Friday, June 20, 2014

We celebrate excellence in many forms

Summer at the Winona campus is filled with a different sort of activity than during the academic year. We host a variety of camps and workshops, community events, and our alumni reunion. Summer is also a time to freshen the campus and facilities before we welcome students in fall. But still I reflect back on the spring semester and why we are really here: to prepare graduates with the advanced knowledge, skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to be lifelong learners, successful workers, good neighbors and ethical citizens. Please enjoy the stories below as they truly represent the excellence our students are attaining as they strive to be such people.

Student research and talents on display

In April we hosted our second annual Celebration of Scholarship to highlight and celebrate the diverse talents and skills of our undergraduate students, across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines. More than 130 students presented their research results and artistic performances at locations around the campus to packed rooms of students, faculty and parents. View photos.

Academic achievements are recognized

Saint Mary’s recognized outstanding senior students on April 11 at the annual academic honors convocation. Highlights of the evening included the announcement of graduate and professional school acceptances, grants and fellowships, and the awarding of special honors from the various departments. Read more and view photos.

Celebration of Excellence in Chicago advances science initiative

Scientific achievements and aspirations were on display May 17 at the first Brother Charles Severin Celebration of Excellence held at the Union League Club in Chicago. The gala event was an opportunity for Chicagoland alumni and friends to learn about the major strategic goal of advancing the sciences at Saint Mary’s. Science faculty members, students, retired professors, trustees and university administrators attended to share examples of scientific research and plans for new programs and facilities at Saint Mary’s. View photos.

Saint Mary’s hosts special science event

Saint Mary’s hosted the Minnesota Academy of Science annual meeting and the Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium in conjunction with the NC3 District Annual meeting of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society.

One hundred twenty-four students from 21 colleges and universities in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin presented their research in the fields of cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, earth science, ecology and environmental science, economics, engineering, math and computer science, physics, neuroscience, organismal and physiological sciences, and social sciences. See a list of Saint Mary’s students winning awards at the conference.

College hosts interdisciplinary conference

This year Saint Mary’s hosted the annual Undergraduates, Inc. Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference Program that brought students from North Dakota State, Iowa State, Winona State and other regional universities to present their work in academic panels along with Saint Mary’s students. The conference rotates among the North Dakota State, Iowa State and Saint Mary’s campuses. Highlights were two keynote presentations by faculty scholars and research presentations by students from several disciplines, including English, history, women’s and gender studies, and communication.

Students attend national theatre tech conference in Fort Worth

Saint Mary’s was represented by six students and staff at the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) conference in Fort Worth, Texas, at the end of March. The participants took full advantage of workshops and sessions, learned about the newest technology from vendors, experienced the Sound Lab, met with potential graduate schools, and interviewed for jobs across the U.S. 

The students also met up with Saint Mary’s alum and Fellow of the institute, Dr. Randall Davidson ’53, who has founded several risk management corporations and has authored books on product liability and theatre safety. Attendees included John Goblirsch ’14, Jason Underferth ’00 (Performance Center technical director), Kathleen Bryant ’15, Arielle Ems ’15; front, Karina Kim ’16, Charlotte Deranek ’14 and Dovie Hughes ’16.

Work of private college scholars on display at the Minnesota State Capitol

Five students traveled to the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda to present the results of their independent research and creative scholarship at the Minnesota Private College Scholars at the Capitol event. The Minnesota Private College Council hosts this event to publicize and celebrate the achievements of just a few of the thousands of students who attend 15 private schools of higher learning in Minnesota, and to share research that may have long-term implications for our state.

This event showcased current research projects completed by more than 40 undergraduate scholars from Minnesota private colleges and universities. Saint Mary’s students presenting at this year’s event included Amy Spitzmueller, Ryan Diak, Amanda Lindholm, Danielle Pues and Rim Woldeslassie.

