Winona Campus Faculty and Staff Newsletter

Hendrickson Forum 2015 is Thursday, April 9

The 2015 Hendrickson Forum, scheduled for Thursday, April 9, on the Twin Cities Campus, is focused on one of the most important issues facing American businesses and citizens today.

Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy (retired) and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, will present “The Ethics of Cyber Security,” where he will be addressing several key topics including:

• Cybersecurity: Cyber criminals know no boundaries and are fundamentally changing the world. How does this impact business, personal life, and the global marketplace?

• “Smart power”: What alliances and coalitions do we need to create a secure nation, government, and business community?

Admiral Stavridis remains an active and informed commentator on global affairs that impact business audiences investing worldwide. The forum will include a brief audience question-and-answer session.

The event will be streamed live to the Winona campus in the Toner Student Center, Room 9, and at noon in the Common Room.

Tickets are $25 for Saint Mary’s alumni, $10 for students, $40 for general admission, and no charge for Winona viewers.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. in the Saint Mary’s event center; lunch, the program and a question-and-answer period run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

More information is available at Or contact Barb Hall at 612-238-4545 or for more information.

News from Nairobi


MIASMU director Prof. Michael Kirwen speaks to participants at the beginning of the PR session.

By James Chege
Head librarian
Maryknoll Institute for African Studies

First Pastoral Reflection: FGM, Social Media and Celibacy

All MIASMU students and field assistants gathered in the main lecture hall on Feb. 18 for the first pastoral reflection (PR) of the semester. The gathering is aimed at facilitating interactions between students from different courses who may not ordinarily meet, and the sharing of issues covered in the various courses. This is done through presentation of skits on specific themes and discussing them in mixed groups. The  skits were presented by the following classes: Spirituality, Personhood and Psychotherapy in an African Context; African Culture: an Overview; and African Spirituality.

The Spirituality, Personhood and Psychotherapy  class presented a skit where a family was at war amongst themselves over a decision from the father that his daughter should undergo female circumcision (FGM). His wife vehemently opposed the idea to the extent of hiding their daughter. Drama unfolds when village elders are brought into the fray and begin asking for the daughter in question and cannot find her. This kind of conflict, which is now commonplace among societies still practicing this custom, leaves one wondering if FGM will ever end.


Johnstone Shisanya (left) and Victor O’kubasu (right) play the dismayed kinsmen of the young disrespectful man.

In the skit by the African Culture class,  a young man who had come home from his studies in the states is busy communicating on social media with his friends while visiting his parents in their home village. This is interpreted as being very disrespectful as he does not even look at the people trying to communicate with him in the room. Just as he is about to get a scolding, some of his foreign friends drop in uninvited and whisk him away for a night of partying leaving his kinsmen in dismay. This raises the question of whether social media is really social?

In the presentation by the African Spirituality class the subject of celibacy and African culture was tackled. In the skit a young lady was requesting her parents’ blessing to join a religious congregation of nuns. However, her parents, brothers, and sisters would hear none of it citing childlessness as a curse and telling the young lady that she would not even be buried among her people if she chose celibate life. The final verdict from her family was that she should not join religious life, leaving her in a difficult situation perhaps contemplating how she could run away.

These presentations raised many thought-provoking questions and heated debates among the participants, and it gave them a sample of what is being taught in other courses. The next pastoral reflection is scheduled for March 18.

Alum receives birder award

Clinton Nienhaus ’13 (Environmental Biology, major) was awarded the 2014 Young Birder Award by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union (MOU). The award is presented to someone younger than 25 who has made a significant contribution to birding in Minnesota. Incidentally, another award given by the MOU, the Brother Theodore Voelker Award  for special achievement in field ornithology, is named after a former member of the Saint Mary’s faculty.

Congratulations to Wangberg family

Robyn Wangberg of the Physics Department and her husband Aaron welcomed daughter Ruby Johanna Wangberg to their family on Friday, March 6.  She joins siblings  Quinn and Cora. The Saint Mary’s community extends its congratulations to the Wangberg family.

Sympathy to Cochran, Minnerath families

Dr. Phil Cochran ’77, chair of the Saint Mary’s Department of Biology, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, March 4, after a brief illness.

