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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Latest information about COVID-19 and the campus community


September 15, 2021 Campus Newsletter

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Gwen Westerman is Minnesota's Poet Laureate

Minnesota State Mankato English professor Gwen Westerman has been named Minnesota’s Poet Laureate by Gov. Tim Walz.

Westerman is the first Native American to serve as poet laureate. At Minnesota State she has been teaching literature and technical writing following a seven-year job in corporate communications.

Her publications include the history book "Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota," a book she co-authored with Bruce White and which won two Minnesota Book Awards and an AASLH Leadership in History Award. That 2012 book chronicles the Dakota people in Minnesota stretching back hundreds of years prior to the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War.

Her poetry collection, "Follow the Blackbirds," published in 2012 by the Michigan State University Press, is written in English and Dakota, one of her heritage languages. Her poems and essays have been published in POETRY, Yellow Medicine Review, Water-Stone Review, Natural Bridge, and at

A world of thanks to the Maverick family

   It was a record-setting fundraising year for the Minnesota State Mankato Foundation, thanks to efforts by faculty, staff and administrators at Minnesota State Mankato who helped identify student and University needs and provided solutions.

Some highlights of this teamwork can be found in the [PDF] Foundation’s 2021 Annual Impact Report (10 MiB), which includes success stories that your dedication made possible. University Advancement and the Minnesota State Mankato Foundation thank all faculty, staff and administrators who made a financial contribution toward these great accomplishments in FY21. We look forward to continuing and growing our partnership with you for an even better 2021-22 academic year. 

Koskinen, Maher kick off Performance Series Sept. 21

Americana and alt-country singer/songwriters Erik Koskinen and Molly Maher will perform at the University Tuesday Sept. 21 in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall.

Both performers have been hailed as stellar in their areas¬—Koskinen as a country player with a new style and old-school reverence to form and Maher as a soulful Americana performer akin to Lucinda Williams and Bonnie Raitt. The two have been performing together and in their own projects for years, and are returning to the University’s Music Performance Series.

General admission to the concert is $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 507-389-5549.

Andreas' 'I Am a Camera' opens Sept. 15

The play “I Am a Camera,” running tonight (Sept. 15) through Sept. 18, opens the Dept. of Theatre and Dance’s studio season in the Andreas Theatre.

Adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories, and the basis for the musical “Cabaret,” the play is a snapshot of a struggling young writer’s life as he experiences the events occurring around him in 1930s Berlin and foreshadows the looming catastrophe of the Nazi era.

Following CDC recommendations and University policy, all patrons are required to wear a face covering. Students have the option to perform masked or unmasked and all unmasked performers will be following the University COVID safety guidelines. Tickets are available online at or over the phone at 507-389-666


IT Solutions offering tech and security tips 

IT Solutions is reminding the University community that it can help with tech trouble in a number of areas including software downloads, StarID issues, device set-up and more. Its web site can be accessed here. The online chat function Ask Stomper can be accessed here. Phone IT Solutions at 507-389-6654 or email at For that person-to-person experience, the IT Solutions Centers are in the Centennial Student Union 13 lower level and Wissink Hall 121.

IT Solutions is also encouraging taking steps toward cybersecurity by remembering the “Four Ps (phishing, passwords, patching and protecting) and visiting the cybersecurity site.
For more tips, follow IT Solutions on Twitter and Facebook.

Good Thunder season starts with Jaquira Diaz Sept. 16

“Ordinary Girls” author Jaquira Diaz (left) will be on campus for a reading and a craft talk Thursday, Sept. 16 as the Good Thunder Reading Series enters another year of bringing renowned authors to the University and the greater Mankato community.

Diaz’s “Ordinary Girls: A Memoir” is the winner of several awards, including The Whiting Award, Florida Book Awards and it was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. The Whiting judges wrote of the book: “Devastating memoir is built on the helical structure of memory itself ... packed with indelible images of violence and tenderness that evoke landscapes and neighborhoods, families and strangers, drink and drugs and junk food and beach sand and the bodies of lovers and friends.”

Diaz will give a reading at 7:30 p.m. in CSU room 245. Earlier in the day, she will give a craft talk at 3 p.m. in CSU 245. At 10 a.m., Diaz will lead a writer’s workshop at the Emy Frentz Arts Guild, 424 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato.

For more information on this year’s Good Thunder events, visit its website here.

Library display commemorates Constitution Day 

The University has a special display of books and government records in Memorial Library as part of its annual observance of Constitution Day, Sept. 17. The display is in the Memorial Library’s government documents section, which is housed on the first floor near the Library Commons area.

Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is traditionally observed on Sept. 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia.
More on Constitution Day events at Minnesota State Mankato is available here

Department News

The Geography Department has finalized the lineup of its Geography Colloquium for Fall 2021, with the next talk taking place Sept. 17. It’s titled “Making Sense of Change in Alpine Landscapes” and presented by Lynn M. Resler, professor of geography at Virginia Tech.

The colloquium will take place online from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Fridays in the fall via Zoom, the link to which is here. The geography colloquium is the university’s longest-running speaker series.

