shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Campus Community: click here for COVID-19 news and updates.


August 21, 2013 Campus Newsletter

Page address:

2013 Convocation

President Richard Davenport - 2013 Convocation

President Richard Davenport (pictured) introduced new and returning administrators and welcomed Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty and staff back to campus Aug. 19 in his annual Convocation speech.

Davenport discussed the University’s 2012-13 accomplishments and physical changes to the campus, notably the June 29 demolition of the Gage towers.

He emphasized the University’s promise to students that if they enroll at Minnesota State Mankato, they will go further than anyone thought possible by combining “Big Ideas with Real-World Thinking.”

More information from Davenport’s speech will be posted here.

Students Study Flood Mitigation

Students from Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering will present findings of a year-long flood mitigation study that was completed for the Zumbro River Watershed on Thursday, Aug. 22 at community meetings and a press conference in Hammond, Minn. (located about 16 miles north of Rochester, Minn.), and Rochester, Minn.

Five of the 14 Minnesota State Mankato students who worked on the year-long project are expected to attend Thursday’s meetings. Recent graduate Sarah Green, the student lead civil engineer on the project, will have a speaking role. Minnesota State Mankato Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering Stephen J. Druschel will also attend Thursday’s meetings.

The Zumbro River Flood Mitigation study is an effort to model the Zumbro River and its tributaries, providing an evaluation tool regarding potential features of flood protection for the communities along the Zumbro River that were affected in a September 2010 flood or previous events. This model will assist communities in examining options for flood protection features to limit the effects of future flooding events.

The Zumbro River flood of September 2010 devastated about 20 communities, including Rochester, Minn. Many communities sustained substantial flood damage.

The flood mitigation study grew out of a Minnesota State Mankato civil engineering senior capstone project during the 2011-2012 academic year. After that project, the Minnesota state legislature awarded a $50,000 grant (one-tenth of the estimated professional cost) for the study on Sept. 24, 2012, to Minnesota State Mankato’s Water Resource Center, under the auspices of the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Fourteen Minnesota State Mankato students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, worked on the project and evaluated 150 miles of river.

Iron Range Engineering Accreditation

The Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) recently announced that Minnesota State Mankato’s Iron Range Engineering Program has been accredited.

The Iron Range Engineer Program, a collaborative program between Minnesota State Mankato and Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minn., produced its first graduates in December 2011.

In the heart of Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range, a new model for engineering education began delivery in January 2010. The Iron Range Engineering (IRE) model is a project-based-learning program in which students work closely with industry on design projects throughout their 3rd and 4th years. The goal of this approach is to produce graduates with significant integrated technical and professional knowledge and competencies.

Vikings Training Camp

The Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota State Mankato announced July 23 that the Vikings would continue holding training camp on the Minnesota State Mankato campus in 2013, 2014 and 2015, with the 2015 training camp marking the Vikings 50th in Mankato.

With Minnesota State Mankato preparing to celebrate the university’s 150th year in 2017, the training camp contract extends the partnership with the Vikings to cover more than one-third of the lifetime of the institution, which began in 1868 as Mankato Normal School.

“We are very happy to announce that the Minnesota Vikings will continue to hold their training camp on the Minnesota State Mankato campus for the 48th, 49th and 50th times over the next three summers,” said Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport, who is pictured above with Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier.

“Vikings training camp in Mankato is a Minnesota tradition," Davenport said, "and we invite Vikings fans everywhere to come with their families to our campus and community, and enjoy this wonderful and exciting preview to the Vikings season.”

Good Thunder Reading Series

The Good Thunder Reading Series will host 17 writers over nine residencies in its 32nd annual program this year.

Aimed at reflecting the diversity and vitality of contemporary writing, the series invites both emerging and established writers to Mankato to meet with community writers and readers, be interviewed on public radio, lead discussions on the craft of writing, and read from their published works.

The fall Good Thunder Reading series will feature:

  • Thursday, Sept. 12: Nonfiction writer Tracy Kidder
  • Thursday, Oct. 3: Minneapolis writer for young adults Swati Avasthi and Madison Lake
  • creative nonfiction writer Rachael Hanel
  • Thursday, Oct. 24: The Robert Wright Minnesota Writer residency hosts Mankato creative nonfiction writer Alicia Catt and Moorhead fiction writer Alan Davis
  • Thursday, Nov. 14: The Nadine B. Andreas Residency features Mankato nonfiction writer Angela Duryee, the 2013-14 Andreas Graduate Assistant, and Illinois fiction and creative nonfiction writer Luis Alberto Urrea

The spring Good Thunder Reading Series includes:

  • Thursday, Jan. 30: Nebraska poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Washington poet Christopher Howell
  • Tuesday-Friday, Feb. 18-21: Minneapolis writer for young people and National Book Award winner Pete Hautman and Texas poet and creative nonfiction writer Alex Lemon
  • Thursday, March 20: Robbinsdale poet Matt Rasmussen and poet and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy K. Smith
  • Thursday, April 10: Two National Book Award winners, Mississippi novelist Jesmyn Ward and South Carolina poet Nikky Finney
  • The spring offerings will conclude with a faculty reading featuring Mankato poet and creative nonfiction writer Candace Black and Mankato fiction writer Roger Sheffer.

