Extraordinary Learning Experience
From the President
Rich learning opportunities change lives forever
Powerful learning occurs when we provide students with high-impact experiences that rock their world – then help them make sense of it all. At St. Cloud State one of the best examples I’ve seen of this kind of learning process has been the preparation and presentation of the Holocaust oratorio, “To Be Certain of the Dawn,” featured in this issue’s cover story.
The coming together of 200 St. Cloud State students, faculty and community members to perform an emotionally charged concert at a former Nazi concentration camp in France, as well as other places in Germany and Switzerland, was an extraordinary event in the life of our campus and in the lives of each individual involved. It was one of those remarkable times when all the sunlight of our University was focused to ignite the passion and reflection that characterize a strong learning community.
Everyone who got involved in this experience, from the organizers to the faculty to the students, invested their talent and skill and energy in an effort as unsettling as it was wonderful. Participants helped each other through this challenging experience and helped one another figure out how to put it all into perspective. And, as in any great learning experience, the impact – the life-altering effects – will continue unfolding for years to come. The ripples of change have only just begun.
At St. Cloud State we provide a wide variety of rich opportunities for students to benefit from educational experiences outside the classroom. One of these opportunities is “service learning,” the use of a community service project to achieve the learning objectives of an academic course of study. Service learning is just one of many significant avenues for exposing our students to a world of endeavors that lead to self-discovery, but it is a particularly powerful example of the kind of learning that benefits both the student and the wider St. Cloud community. Students go out and make a difference in the lives of others, then come back to the University to discover the impact of that experience in their own lives.
This “learning circle” typifies all of the real-world experiences that touch our students, including service learning, study abroad, internships and the day-to-day application of new knowledge to their lives and work. Each experience is enriched by reflection that allows students to integrate new understandings into the way they think and the way they make decisions. In fact, this is the University at its best, modeling how education and understanding act to reshape the way our students see and act in the world. In this way we prepare our graduates for life-long learning in a changing world.
The Holocaust Oratorio study tour was a milestone in the history of St. Cloud State University … a great achievement and a life-changing experience for hundreds of participants and members of the many audiences that were touched by their performances. It also was an expression of the most basic values of this University. Experience must be mined for understanding and new understanding should shape future choices. I am proud of the faculty, staff, students and community partners who created this remarkable event. They have demonstrated all that is wonderful about your University.
Bonding bill brings dollars to campus
The Minnesota Legislature this spring approved funding for three construction projects and needed facility repairs at St. Cloud State:
Mesaba Airlines has a history of turning to St. Cloud State for well-trained aviation graduates: alumni working for the company frequently refer to its Eagan headquarters as “Little St. Cloud.” Now, Mesaba Airlines is going a step farther: students who complete an agreed-upon set of aviation courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better (4-point scale) will be guaranteed a comprehensive job interview by the company.
The 12 required classes include core courses needed to earn a St. Cloud State aviation degree as well as courses in aircraft electronic systems, aviation safety, advanced aircraft systems and advanced aerodynamics. Other requirements include commercial pilot certification, an FCC radio operator’s permit and a current passport.
Mesaba Airlines operates as a Northwest Airlines Airlink serving more than 75 cities in the United States and Canada from three major hubs: Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
College of Social Sciences dean named
Dr. Francis Harrold was named dean of the St. Cloud State College of Social Sciences effective July 15.
Harrold was most recently dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, prior to which he was a faculty member from 1980-2000 and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1995-2000 at the University of Texas-Arlington. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University of Chicago and his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
The College of Social Sciences has programs in community studies, criminal justice, economics, ethnic studies, geography, history, political science, psychology, social work, sociology and anthropology, women’s studies, African studies, East Asian studies, Latin American studies, social science, social studies and gerontology, and operates the Archaeological Computing Laboratory, Center for Economic Education, Spatial Analysis Research Center and Social Science Research Institute.
Dr. Sharon Cogdill, interim dean of the college since 2006, is now interim dean of the College of Fine Arts & Humanities.
Four of the 3,000 or more St. Cloud State students who work in a University-funded position on or off campus were recognized in the third annual Student Employee of the Year competition for outstanding contributions to the campus and to the community while employed.
Student Employee of the Year is Lionel Mathieu, senior English major from Holtzheim, France, who works at the Center for International Studies. He successfully navigates educational systems, accents and cultural differences to serve students who come to the University from around the world.
First runner-up is John “Mike” Hillmer, senior, Waukesha, Wis., aviation management major, a night supervisor in Mitchell Hall. Management major Kyle Jordahl, senior, Stillwater, employed by the Center for Continuing Studies on campus, is second runner-up. Third runner-up is community development major Kimberly Ann, senior, Blaine, employed by the City of Fridley.
Student TV staff recognized nationally
UTVS, the University’s student-run television station, has received a National 2007 Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The station’s staff took the honor for “UTVS News” in the television newscast category. Finalists in the same category were the Cronkite NewsWatch staff at Arizona State University and the nightly news staff at Troy (Ala.) University.
Key news staff for the entry were sophomore Justin Maas, New Hope; junior Gwen Siewert, Zumbro Falls; and seniors Angela Douglas, Plymouth, Jody Norstedt, Montevideo, Stephanie Andersen, Neenah, Wis., and Cameron Bauhs, Chaska. The staff was led by senior Tyler Bieber, Plymouth, general manager.
The Mark of Excellence is the station’s first national SPJ first-place title since 2004, when the “Husky Mag” show took a first in television sports reporting. The station, which cablecasts local news and other programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, will be recognized in September during the 2008 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Atlanta, Ga.
