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.


January 29, 2020 Campus Newsletter

Page address:

Maverick All-Sports Dome Ribbon Cutting

Minnesota State University, Mankato held a ceremonial “ribbon-cutting” ceremony for its $5.49 million Maverick All-Sports Dome, located at 1910 Monks Ave. (south of the intersection of Monks Avenue and Stadium Road), on Thursday, Jan. 16.

Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Richard Davenport, Minnesota State Mankato's president; Kevin Buisman, Minnesota State Mankato’s director of athletics; Anisa Omar, the University’s president of Student Government; Todd Pfingsten, the University’s director of campus recreation; and Brandon Scheel, who represented the SCHEELS All-Sports Foundation

The Maverick All-Sports Dome is a 109,850-square-foot, air-inflated multipurpose facility. It provides space for University academic classes, Campus Recreation programs (clubs, intramurals and free play), Intercollegiate Athletics, the Maverick Machine band and other campus clubs and organizations. The facility is available for rent to local youth and adult sports organizations, area school districts and other colleges.

The SCHEELS All-Sports Foundation provided a $500,000 gift (to be paid over five years) that will help offset the facility’s annual operating costs. In exchange, the name of the facility’s synthetic turf field space is “SCHEELS Field at the Maverick All-Sports Dome.”

Encourage Students to Apply for Scholarships Feb. 1-29

Minnesota State Mankato students are encouraged to apply for scholarships starting Feb. 1 on Scholarship Finder.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to make students aware of Scholarship Finder.

Scholarship Finder offers easy, one-stop access to all of the University’s scholarships. Students can find and apply for scholarships based on their major, interests, background, academics, personal circumstances, financial circumstances and more.

Once students sign in, they complete a general application; the site then gives them customized recommendations that match their records. Key word searches assist students in finding scholarships that are unique to them.

Most opportunities are open between Feb. 1 and Feb. 29, but students should check back periodically.

Breakfast Networking Series in Edina

Minnesota State University, Mankato at Edina has started a Breakfast Networking Series in Edina at 7700 France Ave.

The Breakfast Networking Series is intended to help individuals expand their networks, gain new insights and develop innovative strategies to drive results. It is aimed at emergency leaders, current leaders looking to grow and learn, young professionals and those who love to learn new things.

Breakfasts will begin at 7:30 a.m., with keynote addresses at 8 a.m. and conclusions and Q&A sessions at 9 a.m.

Industry professionals presenting and subjects include:

  • Feb. 20: Peter Bailey, president of the Prouty Project, on “The Heroic Journey”
  • March 19: Maureen O’Malley Rehfuss, president & CEO of CPI Twin Cities, accompanied by Tamara Tasche, vice president of executive transition services of CPI Twin Cities, on the subject “Build an Impactful Personal & Digital Brand”
  • April 16: Dan Neitz, facilitator and coach with COR, on “The Biggest Gap in Leadership Hides in Plain Sight”
  • May 14: Brent Bidjou, Esq, CIPP/US, CIPM, PLS, discussing “Global Privacy Law and Cybersecurity Update 2020 - an introductory overview”
  • June 11: Tracy Eberly, president & CEO of Fang Consulting, regarding “Medical Device Regulations Update”

Jan. 28-30: Good Thunder Reading Series features Peter Geye

Minnesota State Mankato will host author Peter Geye (pictured) from Jan. 28-30 as the fifth writer who will be on campus for this year’s Good Thunder Reading Series.

Geye, this year’s Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer, will hold a workshop Tuesday, Jan. 28 and Thursday, Jan. 30 from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery, located at 523 S. 2nd St. in Mankato.

On Thursday, Jan. 30, Geye will hold a “Talk on Craft” from 3-4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s Ostrander Auditorium. Geye will also read from his work from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the University’s Centennial Student Union, Room 245.

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

Geye holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University, where he was the editor of Third Coast magazine. He is the award-winning author of a four-book saga about the Eide family: “Northernmost,” due in February 2020; “Wintering,” which won the 2017 Minnesota Book Award for Novel and Short Story; “Safe from the Sea” and “The Lighthouse Road.” Geye lives in his hometown of Minneapolis.

