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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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May 13, 2015 Campus Newsletter

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Dining Hall Groundbreaking

Minnesota State University, Mankato will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a new residential dining hall on campus on Friday, May 15 at 1:15 p.m. in Room 126 of the Margaret R. Preska Residence Community.

After a short program inside that will include remarks by Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport and a presentation on the new dining hall, participants will move outside for the ceremonial groundbreaking, followed by refreshments.

[PDF] Parking (745 KiB) will be available in Lot 16 by the Early Center for Performing Arts.

RSVP by e-mailing or by calling 507-389-3235. For more information about the dining facility, click here.

Spring Commencement

Approximately 1,500 students participated in one of three spring commencement ceremonies that were held Saturday, May 9 in Taylor Center's Bresnan Arena.

Students in the colleges of Arts & Humanities and Science, Engineering & Technology were recognized in a 9 a.m. ceremony; those in the colleges of Allied Health & Nursing and Education were recognized in a noon ceremony; and students in the colleges of Business and Social & Behavioral Sciences were recognized in a 3 p.m. ceremony.

The University awarded 2,371 degrees at the end of the spring 2015 semester, including 297 graduate degrees and 2,074 undergraduate degrees. In total, Minnesota State Mankato awarded 4,058 degrees in the 2014-’15 academic year (including 1,687 degrees awarded in December 2014).

For more information on the spring commencement ceremonies, including a link to a video stream of all three ceremonies, click here. Alumni spirit items are available for online purchase.

Dreamline Students visit University

For their community work projects, several students enrolled in English 271 helped coordinate the visit of 61 Sanneh Foundation Dreamline students to the University on Friday, April 18. The project was part of the semester’s curriculum.

Originating in a connection with Tony Sanneh, former U.S. Men’s Soccer Team member, Professor of English Lee Tesdell structured the first annual event in 2014 with the financial backing of the Institutional Diversity Office at Minnesota State Mankato. After retiring from professional soccer, Sanneh returned to his native St. Paul to give back to his community. One of the programs he established was the Dreamline program, which aims to help at-risk students succeed in high school. With the support of Minnesota State’s Institutional Diversity Office, 50 Dreamline students and 15 of their coaches and mentors visited the University in April 2014.

Once again this year, Tesdell and his students collaborated with Institutional Diversity to coordinate and host Dreamline students from St. Paul and Minneapolis high schools for a University orientation visit. The goal for this event was to give English 271 students project management experience while giving Dreamliners a chance to envision themselves as university students.

Stomper Move Crew

The Department of Residential Life is seeking faculty and staff volunteers to greet students and parents as they move in to the residence halls on Thursday, August 20.

Faculty and staff will greet students and parents, direct them to the correct buildings and watch belongings in front of the residence halls. Greek life, learning community staff and other student organizations have a strong tradition of volunteering to assist in unloading vehicles and directing traffic. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt to wear during their shift.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Torin Akey, associate director of residential life, at or at 507-389-1011 by Friday, May 29. Volunteers should include their T-shirt sizes and shift preferences. Volunteers are needed from 7:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Entire shifts are from 7:45-11:45 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but if a volunteer cannot work an entire shift, a couple hours will suffice. Additional information will be provided to move crew volunteers in August.

Campus Drive

The 37th Annual Campus Drive for Minnesota State Mankato faculty, staff and retirees is underway. The Drive is currently at 28 percent participation with a goal of 40 percent by the end of June.

Last year the Campus Drive exceeded its goal with 633 faculty, staff, retirees and emeriti giving more than $750,000 in contributions.

A list of 800 funds to give to is available at the above link, and participants may give a gift by mail, phone, online or visiting the Alumni & Foundation Center, Suite 217. Those with questions should contact Lucette Hurley, director of Annual Giving Programs, at or at 507-389-5279.

Cinco de Mayo Literacy Day

Elementary and early childhood education block one teacher candidates hosted a Literacy Day for 200 Mankato area kindergarteners in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom on May 5 in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

The two-and-a-half-hour event culminated more than 140 field experience hours in elementary school classrooms by the teacher candidates this past semester.

