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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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September 14, 2016 Campus Newsletter

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2016 Family Weekend

Minnesota State University, Mankato's 2016 "Family Weekend" is scheduled for Sept. 23-25, and faculty and staff are welcome to bring their families and participate. Most weekend events are free with a family weekend wristband (you get a wristband for free just by registering) and other events are offered at a reduced rate.

Events include:

  • Maverick football game (free for students, reduced cost of $5 per ticket for anyone over 18 with wristband and/or advanced online payment, 17 and under free with wristband)
  • Maverick soccer
  • Family weekend 5K fun run/walk (free event, register online)
  • Family fun carnival (including inflatables, pictures with Stomper, caricatures, photo booth and more)
  • Stomper's Cinema: "Finding Dory"
  • Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team from "America's Got Talent"
  • Mavericks After Dark: "Family Feud"

For a full list of events and to register, visit the family weekend events website. If you have questions about family weekend, please contact Nikki Stock at  

Fall Diversity Education Opportunities

Institutional Diversity is offering six courses this fall for faculty and staff that are dedicated to uniting the University community and inspiring an inclusive educational environment at Minnesota State Mankato. Register for these sessions online here. Dates and course titles are:

  • Thursday, Sept. 22       10-11 a.m.        CSU 238
    • "Diversity in the Classroom" with five panelists; moderated by Henry Morris 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27         1-2:30 p.m.      CSU 238
    • "Move Beyond Civility: How to facilitate difficult dialogues in the classroom," presented by Kathy Obear
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4             11 a.m.-3 p.m. CSU 254-5
    • "Unconscious Bias and Cultural Intelligence," presented by Abdul Omari
  • Monday, Oct. 17            11 a.m.-noon   CSU 201
    • "Cultural Competencies," presented by Briana Williamson and Jerel Benton
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2       1-2 p.m.           CSU 201
    • "Universal Design for Learning," presented by Julie Snow
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16     2-3 p.m.           CSU 201
    • "Unlearning Racism," presented by Dave Larsen

For more information on the presenters and panelists or other information, please contact Kelly Meier, senior director of Institutional Diversity, by phone at 507-389-5268 or by email at

Purple & Gold Gala

Purple and Gold GalaFaculty and staff are invited to help celebrate and thank the University's generous alumni, friends, and community partners at the Purple & Gold Gala on Friday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union. Cost $75 per person.

The Gala is an annual event welcoming new members into the Purple & Gold Society (the University's society to recognize generous lifetime donors).

For a list of this year’s honorees, visit To sign up to attend, arrange payment, and choose an entrée, please contact Becky Miller at or 507-389-1798 by Friday, Sept. 16.

Peace Crane Team Building

As part of Minnesota State Mankato’s 2016 Common Read—"When the Emperor Was Divine" by Julie Otsuka—the campus and community are invited to be part of the 1,000 Peace Crane Project. Folding origami cranes allows individuals to visually reflect on their own wishes for the future, and installing the completed cranes around campus provides an opportunity for everyone to share in the peace and prosperity they represent.

The Common Read committee is offering 10 team building sessions for departments and offices during the fall semester. A Peace Crane Team Building session includes all materials, can be done anywhere on campus, and can be completed in 25-30 minutes. Completed peace cranes will be added to the campus collection that will be installed around campus. To schedule a session, emails should be sent to one week prior to a group's requested date.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the 1,000 Peace Crane Project. More information is available online.

Common Read Book Discussion

A book discussion on this year's Common Read has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on campus in Memorial Library, Room 2042. The discussion will be led by Minnesota State Mankato honors students.


The Career Development Center recently announced a new MavJobs employment resource, powered by Handshake, through which employers may post job openings for students.

According to the Career Development Center, the new MavJobs system is free and makes posting jobs and hiring applicants easier, faster, and smarter and is the best way to gather a large pool of applicants for on-campus positions.

More information is available online here.

