shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Campus Community: click here for COVID-19 news and updates.


May 8, 2019 Campus Newsletter

Page address:

Spring 2019 Commencement


Approximately 1,700 students will participate in three spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 11 in Taylor Center’s Bresnan Arena.

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

The University is awarding 2,304 degrees at the end of the spring 2019 semester.

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

Speech & Debate Team Excels

The Minnesota State Mankato speech & debate team capped off its season by traveling to Philadelphia to represent the state of Minnesota at the historic Interstate Oratory Contest from April 27-28.

The Interstate Oratory Contest is the oldest public speaking competition in the country, celebrating excellence in persuasive speaking since 1874. Every state is able to send only two representatives, and Minnesota delegates are chosen at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensic Association’s state tournament in February. This year, Minnesota State Mankato sophomore Kassidy Tocco earned the privilege of representing Minnesota at the Interstate Oratory Contest, where she advanced to semifinal rounds, becoming one of the top 12 oratory speakers in the country.

In her semifinal round, Tocco advocated for stronger educational accommodations for neurodiverse students who are under-served by traditional educational practices.

Prior to that, Minnesota State Mankato's speech & debate team finished eighth at the National Forensics Association national tournament hosted by the Santa Ana Unified School District in Santa Ana, California, held from April 18-22.

The team earned the following individual honors:

  • After Dinner Speaking: Kaylee Matuszak, national octafinalist
  • Persuasion: Kassidy Tocco, national octafinalist
  • Program Oral Interp: Kaylee Matuszak, national octafinalist

Athletic Training Scholarships

Minnesota State Mankato students and faculty received a number of honors at the April 12-13 Minnesota Athletic Trainers Association 2019 Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposium, which was held in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Among the honorees, four second-year master of science in athletic training (MSAT) students (Brandi BluArm, Nicholle Fennell, Colton Laymon, and Michelle VanTassel) had posters accepted for presentation at the event.

Two first-year MSAT students, Brittany Hesse and Elizabeth Zook (pictured), were each awarded a MATA professional scholarship

Alumnus Troy Hoehn was awarded the MATA Athletic Trainer Service award for his outstanding work on behalf of the profession.

The current MATA president is current faculty member and program alumna Theresa Mackey, while her immediate predecessors as MATA president were program alumna Amy Hamilton and alumnus Troy Hoehn. The current president-elect is program aluma Lisa Schniepp.

According to its website, the Minnesota Athletic Trainers’ Association is a professional membership association for athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession in Minnesota.

Construction Management Competition

Minnesota State Mankato construction management students took first place in the pursuit competition sponsored by Ryan Companies during the Minnesota Construction Association and Construct*ium sixth annual Leadership Training Academy, held April 23 at the Graduate Hotel in Minneapolis.

Minnesota State Mankato's student team included Matthew Clark, Matthew Dreshar, Matthew Stangel, Marcus Lambert and Ryne Alger. Minnesota State Mankato's faculty coach was Mohamed Diab.

During the event, professionals from many architecture, engineering and construction companies attended leadership sessions with faculty and students. Student teams from the best nine construction management schools in the Midwest Region competed in different professional competitions in addition to making bid proposal presentations for an actual project.

More information is available at the competition website.

Basic Life Support Course

A Basic Life Support course is being offered monthly on various dates from now through August through the College of Allied Health and Nursing and Continuing & Professional Education.

There are 12 slots in each course, which is is offered in both Mankato (at the University's Clinical Science Building) and in Edina (at 7700 France Ave., Suite 360).

Upcoming Mankato sessions are from 12-4:30 p.m. on May 15, June 12, July 10 and Aug. 7.

Upcoming Edina sessions are from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 17, June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9.

Although the course is focused for those who provide care to others, anyone can take the course.

Click here to register for the "BLS for Healthcare Providers with Family Module." For more information, contact Tiffany Gordon at 507-389-1031 or by email at

May 13: Employee Appreciation Breakfast

All Minnesota State Mankato employees are invited to attend Employee Appreciation Breakfast Monday, May 7 between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at the University Dining Center.

The program is scheduled to start at 8:45 a.m.

The breakfast buffet includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit, coffee & orange juice.

Offices may be closed for the period of time all staff members are at the event.

May 13-19: National Bike-to-Work Week

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 "bike-to-work week" from May 13-19, which includes May 19 "bike-to-work day."

Minnesota State Mankato now has 85+ bike racks across campus and four bicycle pump and repair stations. The Greater Mankato area has been adding bike lanes near campus and across town, and more are on the way. Minnesota State Mankato was awarded the "Bronze Bicycle Friendly University" status in the fall of 2017.

More information on Minnesota State Mankato's bicycle resources is available on the University's bicycling Web page.

May 21: Annual Flower Planting & Campus Beautification

Facilities Management has announced that the University's 19th annual spring planting and campus beautification day will be Tuesday, May 21 at 11:30 a.m. (Monday, May 20 is the weather back-up date if rain is predicted for Tuesday, May 21.)

Facilities Management is looking for volunteers to sign up by Friday, May 10. For information on how to sign up, please contact Becky Gahler, office administrator in Facilities Management, by phone at 389-2267 or by email at

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to check in by Performing Arts for tools, planting instructions and a “build-your-own sandwich” lunch that includes chips, cookie and beverage. The event will kick off around 12 p.m. when volunteer teams arrive at their assigned area for planting, cleanup, raking, etc.

