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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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September 20, 2006 Newsletter

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Wood Scholarship Dinner

Keynote Speaker Glen TaylorGlen Taylor will be the keynote speaker for the annual Truman and Reta Wood Community Leadership Scholarship dinner Saturday, Sept. 30.

Taylor, a 1962 graduate of Minnesota State Mankato, will speak on the importance of community involvement. The event will be in the CSU ballroom, with a social hour and silent auction at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30.

The Wood Scholarship is awarded to political science majors who are community leaders. This year's recipients, Katherine Gleason and Karen Rubbert, will be honored at the dinner.

Cost for the dinner is $60 per person, of which $40 is a tax-deductible donation to the Wood Scholarship Fund.

Reservations for the dinner can be made at the Alumni Dinner to Benefit Scholarships page, or by phone at 507-389-3235 or 888-234-3796.

Show your colors, win some green

Jan Schmidt and Rose White of the Registrar's Office have each won a $100 gift certificate for school-spirit apparel at Barnes & Noble, based on drawings held at B&N the past two Fridays.

For the rest of you, there is still hope: Drawings will be held at the close of business on the next two Fridays at B&N - Sept. 22 and 29. Any faculty or staff member wearing purple or gold on those days is eligible to enter - one entry on each of the Fridays - with each winner receiving a $100 gift certificate. The purpose of the drawings is to encourage employees to wear school colors every Friday, which President Davenport has designated as Purple and Gold Friday.

Bell Tower Restoration

Bell TowerWork on the Ostrander Student Memorial Bell Tower began Sept. 5. The tower, constructed in 1988, has weathered from the cycles of the seasons.

Repairs include replacing broken brick, tuck-pointing mortar joints, and applying silicone sealant in the glass dome. A vertical expansion joint will be added to each face of the tower to ensure these repairs will last longer than the original construction. Special attention is being applied to match the existing colors of brick and mortar.

The chimes and clocks have been turned off until the repairs are completed. Work is scheduled to be finished in early November.

Construction Will Begin Soon on New University Buildings

Groundbreaking events   Groundbreaking events

Groundbreaking events for Trafton and Sears (right) took place Sept. 15

Groundbreaking ceremonies for two major construction projects - an addition to Trafton Science Center and a new residence hall - took place Sept. 15.

The Julia A. Sears building will be a 608-bed, four-story residence hall complex with 136 semi-suite double units, each with four beds, and 32 semi-suite single units, each with two beds. The 208,000-square-foot brick structure is expected to cost $ 34.3 million.

Bidding for the new residence hall will take place in October. Site preparation, including soils correction under the building footprint, underground utilities and a storm water management pond, took place this summer. Construction is expected to start in late November, and the new hall is expected to be completed in June 2008.

The hall will be named for Julia A. Sears, who served as Mankato State Normal School principal in 1872 and 1873.

The Trafton Science Center construction will occur in two phases over four years:

  • Phase 1 ($32.9 million) starts in late September and will be completed in summer 2008. It includes construction of a 70,000-square-foot addition and a 16,010-square-foot renovation of Trafton North.
  • Phase 2 ($21 million) starts in fall 2008 and will end in summer 2010. It includes a 52,800-square-foot renovation of Trafton South and Center.

The renovation will refurbish the building's infrastructure and will bring outdated classrooms and laboratories into ADA and environmental compliance. The project will include removing asbestos; replacing aging roof membranes; fixing the outdoor plaza to eliminate water leaks; and relocating the Chemistry, Civil Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technology Departments.

Built in 1970 and named in honor of Gilbert H. Trafton, former chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics, the hall is the University's largest classroom building. Thirty percent of all classes offered on campus are taught in Trafton.

In May 2006 the Minnesota Legislature authorized sale of state bonds to finance the Phase 1 Trafton construction. Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system approved the sale of revenue bonds to finance the residence hall.

Reception to honor Friend, Dept. of Geography

Geography Chair Don FriendA reception honoring the recent election of Dr. Donald Friend to the governing council of the Association of American Geographers will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21 in the lower level of Armstrong Hall.

The reception, hosted by the Department of Geography at Minnesota State University, is also to celebrate the department's long history of national contribution and participation.

