Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Report shows Saint Mary’s athletes excel in classroom

WINONA, Minn. — For any student-athlete, statistics help tell the story of their individual or team successes.

Goals, assists, attack percentage, field goals made, split times, service aces, batting average … the list goes on and on.

For members of the 21 varsity intercollegiate sports at Saint Mary’s University, however, one statistic stands out above all the rest — 3.11. That’s the overall SMU student-athlete grade-point-average for Fall 2009 semester, as calculated by Saint Mary’s institutional research.

“I am very proud of the accomplishments of our student-athletes on and off the field of competition,” said SMU athletic director Nikki Fennern, noting that 16 of the 21 varsity teams boasted a team GPA of 3.00 or higher, with the women’s track and field (3.53) and the men’s cross country (3.43) leading the charge. “Academic success is the main goal of all of our students. To achieve this while committing many hours per week to their sport, work, and other campus activities is even more impressive.”

Of the 325 current student-athletes — who make up 25 percent of SMU’s full-time undergraduate population — 15 had perfect 4.0 GPAs, while 73 were named to the Dean’s List with GPAs of 3.60 or above, and 182 finished the fall semester at 3.00 or higher.

Along with their successes in competition and in the classroom, several Cardinal teams have also been busy volunteering their time around the Winona community. Over half of SMU’s teams have spent time volunteering in the community or for special events such as cancer awareness and Gifts for Winona. More community service opportunities are scheduled for second semester.

“It is important for our student-athletes to give back to the community,” Fennern said. “These young men and women show great generosity with their time and energy.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Saint Mary’s hosts event centered around ‘The Hobbit’

WINONA, Minn. — Fans of “The Hobbit” are invited for an afternoon of fun at the Winona Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 6, beginning at 12:30 p.m. when Saint Mary’s University will host a “Hobbit-nista Gathering.”

A variety of events are planned:

• Cookies and punch will be served, and Saint Mary’s theatre arts students will present dramatic readings from “The Hobbit.”

• Students 18 years old and younger are invited to bring along their best original artwork, depicting a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Prizes to be awarded (by random drawing) include gift cards to Mugby Junction, the Book Shelf and Barnes & Noble. Juror’s choices will be on display at the SMU Page Theatre lobby the night of the Théâtre Sans Fil performance of “The Hobbit” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9.

• Those who come early to the Hobbit-nista Gathering will be eligible for free ticket drawings to see the Page Series Théâtre Sans Fil performance. Using large-scale puppets, dramatic scenery and lighting, the story of Bilbo and Gandalf will be presented live on stage. Théâtre Sans Fil has been dazzling crowds throughout the world for more than 20 years.

This event is funded by the SELCO Arts and Cultural Library Legacy Fund. Support for the performance of “The Hobbit” by Théâtre Sans Fil is provided in part by Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders. Support for the school matinee of “The Hobbit” by Théâtre Sans Fil is provided in part by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest. Additional support is provided by the Winona Community Foundation and Target.

The 2009-2010 Page Series is presented by Saint Mary’s University School of the Arts.

SMU Page Series presents ‘The Hobbit’ by Théâtre Sans Fil

WINONA, Minn. — Enormous puppets and spectacular special effects will bring the beloved story of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” to life on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Saint Mary’s University. This performance by Théâtre Sans Fil will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Page Theater, located in the SMU Performance Center.

“The Hobbit” tells the familiar story of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Wizard and a company of dwarfs who find themselves caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.

Théâtre Sans Fil (Theatre without Strings) was last in Winona in 2008, performing “Hansel & Gretel” at SMU. Théâtre Sans Fil specializes in giant puppets inspired by the classical technique of Japanese Bunraku theatre. The company successfully unites this style with original and modern set design, lighting and music. Fantasy, poetry, make-believe, and magic, along with unusual and heroic characters highlight this production of the world-renowned fantasy tale.

Founded in Quebec in 1971 by André Viens, artistic and general director, the Théâtre Sans Fil has given more than 3,000 performances to 3 million spectators.

