Friday, December 21, 2012

Saint Mary’s Gifts for Winona grateful for Winona’s generosity

After picking up her family’s presents through the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program, a grandmother stopped to ask where she could direct a thank-you letter. Her beaming granddaughter had received the shoes she’d been wishing for — ones her grandmother said had been too expensive for their family’s budget.

One mother wrote that the Gifts for Winona program allows her to teach her children that Santa really does exist; she tells her children that God elicits Santa’s help in delivering gifts each Christmas.

And another mother explained that although there hadn’t been enough money for a tree this year, her children would still be able to enjoy their Christmas, thanks to the kindness of others.

They’re thank-yous that truly deserve to be passed along to the entire Winona-area community. It’s because of the generosity that flows through this town that Saint Mary’s University’s Gifts for Winona program – now in its 11th year — is able to fulfill the wish lists of hundreds of children and seniors.

This year the program helped each of the 1,465 individuals and families who registered, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Because of you, everyone received specially wrapped packages, but also the knowledge that someone truly cares.

Though the many people purchasing these gifts may never see the excited faces of the children or seniors receiving them, we are always inspired that the donations continue to flow abundantly, anonymously and caringly. We humbly thank you.

As we count our blessings for the past and upcoming years, we should also remember those less fortunate whose material blessings are a little harder to come by this year. We hope and pray that 2013 will have many wonderful things in store for these families.

The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona volunteers extend an extra special thanks to all of you, including:

• the program’s additional partners, Winona Radio, Winona Post, and Winona Volunteer Services;

• the many SMU shoppers, wrappers, data-entry volunteers, sorters and organizers, including many students, who put in long hours without complaint;

• the many sponsoring businesses, schools, churches and organizations who helped groups of 10 or more;

• every individual who took a tag off a tree or donated money;

• Fleet Farm, Steve and Regina Craney, Walmart, Wells Fargo Bank, Merchants National Bank and Cars & Credit for their generous donations;

• the Winona Public Library, Walmart, the three Severson-Sinclair stations, the Winona Post and Security State Bank for sponsoring giving trees;

• referral agencies who provided support;

• the staff and patrons of the Valéncia Arts Center for allowing us to take over the building for one of the gift distributions, and Frances Passe at the Resource Center in St. Charles for helping to distribute gifts;

• and the area media for helping spread the word about this program.

We continue to be very blessed to be part of such a caring community.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

SMU business students raise money for fellow student

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University business students and the SMU College of Business donated $525 to the medical fund established for SMU student Sabrina Bushlack-Larson, 21, of Mapleton, Minn. Sabrina was critically injured in a car accident on July 16, 2012, after the taxi she was riding in was struck by a car that police said ran a red light. A biochemistry major and three-year regular for the Cardinal volleyball team, Bushlack-Larson suffered a brain injury that initially impacted her speech, balance and mobility.

Each semester, undergraduate entrepreneurship students manage a not-for-profit retail store located in a small corner of the basement of Toner Student Center. Aptly named the “Cardinal Corner,” students choose products to sell in the store, garner donations from around campus, and sell items for on-campus organizations as part of a course within the entrepreneurship major. Each semester the members of the class choose a different beneficiary to receive the store’s profits. Students chose Bushlack-Larson’s medical fund because they felt it was important to support a fellow student.

SMU’s entrepreneurship students continue to choose charities that are near and dear to the heart of a fellow classmate, or charities that benefit the SMU community. Profits from previous semesters have been donated to the Winona Area Humane Society; Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin; Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance recipients; Dom Dziecka, a children’s orphanage in Chotomów, Poland; and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Minnesota.

Individuals who would like to donate Bushlack-Larson should contact the Goodview branch of Wells Fargo Bank. For more information on the Cardinal Corner or to present your request to the class to be considered as the charity of choice for the semester, contact Jana Craft, at (507) 457-1491 or Become a fan and receive the latest updates at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MCA announces winter semester open house

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will host its winter registration open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 W. 10th St.

