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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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February 22, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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Sesquicentennial Logo


Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport kicked off the University’s 18-month celebration of its 150th anniversary on Thursday, Feb. 16 by announcing that Minnesota State Mankato would begin using its sesquicentennial logo as the University’s signature brand through December 2018.

Feb. 16 was chosen as the date to begin using the sesquicentennial logo because that is the date on which the Minnesota legislature passed the bonding bill to form the state’s second normal school in Mankato. The Mankato Normal School, as it was originally named, eventually evolved into the current University.

The University was officially founded in October 1868. The 18-month celebration of the institution’s 150th birthday will culminate on Oct. 7, 2018, a date that marks the 150-year anniversary of the day that the first actual classes were held.

Read the full news release here

Women of Courage and Vision Reception

The Minnesota State Mankato Women's Center and the President's Commission on the Status of Women celebrate women with courage and vision with a yearly reception. Hundreds of women who make a difference on the University campus are recognized at the event.

This year's reception will be Wednesday, March 1 from 9-10:30 a.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

All students, faculty members and employees are encouraged to nominate any woman at the university who they believe portrays courage and vision. The nominee can be a student, faculty or staff member. Online nominations are due by Feb. 17. 

Visit the President's Commission on the Status of Women website for more information.

Student-Athletes Excel in Academics

Student-athletes at Minnesota State Mankato posted a 3.24 combined grade point average in the 2016 fall semester, an increase from the department's combined GPA of 3.17 from the 2015 fall semester. The women's combined GPA in the fall was 3.39 and the men's combined GPA in the fall was 3.05.

This is also the fifth consecutive semester that all of the women’s teams had at least a 3.00 GPA, and it is the first time since fall 2011 that all women’s programs had at least a 3.25 GPA. Additionally, 64.4% of student-athletes posted at least a 3.00 GPA this past semester and there were 82 perfect 4.0 GPAs (highest amount since record 102 in spring 2018; fourth-highest total on record), and 215 Dean’s List honorees (highest mark since spring 2012).

Presidential Diversity Award Nominations

The President's Commission on Diversity is seeking nominations for the Presidential Award for Diversity to be presented at the 2017-2018 convocation. The winner of the award will receive a plaque in recognition of their accomplishment and a $500 stipend to be used during the 2017-2018 academic year.

All nominations must be submitted to by noon on April 1 and include a letter explaining how the nomineee demonstrates inclusive excellence. Self-nominations are also accepted. Criteria for selection include the following diversity goals:

  • Demonstrated excellence in the recruitment of people of diversity. This can include outreach, institutional research, advertising of programs, program development, etc.
  • Demonstrated excellence in the academic mentoring of diverse students. This can include advising students and student groups, fostering research, promoting academic excellence, etc.
  • Demonstrated excellence in the advocacy of underserved populations on campus or in the community. This can include championing issues of diversity, promoting diversity events, promoting inclusivity, encouraging cross-cultural engagement and collaboration, educating people on ways to enhance the campus cultural climate, etc.
  • Demonstrated excellence in community leadership in areas of diversity. This can include community outreach, community education, leadership in community organizations and events, etc.

Nominees will be contacted by email and invited to send a CV or resume to by April 15. If self-nominating, please include your CV with the initial nomination letter.

Student Leadership Award Nominations

Student Activities has extended the deadline for Minnesota Sate Mankato Leadership Award nominations.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to review categories and consider making a nomination for any student they feel is deserving. 

Visit the Leadership Award website for award categories and judging rubrics.

Those with questions may contact Ashley Strom by email at

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. 16-26: 'The Game's Afoot'

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Theatre & Dance is back with a farcical “whodunit” in Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot.”

It is December 1936, and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play “Sherlock Holmes,” has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry.

But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself to track down the killer. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit.

“The Game’s Afoot,” a Minnesota State Mankato premiere, runs 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16-18 and 23-25; and 2 p.m. Feb. 25-26 in the Ted Paul Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts.

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

Call Amanda Dyslin at 507-389-6663 or email for more information.

Feb. 23: Twin Cities Hot Club

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music has scheduled a performance by the Twin Cities Hot Club (pictured) on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The Twin Cities Hot Club represents Minnesota in the burgeoning revival of gypsy jazz originally popularized by Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club of France.

The Twin Cities Hot Club recreates not only the famous la pompe that distinguishes this romantic brand of acoustic jazz but also gypsy bossanova, musette, bolero, and swing.

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

Feb. 23: Panel Discussion to Examine Factory Farming

Minnesota State Mankato’s Kessel Peace Institute will host a panel discussion on factory farming in Minnesota from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 in Centennial Student Union’s Room 253.

The panel discussion, free and open to the public, will examine the social justice, environmental and animal welfare impacts of factory farming in Minnesota. Factory farming is a system of rearing livestock using intensive methods, by which poultry, pigs, or cattle are confined indoors under strictly controlled conditions.