All events are open to the public and will be held in the Centennial Student Union. Most series guests will be interviewed on KMSU-FM 89.7 and have their discussions broadcast as part of the “Authors in Transit” series at 1 p.m. on the day of the event and 11 p.m. the Friday immediately following.

Those who want more information about the series or a particular author may call director Richard Robbins at (507) 389-2117, or go to

2013-2014 Theatre & Dance Season

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will open its 2013-14 Mainstage season with the much-anticipated “Les Misérables.” In addition, there will be two more musical productions—“Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “The Drowsy Chaperone”—among the six-show season.

In addition to “Les Misérables” in October, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in January-February and “The Drowsy Chaperone” in April, the Mainstage season will include the plays “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward in October, “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” which will be directed by Minnesota State Mankato alum and Penumbra Theater founder Lou Bellamy, in November, and William Shakepeare’s “As You Like It” in February-March.

Plays in the four-show Studio season include Jenny Laird’s “Sky Girls,” about woman training to become WASPs, in September; “Betrayal,” a story about a couple dealing with her affair, by Harold Pinter, in November; “Trust” by Stephen Dietz in March; and “Maverick Musings,” a night of short original plays by Minnesota State Mankato students in April. The Fall Dance Concert will be presented Dec. 6-7 and in the spring, will join with the Department of Music to present “Carmina Burana” May 2-3.

Cost for the six-show Mainstage season subscription is $100 and subscriptions are available by mail order only. Individual tickets for all shows go on sale Sept. 9. For more information, visit to download a form or call the main Theatre & Dance office at 507-389-2118 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Fall 2013 Music Performance Series

Minnesota State Mankato’s Music Performance Series will feature 11 concerts featuring visiting artists during the fall. The Department of Music will offer 12 student ensemble concerts.

The Performance Series offers contemporary and ethnically diverse music featuring state and internationally recognized artists. It also incorporates instruction through master classes, clinics and workshops for the university community and Mankato area residents. Fall 2013 concerts and artist highlight include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 5: West Bank folk scene graduate Papa John Kolstad and harmonica virtuoso Clint Hoover perform a musical blend of folk, blues, and roots music.
  • Sunday, Sept. 15: Noah Hoehn, utilizing a live looping system, offers saucy harmonica and cool marimba layered upon a foundation of acoustic grooves.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 17: Steve Kaul and The Brass Kings perform with metal-bodied resophonic guitars, washtub bass, washboard and fiddle.
  • Sunday, Sept. 22: Alison Scott and the Okemah Prophets deliver a unique sound that combines soulful vocals and brilliant lyrics with a keen sense of creativity and passion.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 24: Balladeer Michael Johnson, the voice of “Bluer Than Blue,” and his distinctive tenor voice hasn't changed at all in a quarter-century.
  • Thursday, Oct. 3: Pianist Stephen Carlson, a versatile soloist and chamber musician, has performed throughout much of the U.S. and Eastern Canada.
  • Sunday, Oct. 6: Acoustic finger-style guitarists Bob Bingham and Gordon Thorne cover the work of American and Ragtime icons Blind Blake, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt and Robert Johnson.
  • Sunday, Oct. 13: World-renowned Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler is joined by Carleton College faculty pianist Nicola Melville in a program of avant-garde rock and aesthetic music.
  • Thursday, Oct. 17: Indie group Bella Ruse features a combination of airy folk and pop originals using a laboratory of instruments – acoustic guitar, suitcase organ, glockenspiel, typewriter, and kazoos.
  • Monday, Oct. 21: Slaid Cleaves (pictured above right), one of the more underrated songwriters around, writes gritty, dirt-under-the-nails songs about factory workers, war vets, union jobs, small town life and derailed dreams. Cleaves is joined by first call Austin, Texas, sideman Scrappy Jud Newcombe.
  • Saturday, Oct. 26: Blues artist Debbie Davies and band perform. In her amazing career, Davies has received 10 nominations for Blues Music Awards, and in 1997 and 2010 won the award for Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist.

