Wednesday, February 28, 2007

High School Challenge to air Sundays on Fox 25/48

WINONA, Minn. — High School Challenge, an academic tournament for area high school students — sponsored by and held at Saint Mary’s University — finished the 2006-2007 season on Saturday, Feb. 10. The tournament began in the fall with 32 high school teams from Eastern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and Iowa, each competing for a place in the consolation or winner brackets. The final eight games were taped by La Crosse’s FOX 25/48.

On Sunday, March 4, the Consolation Championship game, featuring a competition between Cotter High School and Lewiston-Altura High School, will air. Tune in at 10 a.m. on FOX 25/48 to find out which school is the 2006-07 High School Challenge Consolation Champion!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Six honored at Founder's Day ceremony

Brother Paul Joslin, FSC, left, and Brother Martin Spellman, FSC ‘54, received Presidential Awards for Outstanding Merit at Founder’s Day.

At its Founder’s Day ceremony Feb. 27, Saint Mary’s University honored an alumnus, killed 25 years ago while working in Guatemala; two Christian Brothers; a dedicated faculty member; and two outstanding seniors. Founder’s Day is the annual celebration of the founding of Saint Mary’s in 1912 by Winona Bishop Patrick R. Heffron.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Brother James Miller, FSC ’66. For Saint Mary’s it’s an appropriate time to remember the life of Brother James, a man whose mission was to better the lives of those he served.

Born in Wisconsin in 1944, Brother James Miller, FSC ’66 taught high school in the Midwest for several years before going to Nicaragua, and eventually Guatemala. At the Casa Indigena Huehuetenango, he taught English, religion and Guatemalan art to secondary students. Aware of the oppression of the indigenous people of Guatemala and their need to be trained in job skills and leadership skills, he helped begin an experimental farm where indigenous students learned agricultural methods and improvements. More importantly, he prepared native leaders for rural areas who would work for collective development in their villages.

Brother James Miller is remembered for his life’s work, and for the way his life ended. He was only 38 when he was killed by gunmen on February 13, 1982, as he was mending a wall outside a school in Guatemala. Saint Mary’s honors his memory with the Brother James Miller Campus Ministry Service Awards and with the Brother James Miller Scholarship for Access.

Two Brothers who were with Brother James at the time of his death, Brother Martin Spellman, FSC, ’54 and Brother Paul Joslin, FSC, received a Presidential Award for Outstanding Merit. Brother Martin currently serves as director of senior brothers for the Midwest District. Brother Paul is currently teaching at Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City, N.J.

Preston Lawing,
2007 Severin Award winner

The 2007 Brother H. Charles Severin Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Preston Lawing at Founder’s Day as well. Lawing has been a member of the faculty since 1997. Over the years, he has shown consistent excellence in preparation of his courses, in communication and delivery of course material, and in fairness in dealing with students. He joins 20 other past and present faculty members as a Severin Award recipient. Recipients exemplify the teaching excellence and commitment to a student-centered learning that characterize a Saint Mary’s University education.

The Outstanding Male and Female Senior Awards were presented to students who have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership, service to colleagues and the university community. Above all, these men and women have shown genuine concern for meeting the needs of others. The Outstanding Male Senior Award went to Davey Warner, son of David and Valerie Warner of McGregor. The Outstanding Female Senior Award went to Sarah Bellingham, daughter of Jane Bellingham and Don Bellingham of Harmony.

This year's Outstanding Seniors are Davey Warner (back row, third from left) and Sarah Bellingham (front row, left).

The following students were finalists for the 2007 Outstanding Senior Awards: females, Sarah Engle, daughter of Michael and Alisan Engle of White Bear Lake; Amy Glasgow, daughter or Roger and Janet Glasgow of Dubuque, Iowa; Sarah Kay, daughter of John and Jeanne Kay of Rush City; and Sandra Mason, daughter of Bruce and Sherry Mason of Burnsville; males, John Clementz, son of Chris and Jean Clementz of Aurora, Ill.; Justin LeBreck, son of Paul and Mary Ann LeBreck of Cary, Ill.; Jacob Olzen, son of P.J. and Julie Olzen of Roselle, Ill.; and Aaron Reihl, son of Gary and Susan Reihl of Mantorville.