For more information contact Candace Black at 507-389-2680 or visit

Jan. 29: ‘The Opioid Fix’ Viewing & Discussion

Attendees will explore the education, prevention and solutions surrounding the opioid crisis at the upcoming showing of “The Opioid Fix,” a documentary co-produced by TPT-Twin Cities PBS and Mayo Clinic.

During this event, a panel discussion featuring experts from our the Mankato community will address the specific needs, experiences and local efforts regarding this national epidemic.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. CEU credits will be available. To register, visit

The moderator of the panel discussion is Kristine Retherford, dean of Minnesota State Mankato's College of Allied Health and Nursing. Thad Shunkwiler, assistant professor at Minnesota State Mankato, is one of the panelists.

Jan. 13-31: Kevin Snipes Art Exhibition

Artist Kevin Snipes’ work will be on display in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Conkling Gallery (located in Nelson Hall 139) from Monday, Jan. 13 through Friday, Jan. 31.

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.

Snipes will deliver an artist’s lecture Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, with a gallery reception immediately following the lecture.

Snipes will be in residence Jan. 27-28 in the Nelson Hall ceramics studios as part of the Art Enrichment and Andreas Endowment Lecture and Residency Series.

Artist information provided by Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Art:

“Kevin Snipes’ constructions are at once playful, but suggest apprehensive narratives on the concept of otherness. In his porcelain vessels, Snipes draws references from pop culture as well as an array of historical influences. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. He has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the Pittsburgh Foundation and Creative Capital. Snipes is currently a visiting artist at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.”

For more information, call the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Art at 507-389-6412. The complete 2019-2020 Conkling Gallery Schedule, list of artist residencies and lecture series is located here.

Jan. 30-Feb. 9: ‘A Doll House’

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Theatre & Dance will open “A Doll House” in the Andreas Theatre at the Early Center for Performing Arts on Jan. 30.

This play will be the first from director Matthew Caron in his role as a permanent faculty member. Caron is the managing director in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and he’s familiar with the department as he completed his MFA in directing in 2015 and served as an interim faculty member in the department for one year.

Henrik Ibsen’s epochal drama of marriage and the individual portrays a controlling husband, Torvald Helmer, and his wife, Nora, a submissive young woman who, when their idealized homelife collapses, comes to the realization that she must finally close the door on her husband, children and life in a doll's house in order to find and live as her true self.

This mainstage production features work from two student designers. Senior Natasha Singh is the sound designer, and MFA candidate Jared Shofstall is the scene designer.

“A Doll House” runs Jan. 30-Feb. 1 and Feb. 5-8 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 2, 8 and 9 at 2 p.m. in the Andreas Theatre at the Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato.

Tickets are $16 regular, $14 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $11 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.

Jan. 31: ‘A Review of Behavioral Healthcare Ethics’

Health science faculty Thad Shunkwiler, and Jennifer Londgren invite the campus community to attend “A Review of Behavioral Healthcare Ethics” on Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in CSU 245.

The training has been approved for ethics specific continuing education credits by the Boards of Nursing, Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Behavioral Health. Registration for the training can be found at this link.

Feb. 3: Red Cross Blood Drive

The Upward Bound program is sponsoring a Red Cross Blood Drive.

It will be held Monday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union North Ballroom.

Appointments can be made by calling 389-1211 or by going online and entering sponsor code MSUUPWARD.

Walk-ins are always welcome.

Feb. 3: Cold/Živanović Duo

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Music will present the Cold/Živanović Duo performing a classical recital at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3 in Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

The Cold/Živanović Duo was formed in 2018 by Benjamin Cold (pictured), saxophone, and Filip Živanović, classical guitar, both D.M.A. alums from the University of Minnesota. Since its formation, the CZ Duo has performed as guest artists at various universities throughout the United States. In November 2018, they performed as guest artists at the International Contemporary Music Festival in Havana, Cuba.

