Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Saint Mary’s University honors Rochester couple with Heritage Award April 12

Remicks pledge $8 million gift for scholarships

Jack and Mary Ann Remick of Rochester received the Saint Mary’s University Heritage Award from Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s, during the university’s annual Benefactor Recognition Dinner April 12. At the event, the couple’s recent $8 million scholarship donation was announced.

WINONA, Minn. — Jack and Mary Ann Remick of Rochester, Minn., were presented with the Saint Mary’s University Heritage Award for Transformational Philanthropy April 12 at the university’s annual Benefactor Recognition Dinner. The Heritage Award recognizes special individuals whose exceptional philanthropy has significantly transformed the university and positioned Saint Mary’s for a second century of excellence in education.

In one demonstration of this extraordinary generosity, it was announced Saturday that the Remicks have committed $8 million to be used for scholarships. This gift — the largest single donation ever pledged to Saint Mary’s — will be directed to the university’s First Generation Initiative. Mary Ann currently serves as chair of the First Generation Initiative advisory board, and the Remicks are long-time supporters of FGI and its Countdown to College program, which prepares first generation high-schoolers for college. Their financial contributions to this program have helped many young students reach their academic dreams.

The Remicks are inspirational champions of education and long-time supporters of Saint Mary’s University. Jack and Mary Ann have served on the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees for a combined 15 years and counting (Jack from 1999 to 2004 and Mary Ann beginning in 2004).

Their true passion lies in making education accessible and affordable for new generations of learners. The two formed the Saint Mary’s University Remick Fellows program in 1998, through which aspiring and current Catholic schoolteachers and administrators receive financial support and encouragement.

“It was Jack’s strong feeling that we started the Countdown to College program to help these kids — who come from challenging backgrounds — prepare for college, and they’ve worked really hard and they’ve done really well,” Mary Ann Remick said. “We really felt that we couldn’t let these kids down. We promised them an opportunity at a good college education. It has been a real joy to watch them become these very competent, capable seniors in high school who can now successfully move on to college.”

“The Heritage Award is only given to those who have exhibited ‘transformational philanthropy.’ There are no other words that could begin to define the work that the Remicks have done at Saint Mary’s. Their gifts ensure that bright young students with economic challenges, but also endless potential, be given the opportunity to excel academically,” Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s, said. “This has been our ongoing dream that every student who has a desire to attend college have the opportunity to do so. We are so very grateful that the Remicks have shared in our educational vision.”

“It really is an honor and a privilege to be given the Heritage Award,” Mary Ann Remick added. “We aren’t alums, but we have come to really love and appreciate Saint Mary’s and the people who are there, and they’ve allowed us to help them dream.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SMU to host interdisciplinary undergraduate conference April 25-26

WINONA, Minn. — On Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, Saint Mary’s will host the second annual Undergraduates, Inc. Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference Program that will bring students from North Dakota State, Iowa State, Winona State and other regional universities to present their work in academic panels along with Saint Mary’s students. The conference rotates among the North Dakota State campus, Iowa State and Saint Mary’s.

The public is invited to attend a presentation by Dr. Dometa Brothers, assistant professor of English at Iowa State University, at 5 p.m. April 25 in the Common Room, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. Dr. Brothers will speak about “Romantic Math and Science: How Literature Influenced Nineteenth Century Thought,” and her presentation is free and open to the public.

The event continues April 26, as students from several disciplines, including English, history, women’s and gender studies, and communication, make presentations from 9 to 11:45 a.m., followed by a lunch buffet with a keynote presentation by Dr. Hiromi Mizuno, associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Mizuno’s speech, “The Divine Emperor’s Children and Popular Science Culture in Wartime Japan,” will begin at noon in the Common Room. Afternoon student presentations resume from 1:45 to 3 p.m.

The cost of attending the Saturday conference is $30, and those who are interested in attending may contact Dr. Erin Mae Clark at or (507) 457-6643 or Dr. Tycho de Boer at or (507) 457-6995.

SMU to host special science events April 26

WINONA, Minn. — On Saturday, April 26, Saint Mary’s University will host the 81st Minnesota Academy of Science annual meeting and the 26th Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium in conjunction with the NC3 District annual meeting of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society.

