Friday, September 28, 2007

Trustees approve new Saint Mary’s track/soccer complex

WINONA, Minn. — A plan to build an outdoor track and field/soccer complex was approved Friday by the Saint Mary’s University Board of Trustees.

The athletic facility will be built at the Winona campus, located near the front entrance along Hwy. 14 and Gilmore Valley Road. Construction will begin in summer 2008. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $2.5 million. A second phase will add permanent viewing stands, concession area, press box and lights.

An on-campus track/soccer complex has been under consideration for several years, according to Chris Kendall, vice president for student development. He said Saint Mary’s is “confident the addition of an attractive, well-constructed facility will greatly benefit the university in a number of key areas, including visibility and marketing, enrollment, athletics and campus atmosphere.” Kendall added, "SMU is one of the few MIAC schools without an outdoor track. This will significantly sharpen our competitive edge and help with the recruitment of student-athletes."

A competition soccer pitch will be built in the center of the track, “making the complex the new home to Cardinal soccer and a training facility for cross country and other athletic programs,” according to Nikki Fennern, athletic director. “It will be a direct asset to six of our teams, as well as to other athletes, intramurals, recreational users and summer camp participants,” Fennern said.

A year ago, the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees decided not to reinstate football as a varsity sport. Instead, the board directed the university to provide better support for existing athletic programs. A recent peer review of SMU athletics noted that an outdoor track/soccer complex would serve as a major step toward achieving that goal.

This past summer, Saint Mary’s completed the first phase of building new baseball and fastpitch softball fields. Future plans will address needs for athletic training facilities, locker rooms, and tennis courts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SMU invites public to annual Fall Frolic fun run/walk

WINONA, Minn. — The public is invited to the 20th annual Fall Frolic 5K fun run/walk, to be held during Saint Mary’s University’s Family Weekend, on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Registration will run from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in SMU’s Toner Student Center. The race begins at 10 a.m. The $8 cost includes a T-shirt.

Participants will enjoy the beautiful bluff trails of SMU’s Winona campus and can pre-register by calling (507) 457-1581.

TheatreworksUSA to perform ‘Charlotte’s Web’ Oct. 5 at SMU

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Page Series will stage the familiar children’s story, “Charlotte’s Web,” on Friday, Oct. 5. “Charlotte’s Web” ¬— which weaves the timeless story of a friendship between a pig and a spider — will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, located in the SMU Performance Center.

Based on E.B. White’s classic book, the story explores a relationship between a pig, Wilbur, and a little gray spider named Charlotte. Charlotte comes up with a brilliant plan to keep Wilbur from becoming someone’s dinner. She spins the words “Some Pig” in her web, which immediately grabs the attention of Wilbur’s owner, Farmer Zuckerman. Wilbur is then regarded as a prize pig, and is ensured a home on the farm forever. The story features numerous animals, and explores the true meaning of selfless friendship.

Since 1961, TheatreworksUSA — America’s largest not-for-profit theatre for young and family audiences — has entertained more than 78 million people in 49 states and Canada.

Tickets are $6, and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, during regular office hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Monday, September 17, 2007

Saint Mary’s University receives $2 million gift for speaker series and scholarships

(WINONA, Minn.) —An anonymous donor has given $2 million to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The largest gift ever received by its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs will fund endowed scholarships for adult, non-traditional students completing their bachelor and graduate degrees, and provide for a major new Twin Cities speaker series.

The series, to be held annually at a Twin Cities venue, will feature renowned guest speakers. Saint Mary's University will sponsor the event with its Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership, whose student and community programs emphasize the importance of ethical principles, morals, spirituality, and free enterprise. At this event, the keynote speaker will present an award to an outstanding leader for their contributions to global ethical initiatives.

Brother Louis DeThomasis, Saint Mary's chancellor, expressed his "immense gratitude" to the anonymous donor, noting that this gift will help the university in its mission to make life-changing education accessible and affordable. "We're excited that the gift also will allow us to bring a top-flight event to the Twin Cities that will spotlight the national need for ethical leadership," DeThomasis added.

More than 4,000 adult learners at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota attend non-traditional certificate, bachelor-completion, master degree, specialist and doctoral programs at locations in Minneapolis, Apple Valley, Rochester, Winona, around the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and Nairobi, Kenya.