Here are five reasons to stop by:

  •       Visit the facility, tour the studios and classrooms, and meet our talented instructors and staff.
  •         Check out the dance attire boutique, where students can be fitted.
  •         Learn more about the new visual art and theatre division programming.
  •        Speak with members of the Friends of MCA and learn more about hands-on volunteer opportunities.
  •       Visit with members of the Winona and MCA community and meet new people who love the arts as much as you.
Class days, times and tuition vary. Financial need-based scholarships are available. For a brochure and a complete listing, go to, e-mail, “like” the MCA on Facebook, or call (507) 453-5500.  Interested students may register online, by mail, or in person at MCA’s Valéncia Arts Center.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

The MCA offers programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre year-round. Classes, lessons, workshops and camps are offered to children age 3 and older through adults.

SMU Jazz combos to give concert as final exam Sunday at Acoustic Café

WINONA, Minn. — Members of the Saint Mary’s Jazz Workshop and Jazz Combo I will take their “final exam” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Acoustic Café, located at 2nd and Lafayette streets.

Come relax and enjoy some jazz in this casual setting as the students perform jazz standards, along with a few holiday numbers.

Jazz Workshop Combo, directed by Dr. John Paulson, and Jazz Combo I, directed by A. Eric Heukeshoven, feature students in small group settings where improvisation is emphasized.

The finals jam is free and open to the public!

For more information, contact Heukeshoven at (507) 457-7292 or

Monday, December 10, 2012

MAFA program to celebrate 10th year with free concert, reception

Jazz musicians Eric Heukeshoven, left, and John Paulson, right, are hosting and performing at a free concert Saturday – in appreciation for the support the Music Access for All program has received in the past 10 years.    
WINONA, Minn. — The Music Access for All program in Winona will celebrate 10 years of service with a free concert of jazz and Christmas selections Saturday, Dec. 15, from 11 a.m. to noon at the Maplewood Townhomes Community Center, 1756 Kraemer Dr. The John Paulson-Eric Heukeshoven Jazz Duo will perform, and light refreshments will be served. This public event is being held in gratitude to the Winona community for all of the support MAFA has received.

In December of 2002, Saint Mary’s University professor Dr. John Paulson founded the MAFA (Music Access For All) program at the Maplewood Townhomes with the goal of getting instruments, music and lessons to students in need of assistance. On Christmas Eve that year, he obtained instruments for three girls in the same family and experienced the joy of watching their faces as they opened their instrument cases for the first time. Shortly after the program began, one of his best friends A. Eric Heukeshoven, also from the SMU Music Department, expressed an interest in helping with the program.  For several years, the two men taught lessons Saturday mornings at the Maplewood Townhomes Community Center and hosted winter and spring concerts to show off what their students had accomplished.  Their goal was to ultimately get the students into public school music programs to continue and expand on what they had learned.

Currently, they work through area music teachers like Paula Bratten of the Winona Middle School and place instruments with students in need of assistance. Donated instruments are checked over by Bob Ogren of Leithold Music in La Crosse, and they are then stored there until they find a new home. The program depends completely on cash contributions and instruments from the community, and many people have come forward to help.  If you’d like to donate an instrument, or you know of a student in need of assistance getting one, contact Paulson at or (507) 454-4948.  Checks can be made out to Saint Mary’s University/ MAFA and sent to Eric Heukeshoven at Campus Box 1473, Saint Mary’s University, Winona, MN 55987.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Saint Mary’s Gifts for Winona due Wednesday, Dec. 12

      WINONA, Minn. — The deadline is fast approaching to return gifts to the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona giving trees. Because the community distribution is early, gifts MUST be returned to giving trees by Wednesday, Dec. 12!

         Those individuals who have already taken tags should return their packages (with tags securely fastened) to the location where they got the tag. Trees are located at the Winona Public Library, the three Severson-Sinclair locations, the Winona Post, Walmart and Security State Bank in Lewiston. Donors are asked to spend about $35 per person. Grocery card trees are also located at HyVee and Midtown Foods.

         If you got a tag from a church or different organization, please check your tag for the date your gifts are to be returned.

         To ensure that the large number of gifts may be properly sorted and recorded, meeting the deadline is a priority.

         Tax-deductible contributions can also be made out to Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona and sent to 700 Terrace Heights #8, Winona, Minn., 55987. These funds are used for remaining tags or last-minute gifts.

         Families who have applied for Gifts for Winona should check their mailboxes for instructions on where and how to pick up their gifts.

         Several community partners including the Winona Post, Winona Radio and Winona Volunteer Services join Saint Mary’s University in helping to make this program a success.

