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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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July 19, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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'MOU' with Costa Rica


Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport announced the University recently signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the government of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in San Jose, Costa Rica, that will allow Minnesota State Mankato to broadly work with two Costa Rica universities on a variety of mutually beneficial activities. (Full news release here.)

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells traveled to Costa Rica and signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the University.

Joining Wells at the July 10 ceremony were Stephen Stoynoff, dean of global education; Bobby Fleischman, associate provost; and Maria Bevacqua, interim dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Government, business and higher education leaders from Costa Rica also attended the ceremony.

Signing the memorandum of understanding for the government of Costa Rica was Chancellor Manuel González Sanz. Signing as an honorary witness was Costa Rica Vice President Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, who was serving as the acting president for the Republic of Costa Rica on the day of the ceremony.

In the above photo, Echeverría is on the left, and Wells is on the right. They were joined by Ethel Abarca Amador (center in photo), chief of staff to the president.

BBQ Demo and Sampling

Alumnus and former Minnesota State Mankato wrestler Pat Nelson, who is also a barbecue competitor and owner of Big Boned BBQ, will return to campus on Thursday, Aug. 3 as part of the Student Activities Summer Program Series.

Nelson will provide a barbecue demonstration, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the campus mall, located near the outdoor fountain on the north end of the Centennial Student Union. Small samples of his award-winning meats will be available.

For the second year, a Maverick Meal Deal will be offered. For $6, attendees will be able to enjoy either a pulled pork sandwich or a brisket sandwich, a side of coleslaw, and a side of cornbread. Cash or credit/debit card payments will be accepted, and they may be paid at the event. Advance orders are requested by Monday, July 31 and may be placed by visiting Departments or offices wishing to place multiple orders are encouraged to place one group order. Orders should include the quantity of each (brisket or pulled pork) desired, a name, and a contact phone number and e-mail address. A limited number of meals, in addition to the advance orders placed, may be made available. Last year, the additional meals sold out in 5 minutes.

Nelson and his Big Boned BBQ team will be competing in Mankato’s annual Ribfest, taking place at Riverfront Park Aug. 3-6.

Please email, or call 507-389-6076, with questions regarding this event.

Welcome Event for New Students

The campus community is invited to welcome new students to campus Friday, Aug. 18 at 10:45 a.m. at the Alumni Arch in a new student processional organized by Student Activities and the Minnesota State Student Association. The Maverick Machine marching band will lead new students in a festive procession through the Alumni Arch, symbolizing the students’ arrival on campus as Minnesota State Mankato students.

Faculty, staff and returning students are invited to cheer, clap and welcome the new students during the processional as they walk through the Alumni Arch—please arrive at the Alumni Arch by 10:45 a.m. Pom poms will be passed out and banners will be set up along the processional path.

After the processional, new students will be provided a complimentary lunch near the Alumni Arch and Plaza. Faculty, staff and returning students may purchase lunches while supplies last. For more information, contact Bill Tourville by phone at 507-389-6076 or by email at

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Workshop

The "Dream Big, Learn Big, Go Big" workshop hosted June 28 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship had nearly 100 attendees and 17 project proposals.

After spending time identifying assets that exist in the Mankato region around innovation and entrepreneurship, attendees were invited to present their projects.

Seventeen project ideas were presented. According to Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation facilitator Pam Bishop, that was an unusually large number for this type of workshop.

The teams shared ideas and some teams merged after realizing that their goals and audiences were similar.

Project ideas were refined by their teams and posted for everyone attending to vote on. The four projects receiving the most votes were selected to move on to the next round of the grant competition. Those four were:

  • Minneponics (Minnesota Hydroponics)    Team Lead: Landon Brown
    Hydroponic Farming Containers that would grow food locally 365 days a year and would hire student workers and collaborate with Minnesota State Mankato on operating the farms.
  • Ground Zero!      Team Lead: Leah Myers
    Equip entrepreneurs with the toolbox they need to succeed with their business idea before they launch their business (considering work/life balance and more)
  • Makers Space     Team Lead: Cindy Bourne
    Mini-class program to teach maker skills, affordable access to tolls and small business development resources, assistance for local and immigrant vendors with things like pop-up fairs and how to run a business.
  • Connections Ministry      Team Lead: Jane Dow
    Associated with the churches planning a rotating homeless shelter that moves between area churches – working with Minnesota State Mankato students to coordinate volunteers to assist with the project and with Campus Kitchen to provide an evening meal to those at the shelters. Overall goal is to get people to a place where they are stable with shelter and food so they can move forward again.

