Thursday, March 29, 2012

Annual SMU benefit raises $16,000 for alumnus, veteran

This year's recipient, SMU alumnus Josh Misiewicz, and the benefit's first recipient, Taylor Richmond of Cochrane, Wis.
Jill Spitzmueller thanks Josh Misiewicz for his service.

More than 600 attendees danced the night away.

WINONA, Minn. — More than 610 people attended Saint Mary’s University’s 12th annual Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance on March 24.

Proceeds from the dance — and a silent auction held on campus — raised more than $16,000 for this year’s beneficiary, Josh Misiewicz, a Marine veteran and 2006-2008 SMU alumnus who was severely injured this past summer while serving in Afghanistan.

In July, a landmine exploded and Misiewicz suffered the loss of both legs and two shattered eardrums. He is recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where his positive attitude and enduring spirit is serving as an example to others.

The 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 Life staff member Nikki Richmond and her husband Nick Richmond, both of Cochrane, Wis. 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.

Donations are still being accepted. To help, send checks — payable to the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance — to Lance Thompson, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, 700 Terrace Heights No. 1528, Winona, MN 55987.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Saint Mary's honors four at Founder's Day

Regina Quandt and Michael Mockler

Dr. Roger Peckover and Dr. Mary Catherine Fox

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s presented awards to a faculty member, a Lasallian educator and two outstanding seniors at its Founder’s Day celebration Tuesday, March 27. Founder’s Day is the annual celebration of the founding of Saint Mary’s in 1912 by Winona Bishop Patrick R. Heffron.

Roger Peckover, Ph.D., professor of education and associate director of the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning, received this year’s Bishop Patrick Heffron Award for Service. This award is presented to an employee who has contributed positively to the life of the university, demonstrated a long-term commitment to the values of the university, and been a model of the Lasallian spirit in interactions with colleagues and students.

Mary Catherine Fox, Ph.D., professor of interdisciplinary studies, was chosen as this year’s Distinguished Lasallian Educator. These awards are given by Lasallian institutions in the North American-Toronto Region of the De La Salle Christian Brothers to honor contributions and commitment to the Lasallian mission of education. Dr. Fox’s nomination noted her exceptional service to and involvement in local, regional, national and international Lasallian efforts, and her dedication to excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level. Dr. Fox is highly regarded in the Lasallian community and has written and presented on numerous aspects of the Lasallian heritage and charism.

 Fox is a 1975 undergrad alum and earned a master’s degree from Saint Mary’s in 1989.

Additionally, the Outstanding Male and Female Senior awards were presented to students who have demonstrated the ideals of scholarship, character, leadership and service. Above all, these men and women have shown genuine concern for meeting the needs of others. The Outstanding Male Senior Award went to Michael Mockler, son of John and Caroline Mockler of Dubuque, Iowa. The Outstanding Female Senior Award went to Regina Quandt, daughter of Dan and Cathy Quandt from Minneapolis, Minn.

The following students were finalists for the 2012 Outstanding Senior awards — Males: Brian William Dillon, son of Bill and Lisa Dillon, of Arden Hills, Minn.; Luis Escobar, son of Francia Acevedo and Santiago Escobar Sr., of Madelia, Minn.; Kevin Halpin, son of James and Marie Halpin, of Bartlett, Ill.; and Robert "Robby" McGuire, son of Ann and John McGuire, of Rochester, Minn. Females: Lauren Baier, daughter of Patrick and Ruth Baier, of Mount Horeb, Wis.; Ellen Koneck, daughter of Mark and Nancy Bina, of New Brighton, Minn.; Amy Kujak, daughter of Paul and Barb Kujak, of River Falls, Wis.; and Jill Spitzmueller, daughter of Kathy and Bill Spitzmueller, of New Brighton, Minn.

