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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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May 10, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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Spring 2017 Commencement


Approximately 1,500 students participated in three spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 6 in Taylor Center’s Bresnan Arena.

Students in the colleges of Arts and Humanities and Science, Engineering and Technology were recognized in a 9 a.m. ceremony; those in the colleges of Allied Health and Nursing and Education were recognized in a noon ceremony; and students in the colleges of Business and Social and Behavioral Sciences were recognized in a 3 p.m. ceremony.

The University awarded 2,334 degrees at the end of the spring 2017 semester.

For more information on the spring commencement ceremonies, including a link to a video stream of all three ceremonies, click here.

Honoring Dental Hygiene Program Founder

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Dental Hygiene, part of the University’s College of Allied Health and Nursing, recently unveiled a new plaque in the University’s Clinical Sciences Building that honors the department’s founder, the late Dr. Robert Fonda. Pictured in the photo are Sherry Fisher (left), Robert Fonda’s daughter, and Lenora Fonda, Robert Fonda’s widow.

In late 1969, Fonda arrived on campus to establish a two-year dental hygiene program at Minnesota State Mankato. When he arrived, there was no clinic, no staff, no office, no books, no equipment and no curriculum. Fonda began designing the program and curriculum from scratch. The program eventually became accredited and celebrated its 40-year reunion in 2012. Fonda, who was 90 years old in 2012, spoke at the reunion. He died in 2014.

Career Development Center Spring Data

Minnesota State Mankato's Career Development Center shared some numbers from this past year and dates for the fall in a recent email.

The Career Development Center served 8,525 current Minnesota State Mankato this past year, 1,053 students at Career Quickstop and 845 students at one-on-one appointments.

The following events are scheduled for the fall:

  • Sept. 6, Campus and Community Fair
  • Oct. 17-18, Career and Internship Expo
  • Oct. 20, Government and Nonprofit Job and Internship Fair
  • Nov. 6, Majors in Minutes

To learn more, visit the Career Development Center website.

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, and Minnesota State Mankato's Environmental Committee encourages the University community to consider biking to and from the campus in May during National Bike Month.

Minnesota State Mankato now has 85+ bike racks across campus and three bicycle pump and repair stations. The Greater Mankato area has been adding bike lanes near campus and across town with more in the works.

"Bike-to-Work Day" is Friday, May 19, and "National Bike-to-Work Week" is May 15-19.

More information on Minnesota State Mankato's bicycle resources is available online. 

Health Professions Autism Network

Twin Cities nursing instructor and doctor of nursing practice student Carrie Dickson has created a learning community for health professionals on the care of individuals on the autism spectrum. The learning community is called the Health Professions Autism Network.

The Health Professions Autism Network’s goal is to help health professionals provide patient-centered care for those on the autism spectrum in any setting. It provides resources and networking opportunities on the topic.

It is free to join, and participants are welcome to be involved in any way or amount they like. Dickson created the learning community as her clinical practice project in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

A community kick-off and continuing education session on the Health Professions Autism Network is being planned for the morning of Tuesday, May 23 in St. Paul.

Those who would like more information on the event and those wishing to join the community can learn more on the HPAN website

June 22: Campus Compact Regional Gathering

The Minnesota Campus Compact is planning a series of regional summer gatherings to provide a chance for colleagues to connect, learn and strategize with Minnesota Campus Compact staff and others committed to civic and community engagement work. The event scheduled in our area will take place Thursday, June 22 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at South Central College. Agenda items may include a discussion of community engagement priorities, drawing on civic action plans, institutional strategic plans, etc.

Because Minnesota State Mankato is a member of Campus Compact, registration is free and located at this Eventbright webpage. In addition to registering, please send an email to to allow Minnesota State Mankato to maintain a list of employees attending. Registration ends June 15. Contact Karen Anderson with questions.

Student News

Five incoming students have earned $20,000 Presidential Scholar awards. They include Jada Hartey (Monticello, Minn.), Rebecca Horak (Buffalo, Minn.), Jake Hendel (Buffalo, Minn.), Molly Schumacher (Mora, Minn.) and Keira Salo (Duluth, Minn.).

The Honors Program announced that Anna Hagan, '20, a psychology major and biology minor from Lamberton, Minn., is the the recipient of the $30,000 Evelyn and James Tischer Honors Program Scholarship. Upon earning her undergraduate degree in psychology, Hagan plans to apply to medical school and eventually become a psychiatrist. This scholarship was made possible by a gift from Chad and Heidi Tischer and was awarded to a first-year Honors Program student at Minnesota State Mankato who exhibits extraordinary growth potential, drive, and resiliency.