The AAG offers support for academic and professional geographers, it is 10,000 members strong and is governed by a council of 15 who set policy and provide direction for the Association and for the training and education of those dealing with increasingly difficult and complex global to local issues. Friend, chair of MSU's Department of Geography, will serve a three-year term that expires in June 2009.

Good Thunder Reading Series Announces 2006-2007 Season

Good Thunder Reading Series

Minnesota State Mankato's Good Thunder Reading Series will host 13 writers for eight residencies during its 25th year of programming. The series will aim to reflect diversity and vitality of contemporary writing. Organizers have invited both emerging and established writers to Mankato to meet with community writers, be interviewed on public radio, lead discussions on the craft of writing, and read from their published works.

This year's events include:

  • Oct. 5 Nepalese fiction writer Samrat Upadhyay.
  • Nov. 2 Minnesota poet Jim Moore and poet Terrance Hayes.
  • Nov. 30 Fiction writer Melanie Rae Thon.
  • Jan. 25 Poet and children's writer Pamela Porter and fiction writer Sharon Dilworth.
  • Feb. 15 Minnesota poet Katrina Vandenberg and fiction/nonfiction writer, Mary Helen Stefaniak.
  • March 20-23 The Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Residency will feature nonfiction writers Joe Mackell and Fan Shen.
  • April 19 Poet Bob Hicok.

All events are open to the public and will be in the Centennial Student Union. Full-day visitors will be interviewed on KMSU, and their discussions broadcast as part of the "Authors in Transit" series which airs at 11 a.m. Fridays of Good Thunder series visits.

For more information about the series call Richard Robbins at 507-389-1354.

New Look for University WebPages

Photo Bar

Our official University web template contains a photo bar feature that many offices and departments have started to use to identify their sites within the main University brand.

This feature allows the departments to create their own unique branding.

The sites below have used this feature:

If you'd like to explore using this for your website, please contact the web team at

Phone Training

Phone TrainingPhone training sessions will be 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 26 in the Technology and Teaching Center in ML94. The sessions will explain how to use the campus phone system and the Cisco phones.

To register go to the Class Training Registration page or call Shannon Villwock at 507-389-3205 with any questions about registration.

Combined Charities Campaign Begins Oct. 2

Combined Charities CampaignThe Combined Charities Campaign will host a kick off celebration Thursday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon in CSU 284.

The Combined Charities Campaign helps community based service organizations such as the United Way of Greater Mankato, the Minnesota Environmental Fund, Community Solutions Fund, Community Health Charities and Open Your Heart. Last year, the Minnesota State Mankato community raised $34,812. Donations can be made through direct payroll deductions. The campaign will begin Oct. 2, and continue through the end of the month.

Coffee and refreshments will be served at the kick off, and guests can register to win prizes.

To donate through payroll deduction, visit the Combined Charities website after Oct. 1 and follow the on-screen instructions.

"House Calls" Volunteers Sought

The Department of Residential Life and the New Student and Family Programs are seeking faculty and staff volunteers for the annual "House Calls" program Sunday, Oct. 8.

House Calls involve faculty and Student Affairs staff members going door-to-door on campus to learn about students' campus experiences. The program helps create connections between student and faculty-staff members, and allows students to ask questions about the college experience.

Volunteers will be prepped with information and given materials to help answer questions. Dinner and orientation for volunteers will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 8, with the program from 7 to 9 p.m. Program coordinators are seeking 60 faculty/staff volunteers to contact students in the three residence hall complexes.

Last year 41 faculty and staff members participated in the program, contacting more than 565 residence hall students in the McElroy and Crawford Complexes.

Those interested in volunteering should notify Bill Watts at or 507-389-5498, or Torin Akey at or 507-389-1011 by Friday, Sept. 29.

Family Weekend Oct. 13-15

Family WeekendMinnesota State Mankato's third-annual Family Weekend will be Oct.13-15. This year's events will connect students' families with our campus, and provide opportunities for faculty and staff to bring their families to campus. Families will be able to participate in a variety of events.

Family Weekend buttons will be available at an information table outside of Barnes & Noble Friday, Oct. 13 from 4:30 to 7:30p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 14 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Buttons can be used for discounts or free admission to a variety of events on campus such as volleyball, football and the on-campus film "Over the Hedge."