Monday, February 26, 2007

SMU Concert Band to debut Jewish composer’s work

Judith Lang Zaimont to share talents with SMU, Winona musicians

WINONA, Minn. — Internationally recognized composer Judith Lang Zaimont is the most recent winner of the fourth Saint Mary’s University Concert Band Kaplan Commissioning Project. She composed “Israeli Rhapsody” for the band during the summer of 2006 after visiting the campus and meeting the band members last May.
Read more.

Lang Zaimont will share her talents with Saint Mary’s music students during her residency March 7-11 and will introduce the premiere performance at a 3 p.m. concert on Sunday, March 11, in Page Theatre, located in the SMU Performance Center. Concert goers will have an opportunity to meet the composer following the concert during a reception in the Toner Student Center.

Of “Israeli Rhapsody,” Lang Zaimont wrote, she is “paying tribute to the complicated, thoughtful and joyous aspects that come together and do indeed characterize the people who flourish in that dramatic land.” Lang Zaimont thinks of Israel as a cultural wellspring and the homeland of her religion. Fragments of well-known Israeli melodies flow through the complex piece, which ends clearly as a joyful dance.

A grantee of both National Endowments, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and Aaron Copland Award winner, Lang Zaimont currently holds a 2005 Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship. She recently retired after three decades of teaching in higher ed. (at the Peabody Conservatory, CUNY, Adelphi University and University of Minnesota). For additional information, see her web site,

The SMU Concert Band commissioned “Israeli Rhapsody” through the Helen and Sam Kaplan Foundation Commissioning Project. Lang Zaimont is the fourth composer to participate in the Kaplan Commission. The Helen and Sam Kaplan Foundation supports performances and activities led by Jewish artists and scholars that are designed to increase cultural and religious understanding at Saint Mary’s. Her visit is funded in part through Meet the Composer’s Creative Connections program.

Lang Zaimont will share her talents with Saint Mary’s students during class and concert band rehearsals. She also plans to visit with Winona Senior High School students.

The concert band, under the direction of Dr. Janet Heukeshoven, will also perform works by Franco Cesarini, Philip Sparke, John Zdechlik, J. Michael Roy, Travis Cross, and John Philip Sousa. For additional performance details, contact Dr. Heukeshoven at or (507) 457-1675.

Tickets are $6, $4 for students and senior citizens and are available at the Performance Center box office (507) 457-1715 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, online at or at the door.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cartel to headline spring Concert March 8 at SMU

WINONA, Minn. — The rising pop punk band Cartel from Atlanta, Ga., will headline a public concert Thursday, March 8, at Saint Mary’s University.
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More than 3,000 copies of “Chroma,” Cartel’s debut album, were sold in the first week of its release in 2005, earning the band a spot on Alternative Press’s 2005 list of “Bands You Need to Know.” In March, the band signed with Epic records and was also named Yahoo! Music’s winner in the “Who’s Next” competition. Cartel’s music has been used on MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real O.C.” Band members are Will Pugh, vocals, guitar, piano; Joseph Pepper, guitar; Nic Hudson, guitar; Jeff Lett, bass; and Kevin Sanders, drums. The group is currently on a nationwide tour that started in February and will continue into April.

Cartel’s three opening bands are New Atlantic, Boys Like Girls, and Cobra Starship. Music from Cobra Starship was recently featured in the movie “Snakes on a Plane.”

The concert, hosted by SMU’s Student Activities Committee, will be held in the gymnasium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. New Atlantic performs at 7:15 pm., Boys Like Girls at 8 p.m., Cobra Starship at 8:45 p.m., and Cartel at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and are available at the Performance Center box office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

More information about Cartel is available at the bands website:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Theatre Department to present ‘The Ghost Sonata’

WINONA, Minn. — Ghosts walk in bright daylight, a beautiful woman is transformed into a mummy and lives in a closet, and the household cook sucks all the nourishment out of the food before she serves it to her victims in the next Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre Arts presentation March 1-5.
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“The Ghost Sonata,” is one of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s famous chamber plays. He bases the structure of the play on the sonata, with three movements instead of acts.