The University-funded event featured readings of the Hispanic related book collection “Skippyjon Jones.”

May 26-30: ‘The Foreigner’

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will present the Larry Shue comedy “The Foreigner” as the opening show of its 49th annual season May 26-30 in the Andreas Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts. This production is made possible by the General Mills Gift Matching Program.

In the play, when “Froggy” LeSeuer brings his friend, Charlie, to a fishing lodge in rural Georgia he has no expectations about his shy friend. When “Froggy” leaves his friend behind, however, he tells everyone there that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English. Feeling they are safe speaking their mind among this awkward foreigner, those at the lodge inadvertently share things with him that take Charlie from hilarity to concern.

Tickets for “The Foreigner” are $16 regular, $14 discounted (seniors, youth and groups of 15 or more) and $11 for current Minnesota State Mankato students. They are available online at and at the Theatre & Dance Box Office during regular box office hours, 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 507-389-6661. A season subscription, including a ticket to “The Foreigner,” “Xanadu,” “Doubt” and “The Addams Family,” is $66 and available through May 30.

June 10-13: ‘Xanadu’

The second performance during the Highland Summer Theatre season is the musical “Xanadu,” based on the Universal Pictures’ cult classic featuring Olivia Newton-John. “Xanadu” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. June 10-13 in the Ted Paul Theatre and is made possible by an anonymous gift.

It follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time—the first roller disco. It has a book by Douglas Carter Beane, with music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. This is Xanadu’s Minnesota State Mankato debut.

They are available online at and at the Theatre & Dance Box Office during regular box office hours, 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 507-389-6661.

Student News

Meagen Kelly, a nursing student in the RN Baccalaureate Completion Program, received her certification as a holistic nurse through the American Holistic Nursing Credentialing Corporation. Kelly successfully completed the certification examination in May 2015.

Biochemistry juniors Tatiana Soboleva and Natalie Young were selected for 10-week long summer research programs in Utah. Soboleva was awarded the Chemistry/Biochemistry Summer Internship at Utah State University, where she will work on a research project under the direction of Lisa Berreau, professor of inorganic chemistry. Young was accepted into the University of Utah’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program, where she will be mentored on a biochemistry and molecular biology project.

Christopher P. Ritter, a College of Business students and the chief financial officer of this semester’s Integrated Business Experience, presented the $9,000 that IBE raised for the BackPack Food program on May 4 at the Hilltop United Prairie Bank.

In an effort to raise awareness for veterans' issues, specifically suicide, members of the Minnesota State Mankato Veterans Club along with campus community members did 22 pushups every weekday during the month of April. The total number pushups completed was 15,046. An average of about 30 people per day, and about 70 people for the last day, participated in the pushup challenge.

Department of Chemistry and Geology Scholarships

The Department of Chemistry and Geology would like to congratulate the following students who have been awarded scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Amanda Bernarde- $4,000 Phan To Su Chemistry Scholarship
  • Iheme Ngumah- $2,000 McCarty Memorial Scholarship
  • Ryan Colakovic- $2,000 McCarty Memorial Scholarship
  • Tatiana Soboleva- $1,000 Robert E. Gebelt Memorial Scholarship and $800 Robert Henney Memorial Scholarship
  • Wayland Hunter- $1,500 Stenzel Scholarship
  • Pakou Vue- $1,500 Stenzel Scholarship
  • Natalie Young- $1,000 Leonard A. Ford Chemistry Scholarship
  • Brandon Croatt- $1,000 Winston Grundmeier Chemistry Scholarship

The Department of Chemistry and Geology also awards the Marie Payne Graham Memorial Scholarship of $2,500 to an incoming freshman who has declared a major in chemistry or biochemistry. The recipient of this scholarship has yet to be announced.

