Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Plans set for Candlelight 2008 at Saint Mary's University

WINONA, Minn. – Groove back to the funky era of flower power — a time when saddle shoes and poodle skirts were replaced by go-go boots and mini skirts — during Candlelight 2008 at Saint Mary's University.

The social evening, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, is a communitywide event, hosted biennially by the university. Formerly a fund-raiser, Candlelight is now simply a fun evening, a celebration of the university and a thank you to the community for its support.

This year's theme, "Candlelight, Outta Sight” will come to life at Terrace Heights in a brightly colored tie-dyed theme, complete with 45s and, of course, candlelight.

The evening will begin with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails at 6 p.m. in the lounge, followed by a five-course gourmet dinner in the dining hall, both in the Toner Student Center. A highlight of the evening will include cabaret entertainment by SMU theatre and music students who will perform a variety of favorites from the ’60s and early ’70s by the Beatles, the Monkeys, John Denver, the Carpenters, and many more. Candlelight attendees will then dance the night away to the seven-piece Diane Martinson Band.

The cost of the evening is $75 per person or $140 per couple. Dress is formal attire, and valet parking and coat check services will be available.

If you do not receive an invitation or have questions about Candlelight, call Jo Nesler, (507) 457-1664.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brother William Mann is named 13th president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Brother William Mann, FSC, D.Min.

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Board of Trustees announced Thursday, Dec. 13, that Brother William Mann, FSC, D.Min. has been named the 13th president of the university. Brother William will begin his term of office on June 1, 2008.

Brother William, 60, is the former Vicar General of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. As Vicar General, he was the second-highest officer of the international Catholic teaching order that comprises 5,300 Christian Brothers, working in association with 73,000 lay educators to operate 930 schools and universities serving 900,000 students in 82 countries.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a private, Catholic institution guided by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Its Winona campus is home to a residential liberal arts college, while extensive graduate and professional programs are offered at Winona, a Twin Cities campus, Rochester center and Apple Valley center, locations around Minnesota and Wisconsin, and Nairobi, Kenya.

Chancellor Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, Ph.D., has led Saint Mary’s University this past year during the national search for a new president. DeThomasis reassumed the duties of president in February, 2007, after previously serving Saint Mary’s for 21 years in that capacity.

DeThomasis said “Saint Mary’s is so fortunate to have as its new president an internationally recognized educational leader. Brother William Mann is also a renowned Lasallian scholar, who will enhance our vision and mission as a Lasallian institution of higher education.”

DeThomasis added that Brother William's “vast international experience will advance our efforts to bring global education to our students. His experience with multicultural, diverse populations allows him to offer a unique gift to our university setting, and brings a new dimension to the intellectual and spiritual life of students and faculty.”

“We are delighted with the international reputation and stature of our new president,” said Michael Meagher, chairman of the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees. “The board was impressed with his wisdom, sensitivity, and obvious commitment and dedication to education.”

Brother William has spent almost 30 years traveling around the country and the world as a leader in the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and as a guiding force in the evolution of the Lasallian educational global network.

“I am excited at the opportunity to focus my experience and passion for the Lasallian educational mission at Saint Mary’s University,” Brother William said. He noted that “the many facets of Saint Mary’s are interesting and inspiring, and I believe the university is well-positioned to continue doing great good” within the society of the 21st century.

Brother William served in Rome from 2000-07 as Vicar General, a leader with far-ranging responsibilities within the international governance structure of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

A native of New York City, Brother William joined the Christian Brothers in 1965. He began his career as an English and religion teacher, working from 1970-79 at two Christian Brother high schools in New York and Rhode Island. He then held positions directing Christian Brother formation for the Long Island-New England Province and USA/Toronto Region, and from 1990-96 he was International Secretary of Formation in Rome. He later served as Delegate Superior for India, and as Provincial for the LI-NE Province, which operates 10 educational institutions in New York City and Rhode Island.

Brother William has also been an organizer, member, delegate and presenter for numerous Lasallian commissions and symposiums. He was a member of the boards of several Christian Brother schools in New York and Rhode Island, and he served on the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Board of Trustees from 1996-2001.

Brother William is a noted scholar and writer on the life and teachings of John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the patron saint of educators. He has authored and edited numerous publications examining De La Salle’s writings and spirituality, putting them into context for Lasallian educators in today’s world.

Brother William’s educational background includes a B.A. in English Literature from The Catholic University of America, an M.A. in Liberal Studies - Literature from State University of New York at Stony Brook, an M.A. in Spirituality from Salve Regina University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Family Ministry from Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Saint Mary’s student dances on Disney Christmas special

WINONA, Minn. — Fallon Devine, a junior at Saint Mary’s University and a Winona native, danced her way into the “Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade 2007.”

The program, which features all the big names from “Dancing with the Stars” along with performances by Patti LaBelle, Jessica Simpson and Katharine McPhee, will air 9 a.m. Christmas Day on ABC.

Devine, a student at Rochester’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, received a phone call from her dance instructor, Winston Fine, saying she was one of three people he was considering taking to Walt Disney World to perform. Whoever called him back first would get to go.

Devine wasted no time. “He said, ‘I literally just hung up the phone when you called.’ ”

All together 200 dancers, all part of the Fred Astaire company, served as background dancers for the show.

With a little luck, Devine said she and Fine received the opportunity to dance on one of only four platforms — and thereby get extra visibility. Between learning the dance steps and the show’s final taping, Devine estimates she danced 22 hours Thursday through Friday.

Devine has returned to Winona with some new dance moves, some great memories and lots of pictures with stars like Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey and Sabrina Bryan, along with the dance professionals Tony Dovolani, Julianne Hough and Edyta Sliwinska (and Mickey and Minnie).