Monday, December 03, 2012

SMU invites audiences to two performances by Trouble

WINONA, Minn. — Due to popular demand, vocalist Vanessa Trouble has added a second performance as part of the Saint Mary’s University Off The Page series.

Now there are two opportunities for audiences to take in classic holiday tunes with a jazz twist.

As her original concert on Thursday, Dec. 20, sold out within weeks, a second concert is now planned for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Both events will be held at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 800 Riverview Dr.

Saint Mary’s is proud to welcome this Winona native home for these special holiday shows. Trouble has been singing and producing shows with numerous artists for over a decade. The New York City artist has honed her vocal and performance skills all over the country and abroad, fronting various jazz ensembles in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans, London, Paris, Ireland, Norway and Asia.

Tickets for the Dec. 21 show are now available; the cost is $15 for adults or $12 for students and seniors. Call the Performance Center Box Office Monday through Friday at (507) 457-1715 or order tickets online at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Saint Mary’s Concert Band to present winter concert

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Concert Band will perform a variety of music during its winter concert 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at SMU’s Page Theatre.

The band will perform “Fanfare & Flourishes” by James Curnow; “Symphonic Suite” by Clifton Williams; “Canterbury Chorale” by Jan Van der Roost; “Inglesina – the Little English Girl” by Davide Delle Cese; “Ireland: Of Legend and Lore” by Robert W. Smith; and “A Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson.

The concert will be followed by the traditional Christmas lobby party, which will feature a selection of holiday treats. Smaller ensembles will perform Christmas music throughout the reception.

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

Saint Mary’s basketball team invites community to bring toys for Gifts for Winona program

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University’s men’s basketball team is partnering with the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program to collect toys on Saturday, Dec. 8.

On Dec. 8, the men’s team will play Crown College at 3 p.m. in the SMU Gym. Attendees are encouraged to bring along a variety of new toys for girls and boys, which will be distributed through Gifts for Winona.

The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program, now in its 11th year, helps more than 1,600 people in the Winona area have happier holidays.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

SMU jazz, percussion groups to join talents for Dec. 7 concert

Winona, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo I, and World Drum Ensemble will combine for an evening of hot jazz to melt away the chill of the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, in SMU’s Page Theatre.

Both jazz groups are directed by SMU's new director of jazz studies, A. Eric Heukeshoven. The World Drum Ensemble is directed by Denny McGuire.

Jazz Ensemble highlights include classic big band arrangements of “Shiny Stockings” and “Secret Love,” as well as contemporary settings of “Sister Sadie” and the funk classic “Chimps on the Loose.”

Jazz Combo I will showcase their improvisation skills on such jazz hits as “Take Five” and “Fly Me to the Moon,” along with a special tribute to legendary jazz composer Thelonius Monk.

Vocalist Jessica Ingvalson will be featured on two classic jazz ballads, “Georgia on my Mind” and “When Sunny Gets Blue.” The World Drum Ensemble will join the Jazz Ensemble on Minnesota native Dean Sorenson’s  “Carneval del Sol.”

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

Saint Mary’s ‘Lessons and Carols’ Christmas service is Dec. 8

WINONA, Minn. — The joyous and uplifting Christmas service of “Lessons and Carols” will be presented by the Saint Mary’s University Department of Music at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The beautiful service, held in the majestic Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, features the Saint Mary’s Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea.

“Lessons and Carols” reflects on the Christmas story through several short readings, hymns and Christmas carols sung by the choirs and audience. Music includes familiar carols and selections by composers from the Renaissance to the present.

The Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels is located at Wabasha and Vila streets in Winona.

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

SMU Chamber Orchestra to perform Nov. 29, Dec. 9

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Chamber Orchestra will perform the “Sounds of Christmas” at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Sugar Loaf Senior Living facility and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center. 

The orchestra is composed of Saint Mary’s students, under the direction of Dr. David Leung. 

The recitals will feature Baroque masterpieces that are most appropriate for the Advent Season including “Christmas Concerto” by Corelli and Vivaldi’s “Winter” from his ever-popular “Four Seasons.” The breathtaking “O Magnum Mysterium” by Lauridsen, the light-hearted “Sleigh Ride” by Mozart, and the humorous “Farewell” Symphony by Haydn will round out the holiday performance. On Dec. 9, a special guest, Dr. Kyle Black from the SMU Modern and Classical Languages Department, will recite inspiring sonnets in various languages between compositions. 

