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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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February 25, 2015 Campus Newsletter

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TV Spots

Amy Hamilton
Hedy Walls

The two newest TV spots for Minnesota State University, Mankato are now airing on the late-evening newscasts of all four commercial stations in the Twin Cities for the next several weeks and can be viewed on the University home web page starting around March 1. The spots feature two of our alumnae: Hedy Walls, vice president for social responsibility at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, and Amy Hamilton, manager of sports medicine at TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington.

The TV spots are part of the University's winter/early spring media buy, which also includes 14 billboards in the Cities, ads on electronic displays in high school arenas, Minnesota Public Radio drivetime sponsorship and Facebook advertising.

Engineering Excellence Award

Engineering Excellence AwardMinnesota State Mankato received an honor award at a Jan. 30 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Minnesota awards banquet in Minneapolis in recognition of the University's Memorial Library-Centennial Student Union Underground Pedestrian Connection.

ACEC annually recognizes outstanding Minnesota projects that exhibit merit and ingenuity.

Firms recognized for their work on the project included LEO A DALY; EDR Ltd.; and American Engineering Testing, Inc.

Entries were judged on the basis of originality and innovation; future value to the engineering profession; social, economic and sustainable design considerations; complexity; and meeting the client’s needs. Click here to view all the 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards.

Biology Students Present at Conference

AFS logoBiology graduate students April R. Londo and Nathaniel J. Lederman, along with zoology undergraduate student Alexandra A. Dahmes, presented research findings and networked with professionals at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, held from Feb. 8-11 in Indianapolis.

Londo’s research focus was on zebra mussel habitats in four west-central Minnesota lakes. Lederman and Dahmes presented a poster titled “Macroinvertebrate Species Richness and Density Between Modified and Relatively Natural Segments of the Minnesota River.” Londo, Lederman, Dahmes and other biology students will attend the Minnesota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Brainerd, Minn., on March 2-4.

New Soap Cuts Costs

Soap DispenserOver the past five weeks, Building Services has been working to replace the approximately 600 soap dispensers on campus with new, purple and gold dispensers. The branded dispensers were supplied to the University at no cost from distributor Arnold Supply, who is also providing new soap at a 50 percent savings.

Jason McCue, the director of Building Services, says the change will save the University $8,000 this year. Most of the dispensers have been changed as the current soap supplies are used up; if you know of any that have not yet been updated, please contact Building Services at 389-6804.

ROTC Helps Klondike Derby

ROTC CadetsCadets from the University Maverick Battalion helped teach Boy Scouts of America survival skills as part of the Klondike Derby, hosted at the Norseland Boy Scout Camp in St Peter, Minn. First-year and sophomore cadets supervised activities for the scouts, including shelter building and snowshoeing, while junior cadets taught basic survival skills, such as fire starting and food preparation.

The Klondike Derby, previously a volunteer event, was integrated with Mankato Reserve Officers' Training Corps curriculum this year. The ROTC provided hands-on training and leadership experience for the scouts. Along with the training, cadets were served a catered lunch and had an opportunity to experiment with shooting a black powder muzzle-loading rifle.

Feb. 25-28: Pan African Conference

Pan African Conference logoTwo nationally recognized keynote speakers will headline Minnesota State Mankato’s 39th Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 25-28 in Edina, Minn., and Bloomington, Minn. The theme for this year’s conference is “Understanding our Past to Direct the Future ‘Sankofa’.”

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, will speak Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. The Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., former executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will speak Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

Both Morial and Chavis will speak at Minnesota State Mankato at Edina, located at 7700 France Ave. S. Other portions of the conference will be at the Hilton Hotel at 3900 American Blvd. W. in Bloomington.

Click here for registration information (broken link). Contact Michael Fagin at 507-389-1126 or with questions.

Feb. 27: Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Rube Goldberg concertMinnesota high school students will compete to design the most elaborate, funny and functional chalkboard erasing-machine Friday, Feb. 27 at the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Minnesota State Mankato. The contest will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public beginning at noon.

More than twenty teams will demonstrate machines that erase chalkboards in 20 to 75 steps. Machines will be judged by complexity, reliability, team chemistry, creativity, humor and storytelling, along with the successful achievement of the task at hand. The event is sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence.

