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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Past Events

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Mankato Area Lifelong Learners: March 9, 2017

Dave Janovy and Mary Bliesmer, emeriti faculty, gave a presentation on Mankato Area Lifelong Learners. The organization offers more than 48 adult learning experiences each year. Both Dave and Mary are past presidents of the Lifelong Learners Council.

Dr. Greg Kutcher talked about the Mayo Health System - Aug 12, 2011, at Society's Coffee and Conversation session.

Karen Foreman's Retirement Reception June 27th

After decades of silence, Paul Lindfors' violin is making music again

For more than five decades, former electrical engineering instructor Paul Lindfors’ violin never made a sound.

Once a treasure of his youth, the violin became little more than a showpiece when Lindfors gave up music to pursue athletic glory. Trading his bow for a basketball, Lindfors left the instrument in storage and forgot about it.

But Lindfors felt there was something amiss, perhaps even depressing, about an instrument unused. So one day last year, after reading an article about Classical MPR’s instrument recycling program in The Free Press, Lindfors took the venerable old violin off the shelf.

Now the violin has found its way into hands of Mankato East ninth-grader Ly Nguyen.

The goal of the program is to recycle used instruments and provide them to cash-strapped school music programs. In Nguyen’s case, she had outgrown the youth-size violin she was using previously but wasn’t sure how to procure a new one.

Dave Urness, orchestra director at East, took Lindfors’ violin and made repairs. He fixed the fingerboard, added new strings and polished it.

Slowly, the violin was resurrected.

When Lindfors and Nguyen met for the first time on Monday, an MPR film crew was there to document the meeting. To Lindfors’ delight, Nguyen played the instrument and also began resurrecting the music lost to decades of silence.

Urness said East has six or seven violins, but “we are rapidly running out of money and instruments.” With the districtwide rise of students on the free- and reduced-price lunch program (typically an indicator of community poverty levels), Urness said more students are needing help getting instruments.

Click Below for the complete Free Press story:

  • 04/20/11[PDF] After decades of silence, violin is finally Making Music (12 MiB) - The Free Press


    Gordy Graham honored

    Gordy Graham (Human Performance emeriti) will receive the Fred Zamberletti Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Sunday, April 17, at the University of St. Thomas. The award, named for the legendary Minnesota Vikings athletic trainer, honors an outstanding Minnesotan athletic trainer who has made a strong impact in the athletic training profession. The "Honoring Legends-Inspiring Leaders" event will take place at 6 p.m. in Murray-Herrick Campus Center. Gordy developed Minnesota State Mankato's athletic training program, one of the first four nationally and the oldest and most recognized accredited athletic training program in the United States. He was Minnesota State Mankato's head athletic trainer from 1964-1993. He also helped organize, and was the first president of, the Minnesota Athletic Trainer's Association. In 1990 he was inducted into the North Central Conference Hall of Fame and in 1993 was a charter inductee into the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame. In 1994 he was inducted into the National Athletic Trainer's Association Hall of Fame.

    Those who wish to purchase tickets may visit the Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation website.


    Silver Tsunami in South Minnesota: Energy Source or Energy Drain - by Tim Penny, former Congressman

    VINE's Pam Determan talks about a new use for the old MSU Nichols Science Building

    On Thursday 24th March, Pam talked about the great project Aging to the Max. She told us about how VINE Faith in Action is actively raising funds to obtain and re-purpose the 60,000 square foot Nichols Building located within the central core of Mankato. This landmark building located on MSU's former Valley Campus, would house the senior programming of the Summit Center and consolidate the offices and programs of VINE . VINE plans to create a "one-stop shop" for aging adults to improve their physical health, socialize with peers, volunteer to help others and get access to needed services. VINE is committed to helping older adults remain healthy and living in their own homes for as long as it is safe and reasonable to do so.

    MSU's Marni Dunning briefs Society members about LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

    On Thursday 24th March, Marni Dunning from Information Technology, talked about three of the most famous online social networks; Linkedin, Twitter and FaceBook. She compared all three and showed us how different they are from each other. Marni mentioned about the increase in the average age of users on these social networks. She told us how millions of users all around world can access these social networks from not only just a computer, but even their personal handheld smartphones. An interesting fact she told was that big organizations such as CNN have employees who are just working on tweeting on "Twitter" all day, updating and informing followers about latest news.

    Professor Thomas Hendrickson: Micro Financing Ag Projects in Tanzania

    On Thursday 24th March, Dr. Thomas Hendrickson spoke about "Iringa Hope", his micro finance project in the village of Tanzania. In 2007, he formed the SACCOS ( Savings And Credit COperative Societies ) in Tanzania which has 650 people involved. SACCOS is a local microfinance bank that lends money to the Tanzanian villagers. Hendrickson said that the nice thing about these people (Tanzanians) is that they don't beg you for money, they want you to lend them money for their agricultural harvesting. SACCOS provides a loan of $150-$300 for 6-9 month period.

