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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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February 8, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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University Dining Center ‘Ribbon’ Cutting

Minnesota State University, Mankato held a ceremonial cake “ribbon-cutting” ceremony for its new $31.4 million University Dining Center on Friday, Feb. 3.

Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport provided welcoming remarks during a short program. Other speakers included David Jones, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Minnesota State Mankato; student Faical Rayani, president of the Minnesota State Student Association; student Alysia Przybilla, president of Minnesota State Mankato’s Resident Hall Association; and Cindy Janney, director of Residential Life at Minnesota State Mankato.

After the program, Przybilla (left in photo above), Davenport (center) and Rayani cut a celebratory cake. Read the full news release online.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Four graduates of Minnesota State Mankato were recently announced as Distinguished Alumni Award winners.

The purpose of the Distinguished Alumni Awards is to honor alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the University through their actions, hard work and achievement.

The awards will be presented on Friday, April 21 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. Online registration for the event is available here. For more information about the event, please call 507-389-1515.

The shortened information listed below on each honoree is courtesy of Alumni Relations & Special Events.

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

  • Randall Sampson '80 (top left in photo) - Sampson has served as president and CEO of Canterbury Park since the company’s inception in 1994. He also served as CFO from 1994-2001 until returning to the role in 2016. He was a College of Business advisory board member from 2010-14 and in 2009 received the Distinguished Business Person Award from the College of Business.

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

  • Stuart Keroff '96 (bottom left in photo) - Keroff graduated with a bachelor's degree in social studies: history. As a social studies teacher for the Community School of Excellence, a charter school, Keroff started the Asian Penguins, the first and only Linux users group based in a Hmong school anywhere in the world.

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

  • Joleen Hartung Durken '63 (top right in photo) - Durken earned a bachelor's in vocational home economics education with a minor in speech. She served four terms on the Alumni Association board of directors, and was president from '73-'74, in addition to being a member of Minnesota State Mankato's President's Society and Legacy Society, supporting education programs on campus.

Recent Alumni Award — presented to recent graduates who have reached personal and/or professional achievements early in their careers, have positively impacted their communities and show promise for continued success.

  • Josh Hackbarth '01 (bottom right in photo) - Hackbarth graduated from the College of Business in management information systems and now has an MBA and 15 years of Global Fortune 100 experience in fields such as marketing and project management. He is currently the vice president of global brand strategy and franchise development for Dreamworks Animation.

PCSW Awards, Grants

The President's Commission on the Status of Women invites students and faculty to submit original work for its Project of the Year Award. Applications are due by Monday, Feb. 13.

Awards are given to undergrads, grads, and faculty and recognize excellence in creative endeavors and scholarly work that pertains to women and/or gender-related issues that impact women. Past winners have ranged from research to art-based projects.

Winners will be honored at the reception for the annual Women of Courage and Vision Awards on March 1 and receive a $350 award. Visit the Project of the Year website for more information.

The President's Commission on the Status of Women is also extending grant opportunities for up to $500 to students, faculty and staff who plan to conduct research or attend development opportunities concerned with the status of women and/or gender related issues.

The deadline is 4 p.m., Monday, Feb. 17. Visit the PCSW website for more information or to submit an electronic grant proposal.

Email questions to Gihanthi Meepe-Bajjamage.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The College of Business at Minnesota State University is providing the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for students, faculty and staff.

VITA is a nation-wide program that offers free help to taxpayers who qualify and need help in preparing their taxes.

Appointments can be made online, and the College of Business website has more information on dates and times the service is available as well as qualifying information.

This service is provided by IRS-certified student volunteers.

Big Ideas Challenge

Submission dates for the 2017 Big Ideas Challenge have been extended.The Big Ideas Challenge is a new venture competition that encourages and celebrates students' innovative business ideas.

The Big Ideas Challenge is open to any Minnesota State Mankato student or alumnus within two years of graduating. Individual and team entries are welcome. This new venture competition gives students the opportunity to compete for money to fund their business.

Registration information is available online.

Round 1: Feb. 10, 2017

  • Submit 1-2 page pitch summary and a 1-2 minute video

Round 2: April 3, 2017

  • Top five selected teams submit a full project plan

Final Round: April 26, 2017

  • Finalists present to panel of judges and winners will be announced
  • Ostrander Auditorium from 2-4 p.m.
  • Grand Prize: $10,000
  • People’s Choice (live audience voting): $2,000

Summer Job Fair

The Minnesota State Mankato Recreation Majors' Club is sponsoring a summer job fair on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the CSU ballroom.

National, state and local employers are looking for interns and part-time and full-time employees.

The 37th Annual Summer Job Fair is open to all majors and no pre-registration or attendance fees are required for students.

RASP Open House

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has moved its office from 325 Wigley Administration Center to Memorial Library 96.

