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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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October 24, 2018 Campus Newsletter

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10th Anniversary of Julia Sears Residence Community

Students and residential life staff in Julia Sears Residence Community recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its opening by throwing a birthday celebration, complete with cake, balloons and streamers.

The celebration also served as a bookend to the “Sears Challenge,” an initiative by residential life staff to get students connected and involved in their community.

Students celebrated by eating pizza and cake, singing karaoke, wearing their tie-dyed commemorative t-shirts, playing volleyball, taking turns at a piñata and enjoying time with friends.

Flight Team 2nd at Regionals

The Minnesota State Mankato Maverick flight team recently earned second place at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) SAFECON Regional Competition in Salina, Kan., this week.

The second-place finish qualified the team to attend nationals in May.

Team members include Zach Crowe (captain), Alex Flykt (first officer), Blake Dalzell (treasurer), Tyler Anderson, Titus Bolles, Matt Cade, Allie Draper, Thomas McGovern, Jimmy Rutherford, Ashley Opina, Logan Engelby, Andrew Voit and Milo Rochester.

The team's advisor is Catherine Plasschaert.

Top 10 Awards presented at Regional Competition:

  • Aircraft Preflight - 4th place Matt Cade, 5th (tied) Blake Dalzell, 5th (tied) Zach Crowe
  • Aircraft Recognition - 7th Zach Crowe, 8th Titus Bolles
  • Computer Accuracy - 6th Matt Cade, 7th Alex Flykt, 9th Jimmy Rutherford
  • Ground Trainer - 6th Titus Bolles, 7th Zach Crowe
  • Message Drop - 4th Tyler Anderson( Dropmaster)/Blake Dalzell (Pilot), 5th Logan Engelby (DM)/Alex Flykt (Pilot), 6th Ashley Opina (DM)/Thoas McGovern (Pilot), 9th Andrew Voit (DM)/Allie Draper (Pilot)
  • Navigation - 6th Allie Draper (Pilot)/Milo Rochester (Safety Observer), 7th Alex Flykt (Pilot)/Blake Dalzell(SO)
  • Power Off Landings - 5th Titus Bolles, 6th Zach Crowe, 7th Matt Cade
  • Short Field Landings - 4th Thomas McGovern, 5th Milo Rochester, 9th Titus Bolles
  • Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN) - 6th Zach Crowe, 8th Milo Rochester

Combined Charities Campaign

The 2019 State of Minnesota Combined Charities Campaign runs through Oct. 31. Combined Charities offers state employees the opportunity to donate to over 1,400 charities.

Tax-deductible donations can be set up via payroll deductions in Self Service to a Federation of your choice.

Donations support vital health, education, environmental, arts and social service programs in the community. Donations do not carry over from year to year so payroll deductions must be re-established for those planning on donating again.

For more information, visit the Combined Charities website, or contact Nina Stupeck in Human Resources at 389-6942 with any questions.

Colloquium on Analytics, Data Science and Computing

More than 140 students, educators and industry professionals are registered to attend an Oct. 26-27 Colloquium on Analytics, Data Science and Computing at Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Edina location (7700 France Ave.).

Presentation topics at the event include big data applications; business management and strategy; emerging technology; data analytics; data ethics; data infrastructure and computing; data management; machine learning and artificial intelligence; and security.

The Oct. 26-27 colloquium, a first-of-its-kind event of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis) Professional Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence.

A full news release on the event is available here.

Higher Education Delegation to Sudan

Minnesota State Mankato’s Division of Global Education has been selected – through an Institute for International Education competitive proposal process – to be part of a historic U.S. higher education delegation to a joint university forum in Sudan from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1.

Jacy Fry and Hamdi Elnuzahi, director and assistant director, respectively, of the Kearney Center for International Student Services, will represent Minnesota State Mankato on the delegation to the forum – the first of its kind between Sudan and American universities, according to the Sudan Tribune.

The delegation will participate in partnership activities facilitated by the Institute for International Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Sudan, and the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. These activities include a higher education partnership workshop, cultural activities and site visits to Sudanese universities.

Minnesota State Mankato’s current student population includes more than 200 students from Arabic-speaking countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran and Iraq).

Sudanese students have studied at Minnesota State Mankato since the early 1980s. Elnuzahi is from Sudan, and he has served as the key contact for Minnesota State Mankato’s students from the Gulf region and other Arabic-speaking countries.

With Elnuzahi’s leadership, Minnesota State Mankato has created many unique cultural support systems for its students, resulting in very high levels of satisfaction and retention rates for students from the Gulf region and other Arabic-speaking countries.