Among the innumerable honors bestowed upon St. Cloud State students this spring were the following:
Tackle skills training
The 485 hours of training for potential peace officers included classroom sessions on such topics as traffic law, radio communications, report writing, testifying in court and computer crimes. The trainees also participated in simulations on defensive tactics, night building searches, firearms safety, driving techniques, crime scene investigations, fingerprinting, booking and transporting prisoners and other peace officer skills.
Simulation sites included the driving range at the University’s Minnesota Highway Safety & Research Center and Benton Hall on campus, where trainees executed search warrants and responded to a mock domestic situation.
Leading the way
Excellence in Leadership Awards were presented this spring to 28 students, a faculty member and a student organization that, through their leadership, creativity, initiative, social responsibility and active participation in the campus and community, have made significant contributions to the wellbeing of others.
The Dennis M. Thayer Leadership Award went to Joseph Storlien, St. Cloud, graduate student in environmental and technological studies, who has been a leader in the Environmental Studies Research Group, Environmental Technical Society Club, Soil Science Society of America, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Friends of the Sauk River and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Student Organization Leader of the Year is senior anthropology major Kent Fichtner, St. Peter, who has chaired the Student Government committee that allocates student fees of approximately $11 million to programs on campus.
Adviser of the Year is David L. DiMaria, director, International Student and Scholar Services, who is adviser to the International Students Association. He helped found Cultural Café, a successful series of cultural presentations that focus on a different country each week.
Student Organization of the Year is the Residence Hall Association, which serves as a resource to individual halls, a channel of communication between the halls and a voice for all residence hall students.
First in international organ competition
Joseph Ripka ’04, who earned his bachelor’s in piano and organ, was awarded first prize at the Dublin (Ireland) International Organ Competition in June. He was named the first-place winner following a public performance by the finalists at Dublin’s renowned Christ Church Cathedral. His award included a recital tour of King’s College, Westminster Cathedral and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, as well as other venues in Ireland, the Netherlands and the U.K.
Ripka is pursuing an artist’s diploma in organ at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music after completing his master’s degree in piano and organ at the University of Kansas in 2006.
At St. Cloud State Ripka studied organ with Professor Emeritus Charles Echols and piano with Professor Carmen Wilhite. He taught piano for a year at Saint John’s University, Collegeville, and was church organist at St. John’s Episcopal and Salem Lutheran Church, St. Cloud.
New athletics Web site launched
Husky fans were treated to the debut of an enhanced intercollegiate athletic department Web site this spring, which provides a comprehensive on-line information resource for all 23 of St. Cloud State’s intercollegiate athletic teams.
The new look allows for more effective use of the many high-quality images produced by St. Cloud State campus photographer Neil Andersen ’96 and provides increased potential for use of slide show, audio and video clips highlighting Husky sports.
University Web developers Linda Carr ’78, Karin Duncan ’01 and Mark Monn ’99 were the main players on the technology side of the Web site transformation, while the Athletic Media Relations office staff of Anne Abicht ’06 master’s, Tom Nelson, Celest Stang ’03 ’05 and Terry Tschida provided insight and input into the shaping of the final product.
“The new Web site has been met with rave reviews,” said Nelson, who has helped coordinate the Huskies’ home page since 1996. “The increased use of images has made a major impact on the appearance of the site, and the navigation improvements make it much more user-friendly.”
“The Web site has become one of the St. Cloud State Athletics Department’s most effective marketing tools,” Nelson said. “The site is constantly being updated with complete team information, results and statistics.”
Features of the athletics Web site include links to live audio and video streaming of select competitions, on-line forms for prospective student-athletes interested in becoming Huskies and complete information on tickets for home athletic events.
To see the improvements, visit
Husky leaders, supporters honored by conference
Twelve St. Cloud State coaches, athletic administrators and staff – eight of them alumni – were among the 66 people honored with the North Central Conference (NCC) Legacy Award in June.
The NCC Legacy Award was created in the league’s final year to honor personnel who achieved a long-term and successful record of service to the conference. St. Cloud State honorees were:
Anne Abicht ’06 Master’s – St. Cloud State Athletic Media Relations director since January 1985. Served as women’s sports information director at North Dakota State University 1981-85 and as the women’s sports publicist for the NCC.
Julie Alexander – Joined the St. Cloud State sports medicine staff in 1989 and became head athletic trainer in 1999. Has overseen the growth of the sports medicine staff to include four full-time staff members and graduate and student assistants.
Jerry Anderson ’94 – Has been the Husky men’s tennis coach for 11 seasons and the women’s for three. The men’s team has won nine NCC championships, including the last seven straight titles. Anderson played for the Huskies from 1982-84.
Sue Becker – Began her association with the NCC as head women’s softball coach at St. Cloud State in 1985, compiling a 241-162 overall record and two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) playoff appearances. Served as the St. Cloud State compliance officer from 1997 until her appointment as associate athletic director in 2005.
Tracy Dill ’87 Master’s – Joined the St. Cloud State athletics staff as an assistant football coach in 1985 and became head men’s track and field coach in 1988. In 1995 became the head men’s and women’s track and field coach. Named associate athletic director for marketing, promotions and fundraising in 1999.
Bill Hudson ’90 M.B.A. – Faculty athletic representative to the NCC, 2005-06 NCC chair, member of the steering committee for the Division II Faculty Athletic Representative Institute in 2004-05, and Faculty Athletic Representative Association Division II board member 2003-05 and vice-president 2005-06.
Morris Kurtz - Joined St. Cloud State as men’s athletic director in 1984 and became the director of athletics for the combined men’s and women’s department in 1996. Has overseen an enhanced fundraising initiative and growth of the program to 23 sports.