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, according to its website, is a regional development and philanthropic organization that fosters economic and community vitality in 20 counties of southern Minnesota through a culture of collaboration and partnership.

Dash Emergency Grant

Minnesota State Mankato has received a $420,000 Dash Emergency Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates to operate and maintain a student emergency aid program (read news release here). Emergency grants will be integrated into the college’s overall student success strategy with the goal of improving retention and completion rates.

Minnesota State Mankato serves students from a wide variety of backgrounds, and a situation that might be a headache for one can be a major financial crisis for another. If a student is already struggling to make ends meet, an unexpected car repair or medical bill might cause that student to withdraw from college.

“Thanks to the Dash Emergency Grant, Minnesota State Mankato has the resources to provide modest emergency grants to our students in times of greatest need,” said Carolyn Nelson, director of scholarships in the Office of Admissions at Minnesota State Mankato.

Minnesota State Mankato will begin making student emergency grants in fall 2017 and announce details on the application process in August. Students will complete an application detailing their financial emergency. A Minnesota State Mankato committee will review the application, and expenses up to $1,000 will be paid within two business days of approval. By quickly removing financial distractions, students can refocus on their studies and continue toward graduation.

For more information about the emergency grants to be awarded to students at Minnesota State Mankato, contact Carolyn Nelson by phone at 507-389-5889 or by email at

Women of Distinction Exhibit

Minnesota State Mankato history students and faculty conducted research for a traveling historical exhibit, titled “Mankato’s Leading Women: The Women of Distinction Award in Historical Perspective,” that is currently on display in the Blue Earth County Library, located at 100 E. Main St. in Mankato, until Aug. 1.

The exhibit comprises four standing banners that document the history of the YWCA Mankato’s Women of Distinction Award and its effect on the greater Mankato community. The Women of Distinction Award is an honor that has been presented annually since 1973 by the YWCA Mankato to two to three prominent women in the community.

In conducting their research, students and faculty interviewed previous honorees and analyzed archival material housed in the University's archives.

The traveling exhibit is intended to document the interviews and research conducted to date and to help educate the community on the project. But the women of distinction research project is ongoing. Community members with an interest in participating in the research, either as an interviewer or an award honoree, are invited to contact Minnesota State Mankato's Department of History by phone at 507-389-1618 or by email at

The exhibit was made possible by grants from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Minnesota State Mankato and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Traverse de Sioux Library Cooperative.

'Out of Chaos' is 2017-18 Common Read

A book compiled by the late James F. Nickerson, former Minnesota State Mankato president, has been selected as the University’s “common read” for the 2017-18 academic year.
Nickerson’s book is titled “Out of Chaos: Reflections of a University President and his Contemporaries on Vietnam-Era Unrest in Mankato and its Relevance Today.”

The book is a collection of Nickerson’s personal reminiscences about events that occurred at Mankato State College during the 1960s and 1970s.

“Out of Chaos” highlights the importance of student engagement with social and political issues and demonstrates how the actions of an individual or group can help influence the course of history.

“Out of Chaos” is for sale at local bookstores and available at local libraries. For more information, contact Monika Antonelli, Common Read chair, associate professor and outreach librarian, by phone at 507-389-2507 or by email at

A calendar of events, book discussion questions, book and article lists and learning activities – is available on the Common Read website.

The keynote event for this year’s Common Read is a documentary film, “Two Weeks in May,” that will be shown Wednesday, Nov. 1 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. Students in Minnesota State Mankato’s Film Studies program – part of the University’s Department of English – are creating the film, which describes events that occurred on campus in 1972 that were written about in Nickerson’s book. A grant provided by the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council from funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature, made the film possible. The film is free and open to the public.