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

Join Saint Mary’s at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, for a Hobbit-nista Gathering at the Winona Public Library. Events include an art contest, readings from “The Hobbit,” ticket giveaways for Théâtre Sans Fil’s Feb. 9 “Hobbit” performance, and more!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Public invited to SMU 10K classic ski Sunday, Jan. 31

The start of the SMU 10K last year

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University is inviting the public to the annual “SMU 10K” classic ski event on Sunday, Jan. 31.

“We’re very fortunate to have an excellent trail system here that is both scenic, as well as challenging," said Chris Kendall, vice president for student development. “And this year we can be sure we will actually have snow, thanks to our new snow-making capabilities as a result of a partnership with the Winona Ski Club.”

The classic-style citizens ski event will be held at Saint Mary’s University, home to one of the region's finest cross country trail systems. The trails wind through the bluffs and valleys above the Mississippi River.

The event is open to all individuals, with a mass start slated for 1 p.m. On-site registration will begin at 11 a.m. at the SMU Toner Student Center. The cost is $10, which includes a souvenir race bib. Medals will be awarded for men and women in open and recreational classes.

For more information or to receive a registration form, call Davey Warner at (507) 457-8740 or e-mail Saint Mary’s University is located on Hwy. 14, one mile west of Hwy. 61 in Winona.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SMU, WSU poets offer evening of poetry Jan. 29 for Fringe Fest

WINONA, Minn. — Winona’s Poet Laureate Ken McCullough from Saint Mary’s University and former Poet Laureate Jim Armstrong from Winona State University will co-host “A Confluence of Voices” on Friday, Jan. 29.

Several poets from both Saint Mary’s and Winona State will read their work in round-robin fashion, followed by an open mic.

This event, part of the Frozen River Fringe Fest, will run from 4 to 6 p.m. at Mugby Junction, located at 451 Huff St.

For more information, call McCullough at (507) 457-8737.

Monday, January 11, 2010

SMU Page Series hosts Moscow Festival Ballet

WINONA, Minn. — The Moscow Festival Ballet will present “Giselle” — a story of love, betrayal, madness, revenge and forgiveness — at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, at Saint Mary’s University’s Page Theatre.

The Moscow Festival Ballet, under the direction of former Bolshoi principal dancer Sergei Radchenko, has amassed a loyal following across the United States for its technically precise and respectful interpretations of grand ballet in the admired Russian tradition.

“Giselle” is the story of a pure and innocent peasant girl who is jilted by a rich nobleman. Driven insane by the ending of their relationship, she dies and enters the graveyard world of ghosts of vengeful brides betrayed by undeserving suitors. The role of Giselle is one of the most sought-after in all of ballet, as it requires technical perfection, dazzling grace, lyricism and great dramatic skill.

The Moscow Festival Ballet was founded in 1989 when Radchenko sought to bring together the highest classical elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in an independent new company within the framework of Russian classic ballet.

Tickets are $27 for adults, $25 for students and seniors and are available at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at

Make it dinner and a show! Pre-show dinners, provided by Chartwells Catering, will be available, beginning at 6 p.m. in the President's Room of the Toner Student Center. Orders will be accepted up to one week prior to each event. Reservations can be made online or through the box office. Adult dinners are $22 and include chicken, beef and vegetarian options. Children's dinners are $14.

Local students named to dean’s list at Saint Mary’s

WINONA, Minn. — The following students were named to the first semester, 2009-10 dean’s list at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The list includes undergraduate students who earned a grade point average of 3.60 or better on a 4.0 scale.

Brenton Barghahn, La Crescent
Maria Biebel, Winona
Sarah Bignell, Wabasha
Ashley Blum, Buffalo City, Wis.
Lauren Borkowski, St. Charles
Emily Degallier, Fountain City, Wis.
Katherine Drazkowski, Fountain City, Wis.
Mackenzie Ferguson, Arcadia, Wis.
Joachim Ferk, Plainview
Lydia Feuerhelm, Winona
Laura Flicek, Wabasha
John Fox, Winona
Jessica Giers, Winona
Aaron Hayes, Winona
Brian Heim, Caledonia
Jackie Heintz, Caledonia
Jessica Ingvalson, La Crescent
Emily Lapham, Caledonia
Kate Larson, Winona
Megan Leisen, Kellogg
Justin Loeffler, Winona
Timothy McGill, Winona
Penny Jo Nelson, Plainview
Jason Papaconstandinou, Winona
Amy Pearson, Buffalo City, Wis.
Mekenzie Reps, St. Charles
Katelyn Rizzi, Winona
Jenna Schmidtknecht, Fountain City, Wis.
Jennifer Schurhammer, Kellogg
Timothy Streiff, Winona
Becky Stuckmayer, Winona
Laura Weiner, Winona
Johanna Weissing, Utica
Kara White, Winona

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Film to be shown at SMU for Frozen River Film Festival

WINONA, Minn. — The public is invited to a special showing of the film “The Age of Stupid” as part of the Frozen River Film Festival Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Saint Mary’s University. This free event will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center.

