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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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April 17, 2013 Campus Newsletter

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Undergraduate Research

Two events focusing on undergraduate research were held at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the past two weeks. The first of those was on Monday, April 8, when the 2nd Annual Minnesota Undergraduate Conference of Scholarly and Creative Activity was held in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

The conference featured more than 200 presentations, including poster presentations, oral papers, visual art, displays, and performance art. The 200 presentations represent an 80% growth since 2012 in a wide variety of disciplines by students from all seven Minnesota state universities, including Minnesota State Mankato, Winona State University, St. Cloud State University, Metropolitan State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Southwest Minnesota State University and Bemidji State University.

Five of the state’s community colleges participated for the first time, including Rochester Community and Technical College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Anoka Ramsey Community College, North Hennepin Community College and Inver Hills Community College.

Then on Tuesday, April 16, the university held its 15th Annual Minnesota State Mankato Undergraduate Research Symposium. The theme for the symposium was "Inspiring Students, Creating Scholars" and there were more than 170 oral and poster presentations at the event.

One of the April 16 presentations is pictured above. Students Alex Bakardjiev (left) and Leslee Uhrich (right) are shown in front of a display of their project, which was titled "Do Gender Differences in Mathematic Performance Exist in Minnesota?"

Good Thunder Reading Series

The Minnesota State Mankato Good Thunder Reading Series was awarded $81,011 to support artist residencies during the 2013-14 year. The series debuted in 1982 as a series of exchange readings between state university faculty and has since evolved into a nationally recognized literary presenter that hosts residencies by emerging and established writers from Minnesota and around the nation. Next year's line-up includes nine residencies featuring National Book Award winners and Pulitzer Prize winners as well as writers who have just published their first books.

The residencies include Tracy Kidder (nonfiction); Rachael Hanel (nonfiction); Swati Avasthi (young adult fiction); Alan Davis, the Robert Wright Award winner (fiction); Luis Alberto Urrea, the Nadine B. Andreas Award winner (fiction and nonfiction); Christopher Howell (poetry); Sarah McKinstry-Brown (poetry); Pete Hautman (young adult fiction); Alex Lemon (poetry and nonfiction); Tracy K. Smith (poetry); Matt Rasmussen (poetry); Nikky Finney (poetry); Jesmyn Ward (fiction); Candace Black (poetry and nonfiction); and Roger Sheffer (fiction).

The series relies on total program support from various Minnesota State Mankato sources and from individual donors. Support from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council and from the Minnesota State Arts Board is made possible thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Earth Day Celebration

In connection with Earth Day, the campus Environmental Committee is helping to sponsor a talk by J. Drake Hamilton at 7 p.m. April 23 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Mankato on the subject of "Climate Change and Clean Energy Solutions in Minnesota." For more information contact Jane Dow at or 507-625-5092.

Minnesota State Mankato Facilities Management will be observing Earth Day 2013 on May 1. It is an annual celebration at Minnesota State Mankato in which they observe this day by improving the campus environment.

Women of Courage and Vision

On Thursday, March 21, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Women’s Center presented the 13th annual Women of Courage and Vision Reception in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The reception honored more than 380 women (students, faculty and staff) who were nominated as having demonstrated courage and vision. A complete list is available here.

Receiving fall grants were Eric Sprankle, Sarah Hagedon and Cecelia Hubbart, Ashley Shields, Jenelle Haddad, Queen Booker and Jennifer Londgren. Receiving spring grants were Heidi Sampson, Laura Harrison, Laura Maki, Chelsea Barr and Maria Baxter-Nuamah.

Project of the Year Award winners were Laura Maki and Amber Chang. The HERS Institute for Women Nominee was Kristel Lynch.

A special thanks goes out to Jayne Larsen for donating $5,000 to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women Foundation Account. The donation will allow the Commission to fund professional development opportunities for women on campus who are members of the AFSCME bargaining unit. Larsen worked at Minnesota State Mankato for over 40 years, serving as assistant to the vice president for Institutional Diversity. She is now retired from Minnesota State Mankato.