Student Employee Scholarships

The University Advancement Student Employee Scholarship Selection Committee announced the following recipients for fall 2015 $300 scholarships:

  • Lance Bressler (Stewardship & Advancement Services)
  • Libbie Junker (Printing & Photocopying Services)
  • Erica Oberender (Alumni Relations & Special Events)
  • Amanda Roche (Annual Fund)
  • Elissa Knutson (Annual Fund)
  • Cassidy Ross (Annual Fund)

2015 Community Service Awards

The winners of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 2015 Community Service Awards were recognized at a reception on April 21. Individual award recipients were Clayton Anzalone, Samantha Haynes, Jennifer Heckman, John Jacobs, Makenzie Petzel and Supriya Sarkar. Sarkar received the Perry Wood Scholarship Award of $500. The award recipients have had a large scope of volunteer activities with a strong level of commitment to the community.

The Gender and Women’s Studies Collective Action Task Force and the Students of the Urban and Regional Studies Institute were also awarded at the reception. The clubs were recognized for their diligent service to the community.

Faculty/Staff News

The Department of Athletics recently announced the hiring of two new head coaches. Lori Rittenhouse-Wollmuth has been named head coach of the Maverick women's volleyball program, and John Harrington has been named head coach of the Maverick women's hockey program.

A retirement reception was held May 6 for Michael Fagin, professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. The Mankato Free Press and KEYC TV provided news coverage of the event.

Donald A. Friend, professor of geography, and Phillip H. Larson, assistant professor of geography, along with two other coauthors, published the article “Toe-Cut Terraces: A Review and Proposed Criteria to Differentiate them from Traditional Fluvial Terraces” in “Progress in Physical Geography,” one of the world’s leading Geography journals.

Professor Emeritus of History William E. Lass was interviewed about the history of Minnesota State Mankato for a KSMQ Public Television historical story on the City of Mankato that aired on a KSMQ “Off 90” episode. A link to the story is available at The City of Mankato story begins at 13:49 and the Lass interview begins at 18:28.

Associate Professor of Economics Ishuan Li and Professor of Economics Robert Simonson spoke about salaries for science, technology, engineering and mathematics college majors at the Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 25. Li and Simonson also served as judges of undergraduate research posters and oral presentations.

Patrick J. Sexton, professor and director of athletic training education, was selected as the 2015 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award recipient on behalf of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Executive Committee for Education. This award is given to those who exemplify excellence in the field of athletic training education. The award will be formally presented at the 66th Clinical Symposia in St. Louis on Thursday, June 25.

Spring 2015 Faculty Research Grants

Research and Sponsored Programs announced faculty research grants funded this spring. Awardees include:

- Sean Wachsmuth (College of Education, Department of Special Education) “The Effectiveness of an Online Direct Observation Training Module on the Reliability of Observers”
- Kristen Abbott-Anderson (College of Allied Health and Nursing, School of Nursing) “Instrument Development of Simulation and Family Constructs”
- Joshua Winkler (College of Arts and Humanities, Department of Art) “Bristlecone Pine Project”
- Phillip Larson (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Geography) “A River Runs Through It: When Did Basin and Range Rivers Evolve?”
- Kristin Scott (College of Business, Department of Marketing & International Business) “Investigating the American Dream”
- Lewis Truesdale-Moore and Jacqueline Sherrise (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences/College of Education, Departments of Sociology & Corrections and Student Personnel) “Exploring the Academic Experiences of Ex-offenders Matriculating on College and University Campuses”
- Brooke Burk (College of Allied Health and Nursing, Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services) “Strategies Used by Youth, Parents, and Recreation Professionals to Address Cyberbullying”
- John Krenz (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology) “Ecotypic Variation in the Physiology of Supercooling in a Cold-Climate Lizard”
- Ruijun Zhao (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Department of Biological Sciences) “Mathematics & Statistics Investigating Optimal Control Theory of Infectious Diseases and its Numerical Methods”
- Hans-Peter de Ruiter (College of Allied Health and Nursing, School of Nursing) “The Banality of Data: The Use of Data in the Aktion T4 Euthanasia Program”