    Amazing tour of the WALTER Lab with Dr. Cecil Keen - Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

    Dr. Cecil Keen talked about the MSU's WALTER (Weather Analysis Laboratory for Teaching and Educational Resources). He highlighted how in-depth weather monitoring is these days, mentioning MSU has trained U.S Air Force personnel on weather monitoring information through graphical visualization . He talked about how technological advances have made it complex yet easier to look over the weather for the entire U.S. Dr. Keen talked about job placement for those students who have worked with WALTER.

    Dr. Cecil Keen briefed us about the special equipment installed on the roof of Armstrong Hall which helps monitor and capture images from about 250 mile radius. He talked briefly about global warming and pointed out some of the major facts and signs of global warming.

    A tour of the WALTER windowless lab, located in the basement of Armstrong Hall, was provided by Paul Zunkel ( Director of Radon Project ) showing us how software works with computer monitoring devices. Paul and Dr. Keen also informed us about the MSU Radon Project and some of its data collection results from year 2007.


    Financial Planning with Jim Lewis - November 12, 2010, CSU Heritage Room

    Minnesota State University Graduate, Jim Lewis, was here discussing financial planning and providing advice.

    Campus Recreation Presentation & Tour - Friday, October 8, 2010

    Not only were the Emeriti able to be reminded of their Maverick Pride with events of Homecoming going on all over campus, but they also received some knowledge about the Campus Recreation facilities and opportunities currently available. A short presentation was given explaining the program available to Emeriti faculty and staff. Following this was a tour of the Campus Recreation facilities, including Otto Rec Center.

    Wind Turbine Briefing and Tour with Dr. Vincent Winstead - Friday, September 17, 2010


    Wind Turbines: Energy for Today

    Dr. Vincent Winstead, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technology, is currently working on an alternative energy research project at MSU. This project includes the purchase, installation, testing, and operation of four commercially available wind-powered electric generation systems. This project also involves data collection and processing for the four systems in an effort to generate real-world long-term operational performance data, and the development of training materials for the operation and maintenance of the target systems.

    You can click here to view Dr. Winstead's project website. You can also click the pictures below to look at the turbines. If you have any questions or comments for Dr. Winstead, you can e-mail him at


    White Complimentary Permit Privileges Have Been Expanded!

    White complimentary permit holders may now park in the Visitors Pay Lot on any class day throughout the year. When leaving the paylot, show the paylot attendant your white permit, and it will be logged. White permit holders can still park in Gold permit stalls during the summer (anytime, but NOT overnight).

    Get A Lift!!

    An Unforgettable Way Into Retirement - The Morgan Thomas Way

    Click the balloon to find out who flew into retirement in 1982.

    Emeriti Society Holiday Party - Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

    Administration & Finance Vice President Richard Straka welcomed emeriti to the annual holiday party held in the Student Union. Straka briefed those present on the latest enrollment positives, the state's budget situation and how it may affect MSU, and the University's China initiative with MSU's aviation program.

    English Dept. Hosted Eddice Barber Celebration Nov. 12, 2010

    Dr. Eddice Barber, MSU Professor Emeritus was recently honored for her work at the University and the Mankato community. The event was held in the fireside room of the Student Union's lower level.

    Many talked, Eddice listened, and then Eddice thanked those present for attending though she said it was a "mystery" why anybody decided to show up. The food was great.


    Click here to read about her celebration.

    Morning Coffee & Conversation - Keynote by MSU Interim Assistant V.P. for Planning, Avra Johnson - August 13, 2010

    Morning Coffee & Conversation - Keynote by Finance & Administration V.P. Rick Straka - July 09, 2010

    Vice President Rick Straka sounded a positive note - compared to the "doom and gloom" heard elsewhere - regarding how MSU is preparing for another round of state aid reductions that will probably land a year from now affecting the 2011-12 budget. With tuition increases kept at a minimum and enrollment increasing, MSU will see larger class sizes, fewer teaching faculty positions, and reductions in non-instructional staffing. Where early retirement incentives can help soften the long term budget blow MSU has made offers to a number of faculty who then elected to retire earlier than planned.

    MSU made dramatic cuts already and the 2009-10 budget was trimmed back making it a little easier to deal with state budget forecasts for 2011-12. The Faculty Association, among other collective bargaining groups on campus, have been kept in the loop as MSU is attempting to make the budget reduction process as open and transparent as possible.

    Straka also commented on a number of topics. The brand new "textbook rental" program of Barnes & Noble was a highlight with B&N's Molly Yunkers briefing those present about this new option provided students beyond the more traditional purchase of a new or used textbook. The rental program does not put any burden on faculty to keep a textbook edition for years, and the students - and their parents - are very excited about the obvious reduction in textbook costs. ($100 new book rents for $45 or can be purchased as a used textbook for $75. Straka also pitched the Student Senate's MavTextbook Reserve program where a student can check out an expensive textbook for up to two hours from the Library at no charge.

    Morning Coffee & Conversation - Keynote by MSU Provost & Academic V.P. Scott Olson - June 11, 2010

    Click on an image to enlarge.

    President's Breakfast for Donors - May 13, 2010

    Minnesota State University, Mankato President's Society members share a common commitment to build strong academic programs which will enable Minnesota State University, Mankato students to obtain skills and knowledge for leadership roles in the state, the nation and the world.