Faculty members Ishuan Li (associate professor of economics) and Joseph Reising (associate professor of finance) led two teams representing Minnesota State Mankato to the 2017 Midwest Undergraduate Data Analytics Competition on April 1-2 at Winona State University. The team consisted of College of Business students Funmilola Olanigbogbo, Cameo Wetzel, Antonio Vesselinov, Diego Villalpando de la Garza, Austin Raebel and Usmon Mahmadyosini. It was the fourth year that Minnesota State Mankato participated in the competition.

The Minnesota State Mankato College of Business announced sophomore Jackson Jones from Madison, S.D., as this year’s Big Ideas Challenge winner. Jones’ company, Primate Longboards, manufactures and sells handcrafted organic longboards. The company strives to provide customers with longboards that are reliable while supporting the community and positively affecting the environment by lowering emission rates and planting trees.

Claire Clauson, musical theatre student and recent graduate of Minnesota State Mankato, was named Open Jar Institute’s top musical theatre actor in the nation. A mid-April competition at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., resulted in Clauson taking first place out of eight national finalists. She won the Open Jar Institute National Musical Theatre Scholarship for the Broadway Actor Institute, which is worth $3,200.

Abby James was recently contracted into the Army ROTC program at Minnesota State Mankato. James' family includes Minnesota State Mankato graduates from multiple generations.

Gulmira Fazilova and Tazrian Ahmed were chosen to receive the $500 Dr. Mark M. Welter Scholarship.

The National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation recently selected Yolanda Martinez-Pineda of Minneapolis, a graduate student in professional school counseling, to receive an $8,000 education award for the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program-Youth. In this role, Martinez-Pineda will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations, with a specific focus on ages 16-25.

Faculty/Staff News

Kelly Meier (pictured at right), senior director for institutional diversity in the Division of Institutional Diversity, was nominated by President Richard Davenport for the Minnesota State Board of Trustees Professional Excellence Award for Administrative Service Faculty. The award is an honor to acknowledge and reward exceptional individual professional accomplishment and to encourage ongoing excellence. Meier was one of seven nominees from Minnesota State universities.

Faculty member Shannon Fisher, most recently a professor in the Water Resources Center at the University, accepted a position with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as assistant chief of fisheries beginning in May.  

Ishuan Li, associate professor of economics, was reelected for another three-year term as councilor for the Social Sciences Division in the Council of Undergraduate Research. Li and Robert Simonson, professor of economics, served as judges in the Minnesota Academy of Science annual Winchell Undergraduate Symposium held April 22 at Macalester College and in the North Central Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium held March 25.

Anne Dahlman, Honors Program director and a professor in K-12 and secondary programs, received a Fulbright Specialist Project grant for a project at the University of Turku, the second largest university in Finland. The project will take place over five weeks in May-June and will focus on research and professional development around culturally responsive pedagogy in the K-16 instructional context.

Steven Losh, professor of geology in the Department of Chemistry and Geology, was interviewed April 25 for TV news stories on both KARE 11 and Fox 9 after the quarry explosion that occurred in Mankato.

Heather Camp, associate professor of English, was appointed as the Writing Across the Curriculum Program coordinator beginning in the fall of 2017.

Minnesota State Mankato deans Brenda Flannery (College of Business), Jean Haar (College of Education) and Matthew Cecil (College of Arts and Humanities) were recently featured in an article in the Collegian, a student-run independent newspaper at South Dakota State University.

Lisa Perez, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, was quoted in an online article about Facebook hiring moderators that was published in the Guardian.

Department News

The April 28 edition of the Community Engagement newsletter is now available. The newsletters can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of the page at this link or by sending an email to and requesting a copy.

The May 2017 edition of the Human Resources newsletter is [PDF] available here (247 KiB).


DeWayne Dobbins Sr., who was a recruitment & retention coordinator in Institutional Diversity from 2008 until his retirement in 2015, died May 1. An obituary is available here.

Jeffrey Spann, who was employed in the University's Delivery & Receiving Services Department as the Daytime Maverick Shuttle Driver, died April 19. Spann attended Minnesota State Mankato from 1982 to 1986 and graduated with a bachelor's degree. He played football for the Mavericks and in 1986 was named Associated Press All-American. In 2014, Spann was inducted into the University's Athletic Hall of Fame. An obituary is available here.

Vernon C. Winter, who taught English at Minnesota State Mankato from 1950 until his retirement in 1982, died April 21. An obituary is available here.

Virginia "Ginny" Mae Asleson, who worked at Minnesota State Mankato for 26 years, died April 29. Asleson first worked in the Business Office and later transferred to Human Resources. An obituary is available 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, June 14. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday, June 9.

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