized over coffee and mandazi (a form of fried bread that originates from the Swahili Coast). Soon after it was back to business as the first research workshops were conducted in an interactive manner. The foundational class tackled among other things interview techniques that the students would be using in their field work, and the advanced class looked at some critical areas in writing M.A. thesis proposals as they ready themselves for thesis research and writing in the near future.
Veteran field assistants, from left: Francis Kumunya, Emma Massau and Victor O'Kubasu converse over coffee.

The semester has six courses: Spirituality, Personhood and Psychotherapy in an African Context taught by Drs. Hubert Pinto; African Spirituality taught by Prof. Laurenti Magesa; African Cultures: An Overview taught by Prof. Edward Oyugi; African Marriage and Family: Challenge and Change taught by Prof. Mary Getui, Justice; Peace in East Africa taught by Dr. Emmanuel Manyasa; and Moral Teaching and Practices of African Traditional Religion taught by Dr. Michael Katola.

Vondrasek completes doctoral work

Congratulations to Dr. Tammy Vondrasek, assistant director of financial aid and adjunct professor in the Business Department, upon completion of her doctoral work. Her dissertation is titled: “A Phenomenological Study of Maternal Influence on the Leadership Development of Women Presidents at Institutions of Higher Learning.” She received her Doctor of Education in Leadership degree on Jan. 18 in the commencement ceremony on the Twin Cities campus.

Biology news

Clinton Nienhaus '13 (Environmental Biology major) was awarded the 2014 Young Birder Award by the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (MOU). The award is presented to someone younger than 25 who has made a significant contribution to birding in Minnesota. Incidentally, another award given by the MOU, the Brother Theodore Voelker Award  for special achievement in field ornithology, is named after a former member of the Saint Mary’s faculty.

Additionally, Dr. Phil Cochran (Biology Department) has just started a term on the board of directors of the National Trout Center in Preston, Minn. One of his priorities will be to increase opportunities for student intern involvement in the activities of the center.

Sympathy to Bassi family

Tara Bassi ’13 died Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the age of 24 after a valiant battle with cancer. Tara graduated from Saint Mary's University with a degree in public relations.

The visitation for Tara will be Friday from 1 to 9 p.m. at Peterson-Bassi Chapels, 6938 W. North Ave., Chicago. The full obituary for Tara can be found at the following link:

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

Saint Mary's faculty, staff art now on display

"Saint Mary's Creates," an exhibition of creative works by the university faculty and staff, is now on display in the  Lillian Davis Hogan Gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public daily.

All members of the Winona campus staff, faculty, and administration were invited to submit their creative endeavors for this exhibition.

The creative works include painting, drawing, photography, writing, quilts and fiber arts, sculpture and mixed media and more.