The enthusiastic response and teamwork seen on previous campus beautification days has greatly contributed to making the Minnesota State Mankato campus the lovely place that it is.

June 13: Night at the MoonDogs

Minnesota State Mankato's Student Activities and the University's Centennial Student Union are hosting a "Night at the Mankato MoonDogs" baseball game for Minnesota State Mankato staff and students Thursday, June 13 at Franklin Rogers Park (located at 601 Reed Street in Mankato).

Game time for the June 13 MoonDogs game vs. Eau Claire is 7:05 p.m.

Minnesota State Mankato staff and students can purchase a discounted ticket package for $10 with a valid MAVCard. Admission includes a reserved seat ticket, MoonDogs baseball hat and a meal deal consisting of a hotdog, chips and pop. The package value is more than $30.

Tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Staff and students are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance online at or in person at the Student Activities office, located in Centennial Student Union, Room 173. Limited tickets may be available the day of the game at the MoonDogs ticket office.

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

The Mankato MoonDogs have been the winningest team in the Northwoods League over the past 11 years. Since 2010, they have reached the Summer Collegiate World Series three times, and they will look to capture the city’s first championship in 2019.

Student News

The Minnesota Surveyors and Engineers Society recently announced its scholarship award winners for the 2019-2020 academic year and three Minnesota State Mankato students – Matthew Bitter, Mary Kloos and Solan Wakgari – were among the 21 recipients. Established in 1895, the Minnesota Surveyors and Engineers Society is a non-profit, professional organization dedicated to investing in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure professionals. The organization's scholarship program is one of many ways the Minnesota Surveyors and Engineers Society continues to attract and build tomorrow’s transportation infrastructure industry leaders.

Student Government recently held its annual election. Anisa Omar was elected president, and Andrew Trenne was elected vice president. The student senate 2019-2020 roster is available here. More information is available on the student government Web page.

Faculty/Staff News

Nanette Johnson-Curiskis (pictured at right), an emeritus professor of the Department of Speech Communication, who also earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Minnesota State Mankato, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual International Listening Association convention in Vancouver, British Columbia in March. Johnson-Curiskis is only the fifth recipient of the award in 40 years. She is a founding and life member of the International Listening Association.

Thad Shunkwiler, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Science, was interviewed on a recent KEYC TV midday segment about opioid overdoses that have occurred locally and how fentanyl plays a role.

Leah White, professor in the Department of Communication Studies and director of the Honors Program, was awarded the 2019 National Forensic Association Eddie Myers Distinguished Service Award at this year's National Forensic Association National Championship Tournament. The award recognizes service to the organization of nearly 20 years, during which White served several terms as the vice president of professional relations and is currently the outgoing vice president of tournament administration. White has also published several articles about forensic pedagogy in the organization's journal. White became only the seventh individual to receive the Eddie Myers Distinguished Service Award and the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament Distinguished Service Award, which she received in 2010.

Rajeev Bukralia, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Information Science, has been re-elected as vice-chair of the Twin Cities Professional Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. The Association for Computing Machinery is one of the largest and most reputed academic organizations for computer science education and research. The chapter organized and held its first Colloquium on Analytics, Data Science, and Computing at Minnesota State Mankato's Edina location in October and will hold the second event Oct. 25-26. The chapter is also organizing the Colloquium on Information Assurance, Cybersecurity, and Computing, to be held May 23-24 at the University of Minnesota.

Minnesota State Mankato’s 2019 Distinguished Faculty Scholars are Andrew Johnson, Julie Kerr-Berry and Andrew Roberts. Distinguished Faculty Scholars are tenured professors whose body of scholarship and current level of scholarly activity warrant distinction within the university community. The Center for Excellence in Scholarship and Research and the Faculty Research Committee select up to three Distinguished Faculty Scholars annually. Once named a Distinguished Faculty Scholar, recipients maintain the distinction for the remainder of their tenure at Minnesota State Mankato. Distinguished Faculty Scholars are recognized on the University website and at the annual celebration of excellence dinner. The awards were announced in March by Daniel Houlihan, director of the Center for Excellence in Scholarship and Research, on behalf of the Faculty Research Committee.

Department News

The Employee Wellness Committee published its [PDF] May 2019 newsletter (523 KiB).

Human Resources published its [PDF] May 2019 newsletter (523 KiB).

Library Services published its April/May 2019 newsletter.

The Honors Program published the [PDF] spring 2019 newsletter, the Honors Beacon (8 MiB).

The Department of Mass Media posted a video of an alumni panel discussion held April 16 as part of the department's annual media day events.

Facilities Management reported that Minnesota State Mankato’s energy savings and sustainability project is one of seven recipients of the 2019 Environmental Initiative Awards, which were awarded by the Environment Initiative – a Minnesota nonprofit environmental collaborative solutions group. The University was honored in the “Large Employer Sustainability” category. The University was recognized for designing and implementing a sustainability plan to reduce the carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency across campus. This was achieved through a series of projects, including lighting retrofits and replacement of boiler controls. Award recipients will be recognized at a May 22 award celebration event. Read more.

The Institutional Review Board requires faculty, staff and students to provide proof of training before IRB will review submissions.

For the latest news on Maverick Athletics, visit

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, June 12. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (June 7).

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