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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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August 23, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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Welcome New Students


Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty, staff and administrators welcomed new students to campus Friday, Aug. 18 by lining the halls and cheering, clapping and waving pom poms while the new students walked from a rally in the Taylor Center to lunch in Myers Field House.

The Maverick Machine marching band led the new students on the processional. The festive procession was set up to celebrate the students’ arrival on campus as Minnesota State Mankato students.

Move-in day for resident students was Thursday, Aug. 17, as close to 3,000 students moved into campus residence communities.

The week began Monday, Aug. 14 with the annual President's Convocation, at which Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport delivered his annual convocation address.

Public Speaking Workshops

The Department of Communication Studies and the Center for Academic Success are sponsoring public speaking workshops.

Faculty who are interested in having a public speaking expert share their skills can schedule a workshop in their classrooms:

Workshop topics include outlining, source integration and citation, speech arrangement, speech delivery, informative and persuasive strategies. Workshop lengths are flexible, based on need.

Speech tutoring is also available for students by appointment in ML116 Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. Students can stop by ML 125 or call 389-1791 to schedule an appointment. Drop-in Speech Lab hours are in ML 1027 Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. (no appointment necessary).

Vikings Training Camp on Campus: End of Era

The Minnesota Vikings held the team's annual summer training camp on the Minnesota State Mankato campus for the 52nd and final time this summer from July 23 through Aug. 8.

The Vikings announced just prior to the beginning of training camp that the team would be holding future summer training camps at the team's new facility in Eagan, Minn., and thanked the University and local cities for the partnership that lasted more than half a century. The Vikings produced a historical video on training camp in Mankato. Joining current and former Minnesota State Mankato staff members for a photo (at left) during a reception at the end of training camp was Lester Bagley, the Vikings' executive vice president-public affairs (in white shirt in photo).  

In turn, Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport thanked the Vikings and the cities of Mankato and North Mankato for being partners with the University over the past 52 years.

Davenport said in a Mankato Free Press interview that consistent with the University’s strategic directions and goals, there are numerous opportunities for additional summer academic programming. He said that a recent assessment described not only opportunities for expanding current summer offerings, but a variety of ideas for new activities.

Davenport also encouraged members of the campus community as well as the local communities to submit their best ideas on the types of new events that could be brought to the University beginning next summer. Those interested in submitting ideas may submit them by email to

Military and Veterans Student Success Coordinator

Mankato native Tim Adams has been hired as the military and veteran student success coordinator, a new position on campus. His main duties include operating the Veterans Resource Center in Centennial Student Union (Room 161) and helping students achieve success in the classroom and beyond.

Supplemental orientations for veterans and military students will be held Thursday, Aug. 24. Please visit the Veterans Resource Center website for more details and to RSVP.

Various activities will be held on campus during the fall semester for veterans, families and friends. Among these are a Veterans Resource Center open house, a chili cooking contest, making a float for the Homecoming parade, helping with "Adopt A Highway" clean-up, sponsoring speakers coming to campus to address timely and valuable discussion topics, and many more.

Adams' previous experience includes teaching ROTC students at Minnesota State Mankato and the University of Minnesota, 25 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve and almost five years as a space operations officer for the Minnesota National Guard. (Adams, on the right in the photo, is pictured with Devin Ausen, president of the Veterans Club on campus.)

Midwest Play Conference

The Midwest Play Conference hosted a "Nature and Loose Parts Play Workshop" in Alexandria, Minn., on July 22.

Participants explored the outdoors and were led in discussions on findings way to trust kids as learners, tried out some fun do-it-yourself activities, and talked about ways that parents and educators can recommit to outdoor play.

Workshop attendees heard from nationally renowned speaker and author of early childhood books Jeff Johnson, and nature/outdoor play advocates Tiffany Pearsall and Kristen Peterson, who host the "podcast Q & A with T & K."

Heather Von Bank (pictured in boat), associate professor and department chair of the Department of Family Consumer Science, is the founder of the Midwest Play Conference. The July conference was the second event that the organization has arranged.

More information about the conference is available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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

'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 Mankato band, The Frye, created a song, called "We'll Take It from Here," for the film that can be heard at the following link:

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.

Aug. 21-Sept. 12: Sarojini & David Johnson Art Exhibit

Art by Sarojini and David Johnson will be displayed in an exhibit titled “Etchings, Woodcuts & Books” in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Conkling Gallery (located in Nelson Hall 139) from Aug. 21 through Sept. 12.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday as coverage permits. Please call 507-389-6412 to ensure the gallery is open.

A gallery reception for the artists will be held Monday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., and the artists will be in residency Sept 11-12 in the Nelson Hall Print Studios at Minnesota State Mankato.

A full news release with information on the artists is available online here.

Aug. 29: Watershed Basics

The Mankato Area Lifelong Learners group is holding an event titled "Watershed Basics" from 2-4 p.m. at the Mankato Children's Museum (224 Lamm Street).

Presenters include Paul Davis (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), Brooke Hacker (DNR), Jon Lore (DNR) and Kimberly Musser (Minnesota State Mankato).