SMU students inducted into Delta Mu Delta honor society

WINONA, Minn. — Thirty-one Saint Mary’s University students were inducted into Delta Mu Delta at a luncheon reception on March 21. Delta Mu Delta is an international honor society in business established to recognize and reward outstanding academic achievement of students in business administration. SMU’s Delta Mu Delta chapter, Eta Beta, was established in 1994 to promote the national organization’s goals of promoting higher scholarship in business education and recognizing and rewarding academic attainment in business subjects. Congratulations to the newest members of Delta Mu Delta for 2012: Andrew Anger, Josh Bennett, Steve Carlevato, Paige Carter, Yue Chang, Echo M Christian, Cody Cuhel, Brad Denney, Anne Drazkowski, Brittany Geerdes, Scott Graphenteen, Sheree Haslemore, Andrea Hoglin, Cameron Koziarz, Jun Li, Emily Munns, Samantha Otto, Sean Pavelich, Agnieszka Prusak, Marty Purintun, Beth Rajdl, Matthew Rebernick, Erin Regan, Kyle Romanchuk, Evan Paul Saunders, Jennifer Schrankler, Anna Sonday, Erin Stenseth, Ryan Wagner, Jasmine Wang and Sam Wilczyk. The following members (inducted in 2011) also pictured are: Brian Dillon, Justin Loeffler, Joseph Rysavy, Kelsey Schneider and Emily Vierling.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Women’s Symposium at SMU to address volunteerism

WINONA, Minn. — In 2010, 36 million women (29.3%) dedicated 4.7 billion hours of service to communities across the country.

This year’s public “For the Common Good” Women’s Symposium, hosted by Saint Mary’s University’s Saint Teresa Institute, delves into the question of why women choose to give so generously of their time and the impact it has on the quality of life and the security of citizens in the United States and around the world.

The event will be held from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in SMU’s Toner Student Center.

Beth Forkner Moe, executive director of the United Way of the Greater Winona Area, will set the stage in her opening address. The keynote by Sister Tierney Trueman, OSF, will provide an inside look at the work of faith-based organizations. She will highlight one of the Sisters of Saint Francis ministries, which provides education for approximately 1,000 girls at Colegio Santa Francisca Romana in Bogotá, Colombia.

Participants can select from three breakout sessions:

• Does it Matter? Does volunteering really make a difference in securing, retaining or being promoted to a position in the workplace?
• In Community: Why does business actively encourage employee volunteerism?
• Still Serving: Why emerging leaders, mothers and senior members of our communities volunteer.

Register online at by April 5. SMU students will be admitted for free; other student tickets are $10, and adult tickets are $30.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saint Mary’s Relay for Life raises more than $36,000

On Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, the Saint Mary’s University community participated in the Relay for Life. More than 300 students, faculty, and staff came together to celebrate and remember those who have defeated cancer, those currently battling cancer, and those who have lost their lives to this disease. The event raised more than $36,000 for the American Cancer Society and donations are still coming in. Team members spent the night walking around SMU’s indoor track from dusk to dawn to represent the 24-hour fight against cancer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saint Mary’s to offer three plays through ‘SPLaSH’ March 28-April 1

WINONA, Minn. The Saint Mary’s University Theatre and Dance Department invites the public to the spring “SPLaSH” series three one-act plays produced by students March 28 through April 1. The plays will be held at the Valéncia Arts Center’s Academy Theatre, 1164 West Howard St.

SPLaSH, which stands for “short play showcase,” will feature three one-act plays:

“The Swing Set,” written by senior Tom Conry of Waunakee, Wis., and directed by theatre faculty Judy Myers, is a play about two intertwined people who just missed each other. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

“So, I Wrote This Play…!” is a zany comedy about a man trying to write a play that doesn’t want to be written. This piece is written and directed by senior Rick Baustian of Dell Rapids, S.D.

“Blackout” by Davey Anderson is adapted and directed by junior Mary Doctor of Aurora, Ill., and is a portrayal inspired by a true story of what happens when young minds are exposed to dangerous ideas.

Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, March 28 through 31, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 1.

Tickets are $10 for adults 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

Family Pirate Party planned for March 24 at Valéncia

Winona, Minn. — The Dance Repertory Company of Saint Mary’s University’s Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is throwing a “Pirate Party,” Saturday, March 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th St.

This family event offers swashbuckling fun for all ages! Games and activities will include walking the plank, a treasure hunt, pin-the-eye-patch on the pirate, cupcake decorating, and a best pirate costume contest. Prizes will be provided to all children who attend.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, or $20 for an entire family. Cash or check only will be accepted at the door. All proceeds will support the Dance Repertory Company’s Spring production of “Le Corsaire” (the pirate ballet).

The Dance Repertory Company will present “Le Corsaire” April 27-28 at the SMU Page Theatre. The ballet “Le Corsaire,” loosely based on a poem by Lord Byron, follows Medora, a beautiful slave girl, and Conrad, a dashing pirate, as they journey through a tapestry of captive maidens, rich sultans, swashbuckling abductions, and dramatic rescues — all culminating in a happy ending. For tickets to the ballet, visit or call (507) 457-1715.

