Thursday, October 28, 2010

High School Challenge season begins Saturday

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota High School Challenge returns for another season of fun competition at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, in Saint Mary’s World Room, located in the Hendrickson Center. The 2010-11 season marks the 39th year of the longest running, locally produced television program showcasing Eastern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and Northeast Iowa high school students in an educational forum.

High School Challenge is a contest in which high schools compete to correctly answer questions dealing with high school subjects, general information and current events. Thirty-two teams compete in winner and consolation bracket tournaments at Saint Mary’s. The final eight games of the tournament are taped at SMU and are televised on Fox 25 La Crosse and Fox 48 Eau Claire.

High school students receive scholarships to Saint Mary’s for participating in High School Challenge. Schools that win their first game receive $2,000 scholarships to SMU. Schools that lose their first game receive $1,000 scholarships to SMU. These scholarships are for any member of the senior class with a B or above average.

The competition begins Saturday, Oct. 30, with Round 1A. The following schools will participate: La Crosse Central, La Crosse Logan, Caledonia, Cotter, Youth Initiative, LaCrescent, and North Crawford. Round 1B will be Nov. 13 and Round 1C will be Nov. 20.

Teams that win their afternoon game will return Dec. 4 for the Consolation Championship games. Teams that win their morning and afternoon games will return Feb. 19 for the Super Challenge Championship.

For more information, contact Nicole Witt Gerdes, High School Challenge coordinator, at or Ext. 1761.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nearly 300 Saint Mary’s students volunteer for Make a Difference Day

WINONA, Minn. — In recognition of national “Make a Difference Day,” approximately 285 Saint Mary’s University students volunteered their time Saturday, Oct. 23, throughout Winona and the surrounding area.

Volunteers assisted the Habitat Restore, Habitat for Humanity, the Winona Area Humane Society, Winona Health, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Grace Place, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Winona ORC, and at Madison, Jefferson and Washington-Kosciusko Elementary Schools.

“Make a Difference Day” is the most encompassing national day of helping others, a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Created by USA WEEKEND magazine, this annual event takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. SMU is proud to join the millions of people throughout the nation who participated.

Saint Mary’s Alumni also came together through the spirit of Saint Mary’s Lasallian mission of service to others and volunteered their time Saturday, Oct. 23, as part of the annual “Lasallian Day of Service.” Alumni helped out in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Winona, working with projects such as Feed My Starving Children, Project for Pride in Living and the San Miguel Schools in Chicago.

Saint Mary's speaker to address healthy eating

WINONA, Minn. — Dr. Heidi Michels Blanck, a commander of the U.S. Public Health Service and chief of the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of Centers for Disease Control (CDC), will speak at Saint Mary’s University Monday, Nov. 1.

Dr. Michels Blanck, a 1992 SMU alumna, will speak about “Healthy Eating and Active Living: the CDC’s Public Health Approach to Preventing and Reducing Obesity” beginning at 4:30 p.m. A reception will immediately follow.

The event, free and open to the public, will be held in the Common Room, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. Dr. Michels Blanck’s presentation is sponsored by the SMU School of Humanities and Sciences and is being held in connection with the 40th anniversary celebration of women at Saint Mary’s.

SMU Department of Theatre & Dance to stage new version of Greek myth ‘Eurydice’

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance will present a fresh reflection on the timeless Greek love story “Eurydice” Nov. 11-14.

“Eurydice” — by the recently Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl — is a modern reinterpretation of the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus from a woman's point of view. The original story focuses on Orpheus and his journey into the underworld to save his wife, Eurydice, who he lost just moments after their wedding. Ruhl instead focuses on Eurydice’s descent into the underworld and imagines what her journey might have entailed. “I am interested in any woman who dies twice,” Ruhl has commented.

Director Steven Bouler describes “Eurydice” as a 90-minute play of rare beauty about memory and loss, faithfulness and undying love. “It promises to be a disconcerting drama that will bring a tear to the eye, a lump to the throat and a smile to the face,” he said.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 11-13, 9:30 p.m. Nov. 12-13 and 4 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Studio Theatre, located upstairs in the SMU Performance Center.

Although the performance is free, tickets are required as seating is limited. Tickets can be obtained through the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715. A donation of a canned item for a local food shelf is encouraged.

Students celebrate National Chemistry Week during Saint Mary’s Chemistry Nights

WINONA, Minn. — Many area high school juniors and seniors will perform hands-on chemistry projects during upcoming Chemistry Nights at Saint Mary’s University, which will run 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4.

Chemistry Night, sponsored by the SMU Department of Chemistry and the La Crosse-Winona local section of the American Chemical Society, is an annual event designed to help students explore the discipline of chemistry and appreciate the positive role that chemistry plays in our everyday world.

Each year students solve a challenging but fun chemical problem, based on the National Chemistry Week (Oct. 17-23) theme; this year’s theme is “Behind the Scenes with Chemistry” — the special effects chemistry of movies and television.

