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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

COVID-19 campus response and Return to Learn news and updates.



July 15, 2020 Campus Newsletter

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Return to Learn Updates


As part of the University’s Return to Learn plan, two branded cloth facemasks have been ordered for all employees and students. According to Printing Services, masks should be distributed by Monday, July 20 to all University departments.

Student facemasks are being mailed to their homes with the annual fall mailing in late July or early August.

Additional facemasks remaining after distribution will be available for purchase through Printing Services and the Copy Shops.

The University is also making social distancing floor decals available to those who need them. The decals, which are available for use on either carpet or tile, can be requested through the University Stores by emailing or calling 507-389-6900.

More information about the Return to Learn process is available at

Updated Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus Policy

The Mavericks for Clean Air Task Force announced that an updated campus tobacco-free policy will take effect Aug. 1.

According to the task force announcement, although the Minnesota State Mankato campus has been “tobacco-free” since 2012, employee and student surveys and a cigarette butt clean-up day in April 2019 showed that there were gaps in the policy that still left students, faculty and community members exposed to secondhand smoke.

The updated [PDF] tobacco and smoke-free campus policy (268 KiB) provides more definite compliance rules, a clear description of all tobacco products, encouragement for shared responsibility for enforcement, and a commitment to providing ongoing tobacco cessation communications for all students and employees, according to the Mavericks for Clean Air Task Force announcement. The policy now meets the national criteria set for high-quality 100% tobacco-free campus policies. Minnesota State Mankato now joins the [PDF] list of 2,490 tobacco-free campus sites (907 KiB) across this country and only 16 colleges/universities in Minnesota that have this distinction.

“The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation applauds the executive leadership and administration of Minnesota State University, Mankato for making the university 100% smoke and tobacco-free,” said Cynthia Hallett, ANRF president and CEO. “As Minnesota State Mankato looks ahead to resuming on-campus instruction and operations, we know you will want to welcome students, faculty, staff, and visitors to a healthy campus environment. Eliminating secondhand smoke exposure is critical to reducing risk factors that make individuals vulnerable to the virus.”

A list of high-quality, cessation resources, including FREE Quit Kits for employees, students and alumni is available online here.

Purple & Gold Gala Postponed

Every fall the Minnesota State Mankato Foundation hosts the University's most generous and loyal supporters at the annual Purple & Gold Gala.

Out of concern for the health and safety of guests, the Foundation has postponed this year’s Gala to Friday, April 30, 2021. Although the Gala will not be held at its traditional time, the Foundation will be honoring partners and their impact on the University in different ways throughout the year. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

COVID-19 Updates: Minnesota State Mankato launched a Web page on March 3 that is intended to provide the latest information on COVID-19 to all members of the campus community.

The page includes FAQs, messages from campus and system office leaders, a link to submit questions and much more.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: To limit the spread of COVID-19, most events and gatherings on campus have been cancelled, postponed or changed to an alternative format.

A complete list of submitted cancellations or postponed events is available here. To be added to the list, please submit your cancellation or postponement to

For information on scheduled events not listed as a cancellation, please contact individual departments. Some events have been moved online or may be moved online.

Upcoming Virtual Campus Town Halls

In an effort to maintain communication across campus and discuss topics of interest, a series of virtual campus town hall meetings have been held via Zoom since mid-May.

Additional meetings will be held in July. These meetings are intended to provide opportunities for key campus constituent groups to ask questions of University President Richard Davenport and other cabinet members.

The format of these sessions includes comments from pre-selected administrators, followed by a question-and-answer segment. Questions may be submitted up to 24 hours in advance of each event to or during the meetings.

The next faculty and staff meeting is scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, July 15, 12 - 1 p.m. (Register here for July 15. Webinar ID: 967-0751-8790)

A virtual town hall meeting is scheduled for July 21 from 12-1 p.m. for the University’s graduate students.

Community History Project

In an effort to document the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Archives has created the “COVID-19 Community History Project @ Minnesota State University, Mankato.”

In collaboration with campus and community partners, the University Archives will collect, preserve and provide access to experiences of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These personal experiences can be in the form of self-documentation (such as journals, diaries, reflective essays, creative works, scrapbooks, etc.), through the submission of “Your COVID-19 Story” through the University Archives project site and/or oral history interviews.

University Archives is striving to document the stories, feelings and experiences felt by students, employees, alumni and the community during this time and is actively seekinig  participation from University employees. Those interested in sharing their personal experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic and learning more are encouraged to visit the project site.

Employees who would like to be interviewed by a Minnesota State University, Mankato student, please submit their names via an online form.

Those looking for other ways to participate may send an email to

The University Archives and Southern Minnesota Historical Center contains records from the creation of the Mankato Normal School in 1868 to the present and the surrounding twelve county region.

The University Archives is the official repository of the records of Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Southern Minnesota Historical Center documents the history of individuals, organizations and businesses from South Central Minnesota.

IT Solutions Updates

IT Solutions announced that multi-factor authentication for Office 365 is now available.