Funeral services are set for Saturday, March 14, in the Saint Mary’s gymnasium. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the service at 1 p.m. Also, a blog has been created for faculty, staff, students, and alumni to share their memories of Dr. Cochran with each other:

Phil’s family includes his wife Michelle (Galles) ’79, M’05, C’07, and their children Jennifer (Cochran) Biederman ’05, M’08; Joseph ’00; Andrew ’03; Gus; and Jessica.

Jim Minnerath, brother of Jeanne Minnerath, (Biology professor and director of the Allied Health program) lost her brother in an accident March 3. Cards of condolence can be sent to: Jeannie Minnerath and Family, Campus Box 10.

The Saint Mary’s community extends its sympathy to the Cochran and Minnerath families.

Celebration of Excellence planned for May 30

On Saturday, May 30, alumni, students, parents, and friends will gather for the Celebration of Excellence at the Saint Mary’s University Center in Minneapolis.

This annual event will reunite alumni and friends in celebration of the sciences at Saint Mary’s by showcasing the achievements of students and faculty; by honoring exceptional alumni and community leaders; and by garnering financial support to advance the sciences in the university’s second century. Watch for more information, and save the date!

Students to perform musical ‘Working’ Feb. 19-22

unnamed“Working” is a show for anyone who has ever punched a clock, a cow, or a supervisor—or wanted to.

Audiences will meet and hear the familiar stories of today’s hard-working Americans as the Saint Mary’s University Department of Theatre and Dance stages “Working” Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 19-22, in the Page Theatre.

The show, based on the book by Studs Terkel and adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, features songs by many popular artists including James Taylor.

“Working” paints a vivid portrait of the men and women the world so often takes for granted: the schoolteacher, the phone operator, the waitress, the millworker, the mason, the fireman, and the housewife, just to name a few. Although their situations are everyday situations, this musical is anything but ordinary. Behind their seemingly humdrum lives are a myriad variety of hopes, aspirations, and dreams.

The show, directed by Dr. Gary Diomandes with musical direction from Judy Myers, runs 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19-21 and 3 p.m. Feb. 22. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and are available online at or at the Saint Mary’s box office, 457-1715, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Saint Mary’s hosts TU Dance performance Feb. 25

TU DANCE_werthmannThe Twin Cities-based TU Dance Company culminates a three-day residency at Saint Mary’s with a full evening performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Led by Alvin Ailey veterans Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, TU Dance has quickly become a leading voice in the Minnesota dance scene. Founded in 2004, TU Dance has garnered audience and critical acclaim for its diverse repertory, versatile artists, and performances that are engaging, dynamic, and generous.

Modern dance, classical ballet, African-based, and urban vernacular movements are combined in inventive and unpredictable ways to provide opportunities for audiences, whoever they are, to experience the connective power of dance.

Tickets are $27 for adults, $24 for students and seniors and are available online at or at the Saint Mary’s box office, 457-1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is hosting a workshop with the professional dancers from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 W. 10th St. Intermediate and advanced dancers are invited to register and participate free of charge. To register or for more information, e-mail, or call 453-5500. Space is limited to 20 dancers.

Chamber Singers to perform in Ireland

The Chamber Singers will perform in Ireland as part of their 2015 concert tour. The 26-voice select ensemble is directed by Dr. Patrick  O’Shea.

Tour performances will include the following liturgies and concerts:

• St. Francis Xavier Parish, La Grange, Ill., Saturday, Feb. 28, 5 p.m. Mass
• University College Dublin (with UCD Philharmonic Choir), Tuesday, March 3, 7 to 8 p.m. visit/workshop
• Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Cashel, County Tipperary, Wednesday, March 4, 8 p.m. concert
• St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway, Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m. concert
• St. Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, County Kerry, Sunday, March 8, 11:30 a.m. prelude concert; noon Mass

All concerts are free and open to the public, and guests are welcome at the various liturgies. Repertoire will include a cappella works by Palestrina, Tavener, Ginastera, Casals, David Diamond, Seán Doherty, and Stephen Paulus. The concerts will feature the Irish premiere performances of “Introit,” a setting of text from the Divine Liturgy of St. James by Dr. O’Shea.

Upon their return, the Chamber Singers will present a free homecoming concert at the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, 7th and Vila streets, Winona, on Thursday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m.

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