Lifelong Learners Summer Schedule

The Mankato Area Lifelong Learners group is offering a variety of summer classes in June, July and August.

A complete calendar is available online here.

Cost of quarterly presentations and the speaker series are $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Online registration is available at Choose "Class Schedule," and then click on "Register Online Now."

For more information, contact the Mankato Area Lifelong Learners office by phone at 507-389-2011 between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday.

July 13-22: 'The Little Mermaid'

Disney’s beloved “The Little Mermaid” the musical, the fourth and final production in the Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre and Dance's 51st-annual Highland Summer Theatre season, opened July 13 with a splash, and four dates remain!

The family-friendly story follows Ariel, a mermaid princess, who longs to be with a human, Prince Eric, on the land. She bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. Ariel’s friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab, help her through the complicated repercussions of her decision.

“The Little Mermaid” is a Minnesota State Mankato premiere.

The show's remaining performances are 7:30 p.m. July 19-22 in the Ted Paul Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato.

Tickets are $22 regular; $19 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $15 for Minnesota State Mankato students.

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

July 23: Vikings Training Camp Begins

The Minnesota Vikings announced their full practice schedule for the NFL team's 2017 training camp on the Minnesota State Mankato campus.

This year marks the 52nd consecutive year that the Vikings will hold their summer training camp at Minnesota State Mankato, and the team announced July 18 that it would be the last training camp in Mankato. Next year the team will hold training camp in Eagan, Minn.

The team's full training camp schedule is posted on the Vikings Website here.

According to the Vikings, the first group of players reporting to camp will arrive in Mankato on Sunday, July 23, with the remaining players reporting on Wednesday, July 26.

July 25: Bus Trip to Lynx Game

Minnesota State Mankato’s Student Events Team, Student Activities and Centennial Student Union are sponsoring a coach bus trip to a Tuesday, July 25 Minnesota Lynx women's professional basketball game against the New York Liberty at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Game time is 7 p.m.

Lower-level reserved tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for $18 for Minnesota State Mankato students with a valid MAVCard and $25 for the general public. Tickets may be purchased online at or in person at the Minnesota State Mankato Student Activities office, located in Centennial Student Union, Room 173.

The bus will leave at 4 p.m. from outside Centennial Student Union and return to Mankato after the game.

For more information, contact William Tourville in Student Activities by email at or by phone at 507-389-6076.

The Lynx are playing home games this season at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul while the Target Center in Minneapolis is closed for renovations.

The Lynx have compiled more than 155 wins over the last six regular seasons (2011-2016), the most over a six-year span in WNBA history, and won league titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Faculty/Staff News

Greg Wilkins, associate director of the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities, was published in the quarterly Radical Faery Digest with an article titled “Radical Faeries: Good to Great to Fabulous!”

Tony Scherber has been named assistant athletic director for sport operations. Scherber, a native of New Hope, Minn., joins Maverick Athletics after spending the 2016-17 school year as the assistant director of facilities and event operations with the athletic department at Central Michigan. Scherber owns an undergraduate degree in sport management (2013) and a graduate degree in sport management (2015), both from Minnesota State Mankato.

Chris Veltsos, associate professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, was referenced on page 3 of the May 9, 2017 edition of the Audit Committee Leadership Network in North America ViewPoints newsletter.

Chris Veltsos, associate professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, was co-author of an online article titled "Cyber Hygiene and Government–Industry Cooperation for Better Cybersecurity."

Department News

The University Dining Center was featured in the Food Service Director online magazine and also recently won an award from the Ceilings and Interior Systems Construction Association. Click here and scroll down to read about the award.

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics recently announced its 2017 Hall of Fame class. Read the news release here.


Lawrence "Larry" Menezes, an emeritus professor who was employed with Minnesota State University for 31 years before retiring in May of 2000, died July 3. Menezes was employed in the Department of Sociology. An obituary is available here.

William "Glen" Gober died July 14. Gober was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 20 years before retiring in 2001. He was employed as an offset print operator in Printing Services. 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, Aug. 23. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Aug. 18).

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