The cost of the event for non-members is $10 at the door.

Cost of Mankato Area Lifelong Learner quarterly presentations and the group's speaker series is $5 for 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.

Aug. 29: Night to Unite

According to a city of Mankato news release, Night to Unite, which will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, is an opportunity for Mankato residents to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and city staff. During this time, many neighborhoods throughout Mankato host a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, parades, police visits, flashlight walks, contests and youth activities.

The event is held annually on the last Tuesday of August to allow students from local universities to participate so neighbors get to know each other.

Night to Unite raises crime prevention awareness, builds community by encouraging residents to get to know neighbors and provides another way for residents to engage with city service teams.

Sept. 5: Red Cross Blood Drive

The Upward Bound program is sponsoring a Red Cross Blood Drive on Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

Appointments can be made by calling 389-1211 or by going online and entering sponsor code MSUUPWARD. Walk-ins are always welcome.

A Sports Clip coupon for a free haircut will be given out to donors while supplies last, as will a "Commit to Give" t-shirt.

The American Red Cross has now implemented “RAPIDPASS” – a new tool that allows blood donors to help save lives in less time.

RapidPass offers donors a way to complete the pre-reading and donation questions online from the comfort and privacy of their home or office, reducing the time donors spend at blood drives by as much as 15 minutes.

Using RapidPass is simple! You just:

  1. Visit
  2. Read the information
  3. Answer the questions
  4. Print the pass or email to your Smartphone

Important information to remember:

  1. RapidPass cannot be completed prior to the date of the drive. Donors must complete the steps to redeem the pass on the DAY they donate.
  2. You must complete RapidPass using a desktop or laptop computer. RapidPass cannot currently be completed using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet.
  3. RapidPass does not take the place of scheduling an appointment. It is only used to complete the pre-reading and pre-donation questionnaire in advance of an appointment.
  4. You MUST print out your pass or email the PDF to yourself and show it on their mobile device when you come to donate. If you do not provide the pass, you will be asked to complete the questionnaire again.

Sept. 6: Employee Resource Fair

The University's Professional Development Committee invites employees to attend the Employee Resource Fair, which will be held Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Centennial Student Union conference rooms 253/4/5 and 245.

Nearly 40 departments, committees and organizations will be providing information at the resource fair.

The Employee Resource Fair is held to allow employees learn more about resources and services on campus that are available to employees and students.

For more information, contact Angie Johnson in the Office of Human Resources by email at

Sept. 7: Jazz Vocalist Maud Hixson, Pianist Rick Carlson

Jazz vocalist Maud Hixson (pictured) and pianist Rick Carlson will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Hixson is a singer of classic jazz and popular songs of the 20th century. Many of her shows focus on songs written by women, and written during the 1930s and 1940s, an era Hixson says is one of the most fertile periods for songwriters, women included.

Carlson taught himself to play the piano by studying the vast catalogs of Count Basie and Duke Ellington while absorbing their musical technique. He is a sought-after accompanist and has served as pianist and musical director for various Twin Cities concert series and theatre productions.

Concert admission is $12 for community members, $11 for Minnesota State Mankato students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Sept. 9: Dan Preska Memorial Service

A memorial service for Dan Preska, husband of Margaret Preska, former Minnesota State Mankato president (from 1979 to 1992), will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. on campus in the Earley Center for Performing Arts. Dan Preska died July 12. An obituary is available here.

Sept. 11: Blues Poet/Musician Ray Bonneville

World-class guitarist, harmonica player and hard-hitting songwriter Ray Bonneville (pictured) will perform Monday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Bonneville is a Canadian born, Austin, Texas, based singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player who is known for his “loose, darkly funky vibe” (All Music Guide).

Bonneville has earned many accolades, including a Juno Award (Canada’s version of the Grammy Award) for his 1999 album, “Gust of Wind.” His post-Katrina ode, “I Am the Big Easy,” earned the International Folk Alliance’s 2009 Song of the Year Award, and in 2012 Bonneville won the solo/duet category in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

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

Sept. 13-14: Good Thunder Reading Series

Minnesota State Mankato will host poet and novelist Juan Felipe Herrera and Alyssa Striplin, Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 13-14, as the first two of eight writers who will be on campus for this year’s Good Thunder Reading Series.

On Sept. 13, Herrera will hold a “Talk on Craft,” from 3-4 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 150 Stadium Court in Mankato. Following Herrera’s talk, an event titled “An Evening with Juan Felipe Herrera and the Aktion Club Theatre Poets” will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Elias J. Halling Recital Hall, located in the Jane Earley Performing Arts Center at Minnesota State Mankato.

The following day (Sept. 14) will feature two events. Herrera will hold a workshop from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery, located at 523 S. 2nd St., Mankato. Then from 7:30-8:30 p.m., there will be a reading with Nadine B. Andreas graduate assistant Alyssa Striplin in the University’s Centennial Student Union, Room 253.

Herrera was the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and the first Latino to hold the position. His many collections of poetry include “Notes on the Assemblage,” “Senegal Taxi” and “Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems.”