The panelists will include:

  • Sonja Trom Eayrs, a family law attorney and a farmer’s daughter
  • Colleen Carpenter, a faculty member in theology at St. Catherine University, who has written a book that discusses eco-theological issues
  • Tim Culver, an attorney and Robina Legal Fellow with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • Jeff Johnson, faculty member in philosophy at St. Catherine University, who teaches courses on food ethics and ethics of eating certain animals
  • Chris Peterson, a family pig farmer and advisor to the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project

For more information on the event, please contact Carol Glasser, an associate professor of sociology at Minnesota State Mankato and the coordinator of the Social Justice Lecture Series. Glasser can be reached by email or by phone at 507-389-1345.

Feb. 26-27: Department of Music Winter Choral Concerts

Minnesota State Mankato Department of Music winter choral concerts will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts.

The University choral groups consists of three ensembles; the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers conducted by David Dickau, and the University Chorale conducted by Aaron Humble. All three groups include students from all areas of the University.

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Tickets can be purchased online. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Feb. 27: History Forum Lecture

Minnesota State Mankato Assistant Professor Chad McCutchen will discuss Spanish colonialism in 16th-century Peru in a spring History Forum lecture Monday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. in the University’s Centennial Student Union, Room 201.

McCutchen’s presentation, titled “Rethinking Spanish Colonialism: Ethnic Identity and the Balance of Power in Sixteenth-Century Peru,” is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The History Forum Lecture Series provides opportunities for faculty, students, staff and community members to learn about the latest historical research from local and regional scholars. The History Forum Lecture is presented twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring.

In his presentation, McCutchen will discuss how beginning with the capture of the Inca Emperor Atahualpa by Francisco Pizarro in 1532, Spanish colonialism in Peru has long been perceived as a triumph of superior European technology and ingenuity.

According to McCutchen, this narrative suggests that, with the help of a few brave and daring conquistadors, the Spanish summarily implemented their designs in the Americas by exploiting the conquered indigenous populations. In reality, McCutchen says, establishing control in the colonies proved far more complex.

A complete news release is available here.

Feb. 27: Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve

Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve will discuss “women’s leadership in athletics and coaching teams through adversity” in a free public presentation at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

Free tickets are available for reservation online or at Minnesota State Mankato’s Student Activities Office.

Reeve will also discuss her success as the head coach of the Minnesota Lynx, the Women’s National Basketball Association champions in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Reeve questions and take pictures with the Lynx championship trophies.

Feb. 28: Film Screening of "Bear Witness: A Year in the Wilderness"

A short documentary film titled “Bear Witness: A Year in the Wilderness,” which chronicles a year that explorers Dave and Amy Freeman spent in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, will be shown Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union, Room 245.

The event is free and open to the public. The Minnesota State Mankato Zoology Club is sponsoring the film screening. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

In addition, a representative from the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, led by a group called Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, will discuss the background and progress of the campaign to protect the Boundary Waters from mining and other industrial pollution. There will also be a Q & A session.

Feb. 28: Concert Bands Winter Concert

The University concert bands will perform on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The concert features the premiere of a new video produced by Ion Concert Media to accompany the composition "Coil" for wind band and electronics. The composition, by Steven Bryant, will be performed by Minnesota State Mankato's concert wind ensemble.

The University concert bands consist of the symphony band and the concert wind ensemble. The bands are comprised of University students, staff, and community members. Amy Roisum Foley directs both of these ensembles with assistance from graduate assistant Will Frame.

Concert admission is $9 and $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Tickets can be puchased online. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Feb. 28: Everett Smithson Band

The Centennial Student Union Serendipity Music Series will host a daytime Mardi Gras music celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 28, featuring blues, rockabilly and zydeco music by the Everett Smithson Band.

The Fat Tuesday “Bourbon Street Blues” performance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the CSU Lower Level will include a free half-hour harmonica lesson by the band’s leader, Everett Smithson. The lesson, starting at 11:45 a.m., will include a free harmonica to the first 50 participants.

Returning to campus after an outdoor Serendipity Music Series performance in August, the five-piece Everett Smithson Band offers New Orleans style blues with a Minnesota flair. Smithson’s gravel voice and superb blues harp sound is complemented by Kathy Smithson’s powerful voices and squeezebox zydeco prowess. Together with Jimmie Vaughn-style lead guitar by Phil Schmid, Jeremy Johnson on drums and Bill Black on bass, the Everett Smithson delivers a broad French Quarter sound.

The CSU Serendipity Music Series offers free mid-day, mid-week performances exposing Minnesota State Mankato students and the Mankato community to various music genres featuring Minnesota artists.

