Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saint Mary’s 10th president, Brother Peter Clifford, dies

WINONA, Minn. — Brother Peter Clifford, FSC, the 10th president of Saint Mary’s University, passed away Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft, N.J.

A dedicated educational visionary and financial steward, Brother Peter served as president of Saint Mary’s from 1976 to 1984, and is credited for bringing fiscal security to the college. Brother Peter also fostered close relationships between Saint Mary’s and the city of Winona by being an active member of the community. During his presidency, he served on the boards of both the Winona Chamber of Commerce and Norwest Bank.

Additionally, he initiated the first graduate course offerings in the Twin Cities and laid the financial groundwork for the Performance Center and the ice arena on the Winona campus.

Brother Peter was born in the Bronx in New York City on Feb. 17, 1925. He graduated from St. Jerome’s School in the Bronx in 1939 and entered the Junior Novitiate of the Christian Brothers in Barrytown, N.Y.  He entered to the Brothers Novitiate in 1943, made his first vows in 1944, and made his final vows in 1950.

Brother Peter studied history at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., received his B.A. degree in Education from Manhattan College in 1950, and an M.A. degree in History from Fordham University in 1957. In 1968, he received a CAS degree in Educational Administration from Harvard University. In 1970, he received an Ed.D. degree in Educational Administration, also from Harvard.

Brother Peter’s ministry career was varied. He taught at grammar schools, served as a missionary in the Philippines, acted as the academic dean at De La Salle College in Manila, served as an administrator at a variety of high schools, worked for the Catholic Schools office in Brooklyn, N.Y., and acted as the executive secretary for secondary schools at the National Catholic Education Association.

Brother Peter’s ministry in higher education began as an academic dean at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queen, before coming to Saint Mary’s.

After the conclusion of his work at Saint Mary's, Brother Peter served as Provincial of the LINE District of the Brothers of the Christian Schools for three years and for two years as an Assistant in Higher Education for the U.S. Catholic Conference in Washington, D.C.  His last college connection was as President of St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kan., from 1989 to 1994.

Brother Peter then became Director of Finance for the LINE District of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.  He moved back to Winona in 2000 and worked as a vice president for the Metanoia Group, a consulting enterprise at Saint Mary’s University, until 2002. He then moved back to Rhode Island where he became Assistant to the President of Ocean Tides, a residential center for delinquents, until his illness this year.

A wake for Brother Peter will be held at the Christian Brothers Center in Narragansett, R.I., on Thursday, July 25, and Friday, July 26, 2013.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Christian Brothers Center on Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11 a.m.

Brother William Mann, FSC, President, will represent Saint Mary's University at the wake, Mass, and burial.

“Brother Peter will be remembered for his unwavering faith, his strong leadership and for establishing a solid financial foundation at Saint Mary’s, enabling us to significantly expand our reach and educational reputation,” Brother William said. “Those who worked alongside Brother Peter will also remember his kindness, generosity and enduring spirit. He will be missed.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Conservatory Fall registration open

The new fall semester 2013 brochure for the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is now available. The MCA offers programming in dance, music, visual art and theatre year-round. Classes, lessons, workshops and camps are offered for youth (beginning at age 3) through adults at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at 1164 West 10th St.

Registrations are now being accepted. Some of the offerings include:

• New art division classes including “Architecture for Kids” and “Drawing 101.”
• Dance programming in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, hip-hop and tap with new course divisions.
• Private music lessons with talented teaching artists.
• New partner workshops with the Minnesota Marine Art Museum and Great River Shakespeare Festival.
• Advanced training for those serious about dance with an additional ballet V/VI/VII class.
• New adult wellness classes including folk music workshops, “Intro to Guitar,” “Self Portrait Workshop,” and “Belly Dancing for Beginners.”

Class days, times and tuition vary. Financial, need-based scholarships are available. For a brochure and a complete listing, visit, e-mail, “like” them on Facebook or call 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.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MCA presents 2013 Summer Dance Intensive Showcase

WINONA, Minn. — The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will present the Summer Dance Intensive showcase at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Valéncia Arts Center Academy Theatre, 1164 West 10th St.

The showcase, which is free and open to the public, features works that the students participating in the Summer Dance Intensive have learned in their two-week dance camp.  A variety of dance forms will be presented, including classical and contemporary ballet, jazz, musical theatre dance, and modern dance. The works were choreographed by MCA guest artists Dustyn Martincich, Allan Kinzie, Jen TeBeest and Tammy Schmidt.

In addition to learning showcase pieces, students have been participating in comprehensive dance training including technique and theory classes throughout the two- week process. Class studies have included ballet, pointe, variations, pas de deux, repertory, jazz, hip hop, rhythm tap, modern, musical theatre dance, piyo, choreography and improvisation.

The students are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Iowa; rangein age from 12 to 18; and were selected for the program by audition.

For more information about the Summer Dance Intensive showcase or future MCA program offerings, visit, e-mail, “like” them on Facebook, or call (507) 453-5500.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Kowles writes book about his teaching/learning experiences

WINONA, Minn. — Dr. Dick Kowles, professor emeritus of biology at Saint Mary’s University, candidly and comically recounts his career in his most recent book titled, “A Passion to Teach: 58 years of humorous, weird and engaging tales.”

With a humorous twist, Dr. Kowles details his desire to be a teacher, working his way through college with terrible jobs and teaching for 14 years in three different high schools before entering graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics.

The graduate school episode, he notes, took place with a wife and five young children and required unbelievable financial craftiness. Much of the book also deals with teaching at the college level, chairing a biology department, conducting research, and engaging in scientific communication. Many people in the Saint Mary’s community will recognize names – and even a few embarrassing incidents.

The last three chapters offer personal opinions, viewpoints and biases regarding teaching.

Produced by Beaver’s Pond Press, Edina, the book can be purchased from the SMU Bookstore, the Book Shelf in Winona, Amazon, or directly through Gilmore Creek Press, 1293 County Dr., Winona; (507) 452-1758.