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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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January 27, 2016 Campus Newsletter

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2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Eight Minnesota State University, Mankato graduates have been named 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winners for exceptional achievement and contributions to their professions and communities. The awards will be presented on Friday, April 15 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The shortened information listed below on each honoree is courtesy of Alumni Relations & Special Events.

Achievement Award—presented to graduates who have achieved high rank or honor in their profession and have a widespread effect on their communities.

  • David Falk ’69—Business Administration. President and CEO of Transport Security in Waconia, Minn.
  • Deborah Natvig ’71, ’76—B.S. and M.S. in Nursing. Was the Executive Associate Dean for Strategic Management and Practice and Professor for the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing College at Georgia Health Sciences University..
  • Maurice Oehler ’55, ’56—B.A. in Chemistry. Retired high school chemistry teacher at Prairie du Chien Schools (Wis.) and founder of “National Mole Day.”
  • Jeffrey D. Stewart ’79—Law Enforcement. Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross in Houston.

Humanitarian Award—presented to graduates whose lives exemplify service to humankind.

  • Carol Martin ’13—B.S. in Dental Hygiene. Serves as a dental hygienist and volunteers at Water Street Health Services in Lancaster, Pa., and participates in a dental mission in Honduras.

Harold J. Fitterer Service Award—presented to graduates distinguished by their record of service to Minnesota State Mankato and communities.

  • Ginger Zierdt ’02—M.S. in Educational Leadership. Interim Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education at Minnesota State Mankato.

Young Alumni Award—presented to graduates 35 and younger who have reached or are reaching personal professional achievements early in their careers.

  • Sophia Bera ’05—Theatre Arts and Women's Studies. Financial planning entrepreneur, founder of Gen Y Planning and adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State Mankato.
  • Michael D. Leech ’08—Mass Communications. Full-time writer for the David Letterman Show.

Academic Partnerships Listening Session

On Friday, Jan. 29, Minnesota State Mankato will host the second of two campus information and listening sessions to learn about the University’s exploration into a possible partnership with an organization such as Academic Partnerships.

The Friday, Jan. 29 session will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Ostrander Auditorium. An earlier session was held Tuesday, Jan. 19.

A webpage has been developed to provide additional information and for those who would like to provide online comment and feedback.

Dining Hall Project

Construction of Minnesota State Mankato’s new dining hall began in summer 2015 and will be completed by January 2017. The dining hall will serve the 3,000 students who live in the on-campus residence halls.

Students can now view the progress of construction by visiting the Residential Life website and viewing the daily online photos.

Daily construction photos will resume on Feb. 2.

PCSW Awards, Grants

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is proud to announce the following opportunities for students, faculty and staff:

Research and Development Grants

PCSW grants of up to $500 are available for campus community members who plan to conduct research or attend professional development opportunities concerned with the status of women or gender-related issues.

Grant information and the online application form are available here. The deadline for Spring 2016 proposals is Friday, Feb. 12. For more information, please contact Gihanthi DeSilva at

Project of the Year Awards

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is seeking submissions for undergraduate student, graduate student and faculty/staff member projects that exemplify excellence in creative or research-based work pertaining to women or gender-related issues. Award recipients will be honored at the Women of Courage and Vision Awards Reception and receive a $350 award.

Submission guidelines and the nomination form can be found at the PCSW website. Nominations must also include a brief reflection that addresses the significance of the project and its relevance to women. The submission deadline is Friday, Feb. 12. For more information, contact Gihanthi DeSilva at

Lifelong Learners Winter 2016 Program 

Mankato Area Lifelong Learners will host a series of presentations, discussions and special events throughout January, February and March. There are dozens of events to attend, some occurring weekly.

Some events and discussions include the Chef’s Choice luncheon, the Art of Political Cartooning and Tales of the Irish Harp.

A full list of events, prices and registration information is available at the Lifelong Learners website.

Outdoor Ice Skating

Minnesota State Mankato’s Student Events Team will host two nights of outdoor ice skating from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan. 26 and 27 at the skating rink at the Live Active Mankato complex, which includes Southridge and Briargate.

Skates will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and a heated tent will be set up to keep guests warm. A van will transport students from the bus stop at the Preska Residence Community to the rink and back.

This is the second year this event has taken place and is the first year that it will occur off the University campus.