Judi Larkin ’85 – In eight seasons as the head men’s and women’s golf coach, has led the men’s team to NCC championships in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Named NCC Coach of the Year all three years. Both the men’s and women’s teams participated in the 2004 NCAA Division II Golf Championships and the men made a return appearance in 2006.
Denny Lorsung ’71 – Compiled a 546-563-4 record in 29 seasons as head baseball coach at St. Cloud State. The Huskies won two NCC North Division titles and the 1991 NCC championship. He was twice named the NCC Coach of the Year. Played for the Huskies in 1969 and 1970 and was an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.
Kevin Schlagel ’77 ’82 – Began his association with St. Cloud State men’s basketball as a player in 1972. From 1980-97 was assistant coach to the Huskies, during which time St. Cloud State won three NCC titles. During his time as head coach, which began in 1997, the Huskies have won one NCC title and two NCC Wells Fargo Finals Championships. Has recorded a 215-103 won/loss record in 11 seasons.
Lori Ulferts – Compiled a 219-178 won/loss record in 14 seasons as the head women’s basketball coach. She led the Huskies to back-to-back NCAA Division II Elite Eight Championships in 2005 and 2006, winning the North Central Region Tournament both seasons. Advanced to the semifinals of the 2006 national tournament. Coached NCAA Division II Player of the Year Erika Quigley.
Paula U’Ren ’97 Master’s – Has had a memorable career in the NCC, first as a three-time All-NCC softball player at Augustana College in 1993-95. Compiled a 426-197 won/loss record since joining St. Cloud State as head softball coach in 1997. The Huskies have won three NCC titles and finished third at the 2004 NCAA Division II National Championship.
Additional Husky supporters recognized at the NCC celebration in June were:
Steve Hammer ’70 and Diane and Carl Schmitt received NCC Volunteer of the Year Awards. Hammer has served as Husky football and men’s basketball public address announcer for more than 20 years, emcees the annual Men’s Basketball Banquet, was president of the Husky Boosters and was a Husky Hoopsters board member. The Schmitts have been the main basketball statisticians for Husky men’s and women’s basketball for 10 years. Carl is Computer Store coordinator and Diane is HuskyNet accounts coordinator in Technology Support Services, both at St. Cloud State.
Art Grachek ’62 received an NCC Honor Award, the highest award in the conference, for his efforts in heightening the integrity of the conference. He was the St. Cloud State institutional representative to the conference from 1987-2001, and served as Faculty Athletic Representative Institute president and executive committee member. Grachek was a professor in the St. Cloud State Department of Communication Studies from 1971-2003.
Head football coachScott Underwood, on the Husky coaching staff since 2001, has been named head football coach. He first joined St. Cloud State as defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and defensive back coach. Prior coaching stops included the University of North Dakota, the University of Sioux Falls and Augustana College, his alma mater.
Farewell North Central, hello Northern Sun
The NCC has been home to St. Cloud State men’s athletics since 1981 and women’s athletics since 1984. The Huskies helped make the league a success, winning 41 conference championships, including 15 men’s tennis team championships and five women’s tennis team championships. In addition, 247 men and 120 women have won individual conference titles.
The Stan Marshall Award is the highest recognition given to NCC student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through academic performance, athletic ability and community activities. St. Cloud State winners included wrestler Ryan Marx ’00 (1999), men’s basketball player Alex Carlson ’04 (2004), and football and track and field standout Ryan Koch ’05 (2006). St. Cloud State women who won the award competed in basketball and track and field, with Julie Eisenchenk ’90 honored in 1990 and Jennifer Higgins ’01 in 2001.
NSIC members are:
Runs in the family
St. Cloud State gained a little national television exposure this spring as the brother-sister act of Nate ’08 and Stacy ’08 Dey, Maplewood, were featured in the National Collegiate Athletic Association “NCAA On Campus Program” in April. The monthly 30-minute look at NCAA college sports airs nationally on ESPN Classic and ESPNU and is posted on the NCAA Web site.
The Deys grabbed the attention of “NCAA On Campus” because both played intercollegiate ice hockey for St. Cloud State. A four-year standout for the Huskies at forward, Nate completed his career in 2007-08 with 30 goals, 49 assists and 79 points. He set a team record this winter by playing in 159 games during his career. Stacy also finished her career with the Huskies last winter. A four-year veteran on defense, she played in 117 games during her career and accounted for one goal and 11 assists.
To complete the feature on the Deys, an “NCAA On Campus” production crew from Indianapolis-based DL Images ventured north to St. Cloud State during the last week of March. On-screen personality Melissa Knowles and production chief Lee Nassau spent about four hours on campus interviewing men’s hockey coach Bob Motzko ’89 and women’s hockey coach Jeff Giesen ’93 along with the Deys.
The exposure on “NCAA On Campus” capped a busy year in the spotlight for the Deys, as the duo were featured by several media outlets during their time as Huskies. Additions to their media “clip book” included a feature in the March edition of Minnesota Score magazine, on-line coverage through WCHA.com and a feature on WCCO TV in 2007.
Find the complete “NCAA On Campus” story on Nate and Stacy at www.ncaa.org/wps/ncaa?ContentID=631 (Click on the April 2008 link in the Past Episodes list at the bottom of the page)
Marc MarkellProfessor Marc Markell, special education, along with his sister and co-author Kathryn Markell, had their book about working with young people dealing with grief published by Routledge. "The Children Who Lived: Using Harry Potter and Other Fictional Characters to Help Grieving Children and Adolescents" uses the experiences of Harry Potter and other fictional characters to help educators, counselors and parents work with children and adolescents dealing with loss. Markell, who joined St. Cloud State in 1991, earlier authored "Helping People with Developmental Disabilities Mourn: Practical Rituals for Caregivers," as well as articles in the field of special education. Copies are available at Amazon.com, Borders and Barnes & Noble.
