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 20, 2014 Campus Newsletter

Page address:

Governor Celebrates Civic Center Expansion

Minnesota State University, Mankato Richard Davenport (third from left) thanks Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (second from left) for supporting the bill signed into law that provided for upgrades to the Mankato civic center. Dayton came to Mankato for a press conference to discuss the upgrades on Aug. 13. More information is available here.

The improvements mean that the Minnesota State Mankato men's and women's hockey teams will make the civic center their permanent training, practice and competition facility.

Also pictured are state Sen. Kathy Sheran (first from left) and state Rep. Clark Johnson (fourth from left).

2014 Convocation

Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport introduced new and returning administrators and welcomed Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty and staff back to campus Aug. 18 in his annual Convocation speech.

During his speech, Davenport discussed recruitment, retention, completion, affordability and student debt.

He said the University cabinet spent a day last week discussing enrollment management at an off-campus retreat. Among the University's five-year enrollment and graduation goals, Davenport said, were for two-thirds of new students to graduate within six years of enrolling, up from the current 51 percent.

Davenport also said the University would continue its efforts in the areas of academic mapping and academic planning -- tied to integrated strategic planning -- and he said that both areas were critical to the University receiving reaffirmation of accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Fall Media Campaign

The Minnesota State Mankato brand will be "front and center" in several enrollment-focused media ads in September and beyond, through a campaign coordinated by the Office of Integrated Marketing in collaboration with the Office of Admissions.

You can see our two new TV spots on the late-evening newscasts of all four major commercial stations in the Twin Cities (WCCO, KARE, KSTP, KMSP), as well as on the University home web page. The campaign also includes several billboards in the Cities, electronic scoreboard ads in five targeted high school stadiums and Facebook pages of high school students.

Looking for Old Yearbooks

Alumni Relations and Stewardship & Advancement Services are looking for 1973, 1975, and 1976 Minnesota State Mankato yearbooks. We’re unsure if they were published those years, but if you have one that you’d be willing to loan them, please contact Karen Burger at 389-6831 or

Distinguished Alumni Award Nominations

The deadline for nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards has been moved up! The celebration of alumni who have reached significant achievements in their communities, careers or by a young age is being slightly revamped for 2015. To accommodate these changes, the deadline has been changed to Sept. 15.

If you know of deserving alumni, please nominate them. To nominate someone, and to find more information on the four categories of awards, click on this link.

Using Outside Vendors for Branded Merchandise

Colleges, divisions, departments and offices are reminded that a new online approval process (click here for forms) was implemented in April for getting approval to use outside vendors for printing or producing branded merchandise.

The new forms were NOT designed to block use of outside vendors. Rather, using the forms ensures the use of proper university branding and avoidance of copyright violations.

Maintaining graphic standards strengthens the University’s brand and supports the strong brand recognition that we have achieved in a competitive marketplace. Avoiding use of copyrighted material reduces the risk of copyright lawsuits and settlements.

The approval process is facilitated by University Printing and Photocopy Services. All requests will receive a response within two business days of submission.

For more information, call Doug Fenske or Aaron Tish at ext. 1181 or email either of them at or

2014-2015 Theatre & Dance Season

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will open its 2014-15 Mainstage season Oct. 2 with the popular “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” which will run from Oct. 2-12. Two more musical productions— “Assassins” (Jan. 29-Feb. 8) and “The Pirates of Penzance” (April 9-19) — are among the six-show season.

Season brochures were mailed the week of Aug. 4. Cost for the six-show Mainstage season subscription is $100. Season subscribers may also purchase additional tickets for Mainstage shows as well as tickets for Studio shows and Dance Concerts. Individual tickets for all shows go on sale Sept. 15.

In addition to “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” in October, “Assassins” in January-February and “The Pirates of Penzance” in April, the Mainstage season will include the plays “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee from Oct. 16-26, “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder from Nov. 6-16, and a show based on a Spanish-language play, “Life Is A Dream,” from Feb. 19-March 1.