“The need for open discussion and learning on values-based leadership has never been greater,” commented Kaye O’Leary, chief financial officer of Buca, Inc., a Twin Cities business executive with interests in ethical issues. “This gift will help Saint Mary’s University to show our current leaders — and the leaders of the future — the importance of values-based, ethical leadership, and it provides a platform for the recognition of leaders who are getting it right.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saint Mary’s receives $560,000 from 1942 alumnus’ trust fund

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University has announced a monetary gift of more than $560,000 from the late Philip Morris, class of 1942, and his wife, Patricia, both of Green Valley, Ariz., and formerly of Kansas.

The Morrises created the Morris Family Trust, which stipulated — upon the death of the surviving spouse — that 90 percent of their combined estate would be distributed to Saint Mary’s University in memory of Professor Robert Woods of the Economics Department and Brother Luke A. Herbert, former university librarian. The remaining 10 percent went to America’s Press, Inc. in New York, N.Y.

The gift will be used for the university-designated endowment.

Philip Morris was active in the Saint Mary’s alumni organization and in fundraising for the Saint Thomas More Chapel on the Winona campus.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Saint Mary's University reports second-largest freshman class

WINONA, Minn. — Official 10th-day-of-class statistics at the Saint Mary's University Winona campus show a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,350, up approximately 4.5 percent from last year’s total of 1,292.

That number includes 1,276 full-time Winona-campus undergraduates and 74 part-time and non-degree-seeking students.

A total of 399 freshmen are enrolled this fall, 6 percent higher than in 2006. The freshman class is the second-highest in Saint Mary’s history; the highest was recorded in 1988. With transfers and readmitted students added, the total number of new degree-seeking students is 455.

Enrollment in the Saint Mary's University Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs will be released later this fall.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts offers free dance tuition to flood victims

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is offering free tuition for semester I 2007 dance classes to children (ages 4 to 17) whose families lost their homes in the recent flooding.

Semester I classes begin this week and run through Nov. 17. Classes are held at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. Classes and performance opportunities are available for girls and boys. Students may pick from a variety of dance genres including: ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop. MCA also offer a special class just for boys.

“We recognize that many families in the area have lost their homes and are in financial difficulty. Dance tuition might be the last thing these families are concerned about,” said Christine Martin, MCA managing director, “So, we are offering free tuition to affected families who may be looking for a fun activity — designed to provide physical and aesthetic benefits, heightened self-respect, discipline and confidence — for their children.”

Parents interested in registering their child/children who wish to apply for MCA’s Flood Relief Scholarship Fund should contact Christine Martin at (507) 453-5501 or For more information about MCA visit

Monday, September 10, 2007

Theatre, music events highlight SMU Family Weekend Sept. 28-30

WINONA, Minn. — A full slate of events await parents and students during Saint Mary’s University’s annual Family Weekend Sept. 28-30. In addition, the public is invited to enjoy the talents of SMU students during theatre, jazz, and band and chorus events.

The weather is cooling off but the jazz is heating up at Saint Mary's. Two student groups led by Dr. John Paulson will kick off the year with a concert at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in the Performance Center’s Figliulo Recital Hall. Tickets are $6, $4 for students and seniors. The 18-piece Jazz Ensemble and six-piece Jazz Combo I will perform from 6 to 7 p.m., and two Jazz Workshop Combos, directed by Dr. Paulson and Eric Heukeshoven, will play for a reception following the concert in the Toner Student Center Lounge.

Jazz Combo I will start off the concert playing selections from their repertoire of recognizable jazz standards like “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson. Featured soloists include Sam Courtier on guitar, Matt Clementz on trumpet and Tony Freeman on tenor sax.

The big band will perform tunes like Bryan Kid's arrangement “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver, and “Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk, featuring sophomore Vanessa Grams on alto sax. Also included in their set will be the recognizable “Cold Duck Time” by Eddie Harris, arranged by Mark Taylor.

The SMU Concert Band and SMU choirs will perform 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Page Theatre, located in the Performance Center. Tickets are $6, $4 for students and seniors. The concert band — under the direction of Dr. Janet Heukeshoven — is a 77-member ensemble made up of SMU students, as well as qualified community musicians. Rehearsing twice weekly, the band performs a wide variety of traditional and modern wind band literature. Saturday's concert will include the “National Anthem,” arranged by Bowles; Vaughan Williams’ “English Folk Song Suite;” Eric Whitacre’s “October;” and Hardiman’s “Lord of the Dance,” arranged by Saucedo. The “English Folk Song Suite” contains three movements, the march, “Seventeen Come Sunday;” the intermezzo, “My Bonnie Boy;” and the march, “Folk Songs from Somerset.”