For more information, contact Student Events Team Special Events Chair Megan Larson at

Jan. 28-Feb. 7: Theatre Season Continues with 'Antigone'

Ancient Greek will be spoken on stage. Dirt will be thrown. Flames will be lit. Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Theatre and Dance is promising one exciting presentation of Sophocles’ play “Antigone.”

Picking up where “Oedipus at Colonus” leaves off, Oedipus has just passed away in Colonus, and Antigone and her sister decide to return to Thebes with the intention of helping their brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, avoid a prophecy that predicts they will kill each other in a battle for the throne of Thebes. Upon her arrival in Thebes, Antigone learns that both of her brothers are dead and the ancient tragedy begins to unfold.

“Antigone” will run at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28-30 and Feb. 3-6 and at 2 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 in the Andreas Theatre in the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

Tickets are $16 for regular admission; $14 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $11 for Minnesota State Mankato students.

Contact Amanda Dyslin at 507-389-6663, or for more information.

Jan. 28: Good Thunder Reading Series 

Minnesota State Mankato will host fiction and creative nonfiction writer Roxane Gay on Thursday, Jan. 28.

During her visit, Gay will lead a writing workshop at 10 a.m. in Centennial Student Union Room 201, present a “Talk on Craft” at 3 p.m. in Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium and give a reading from her work at 7:30 p.m. in Centennial Student Union Room 253.

All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

In 2014, Gay published her powerful debut novel “An Untamed State,” a thought-provoking examination of privilege, social class, entitlement and corruption. It was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and was named one of the 10 best books of the year by the Library Journal. The Indiana resident also garnered international acclaim in 2014 for a reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism in her collection of essays, “Bad Feminist.”

Gay is an associate professor of English at Purdue University, currently working on her new novel “Hunger.” Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation and many others.

In her essays, Gay navigates a sharp wit through entertainment and culture, particularly the consumption of television, news, movies, sports, literature and comedy, compelling TIME magazine to proclaim in one of its reviews “let this be the year of Roxane Gay.” In July, she was interviewed on race relations in the wake of the death of Sandra Bland for National Public Radio’s “The Takeaway” following the publication of her op-ed piece on Bland in the New York Times.

For photos or more information, contact Diana Joseph at or 507-389-5144.

Jan. 30: Free Sledding Event 

The Minnesota State Mankato Nontraditional Student and Veteran’s Resource Centers will sponsor a free sledding event at Mount Kato on Jan. 30 from 1-3 p.m.

Friends and family are welcome! However, the Nontraditional Student Center will only cover the cost of tickets for the nontraditional student and one guest.

Students must RSVP at the Nontraditional Student Center website.

Jan. 31: Jazz Vocalist Maud Hixon, Pianist Rick Carlson 

Jazz vocalist Maude Hixson and pianist Rick Carlson will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31 in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Maud Hixson is a singer of classic jazz and popular songs of the 20th century. Many of her shows focus on songs written by women and written during the 1930s and 1940s, an era Hixson says is one of the most fertile periods for songwriters, women included.

Rick Carlson taught himself to play the piano by studying the vast works of Count Basie and Duke Ellington while absorbing their technique. He is a sought-after accompanist and has served as pianist and musical director for various local concert series.

Concert admission is $12 for community members and $11 for Minnesota State Mankato students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Feb. 4: Pianist Scottie Miller

Pianist and songwriter Scottie Miller returns to perform with The Scottie Miller Band on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Scottie Miller is an American pianist and singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. His musical style is a combination of blues, soul, funk and jazz. Miller is recognized for his high-energy performances, creative song writing, dramatic lyrics and extraordinary piano playing. 

The Scottie Miller Band features sterling silver vocals, passionate lyrics, a funky rhythm section featuring a massive wall of drums and funky bass, surrounded by powerful electric guitar work.

Scottie Miller says, “My songs are inspired by life and everything that life throws at you. I write about relationships, peace, war, love, loss, addiction, heroism, family values and the mystery of dreams.”

Concert admission is $15 and $13 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, (507) 389-5549.

Feb. 4-5: Research Workshop, Lecture by Dr. Neal Lerner 

Minnesota State Mankato will host Director of Writing at Northeastern University Neal Lerner in leading a research workshop and campus-wide lecture on Feb. 4-5.

