Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saint Mary’s hosts Tegrity luncheon for regional institutions of higher education

Discussing the benefits of Tegrity, a leading provider of lecture capture technology, are, from left: Jason Spartz of Saint Mary’s University, Mohamed Elhindi of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, and Bryan Arvinson from Tegrity.

WINONA, Minn. — Tegrity, a leading provider of lecture capture technology, hosted an executive luncheon at Saint Mary’s University on Wednesday, July 28. Invitations were extended to regional institutions of higher education to learn how Saint Mary’s University, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, and Winona State University are using Tegrity.

All three institutions presented and discussed their deployment strategies, Tegrity’s impact on student populations and best practices as an instructional technology. In total, 11 colleges and universities from Minnesota and Wisconsin attended the event.

Tegrity Campus 2.0 makes class time available all the time by automatically capturing, storing and indexing classes on campus for replay by students. With patented Tegrity “search anything” technology, students instantly recall key class moments for replay online, or on iPods and mobile devices.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Conservatory’s summer dance showcase scheduled for Friday

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will present a dance showcase at 7 p.m. Friday, July 23, at the ValĂ©ncia Arts Center Academy Theatre, 1164 West 10th St.

The showcase, which is free and open to the public, features works that the students from the MCA Summer Intensive have learned in the three-week dance camp. A variety of dance forms will be presented, including classical and contemporary ballet, jazz, flamenco and modern dance. The works were choreographed by MCA guest artists Deborah Elias, Allen Fields, Dustyn Martincich, Stephanie Milling, Jeffrey Peterson and Tammy Schmidt.

In addition to learning showcase pieces, students have been participating in comprehensive dance training, including technique and theory classes. Class studies have included ballet, pointe, men’s class, variations, pas de deux, repertory, jazz, hip hop, rhythm tap, modern, musical theatre dance, pilates, yoga, water aerobics, acting for the dancer, choreography and improvisation.

The intermediate and advanced students from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, ranging in age from 12 to 22, were selected for the program by audition.

For more information about the Summer Intensive Showcase or future MCA program offerings, call (507) 453-5500 or visit

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ninth-graders prepare early to succeed in college

First-generation students from underserved communities
immersed in college life during new Saint Mary’s program

WINONA, Minn. — Twenty-five 9th-graders from Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tucson, Ariz., will get a head start on college success this summer, thanks to a first-of-its-kind program offered by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

From July 24 to Aug. 7, the university’s Countdown to College academic camp will provide these students (and teachers from their home schools) with activities that will help them prepare for successful college experiences. Countdown to College will boost students’ skills, confidence and knowledge of how to negotiate the social and academic world of college.

Countdown to College offers free classes, recreation, field trips, and room and board. Saint Mary’s plans to welcome back the same students for four consecutive summers. Each year a new group of 9th graders will be selected to participate in the Countdown to College experience, resulting in a total camp population of 100 9th- through 12th-graders by the fourth summer.

“To our knowledge, this is the first program in the nation that offers four consecutive years of early immersion in the college experience,” said Dr. Jane Anderson, dean of the School of Education for Saint Mary’s University, who helped develop the program.

Why the program is needed

Currently, about one of every two economically disadvantaged youth of color in the U.S. does not graduate from high school. Only a small percentage of Latinos and African Americans have college degrees. This is the reality even as demand is rising for better-educated workers who can function in today’s technologically complex global economy.

“Countdown to College is designed to ensure college success for first-generation students whose parents did not have the opportunity to go to college,” said Dr. Anderson. “First-generation students, many of them students of color from underserved schools and communities, are at an economic and educational disadvantage when it comes to reaching and finishing college. These are all factors that are known to significantly limit their ability to attend and succeed in college.”

Countdown to College highlights

Countdown to College seeks to break down the barriers to higher education by exposing youth directly to the college experience for two weeks each summer for four straight years. The first summer, each day will be filled with college orientation and classes in reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, math and leadership. Their schedules will also include supervised study halls, academic contests, sports, recreation, and field trips. Other college preparation subjects, such as science, will be added in subsequent years.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the program is that it includes a teacher or staff representative from each of the participating students’ schools. They will co-teach the classes alongside Saint Mary’s instructors. This will help prepare the university instructors to work with an increasingly diverse population of college students. In turn, the visiting teachers learn how to set their students up for success in college and how to help create a community of support around the students.

The participants in Countdown to College attend schools in the Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Tucson metropolitan areas. Preference is given to graduates of Saint Mary’s middle school partners in the NativityMiguel Network of Jesuit and Christian Brothers’ schools, which are located in those cities.

Countdown to College is funded for 2010-2013 by a generous donation from Jack and Mary Ann Remick of Rochester, Minn., who are long-time supporters of Saint Mary’s University. Mary Ann Remick is also the chairwoman of Saint Mary’s First-Generation Advisory Board.

Part of the broader ‘First-Generation Initiative’

Countdown to College is the foundation segment of Saint Mary’s broader First-Generation Initiative to improve college access and success.

“Countdown to College and our First-Generation Initiative reflect Saint Mary’s mission to make higher education accessible to learners, regardless of their financial situations,” said Brother William Mann, president of Saint Mary’s University.

Countdown to College graduates will receive preferential consideration to participate in Saint Mary’s First-Generation Initiative program, which provides college scholarships, and educational support to first-generation students who demonstrate financial need as well as leadership and academic potential. Beginning this fall, up to 15 students are eligible to receive full four-year scholarships. These scholarships will provide full financial support for tuition, room and board, books, computer, spending money, and one semester of study abroad.

“Students participating in Countdown to College may potentially become part of Saint Mary’s First-Generation Initiative scholarship program, which would be a seamless continuation of support for these students,” said Brother Edmund Siderewicz, assistant to the president for First-Generation and Lasallian Initiatives. “We want to provide full scholarships and opportunities for our First-Generation students – study abroad, internships, life to the fullest – because we know these students have the potential to accomplish great things.”

Friday, July 09, 2010

New shell installed at Saint Mary’s University

The shell in the process of being assembled.

WINONA, Minn. — Because of the generosity of the late Joseph C. Page, Saint Mary’s University was able to purchase and install a new acoustic shell system for the Page Theatre this summer.

The steel shell, specifically designed and engineered for the SMU theatre, blends in with the architecture, and is surrounded by a high-pressure oak laminate. It stands 25 feet high by 44 feet wide and features two flying clouds with build-in lighting.

“This new shell will improve the quality of sound in our 455-seat Page Theatre,” said Michael Charron, dean of the School of the Arts and chair of the Minnesota Arts Board. “This benefits our own performers, but also allows the university to host a larger variety of musical venues. Winona has become a destination for quality arts programming, and we’re excited to be able to offer another location for performers to consider, thereby increasing arts opportunities in our community.”

An acoustic shell, funded by an estate gift in excess of $50,000 was part of the Joseph C. Page Revocable Trust Agreement. Page, a lifelong Winona resident and long-time Winona district court clerk, passed away in 1985, leaving an estate valued at $1.5 million and an estate plan that included a bequest to Saint Mary’s. In addition to his many philanthropic gifts at the time of his death, Page established a trust that paid all net income to his long-time deputy clerk during her lifetime. Upon her death in late 2009, the remainder was distributed to Saint Mary’s.