Pictured in the photo are (left to right): Leah White, PCSW chair-elect; Jeane McGraw, PCSW chair; Jayne Larsen, a Woman of Courage and Vision nominee; and Deb Schulz, PCSW post-chair.

For more information about the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, please visit our web site here.

Free Indoor Climbing

The Minnesota State Mankato Wellness Committee announced opportunities for faculty and staff to climb the rock wall on campus for free on two April dates, either Monday, April 22 or Wednesday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wear flexible clothing and bring socks and a sense of adventure. All harnesses, shoes and instruction are supplied by the Adventure Education Program/Campus Recreation. RSVP to Melissa at Feel free to stop in to climb or watch any time throughout the above time.

Bull Run

The annual Mankato Bull Run is a first of its kind obstacle race for the Minnesota State Mankato campus and surrounding community. The race is designed to challenge runners' strength, endurance balance and coordination on a scenic 5K trail run.

The run will take place April 27 at noon behind the Gage dorms. The registration deadline is April 17. For more information, visit or contact Carly Hopper at 507-389-3269 or by email at


The annual spring triathlon involves swimming 300 yards in the Highland Center pool, biking 14 miles, and running 5K on a paved country road south of town. The triathlon will take place May 5 at 9 a.m. starting in Highland Center Pool. The event is open to Minnesota State Mankato students, faculty, staff and community members. First timers and experienced triathletes are welcome. Registration is limited to 80 participants. Teams are welcome. Cost is $25 for individuals and $60 for teams. You must provide your own bicycle and helmet. The registration deadline is April 23.

For more information visit or contact Carly Hopper at 507-389-3269 or by email at

Summer 2013 Campus Construction

Minnesota State University, Mankato Planning and Construction Director Paul Corcoran announced that 18 construction projects would take place on campus during the summer of 2013. To see the full list, click here

Campus Kitchen Volunteers Needed

Summer community volunteers are needed as the Campus Kitchen prepares and delivers meals to families throughout the Mankato area.

Denise Billington-Just, assistant director of Community Engagement at Minnesota State Mankato and manager of the Campus Kitchen, said that during the summer, community volunteers are needed to replace student volunteers who leave for summer break.

Campus Kitchen, now located at its new site in Crossroads Lutheran Campus Ministry, 331 Dillon Ave., packages meals with volunteer assistance on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers also help in Tuesday deliveries from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and food collection on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Individuals can volunteer by contacting the Community Engagement Office in the university’s Centennial Student Union, Room 173 or by calling 507-389-6076.

'The Big Event'

The Office of Community Engagement is sponsoring “The Big Event” on April 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate. Click here for more details.

Student Caller Award Ceremony

Join President Davenport, colleagues and friends in a celebration at 2:30 p.m. (award ceremony at 3 p.m.) on Wednesday, April 17 in Centennial Student Union 253/54/55 to honor 70 student fundraising assistants. They will be recognized for their dedication to the Annual Fund and Campus Drive.

These dedicated students assisted in raising $2.9 million and counting for the 2012-2013 Minnesota State Mankato Annual Giving Programs.

Please attend and show your support of these amazing student leaders! We hope to have a great faculty and staff turnout for this special event! Punch and refreshments will be served.

April 15-19: Severe Weather Awareness Week

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Security announced that Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 15-19.

The Department of Security will be collaborating with Environmental Health & Safety, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Blue Earth County Emergency Management, and Mankato Emergency Management to provide information.

The Department of Security will provide severe weather packets and other information in Centennial Student Union from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17. Safety messages will be provided throughout the week.

April 19: Zombie Run

The Gamma Phi Beta sorority at Minnesota State Mankato will host its first Zombie Run to "chase away the fear of hunger" on Friday, April 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

All proceeds benefit the Campus Kitchen Project. This event is open to the public and is $15 per team member or $13 with a donation of food. Participants will receive a t-shirt, complimentary refreshments and have a chance to win prizes. Those interested are encouraged to pre-register their team of four players by April 9 to guarantee the right t-shirt size. To register or for more information, contact Tess Bunker at or at 763-267-2877.

Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. and the run will start in the Campus Mall. Teams of four will have the choice to be zombies or survivors, and will be signed up for a time to leave the start line.

April 21: Concert Bands

The University Concert Bands will perform on Sunday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The University Concert Bands consists of the Symphonic Band and the Concert Wind Ensemble, which are composed of university students, staff, and community members. Amy Roisum Foley directs both of these ensembles. In addition, Dawn Punke, master's student, will be conducting both ensembles.

The Symphonic Band and Concert Wind Ensemble will be performing a concert titled "Mostly Minnesota." The program is comprised of a diverse range of musical styles all closely linked to the state of Minnesota. Shelley Hanson will be featured as guest composer and conductor on three of her own works.

The evening concert will present some of Minnesota’s best wind band music. The Concert Wind Ensemble will feature guest artist Douglas Snapp on the wind band premier of Dean Sorensen’s "Jazz Classics Medley" and dancer Kirsten Malcolm on Timothy Mahr’s "Scenes from a Life Danced."

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

April 23: Jazz Big Bands

The University Jazz Big Bands will perform on Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The focus of the big band ensembles is to provide students with experience in a jazz ensemble along with several performance opportunities. The jazz literature performed in the ensemble ranges from classic jazz charts to contemporary jazz. Auditions for the Jazz Mavericks are held at the beginning of each semester.

This big band concert can be characterized as a jazz/pop theme. The focus of this concert is on performing a wide variety of popular pieces and providing an opportunity for several students to solo.

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

April 24-27: 'A Plague of Angels'

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will conclude its 2012-13 Studio season with Mark St. Germain’s historical drama, “A Plague of Angels,” at 7:30 p.m. from April 24-27 in the Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

This is the story of Mary Mallon, better known as "Typhoid Mary," in her battle to escape imprisonment by the New York Health Department in 1909-10. Set in a small cottage on North Brother Island, Mary faces the decision of being held by the state for an indeterminate length of time or to conform to practices of good hygiene (such as washing her hands) and be released. In addition, she is imprisoned by her own belief that the “plague” she carries is not causing so many deaths. This is its Minnesota State Mankato debut.

“A Plague of Angels” is directed by first-year master of fine arts directing candidate Matthew Caron. Amanda Forman, a senior bachelor of fine arts acting candidate from Tiffin, Iowa, plays Mary.

Individual tickets are $10 regular, $9 for senior citizens, youth 16 and under and groups of 15 or more, $8 for current Minnesota State Mankato students; all discounted tickets must be purchased through the box office. Tickets may be purchased online at, or at the Theatre & Dance Box Office from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, or by calling 507-389-6661. “Legally Blonde,” the Mainstage season closer, runs April 11-13 & 18-21 in the Ted Paul Theatre.

April 25: Frontier Forum Lecture

“Doing More with Less: Supporting Gender Equality and Families in Europe” is the title of Professor Tomasz Inglot’s Frontier Forum lecture at Minnesota State Mankato at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 25.

The lecture is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public, in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium. It is the 34th Annual Frontier Forum Lecture sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Inglot (pictured) will talk about his interdisciplinary and collaborative research that examines past and present trends in family policies in Europe. His surprising findings show that while the majority of European countries have experienced several years of economic recession, many governments have implemented new types of flexible and innovative family policies. Inglot will discuss the “social investment” model that focuses on human capital and the European Union’s emphasis on women’s employment (work-family balance), financial assistance for young families, childcare provision and gender equality.

For more information, contact Denise Thompson, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at (507) 389-5699 or

April 25: Orchestra Performance

The University Orchestra will perform on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m .in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The University Orchestra provides a laboratory for the study of orchestral playing and a practical introduction to orchestral literature. Membership is open to university students regardless of their major. The ensemble is under the direction of Joseph Rodgers and performs music by varying composers written for both orchestra and chamber ensembles.