The play delves into the psyche, casts away superficial masks and reveals that which desires to be hidden: our skeletons in the closet, our private nightmares and ghosts. Strindberg said that when he wrote the play, his hands bled.

He originally subtitled his play "Kama-Loka," the name of a mystical dream world through which some mortals have to wander before reaching the kingdom of death in the afterlife. Accordingly, the characters in “The Ghost Sonata” speak, move and act as if they are part of a dream — or a nightmare. One sees anxious glimpses of the future, another embodies tragedies from the past.

The haunting drama was groundbreaking for its time for its use of Freudian imagery, and it was an important pre-cursor of expressionism, surrealism and absurdist theatre.

Director Steven Bouler said, “Ultimately the play is about corruption and anxiety, regrets and how we are transformed by those we encounter in life.”

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 1-3, and Monday, March 5. A matinee is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4 — all at the Valéncia Arts Center’s Academy Theatre, located at 10th and Vila streets.

Tickets are $8 or $6 for students and seniors and are available at the Performance Center box office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays or online at

Annual SMU benefit dance to help La Crosse family

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will present the seventh annual Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance, “The Start of Something New,” from 8:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, March 3.

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This beneficiary of this year’s formal dance — open to the public — is SMU 1994 alumna Shelly (Kubicek) McMahon and her family. Shelly is currently from the La Crosse, Wis., area. Her husband, Sean, a 1994 alumus of SMU, died last spring after battling severe depression. Shelly is now raising their four young children as a single parent. Both Sean and Shelly were also employees of the university; Sean worked for the De La Salle Language program and Shelly worked in Student Activities.

In addition to raising money to help the McMahon family, planners of the event hope to bring awareness to the disease of depression and how it can be managed through treatment.

This benefit dance has become an annual tradition since it was started by students in 2001 in honor of Taylor Richmond, son of Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry and Student Activities staff member Nikki Richmond. Taylor has a genetic terminal illness called Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T) and the money from his benefit was used to fulfill Taylor's dream of going to Disneyworld. Each year this event benefits someone in the SMU community in need.

The dance, featuring music by the Johnny Holm Band, will be held in the Toner Student Center dining room. Ticket prices are $15 per person or $25 per couple. To purchase tickets or receive more information, contact Jason Richter at (507) 457-1648 or Katie LaPlant (507) 457-6936. Dance tickets will also be available at the door.

To make a donation, send checks — payable to the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance — to Jason Richter, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, 700 Terrace Heights No. 45, Winona, MN 55987.

In combination with the dance, a silent auction will be held on campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 1-2. A variety of homemade goods, gift baskets and specialty items will be on display in the game room, located in the Toner Student Center. Proceeds from the auction will also go to the McMahon family.

Chamber Singers to present Homecoming Concert

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Chamber Singers will present a Homecoming Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels on the Saint Teresa campus. This event is free and open to the public.
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The 24-voice select ensemble, directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, is currently touring in Germany as part of their 2007 Concert Tour. Tour highlights have included performances at Johanneskirche, Zolling, Bavaria, and Laurentiuskirche, Haag am der Amper, Bavaria. The Chamber Singers will also serve as guest choir for a Mass at the Liebfrauen Münster, Ingolstadt, Bavaria, on Sunday, Feb. 18.

Repertoire will include a cappella works by Victoria, Arcadelt, Marenzio, Woollen, Guerrero, and a world premiere of “Drei Rilkegesänge,” composed by Dr. O’Shea especially for this tour.

