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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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December 7, 2016 Campus Newsletter

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David C. Olson MBA Scholarship Endowment

David C. Olson MBA Scholarship Endowment

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Business, in partnership with the late David C. Olson’s family, friends, business associates and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, is creating an endowed annual scholarship to honor Olson (pictured above), former president of the chamber and former chair of the Minnesota State system’s board of trustees.

More than $185,000 has been raised toward the $250,000 goal for the endowed scholarship, which each year will provide a student enrolled in Minnesota State Mankato’s Master of Business Administration program a $7,500 annual scholarship and internship opportunity at a Minnesota chamber of commerce.

The Star Tribune published a blog post about the news. Go online to view Minnesota State Mankato's full press release.

Chili Luncheon

President Richard Davenport invites all employees to attend the annual faculty and staff holiday luncheon will take place in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

The luncheon will feature President Davenport’s own chili recipe and will be specially prepared by University Dining Services. A variety of condiments will be available, along with cornbread, dessert and assortment of beverages.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to bring a donation to help the Unions United Food Drive. Checks should be made payable to ECHO Food Shelf.

An announcement will be made at the luncheon as to which location collected the most contributions, and President Davenport will award the traveling trophy to this year's winner.

Grant for Children’s Museum

The Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence was recently awarded a Minnesota State system grant to develop a new partnership with the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.

The grant funds were used to develop curriculum and provide materials for use at the museum to increase STEM outreach for pre-K and elementary students. Activities include the Rigamajig large-scale building kit, the Spielgaben and other loose parts educational kits, light tables, microscopes, Lego WeDo construction sets, large TVs with mounts for facilitated instructional experiences, Build-It! Discs, and a Center of Gravity exhibit designed and constructed locally. These activities are rotated periodically to keep them fresh and exciting.

Stephanie Zojonc, STEM outreach director for MNCEME, and Deb Johnson, senior director of exhibits and education at the Children’s Museum, coordinated the project. The Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence is a consortium of two-year colleges located throughout Minnesota and led by Minnesota State Mankato.

Advancing Mentoring Practices Workshop

The Undergraduate Research Center, University Fellowships, and the Honors program are putting on a Friday, Jan. 27 workshop intended to share strategies across campus on engaging students through mentoring.

The intent is for faculty and staff to share practices that engage and challenge students to get the most of their college education.

The Jan. 27 workshop will start at 8:30 a.m.. and tentatively conclude at 1 p.m. The workshop will be held in CSU 253 and 254. Refreshments and lunch will be provided, and those interested should RSVP by Thursday, Jan. 19.

Goodbye Carkoski Final Feast

The Carkoski Commons dining facility held its farewell event Nov. 29 in anticipation of the opening of the new University Dining Center at the beginning of the spring semester.

The farewell to Carkoski event featured food, a student presentation on stress eating, and Minnesota State Mankato trivia.

Food at the event included menu options from when Carkoski first opened. Among the choices were Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes, egg foo young, steak diane, honey glazed carrots, lobster newburg salad, stuffed broiled mushrooms, broiled grapefruit, potato salad, gelatin salad, angel food cake and raspberry chiffon pie.

More than 800 prizes were given away to students, including T-shirts, water bottles and glow bracelets.

Therapy Dogs Make Monthly CSU Visits in Spring 2017

Starting in the spring of 2017, the Centennial Student Union will have therapy dogs each third Thursday, thanks to volunteer efforts of the Mankato chapter of Therapy Dogs International.

In the past, Minnesota State Mankato has had therapy dogs on campus during finals week to help students relax. This new plan is a response to the request for more frequent visits. On Nov. 17 more than 300 students spent time with the therapy dogs.

The first visit of next semester will be Thursday, Jan. 19 from 6-8 p.m. in the CSU Lincoln Lounge.

Dec. 10: Summer/Fall Commencement

Minnesota State Mankato will present 1,587 degrees during summer/fall commencement exercises at 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Taylor Center.

Graduates of the College of Arts & Humanities, College of Business and College of Science, Engineering and Technology will participate in a 9 a.m. ceremony, and graduates of the College of Allied Health and Nursing, College of Education and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will participate in a noon ceremony.

Graduate-level degrees to be presented include one doctor of education (Ed.D.) degree, 350 graduate-level master’s degrees, 1,236 bachelor’s degrees and 32 associate of arts degrees.

Jan. 9: A Cappella Group Six Appeal

A cappella group Six Appeal will be performing Monday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom in an event that is free and open to the public.

The opening act will be G-Sharp, a student a cappella group from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Based out of Minneapolis, Six Appeal is a world class vocal ensemble that infuses comedic timing in sync with the energy of a rock band.

Swearing off instruments, the award-winning vocal band says on its website that it takes its audiences on a journey that spans decades of music. This is Six Appeal's second time on campus. The group also performed at Minnesota State Mankato in 2013.

For ticket information, contact Student Events Team at 507-389-6076 or email

Student News

Andrea Vasquez, a junior majoring in international relations, was recently awarded the Gilman Scholarship. Vasquez will study abroad in Bangalore, India, through the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) from January to May 2017. The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. Vasquez is one of 850 outstanding students offered awards by the Gilman Scholarship Program this semester, out of over 2,700 applications. In India, Vasquez will take a variety of courses at Christ University in Bangalore, ranging from political and economic issues in South Asia to a course on Gandhi and the non-violent protest. The program focuses on sociology, service learning, and Indian cultural studies.

Faculty/Staff News

Michael James Olson, assistant professor of music composition and technology in the Department of Music, wrote and produced an album called "EP Sessions" for a band, "32 Below," for which he writes and produces. After being released, the album landed at No. 43 on the iTunes country charts.

Bill Lewinski, an emeritus faculty member, former law enforcement program director and former department chair who was employed at the University from 1981 to 2010, was invited to be keynote speaker at the International Medical Conference held in November in Liverpool, England. More than 800 physicians attended Lewinski's presentation. The conference was sponsored by British Medical Journal, the leadership of the British Medical Association and the National Health Service in England. Lewinski's presentation was on crisis decision making in law enforcement. According to Lewinski, the presentation has relevance and application to crisis decision making in the operating theater and the emergency room.

Following an internal search, Jennifer Veltsos has been appointed the new director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  Veltsos has been at Minnesota State Mankato for more than 14 years, including 10 years as a member of the Department of English faculty in the College of Arts and Humanities, with a focus on business communication and instructional design. As new director, Veltsos will be providing academic and administrative coordination, and fostering an environment to enhance excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and scholarly activities in alignment with the University’s strategic directions, academic master plan, and other strategic plans and high priority goals for the University.


John Auger, emeritus professor, died Nov. 30. Auger was employed with Minnesota State Mankato for 24 years before retiring from the Counseling and Sudent Personnel Department in the College of Education in 1992. Read the full obituary online.

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, Jan. 11. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, Jan. 6.

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