On behalf of Kristel Seth, director of Research and Sponsored Programs, the campus community is invited to an open house in the office’s new location from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is a one-stop shop for Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff interested in obtaining grants and securing contracts. RASP focuses on technical details, from identifying sources of funding and assisting with budgets to providing post-award support after an award has been received, so recipients can focus on the research itself.

Employee Recognition

The Employee Recognition Committee will be hosting an employee recognition reception Monday, Feb. 13 from 9-10:30 a.m. in the CSU Ballroom.

The event will have refreshments and music.

Service awards will be presented by President Davenport at 9:45 a.m.

See a full list of the honorees on the Human Resources website.

Applied Organizational Studies Program

The Applied Organizational Studies Program is one of the fastest-growing degree programs at Minnesota State Mankato. The program serves an expanding population of non-traditional college students who are coming back to higher education seeking to complete their degrees and advance their careers or re-invent themselves professionally.

The fully online program targets students who have completed their two-year degree or made significant progress in completing their general education and who come to the University with a diversity of credits that could be applied toward a degree without making the student start over on their journey to matriculation.

Students in the program choose courses from the AOS program as well as upper division courses from any discipline that fits into one of three categories: communication in organizations, leadership in organizations, and critical thinking and decision making in organizations. Students have the option to take face-to-face or hybrid courses as well as online offerings.

Where do the AOS students come from? The program serves students that exited Minnesota State Mankato or other universities, including an increasing population of students coming from proprietary colleges that have closed in Minnesota in recent years. Working adults, veterans, professional athletes and individuals with disabilities who “paused” their education journey can re-engage, utilizing their work and life experiences to ground their education.

A recent AOS student was quoted as saying, “I would recommend the AOS program to anyone who is ready to graduate, but is unsure of what they want to do. That is exactly where I was at the beginning of the semester. After this class I feel as if I have a better understanding of where I want to go in life and what I want to do after graduation.”

More information about the AOS degree and other online and distance education programs can be found at the University Extended Education’s site.

Feb. 8: Motivational Speaker Greg Bennick

Motivational speaker Greg Bennick, founder of the nonprofit group One Hundred for Haiti, which supports long-term social development and human rights programs in rural Haiti, will discuss how he founded his nonprofit group in a presentation Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Minnesota State Mankato’s Ostrander Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, “Changing the World without Having a Clue,” Bennick will speak about how he went from touring the world with his band to founding a human rights nonprofit group.

Bennick has more than 30 years of experience as a keynote speaker at worldwide events.

After the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, Bennick was on the crew of the Liberty Schooner, an all-volunteer mission that sailed from Miami to the southern coast of Haiti to bring 10,000 pounds of medical supplies and food to the people in need. This crew was the first independent relief boat to reach the southern coast of Haiti from the United States.

Feb. 9: Scottie Miller Band

Pianist and songwriter Scottie Miller returns to perform with The Scottie Miller Band on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Miller is an American pianist and singer-songwriter from Minneapolis, Minn. 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, and a funky rhythm section surrounded by powerful electric guitar work.

Concert admission is $12; $11 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged and those interested can do so online.

Feb. 12: Nooky Jones

Smooth, neo-soul group Nooky Jones returns to the University campus to perform on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Nooky Jones is a place for all of the musicians involved to do something a little different with their style and sound. Most of the group is deeply embedded in the local music scene already, and are participating in several other projects at the same time.

Concert admission is $15; $13 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Feb. 16: ‘Prince of New Orleans Piano’ Davell Crawford 

The Department of Music is honored to present New Orleans piano legend Davell Crawford on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave. This event is sponsored by the Bunny Just Piano Festival Endowment and is the first event in the four-day piano festival.

Crawford has been called "The Prince of New Orleans piano." The embodiment of New Orleans’ spirit, genius, and tradition, Crawford is recognized as “one of the most talented musicians alive.” For three decades, Crawford has been electrifying audiences worldwide with his skill on the piano. Crawford‘s mastery spans beloved Louisiana classics to work fusing his influences in jazz, blues, gospel, zydeco, soul, funk and beyond. Crawford is at home playing jazz standards, leading a gospel choir, or composing new songs; they are all transformed by Davell’s exuberant perspective.

Concert admission is $15; $13 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Feb. 6-27: Guess Ready Review Art Exhibit

Guess Ready Review, on display from Feb. 6-27 in the Conkling Gallery, is an exhibition representing nine artists and musicians, primarily based in the Twin Cities, who are unified by an interest in and kinship with the natural world. The group adopted the Guess Ready Review name to symbolize their collective quest into a creative frontier on the Minnesota-Canadian border.