Students will work in small teams, using wet chemistry and working with chemical instrumentation in the SMU Department of Chemistry, under the guidance of SMU chemistry majors.

Prizes will be awarded to the teams that have the greatest success in solving the chemical problems. Prizes will include SMU scholarships of $2,000 and $1,000.

Eight area schools and approximately 45 students are participating this year.

For more information, contact Dr. Brett Bodsgard at (507) 457-6972.

Saint Mary’s to host nationally known economist Chris Farrell Nov. 11

WINONA, Minn. — Chris Farrell, economics editor for “Marketplace Money,” American Public Media’s nationally syndicated public radio personal finance program, will speak to audiences about “The New Frugality” at Saint Mary’s University Thursday, Nov. 11.

An award-winning journalist, Farrell is a regular contributor to American Public Media’s “Marketplace Morning Report.” He writes for “Bloomberg BusinessWeek” and contributes to “Yahoo News.” Farrell also has a weekly column in the Minneapolis “Star Tribune.” A graduate of Stanford University and the London School of Economics, Farrell lives in St. Paul.

Farrell has a unique ability to translate major trends in the economy and finance to a broad audience. He draws from his experience as a journalist, a large collection of everyday anecdotes, and a deep appreciation of history to make complex events simple and engaging.

Farrell’s presentation, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in Page Theatre, on SMU’s Winona campus, is free and open to the public. Farrell will discuss highlights of his latest book, “The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More and Live Better,” followed by a question-and-answer period and a book signing in the lobby of the Performance Center.

Books will be available for purchase in the SMU Barnes & Noble Book Store and at the book signing.

The event is sponsored by the SMU Business Office.

Monday, October 25, 2010

SMU math colloquium presents ‘The Spiraling Art of Mollusks’

Dr. Judy Holdener of Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, will discuss “The Spiraling Art of Mollusks,” Thursday, Nov. 4, at Saint Mary’s University as part of an ongoing Women in Math Colloquium.

This colloquium, hosted by the Saint Mary’s University Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is supported by a National Science Foundation grant to encourage women to study mathematics.

Organizers hope that through these events, high school and college-aged students will become engaged and inspired by the opportunities and challenges presented to women in the ever-progressing field of mathematics.

Dr. Holdener asks, “Are mollusks artists?” Anyone observing the spiraling seashells mollusks sometimes produce might believe they are. In this talk, Dr. Holdener will reproduce the art of mollusks using a fairly elementary mathematical model of seashell form. The model is based on the observation that most shells grow isometrically, meaning they retain the same shape as they enlarge. With the help of the computer algebra system MAPLE, she will then employ iterative models to render the surface patterns commonly found on seashells. In doing so, she will not only apply mathematics to obtain the beauty found in nature, she will illustrate the beautiful nature of applied mathematics.

The event — free and open to the public — will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall, located on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. A reception for Dr. Holdener will begin at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Dr. Kevin Dennis at or (507) 457-6650.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SMU’s Page Series presents Houston Ballet II Nov. 4

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Page Series will present The Houston Ballet II, one of America’s most sought after young ballet companies, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, in Page Theatre, located in SMU’s Performance Center.

Featuring a stellar array of young artists, The Houston Ballet II is young American ballet at its finest. The company is part of The Houston Ballet, America’s fourth largest company, and performs a wide array of dance works that range from excerpts from great classics to contemporary works by Stanton Welch, the company’s artistic director. The evening’s repertoire will include “Raymonda Act III,” as well as the unexpected “Long and Winding Road,” based upon music by the Beatles.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. They can be purchased by calling the SMU Box Office at (507) 457-1715 Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. or online at 
Children younger than 5 will not be able to attend this production.

Saint Mary’s University is a fiscal year 2010 recipient of an Institutional Presenter Support grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saint Mary’s University’s Page Series to host ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University’s Page Series will host a Theatreworks USA performance of the timeless children’s story “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26.

The event will be held in Page Theatre, located in the Performance Center.

This enchanting musical is based on C.S. Lewis’ adventure story about four children living in war-torn England, who accidentally enter the land of Narnia by climbing through a magic wardrobe. Narnia is a strange and wondrous place ruled by the cold-hearted White Witch, who makes winter last year round. Although they seem unlikely saviors, the four children fulfill an ancient prophecy by defeating the witch, thus restoring sunshine and peace to spellbound Narnia and returning the great Lion King Aslan to his throne.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. They can be purchased from the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at

Saint Mary’s University is a fiscal year 2010 recipient of an Institutional Presenter Support grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

‘Gathering for Narnia’ planned for
Oct. 23 at Winona Public Library

The public is invited to attend a gathering at the Winona Public Library Saturday, Oct. 23, in celebration of Theatreworks USA’s production of “The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe” at the SMU Page Theatre.

The free event will begin at 12:30 p.m. Teacher education students from Saint Mary’s will lead children in kindergarten through grade six in creating masks or simple costumes, based upon the characters from C.S. Lewis’ novels.