Jim BertramSeveral cartoons by Jim Bertram ’88, producer-director of educational and instructional materials at St. Cloud State, have been published by The Wall Street Journal during the last two years. For more than 50 years, the newspaper has carried on its editorial page "Pepper … and Salt," cartoons chosen from about 1,000 unsolicited submissions a week. Bertram, who has worked at St. Cloud State for 28 years, has also done standup comedy, has written for Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers and Jay Leno, and has had cartoons published in the Smithsonian’s "Air & Space" and "Highlights for Children."
Glen TuomaalaGlen Tuomaala, director of the Husky Sports Band at St. Cloud State and the St. Cloud Municipal Band, has been chosen president of the Minnesota Band Directors Association (MBDA) Central Region. As president, he will lead the sponsorship of an honor band for outstanding student musicians in grades 6-8 and another for grades 9-10. The MBDA assists in the development of band directors and band programs in schools, colleges and communities throughout Minnesota. The Central Region of the MBDA includes St. Cloud and the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
Derrick Silvestri ’06, chief engineer of St. Cloud State’s Husky Productions, has collected four national awards and a regional award in the last year for a 30-minute documentary he produced on the Husky hockey program. “The History of St. Cloud State Division I Hockey: Past. Present. Future” has received a Bronze Aurora, a Communicator Award, a Videographer Award and a Telly, which competition receives 14,000 entries a year. In addition, he received a Midwest College Emmy nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation.
Silvestri has been on the staff since 2006 as manager of the campus television studio. This fall he also is teaching television production in the Department of Mass Communications, which offers students four focus areas – advertising, broadcasting, news editorial and public relations.
Million Dollar Lady
The College of Education’s first million-dollar benefactor used a teaching degree to free herself from the social restraints imposed on women.
Before her death this spring, Vera Russell ’35 ’40 generously thanked the college that helped her become a teacher, principal, ham-radio operator and investor.
Russell’s 2005 gift of farm land funded the renovation of the Curriculum & Technology Center in the Education Building. Her 2008 gift of farm land and an individual retirement account will endow a graduate assistantship and curriculum fund for the Curriculum & Technology Center, which will be renamed in her honor. Plans also call for the creation of learning centers within the College of Education to enhance the educational environment for students and faculty.
“We are deeply grateful for Vera Russell’s commitment to the College of Education as well as her passion for education,” said Kate Steffens, dean of the College of Education. “Because of Vera’s generous gifts, her legacy and commitment will live on at St. Cloud State University.”
Russell’s recent gift of property is valued at approximately $1 million. With her previous gifts, her total giving to the College of Education is just over $1.2 million.
“Vera Russell is a marvelous example of a student who came to St. Cloud State and realized her dreams and her professional ambition through education,” said President Earl H. Potter III. “We are grateful that her generous gifts and her inspiring success story will continue to help future students achieve their own personal goals. Gifts like this are key to helping St. Cloud State continue to serve students in increasingly better ways.”
Russell, who died May 18, 2008, is buried in Montevideo, not far from the Chippewa County farm where she came of age between the world wars. Times were hard and opportunities few for a young woman in western Minnesota during the 1920s and 1930s. Russell looked to St. Cloud State for answers.
“St. Cloud State provided a beginning point for Vera, a gateway for a career that she was not sure she could find elsewhere,” said Chad Marolf, director of development for the College of Education.
Armed with a two-year teaching certificate from St. Cloud State Teachers College, Russell found a teaching job that paid her $300 for eight months’ work. The bachelor’s degree she earned at St. Cloud State in 1940 helped her advance to $1,450 for the 1942-43 school year. After World War II, Russell parlayed a master’s degree from the University of Michigan into a career as an elementary school principal in Grand Blanc, Mich. In 1977-78, her last full year as an educator, she earned $27,064.
In her private life Russell was an amateur radio enthusiast, operating with the call sign K8BPQ. Her 1963 service as president of the Genesee County Radio Club in Michigan is remarkable in an avocation dominated then, as today, by males.
Never married, she traveled widely with her sisters. In the latter years of retirement she lived in Houston, Texas, near her sister, Zola Parker. She remained committed to education, serving as a volunteer tutor at Almeda Elementary School. Russell outlived four siblings and inherited their wealth, managing those assets and her own until her death.
In her final trip to the state of her birth, Russell addressed St. Cloud State faculty, staff and students at a November 2007 reception in her honor.
“St. Cloud has always had a special place in my heart. I enjoyed going here,” said Russell. “You don’t know how much I’ve appreciated the education I got here.”
Emotional Tour de Force
The setting was a former Nazi concentration camp in France, complete with barbed wire and crematorium. In the audience front row, survivors of the World War II horror watched and listened in profound appreciation as 200 singers and musicians from Minnesota delivered a blend of haunting and hopeful music and lyrics, backed by images of Jewish children who did not survive. When it was finished, there was silence. Then tears.
Students and faculty from St. Cloud State made up the majority of the performers and organizers involved in the European premier of the Holocaust oratorio, “To Be Certain of the Dawn.” They were joined by 40 children in the Cloud State Cantabile Girls Choir, as well as students and faculty from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.
The group premiered “To Be Certain of the Dawn” at St. Cloud State and Saint John’s University in April, and while on tour performed several concerts in Germany, Switzerland and France. But it was the performance at Natzweiler-Struthof that left the indelible mark on their hearts.