Fall Film Series

The Student Events Team will be sponsoring films again this year through Stomper's Cinema that are open to the campus community and public.

Admission is free with a MavCARD and $1 for the general public. Parking in lot 11 is free after 4 p.m. on Fridays.

All showings are in Ostrander Auditorium, except for Fridays through Sept. 30, when films will be shown outdoors in the CSU Amphitheatre.

The next film in the series will be "Free State of Jones." A complete film series schedule is available online.

For more information, contact the chair of the Stomper's Cinema film series, Saijal Bhakta, by email at or by phone at 507-779-8746.

Sip & Chat with Provost

The Office of the Provost has announced the 2016-2017 dates for opportunities to have informal conversations with Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells. Faculty and staff may stop by and enjoy seasonal beverages and treats while sharing news and visiting with the provost.

The annual "Sip & Chat with the Provost" dates are:

  • Thursday, Sept. 15   10-11 a.m.   ML 2057
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11      1-2 p.m.       CSU 256
  • Thursday, Nov. 17    2-3 p.m.       CSU 256
  • Monday, Feb. 6        10-11 a.m.   CSU 256
  • Tuesday, March 21   2-3 p.m.      ML 94B
  • Monday, April 24      10-11 a.m.   CSU 256

Depression Screenings

The Counseling Center (285 CSU) on campus is offering depression screenings from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 16. This is an opportunity for students to complete a written screening questionnaire and discuss the questionnaire and their results with a mental health professional. Screenings are anonymous, confidential and free. Additionally, educational material on the signs and symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders will be provided, as well as connecting students to resources.

Greg Wilkins Presentation

Greg Wilkins, associate director of Centennial Student Union, will give a presentation, "Lives Unfurled: Chaos to Simplicity," about his spring 2016 sabbatical in the southern hemisphere on Friday, Sept. 16 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom at 9 a.m.

During his sabbatical, Wilkins visited 16 universities, taught 18 seminars, and worked with indigenous people in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Borneo and Bangladesh.

He will highlight his experiences using photography, video, music and journal entries. The presentation is open to the entire campus community.

Ron Fields Retirement Farewell Reception

A retirement farewell reception for Ron Fields, assistant vice president for facilities management, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29 from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Wiecking Center lobby.

Sept. 12-16: Democracy Plaza

Minnesota State University, Mankato will hold its annual Sept. 17 Constitution Day observance from Monday to Friday, Sept. 12-16 by setting up “Democracy Plaza” in the campus mall area nearest the west side of Armstrong Hall.

“Democracy Plaza” will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and is free to the public. In the event of rain or other inclement weather, the “plaza” will be moved inside Centennial Student Union.

The Democracy Plaza at Minnesota State Mankato provides the campus community with “an opportunity to express, speak, and hear diverging thoughts surrounding social, political, economic, and religious issues relevant to the campus, city, state, country, and world.”

More on Constitution Day events at Minnesota State Mankato is available online. Those who have questions about Constitution Day events may contact Ginger Zierdt, assistant vice president for undergraduate education, by email at or by phone at 507-389-1333.

Sept. 14-17: 'Comic Potential'

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre and Dance will kick off its 2016-17 Studio season with the play, “Comic Potential.” Directed by Donald Hart, “Comic Potential” will run 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14-17 in the Andreas Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts.

By Alan Ayckbourn, the satire about technology is a premiere at Minnesota State Mankato. The play begins in a television studio where a hospital soap opera is being taped. A young man on set starts chatting with Jacie Tripplethree, a robot (called an “actoid”) playing the nurse, and finds, to his surprise, due to what she calls a fault in her programming, that she has a very creative imagination.

Tickets are available for purchase online. Contact Amanda Dyslin at 507-389-6663 or for more information.

Sept. 15-16: Good Thunder Reading Series

Minnesota State Mankato will host author Diana Spechler, a novelist, journalist and creative nonfiction writer, Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15-16, as the first of nine writers who will be on campus for this year’s Good Thunder Reading Series.