Examples include an Arabic-speaking police officer in the city’s police force, designated prayer areas on campus, feet-washing stations and an annual prayer event that fills the ballroom at Centennial Student Union.

A full news release is available here.

Oct. 25: Songwriter Showcase

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music will host a performance featuring student songwriters Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of E.J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for the Performing Arts. The musicians are supervised by Michael Olson.

The showcase features the University’s best songwriters and producers in a “singers in the round” format. Six songwriters and producers will each perform two pieces in genres from rock to pop to hip hop. The student group includes Ana Ellis, Alec Maertens, Brandon Weideman, Selma Wedberg and Matt Ruff.

Olson is a composer, producer, and musician. Olson’s concert music has been performed throughout the world. His music, performance and production can also be heard on more than 20 albums spanning the genres of folk to pop, on numerous record labels. His music has been featured in films and television, including programs on MTV, VH1, E!, Spike, ABC, NBC, PBS and CBS.

General admission is $9 and $7 for students with a valid MavCard. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Oct. 27: Singer/Songwriter Erik Koskinen

Singer-songwriter Erik Koskinen performs with his band Saturday, Oct. 27 at Hooligans Neighborhood Pub, 1400 East Madison Avenue (Madison East Center), Mankato. Southern Minnesota favorite City Mouse will open the show with a set starting at 7:30 p.m.

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

The Erik Koskinen Band is currently touring in support of its latest CD release, “Cruising Paradise.” Koskinen recently was a featured artist with NoiseTrade’s Songsmith Social at the AmericanaFest in Nashville.

Since moving to Minneapolis 10 years ago, Koskinen has amassed a following as a musician, songwriter, producer and engineer. His songs speak to the experiences and encounters stemming from years of traveling north to south and coast-to-coast.

The supporting act, City Mouse, is a regional music group favorite. Their folk-rock blues styled music has been appreciated in the region for over 45 years. The group remains strong today as the current band lineup has enjoyed 30 plus years of performing together. 

Concert admission is $15 in advance, $18 day of show. Tickets are available at Hooligans or online at For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549.

Oct. 28-29: University Concert Choir

Minnesota State Mankato's choral groups will perform Sunday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

The concert choir and chamber singers are conducted by David Dickau, and the University Chorale is conducted by Aaron Humble.

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.

Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to

For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Oct. 29: 'Haunting Through the Decades!'

Minnesota State Mankato's Student Events Team will be hosting its ninth annual Haunted Takeover. The event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Students can get in free with their MavCard. Cost is $5 for the general public and students without a MavCard.

Haunted Takeover is a haunted house in the entire Centennial Student Union building. The rooms will be themes consisting of different decades of haunting to celebrate Minnesota State Mankato’s 150-year celebration. It is an event intended to get students in the “spooky spirit” for this time of year.

Different recognized student organizations participate in this event every year, with each organization providing their own themes in different areas of Centennial Student Union.

No open toed shoes are allowed at this event. All who wish to go through the Haunted Takeover must be 18 years or older and sign a waiver.

For more information on this event contact the Student Events Team Special Events Chair Miranda Magnuson by email at or by phone at 507-389-6076.

Oct. 31: Blue Zones Project®

Minnesota State Mankato is hosting a community transformation presentation in Ostrander Auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 9:30-11 a.m.

Blue Zones Project®, free and open to the public, is a community well-being initiative designed to unite worksites, grocery stores, restaurants, schools and residents toward one common goal: make healthy choices easier.

National speaker Nick Buettner will discuss how the project can help improve well-being for all individuals and organizations across Mankato and North Mankato.

More information is available here.

According to promotional information on the event's website, Blue Zones Project® uses a unique, systemic approach to improve well-being by focusing on our “life radius.” By optimizing the settings where we routinely spend our time -- such as worksites, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, faith-based communities and neighborhoods -- we make healthy choices easier and naturally adopt healthier behaviors together as a community. Blue Zones Project is based on principles identified during a ten-year worldwide longevity study commissioned by National Geographic and detailed in Dan Buettner's New York Times best-seller, “The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”

Nov. 1-11: 'The Happy Elf'

The next production of Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Theatre & Dance is Harry Connick Jr.’s “The Happy Elf.”

The musical follows Eubie, the happiest elf at the North Pole. More than anything else, Eubie longs to be a part of Santa’s sleigh team. Instead, he’s stuck checking the naughty-or-nice lists. Then, one Christmas Eve, he sees something strange: in the whole town of Bluesville, not a single person has been nice. With a pinch of elfish magic and a magical whoosh, Eubie’s off to Bluesville. But can he turn a whole town of naughty children nice in just one day?