Multi-factor authentication is a tool that enhances security on Microsoft Office 365 accounts, making it harder for cybercriminals to access confidential data.

It adds an extra layer of protection on accounts by requiring users to sign in using more than one verification method.

Learn more and enroll.

Student News

Brian Swancutt, a junior, will serve as the school’s Campus Election Engagement Project fellow for the 2020 election. With the support of Iowa/Minnesota Campus Compact, the position was created as a non-partisan way to encourage college students to register to vote, become educated about candidates and initiatives, and ‘get out the vote’ on election day. The Campus Election Engagement Project is a national nonpartisan project that helps administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders at America’s colleges and universities engage students in federal, state and local elections, working to promote a more equitable and inclusive democracy, and to overcome the ever-changing barriers to voting.

Faculty/Staff News

Guadalupe Quintero, director of community partnerships in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, has been named to the board of Global Minnesota.

Kelly Meier has been promoted to assistant vice president in the Division of Diversity & Inclusion. Meier has served as senior director in Diversity & Inclusion since 2007.

Scott LeGere, assistant professor of music industries in the Department of Music, served as a panelist for the Minnesota Music Summit, which was held online on June 20-21.

Department of Psychology faculty members Karla Lassonde and Emily Stark, along with undergraduate students Louisa Hall and Ellie Tiegs, were guests on the PsychSessions Podcast to talk about the communicating psychological science and the Communicating Psychological Science website. Hall and Tiegs were the first undergraduate students to appear on the podcast, which aired June 9. Listen here.

Chris Veltsos, a professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, recently authored a book along with two co-authors. The book is titled “THE GREAT REBOOT: Succeeding In A World Of Catastrophic Risk And Opportunity.” Bob Zukis, Paul Ferrillo and Veltsos are the authors. More information is available here.

Jonathan Gallop, an instructor in the College of Business, is the author of a recently published book titled “A.S.P.I.R.E. to Ethics.” Accordinig to Gallop, the acronym ASPIRE encompasses a step-by-step guide to ensure a thorough examination of issues when faced with an ethical dilemma. The publisher's link to the book is available here.

Catherine McGough, an assistant professor of integrated engineering, along with a co-author from Clemson University, received the best paper award from the American Society for Engineering Education’s Educational Research and Methods Division. The paper is titled “It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Need a Job: A Qualitative Exploration of Mid-Year Engineering Students’ Future Possible Careers.”

Gregory T. Wilkins, associate director of the Centennial Student Union & Student Activities, is one of ten LGBTQ+ fiber artists from across the United States represented in the inaugural exhibition in the Textile Center’s history in tribute and support of queer artists. The show opens July 7 and runs until October 10. Reservations (free) are required to see the exhibition.

Don Friend, professor in the Department of Geography, has spent the past 11 months serving as a National Academy of Sciences Jefferson Science Fellow working in the Office of Global Climate Change at the U.S. Agency for International Development. As part of his fellowship duties, Friend delivered a distinguished lecture on July 7 online. Friend's lecture, titled “Mountain Environments: Critical to Global Environmental Sustainability and as Indicators of Climate Change,” is available online. Here's a direct vimeo link.

Steve Wilcox, professor of finance in the College of Business, was the sole author of an article published July 1 (Volume XLII, No. 7) on pages 11-4 of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Journal. The title of the article is “The Impact of Price Stability on Equity Market Valuation.”

Department News

AFSCME Local 638 announced it will be making a substantial donation to the Campus Cupboard and will be urging its members to do the same. There is a donation match for donations through July. For more information, contact Julie Dornack at

Human Resources published its [PDF] June 2020 newsletter (584 KiB).

The Career Development Center has added a “Career Resources During a Pandemic” page to its website.

Library Services announced that while the Memorial Library building may be closed, its online resources are open and available to anyone with a Minnesota State Mankato Star ID and password. Last year Mavericks downloaded over a million book chapters and journal articles at no charge to themselves. Those looking for assistance are invited to contact a specialist in the library. Library liaisons can help from identifying materials for use in classes to creating online tutorials and workshops to assist students navigating and using library resources effectively.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Minnesota State University, Mankato recently published some information and tips.


Leo Ruggle, who worked in the accounting department for more than 18 years, died June 9. An obituary is available here.

Geraldine “Gerrie” Kline, an emerita faculty member who worked in the College of Business for 35 years, died July 1. An obituary is available here

Online TODAY Magazine

Visit the online TODAY magazine at for alumni news and stories about the people who help make this University great.

The mission of TODAY is to entertain, to inform and to connect the reader to the campus. The print TODAY is mailed to 95,000 alumni and friends.

TODAY welcomes story ideas supporting this mission. Contact Joe Tougas at 507-389-1369 or to share ideas.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the campus newsletter? Send news items to the Media Relations Office at The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year (except during scheduled break weeks) and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published Wednesday, Aug. 26. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Aug. 21).

You should also submit your event to the University’s official Campus Events Calendar by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at