The top two finalists will advance to the national competition at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wis., on Saturday, April 18. For more information, contact Larane Wahlen, administrative assistant for the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence at 507-389-1201 or at

Feb. 27: Cabaret and Burlesque Show

Student Events Team LogoInnovative Programming Activities for Campus Togetherness will provide an unusual cultural experience for the Mankato community with a cabaret and burlesque performance Friday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium.

The is free and open to the public but for mature audiences only. Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque Show, a highly praised, critical group of entertainers based in Minneapolis, will be performing. An educational, open-forum discussion will be at 2 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium the day of the event.

For more information, call Student Events Team at 507-389-6076 or contact Rodolfo Correa-Abogado, chair for Student Events Team’s Mavericks After Dark Committee, at

Feb. 28: ‘Rabbit Tales’

Rabbit TalesThe Department of Theatre and Dance will present the only public performance of its 2015 children’s theatre touring production, "Rabbit Tales," at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 in the Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

"Rabbit Tales" teaches children that their actions affect others. Follow the adventures of Brer Rabbit as he pulls tricks on friends like Brer Fox or the gentle Brer Bear. Auntie Remus guides the audience through stories, ultimately showing kids that being a good friend means treating others as you would want them to treat you.

The show was written by Jake Sullivan, a theatre student whose two original works were included in last spring’s production of “Maverick Musings.” The cast is made up of seven first-year students who visit area elementary schools. The show was primarily written for kindergarten through fourth-grade students. Tickets are $5 and available beginning at 9 a.m. the day of the show at the Theatre & Dance Box Office in the lobby of the Earley Center.

Feb. 28: Jazz Guitarist Mike Stern

Mike SternThe Department of Music will welcome jazz legend Mike Stern on Saturday, Feb. 28. Stern’s appearance with the University Jazz Mavericks will conclude activities associated with the Contemporary Music Festival taking place that day. The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

This year’s festival changed from a JazzFest format to a Contemporary Music Festival. This allows contemporary music groups that fall outside of the traditional jazz genre to participate, such as hip-hop ensembles and pop groups. Bands are judged on overall performance and receive oral and written critiques from qualified judges. Topical clinics are held by visiting artists and clinicians. All clinics are free and open to the public.

Stern’s career encompasses a sequence of partnerships ranging from the Miles Davis Group, the Brecker Brothers, Blood Sweat and Tears and his own dynamic groups. A six-time Grammy nominee, Stern was listed by DownBeat Magazine as one of the 75 all-time best guitarists in the world.

The festival concert will also feature Kenni Holman (sax -The Hornheads), Ryan Frane (piano - director of jazz at the University of Minnesota-Duluth), Jeff Bailey (bass -McNally Smith College of Music), and Steve Jennings (drums - McNally Smith College of Music).

Concert admission is $15; $13 for student. Discount tickets are available at For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

March 1-2: Winter Choral Concerts

Winter Choral ConcertsDepartment of Music Winter Choral Concerts will be Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m. and Monday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The University Choral Groups consists of three ensembles: The Concert Choir and Chamber Singers conducted by David Dickau and the University Choral conducted by Rodney Urtel. The Concert Choir is an auditioned group that includes students from all areas of the University.

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students. Tickets are available online at For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

March 3: Various Music Groups to Perform

Group performanceA variety of different groups will perform Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

Two a cappella vocal groups will perform an assortment of arrangements and cover tunes recorded by Pentatonix, BackTrack Vocals, Little Big Town, Cadence and New York Voices. The Jazz Lab Band will perform jazz charts by Chuck Mangione, Bert Zvacek, Dave Mills and Bill Chase.

Douglas Snapp (pictured), director of jazz studies, said, ”The students choose their own music, solos, as if they were doing this in the real world, running a group and gigging at a club. It’s good experience for them. The groups are totally open and a great place for creativity.”

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students. Tickets are available online at For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

March 17: Michael Thursby Faculty Recital

Michael ThursbyMichael Thursby (pictured) will perform in a percussion recital Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

Thursby is the director of athletic bands and percussion at Minnesota State Mankato, where he teaches courses in percussion, music education, theory, assists with the University's instrumental ensembles, and is director of the Maverick Athletic Bands.

Thursby’s recital will focus on the history of the drum, starting with very primal and early styles of drumming (West African and Japanese Taiko), and move forward into modern percussion. Thursby will perform an African Djembe and Japanese Taiko solo that he composed, "Mudra" by Bob Becker, which incorporates elements and stylings of percussion from India, and some keyboard works for Mexican marimba and vibraphone.