“The Happy Elf” runs 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 8-10, and 2 p.m. Nov. 10-11 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.

The Box Office is open 4-6 p.m. weekdays in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center, or buy single tickets online at Call the Box Office at 507-389-6661. Contact Paul J. Hustoles at 507-389-2118, or for more information.

Nov. 3: Fall EngAGEment

A Program Planning class is holding an event, “Fall EngAGEment,” that is designed to improve meaningful engagement opportunities for people with Alzheimer’s – or other dementias – and their care partners.

Fall EngAGEment will have a speaker who will talk about the difficulties of Alzheimer’s during the holidays and how to be Alzheimer's-friendly during that time of the year.

The event will also include pie making and pumpkin painting, where participants can socialize.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Mankato.

The event will be hosted by the Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services; School of Nursing; and Department of Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services.

For more information, contact Kristen Anderson by email at

Nov. 5: Lewinski Lecture

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is holding its annual Lewinski Lecture on Monday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon in Centennial Student Union's Ostrander Auditorium.

This year's featured speaker for the free public event is Lois James, assistant professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing, who studies bias, stress, sleep, and performance in law enforcement and military personnel.

James' presentation is titled “Racial Bias in Law Enforcement, Fact or Fiction?”

In her three-hour presentation, James, one of the nation’s leading law enforcement researchers, will share what science has to say about the contentious subject of racial bias among police. Among the pressing questions she will approach are:

  • Are law enforcement officers influenced by racial bias but don’t know it?
  • Do they have it but successfully suppress it on the job?
  • Do they deliberately exploit it to skew justice in minority communities?
  • Or on the whole, are claims that police are racially biased completely unfounded?

In her presentation, which includes a question and answer period, James plans to offer “an objective overview of the research on racial bias in policing, from field studies to laboratory experiments.” She’ll examine six decades of experiments in an effort to draw valid conclusions on “whether and how officers are influenced by racial bias” and the implications from these findings for training and policy.

James, a research advisor to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is internationally recognized for her award-winning and ground-breaking work on how suspect race and ethnicity influence officer decision-making during critical encounters.

The Lewinski Lecture was named in honor of the professional accomplishments in law enforcement research by former Minnesota State Mankato faculty member William Lewinski, an emeritus professor of law enforcement, and his research partners.

For more information, please contact Carl Bock at

Nov. 5: Twin Cities Hot Club in Concert

Minnesota State Mankato's Department of Music presents the Twin Cities Hot Club on Monday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

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. They recreate not only the famous la pompe that distinguishes this romantic brand of acoustic jazz but also gypsy bossanova, musette, bolero, and swing. TCHC perform this timeless deep-rooted music that is physical, alive and speaks directly to the heart.

The group has been featured on KBEM Jazz 88.5fm, Minnesota Public Radio, and has received rave reviews in Vintage Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, the Twin Cities Jazz Society Newsletter and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Concert admission is $12; $11 for 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.

Nov. 7-8: Good Thunder Reading Series

Minnesota State Mankato will host poet Danez Smith Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 7-8 as the third of eight writers who will be on campus for this year’s Good Thunder Reading Series.

On Nov. 7, Smith 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.

On Nov. 8, Smith will hold a writing workshop from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery, located at 523 S. 2nd St. in Mankato and a reading from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the University’s Centennial Student Union, Room 245. Real-time captioning of the reading will be provided, and books will be available for purchase.

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

Smith, born in St. Paul, Minn., is the author of “Don’t Call Us Dead” (2017), a finalist for the National Book Award; “[insert] Boy” (2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; and the chapbook, “hands on ya knees” (Penmanship Books, 2013).

Nov. 13: Health for Heroes

Minnesota State Mankato's College of Allied Health and Nursing is honoring those who serve and those who have served America by making a variety of dental and health services available to veterans and active military members Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 1-8 p.m.

During the event, the dental hygiene clinic is offering reduced fees for dental hygiene services to veterans and active duty military members.

Dental services that will be offered include free dental exams, x-rays and fluoride for those who purchase a cleaning. Appointments are required and can be scheduled by calling 507-389-2147.

The Center for Communication Sciences and Disorders is offering free hearing screenings and free cognitive screenings for any individuals who are having difficulty paying attention, remembering information or who have any history of head injury. No appointment is necessary.

Student News

Geography graduate student Padam Pande has been accepted to the United Nations geographic information systems intern program. Beginning in late October, he will serve full-time for six months in the Geospatial Information Section, Division for Information and Telecommunications Technologies, Department of Field Support at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Pande is pursuing a professional science master’s in geographic information science offered by the Department of Geography. Pande is an international student from Nepal.