Student ensemble concerts will be performed by the Concert Choir, David Dickau, conductor; University Chorale, Rodney Urtel, conductor; Concert Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, Amy Roisum-Foley, conductor; University Orchestra, Joseph Rodgers, conductor; and the Jazz Mavericks, Jazz Singers and Jazz Combos, Doug Snapp, director.

Online ticketing will be available Monday, Aug. 26. Those who want more information may visit

Sept. 4: Part-Time Job and Service-Learning Fair

The annual Part-Time Job & Service Learning Fair is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Myers Field House. Hundreds of exhibitors will be on hand to look for student employees, interns and volunteers, offering students the opportunity to build skills through real-world experience. There will be free food and giveaways. Private non-profit, student or community service organization interested in participating may visit this website for more information. Businesses can register with Greater Mankato Growth here.

Sept. 5: Papa John Kolstad and Clint Hoover

Acoustic guitarist Papa John Kolstad and harmonica virtuoso Clint Hoover will perform Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Papa John was among the pioneering artists on the Twin Cities folk music scene of the 1960s, playing haunts like The Ten O’Clock Scholar in Dinkytown along with the likes of Bob Dylan and Koerner, Ray, and Glover. His 1975 album Beans Taste Fine is the stuff of lore. Kolstad was a favorite performer in the early days of A Prairie Home Companion, and he was a fixture on the East Coast folk festival circuit.

Appearing with Kolstad is harmonica ace Clint Hoover. Hoover has a style that virtually transcends the instrument. He has established himself as one of a handful of accomplished jazz harmonica players. Richard Hunter, author of Jazz Harp, calls Hoover, “ of the very best and most inventive players of the blues around today.” The Minneapolis Star and Tribune writes, “Mild mannered off stage, Clint Hoover is a monster onstage or in the studio, a smokin’ and soulful soloist who will huff and puff and blow the house down.”

Concert admission 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 at 507-389-5549.

Sept. 11: Common Read Author Tracy Kidder

Author Tracy Kidder (pictured) will discuss his book, “Strength in What Remains,” to kick off Minnesota State Mankato’s “common read” Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Kidder will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union ballroom. The presentation is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public. A book signing will follow. Attendees need not have read the book to enjoy this presentation. The event will also stream live online here.

All students were invited to read “Strength in What Remains” before the start of 2013-’14 classes. Minnesota State Mankato staff members are also working with the Blue Earth County and North Mankato Taylor libraries and several other organizations to invite community participation. The book is available in a variety of formats (hardcover, paperback, e-Book and audio) at various locations, including the Minnesota State Mankato Memorial Library as well as local public libraries and bookstores.

Student News

A new honor society, Lambda Sigma Society, is coming to the Minnesota State Mankato campus and fall initiation will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 in Centennial Student Union.

According to its website, Lambda Sigma Society is a national honor society for second-year men and women dedicated to the purpose of fostering leadership, scholarship, fellowship, and the spirit of service among college students, and to promoting the interests of the college or university in every possible way.

Dr. Denise Rode, director of Orientation & First-Year Experience at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., is a member of the Lambda Sigma Society’s national executive board, and she will represent the national executive board at the Sept. 3 initiation.

For more information, please contact Greg Wilkins, associate director of Centennial Student Union & Student Activities, by phone at 507-389-6076 or by email at

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Maria Bevacqua has agreed to serve as Acting Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Bevacqua began her duties as Acting Dean in July, and will continue in the position through June 30, 2014.

JP Flood (Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services) presented two peer reviewed research papers this summer at the International Committee for Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes in Wageningen, Netherlands. The papers were titled - Early Recreation and Sport Memories: Indicators of Lifestyle; and, Adlerians and Sports: How team encouragement, cooperation and inclusion combat “winning at all costs.”

July Externally Funded Projects

Dan Sachau (Psychology) “DQC Data Analysis 2013” funded by Data Quality Campaign.

Guadalupe Quintero (Academic Affairs) “Migrant College Weekend Experience” funded by Minnesota Migrant Secondary Program.

Nancy Sprengeler (Academic Affairs) “Education Talent Search 13-14” funded by U.S. Department of Education.

Correction—Heather Von Bank (Family Consumer Science), who was inadvertently listed as a faculty member in Sociology & Corrections in the July 17 newsletter, received a “Play and Child Development Grant” funded by Clemson University Foundation in June.

International Travel Alert

The Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system office issued a worldwide travel alert on Aug. 5, 2013. Please click here for more details.

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 Sept. 11; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Sept. 6).

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.