The oratorio, by Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus and librettist Michael Dennis Browne, was premiered in 2005 by the Rev. Michael J. O’Connell of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis to celebrate two important events – the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the death camps at the end of World War II and the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II document that condemned blaming Jews for the death of Christ. Rooted in themes and subjects of mutual interest to the Jewish and Christian faith communities, the oratorio pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and honors survivors and their descendants.
Throughout the tour, the St. Cloud Times chronicled the events with unprecedented coverage. Some of the hundreds of photos taken by Times photographer Dave Schwarz are shared on these pages. For those involved in the extraordinary death camp concert in France, emotions remain raw. Tears still flow easily. But they know that the story and the message they helped convey so beautifully never will die. What follows on these pages are the most vivid impressions of a representative few.
“It’s going to take a long time to unpack this experience and see how it’s going to play out in our lives.
“Back in fall of ’06 Joseph Edelheit told the music faculty his real dream was to take this oratorio to Germany as a gift of healing to the German people. When he showed me the score, I said ‘yes,’ we can do it. I didn’t let it go.”
“The audience was bussed in for the performance at the concentration camp. Survivors sat in the front row. The camp is at one of the most beautiful places in France. Prisoners would talk about hearing the horrific cries from the crematorium at night and then hearing the birds singing in the morning. When we got done with the piece, there was dead silence. It felt like three minutes before there was response. All you could hear was the birds singing. Then the choir members let their emotions go. The orchestra players had tears streaming down their faces. Steven Paulus, the composer, and Joseph said they’d never been more moved by anything in their lives.”
The girls’ choir wasn’t just an important part of the performance. It was THE element. The oratorio’s subtitle is “In memory of the children. They are our hope.” The centerpiece of the work is the images of children. Poet Michael Dennis Brown portrays the children first as Hebrew children singing simple blessings – thank you for the apples, thank you for the leaves, thank you for the grass, thank you for the sun – then, as the work progresses, they transform from singing simple blessings to singing the word of God, quoting Hebrew scriptures. The adult choir cries out, ‘How do you create healing?’ The children tell us how.
“It takes you on quite a roller coaster of emotions.”
“Before going to this camp and seeing this place, I had no idea of the extent of the concentration camps. I had known of Dachau and Auschwitz, but I didn’t realize there were thousands of camps in Europe and Russia. I didn’t realize either that the camps and experiments were for other groups besides Jews.
During this performance I looked over at the audience and the people who were brought there – survivors in the front row, some who couldn’t walk. I saw a man in his full French uniform from World War II standing in the audience.
“The French government just pulled out all the stops for us. I’d never played with such a great microphone on my violin.
“This camp had been a ski resort where people went for holidays. How awful to turn something so beautiful and joyful into something so horrendous.
“Because of this experience, I will have a deeper level of compassion and appreciation for my students and people in general. And a deeper level of appreciation for my instrument. Twice in the oratorio I played a single sustained plaintiff note – it starts with a nudge and continues. Composer Stephen Paulus told me that note sets the tone for the whole piece.
“The violin reflects the soul. I want to get my students to understand this, and now even more so. Given that role in the oratorio – to reflect the soul of what went on – was a huge responsibility.”
“I was the cynical journalist who thought some of the students would be on the trip to see Europe and have some fun. What I found was that all of the students internalized the reason they were there. Watching them you could just feel they knew they were carrying a very meaningful message.
“I hadn’t been one to always buy into the image of anti-Semitism that St. Cloud State carried. I know it doesn’t deserve that rap. There are a lot of people in this community who live the message these kids were bringing. This institution has helped them get to where they are, to prepare for this experience. They’ve been on a campus with a history of lawsuits and racism, of swastikas drawn on walls. It was the Times’ coverage of these swastika stories that in a weird way led me to this trip. I had heard criticisms that Times stories about swastikas last year were perpetuating the image of anti-Semitism and racism. This caused me to go to Joseph Edelheit and ask him his opinion. That conversation led to his suggestion that I write about students going to Europe.
“I came back different. There’s a whole different dynamic between me and members of my family.”
“Each one of our choir members wants to share this experience and pass this emotion down to the generations so that the Holocaust is never minimized.
“The most monumental piece for me was the children’s choir. Looking at those girls I would think about all their potential, of having their lives cut off and thrown away – imagine the world that existed and let that happen. One of the most influential lines of the piece to me was the very last line, sung by the mezzo soprano: ‘I have lived in a world with no children; I never want to live in a world with no children again.’
“I’m a person who’s usually smiling. I’m pretty positive. But this was uncontrollable. At those emotional times, every time I thought I could relax and stop crying, I would see one of the Cantabile girls and it would start over again. They worked so hard, and it amazed me how they understood what was going on. It took a lot of comprehension and maturity.
“This experience, it’s going to be a piece of me. I’m learning to value more deeply the potential of everyone because of seeing what happens when each individual’s future is not valued. My plans to be a teacher and to be a mother make this mean even more to me. My children will be the next generation.”
“What’s the impact of this experience on my life? I’ve been trying to figure that out since I got home. It’s really hard to put into words, but I do know that I feel incredibly proud of not only myself, but also of the people I went through this with. We truly have done something amazing for ourselves and for humanity. I’m proud of us as students, as artists and, above all, proud of us as human beings.
“I love writing about human interaction and how we treat each other. I think it’s fascinating. In that aspect this oratorio experience will affect how I tell stories and interpret relationships in those stories. We’re all different races, religions and creeds. It’s those differences that divide us, but they’re also what make us human. We have to work harder to understand each other.