For more information, call Dr. O’Shea at (507) 457-1598.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Remick Fellowship partners with NativityMiguel

WINONA, Minn. — For close to 10 years, the Remick Fellowship Program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has provided financial support for potential Catholic school teachers. This year the Remick Fellowship has partnered with the NativityMiguel Network of Schools. The goal is to continue the tradition of bringing highly qualified, committed teachers into the Catholic schools, and — in particular — into the NativityMiguel Network of Schools.
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Fellowship recipients will be encouraged to spend the first two years of their teaching career working with the NativityMiguel Network of Schools, which includes 62 faith-based middle schools, serving more than 4,000 students in 27 states. Further information is available at

Remick Fellows participate in a one-year program at SMU, which provides the opportunity for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a variety of fields to acquire teacher licensure in elementary education (K-6) with an Early Adolescence Specialty (5-8), or Early Adolescence/Young Adult (grades 5-12). Disciplines include mathematics, social studies, modern foreign languages, communication and language arts, life science, physical science and music. Fellows earn a Master of Arts in Instruction degree.

Those who have studied theology and who wish to teach religion in the Catholic schools will receive the M.A. in Instruction degree, but not state licensure.

Through the Remick Fellowship, students who meet the qualifications and are admitted into the M.A. in Instruction program will receive full remission of all graduate tuition and fees during the term of their appointment; full remission of room and board fees in appropriate housing on the Winona campus; and a modest monthly stipend.

The Remick Fellowship Program responds to a need in American Catholic education for teachers at all levels who are not only skilled but also appreciative of the distinct qualities and challenges of Catholic education, including a particular concern for social justice and service to those in need.

The program is endowed by Mary Ann and Jack Remick of Rochester. Throughout their lives, as students in Catholic educational systems at all levels, and as parents of five children who have benefited from Catholic education, the Remicks have been moved to support the future of Catholic education.

For more information, contact the School of Education at Saint Mary’s University at 507-457-6622 or go to

SMU hosts SwimAmerica swimming lessons

WINONA, Minn. — School-aged children (ages 5 and older) are invited to take swimming lessons this spring at Saint Mary’s University through SwimAmerica, a national learn-to-swim program operated by the American Swimming Coaches Association.
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Session I will meet March 6, 8, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29.
Session II will meet April 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, May 1 and 3.
Session III will meet May 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29 and 31.

Lessons are from 6 to 6:30 p.m. or 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. in SMU’s Jul Gernes Pool.

The cost is $70, and a session swimsuit is included with the initial registration (one time only). Each child also receives a certificate with stickers for each level passed.

All participants must wear the provided SwimAmerica Finish suit. Girls will be provided a one-piece suit while boys will be provided a jammer suit. Additional suits are available for purchase. Suits will be handed out the first day of class; children should bring an extra suit on the first day to avoid any sizing problems.

Staff will include Eric Lindquist, the SMU men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach, and members of the SMU Cardinal Swim Team.

REGISTER and pay online at For more information, e-mail, or call (507) 457-6973 or 800-635-5987, Ext. 6973.

SMU Gallery to feature Rochester area artists

Photo Caption: The painting, “Nude,” by Eva Deli of Austin, Minn., is one of the pieces to be displayed in “Brush Stroke: group painting show” March 3-April 4 at Saint Mary’s University.

WINONA, Minn. — The upcoming art exhibit “Brush Stroke: group painting show” will be on display at Saint Mary’s University March 3-April 4.
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The show — to be held in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries — will feature the work of several artists from Rochester including Jane Belau, Corene Bernatz, Andrea Costopoulos, Pat Dunn-Walker, Ann Riggott, Jane Schulz, Denise Walser-Kolar, Lily Weinshilboum, as well as Eva Deli from Austin, Minn.

The artwork will include abstract landscapes, realistic figures, colorful impressionism, and complex scenes; the artists use a variety of mediums including watercolors, oils and acrylics. A wide variety of influences and styles are represented in the paintings including Oriental, Western and Austrian traditions.

The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. An opening reception is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 3. The Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries are located in SMU’s Toner Student Center. For more information, call (507) 457-1652.

Friday, February 09, 2007

DeThomasis Assumes Duties of President

WINONA, Minn. -- At its regular meeting Friday, Feb. 9, the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Board of Trustees announced that the chancellor of the university, Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, Ph.D. will assume the duties of president until a permanent president is hired. The board also announced its intention to immediately commence a presidential search process.
Read more.