For more information about the “Pirate Party,” call the Valéncia Arts Center at (507) 453-5500.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Saint Mary’s Taylor Richmond benefit to help wounded alumnus, veteran

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will present the 12th annual Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance from 8:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday, March 24.

The beneficiary of this year’s formal dance — open to the public — is alumnus Josh Misiewicz, a Marine veteran who was severely injured this past summer while serving in Afghanistan.

Marine Lance Corporal Misiewicz grew up in La Grange, Ill., where he was a well-known hockey star. He attended Saint Mary’s for two years (2006-08) before pursuing his passion to become a U.S. Marine.

In July, his life changed in a flash: a landmine exploded and he suffered the loss of both legs and two shattered eardrums. He recovered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where his positive attitude and enduring spirit served as an example to others.

Misiewicz received the Purple Heart medal this past fall.

Even though the federal government covers Misiewicz's medical expenses, the family is facing many other long-term costs including transportation, home improvements, and a hand-controlled vehicle. Josh and his parents are planning to return to Winona for the event.

The benefit dance has become an annual tradition since its start in 2001 by students in honor of Taylor Richmond, son of SMU staff member Nikki Richmond and her husband Nick Richmond of Cochrane, Wis. 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 Disney World. 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 gymnasium. Ticket prices are $18 per person or $30 per couple. To purchase tickets or receive more information, contact Lance Thompson at (507) 457-1686. Dance tickets will also be available at the door.

In combination with the dance, a silent auction will be held on campus from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 22-23. A variety of homemade goods, gift baskets and specialty items will be on display in the game room, located in the Toner Student Center. The public is welcome to bid.

To make a donation, send checks — payable to the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance — to Thompson at Saint Mary’s University, 700 Terrace Heights, Box 1528, Winona, MN 55987.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Congresswoman McCollum among panelists at March 13 Event On World Population Impacts

MINNEAPOLIS – Congresswoman Betty McCollum, award-winning journalist Dennis Dimick from National Geographic, and Saint Mary’s University professor David Opp will come together on March 13 to lead a discussion on global population issues and how the world’s rapidly growing population of 7 billion people is impacting our lives.

“Our panelists bring perspectives and insights as varied as they are deep to the issue of population. We hope to bring home the relevance to our community – students in particular – of what might seem like a distant issue,” said Fred de Sam Lazaro, director of the UnderTold Stories Project at the Minneapolis campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. De Sam Lazaro will moderate the event, “Population in Perspective.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum is recognized among her colleagues for addressing issues in some of the world’s most densely populated, impoverished regions. She is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Global Health Caucus, a bipartisan group that studies and educates people about international public health issues. She serves on the U.S. Congressional International Conservation Caucus, which promotes natural resource conservation to support habitat and biodiversity protection, poverty alleviation, economic development, and regional safety. Congresswoman McCollum has also been an outspoken advocate for global human rights as a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

Dennis Dimick, executive editor for the environment at National Geographic magazine, leads the publication’s coverage of energy, climate and sustainability issues. He guided its creation of a year-long 2011 series, “7 Billion,” focused on global population and its impact. (The world’s population exceeded 7 billion in October 2011, according to the United Nations.) The series delved into issues including demographics, food security, climate change, fertility trends, and biodiversity – all as they relate to population. Dimick has overseen projects that have been recognized by the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and Pictures of the Year International.

David Opp teaches global economics and sustainable development in the MBA program at Saint Mary’s University.

The public is invited to this free event at Saint Mary’s University Event Center at 2540 Park Avenue in Minneapolis from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13.

For more information and to RSVP, visit The event is sponsored by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, National Geographic, Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership, Saint Mary’s University, PBS NewsHour, UnderTold Stories, and the Minnesota International Center.

About the Under-Told Stories Project

The Under-Told Stories Project is a collaborative project involving international journalism and teaching. It produces high-quality, multimedia reporting from around the world for public and commercial news outlets. It also engages students from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in courses, internships and mentoring opportunities to help them reflect on the world’s under-reported news stories and gain hands-on skills in media production.

Saint Mary’s senior art show runs March 24-May 12

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University seniors will display their artwork in the show “Boundaries Fade” March 24 through May 12 in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

The first group of artists, displaying March 24 through April 18, includes: Sean Coleman, Sarah Grundhoefer, Laura Larson, Joel Reinhart, Stephen Ronchak, Chris Speltz and Cory Wessels.