“Because of this experience I’ve been looking at how I treat people and going through the daunting process of trying to figure out what I believe in.
“It seems so simple – just love everyone around you. But I have discovered there have been an amazing number of horrible things that have been done to people by people who decide to hate for a reason that has no real substance.”
“You all chose to be here, to bring a gift of your art. In order to fully understand the meaning of the art we needed to bring you to this place.
“It is truly unlike any other place. There are a few places still like it. The paradox is that they need to keep them going instead of let them fall apart.
“There were 1 million children under 10 that perished. You sing the words that were created by the poet who looked at the pictures. Now you’re in a place that destroyed lives.
“And if you feel that there are no words, that’s correct. There are no words. There are tears. There is a gasping for air. There is some sense of horror that human beings could not and would not do this to other human beings. But they did. That is why we need to bring you to this place.
“It is a place beyond meaning. Nothing good comes from this place. And yet, tomorrow you will come here with your extraordinary voices, your nimble fingers, your incredible hearts and your amazing lungs, and all you do is good. How can that be?
“Today we bear witness through resistance, not through passivity. As we sit on the lawn outside this death camp, genocide occurs in Darfur and elsewhere. And the world is as it was, silent.
“I have always had one goal in committing myself to interfaith dialogue: To make sure that my children’s world does not have the silence that my grandparents’ world had. I retired from the pulpit to teach, and I came to St. Cloud State because they were labeled a community and campus of anti-Semites. I came because of it, but that’s not why I’m staying. You are why I’m staying.
“Five years later here we are, sitting outside Natzweiler-Struthof. And tomorrow night you will sing words written by Michael Dennis Browne through the notes of Stephen Paulus. We will show photos of (Roman) Vishniac, and you will lift up the spirit that has been covered by silence.
“I’m sorry we brought you here. I’m sorry that as a teacher I am obligated to show you the darkest shadow that falls over your earth – human beings, not Germans, human beings just like all of us. Human beings are capable of tomorrow night, and what you saw inside. Your lives are about making those choices every day. Some day you will choose to be parents; you must help your children learn about those choices. Whenever you sing and play your instruments, I pray that your art will be making a choice, too.
“You will never sing more defiant words in your life than in this place.”
John Baker ’99
Attorney John Baker credits his SCSU Survey professors with giving him the confidence to pursue a law degree and help launch the groundbreaking Minnesota firm that deals exclusively with veterans’ legal needs.
Baker had come to St. Cloud State after 22 years in the Marine Corps, a disabled veteran. Professor Steve Frank said Baker was an excellent student who had put a lot of experience between the problems of his youth and his newfound interest in politics and public policy issues.
“Professors Frank and (Steven) Wagner use the SCSU Survey as a way to work with students and give them hands-on experience working with issues,” Baker said. “The work helps shape you. The Steves absolutely influenced me. My experience with them prepared me for law school. As a student director (1998-99) I learned about political science and survey methods, but more importantly the experience gave me the ability to really dissect issues of public policy.” He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics.
After law school and another year of active duty in the Marines, Baker joined a Minneapolis law firm. But in January he opened the firm of Baker, Wadd & Williams LLP, along with his wife, Sharon Clark-Williams, and Adam Wadd, who had gone to law school after serving in the U.S. Navy and graduating from the University of Minnesota. All three are graduates of the Hamline University School of Law.
Their innovative firm is believed to be the only one of its kind in the nation, with the partners focusing only on the legal needs of veterans, from untangling military red tape to child custody and divorce cases to criminal problems. “I’ve been through most of that,” Baker said. “I know the process. We do a lot of pro bono work and family law. It’s full service.”
Baker said he learned a lot about being there for others from his favorite professors in political science. “I had Professor Frank for five or six quarters in a row,” said Baker. “He was always available to me. I would get e-mails from him at 1 in the morning.”
Eight student directors are selected annually for the SCSU Survey, a respected and increasingly sophisticated statewide arm of the St. Cloud State Department of Political Science. They help develop the questions and lead polling and analysis for about six surveys a year. Taking part in the fall omnibus political survey – especially in a presidential election year – is prime time for these involved students.
“I have to admit I’m a tad jealous,” said former Survey director Jamie Kirsch ’07, who was deployed to Iraq just two months after graduating with a degree in political science. “How exciting to be part of the survey at such an intense time in U.S. history!”
The SCSU Survey usually generates considerable public attention with its fall statewide survey – most famously in 1998. Survey leaders circulated a news release three days before that election heralding the trend toward a Jesse Ventura win in the Minnesota governor’s race. Two of those leaders, political science professors Steve Frank and Steven Wagner, followed that coup with a book about the Ventura phenomenon, “We Shocked the World: A Case Study of Jesse Ventura’s Election as Governor of Minnesota.”
Frank, who started the SCSU Survey 28 years ago, has an infectious passion for all things political. “I’m intensely interested in politics – following it, teaching it, measuring it,” he said. “I think elections matter. Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, something new comes up. Wow!”
This year is especially a “wow” time in national politics. “I think Americans realize this is a critical election,” he said. “If people can’t see the difference between Barack Obama and John McCain, then there’s no hope.”
Part of the Survey’s success is the integrity of the Survey team. Clean methodology is crucial to Frank and his colleagues.
The clients who come back to the SCSU Survey – only government or non-profit organizations are accepted – count on the team to poll a representative sampling with good questions to gather the information they need. Don Feeney, research and planning director for the Minnesota Lottery, calls the annual survey the St. Cloud State group has done for the Lottery for 14 years the “gold standard” of gambling surveys.