The season’s full schedule can be found here

Concert series features performers near and far

The Department of Music & Entertainment Industries has announced its fall schedule of concerts including those in the Performance Series.

The Performance Series professional artist series offers a wide range of music featuring regional, national, and internationally recognized artists. Visiting artists also provide master classes, clinics and workshops benefitting the university student community and Mankato area residents. Fall semester artist and concerts highlights.

• Tuesday, Sept. 21: Erik Koskinen and Molly Maher
• Monday, October 4: A Love Electric.
• Tuesday, Oct. 12: David Huckfelt with Jeremy Ylvisasker and JT Bates.
• Saturday, Oct. 23: Erik Koskinen Band and City Mouse (performance at Hooligans.)
• Tuesday, Oct. 26: Good Morning Bedlam.
• Friday, Oct. 29: Caravan du Nord Showcase featuring Twins of Franklin, Freaque, and Mayda.
• Saturday, Nov. 13: The Jimmys (performance at Hooligans) with Bad Liquor Management.
• Sunday, Nov. 14: Charlie Parr.

In addition to Performance Series concerts, David Viscoli and Daniel Rieppel will perform a two-piano recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, November 21.

The department will offer a number of student ensemble performances, including the Concert Choir, Aaron Humble, conductor; Concert Wind Ensemble, Amy Roisum Foley, conductor; the Jazz Mavericks Big Band, Douglas Snapp, conductor; the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Stephanie Thorpe and Doug Snapp, directors; and the University Percussion ensemble directed by Michael Thursby.

For more information about performances, performers and ticketing, visit or call 507-389-5549.

Student success seminars available

The Counseling Center is offering students a number of seminars on topics ranging from test anxiety to sleep hygiene. Some of these Student Success Seminars are online, others in-person.  A poster of scheduled of topics, dates and formats is available [PDF] here (167 KiB).

Student News

The following students have earned Presidential Scholar Awards for the 2021-2022 academic year: Madeline Glogowski, Mankato; Asma Guantai, Mankato; Nick Minh Huynh, Mankato; Aayah Bint N. Abdul-Wahid, Fridley; Reid Fier, Minneota; Ethan Garvin, Woodbury; Laura Gebur, Owatonna; Calvin Porter, Lakeville; Olivia Webb, Bemidji; Quinten Wilson, Boone, Iowa; and Sebastian Winstead, Elysian.

Presidential Scholar Awards are based on student GPA, academic rigor, leadership potential and personal interviews. Students must hold a 3.8 GPA or rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class to be considered. These $20,000 scholarships are awarded over four years.

Mavericks Esports has officially kicked off its fall season and expanded to 10 titles and more than 50 players. View match schedules and watch on Twitch! Or catch Wednesday night streams at Buffalo Wild Wings, Mankato.

Faculty/Staff News

Computer information science professor and ISRM PSM Program director Christophe Veltsos co-authored an article with Paul Ferrillo and Bob Zukis that is mentioned in the National Association of Corporate Directors March report: The State of Cyber-Risk Disclosures of Public Companies. NACD educates board directors “by providing … practical insights through world-class education, leading-edge research, and an ever-growing network of directors."

A paper by Wade Davis, associate professor of business law, was accepted for presentation at the 2021 Academy of Legal Studies in Business annual conference, held online Aug. 1-6. The paper’s title: “Employee as Competitor: A Teaching Case Study on Trade Secret Protections in a Post-Employment Context.”

Assistant professor of management Kyle Nash had an article published in the Journal of Computer Information Systems and had an Association for Information Systems conference paper published in August.

Work by Gregory T. Wilkins, associate director of the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities, was selected to be part of a three-day art and culture festival titled: Solidarity Street Gallery 2021 in St. Paul. The festival and exhibition is September 23-25. More information can be found at

Thad Shunkwiler, assistant professor of health science, was featured in a Mankato Free Press story on the shortage of mental health care workers in the area.


Deloris Miller, former executive assistant to the vice president of academic affairs, died August 11. Miller was employed with the University for 25 years, retiring in 1993. A full obituary can be found here.

Emerita Cheryl Haefner, former senior accounting clerk in the business office, died Sept. 2. Haefner was employed with Minnesota State for 34 years; retiring in 2019. A full obituary can be found here.

Emeriti William Demaree, former professor in the sociology department, died August 29. Demaree was employed with Minnesota State for 37 years, retiring in 2004. A celebration of life will be held in November in Arizona

Emeriti Russell Amling died July 1. Russell worked in the Educational Resource Center. A complete obituary can be viewed here.

Online TODAY Magazine

Minnesota State Mankato’s award-winning TODAY magazine at features stories of how the University impacts lives through the work of alumni and the ongoing energy and big ideas on campus.

TODAY is an entertaining and informative connection to the University. The print edition is mailed to more than 100,000 alumni and friends. And it welcomes story ideas.

Contact editor Joe Tougas at 507-389-1369 or at to share ideas.







Newsletter contact

Do you have faculty, staff, student or departmental news for the campus newsletter? Send news items to Joe Tougas 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. 29. The deadline for that newsletter will be the previous Friday (Sept. 24.)

News can also be submitted to the University’s official Campus Events Calendar by sending an email to Shirley Piepho at