 Both concerts are free and open to the public.

Monday, November 26, 2012

SMU Cardinals hosting third Toys For Tots Teddy Bear Toss

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University men’s hockey team will hold the third annual Toys For Tots Teddy Bear Toss Friday, Nov. 30, during the Cardinals’ 7:30 p.m. home game against St. Olaf at the SMU Ice Arena.

Fans attending are encouraged to bring a teddy bear or stuffed animal — preferably new, but those in good used condition will also be accepted and appreciated. Teddy bears will also be available at the arena for a donation of $1.

After the first SMU goal in the first period — or at the end of the first period — fans will have an opportunity to throw their teddy bears and/or stuffed animals onto the ice. They will then be collected and distributed to children in the Winona area for the holidays.

The men’s hockey team will also have a collection bin in the SMU Ice Arena lobby for anyone wishing to donate a toy other than a teddy bear for Toys For Tots.

The U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots Foundation was formed to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and then distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in their local communities. The program is aimed at helping needy children throughout the United States of America experience the joy of Christmas along with the message of hope to these under-privileged children to motivate them into being responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.

Saint Mary’s University to Collect Toys for Tots Donations for the Fourth Straight Year

Toy donations welcome at Minneapolis, Apple Valley,
Minnetonka, Oakdale, and Rochester locations

Statistics show that 22% of children in America live in poverty.   Many of these 16 million children will not receive any presents this holiday season.  Saint Mary’s University wants to do what it can to help brighten the holiday season for Minnesota children.  That’s why we’re collecting Toys for Tots donations for the fourth straight year.  Headed by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for 65 years, Toys for Tots has provided more than 452 million toys to more than 209 million underprivileged children. 

Between November 30 and December 19, Saint Mary’s will accept donations of new, unwrapped toys at four Twin Cities locations as well as at our Rochester Center.  Typically, Toys for Tots experiences a shortage of toys for infants and teenagers.  That’s why we’re placing a particular focus on the ages of 0 to 2 and 15 to 17.  The university is also encouraging donors to contribute educational toys that spur creativity and thought.

We will collect donations at the following Saint Mary’s locations during listed hours.

·      Minneapolis campus (2500 Park Avenue)
-       Weekdays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

·      Apple Valley Center (14200 Cedar Avenue)
-       Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
-       Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

·      Minnetonka Center (12450 Wayzata Boulevard)
-       Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

·      Oakdale Center (7200 Hudson Boulevard N, Suite 200)
-       Monday from 5-10 p.m.
-       Tuesday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m.
-       Saturday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

·      Rochester Center (1926 Collegeview Drive SE)
-      Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
-   Friday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

For more information about Saint Mary’s participation in Toys for Tots, follow us on Twitter at @SMUGradPrograms.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving trees go up this week for Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona giving trees will be going up before Thanksgiving. This communitywide program — in its 11th year — is providing gifts to area children and seniors in need this holiday season.

Tags, each labeled with a different person’s holiday gift wishes, will be placed on area giving trees this week. Gifts for Winona’s main priority is to provide gifts to children 18 years of age and younger and individuals 60 years of age and older.

Trees will be located at: the three Severson-Sinclair locations, Walmart, the Winona Public Library, the Winona Post, as well as Security State Bank of Lewiston. Additionally, grocery cards can be purchased for families.

Individuals who want to help make someone’s season a little merrier should visit one of these locations, take as many tags off the trees as they wish, and return the gifts by Dec. 12 to the tree where they obtained the tags. The recommended amount for holiday gifts is approximately $35 per person. Tags should be securely taped to the outside of the presents or the bag of presents.

As the gift distribution is early this year — mid December — the community is asked to begin their season of giving early as well. The success of this program depends on the generosity of the Winona-area community.

For more information, call the Gifts for Winona line at (507) 457-8719. Other community partners that join SMU to help make this program possible are the Winona Post, Winona Radio and Winona Volunteer Services.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christian Brothers’ award to honor lifetime service of Saint Mary’s President Brother William Mann

WINONA, Minn. —The Christian Brothers’ Office of Lasallian Education will honor Brother William Mann, FSC, president of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, with the Brother John Johnston, FSC Award at a banquet Nov. 17 in Washington, D.C.