Cold and Živanović are both strong supporters of new and contemporary music written by living composers. As such, they have worked with a variety of both young and established composers on commission projects, expanding the repertoire available for this unique chamber instrumentation.

Concert admission is $9 for general admission and $7 for K-12 students and children. University students are admitted free with a valid MavCARD. 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.

Feb. 6: ‘Give Kids a Smile’

Concerned about the growing number of children who are unable to access needed dental care, the Minnesota State Mankato Dental Education Department will join a statewide effort provide free dental care to children from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

The dental care will be provided in the university dental clinic, which is located in the Clinical Sciences Building on campus. People interested in scheduling an appointment should call the dental clinic at 507-389-2147.

Patients seeking appointments for cleanings, x-rays, exams and sealants should be under the age of 18 and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Feb. 9: Roe Family Singers

The Minnesota State Mankato Performance Series presents the Roe Family Singers, appearing on stage Sunday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Pinecastle Records recording artists, the Roe Family Singers are a good-time, old-time hillbilly band from the tiny community of Kirkwood Hollow, Minnesota. The band marries old-time sounds from barn-dances, fiddle pulls and gospel tunes into a rollicking river of fresh yet familiar Americana music.

Featuring banjo, autoharp, guitar and Appalachian clogging; the band has shared the stage with Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Mike Seeger, Del McCoury, the Grascals and Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur. In 2011, the band was awarded the prestigious McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. In 2012, they won the Minnesota Duet Contest at the Minnesota State Fair and in 2016 won the title of Entertainers of the Year from BMAI.

General admission for the concert is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Minnesota State Mankato students will be admitted free with a valid MavCARD. Performance Series ticket packages are available for those who pre-purchase.

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

Feb. 11: Dusty Heart

The Minnesota State Mankato Department of Music's Performance Series presents Dusty Heart, featuring Molly Dean and Barbara Jean, appearing on stage Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Molly Dean and Barbara Jean met as musicians often do, being in the same venue at the same time, and they not only became friends but found that their voices blended beautifully. They also share common friendships within the Minnesota music scene, and they soon found enough support to start playing out as Dusty Heart.

The two songwriters are recognized in their own right for their poetic lyrics and distinct vocal styles. With Dusty Heart, the two women create a powerful and haunting sound that takes on a life of its own.

General admission for the concert is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Minnesota State Mankato students will be admitted free with a valid MavCARD. Performance Series ticket packages are available for those who pre-purchase. For more information visit or call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

Faculty/Staff News

Basak Bektas, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, attended the Transportation Research Board 99th Annual Meeting, which was held from Jan. 12-16 in Washington, D.C. Bektas moderated the TRB Bridge Management Committee annual meeting as chair and gave a presentation on “InfoBridge™ in Research and Education” during the FHWA Long-Term Bridge Performance Program session.

Mary Kramer, assistant professor in the Department of Health Science, was featured in an American Cancer Society Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative “Spotlight.”  The “Spotlight” was created by the grant funders who provided the grant received from the American Cancer Society to assemble a task force to investigate improving the University's campus tobacco-free campus policy. The “Spotlight” is circulated to hundreds of universities across the nation that are working on the same initiative.

Chris Brown, a faculty member and chair of the Department of Communication Studies, was recently appointed acting dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

Enrique Torner, a professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, was published in a variety of scholarly publications during his 2018-2019 sabbatical. In addition, he became certified as an ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Language (AAPPL) in 2019 and was honored by the “Asociación amigos de Mintz” for his contributions to the translation of Jerome Mintz’s works with a permanent infographic at the Museo Jerome Mintz in Benalup, Cádiz (Spain) in 2019. More information is available on Torner's faculty page.

Ishuan Li, associate professor of economics and a member of the Faculty of Color Caucus (Mankato), was named president-elect of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics. ODE is one of the world's largest academic honor societies. The objectives of Omicron Delta Epsilon are recognition of scholastic attainment and the honoring of outstanding achievements in economics; the establishment of closer ties between students and faculty in economics within colleges and universities, and among colleges and universities; the publication of its official journal, The American Economist; and sponsoring of panels at professional meetings as well as the Irving Fisher and Frank W. Taussig competitions.