    During this breakfast, former Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and current Interim IRETI Director, John Frye, announced that he would be donating $114,000 to the University's new International Renewable Energy Technology Institute (IRETI) program.

    President Richard Davenport
    Justin Hines
    Presidential Scholar
    Mary Dowd
    Second Year Doctoral Student
    Mr. & Mrs. John Frye
    Significant Donors to IRETI Program

    If you would like to view the program from the event, you can download it by clicking here.

    Welcoming of New Society Members

    New Emeriti Society members were welcomed on May 11th, 2010. Below are pictures from the welcoming event. Please click on any picture you would like to enlarge.

    President Richard Davenport
    Todd Pfingsten
    Director of Campus Recreation
    Karen Foreman

    Retirement Luncheon - April 29, 2010




    On April 29th, a retirement luncheon was held in honor of all of the staff and faculity who retired at the end of the 2009-10 academic year. You can click on the picture on the left to view the program and see what the honorees have planned for their retirement.


    KMSU Radio Station Tour: Friday, March 5, 2010 in KMSU Broadcast Studios in the Alumni and Foundation Center.

    KMSU - 89.7 FM General Manager Jim Gullickson hosted the tour group of Emeriti and provided history and operational information about the 20,000 watt station here at Minnesota State Mankato. See what's going on at the radio station today by clicking here.

    KMSU General Manager
    Jim Gullickson
    Former Economics Professor
    Oliver Mulford reminisces
    "on air" about his years at

    Emeriti Holiday Party, December 2009

    The Society's Annual Holiday Party was held Friday afternoon, December 11, 2009, with nearly 50 attendees present. University President Richard Davenport provided an update on what's happening at Minnesota State Mankato including building projects, impact of state-wide budget cuts, etc. Davenport complimented retirees on their contributions as employees and their years of quality service that provided the "solid base" on which programs and facilities now rest. Education College Dean Mike Miller briefed those present on a recent multi-million dollar student teacher grant just awarded. Jason McCue, Building Services Director, provided the musical background and the goodies were paid for out of the Society's operating budget. [The Society now receives a $3,500 annual donation from Barnes & Noble @ Minnesota State - let's not forget MSU's on-campus bookstore when we're buying wearing apparel and other gifts.]

    Dr. Michael A. Miller, College of Education Dean

    Dr. Richard Davenport, University President


    Society of Honored Staff, Teaching & Administrative/Service Faculty

    Emeriti Society Tour of the new Ostrander Auditorium - November 13th, 2009

    Recently, Ostrander Auitorium received a renovation. Three guest speakers spoke at the event: Scott Hagebak (Assistant Director of the CSU), Fred Slocum (Associate Professor, Political Science), & Hal Walberg (Former MSU Professor, Philosophy).


    Emeriti Society Tour of Campus Kitchen Project - October 16th, 2009

    Student effort to work with area restaurants to pick-up & deliver excess food to hungry adults, seniors, children & families in need. 30,000 meals delivered. College of Business' Principles of Management class helps with fundraising for the Campus Kitchen. Located in the basement of the Gage Residence Hall Community. Click here to visit their website.


    Click here to view the rest of the images. Also, you can view a video created by the students at Campus Kitchen.

    "Coffee with Colleagues" - June 15, 2009 - Click to enlarge



    "Coffee with Colleagues" schedule (Click to enlarge)


    David Gjerde's Retirement Party pictures - Click to enlarge




    "Coffee with Colleagues" Events - 3 Summer Events; 2 Down, 1 To Go

    Mondays 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM, Centennial Student Union's Heritage Room - Use White Parking Permits to Park in Lot 11/11a by Union.

    Over the summer months, the Society has been holding a monthly "Coffee with Colleagues" for Emerti Faculty and Staff. It is designed to be a more informal, intimate time to talk about all kinds of stuff and keep up on things. On May 18th Avra Johnson, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Planning, Research & Assessment spoke. On June 15th, Scott Olson, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, provided some of his observations on what's going on at Minnesota State Mankato. [The Minnesota State Board of Trustees met June 17-18 and talked about tuition rate increases and the Governor's "unallotment" plan for 2009-10/2010-11.]

    Monday, July 20 - Special guest Rick Straka, Vice President of Finance & Administration. The Legislative Session will be over and the Minnesota State Board of Trustees will have made its final tuition decision for 2009-10 (every %1 increase in tuition means $700,000 more in revenue for MSU, assuming enrollment remains stable). So will MSU really face a $8 milllion cutback in state aid after all the dust settles?

    Complimentary coffee, fruit and rolls will be served. Costs associated with the events are being paid for by Distinguished Alumnus Garrison Hale, who also serves as a member of the Minnesota State University Foundation Board.

    Park in Gold Lots 11 or 11A (across from Sears Residence Hall) using your White Emeriti Parking Permit.

    A New Retirement Class Receives Free Lunch & Clocks - April 23, 2009

    2009 Retirement Program - Click to View

    (click pictures to enlarge)