On Sept. 15, Spechler will hold a workshop from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery, located at 523 S. Second St. in Mankato, and then a “Talk on Craft” from 3-4 p.m. on the Minnesota State Mankato campus in Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium. That evening, Spechler will read from her work from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in Centennial Student Union, Room 245.

The following day (Sept. 16), Spechler will hold two events at the Arts Center of St. Peter, located at 315 S. Minnesota Ave. in Saint Peter, Minn. She will hold a story-telling workshop from 5-6 p.m. and an open microphone session from 7:30-9 p.m. All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

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

Sept. 17: Performance by Broadway Artist David Yazbek

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance is proud to present an evening with the multi Tony Award-nominated artist David Yazbek, known for writing the music and lyrics for Broadway hits “The Full Monty,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

The event is 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Elias J. Halling Recital Hall, housed in the Earley Center for Performing Arts. It is free and open to the public.

Yazbek is an accomplished musician and will perform at the event along with Minnesota State Mankato musical theatre students who will feature pieces from each of Yazbek’s Broadway productions. A question and answer session will follow the event.

Yazbek is in residence in the Department of Theatre & Dance Thursday through Saturday, conducting master classes with students and assisting with the 2016-17 Mainstage season opener, “The Full Monty,” which will run on campus from Sept. 29 to Oct. 9. “Monty,” a premiere at Minnesota State Mankato, is about a group of unemployed steelworkers who become male strippers to earn some quick cash. The musical is based on the hit 1997 British film, reimagined and set in contemporary Buffalo, N.Y. (The show is meant for mature audiences only.)

Sept. 17: Erik Koskinen

Singer-songwriter Erik Koskinen (pictured) performs with his band on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 9:30 p.m. at Hooligans Neighborhood Pub, 1400 East Madison Avenue (Madison East Center), Mankato. Southern Minnesota favorite City Mouse will open the show with a set starting at 8 p.m.

Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune calls Erik Koskinen “…the state’s best pure country singer/songwriter”, and Jim Walsh of MinnPost writes "The real deal: Erik Koskinen's authenticity comes through." The Southern Minnesota Music Scene says, “Koskinen has the ability to create a song, and a sound, that feels natural, intimate and exciting all at the same time, which is something only the truly great songwriters and musicians can claim."

Concert admission is $15. Tickets are available at Hooligans or online at For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

Sept. 18: Jazz Group Rio Nodo

Minnesota Music Hall of Fame group Rio Nido (pictured) will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18 in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Vocalist Prudence Johnson teamed up with guitarist/vocalists Tim Sparks and Tom Lieberman in the 1970s to create Rio Nido, one of the Twin Cities’ most popular and enduring vocal jazz ensembles.

After three albums and popular and critical acclaim, the individual members parted ways to forge their own artistic paths. The three musicians are harmonizing once again, recreating their well-loved repertoire along with new arrangements and compositions.

Concert admission is $12 for community members, $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 at 507-389-5549.

Sept. 19-Oct. 10: Melissa Oresky Art Exhibit

Artist Melissa Oresky will be the first featured artist in Minnesota State Mankato’s Art Enrichment and Andreas Endowment Residency and Lecture Series this year, and she will present an artist’s lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 in Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium.

Oresky’s lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception in the Conkling Gallery (located in Nelson Hall 139), where her “Foliage” exhibit will be on display from Sept. 19 through Oct. 10. Oresky will be artist-in-residence from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 19-20 in the Nelson Hall Painting Studios on campus.

An excerpt from a curatorial statement by Minnesota State Mankato alumna Gina Hunt about Oresky’s exhibit says that “Foliage” is a collection of folded, cut, torn, and branching works that have developed through Melissa Oresky’s intensive studio practice involving collage, drawing, painting, and video.