“The Age of Stupid” is a film about climate change, war, consumption and other world issues. Saint Mary’s Frozen River Film Festival and Philosophy clubs are sponsoring the event. Following the film, a panel discussion will be held.

The Frozen River Film Festival is an annual documentary film festival in Winona offering “programs that engage, educate and activate viewers to become involved in the world.” The focus of the 2010 festival, which is held Jan. 27-31, is “Food.”

For more information about the festival, visit the website at A host of films, events, and issues are scheduled.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

SMU Page Series event to highlight Harriet Tubman

WINONA, Minn. — Shadow puppets and illuminated scenery will bring the story of Harriet Tubman to life in the next Saint Mary’s University Page Series performance Friday, Jan. 15. The Underground Railroad Theatre will present, “Are You Ready my Sister?” at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre, located in SMU’s Performance Center.

This historical adventure story of Harriet Tubman the “great conductor” of the Underground Railroad and the Quaker women who helped her bring 300 slaves to freedom features live music based on spirituals of the time, dramatic scenes and audience participation. The set, a giant patchwork quilt, unfolds the story; each square of the quilt is brought to life with shadow puppets and illuminated scenery.

Harriet Tubman was born a slave but later became a fugitive from slavery, fleeing from Southern states where slavery was practiced to Northern states where it was not. She then became a “conductor” on the so-called Underground Railroad, returning to the South to bring other fugitives out of slavery.

For over 25 years, Underground Railroad Theatre’s artistry has delighted audiences, young and old, through the combination of acting, puppetry and music that explores community concerns. The company is committed to presenting theater that provokes discussion, builds bridges between people and reflects cultural diversity.

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

In conjunction with this event, the Winona County Historical Society will present an exhibit titled “Fight for Freedom,” which will explore Winona County’s link to the struggle to end slavery. The exhibit will feature Company K (the men of this region who fought with the 1st Minnesota during the Civil War), Fredrick Douglass’ visit, and case studies of successful African Americans who found new lives in Winona County. This exhibit, free and open to the public, will be on display in the lobby of the Performance Center from Jan. 11 through Feb. 12.

Saint Mary’s donates $1,400 to Volunteer Services Food Shelf

Saint Mary’s University donated $1,400 to Winona Volunteer Services to be used for the Food Shelf. The money was raised through campuswide fundraisers including potlucks and “Jeans for a Cause” Fridays. Presenting the check to Sandra Burke, center right, executive director for Winona Volunteer Services, are SMU Volunteer Committee members, from left: Cindy Marek, Coral Henthorne and Laurie Haase.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Dance Repertory Company auditions are Jan. 9

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will conduct auditions for the Dance Repertory Company’s annual spring concert at noon Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St.

The company is seeking intermediate and advanced dancers with modern, jazz, tap, ballet or pointe training. Roles are available for male and female dancers, ages 13 and older (and for younger students by invitation only).

Interested candidates are asked to bring a photo of themselves, planning calendars, and proper shoes/attire to the audition.

The DRC will be presenting its annual spring concert, featuring The Goodman Suite, on April 22‐24 at Saint Mary’s Page Theatre. The Goodman Suite, debuted by the DRC in the spring of 2000, features works to the swingin’ music of Benny Goodman.

The Dance Repertory Company is the performing troupe of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts of Saint Mary’s University. Company members participate in rehearsals, technique classes and stage performances. Past productions of the company include: The Firebird, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Excerpts from Swan Lake, Cinderella, Youth In Motion, Tappin' to Connick, and Pure Entertainment, among others.

For more information about the Dance Repertory Company, visit, e-mail, or call (507) 453-5500.