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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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December 6, 2017 Campus Newsletter

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Summer/Fall Commencement


Minnesota State University, Mankato will hold summer/fall commencement exercises at 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, Dec. 9 in Taylor Center’s Bresnan Arena on the Minnesota State Mankato campus.

Graduates of the College of Arts & Humanities, College of Business and College of Science, Engineering and Technology will participate in a 9 a.m. ceremony, and graduates of the College of Allied Health and Nursing, College of Education and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will participate in a noon ceremony.

Live-streaming captioning services will be provided for each ceremony.

University Representative to HERS Institute

The Minnesota State Mankato President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) is now accepting applications for the selection of a representative from Minnesota State University, Mankato, to attend one of the annual HERS Institutes for women. The purpose of the HERS Institutes is to advance Women leaders in the middle and executive levels of higher education administration.

HERS Institutes is offering three different locations and schedules for 2018.

The University's application process entails a self-descriptive letter, letter of recommendation from a supervisor, resume, and a printed copy of the HERS application form. (Note: do not electronically submit this online to HERS.) More information and a printable application form available at the Commission’s website.

Completed application packets should be submitted by Jan. 15 to Shalinie Bandaranayaka, the graduate assistant for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Applications may be submitted via email to

Habitat for Humanity Furniture Donations

The Habitat for Humanity registered student organization at Minnesota State Mankato has organized a furniture donation pick-up event that will be held Friday, Dec. 8 at campus residence communities.

The Habitat for Humanity RSO will have a ReStore truck available to pick up items outside of Julia Sears Residence Community from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; at McElroy Residence Community from 12-2 p.m.; and at Crawford Residence Community from 2-4 p.m..

Students may donate anything from mini-fridges to dressers to couches.

"We will be doing a check of everything donated to ensure that it is resale quality," wrote Erik Olson, president of the Habitat for Humanity RSO at Minnesota State Mankato. Items not of resale quality will not be picked up, according to Olson.

All items picked up will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Mankato (located at 1730 Bassett Drive). 

Sesquicentennial Events

University departments or units hosting a sesquicentennial event are asked to submit event information to the 150th committee so it can be included on the 150th events page. The same form may be used to request the 150th portable exhibit panels.

After events, departments are asked to consider submitting photos with captions to be included on the past events galleries page.

Gallery submissions may be sent to

More information is available on the sesquicentennial page:

Looking for Minnesota State Mankato Authors

The Minnesota State Mankato Authors Collection is a special collection within the library that highlights the intellectual heritage of the University and the contributions of Minnesota State University, Mankato’s faculty, staff, students and alumni to contemporary scholarship. Included in the collection are books, monographs, DVDs and scores that were authored, co-authored, compiled, edited/co-edited, translated or illustrated by Minnesota State Mankato faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Every two years, Library Services honors faculty and staff publications at the University's Authors Reception. The next Authors Reception will be held April 4 from 2-4 p.m. in the Marilyn J. Lass Center for Minnesota Studies, 2nd floor of the Memorial Library. This event will honor faculty authors who have written and/or edited books with publication dates between March 2016 and March 2018.

If you have published (authored and/or edited) books, scores, DVDs, etc., since March 2016, Library Services would like to hear from you. Please contact the University Archives at 507-389-1029 or to be added to the list of honorees. Additional information about the Authors Collection is available online.

Dec. 11: Chili Luncheon; 'Unions United' Collection

Faculty and staff are invited to join President Richard Davenport for the Annual Faculty and Staff Holiday Luncheon, featuring the president’s own chili recipe, specially prepared by University Dining Services on Monday, Dec. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

In addition, bargaining units on campus are collecting financial donations for ECHO Food Shelf to help the organization finance the purchase of its building. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the "Unions United" collection by making a financial donation to help the Unions United Food Drive.

Bargaining units are attempting to collectively raise $5,000 toward the building purchase. The traveling cutting board trophy will be awarded this year to the bargaining unit that has the highest percentage of its members donating to the fund at any amount.

Donations will be collected Monday, Nov. 20 through Friday, Dec. 8, with the winner announced at the president’s luncheon on Dec. 11. Employees may contact their bargaining unit to find out where to drop off or send donations. Forms will be available through each bargaining unit for individuals to fill out with their names and addresses so ECHO Food Shelf can send a form to use for income tax deduction purposes.

Sponsored by: AFSCME Council 5 Local 638, MAPE, IFO, ASF, MNA, MMA, MGEC and MSSA.

Student News

Sophomore football player Shane Zylstra, from Spicer, Minn., who plans to major in exercise science, was named a finalist on the Super Region 4 ballot for the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded annually to the player selected as the top performer in NCAA Division II. Zylstra, a wide receiver for the Mavericks, was among 34 student-athletes named to the regional ballots. Ten players were named to the national ballot Nov. 30.

Minnesota State Mankato alumnus Dwight Stoll, who graduated from Minnesota State Mankato in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in biology and then in 2001 earned a major in biochemistry from Minnesota State Mankato, was recently named to the Analytical Scientist’s power list as one of the top 10 separation scientists in the world. Stoll is currently a chemistry professor at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Faculty/Staff News

Lisa Vasquez, assistant professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, and Jean Clarke, Learning Community program coordinator, collaborated on a presentation titled “How Effective are We? Influences of Faculty Engagement on Student Retention and Program Connections” at the National Learning Community Conference on Nov. 11 in Chicago.

Torin Akey, associate director for Residential Life, has been elected vice president/president-elect for the Upper Midwest Region of ACUHO (Association of College and University Housing Officers). He will begin his role in 2018.

Brad Wobbrock, Residential Life repair staff member, was awarded the UMR-ACUHO Support Staff Recognition Award at the organization's annual conference in Omaha, Neb., in November. The award recognizes support staff on member campuses for their outstanding contributions to the student housing community.

Department News

The University’s Educational Technology program (a graduate program within the Department of Educational Studies: K12 & Secondary Programs in the College of Education) was recently ranked among the nation's best by various websites. Minnesota State Mankato's program was ranked 8th by BestEducationDegrees.comranked 11th by and ranked 15th by The program's coordinator is Assistant Professor Qijie (Vicky) Cai.

The Student Events Team upcoming schedule of events is available here.


Marietta "Liz" Cox, who was employed in Minnesota State Mankato's Registrars Office for 19 years, retiring in 1995, died Nov. 15. An obituary is available here.

Gordon Gavin, an emeritus faculty member, died June 5. He was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 27 years, retiring in 1994. Gavin was a professor and department chair of the Industrial & Technical Services Department. An obituary is available here.

Charles Petersen, an emeritus faculty member, died Nov. 21. He was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 25 years, retiring in 1988. Petersen was the University's head track and field coach from 1973 until his retirement. 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, Jan. 10. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Jan. 5).

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