Students from colleges and universities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa will present their research in the fields of cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, earth science, ecology and environmental science, economics, engineering, math and computer science, physics, neuroscience, organismal and physiological sciences and social sciences. The keynote speaker will be Kevin Kenow, research wildlife biologist from the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, who will speak about Minnesota Loons. The cost of attending the entire conference (does not include lunch) is $10, and those who are interested in attending may contact Dr. Debra Martin at

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SMU College Republicans receive award

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University College Republicans chapter received the Chapter of the Year Award April 5 at the annual Minnesota College Republican Convention in Minneapolis.

The chapter began only two years ago when a small group of students organized for the primary purpose of attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. This year the club experienced tremendous growth, more than doubling in size and increasing its communication with the state board.

Andrew Hasek, Minnesota College Republicans chairman, said, “The Saint Mary’s College Republicans are truly deserving of the award. They have worked extremely hard all year growing their footprint on campus and helping local candidates. I am excited for the prospects the group has moving forward.”

They organized a variety of events this past year including Second Amendment Day. They also conducted weekly meetings and brought in a variety of speakers including gubernatorial and United States Congressional candidates. The club also reached out to the community by attending caucus night. The College Republicans are looking to continue to grow and promote their ideas on campus, along with increasing community outreach and service.

Dance Repertory Company to present spring 40th anniversary concert April 25-26

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts’ Dance Repertory Company will present a special Spring Dance Concert this year in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the dance division. The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 25, and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Page Theatre.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens and are available online at or by calling the SMU Box Office at (507) 457-1715 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For four decades, the Dance Repertory Company (DRC) has delighted the Winona community with quality dance productions featuring local dancers in classical and contemporary works. This year the DRC presents a production of restaged works from past shows as well as some new works, paying homage to history of the organization and its founder, Stefannié Valéncia Kierlin. The DRC is the pre-professional performance group of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. Company members participate in rehearsals, technique classes and stage performances.

The production will feature pieces from numerous genres of dance including hip hop, modern, jazz, tap, ballet, and pointe. Performed by the dancers who currently train at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, Saint Mary’s University, and Winona State University, the 40th anniversary celebration concert showcases their effervescent spirit, vibrant energy, and technical and artistic abilities that continue to inspire audiences year after year. In addition to the production, alumni events are scheduled throughout the weekend to commemorate the history of the organization.

For more information about The Dance Repertory Company and other arts programming at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, visit, e-mail, or call (507) 453-5500.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Monday, April 07, 2014

SMU choirs to perform spring concert April 12

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University choirs, under the direction of Patrick O’Shea, will present their spring concert Saturday, April 12.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, Wabasha and Vila streets.

The repertoire will feature works by Daniel Pinkham, Herbert Howells and Harry Somers.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and are available at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or online at

Friday, April 04, 2014

Six awards presented at Saint Mary’s Founders’ Day

Lillie Pang and Stephen Murray
Amy Spitzmueller and Miles Dunna
Dr. Richard Tristano and Donny Nadeau
WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University presented awards to three educators, a staff member, and two outstanding seniors at its Founders’ Day celebration April 1.

Presidential Awards for Outstanding Merit were presented to two educators who are alumni of Saint Mary’s: Lillie Pang, principal of Hale School in Minneapolis; and Stephen Murray, assistant principal and dean of students at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wis.

Pang, who received a certificate in education administration from Saint Mary’s in 1999, has worked as an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Japan and Minnesota for 22 years. As a successful urban school administrator in Minneapolis for the past 14 years, she has worked tirelessly to support instructional excellence, build community and service connections for families, and promote inclusive and safe schools. She has served as a leading voice in Minnesota for equity and excellence in public schools.

Murray, a 1971 alumnus, has demonstrated selfless service, faith-filled teaching and administrative leadership and has served as an extraordinary role model for his family. Murray first served the Diocese of Winona at Pacelli High School for 22 years as a teacher of English and religion, chair of the religion department and coordinator of student service projects. He then went on to work for the past 20 years in the Diocese of La Crosse at Aquinas High School as a religion teacher, dean of students and now assistant principal/dean of students.