The Saint Mary's Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Women's Choir will perform a number of choral works, from the Renaissance to Gospel music, and in several languages including Latin and Iroquois. The Concert Choir (65 voices) and Chamber Singers (24 voices) are directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, and the Women’s Choir (23 voices) is directed by faculty member Peter Schleif.

The SMU Department of Theatre Arts will stage “Art” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28; Saturday, Sept. 29; and Monday, Oct. 1; as well as 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. Written by Yasmina Reza, and directed by Dr. Stephen Bouler, “Art,” is a humorous and honest examination of modern friendship.

Reza demonstrates through comic relief what it means to be a friend. When an art lover buys a very expensive white painting (with white stripes), his best friend goes ballistic. A third friend enters the scene acting as a mediator. Reza humorously examines both subjects with the use of three characters: the man who bought the painting and the two friends who come to see it. Tickets for the performance — to be held in Page Theatre — are $8, $6 for students and seniors. The audience should be advised that “Art” contains strong language.

To order tickets for any of these Family Weekend events — or to learn more about any upcoming productions at SMU — contact the Performance Center Box Office at (507) 457-1715 during business hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, or order online at

Friday, September 07, 2007

Saint Teresa Institute, Brain Injury Association co-sponsor Walk for Thought

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute for Women of Saint Mary’s University and the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota are sponsoring a Walk for Thought fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 6, at Lake Winona.

The sixth annual Walk for Thought raises public awareness about brain injury and funding to support those affected by brain injury. Each year more than 20,000 Minnesotans sustain a traumatic brain injury from events such as motor vehicle crashes, falls and firearms — six times more than the combined annual number of people who will experience HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. Despite this startling statistic, awareness about the causes and residual effects of brain injury remain low.

In 2007, the Walk for Thought will be at two other locations besides Winona, Canal Park in Duluth and Como Park in St. Paul. This marks the second time the walk has been held in Winona.

Registration and check-in for the Winona walk starts at 9 a.m. at the walk tent in the Kmart parking lot. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. To register online or for more information, go to

Last year more than 1,000 participants and sponsors raised nearly $80,000 for the cause — and this year the goal is to raise a record-breaking $100,000 for the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota.

“While our goal is to continue raising awareness, this year's walk is of acute importance as one of our young students sustained a brain injury in an accident just weeks before school started,” said Holly Richard, director of the Saint Teresa Institute. “When intangible statistics become real within a small community, people take action. Brain injuries are very real, and we hope to get more people involved to support the work of the Brain Injury Association.”

The mission of the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota is to enhance the quality of life and bring the promise of a better tomorrow for all people affected by brain injury. Based in Minneapolis, the Association conducts support groups, holds education events for individuals impacted by brain injury and creates public awareness about brain injury, as the only cure is prevention.

The Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute for Women is a co-curricular women’s program that incorporates a leadership and service perspective into Saint Mary’s University general education courses.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Area businesses encouraged to donate to live auction, concert Sept. 7

WINONA, Minn. — The public is invited to join Saint Mary’s University for Rockin’ for Relief — a live concert to benefit flood victims in our surrounding communities. The event, which will include barbecued food, kids games and a live auction, will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in Saint Mary’s plaza.

Performing will be Bookreader, an SMU student band; SMU’s Adam Stasica; Winonan Mike Munson; and Monday Saga, a band from Milwaukee in which SMU alum Brandon Mathieus performs.

Big-ticket auction items will include a Wenonah Canoe, Twins Tickets, a Watkins basket, and Saint Paul Saints merchandise. Any local businesses wishing to donate to the live auction should contact Katie LaPlant (507) 457-6936.

Bring the whole family; admission will be $10 or $5 for students. A freewill donation will be asked for those younger than 12. Families will be admitted for $10 per adult and freewill donations for children.

The event is sponsored by Saint Mary’s Volunteer Services and Office of Campus Ministry. Modern Woodmen of America is providing matching funds up to $2,500.