Admission is $9; $7 for students. Tickets are available online at For more information, call the Performance Series office at 507-389-5549.

Forensic Team Accomplishments

Forensic TeamThe Minnesota State Mankato Forensic Team traveled to St. Cloud State University on Feb. 6-7 to compete in the St. Cloud Icebox Classic Tournament. Fourteen schools competed in the tournament. Minnesota State Mankato placed fourth in team sweepstakes. Individual awards are listed:

Emmalee Eide - Second Place in Duo Interpretation
Alex Mathiowetz – Third Place in Persuasive Speaking, Sixth in Prose Interpretation
Paige Russell – Third Place in Program Oral Interpretation, Fifth in Prose Interpretation, Sixth in Poetry Interpretation
Shelbi Schadendorf - First Prose Interpretation, Second in Duo Interpretation
Brady Taylor - Second Place in Program Oral Interpretation, Fifth Impromptu Speaking

The team also traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to compete in the annual Love Fest and Red Hawk Invitational tournaments on Feb. 14 and Feb. 22. Thirteen schools competed the first day of competition, and nine schools competed the second. The team placed fifth in school sweepstakes for both days of the tournament combined. Individual awards are listed:

Jordan Carrillo - Fifth Place in Oral Interpretation
Alex Cutschall – Sixth Place in Informative Speaking
Caitlin Frymet – Fifth Place in Prose Interpretation, Fifth and Finalist in After Dinner Speaking, Fifth in Individual Sweepstakes
Paige Russell – Sixth Place in Poetry Interpretation
Cade Shelton – Third Place in After Dinner Speaking

Student News

Minnesota State Mankato students are voting on the 2015 homecoming theme via OrgSync up until March 6. The three themes being considered are "Back to the Future (2015)," "Maverick Takeover: Forever Purple and Gold," and "Show Your Horns (everything Maverick)."

International relations students Akmal Abdulmuminov and John D. Jacobs were selected to attend the 56th Annual Air Force Academy Assembly titled “United States and Russia Relations: Refocus, Rebuild, Re-energize.”

Eric M. Clark Jr., a civil engineering student and Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp cadet, was selected for a one-month, fully-funded chaplain internship at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.

Laken Fennern, a music education student, placed third in the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Music Theater Competition. Jesse Beulke, also a music education student, assisted Fennern’s performance by playing the piano. Both students are eligible to advance to the NATS North Central Regional level of the competition.

Matthew D. Petersen, an accounting student, was awarded a scholarship from the Foundation for Economic Education to attend a seminar titled “The Economics of Business Success.” Peterson was nominated by Ishuan Li, an associate professor of economics. The seminar will be at Chapman University in California in summer 2015.

Nicole M. Williams, a nursing student and Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp cadet, was selected for a one-month, fully-funded summer internship at Darnall Army Medical Clinic in Fort Hood, Texas.

Faculty/Staff News

Kuldeep Agarwal, an assistant professor of automotive and manufacturing engineering technology, was elected to a three-year term as a Council on Undergraduate Research Councilor in the engineering division.

Tonya Butler, a professor of music industry studies, published a self-help book titled “The Music Business is Corrupt… or Maybe You Just Can’t Sing?” The book gives advice to struggling artists about taking responsibility for their careers.

Jill L. Conlon, an associate professor of family and consumer science, was chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Professional of the Year for the Minnesota Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She will be honored at a dinner and banquet on Feb. 27 during a conference in St. Cloud, Minn.

Bradley J. Coulter’s artwork is displayed at Luther College in Iowa in an exhibit titled “Order X Chaos” until March 13. Coulter is an assistant professor of graphic design and typography. Click here to read more.

Deborah J. Jesseman, a professor in the College of Education, was selected as a committee member and contributor for a U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology focus group seeking to revise the National Educational Technology Plan.

Ishuan Li, an associate professor of economics, is the Assessment Task Force representative and a facilitator-in-training on assessment of undergraduate research outcomes for the social sciences division of the Council of Undergraduate Research.

Department News

The Department of Anthropology celebrated the first-ever National Anthropology Day on Feb. 19. Click here to read more.


Emeritus James R. Miller died Jan. 30 at age 77 at Rivers Edge Hospital in St. Peter, Minn. Miller was employed with the University for 33 years as a boiler engineer until his retirement in 2001. Click here for Miller’s obituary.

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 Wednesday, March 18. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, March 13.

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.