Two of the nine—Laura Bigger and Daniel Dean—will deliver a lecture Monday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, with a reception following in the Conkling Gallery. An artists’ residency, featuring Bigger and Dean, will be held Feb. 6-7 in the Nelson Hall Art Studios.

Joining Bigger and Dean in the exhibit are the following artists and musicians: Christopher Atkins, Kate Casanova, Alexa Horochowski, John Kim, Christopher Koza, Ben Moren and Stefanie Motta.

Feb. 19: Classical Pianist Charles Asche

The Department of Music presents distinguished classical pianist Charles Asche (pictured) on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave. The concert is sponsored by the Bunny Just Piano Festival Endowment and is the last event of the four-day festival set for Feb. 16-19.

Charles Asche has performed as a recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, South America, Russia and Asia in venues that include the renowned Rachmaninoff Hall at the Moscow Conservatory, Taiwan's National Recital Hall in Taipei, the Sala America in the National Library in Santiago, Chile, and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Concert admission is $12; $11 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Tickets area available online. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Student News

Megan Sandberg (Environmental Sciences, '17) was named a semifinalist in the 2017-18 Fulbright Scholarship competition. Sandberg applied for an English teaching assistantship in Ecuador. The English teaching assistant programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers.

Quentina Dunbar (Gender and Women's Studies, '17) was awarded a position in the Relay Graduate School of Education’s Teaching Residency Program in San Antonio, Texas. The program will enable Dunbar to earn a master's degree in teaching while also working in a San Antonio public school full-time.

Olivia Robinson (Business Management, '17) was selected as a finalist for the Zonta International Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship. Robinson received a $1,000 award from the Zonta Club of Mankato and was a runner-up internationally. The Zonta International Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarships are open to college women enrolled in at least the second year of an undergraduate program through the final year of a master’s program in business, leading to a business management career.

The Undergraduate Research Center at Minnesota State Mankato announced that 36 undergraduate students have been chosen to present their original research at the 2017 National Conference of Undergraduate Research. The students represent the Colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Education; Science and Technology; and Allied Nursing and Health. The conference will be held April 6-8 in Memphis, Tenn.

Various Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre and Dance students took home honors from the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, held Jan. 22-28, 2017, in Des Moines, Iowa. The festival, hosted by Iowa State University, had 1,508 registrants representing 95 colleges and universities. Region V represents Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, and it is the largest regional festival in the country. A full news release from the Department of Theatre and Dance is available online.

Faculty/Staff News

Associate Professor of Accounting Oksana Kim (Department of Accounting and Business Law in the College of Business), just published a book titled, “The Effects and Implications of Kazakhstan’s Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards.”

Faculty member Cheryl A. Trahms Chapman (Department of Management in the College of Business), just published “Is There a ‘Dark Side’ to Monitoring? Board and Shareholder Monitoring Effects on M&A Performance Extremeness" in the Strategic Management Journal.

Nina Stupeck, personnel assistant in Human Resources, was the recipient of the State Employees Combined Charities 2016 Hero Award for her work and devotion during the 2016 Combined Charities Campaign.

On Jan. 26, Chris Veltsos, associate professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, delivered a presentation at the 2017 Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy & Data Security that was organized by the MinnCLE. His presentation, "How to Help Your Clients Improve Cyber Risk Decision-Making," covered actionable tips for lawyers advising clients on cybersecurity risk decisions, specifically related to: engaging executives and members of the board of directors.

Associate Professor of Geography Ginger Schmid has been appointed to a three-year term on the editorial board of the flagship journal in American Geography, "the Annals of the American Association of Geographers."

Emily Stark, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, along with adjunct faculty members John O'Neill and Dawn O'Neill, recent graduate Steven Swenson, emeritus faculty member William Lewinski and William Spence, received the Schaeffer Award for best research paper from the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology. The Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology has accepted with revisions their manuscript titled, "Public Perceptions of Protective Vests in Law Enforcement."

Carol Burns and April Rosendale (Center for Educator Partnership in the College of Education) launched the first cohort of mentor teachers participating in "Mentor for Student Teacher Success," a new series funded by the Bush Grant. The series includes 140 teachers from all districts joining together over the next three semesters to learn, grow, and enhance mentoring skills.

Department News

The Student Events Team has announced its lineup of upcoming movies that will be shown in Ostrander Auditorium. Admission is free with a Mav ID card or $1 for the general public. Concessions are available, and parking in Lot 11 or the Pay Lot is free after 4 p.m. on Fridays.

The Community Engagement newsletter for Feb. 3 is [PDF] available here (203 KiB).


George Yahnke, formerly a general maintenance worker who worked on campus for 21 years (1965-1986), died Jan. 29. Read his full obituary online.

Robert Willson, emeritus professor, died Jan. 18. Wilson taught computer science for 24 years before retiring in 1993. Read his 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, Feb. 22. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, Feb. 17.

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