Dr. Richard Tristano, professor of history at Saint Mary’s, received the Distinguished Lasallian Educator award. These awards are given by Lasallian institutions in the North American-Toronto Region of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to honor contributions and commitment to the Lasallian mission of education. Dr. Tristano has shared his enthusiasm and passion for history with Saint Mary’s students for 22 years. This award recognizes his commitment to teaching excellence, his scholarly research and writing — especially regarding Saint John Baptist de La Salle and Lasallian history and pedagogy — and the spirit of faith and zeal he brings to his work at Saint Mary’s.

Donny Nadeau, sports information director, received the Bishop Patrick Heffron Award for service to the university. Nadeau, a 1985 alumnus of Saint Mary’s, has served as sports information director for more than 19 years. His work has earned recognition at both the conference and national levels, and his commitment and dedication serve as an inspiration to others at the university. Heffron Award winners are chosen because they have contributed positively to the life of the university, have demonstrated a long-term commitment to the values of the university, and have been models of the Lasallian spirit in their interactions with colleagues and students.

The Outstanding Male and Female Senior awards were presented to Amy Spitzmueller, daughter of Kathy and Bill Spitzmueller of New Brighton, Minn., and Miles Dunna, son of Wokie Dunna of Saint Paul, Minn. Outstanding Seniors have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership and service. Above all, these men and women have shown genuine concern for meeting the needs of others. The following students were finalists for the 2014 Outstanding Senior awards: (females) Lisa Obasi, Abigail Osborne, Marilyn Yennie and Katherine Zuzek; (males) Dylan Ethen, Evan Shockley, John Soucheray and Matthew Traxler.

Photos from the day can be found online at

Thursday, April 03, 2014

100 presentations planned for SMU Celebration of Scholarship

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Celebration of Scholarship — the annual celebration highlighting the accomplishments of undergraduate students across all academic disciplines — will be held Friday, April 11. More than 100 presentations by more than 130 students are planned. The community is invited to view the research and talents of our students.

The event will take place at various locations and times on campus. Attendees are asked to register in Saint Mary’s Hall, on the first floor, before attending presentations. The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. For more information and a list of presentations, visit

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Saint Mary’s invites public to Relay for Life April 12-13

 WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Colleges Against Cancer group invites the community to its 2014 Relay for Life — to be held 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13, in Saint Mary’s Gostomski Fieldhouse.

Teams comprised of friends, families and co-workers will join together for this fundraising effort, which celebrates people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and provides an opportunity to fight back against the disease.

Last year more than 150 people participated in the event which raised more than $10,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Team members will spend the night walking around SMU’s indoor track from dusk to dawn to represent the 24-hour fight against cancer. Each team raises money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s movie theme is “Strike cancer from the script.”

Activities are planned throughout the night including a silent auction, student performances, a newlywed game, late-night Zumba and a chance to win a Fitbit.

If you are thinking about creating a team; if you would like to come and support the American Cancer Society’s efforts; if you would like to celebrate cancer survivors and remember those you have lost; or if you would like to be recognized as a survivor and have your success celebrated — come to this event. Participants are welcome to stay for as much or as little as their schedules allow.

To sign up, go to Survivors should contact Lexi Hamilton at

For more information, e-mail

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

SMU’s Kabara Institute to host Can Do Canines founder

WINONA, Minn. — Al Peters, a 1974 Saint Mary’s University alumnus and founder of Can Do Canines, will speak at his alma mater Monday, April 7, as part of Kabara Entrepreneurial Days.

The event — free and open to the public — will begin at 7 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. A question-and-answer period will follow.

Can Do Canines is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. In 1987 the business incorporated as the Companion Dog Connection, Inc., and over the years it has expanded its services and reach. Specially trained dogs assist individuals throughout the Midwest who are deaf or hard of hearing, those with physical disabilities, seizure disorders, or autism and people with diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness. All assistance dogs are provided to the client at no charge. Peters services as executive director of the organization.

The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s is joined by the business, education, psychology and sociology departments in sponsoring this event.

The Kabara Institute aims to incite a passion for entrepreneurial spirit in students across the university, regardless of their major field of study. It also strives to enhance the entrepreneurship program offerings at Saint Mary’s by providing opportunities for students to interact with entrepreneurs and experience entrepreneurship first-hand. And, it fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in our society.