Faculty/Staff News

Gregory T. Wilkins, associate director for the Centennial Student Union & Student Activities, had 10 art pieces chosen for the “Small but Noteworthy” exhibition that runs through the end of October in Little Falls, Minn. All art is 9” x 9” or less. 

Amy Lauters, associate professor in the Department of Mass Media, was awarded the Joseph McKerns Research Grant from the American Journalism Historians Association.

Josh Winkler, assistant professor in the Department of Art, published work from his residency (and artwork) in Alaska online here.

Laura Jacobi, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies, and alumna Alyssa Harter recently [PDF] published an article (855 KiB) with Harter's thesis work in the Online Journal of New Horizons in Education.

Gwen Westerman, director of the Humanities Program, is part of the indigenous poetry playlist at Harvard's Peabody Museum. Westerman's track is the first on the playlist.

Aaron Humble, assistant professor in the Department of Music, performed in Virginia and Arizona during October. In November, he will be conducting a choral festival, “Big South Choral Festival,” in New Ulm, Minn., with about 400 high school students.

Art work of Areca Roe, assistant professor in the Department of Art, is featured in an Oct. 6-Dec. 30 exhibition at the Rochester (Minn.) Art Center.

David Viscoli, professor in the Department of Music, will play in the Sociedad Filarmónica de A Coruña Symphony Concert in Coruña, Spain, in November. 

Bobby Fleischman has been appointed associate vice president for strategic partnerships, anchored in the Division of Academic Affairs and reporting to the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

Marilyn Wells, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, will be recognized with the Minnesota State system's [PDF] Outstanding Academic and Student Affairs Administrator Award (13 KiB) at the system office's Oct. 24 Academic and Student Affairs Fall Leadership Conference. Award winners in seven categories will be recognized at the conference.

Department News

The Intensive English Program will be recognized with the Minnesota State system's [PDF] Innovation in Global Education Award (14 KiB) at the system office's Oct. 24 Academic and Student Affairs Fall Leadership Conference. Award winners in seven categories will be recognized at the conference.

Minnesota State Mankato was recently profiled in International Student Voice Magazine.

Minnesota State Mankato is ranked No. 26 nationally (and is the only Minnesota school listed) in a recent USA Today ranking of the top 100 institutions by applications over the past five years.

The Department of Residential Life placed second in the Interactive Marketing category of the Association of College and University Housing Officers - International's 2018 Marketing Awards Winners.

The next art exhibition in the Department of Art's 2018-2019 Conkling Gallery Schedule (139 Nelson Hall) is a student exhibition from Oct. 23-Nov. 6 that is titled “Installation Hotdish.” It is an intermediate and advanced installation. A gallery reception will be held Monday, Oct. 29 from 7-9 p.m. It is supervised by Shelley Caldwell. Call 507-389-6412 for more information.

A Twin Cities PBS documentary titled “Ready for the Future: Career Preparation in Rural Communities” recently aired on PBS. The documentary featured HealthForce Minnesota, the Minnesota State Center of Excellence that includes education, industry and community. The documentary included footage on the annual Scrubs Camp held each summer at different Minnesota locations, including Minnesota State Mankato. The documentary is just under 27 minutes in length and is available on YouTube. The segment on Scrubs camps begins about 18:45 into the video.

Library Services published its October 2018 newsletter.

A fall sociology course, Animals & Society, is holding a movie series on select Thursdays this fall to learn more about the relationship between humans and other animals. The films, shown at 5 p.m. in Armstrong Hall 101, are free and open to the public. Remaining dates and film titles are Nov. 1, when "Maximum Tolerated Dose" (documentary) will be shown; and Nov. 29, when "Love & Bananas" (documentary) will be shown. After each film, there will be a class discussion and/or presenter.

The Oct. 12, 2018, 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.

Thank you

To the Campus Community,

Thank you for supporting me and my family during my recent medical treatment. Your gifts of vacation donation, money, delicious food, treats and visits during my stay in Rochester and afterward at home were greatly appreciated. It was incredibly humbling to know a simple e-mail could mobilize the measure of kindness you demonstrated. Having that level of support allowed me to focus on healing and know my family would be taken care of.

Again, thank you so much!

Terry Lewis ‘88
Physical Plant Director

Online TODAY Magazine

Visit the online TODAY magazine at for alumni news 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 to 95,000 alumni and friends.

TODAY welcomes story ideas supporting this mission. Contact Sara Frederick at 507-389-6981 or to share ideas.


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, Nov. 7. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Nov. 2).

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