Lerner will lead a Qualitative Research Analysis Workshop on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 2-4 p.m. in Armstrong Hall 331. Participants will receive hands-on practice with using various data analysis approaches and software programs to perform qualitative research.

Lerner’s Meaningful Writing Lecture will take place on Friday, Feb. 5 from 10-11 a.m. in Morris Hall 102. Listeners will hear about different assignments that students identified as the most meaningful of their college experience, as well as survey and interview responses from faculty members who were named as having taught meaningful writing projects.

For more information about each event, contact Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition Heather Camp at

Feb. 9: The Barley Jacks in Concert 

The Barley Jacks, a Minnesota-based inventive bluegrass and roots music quartet, will perform on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Frontman and fiddle player Brian Wicklund will be joined by Mike Cramer on guitar, Jim Chenowith on upright bass and Joel Arpin on percussion. They are masters of the fiddle, guitar, bass and drum who meld their divergent backgrounds of blues and bluegrass, classical and Celtic, R & B and bebop to inspire each other and create something entirely new. The Barley Jacks credit Stuart Duncan, Natalie MacMaster, Tim O'Brien and Ben Winship among their musical influences.St. Peter native Brian Wicklund is especially looking forward to this show and is “excited to play on my home turf.”

Concert admission is $15 and $13 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, 507-389-5549.

Feb. 10: Summer Job Fair 

Minnesota State Mankato will host the annual Summer Job Fair on Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

Sponsored by the Minnesota State Mankato Recreation Majors’ Club, the job fair is open to all majors and all students are invited to attend.

Information SecURity: U R at the Center

Information Security Awareness Tip #1:

  • Why do we need long and complex passwords? Passwords are often the first line of defense in protecting an online account. The length and complexity of your passwords can provide an extra level of protection for your personal information. Click here for more information.

Information Security Awareness Tip #2:

  • Take care what you share. Periodically check the privacy settings for your social networking apps to ensure that they are set to share only what you want, with whom you intend. Be very careful about putting personal information online. What goes on the Internet - usually stays on the Internet. Click here for more information.

Mac OS X Upgrades

Information and Technology Services reports that Apple has discontinued support for any Apple Mac OS X operating system prior to Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. As of April 2016, Google will discontinue security updates for the Chrome web browser for older Mac OS X operating systems as well. The discontinuation of these two important security updates puts the University’s data and its systems at increased risk for compromise.

ITS now asks for the University community’s help in continuing Minnesota State Mankato’s commitment to privacy and security by asking those with the Mac OS X operating system to upgrade to the latest Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite by March 31, 2016. Below is important information to help with this upgrade.

  • How do I upgrade Mac OS X on my own?
  • How do I upgrade Mac OS X with help from ITS?
  • Why am I unable to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan?

Unfortunately, configuration and security patching software is not yet available for Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, so Information and Technology Services is unable to support the very latest version of Mac OS X. When configuration and security patching systems are in place, Information and Technology Services will send out information on how to upgrade to that version.

Student News 

Minnesota State Mankato junior Hailey Gorman, a biology major who plans to graduate in 2017, was awarded a summer experience at the School for Field Studies. Gorman will spend four weeks in Panama participating in the program titled “Tourisms and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices.” Gorman utilized resources in the Office of University Fellowships, the Honors Program, and the Environmental Sciences Program in her pursuit of this award.

Faculty/Staff News 

Department of Economics faculty members Ishuan Li (associate professor) and Robert Simonson’s (professor) article “Capstone Senior Research Course in Economics” has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Economic Education.

Chris Veltsos’ article titled “Highlights From the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016” was published on the Security Intelligence website. Veltsos is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science Information.

Department News

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Theatre and Dance participated along with 1,513 registrants, representing 86 colleges and universities, in the 2016 Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival gathering at Normandale Community College during festival week, Jan. 17-23. Region V represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, and its regional festival is the largest in the country. Minnesota State Mankato again was recognized with numerous honors

The city of Mankato created a video about the city’s public safety partnership with Minnesota State Mankato. The video is available here.

The Minnesota State Mankato Maverick Machine Marching Band was recognized by for having one of the best shows of the 2015 marching season. Two of the band members used halftime during a football game to do their first-look before getting married while the Maverick Machine played. The full article is available here.

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, Feb. 10. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, Feb. 5.

You should also submit your event to the university's official Campus Events Calendar by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at