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

April 28: Spring Choral Concert

The Spring Choral Concert will take place on Sunday, April 28 at 4 p.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 105 North Fifth Street, Mankato.

The University Choral Groups consist of three ensembles; the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers conducted by Dr. David Dickau, and the University Chorale conducted by Mr. Rodney Urtel.

The University Chorale will perform a variety of selections including English Renaissance art songs to contemporary works by Barnum, Stroope, and Gawthrop. The Chamber Singers will perform a set of four beautiful motets by French composer Maurice Durufle. The motets represent some of the most compelling a cappella sacred settings of the last 75 years. The Concert Choir will perform two new works including Sanctus by Jesse Buelke, a member of the choir. The second work, dedicated to the victims of Newtown, is a setting of O vos omnes by David Dickau.

Melissa Williams will also be conducting several pieces as a partial requirement of her Master of Music in Choral Conducting degree.

The concert will conclude with an a cappella arrangement of "The William Tell Overture."

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

April 29: Douglas R. Moore Faculty Research Lecture

This year's presentation will be given by Dr. Qun (Vincent) Zhang from the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technology Department. Zhang is slated to give his lecture, "Fundamentals & Frontiers of Optical Communication: from Fastest Modems and Routers to Next Generation Computing," on Monday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ostrander Auditorium.

The annual Moore Lecture celebrates excellence in research at Minnesota State Mankato. This will be the 39th such lectureship, and the 26th named in honor of former President Douglas R. Moore, who established the event to illuminate faculty research.

April 30: Jazz Combos, Vocal Jazz Groups

The Jazz Combos and Vocal Jazz Groups will perform on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

May 3-4: Spring Dance Concert

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will present its Spring Dance Concert, featuring new pieces by Zenon Dance Company of Minneapolis as well as dance faculty Julie Kerr-Berry and Dan Stark, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the Ted Paul Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

In addition, three bachelor of fine arts dance candidates had pieces selected for the concert. Michelle Collins and Emily Magnuson will present solo pieces, "Self-portrait" and "We Insist," respectively, and Sydney Burch will present her piece, tentatively called "Under."

Zenon Dance Company, which was in residency for a week at the beginning of March, was the opening performer for the American College Dance Festival hosted by Minnesota State Mankato March 9-12. They appear as Andreas Guest Artists.

Kerr-Berry, director of dance, will present two new pieces: "Thaw and Three Episodes," while Stark’s new piece is called "Here After." Each includes dancers from the department.

Tickets for the Spring Dance Concert are on sale now at or by calling or stopping by the Theatre & Dance Box Office from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. They are $10 regular, $9 discounted (senior citizens, youth or groups), and $8 for current Minnesota State Mankato students. Please note: Discounts for groups must be taken through the box office, either by phone at 507-389-6661 or stopping by during box office hours.

May 4-5: ‘Gianni Schicchi’ Opera

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Music concludes its spring performance season with two productions of "Gianni Schicchi" on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. Giacomo Puccini’s opera will be performed in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

Written by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini later in his career, "Gianni Schicchi" is one of three one-act operas featured in Puccini's Il Trittico and was the only comedy he ever wrote.

The broad comedy is based on a greedy family trying to gain the assets of their dead relative, Buoso Donati, in mid-13th century Florence. A local con artist, Gianni Schicchi, is solicited by the family to help secure their inheritance by making a new will. Schicchi’s daughter, Lauretta, wishes to marry Buoso’s nephew Rinuccio, but without a dowry the family will not allow such union. Through his own cunning, Gianni Schicchi turns the con into an advantage securing the majority of wealth for himself and a dowry for his daughter.

The one-act format is a delightful character study of Buoso Donati's family in their desperate and comical dealings with his death. Also featuring the familiar aria “O mio babbino caro" ("Oh my dear daddy"), sung by Schicchi's daughter Lauretta. This performance will be performed in English to best captivate the situational humor.

Admission to the production is $12, $11 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

February-March Externally Funded Projects

Julie Nelson and Mike Nolan, “US Training Grant 2013” funded by US Bank.