Plays in the four-show Studio season are Shirley Lauro’s “A Piece of My Heart,” about five woman and their involvement in the Vietnam War, from Sept. 17-20; “Gabriel,” a story about a man who mysteriously appears following a World War II battle, from Nov. 19-22; “boom” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, from March 25-28; and David Ives’ “Venus in Fur,” the story of a director who gets more than he bargained for, from April 22-25. The Fall Dance Concert will be presented Dec. 5-6 and the Spring Dance Concert will be presented May 1 & 2. Other special events are planned throughout the year.

Subscriptions are available by mail order only. For more information, visit to download a form (after Aug. 4) or call the main Theatre & Dance office at 507-389-2118 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to have one mailed to you.

Fall 2014 Music Performance Series

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Music Performance Series will feature a professional artist series along with 14 student ensemble concerts during the fall semester.

The Performance Series offers contemporary and ethnically diverse music featuring nationally and internationally recognized artists.

The series also integrates instruction through master classes, clinics and workshops benefitting the university community, Mankato area residents and K-12 students.

In addition to Performance Series events, the Department of Music will offer a number of student ensemble concerts, including 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; the University Percussion Ensemble, Michael Thursby, director; and the Jazz Mavericks Big Band and Contemporary Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles, Douglas Snapp, director.

Online ticketing will be available Tuesday, Aug. 26. For more information, visit or call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

September Performance Series concert and artist highlights include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 11: The Last Revel, a three-piece acoustic group using traditional folk-minded three-part harmonies with honest and meaningful lyrics. Band members pride themselves on their desire to write, perform, and entertain their fans.
  • Sunday, Sept. 14: The Minneapolis Guitar Quarter with flamenco dance Colette Illarde feature music of Spanish composers Enrique Granados and Joaquin Rodrigo arranged by the MGQ. The choreography by Illarde reflects the extraordinary vitality of Spanish culture and includes Spanish regional and folk dancing and flamenco.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16: Steve Kaul and The Brass Kings perform with metal-bodied resophonic guitars, washtub bass, washboard and fiddle, shifting from jug band music to wild improvisational ragas, blending folk music traditions into a pulsing groove.
  • Sunday, Sept. 21: Speaking in Tongues are four astonishing musicians from four different cultures with four native tongues. With superb musicianship and an infectious camaraderie, the group draws on many sources, blending music from four different cultures on a stage full of instruments from all over the world.
  • Monday, Sept. 29: Slaid Cleaves (pictured), 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 that might make you think of Bruce Springsteen, James McMurtry or Steve Earle.

Good Thunder Reading Series

Thirteen critically-acclaimed poets, fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers will give craft talks, Q&As, readings and sign books over the course of the year in the 33rd annual Good Thunder Reading Series.

The season opens Sept. 11 when Susan Orlean, a creative non-fiction writer gives a "talk on craft" at 3 p.m. in Centennial Student Union's Ostrander Auditorium, followed by a reading that evening at 7:30 p.m. in CSU 245. More information on Orlean and all of this year's poets and writers along with a complete schedule is available by clicking here.

Added to the regular Good Thunder Reading Series program this fall is the launch of “Good Thunder Presents,” a series of free, public events that connect Minnesota writers with area community groups. Good Thunder Presents premieres at the St. Peter Arts Center at 7:30 pm. on Saturday, Oct. 4. Local writers will perform first person stories related to the theme “Disguises.” Live music will be provided by the duo Mrs. Hammerschmidt and Jim.

Sept. 4: Bass Brand Brass Band

The Bass Brand Brass Band will perform on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the University's Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The Bass Brand Brass Band is an eight-piece brass and percussion ensemble consisting of brass and percussion. The group plays all acoustic, New Orleans style street music as well as some original compositions and arrangements.

Online ticket ordering for this event begins Tuesday, August 26. Click here to order. For more information, visit

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCard and K-12 students and children. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

Sept. 9: Common Read Presentation

Historian M.J. O’Brien and civil rights activist Joan (Trumpauer) Mulholland will give a public presentation that relates to this year's common read book, Anne Moody's "Coming of Age in Mississippi," on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Minnesota State Mankato is in its fifth year of a common read program, and Moody’s book, a 1968 memoir about growing up as an African-American woman in Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s, has been chosen as the common read for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Minnesota State Mankato New Student and Family Programs office has invited the area community to join University students in reading “Coming of Age in Mississippi.” 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.