But while the SCSU Survey’s bread-and-butter clients help pay the bills, the omnibus fall political survey will be the main course this fall for Helm and her fellow student directors and pollsters. And one of the most interesting aspects will be the “feeling thermometer,” Frank’s invention that measures whether people know a candidate well enough to rate him or her and how they feel about the candidate on a scale from 1-100.
How warmly a voter feels about a candidate’s personality and likeability is a big deal, according to Frank. It’s what wins or loses elections. “One of the reasons George Bush won was that he was a better candidate than John Kerry, who came across as aloof and not somebody you could have a beer with over the fence.”
Helm and her colleagues are looking forward to finding out how much that “feeling thing,” as well as the issues Americans are grappling with, will affect this fall’s election. “We’ve been guessing about the outcome of the presidential election since last year,” she said of prognostications based on survey results and historical campaign analysis. “We’re just so excited to see if we’re right.”
Helm, a public administration major from St. Joseph who’s been a student director since spring 2006, appreciates the opportunity her position offers to delve into political hot-button issues and hobnob with faculty Survey leaders. “I just think it’s an awesome experience.”
“Many say the survey was the kind of experience that helped them get into grad school or get jobs or the kind of experience they normally wouldn’t have gotten,” said Frank.
Student directors have gone on to significant positions in government, education, law – even the business of polling. Chas Anderson ’96, who majored in government relations and is currently deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Education, is typical of the bright, motivated students who pass through the SCSU Survey. She was hired right out of college as an aide to then Gov. Arne Carlson. “Chas has a passion for public policy, but she’s also politically astute, which goes back to her work on the SCSU survey,” said Bernie Omann ’90, Sartell, director of Community Relations for St. Cloud State and former legislator. He was chief of staff for Gov. Arne Carlson when Anderson joined the Carlson team.
Other notable student director graduates include Justin Wedeking ’00, now a political science faculty member at the University of Kentucky, Lexington; Dave Kleis ’89, a former legislator and now mayor of St. Cloud; John Baker ’99, who recently opened what’s believed to be the only U.S. law firm dedicated to veterans’ needs in the Twin Cities; Aaron Amic ’99 ’02, an executive with Ipsos Public Affairs; and Laurie Hokkanen ’02, assistant city manager for Chanhassen.
The SCSU Survey was born out of Frank’s desire to develop a hands-on teaching tool to help his students understand more about public opinion. He spent two summers at the University of Michigan’s survey research center as a visiting faculty scholar before launching the SCSU Survey in 1980.
In the Survey’s humble beginnings, said first student director Jeff Wood ’81 ’87 ’95, Web content director for St. Cloud State, “I sat at the political science department secretary’s desk in Brown Hall to make survey calls on her phone. We looked at questions on a paper list and wrote the answers down,” he said. “Back then it took two to three weeks to get results.”
Wood recalls Frank taking him to a downtown marketing call center run by SCSU alumni Larry Meyer ’71 and Peg Ford Meyer ’70 to view the sea of desks, telephones and interviewers taking the pulse of Americans on politics and products. “There I got a glimpse of the future,” he said.
In the mid ’90s, as student director Anderson helped oversee the Survey’s transition from a “paper/pencil” to computerized operation. “You can’t get that kind of experience out of a classroom,” she said.
Last year the SCSU Survey moved into a new and expanded space in Stewart Hall with 19 calling stations. Each has a computer fitted with computer-assisted telephone interviewing software. The system offers instant results. The Survey is one of the University’s centers that generates revenue for its operating costs – $80,000 to $100,000 a year for computers, phones, servers, printers and technical support services.
“The hands-on experience I was afforded through the Survey is invaluable,” said Army Staff Sgt. Kirsch, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in conflict resolution and peace studies when she returns from Iraq. Part of a St. Paul-based Minnesota National Guard unit, she is a battalion nuclear, biological and chemical non-commissioned officer in charge, tracking helicopters throughout the theater of Iraq. She has received an Army Commendation Medal and Meritorious Service Medal for her service and leadership.
Kirsch said working with the Survey during fall 2006 gave her insight into a process few take the time to understand or appreciate. “We all come to rely upon the statistics that are fed to us as we prepare for elections or determine what products are preferred. Because of my experience with the Survey, I understand and appreciate the purpose behind the polls and surveys that are used in practically everything we do.”
Chas Anderson ’96
Her first job was aide to Gov. Arne Carlson, and in less than a decade government relations graduate Chas Anderson has risen to the position of deputy commissioner – second in command – for the Minnesota Department of Education. She credits her SCSU Survey experience with helping prepare her for her extraordinary advance into state government leadership.
“I was exposed to research methodology and the public policy side,” said Anderson of her Survey role (1994-96), which gave her the skills she would hone first as a constituent services and legislative relations aide for Gov. Arnie Carlson. That led to a position as lead administrator for the Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee from 1999-2003. Then Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed her deputy education commissioner, a position that gives her responsibility for day-to-day operations of the department, including agency management and human resource operations, oversight of the legislative agenda and accountability issues.
“I grew a lot in my four years at St. Cloud State – academically, socially and in ways that helped me handle management and research into issues that have been critical to my work,” said Anderson, St. Paul, who is focusing more on policy than finance issues, including improving the quality of teacher preparation. “My leadership role as a student director helped me establish those skills.”
Anderson recalls being given responsibilities with the SCSU Survey that became valuable to her education. For example, she helped oversee the Survey’s transition from a “paper/pencil” to computerized operation. “I learned to work through those changes,” she said. “You can’t get that kind of experience out of a classroom.”
The in-depth examination of issues and political questions to be included in any survey was excellent practice for the policy work Anderson has done for various state government offices. “We’d do a lot of research on issues before we’d put together a survey instrument,” she said. “The methodology was right.”
