An update from the president to alumni and parents
Summer at the Winona Campus is filled with a different type of activity and energy, as we host a variety of camps and workshops, community events, and our alumni reunion weekend. This is also a time to freshen up the campus and facilities before we welcome students back in the fall. Still, I reflect back on the spring semester and why we are really here: to prepare graduates who have the knowledge, skills, and critical-thinking abilities necessary to be lifelong learners, successful workers, good neighbors, and ethical citizens. Please enjoy this newsletter and its sample of stories about some of our students and what they are doing.
— Brother William (Summer, 2017)
The university ushered in a new vision for science education excellence May 12, as the doors opened to the much-anticipated Science and Learning Center on the Winona Campus. A crowd of more than 400 gathered at the dedication ceremony, ribbon-cutting, and blessing by Winona Bishop John Quinn before moving into the facility for tours and the dedication of named spaces.
Generous philanthropic support through the university’s capital campaign has already raised $19.5 million of the 50,000-square-foot building’s cost of $19.7 million.
University officials spoke of the teaching and learning opportunities made possible by the new facility, and junior biology major Bailey O’Hare thanked those who helped make the Science and Learning Center a reality. She said, “Because of you, I will finish my academic career here, in this state-of-the art facility, surrounded by dedicated and knowledgeable faculty members. And I will forever be blessed by your generosity. Thank you for making today possible.”
This spring five students were selected for prestigious leadership opportunities.
First Generation Initiative Scholars Aimee Boggs and Taliya Harris attended the Freshman Experience sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York City after being selected in a competitive nationwide process. The two-day “early insight” program introduced students who self-identify as Black, Hispanic, or Native American to the financial services industry and career opportunities. The program also helped them explore their own potential, capabilities, and interests. Students had the chance to develop leadership skills, build their network, and experience a dynamic global organization with a range of career opportunities.
In addition, three Saint Mary’s students were named to the Eddie Phillips Scholarship for African-American Men administered by the Minnesota Private College Fund. Stanley Wright, Desmond Steward, and Bradley Hill will participate in an intensive leadership development and mentoring program that is aimed at providing experiences and support for degree completion, as well as career preparation. They will participate in internships, attend a national conference, and network with local African-American leaders. Students from five Minnesota colleges and universities will take part throughout their junior and senior years. The program’s flexible framework allows focus on each student’s educational journey and complements the services and support already provided to students by campus professionals.
Twelve students and two staff members traveled to East Los Angeles the week following commencement for a Campus Ministry S.O.U.L. immersion program with the Dolores Mission. This neighborhood Jesuit Catholic parish has grown to encompass a variety of ministries, including a K-8 school, after-school programs, homeless shelter, bilingual church, immersion program, and more.
Our group visited a wide variety of organizations that work predominantly in restorative justice for gang members, homeless individuals, and formerly incarcerated individuals. These included Homeboy Industries, Union Rescue Mission, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Many of our students had read Tattoos on the Heart, Father Greg Boyle’s stories of L.A. gang members, and while visiting Homeboy Industries (Father Greg’s organization) these stories came to life.
In addition to being immersed in the mostly Latino community of East L.A., students served in the Dolores Mission School, prepared and served meals at Union Rescue Mission, and volunteered with after-school programs. Some of the most impactful moments were three “homestay” nights, where students were divided into small groups and welcomed into the homes of families within the Dolores Mission community.
Read student blogs about their experiences online.
As the university strives to develop students for lives of ethical service and leadership, the Board of Trustees heard at its May 12 meeting from a panel of 12 graduating seniors representing a variety of activities, majors, and schools at the Winona Campus. (Four students were from arts and humanities, five from business, one from education, and two from science.)
The panel allowed board members to see and hear reflections from graduating seniors about their experiences at Saint Mary’s. The students spoke to what path led them to Saint Mary’s, and how their Saint Mary’s experience changed or impacted them. The students’ stories and heartfelt reflections impressed the trustees, highlighting the value of community, relationship, support for success, and the liberal arts for students attending the undergraduate College.
The May 13 commencement ceremony for Winona undergraduate and graduate students highlighted academic achievement and acknowledged student leaders. Undergraduate student reflections were offered by this year’s Outstanding Male and Female Seniors Peter Hegland, son of Jim and Tanja Hegland of Saint Charles, Minn., and Ena Moats, daughter of Steven and Julie Moats of Roland, Iowa. Representing our Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs was Heather Jill Mahady Eld, while Rachel Busch and Traci M. Douglas were presented with Outstanding Graduate Final Paper Awards.
We also took the occasion to honor a noted researcher, educator, and alumnus John Stegeman, Ph.D., with a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa. Dr. Stegeman, a 1966 graduate of Saint Mary’s, is senior scientist and director of the prestigious Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and an internationally respected researcher in biochemistry, focused on the biological effects of chemicals in the environment.
View photos of the May 13 commencement ceremony online (click on “View Album”).
Spring events promoted a safe, healthy, vibrant experience on the residential Winona Campus. The Diversity Symposium sponsored by the Solidarity Council provided a forum for students, faculty, and staff to raise and discuss important issues, educate each other and the community, and support multiculturalism. Presentations ranged from research posters to participation exercises that challenged stereotypes. A “Boxes and Walls” interactive diversity experience helped participants tear down the walls and preconceptions that people build in their lives.
The Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards provide an opportunity for university presidents to give statewide recognition to leaders in civic engagement at their institutions. Two entities and an individual were nominated by Brother William for the awards, which were presented at the Campus Compact annual summit in Saint Paul.
Receiving our Student Leadership Award was Aldontae Guess, who was cited for modeling a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership. One of a select few honorees to give presentations during the MCC awards ceremony, Guess is a First Generation Initiative Scholar who is a visible advocate for respect, solidarity, and inclusivity on the Winona Campus.
The Civic Engagement Steward Award went to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, cited as a shining example of civic engagement at Saint Mary’s. The committee has sponsored fundraisers to benefit members of the Saint Mary’s community in need. It hosts students from the community at sporting events and collects food and toys for families in need in Winona.
DeLaSalle High School (Minneapolis) received our Community Partner Award for working with Saint Mary’s to identify practices that lead to increased equity and intercultural awareness in the classroom. DeLaSalle High School prepares students from various economic levels, academic abilities, racial communities, and ethnic backgrounds to be of service to the local, national, and global community.
Ben Buerkle (Roseville, Minn.) closed out an illustrious baseball career as the Cardinals’ all-time career leader in nine different categories—not to mention holding three single-season school records. Buerkle shined in the classroom as well and was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) 2017 Division III Academic All-America® second team.
In each of the previous two years Buerkle has received third team Academic All-America® honors. The national honor for athletic and academic excellence was just the latest in a long line of post-season accolades for Buerkle—who graduated in May with a 3.78 GPA as a double-major in Business Management and Finance.
Buerkle and 40 other Saint Mary’s winter/spring sports student-athletes also received Academic All-Conference recognition from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for maintaining grade point averages above 3.5.
The Office of Campus Ministry has received a $10,000 mentoring grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) to create a new peer ministry program, and three Saint Mary’s students who will serve as peer ministers in the 2017-18 academic year attended a regional discernment retreat, sponsored by FTE. The FTE grant is one of three recently received by the Office of Student Life and the Office of Campus Ministry.
The FTE grant will support seven peer ministers and additional spiritual and retreat programming for the next academic year, as well as provide an increased ministry presence on the Winona Campus. Student peer ministers will participate in leadership and formation opportunities while also discerning a call to volunteer or to serve in professional ministry. They will help with both new and existing Campus Ministry programming, personal invitations across campus, and increasing opportunities for engagement in faith and leadership.
Performance coach Dr. Cindra Kamphoff brought her high-energy, highly interactive motivational messages to student-athletes and the Winona Campus community in April. Her talk was sponsored by Saint Mary’s Leadership Program and co-hosted by the Student Athlete Advisory Council as part of “D-III Week,” an annual celebration of the positive impact of NCAA Division III athletics on campuses and in communities.
Dr. Kamphoff works with business leaders, entrepreneurs, elite athletes, and athletic teams (including the Minnesota Vikings) to help them reach their best more often. Her focus is to help others master the mental strategies necessary to live and perform to their potential. Dr. Kamphoff applies her research and experiences working with professional athletes and championship teams to business and entrepreneurs. She is also the director and founder of the Center of Sport and Performance Psychology, and professor in Performance Psychology at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
In early summer, a select group of science students from colleges throughout the Midwest participated in the first Advancing Regenerative Medicine (ARM) grant-funded workshop at the Winona Campus. The workshop provided hands-on learning opportunities in the cutting-edge regenerative medicine field to 19 undergraduate students from seven Midwestern colleges (including nine Saint Mary’s students). Selected through a rigorous nomination and application process, the students were undergraduate sophomore and junior science majors from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Connecticut, and Germany.
The goal of the workshop was to increase the students’ knowledge and experience in this fast-growing area of study. Specifically, the focus was on advancing clinically relevant scientific discovery in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. This groundbreaking and evolving discipline has tremendous potential to impact the treatment of diseases affecting different organ systems—from tissue growth for burn victims to growing new vital organs, such as hearts and kidneys.
The workshop provided the student participants with theoretical and practical learning experiences. It was the first educational use of our newly completed, state-of-the-art Science and Learning Center. Students stayed on campus, learned from guest speakers who work in the field, and gained hands-on experiences in the new laboratories, as well as toured the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The Advanced Regenerative Medicine workshop at Saint Mary’s was funded by a grant of nearly $100,000 from Regenerative Medicine Minnesota. More information about the program is online.
The diverse academic skills and artistic talents of our undergraduate students were on full display April 28 during the annual Celebration of Scholarship. The day-long event featured 170 students giving 120 presentations, highlighting their academic research projects and demonstrating performance and artistic skills.
The campuswide celebration provided an opportunity for peers, parents, and professors to support our students and see what’s happening in the various areas of study on campus. Three presentation sessions were held throughout the campus, capped by a poster session in Saint Mary’s Hall. Later that evening at the Academic Honors Convocation, students were recognized for outstanding activity by membership in honor societies, completion of the honors program, and departmental awards.