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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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May 14, 2014 Campus Newsletter

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Book Drive

Minnesota State University, Mankato and Edina’s Student Council for Exceptional Children chapters held a book drive this semester to provide library books for students at Al Sorouh American School in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which is a partner school with the College of Education. The dedication and enthusiasm of these students resulted in more than 2,000 books collected.

Students at Al Sorouh learn English while studying American curriculum. Library books written in English have not been available for students to continue practicing reading in English at home. When students return to Al Sorouh next fall they will have a library full of books to enjoy as well as extend their learning.

Stomper Move Crew

The Department of Residential Life is seeking faculty and staff volunteers to help greet students and parents as they arrive to move in to the residence halls on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Faculty and staff play the important role of greeting students and parents, directing them to the correct buildings to get keys and information, and watching the heaps of belongings that are piled in front of the residential halls. Together students, faculty and staff form the “Stomper Move Crew” that annually welcomes new students to campus.

Information needed from volunteers includes:

  • T-shirt sizes (s, m, l, xl, xxl, xxxl), as volunteers receive t-shirts to wear during their shifts.
  • Shift preference: Volunteers are needed from 7:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
    • Entire shifts are from 7:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering, or have any questions, please contact Torin Akey, associate director of residential life at or 389-1011 by May 30.

'Shaping of the North Star State'

Former Minnesota State Mankato history professor William Lass has published a book titled “Shaping the North Star State: A History of Minnesota’s Boundaries.”

The book, published by North Star Press in St. Cloud, Minn., explores the historic developments that established Minnesota’s boundaries and its iconic shape.

Lass’ book is available online for $16.95.

Lass retired from the University in 2002 and established the William E. Lass Student Research and Writing Scholarship, which is given annually through the history department.


Approximately 1,600 Minnesota State Mankato students participated in three spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10, with 2,413 degrees awarded at the end of the spring 2014 semester.

Among the degrees awarded were, two doctorate of education degrees, two doctorate of psychology degrees, nearly 400 master's degrees (380) and more than 2,000 undergraduate degrees (2,027).

Three ceremonies were held Saturday in Bresnan Arena of Taylor Center. Students in the colleges of Arts & Humanities and Science, Engineering & Technology took part in the 9 a.m. ceremony; those in the colleges of Allied Health & Nursing and Education participated in a noon ceremony; and students in the colleges of Business and Social & Behavioral Sciences graduated in a 3 p.m. ceremony.

Greek Graduation

The Greek community recognized its spring 2014 graduates during the first-ever Greek graduation ceremony on Tuesday, April 29. This semester, 52 fraternity and sorority members received degrees. Taylor Bergstrom and Elle-Shante Ganie-Foote spoke on behalf of the graduates, and Kim Stone (Garafola), 2001 alumna of Alpha Sigma Alpha and currently the assistant vice president for advancement at Augsburg College, welcomed the graduates to the ranks of alumni.

Graduates were presented with a newly minted lapel pin signifying the distinction of becoming an alumnus of the Greek community.

Sport Management Award

The Sport Management Association was awarded the Recognized Student Organization Exemplary Service award during the Minnesota State Mankato Leadership Awards ceremony on April 27.

The group participated in the many local events including the Mankato Marathon, Kiwanis Holiday Lights, Big Bobber Event Athletics and the Hoops for Hunger Basketball Tournament.

Sports management students were able to work with the community and to meet professionals in the field.

ReStore It

On May 8-9, the Dumpster Diversion Program, which is a joint venture of several nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity/Restore and MVAC Again Thrift and More Store, invited residents in all communities to participate in their recycling program.

The program aims to keep residents’ discarded but useful items out of landfills by diverting them to area thrift stores.

May 14: 'Toward Zero Deaths' Workshop

Minnesota State Mankato will host a South Central Minnesota “Toward Zero Deaths” workshop on Wednesday, May 14 in the Centennial Student Union.

Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths uses interdisciplinary approaches to reducing traffic crashes, injuries and deaths on Minnesota roads. While individual disciplines have a long history of successful traffic safety programs, Towards Zero Deaths aims to tie these together with a common vision and mission for even greater success.

Individuals encouraged to attend include:

  • Community law enforcement
  • Engineers
  • Educators
  • Emergency medical services
  • Local policymakers
  • Traffic safety advocates

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required by April 30. Register online.

A draft workshop agenda is published  here (broken link). For more information, click here or contact Annette Larson, SC/SW Toward Zero Deaths Coordinator, by phone at 507-304-6110 or by email at

May 27-31: 'Rope'

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will open its 48th annual Highland Summer Theatre season with Patrick Hamilton’s thrilling drama, “Rope,” with performances at 7:30 p.m. May 27-31 in the Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts. The show is made possible by the General Mills Gift Matching Program.

For the mere sake of adventure, danger and fun, Wyndham Brandon persuades his weak-minded friend, Charles Granillo, to assist him in the murder of a fellow undergraduate, a perfectly harmless man named Ronald Raglan. They place the body in a wooden chest and to add spice to their handiwork, invite a few acquaintances, including the dead youth's father, to a party. The chest with its gruesome contents serves as a supper table. It is loosely based on the story of Leopold and Loeb from the 1920s.

“Rope” is directed by department faculty member Heather E. Hamilton and features spring bachelor of fine arts musical theatre graduate Jake McInerney as “Brandon,” with junior bachelor of fine arts musical theatre candidate Jake Sullivan as “Granillo.”