March 2: University Jazz Ensembles Performance

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music will host a performance of the University jazz bands Thursday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for the Performing Arts.

Douglas Snapp, director of jazz studies, directs the Jazz Mavericks. Graduate student Will Frame directs the University Jazz Lab Band.

The big band ensembles provide students with experience in a jazz ensemble along with several performance opportunities. The jazz groups perform arrangements ranging from classic and contemporary jazz to pop charts.

Concert admission is $9 for community members, $7 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Tickets can be purchased online at For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

March 3: 2017 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

The Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence along with the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Minnesota State Mankato will host the 2017 Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Friday, March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Eight teams from Minnesota and Iowa will compete for the regional title and the chance to compete in the finals to become the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Division II champion. 

The event is free and open to the public. A full press release is available here.

A Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is an event where students of all ages compete with the machines they have imagined, designed and created in a fun and competitive forum. The competitions encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving, in a fresh learning environment and level playing field. To compete in a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest requires only a pile of junk and a great imagination.

March 4: Marcia Ball Band

Marcia Ball (pictured) will perform with her band on Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at Hooligans Neighborhood Pub, 1400 East Madison Avenue (Madison East Center), Mankato.

The concert event is co-sponsored by KMSU-The Maverick and the Minnesota State Mankato Performance Series with assistance from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist/vocalist/songwriter Marcia Ball is touring in support of her latest Alligator Records CD, "THE TATTOOED LADY AND THE ALLIGATOR MAN." Ball has earned worldwide fame for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls onto the stage.

Ball has five Grammy Award nominations. She received the 2014 Blues Music Award (BMA) for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year. She has now won a total of 10 BMAs and has received a whopping 44 nominations. Ball received a 2015 Living Blues Readers' Poll Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard) and now holds nine Living Blues Awards in all. She was inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show. Tickets can be purchased online. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Student News

Graduate students Heather Cassidy and Katelyn Sternberg were credited in a Mankato Free Press article for assisting two Mankato residents in exiting a home that was on fire.

Gracie Smith served as the conference chair for the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls Regional Business Conference held Feb. 10-11 at Minnesota State Mankato. At the conference, Smith was elected to serve as the regional director of the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls student organization. She will lead the eight-state regional organization and be involved in the leadership of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls.

Faculty/Staff News

Matthew Cecil, dean of the College of Arts & Humanities, has two new publications that will be published this spring:

  • “The Man Under the Bed: J. Edgar Hoover’s 1958 book 'Masters of Decei't and the Revival of Anti-Communist Identity in America,” was published in the winter issue of American Journalism, the journal of the American Journalism Historians Association.
  • Cecil's article, “Jackals, Vultures, Scavengers, and Scoundrels: FBI Public relations and J. Edgar Hoover’s ‘Blue Gems,’” which was co-authored with Jennifer Tiernan of Wichita State University and Jessica Freeman of South Dakota State University, will appear in the spring issue of Journalism History.

David Viscoli, professor of piano in the Department of Music, recently performed a solo piano recital at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis.

Rebecca Bates, professor and former chair, Department of Integrated Engineering, was awarded a Clare Booth Luce Scholarship that provides full tuition, accommodations, meals and travel to women in STEM higher education to attend the HERS Institute at either the University of Denver or Bryn Mawr College.

Minnesota State Mankato Director of Facilities Services David Cowan addressed the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls Regional Business Conference. While a student leader at was then known as Mankato State College, David co-wrote the Articles of Incorporation for the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. He was recognized by current student leaders with a standing ovation.

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 Feb. 17 edition of the Community Engagement newsletter is available by scrolling to the bottom of the page at this link.

The Minnesota State Mankato Residence Hall Association hosted 150 students on Feb. 10-11 for the Regional Business Conference for the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, a student organization covering eight states in the upper Midwest.

The Residence Hall Association received the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls School of the Year Award. This award recognizes the institution within the eight-state region that has made significant achievements in all aspects of their leadership program.

The Centennial Student Union Haunted Takeover was named one of three finalists in the National Association for Campus Activities "Best Campus Tradition" voting, which concluded Feb. 20. Winners will be announced at the 2017 NACA® National Convention in Baltimore, which runs from Feb. 18-22.


Ellis Norman died Feb. 2. Norman was a general maintenance worker at Minnesota State Mankato for 9 years. Read his full obituary online.

Jerome “Jerry” Zuckerman, emeritus professor, died Jan. 29. He was employed in the English department for 26 years before retiring in 1990. His complete obituary can be read online.

In the Rankings recently ranked nursing programs in Minnesota, and Minnesota State Mankato's program was ranked as 14th among the 20 top programs in all of Minnesota. Nursing programs were assessed on several factors that represent how well a program supports students towards licensure and beyond.

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, March 15. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, March 10.

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