Externally Funded Projects

- John Krenz (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Department of Biological Sciences) “Deer Habitat Modeling for Population Density Estimation” funded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Michael Nolan and Julie Nelson (Strategic Business, Education and Regional Partnerships, Small Business Development Center) “Small Business Development Center Federal 2015” funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Richard Moore and Phillip Larson (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Water Resources Center) “Riparian Analysis for Limiting Invasive Carp in the Minnesota River” funded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Guadalupe Quintero and Oscar Gonzalez (Institutional Diversity) “Minnesota State University, Mankato Latino Students Wellness Programs” funded by Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio
- Oscar Gonzalez (Institutional Diversity) “Secondary Migrant Luncheon” funded by the Midwest Migrant Education Resource Center and Hamline University
- Mariam Qureshi (International Student Office, Kearney International Center) “Global UGRAD Pakistan Cultural Ambassador Passport Program” funded by the International Research & Exchange
- Robbie Burnett (College of Education, Center for School-University Partnerships) “School University Community Collaboration: Developing a P-20 Education Ecosystem” funded by the Archibald Bush Foundation
- Shannon Fisher (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Water Resources Center) “Mount Simon Collaboration” funded by the Mount Simon Collaboration
- Jan Bauer (Division of Academic Affairs, Continuing Education) “Precision Gasket Company MJSP” funded by the Department of Employment and Economic Development
- Michael Nolan and Julie Nelson (Strategic Business, Education and Regional Partnerships, Small Business Development Center) “USB Training Grant” funded by US Bank
- Karen Anderson (Centennial Student Union, Student Activities) “CoBank Rural Hunger Outreach” funded by CoBank
- Sandra Eggenberger and Lynn Kuechle (College of Allied Health and Nursing, School of Nursing) “Pediatric Respite Program: Giving Back to Those that Care” funded by the Mankato Clinic Foundation
- Wendy Schuh (Division of Student Affairs, Student Health Services) “Tobacco-Free MSU” funded by the American Lung Association
- Rebecca Bates (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Department of Integrated Engineering) “Research Participation Incentives for Ron Ulseth's Research Projects” funded by the National Science Foundation
- Lisa Perez (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology) “Market Analysis for Mankato Symphony Orchestra” funded by Mankato Symphony Orchestra
- Diana Joseph (College of Arts and Humanities, Department of English) 2015-16 “Good Thunder Reading Series” funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board
- Cyrus Azarbod (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Department of Computer and Information Sciences) “Security Audit Assessment” funded by Macalester College
- Terri Wallace and Amy Scheuerman (College of Education, Department of Special Education) “Improving Student Outcomes Through Differentiating Instruction in Number and Operations (Grades 1-5)” funded by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education
- Ronald Schirmer (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Anthropology) “Anthropology Dating Early Oneota in Southern Minnesota” funded by the Minnesota Historical Society
- Daniel Sachau (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology) “Survey for Pine TCC 2015” funded by Pine Technical College
- Lisa Fleck (College of Allied Health and Nursing, Department of Dental Hygiene) “Rural Dental Access Funding” funded by Agstar Fund
- Samantha Hedwall (Institutional Diversity, Women's Center) "Girls Explore STEM Camp" funded by Minnesota Regenerative Medicine
- Trent Vorlicek (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Department of Chemistry and Geology) “Collaborative Proposal: Unraveling Mo & Re speciation under sulfidic conditions: Refining the Proxies” funded by the National Science Foundation
- Dale Haefner (College of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music) “Music Performance Series Support Grant” funded by the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council
- Cyrus Azarbod (College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Department of Computer and Information Sciences) “On-Site Interviews & Delivery of Security Assessment Roadmap” funded by Carleton College

Department News

To read newsletters from around the University, click below:


Brian P. Gray, a University junior who majored in mechanical and civil engineering, died May 2.

Geraldine "Jeri" Evers died April 26 at Hillcrest Health Care Center in Mankato. Evers was employed with the University for 23 years until her retirement in 1998. During her tenure, she was a clerk in the Registrar’s Office.

Online TODAY Magazine

Visit 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, June 10. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, June 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.