Individual tickets for all summer shows are on sale now at the Theatre & Dance Box Office, located in the lobby of the Earley Center, and online at Call 507-389-6661 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday (except Memorial Day).

In addition, season tickets are still on sale at the box office or by downloading a form from the web site and returning it to the Theatre & Dance office. Other shows for the summer are “Next to Normal” June 11-14, “Boeing Boeing” June 24-28 and “Hairspray,” July 10-12 and 16-19. All summer shows start at 7:30 p.m.

Student Achievements

Economics students Ozlem Barin and Matthew Petersen presented their research papers at the 2014 Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium sponsored by the Minnesota Academy of Science. The students’ research papers were supervised by Ihsuan Li. The registration and travel expenses of the two students were funded by the Kappa chapter of the honor society in economics, Omicron Delta Epsilon.

The Department of Economics and the Kappa chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon co-sponsored the 2014 spring special advising session for economics majors, minors, and anyone interested in the major. The session was held on April 28. The session featured alumni speakers William Sinclair (Credit Risk Analysis II at US Bank) and Eric Anderson (mayor of the City of Mankato). Robert Simonson and Ihsuan Li led the advising event.

An alumnus of the economics program, Aaron Bader, was accepted to the doctoral program in economics at University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. Bader was offered $21,500 in annual stipend and assistantship, along with a tuition waiver, and will start his graduate studies this fall semester.

Jesse Backstrom, alumnus of the economics program at Minnesota State Mankato, was accepted to the doctoral program in agricultural economics at Texas A&M. Backstrom was offered full tuition waiver, fellowship and assistantship, and will commence his studies this fall semester.

The Minnesota State Mankato chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association was named the 2014 Minnesota State Mankato Outstanding Recognized Student Organization at the Minnesota State Mankato Leadership Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 27. Renee Shellum is the NSSLHA faculty advisor and senior Whitney Sannes is the current president.

Fahmida Hassan, a master of business administration major from Bangladesh, is Minnesota State Mankato's spring 2014 Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award recipient. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation confers 20 Welter World Citizen $500 awards each semester, and recipients are nominated by their campuses based on their demonstrated commitment to international education and global engagement.

Student Employee Scholarship

The University Advancement Student Employee Scholarship Selection Committee have announced the recipients for fall 2014. The following students who have been selected to receive a $200 scholarship:

  • Lexi Dierauer: Printing & Photocopying Services
  • Hannah Funk: KMSU Radio
  • Samantha Nimchuk: Annual Fund
  • Anna Tschida: Annual Fund

Faculty/Staff Achievements

Barbara Al Nouri has been named director of the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI). The University would like to congratulate her on her appointment and wish her continued success as she builds the IELI into a major university resource for international students.

Robert Simonson and Ihsuan Li (Economics) served as judges at the 2014 Winchell Undergraduate Symposium, sponsored by the Minnesota Academy of Science, held at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona, Minn.

Ihsuan Li (Economics) presented a breakout session titled, “What is it Worth? Salary by Majors,” at the 2014 Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium sponsored by the Minnesota Academy of Science, in St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona, Minn.

Pat Nelson, assistant professor in the Law Enforcement Program at Minnesota State Mankato, was quoted in a Mankato Free Press article titled “New Ulm man advances challenge to his marijuana arrest” by Josh Moniz April 26. The article is available here.

Bob Hoffman, Minnesota State Mankato's vice president for strategic business, education and regional partnerships, will celebrate his retirement from Minnesota State Mankato on Friday, June 13 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s South Ballroom.

Tammy Diehn, nurse practitioner and associate director of Minnesota State Mankato Student Health Services, will participate in the regional table top exercise on Friday, May 16 at South Central Heritage Hall in North Mankato, Minn.

Ramon Pinero has been appointed as the next director of alumni relations and special events, effective July 1. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Pinero first came to Minnesota as an exchange student in 1999. In 2006 he received a bachelor’s degree in physical education teaching from Minnesota State Mankato, and in 2009, he earned his master's degree in education leadership. Since 2007 he has worked in the undergraduate admissions office at Minnesota State Mankato.

Department News

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has published its “Good News” newsletter for May 2014, which is available here.

The spring 2014 edition of “The Honors Beacon,” the sixth issue of the honors newsletter produced exclusively by honors students at Minnesota State Mankato, is available [PDF] here (5 MiB)

Externally Funded Projects

Amy Mukamuri (Institutional Diversity) "College Access Summer Bridge 2014 (CAP)" funded by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Oscar Gonzalez (Institutional Diversity) "Secondary Migrant Luncheon" funded by the Midwest Migrant Education Resource Center/Hamline University.

Kimberly Musser (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) "Fishers and Farmers Raving Workshop" funded by the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. 

Lisa Fleck (College of Allied Health and Nursing) "Agstar Dental Hygiene Clinic Scholarships" funded by the Agstar Fund.

Kristie Campana and Andrea Lassiter (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences) "Validation and Selection Predictors for Improved Tenure and Performance of Beef Slaughter and Further Meat Processing Facility Production Employees" funded by American Foods Group, LLC.

Richard Moore (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) "Yellow Medicine Watershed Terrain Analysis" funded by the Yollow Medicine River Watershed District.

James Wilde (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) "MnDOT Student Internships" funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Julia Hebenstreit (College of Allied Health and Nursing) "2014 Medical Education Research Grant (MERC) Trust Fund Grant Application" funded by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Oscar Gonzalez (Institutional Diversity) "Migrant College Weekend Experience" funded by the Midwest Migrant Education Resource Center/Hamline University.

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 June 11; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (June 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.