Other Family Weekend events include the Family Fun Zone and Pumpkin Painting with Stomper, 5k Fun Run / Walk, Theatre Department's production of "Peter Pan," Comedy Sportz improv, and a barbecue on Saturday. The first 250 people to buy tickets for the BBQ will pay a reduced rate of $5.00 per person.

Tickets for the barbecue can be purchased before Friday, Sept. 29, at the Family Weekend BBQ page. The complete Family Weekend schedule is at the Family Weekend website.

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Fred Slocum (Political Science/ Law Enforcement Department) had his article on the Republican "Southern Strategy" accepted for publication in the International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, 2nd edition. He also has submitted a series of invited articles for publication in the Encyclopedia, "Law and Order," "Public Opinion," "Polling," "The New Deal" and "Southern Politics."

Fred also submitted a book chapter, "With God on Our Side: Moral and Religious Issues, Southern Culture and Republican Realignment in the South," for publication in Why the South Became Republican.

Nan Johnson-Curiskis (Speech Communications Department) has been named co-editor of the International Journal of Listening. Nan will be in charge of annual Special Editions.

JoAnna S. Mink (English Department) presented her paper "A Possible Connection to The Mayor of Casterbridge: Lucetta and Lillie" at the Thomas Hardy Society Conference in Dorchester, Dorset (UK) in July.

Cathy McCune Gjerde (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) was appointed as the Curriculum Coordinator for the Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence. Cathy was a student relations coordinator and academic advisor for CSET Farid Jean Sabongi (Interior Design and Construction Management Department) was a guest on the "Parade of Homes" radio show on WCCO. He talked about careers in the housing industry and the construction management program at Minnesota State Mankato.

Bobby Bothmann (Library Services) presented "Keyword Indexing of Fixed Field Character Positions" at the ELUNA Conference in June.

Peg Lawrence (Library Services) presented "Information Commons, a New Paradigm" at the Pacific Northwest Library Association in August.

Kellian Clink (Library Services) presented "Librarians and Gumshoes, a Look at Depictions of Librarians in Prize-Winning Murder Mysteries" and "Information Commons, a New Paradigm" at the Pacific Northwest Library Association Conference in August.

Justine Martin (Library Services) presented "Finding Your Inner Gamer: Adapting Instruction for Digital Natives" at the Library Orientation Exchange National Conference in College Park, MD.

Mark McCullough (Library Services) has been appointed to serve as Minnesota State Mankato's representative on the Minnesota State Library Advisory Council for 2006-2007.

Kathy Piehl (Library Services) had her article, "Focus On: Weather" published in the School Library Journal.

Joan Roca (Library Services) served on an accreditation team as a program evaluator for the Catalan State Agency for University Quality in June. Joan also presented "Environmental Scanning of the Information World: Technologies, Users, Web 2.0 and Library 2.0" at the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya in Barcelona last June. Joan published the article "The Transformation of Integrated Library Systems" in the Catalan Library Association Journal.

Becky Schwartzkopf (Library Services) served as a moderator at the North American Serials Interest Group Annual Conference in May.

Lynne Weber (Library Services) presented "One School District, One Suzuki Program: An Oral History" at the 8th International Research Symposium on Talent Education in May. Lynne also attended the 12th Conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas in May.

Jennifer Guyer-Wood (Career Development Center) has been selected to serve as the President of the Minnesota College Personnel Association (MCPA).

Daria Paul Dona (Department of Educational Studies: K-12 and Secondary) co-authored an article accepted for publication in the Journal of School Psychology. Daria also co-authored an article with Dr. Patricia Hoffman (KSP) and Dr. Loretta DeLong (Educational Leadership), published in the Rural Minnesota Journal.

James Dimmock (Speech Communication Department) presented on four panels at the South Dakota Speech Communication Association Conference. His presentations included "What is Good? Constructing a Meta-Ethics of Communication," "Building the Case for "Debate Across the Curriculum," "Swap Meet of Teaching Strategies" and "Love, Lust and Indifference: Re-reading Plato's "Phaedrus'."

Dr. Robert Sorensen (Department of Biological Sciences) attended the 58th Annual Midwest Conference of Parasitologists in June. Robert's manuscript, "Genetic Filtering and Optimal Sampling of Schistosoma Mansoni Populations," was accepted for publication in Parasitology. Robert also had his manuscript "Microsatellite Enriched Genomic Libraries as a Source of Polymorphic Loci for Schistosoma Mansoni" accepted for publication in Molecular Ecology Notes.