He is the author of “Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse,” and his books include “SkateFate,” “Calling The Doves,” “Upside Down Boy,” which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City, and “Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box.”

Alyssa Striplin is an MFA candidate at Minnesota State Mankato and the managing editor of the Blue Earth Review. She is a recipient of the 2017-18 Nadine B. Andreas Graduate Assistantship.

All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

For photos or more information, contact Diana Joseph at or 507-389-5144 or visit the Good Thunder Reading Series website.

Sept. 15: Depression Screenings

The Counseling Center is offering depression screenings for students on the morning of Friday, Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to noon in CSU Room 285.

This is an opportunity for students to complete a written screening questionnaire and discuss the questionnaire and their results with a mental health professional.

Screenings are anonymous, confidential, and free.

Additionally, educational materials on the signs and symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders will be provided, as well as connecting students to various resources.

Student News

The 2017 Maverick softball team, which won the NCAA Division II national championship in May, was honored by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton at the governor's mansion on Friday, Aug. 18.

That same evening, the Mavericks were honored in an on-field pregame ceremony prior to the Minnesota Twins-Arizona Diamondbacks game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Coley Ries, who completed her senior season with the Mavericks this past spring, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Mavericks finished their national championship season with a program-best 64-7 record, the second-best ever for a NCAA Division II National Champion.

Faculty/Staff News

A group of Minnesota State Mankato administrators and staff members competed in a "tug of war" at the Verizon Center in Mankato on Wednesday, Aug. 16 in a fundraising event to benefit the Greater Mankato Area United Way campaign kickoff. The Minnesota State Mankato team included (left to right in photo) Michael Gustafson, vice president of strategic business, education and regional partnerships; Sheri Sargent, executive administrative officer in the Office of the President; Brenda Flannery, dean of the College of Business; David Jones, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management; and Brian Jones, director of admissions.

Chris Ruhland, professor of biology, authored a paper with Meagan Eatwell, an undergraduate student (now an alumna), in the journal, Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology. The paper covered much of Eatwell’s undergraduate research project that she presented at various conferences. Eatwell is currently an associate scientist at EAG Laboratories in Missouri.

Joel Jensen, associate director of security in University Security, was elected to the Board of Trustees, Sigma Chi International Fraternity, in June.

Nancy Fitzsimons, professor in the Department of Social Work, has been selected as a 2017-2018 Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. More about the Policy Fellows Program in the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs is available here.

Kristi Rendahl, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Corrections, wrote a commentary that published Aug. 2 by MinnPost with the headline: "Why Congress shouldn't repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment."

In June 2017, seven Minnesota State Mankato students traveled with Professor Tom Inglot (Department of Government) to Poland for study abroad. The students, including Derek Ringhand (International Relations), Emily Eide (Political Science), Karly Kaufman (Political Science/Women Studies), Greg Beglinger (Political Science), Cynthia Haro (Political Science), Leticia Arredondo (Political Science), and Harmony Hammond (Law Enforcement), completed a six-week summer program, "Security and Society," at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland. 

Tom Inglot, professor in the Department of Government, presented a paper titled "The Triumph of Novelty over Experience? Social Policy Responses to Demographic Crises in Hungary and Poland since the EU Enlargement," at the 24th annual conference of Europeanists (Council for European Studies), Glasgow, Scotland, July 12-14, 2017. In addition, Inglot was selected as co-chair of the Political Economy and Welfare Network, Council for European Studies -- Columbia University. This year he is also chair of the 2017 Best Paper Award Committee for the Network.

Sun Kyeong Yu, professor in the Department of Philosophy, co-translated and published "Enlightenment and History: Theory and Praxis in Contemporary Buddhism," 2017 in English, Bulkwang Publisher, Korea. (Translation of Hyun Eung Sunim’s Korean-language book, Enlightenment and History) The book will be available for sale starting in October 2017 on

Sun Kyeong Yu, professor in the Department of Philosophy, presented a paper, "Sudden Enlightenment as Revolutionary Awakening," at the 15th International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities from July 5-7 at Imperial College London.

Department News

The Office of University Fellowships published its Fall 2017 newsletter. University Fellowships newsletters are published here. To request a PDF copy, send an email to

In the Rankings

The website ranked the city of Mankato the second-best college town in the nation among 170 communities with populations of fewer than 150,000 residents.


Kathleen Maury, an emerita faculty member who served in the Curriculum & Information Department at Minnesota State Mankato until her retirement in June 1997, died July 18. An obituary is available here.

Irene Kunkel, who was employed in Minnesota State Mankato's registrar's office for 20 years, retiring in 1988, died Aug. 4. An obituary is available here.

Oliver Mulford, emeritus faculty member in the Department of Business who was employed at the University for 33 years before retiring in 1994, died Aug. 12. An obituary is available here.

John Kuzma, a faculty member who was employed at the University for 28 years, working in the Marketing & International Business Department and serving as director of the Center for Sales Excellence, died Aug. 16. 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, Sept. 13. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Sept. 8).

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