This award is the highest honor given in the De La Salle Christian Brothers Region of North America, which encompasses Lasallian education in the United States and Canada. Brother John Johnston, a 1955 Saint Mary’s alum, was former Superior General of the Christian Brothers. This award recognizes Brothers and Lasallian partners who, like Brother John Johnston, have endeavored on the international or regional levels over many years to advance the mission of providing a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor. The award is presented to those whose leadership, teaching, evangelization, or scholarly research and writing have borne witness to an abiding faith and zeal, and whose efforts have had a transformative impact upon the Christian Brothers’ founding story as lived today.

Brother William Mann has exemplified these qualities over his more than 40 years of service including as a teacher, leader, lecturer, and scholar. He has touched the hearts of Lasallians in his work at many levels, from individual schools to conferences to the headquarters of the worldwide Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Brother William is currently the 13th president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this academic year. Not only does he encourage academic excellence at every level at Saint Mary’s, he has focused on specific initiatives that strengthen the Lasallian Catholic nature of the university.

Prior to becoming Saint Mary's president in 2008, Brother William served as Vicar General, the second highest officer in the worldwide Institute. He also previously served as Provincial and Auxiliary Provincial of the former Long Island-New England Province. He is a founder and long-term lecturer at the Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies, a three-year Regional formation experience in Lasallian history, pedagogy, and spirituality. He also inaugurated and now serves as an editor of AXIS: A Journal for Lasallian Higher Education, an electronic journal serving Lasallian colleges and universities.

Brother William will be presented with the award at the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Awards Banquet at the conclusion of the Huether Lasallian Conference Saturday, Nov. 17, in Washington, D.C. The Huether Lasallian Conference is an annual gathering of Lasallian educators in the Region which explores emerging educational issues and themes. This year’s theme is Faith in Action: Global Engagement through Lasallian Education

Saint Mary’s University unveils ‘Strategic Plan 2017’ to guide university into second century

WINONA, Minn. — In 2012 Saint Mary’s University, under the direction of President Brother William Mann, conducted a year-long comprehensive strategic planning process. The significant endeavor involved 900 persons from the university’s network of stakeholders in a focused, five-phased planning process. The result, Strategic Plan 2017, was recently approved by the Board of Trustees. The plan is a complete articulation of a new vision for Saint Mary’s as a top-tier, national university.

With the adoption of Strategic Plan 2017 during its Centennial year, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is charting a course for the future by strategically aligning the university’s operations with its mission and vision. The plan outlines three themes which will serve to guide the work of the university: 1) strengthen and preserve the core mission and identity; 2) innovate and grow – three centers of excellence; and 3) steward and strengthen resources.

Over the next five years Saint Mary’s will undertake new initiatives and new thinking with a distinctive commitment to teaching and learning, ethical leadership, the sciences, and online education. “Strategic Plan 2017 is the next step in a process to launch the university’s second century, building on the significant success of its first century,” said Brother William. “This plan was the outcome of the thoughts and aspirations of our extended Saint Mary’s community. Under the goals set forth in Strategic Plan 2017 we will collaboratively ensure a vibrant, successful and meaningful future for Saint Mary’s.”

Strategic Plan 2017

Theme 1: Strengthen and Preserve the Core Mission and Identity
• Goal 1 Teaching and Learning: Establish active Centers for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at both the College and the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs.
• Goal 2 Identity: Perpetuate the Lasallian Catholic heritage and identity.
• Goal 3 Residential Experience: Create a vibrant campus and transformational residential life experience at the College.

Theme 2: Innovate and Grow — Three Centers of Excellence
• Goal 4 Sciences: Develop, articulate and execute a new vision for excellence in the sciences for the 21st century.
• Goal 5 Leadership Development: Develop, articulate and execute a new vision for excellence in leadership development for the 21st century.
• Goal 6 Online Education: Develop and launch a national online education initiative at the SGPP for the 21st century.

Theme 3: Steward and Strengthen Resources
• Goal 7 Enrollment: Increase the enrollment and visibility of the university at both the College and the SGPP.
• Goal 8 Institutional Sustainability: Optimize the financial and human resources and well-being of the university.
• Goal 9 Philanthropy: Grow the university’s endowment and philanthropic investment to support new initiatives, student scholarships, and faculty and staff development.

To read the plan in its entirety, go to