Dr. John Krenz (Department of Biological Sciences) was recognized for "Best Practices for Managing Roadside Vegetation for Wildlife" by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. John also presented "Population Genetics of River Otters" at Centro Regionale Universidad de Bariloche in Argentina.

Dr. Chris Ruhland (Department of Biological Sciences) presented "Effects of Neighboring Plants on Growth and Reproduction of Deschampsia Antarctica in Antarctic Tundra" at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America and,

Dr. Michael Bentley (Department of Biological Sciences) co-authored the article "Structural Morphology of Renal Vasculature."

Dr. Mary Hadley (Department of Chemistry and Geology) co-authored "Lipid Changes During Storage of Milled Hulless Barley Products," published in Cereal Chemistry.

Danaé Quirk Dorr (Department of Chemistry and Geology) co-authored an article published in Chemico-Biological Interactions. Danae also presented at the 97th AACR Annual Meeting.

Dr. Jeff Pribyl, (Department of Chemistry and Geology) participated in the American Chemical Society K-8 Summer Conference.

Dr. Steve Losh (Department of Chemistry and Geology) had his article "Radiated Energy and the Physics of Earthquake Faulting" accepted for publication by the American Geophysical Union Monograph.

Dr. John Thoemke (Department of Chemistry and Geology) presented "NOM-sensitized Singlet Oxygen Production: Correlations with NOM Excitation-emission Spectral Features," at the Gordon Research Conference.

Dr. Namyong Lee (Department of Mathematics and Statistics) presented "Enzyme Kinetics and Cell Cycle" the MAA Computational and Mathematical Biology workshop in June. Namyong also presented "Patterns of Multiallelic Polymorphism Maintained by Migration and Selection" at Ohio State University this summer.

Dr. Aaron Budge (Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering) presented "Analysis of Large-span Culverts Subjected to Extreme Live Loads" at the Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering Symposium in May. Aaron also presented "Geotechnical Opportunities for Computer-aided Education" at the Joint International Conference on Computing and Decision Making in Civil and Building Engineering in Montreal.

Dr. Paul Eskridge (Department of Physics and Astronomy) presented "Recent Star and Cluster Formation in the Nearby Magellanic Spiral NGC 1311" at the American Astronomical Society Conference in June.

Dr. Louis Schwartzkopf (Department of Physics and Astronomy) presented "Minnesota's Energy Needs, in Natural Units of Renewable Energy," at the American Association of Physics Teachers in July.

Hail and Farewell

Beth Claussen has been selected as the Disability Accommodation Specialist at Minnesota State Mankato. Beth comes with a background in learning disability education and experience as a Disability Services Director at Itasca Community College.

Student Achievements

Tyler Menssen, a third year English major, had his book "Earless" top the best selling non-fiction category at the Barnes & Noble in Mankato according to The Free Press. The book is about how Tyler has overcome Goldenhar Syndrome to become a college student and published author.

Hillary Hoover, a graduate assistant, and Josh Randall speech communication undergraduate, presented "Building the Case for Debate Across the Curriculum" at the South Dakota Speech Communication Association Conference. Hillary also presented "What is Good? Constructing a Meta-Ethics of Communication."

Kristin Herrmann presented twice at the 58th Annual Midwest Conference of Parasitologists and received an award for her presentation titled "Geographical Distribution of Cyanthocotyle bushiensis and Sphaeridiotrema globulus in Pool 7 of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge." At the conference, Kristin was chosen as the nominee for the American Society of Parasitologists student travel grant award. The grant will pay for Kristin to present her research at the joint meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists and the Mexican Society of Parasitologists, in Mexico.

The Chemistry Club at Minnesota State Mankato has been selected to receive the Green Chemistry Chapter Award by the Society Committee on Education and the Green Chemistry Institute. Dr. Trent Vorlicek is the faculty advisor for the Chemistry Club.


Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the biweekly campus newsletter? Send news items to newsletter editor Mike Cooper at The newsletter is published every other Wednesday during the academic year and monthly during the summer. The next newsletter will be published Oct. 4, 2006. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Wednesday (Sept. 13).