For more information, call the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Art at 507-389-6412. The complete 2016-2017 Conkling Gallery Schedule, list of artist residencies and lecture series is available online.

Sept. 20: Jack Klatt and his Band

Jack Klatt and His Band will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Klatt's sophomore album, "Mississippi Roll," resonates with glorious blues, rags, jazz and hokum from bygone times. Klatt not only brings them back to life, but he makes at least some sense of the modern world by gazing through this age-old vision.

Minnesota Public Radio says: "Jack Klatt's new album Mississippi Roll is easily gonna be one of the best local albums of the year..."

Concert admission is $12 for community members, $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.

Sept. 25: Minnesota River Valley Wind Ensemble

The Minnesota River Valley Wind Ensemble (MNRVWE) will perform on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The ensemble is a semi-professional group comprised of faculty, community members, music teachers, music students, and professional musicians. The concert promises to be a very diverse program blending core wind band works with new works. The group is in its 12th season and continues to perform demanding music with a group of very talented musicians.

Concert admission is $9, $7 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.

Sept. 29: Music Photographer Rob Shanahan

MavHouse Entertainment (an activities and practicum class taught by Tonya Butler, professor of music) in conjunction with local production facility Studio Six announced that music photographer Rob Shanahan will hold an on-campus student workshop and evening Q&A and neworking reception on Thursday, Sept. 29.

Shanahan, a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus, is Ringo Starr's personal photographer and one of the world's most-published photographers in the music industry today.

Both events are free and open to the public. The student workshop will be held from 12-1:30 p.m. in Armstrong Hall, Room 323. The evening event will be held from 6-8 p.m. at Studio Six, located at 509 S. Front Street, Mankato.

For more information, contact David Ostrom at or call the music office at 507-389-2119.

In the Rankings

The website recently ranked institutions in a list of what it calls the "Best Online Master's Degree Programs in English." ranked Minnesota State Mankato seventh on the list.

The website recently ranked institutions in a list of what it calls the "30 Top Affordable Online Master’s in Communication 2016." ranked Minnesota State Mankato fifth on the list. 

Faculty/Staff News

Matt Cecil, dean of the College of Arts & Humanities, has written two books, "Branding Hoover’s FBI: How the Boss’s PR Men Sold the Bureau to America," and "The Ballad of Ben and Stella Mae: Great Plains Outlaws Who Became FBI Public Enemies Nos. 1 and 2," that will be released in September by the University Press of Kansas.

Thad Shunkwiler, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Science, was highlighted in a recent Mankato Free Press article about training he recently conducted with the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department on mental health issues inthe correctional system. 

Elizabeth Sandell, professor in the College of Education, and Elizabeth Lohrenz, recruitment and retention specialist, Kearney International Center, have co-authored an article that has been accepted for publication in a Russian language academic journal. The article, a comparison of intercultural competency between Russian and American university students, was published in Otechestvennaya i Zarubezhnaya Pedagogika [Journal of Domestic and Foreign Pedagogy], 4(4).

Tonya Butler, professor in the Department of Music, was featured in a cover photo and article in the September 2016 issue of River Valley Woman magazine. The current issue of the magazine is available online.

Rachel Cohen, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, recently published a scientific paper, "Adult Neurogenesis Leads to the Functional Reconstruction of a Telencephalic Neural Circuit," in the Journal of Neuroscience. This study has implications for potential therapies in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases. An abstract on the paper is available online.

Department News

Human Resources published its [PDF] September newsletter (323 KiB).

The Institutional Review Board published its [PDF] fall 2016 newsletter (282 KiB).


Former employee Donald Krueger, who worked in the student union as recreation director and men's bowling coach until retiring in 1993, died Aug. 18. Read his full obituary here.

John Hodowanic, founder of radio station KMSU, died Aug. 24. Read his full obituary here.

Online TODAY Magazine

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, Sept. 28. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, Sept. 23.

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