Rebecca Bates, “Engineering Education Research Leader NetWorkshops: Mentoring, Communicating, and Power Brokering for the Next Generation” funded by National Science Foundation (NSF).

Thomas Gjersvig and Ishrat Kamal-Ahmed, “Global UGRAD Pakistan Program Spring 2013” funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Christopher Ruhland, “Collaborative Research: Photo degradation in deserts: litter optical and structural considerations” funded by National Science Foundation (NSF).

Lisa Perez, “Identifying Best Practices for Shared Services Agreements” funded by Center for Rural Policy and Development.

Shannon Fisher and Kimberly Musser, “MN River Blueway System” funded by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Fred Slocum, “2013 Midwest Political Science Undergraduate Research Conference” funded by Pi Sigma Alpha (national political science honor society).

Daniel Sachau, “CAB Construction Job Analysis 2013” funded by CAB Construction.

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Patrick Sexton (Human Performance) has been chosen to receive the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Association Larry “Stosh” Neumann Distinguished Service Award. He was chosen for demonstrating tremendous service to the MATA and the Athletic Training community in the state of Minnesota for many years.

Rick Straka, vice president of finance and administration, will give a presentation on how Minnesota State Mankato created a successful academic program and budget prioritization process at the Society for College and University Planning’s 48th Annual, International Conference from July 27-31 in San Diego, Calif.

Phil Darg, an adjunct faculty member in Communication Studies, had his musical theatre piece “Sasquatched! The Musical” has been chosen for a premier at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in July. Details about the show can be found at

After 20 years as the president’s chaplain at Minnesota State Mankato, Reverend Timothy J. Berg will retire on May 31. There will be a celebration Thursday, May 2 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Graduate Studies and Research Awards

The College of Graduate Studies and Research and the Center of Excellence in Scholarship and Research announce the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Scholars.

The 2013 recipients were:

  • Russell Palma
  • David Viscoli
  • Dennis Waskul

Recipients of the 2013 Research and Sponsored Programs Awards were:

  • Shannon Fisher (Excellence in Contracts), Water Resources Center
  • Ann Goebel (Excellence in Grants), Strategic Business, Education and Regional Partnership
  • Amy Mukamuri (Faculty/Staff Initiative Award), Opportunity, Access, Success, Intercultural Services (OASIS)

Pedagogical Innovation Awards

Ten faculty members have been awarded Pedagogical Innovation Awards for demonstrating innovation in curriculum design and teaching. It is the first time the University Extended Education Sub-Meet and Confer has given out these awards to honor and celebrate innovation among faculty at Minnesota State Mankato.

The individuals honored include Karen Colum, Diane Coursol, Allen Hoffman, Kimm Julian, Karla Lassonde, Kelly Killorn, Roland Nord, Scott Page, Bruce Poburka and Danae Quirk Dorr.


University professor Ramakrishna A. Nair passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, March 30. In September 1986, Nair joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Visitation was held April 6 at Huber Funeral Homes in Eden Prairie, Minn., and was followed by cremation at Lakewood Cemetery.

Cheryl Troy Samuels passed away on March 23.  Samuels served as the dean of Allied Health & Nursing from August 1995 to July 2000. Her obituary can be found here.

Current student Anthony J. Carlson died April 5 as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Carlson was a junior in the Automotive Engineering Technology Program at Minnesota State and worked at Snell Powersports & Equipment in Mankato. His obituary can be viewed here.

Online TODAY Magazine

today magazineVisit the online TODAY magazine at to keep up-to-date with news, alumni 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 twice per year to 95,000 alumni and friends.

TODAY welcomes story ideas supporting this mission. Contact Sara Frederick at (507) 389-6981 or to share ideas.

Content is updated regularly, so check back often!


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 May 1; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (April 26).

You should also submit your event to the university's official Campus Events Calendar. Go to the events calendar website, click on the self-service "Submit Event" link, and provide the information requested.