Kabara Institute speaker addresses entrepreneurship and data analysis

As part of the spring Kabara Institute speaker series, Stephen Woessner, founder of Predictive ROI, spoke to students at an event sponsored by our Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, the Envision Club and the School of Business. Woessner is a digital marketing authority, entrepreneur, speaker, educator, and bestselling author of two books. His presentation focused on entrepreneurship and data analysis.

The Kabara Institute aims to incite a passion for entrepreneurial spirit in students across the university, regardless of their major field of study. It also strives to enhance the entrepreneurship program offerings here by providing opportunities for students to interact with entrepreneurs and experience entrepreneurship first-hand. 

Student Life Awards recognize outstanding leadership and service

In April, we stepped back from a busy year to recognize some Winona campus students, faculty and staff who have exhibited outstanding leadership and service through co-curricular activities. The Student Life Awards Ceremony honored those who have contributed so much to a vibrant campus culture and a transformational residential life experience for our students, including residence life, intramural sports, outdoor recreation, campus ministry activities, clubs and organizations, student government, and community service. Also recognized were students who have completed our Leadership Certificate program.

The overall Student Service Award was presented to Abi Osborne (shown above with Chris Kendall, vice president for student life). Elizabeth Arnold received the Brother James Miller Award (presented to a student who has dedicated his/her college experience to promoting the legacy of Brother James Miller, spreading the compassion of God and continually serving the community).

Here is the complete list of awards and event photos.

Vaughn receives leadership award from Minnesota Campus Compact

Manire Vaughn, a junior Human Services major, was recognized by the Minnesota Campus Compact with a Presidents' Student Leadership Award. Manire is shown above with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. The award is presented to an individual who models a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership. Manire was recognized for his commitment to social justice as evidenced by his leadership of S.O.U.L. mission trips where he worked with the underprivileged, and by his work as a resident assistant and as a member of the Solidarity Council, where he has developed and presented programs on social mobility and diversity for our students.

Reflections on SOUL mission trips

Not everyone went home or to Florida over spring break. Instead, many students took the opportunity to travel out of state and help others during SOUL mission trips to Montana and St. Louis. Read student perspectives of these valuable campus ministry experiences.

Baseball team lands spot in conference postseason tournament

The Cardinal baseball team capped another exciting year with a third-straight berth in the conference tournament and several individual honors. Saint Mary's won six straight games at the end of the season to earn the third seed in the tournament, where they beat St. John's but lost twice to Bethel. The Cardinals ended the season 13-7 in conference, 18-23 overall. 

Coach Nick Winecke ’07 was honored as MIAC coach of the year and seven of his players collected individual awards. Freshman Ben Buerkle was conference Rookie of the Year and he earned a spot on the All-Midwest Region Third Team. More about MIAC honors.

Aspiring police officer interns in Washington with INTERPOL

Junior Colin Hennessy, a criminal justice and law enforcement major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was one of two students spending spring semester interning in Washington, D.C. through a partnership with the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. Colin, who has aspirations to become a police officer battling narcotics, worked with the INTERPOL cooperative international crime-fighting agency. Read more about his internship.

1st students graduate as FGI Scholars; generous gift will support the program

A milestone was marked at the May commencement ceremony, when the first nine FGI Scholars received their undergraduate diplomas. These graduates represent the success of a program that began four years ago to assist students from underserved populations with achieving their educational goals. Our First Generation Initiative (FGI) was created to break down barriers to higher education by providing high-potential students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with financial and academic support.

Earlier in spring at a special donor recognition dinner, Saint Mary’s presented the Heritage Award for Transformational Philanthropy to Jack and Mary Ann (Wera CST '64) Remick of Rochester. The Remicks are long-time supporters of FGI and the Countdown to College program (which prepares first generation high-schoolers for college). At the dinner it was announced that a new $8 million gift from the Remicks will be directed to support the First Generation Initiative. Mary Ann Remick currently serves as chair of the FGI advisory board. More about the award and gift.