DeThomasis, 66, previously served as Saint Mary's president from 1984 to 2005. He was named chancellor of the university upon the completion of his 21-year tenure.

Brother Craig Franz, FSC, Ph.D. served as president from June 1, 2005 until his resignation Dec. 19, 2006. At that time, the SMU board asked Jeffrey Highland, Ph.D., to serve as interim president until official action could be taken at its Feb. 9 meeting. Dr. Highland will now continue in his roles as university provost and vice president of the College.

Rob Figliulo, chairman of the board of trustees, said DeThomasis is an outstanding person to serve as president during this time of transition. "He is an exceptional leader who knows the institution, he knows the faculty and staff, and he knows the communities. Throughout his association with Saint Mary's, Brother Louis has demonstrated his concern and commitment. He cares deeply for the success of the university.

"Saint Mary's will be in very good hands," Figliulo added. "Brother Louis is uniquely qualified to lead the institution and position it so that a new president can come in here with momentum and enthusiasm, and hit the ground running.

"We are so fortunate that Brother Louis agreed to put aside his other professional commitments to serve us again," Figliulo said. "He has our great admiration and immense gratitude."

Figliulo thanked Dr. Highland for accepting the call to serve the past two months. "Once again, Dr. Highland has shown just how dedicated he is to this university. We sincerely appreciate his willingness to take on even greater responsibility at a time when we especially needed his talent and experience."

DeThomasis also commended Dr. Highland, noting that Saint Mary's is "blessed to have such a skillful, dedicated and selfless administrator in a key leadership role."

Looking ahead, DeThomasis said he will "make sure that the coming months are productive and progressive.

"I will continue the momentum that Saint Mary's has as a Lasallian university that is proud of its past and absolutely committed to the future," DeThomasis said. "There are many fine initiatives underway that I pledge to carry forward, and there are many opportunities that are yet to be realized."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Area schools compete in High School Challenge

WINONA, Minn. - Saint Mary's University will host the High School Challenge consolation championship and the “Super Bowl” finals Saturday, Feb. 10, in Figluilo Recital Hall, located in the Performance Center. High School Challenge is a tournament of knowledge showcasing students for Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Read more.

Thirty-two area high schools started competing in the fall to be one of the Super Bowl finalists. This year the consolation championship will feature Cotter High School competing with Lewiston-Altura High School at 9 a.m. Quarter finals will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the following teams playing single elimination: Winona Senior High, La Crescent, Aquinas, Eau Claire Regis, La Crosse Logan, Holmen, Decorah and North Crawford.

These games will be taped by and aired on Fox 25/Fox 48 La Crosse. Everyone is invited to come watch these students face off to be the 2006-07 High School Challenge champions.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Summer theatre auditions, interviews March 10

WINONA, Minn. - Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre will hold actor auditions and technical interviews on Saturday, March 10, at Saint Mary's University's Performance Center.
Read more.

GCST's six-week repertory season includes the comedy “Lend Me a Tenor” and the musical “Showtune: Celebrating the Words and Music of Jerry Herman.” The company will give four performances a week from July 5 to Aug. 5 at SMU's Page Theatre.

Actors should bring a headshot and resumé, and prepare two contrasting monologues (not to exceed three minutes). Actors who can sing should also prepare two song selections (ballad and up-tempo, not exceeding two minutes) and bring their own battery-operated media player (cassette, CD, MP-3) for accompaniment. A cappella singing is not permitted. Technicians should bring a resumé and portfolio in their area of interest.

The acting company will consist of eight performers, some of whom will have additional technical responsibilities. Technical positions available include technical director, lighting designer(s), costume designer, costume shop supervisor, two stage managers, scenic artist, technician/master electrician, set construction/carpenter, and costume technician.

Contract dates for actors run from June 4 to Aug. 6. Technician contracts vary, depending on position, from May 13 to Aug. 8. Salaries vary from $250 to $350 per week, depending on duties. Housing is provided on the SMU Winona campus.

To schedule an audition time, actors should contact artistic director Judy Myers at (507) 457-6686 and technicians should contact production manager Kit Mayer at (507) 457-1717. More information about GCST is available at