More information about this year's common read event is available here and a press release is available here.

Federal Financial Aid Change for Students

Message to students from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells:

The federal government has announced that students who have not declared a major or are in a pre-major program will no longer be eligible for certain types of financial aid—but Minnesota State University, Mankato has got you covered for fall semester. We may also be able to save you time and money by helping you plan a more direct path toward your academic goals.

Right now, there is nothing you need to do. But there are some key facts you need to know.

  • Unless you have been advised otherwise, all students who are currently undecided or in a pre-major course of study have been assigned a Bachelor of Science major in Interdisciplinary Studies, which is in the College of Arts and Humanities. This is an excellent program and may be an option you want to consider exploring. Learn more about the program here.
  • You can change that to a major of your choice at any time, and you can change your major as necessary after that as well.
  • Our academic advising services will help you create a plan that’s flexible enough to allow for change but focused enough to keep you on track for graduation.
  • If you have already been working with an advisor, that person will still be your advisor going forward and will be eager to help you with any questions you may have.
  • If you have never met with an advisor, talk to a Student Relations Coordinator in one of the six academic colleges or an Undecided Advisor in the Office of New Student and Family Programs about how to work toward your goals.
  • As you make these major decisions, feel free to use the Career Development Center’s services to help you determine which majors and careers are a good fit.

Student News

A Minnesota State Mankato student-run consulting business, Bureau 507, was featured in an article in the August 2014 issue of Minnesota Business Magazine. Scott Fee, currently the University's dean of University Extended Education, helped establish Bureau 507, which developed out of a partnership between Minnesota State Mankato and Holland's HAN University. To read the article online, click here.

Eight Minnesota State Mankato students who are also members of the U.S. Army Cadet Command graduated this summer from the U.S. Army's Leadership Development Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Knox, Ky. The students included Amber Eden, Mitchell Gillen, Jeff Henry, Derick Irwin, Matt Jacobson, Ben Johnson, Sam Lozano and Evan Masters.

Faculty/Staff News

Amy Lauters, associate professor in the Department of Mass Media, was recently quoted in an Associated Press article about an autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder that will be published this fall by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press. To read the article as it appeared in the Star Tribune, click here.

Amy Kopachek joined the Centennial Student Union's Student Activities Office on Aug. 6 as business manager. She worked previously in Student Financial Services.

Karen Anderson has been named new assistant director for community engagement and began her position on Aug. 5. Anderson, who has a bachelor's degree from Minnesota State Mankato and master's of education from Kent State, worked most recently at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky.

Greg Wilkins, associate director of the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities, had his poetry, "An AIDS Memoir," published in the summer 2014 edition of the quarterly international, "Radical Faery Digest."

John Bulcock, assistant director of Student Activities for Greek Life, was selected to serve as a facilitator for the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute, the premier leadership development program for fraternity and sorority members in the country. The program is hosted at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and it is sponsored by the North-American Interfraternity Conference.

Ihsuan Li, associate professor of economics, completed a workshop on retention and persistence in higher education at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. She also completed a workshop on applied computation economics sponsored by the AAEA on July 26 and judged a graduate case study competition at the 2014 Agricultural and Applied Economic Association Annual Conference, held at the Hyatt Hotel in Minneapolis.

Heather Von Bank, associate professor in the Department of Family Consumer Science, co-authored a book, "The Power of Playful Learning: The Green Edition," that was published in July. For more information, click here.


Denny Javens, a University employee for more than 30 years, died on Aug. 9. Javens began his employment in Facilities Management as a steamfitter and was later promoted to Plumber Fitter Supervisor. He was the 2009-10 winner of the Outstanding Service Award. Facilities Management provided more information about Javens here. Javens' life was celebrated Aug. 16, and an obituary is available 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 Sept. 10; the deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Sept. 5).

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.