The second group of artists, displaying April 21 to May 12 includes: Michael Blanda, Ashley Blum, Keisha Harcey, Maria Ann Harris, Mary Karnick, Sarah Marie Kennedy, Laura Polzin, Morgan Stock, Jim Tandberg and Margaret Villaume.

An opening reception is scheduled for 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 24, in the galleries, located in the Toner Student Center.

The galleries — free and open to the public — will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

SMU offers back-to-back free public concerts

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University invites the public to two free concerts — featuring the talents of student musicians fresh from spring break performance tours.

The SMU Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Patrick O’Shea, will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, 7th and Vila streets. The 27-voice select ensemble is performing in Wisconsin, Illinois and the Canadian province of Ontario as part of its 2012 Concert Tour from March 4-11.

A jazz homecoming concert is planned for 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the SMU Performance Center. The event will feature a 12-piece “Little Big Band” fresh from a tour to Germany. Led by Dr. John Paulson, the group is performing a wide variety of jazz selections in and around the city of Cologne (Köln), Germany from March 5-10.

SMU Page Series to host Canadian trio Vishtén

WINONA, Minn. — The Canadian trio Vishtén will take to the Saint Mary’s Page Theatre stage 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, with spirited percussive rhythms, impressive three-part harmonies and high-stepping footwork.

Each performance is a warm, dynamic rendering of French-rooted, Celtic-infused traditions. Yet Vishtén uniquely blends together songs that are four centuries old with fresh melodies that are newly minted by the band. They successfully and dynamically incorporate elements of new influences while retaining and staying true to the essential Acadian spirit of their roots.

Twin sisters Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc grew up thinking everyone had kitchens full of music and that everyone had house parties where visitors step-danced, sang, and fiddled into the wee hours. Joined by Pascal Miousse, their mesmerizing live shows capture the freewheeling, upbeat feeling of a kitchen music-making marathon.

The band members are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and step-dancers incorporating the fiddle, guitar, accordion, penny-whistle, mandolin, piano, jaw-harp and bodhran into each performance.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and are available online at or at the SMU Box Office, (507) 457-1715, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hand-Knit Worn by You Contest

The members of Vishtén are avid knitters. In honor of this time-honored craft, patrons are invited to come early and show off their hand-knit clothing and accessories in the lobby of the Performance Center. Photo ops will be available. Participants will be eligible to win prizes including tickets to future events, gift certificates from Yarnology, and more.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Saint Mary’s to host Row, Ride, Run Triathlon

WINONA, Minn. — The annual Saint Mary’s University “Row, Ride, Run Triathlon” will take place on Saturday, April 28, beginning at 9 a.m. at Lake Lodge in Winona and finishing on SMU’s Winona campus. About 100 athletes from throughout the Midwest are expected to register for the race.

Participants will canoe or kayak a 2.5-mile loop around Lake Winona, then bike 14 miles from Lake Winona to the SMU campus. Once on campus, racers will run 3.1 miles through the bluffs surrounding the university.

Proceeds assist Serving Others United in Love (SOUL), a program of SMU’s Office of Campus Ministry. Through SOUL, students are able to connect with diverse communities by participating in national and international service trips.

Registration before March 16 is $20 per individual or $40 per team. After March 16, the cost is $30 per individual or $60 per team. Teams can be made up of two, three or four members.
Awards will be presented to the top three fastest individuals and the top finishing team.
Participants must be 10 or older to row or run and 15 or older to bike.

For more information, visit or call (507) 457-7268.

Saint Mary’s invites public to Relay for Life March 16-17

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University Colleges Against Cancer group invites the community to its 2012 Relay for Life — to be held 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, in Saint Mary’s Gostomski Fieldhouse.

Teams comprised of friends, families and co-workers will join together for this fundraising effort, which celebrates people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and provides an opportunity to fight back against the disease.

Last year more than 300 people participated in the event which raised more than $17,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Team members will spend the night walking around SMU’s indoor track from dusk to dawn to represent the 24-hour fight against cancer. Each team raises money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s theme is based on the American Cancer Society’s slogan: “Cancer Doesn’t Take a Holiday.”

Activities planned through the night include a silent auction, a pin-the-flame-on-the-candle contest, a newlywed game, a relay, a frozen T-shirt race and Zumba at 1 a.m.

If you are thinking about creating a team; if you would like to come and support the American Cancer Society’s efforts; if you would like to celebrate cancer survivors and remember those you have lost; or if you would like to be recognized as a survivor and have your success celebrated — come to this event. Participants are welcome to stay for as much or as little as their schedules allow.

To sign up, go to

For more information, e-mail