Light refreshments will be served, and participants will have opportunities to win gift cards from Barnes & Noble and the Book Shelf, as well as tickets to see the “The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe” at SMU.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Halloween Fun Night is Oct. 25 at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — Elementary and preschool children from the Winona area are invited to attend the tenth annual Saint Mary’s University Halloween Fun Night from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25.

Participants should stop at the guard booth at the main entrance of the Winona campus for directions on where to park.

Young trick-or-treaters should start out the evening at the Hall of Fame Room, located in the Toner Student Center, where tattoos and stickers, a coloring station, and other fun games will be offered, and the Cardinal mascot will greet pint-sized ghosts and goblins.

From there, SMU students will lead groups of trick-or-treaters through the residence halls of the university, where they can go door to door for candy.

Last year more than 700 youth participated in this free, safe and fun event, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life of Saint Mary’s.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona announces application dates

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program is once again setting age requirements for applicants this year.

Because of the economy, a record number of individuals are expected to apply this year. The Winona Food Shelf is reporting a 17% percent increase in families using its services compared to last year. (Over 930 families are using the food shelf per month.) With more families asking for help and a smaller number of people who are in a position to donate, the program is once again being adapted. The program’s main priority is to provide gifts to children 18 years of age and younger and individuals 60 years of age and older. Families will only be able to report gift requests for family members in these age ranges.

The annual gift-giving program — in its ninth year — helps more than 1,400 people have a much happier holiday season. The program has grown significantly each year.
Families may pick up an application form through one of the human service agencies that they work with (Habitat for Humanity, Project FINE, Winona County Department of Human Services, Winona Senior Advocacy Program, Winona Volunteer Services, Winona Red Cross or Women’s Resource Center).

Completed application forms must be returned to Winona Volunteer Services (402 E. 2nd St.) from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 21 and 28; 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22; or 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. SMU volunteers will be available for assistance on these dates.

This program exists through the generosity of the Winona community, as well as the work of other community partners including: Winona Volunteer Services, Winona Radio and the Winona Post.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Saint Mary’s theatre students to perform in London, Ireland

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University theatre majors will stage the highly theatrical disturbing docu-drama “God’s Country” from Oct. 19-23 at TARA Studio in London and Nov. 29-30 at Smock Alley Studio Theatre in Ireland.

Written by Steven Dietz, the emotionally gripping plot takes a close look at the shocking history of the white supremacist movement in the USA. “God’s Country” revolves around various right-wing organizations that, collectively, comprise the so-called “Identity Movement.” The play covers all bases of the right-wing lunatic fringe, but essentially it focuses on three narrative spines: the trial in Seattle of a paramilitary group which calls itself “The Order”; the career and murder of Denver talk-radio personality Alan Berg (outspoken, controversial and Jewish) “assassinated” by The Order; and, finally, the hate-filled career and death of The Order’s founder, Robert Matthews. These narratives are not presented in a linear fashion, but are interwoven, sometimes non-chronologically, amongst a barrage of statistics and facts into a kaleidoscopic and highly theatrical vision. It’s presentation couldn’t be more timely — and, sad to say, timeless.

Qualified theatre majors at Saint Mary's are studying theatre in London, England, this semester through the Stefanni√© Val√©ncia Kierlin Theatre in London Program. Under the guidance of Saint Mary’s faculty, the program will include a variety of classes in theatre, as well as courses focusing on broader enrichment. Students will have the unique opportunity to attend numerous performances at London’s West End, Off-West End, and Fringe theatres.

Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc., “God’s Country” is directed by Dr. Gary Diomandes. Also participating are: Michael Dold, stage manager; Josh Lentner, lighting designer; Greg Freeman, sound designer; and performers Darrell Fair, Maggie Allexsaht, Annie Ivansek, Regina Harris, Joanna Mills, Jarod Boltjes, Tom Conry, Rick Baustian, Jacob Rivet, David Dean, Matthew Gorgone, Laurence Alliston-Greiner and Shane Nippard.

Get set to scream at annual Saint Mary's Walk of Horror

WINONA, Minn. — This year’s Saint Mary’s University Walk of Horror is again guaranteed to give you goosebumps. New scares are planned around every corner.

The 14th annual hair-raising fundraiser for the SMU Cardinal fastpitch softball team will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 22-23 and 29-31 in the SMU bluffs. Walkers are asked to meet on the lighted path between the SMU baseball and softball fields, where the haunted walk will begin.

Groups are then escorted through the dark bluffs surrounding the SMU campus for approximately 20 minutes.

The cost is $5 for adults, $4 for students with ID, and $4 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the gate.

SMU head fastpitch softball coach Jen Miller said the event is fun for all ages. The scare level is toned down for younger children and turned up for groups bold enough to face their fears. Last year more than 1,100 brave souls took SMU’s Walk of Horror.

Proceeds from this event will be used for the softball team’s travel expenses.

For more information, contact Miller at (507) 457-6923.