Margo Wallace Druschel, an academic advisor in University Advising, was recently featured in a KEYC TV story as one of the YWCA's 2020 Women of Distinction. An event will be held to recognize the honorees on Thursday, April 2.

Faculty members Mika Laidlaw and Todd Shanafelt (Department of Art) and Richard Robbins (Department of English), along with adjunct faculty member Colin Scharf (Department of English) and alumni Shelley Caldwell and Reed White, are among the exhibiting artists at the [PDF] 10th annual Prairie Lakes Artists Grantee Exhibit (2 MiB), held at the Waseca Art Center. The exhibit opened Jan. 7 and runs through Feb. 6.

Liz Miller, faculty member in the Department of Art, was one of two recipients who will be receiving $25,000 for the 2020 McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists.

The Minnesota State Arts Board announced its FY 2020 Artist Initiative grantees, and Department of Art faculty members Liz Miller and Mika Laidlaw and Department of English faculty member Diana Joseph received $10,000 grants.

Gwen Westerman, professor in the Department of English, has art currently displayed in three separate exhibitions. Westerman's work is on display at the Minnesota History Center, All My Relations Arts and Artistry MN.

Department News

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is holding a diaper drive Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Maverick women's hockey game vs. Lindenwood, which starts at 3:07 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center. All items donated will go to the Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA). Those who are not able to attend the game may drop off diaper donations in the athletic department offices.

The Center for Education Abroad and Away is having a fair Tuesday, Feb 4 at the Mav Ave from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

RASP Spotlight: The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has published its list of faculty and staff who made external funding submissions and received awards during the months of November and December 2019. More information is available on the RASP website.

The Career Development Center announced that the “Engineering Career & Internship Fair” sponsored by IEEE will take place in the Minnesota State Mankato Centennial Student Union ballroom Feb. 13 from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Professors, advisors and staff are asked to encourage students to attend. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to attend to see how much employers appreciate the preparation that Minnesota State Mankato provides for its students. There are no pre-registration or attendance fees required for students. Attendees should wear professional attire and scan in for their name badge. Impromptu interviews may take place.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is holding events Feb. 8 and Feb. 12 in New Ulm. A “Consulting Cafe” event is on Feb. 8, and a business succession discussion is on Feb. 12. More information is available here.

The Centennial Student Union recently announced that the largest single-environment Sony laser installation within the U.S. can now be experienced within the CSU Ballroom.

The Centennial Student Union recently published a blog story about the University hosting its first day-long series of TED Talks on April 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom. The event will spotlight topics presented by students, faculty and staff. According to the CSU blog post, online tickets are expected to go on sale in early February.

Information on the Centennial Student Union Serendipity Music Series is available here.

The Jan. 24, 2020 edition of the Community Engagement newsletter is now available. An email subscription sign-up link is available here.

IT Solutions announced that faculty and staff now have free access to Poll Everywhere, which allows users to create interactive polls, embed polls into presentations and collect live responses with real-time results.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) summer schedule: The Minnesota State Mankato IRB only functions on a part-time basis in summer, so reviews will be delayed from the normal review schedule. The following schedule will be observed. Remember that submissions are not sent for review until the Principal Investigator (who must be a faculty member) has signed the submission. Please be aware that the review schedule is not a promise that approval will be in place.

Tidbits from the Institutional Review Board (IRB): Contact or call 507-389-5102 with IRB-related questions. IRB has posted useful information at this link.

Starting in Fall 2020, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Minnesota State University, Mankato will require all researchers to complete some training before IRB will review submissions. More information regarding the trainings is available here.

For the latest news on Maverick Athletics, visit


Betty Ann Palmer-Goff, an emerita faculty member who was employed at Minnesota State Mankato for 32 years, died Jan. 1. Palmer-Goff taught in the art department.

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 Joe Tougas at 507-389-1369 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, Feb. 12. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Feb. 7).

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