Anderson has maintained her friendship with Professor Steve Frank in the 12 years since her Survey days. “I still come up and talk to his classes. He was a good mentor in college, and I still go to him for advice. He’s just a very solid professor.”
Aaron Amic ’99 ’02
As a vice president for one of the five largest research firms in the world, Aaron Amic, Albertville, says he is “doing what I did as a student director (1997-99) of the SCSU Survey – only on a larger scale.”
Amic developed an understanding of what constitutes good research methodology during his two years as student director. “I wouldn’t have moved up in my company without that good foundation.”
His company is Ipsos, an international research and public affairs firm, for which he serves as vice president of omnibus research services for North American public affairs. “The group I run does $7 million a year,” said Amic, whose undergraduate degree is in public administration and master’s degree is in public and non-profit institutions. “There are few Fortune 500 companies I haven’t worked with.”
Amic’s involvement with the Survey started with a political science class he took from the Survey’s founder, Professor Steve Frank, his freshman year. “As with most classes with Dr. Frank or Dr. (Professor Steven) Wagner, survey research would make its way into the class,” he said. “We all had to put some time in with the SCSU Survey.” He took the job as student director because he “had always been interested in polling and seeing the nuts and bolts of what was happening. I did it through the rest of my college career and came back and kept doing stuff with them even after I graduated.”
After college he worked with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with an environmental firm in Edina before joining the company that eventually merged with Ipsos. With Amic’s knowledge of sound polling practices, he was well prepared for the challenge, crediting the professors who lead the Survey. “Dr. Wagner was my mentor. Without him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”
“My career path has been 100 percent determined by my decision to work as a student director,” said Amic, who added that he’ll be watching for this year’s big Survey election polls.
Alumni Award Winners
George Kuh ’71
George Kuh, Bloomington, Ind., is known as one of the “nation’s most prominent, eloquent and forward thinkers about higher education” for his work in evaluating and improving the quality of undergraduate education. He currently is Chancellor’s Professor of Higher Education at Indiana University Bloomington and is director of the Center for Postsecondary Research, which houses the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
Kuh developed NSSE, an annual survey regarding student participation in university programs provided for personal and academic development. Since its inception, NSSE has played an integral role in reforming national perceptions and policies regarding student development. Kuh has been a consultant to more than 200 higher education institutions, has more than 300 publications to his credit and has made hundreds of presentations regarding student development, institutional improvement and assessment strategies.
Kuh is a past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education and was honored with the association’s prestigious Research Achievement Award. He serves on the board of regents at Luther College and is involved with the National Leadership Council for the Association of American Colleges and Universities “Liberal Education and America’s Promise” initiative. He also sits on the editorial boards of “About Campus,” “Change,” “Higher Education Abstracts” and “Liberal Education.”
His work and dedication to higher education have earned him numerous awards, including Indiana University’s prestigious Tracy Sonneborn Award, the American College Personnel Association’s distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Educational Leadership Award for Teaching from St. Cloud State.
Diana Carter ’78
Diana Carter, Wayzata, has demonstrated a commitment to service in all aspects of her life. She served on the St. Cloud State University Foundation board of trustees from 1999-2008. She is a past chair and served as finance committee chair. Her generous philanthropic efforts have supported the University’s goals for admissions endowed scholarships. Community service includes serving on the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota finance committee and on the board of trustees at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Carter also founded Grand Central Charities, which funds micro loans to women running businesses in the Congo. She is chief financial officer at Summit Mortgage Corporation, which she founded with her husband in 1992.
Graduate of the Last Decade (Gold)
David Novak ’00
David Novak, Lake Grove, N.Y., is a meteorologist employed by the National Weather Service, Eastern Region Headquarters, Scientific Services Division. After graduating from St. Cloud State Novak went on to earn a master’s in atmospheric sciences at State University of New York at Albany. He currently is a doctoral candidate at State University of New York at Stony Brook. Already, Novak is recognized as an important contributor in his field. He was instrumental in establishing the National Smarttool Team, which helps the National Weather Service produce digital weather forecasts. His research also has served as the basis for a number of National Weather Service training seminars.
G.R. Herberger College of Business Leadership
Al Heinen ’78
Al Heinen, Champlin, has a long history of commitment to his business, community and St. Cloud State. He has not only been a strong financial supporter of the University, but the Eide Bailly partner has actively recruited and hired many
College of Education Leadership
Mary Brabeck ’70
Mary Brabeck, New York City, is known for her extraordinary leadership in education and is considered a leading scholar in her field. She is dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Recently, Brabeck received the Homes Partnership Board of Directors Service Award, the American Psychological Association Committee on Women in Psychology Leadership Award and the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement and Distinguished Alumna Award. She also has an honorary degree from St. Joseph University. Brabeck is said to have shown high integrity and a quality of leadership that is uniquely hers while serving as a model for current and future generations.
College of Fine Arts and Humanities Leadership
Valerie Doherty ’76
Valerie Doherty, Eden Prairie, is CEO and co-owner with her husband, Tim, of Doherty Employment Group and Doherty Staffing Solutions. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1979. Recent recognition has included Pink Magazine’s 50 Top Women Business Owners nationally and Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s third largest female-owned business. The Dohertys also received the 2008 Entrepreneurs of the Year Award from the Carlson School of Management. She supports higher education in many ways, including currently employing 20 St. Cloud State graduates, financially supporting her alma maters and partnering with Riverland College to establish the Doherty Scholarship fund.
College of Science and Engineering Leadership
Dan Hooper ’99
Dan Hooper, Oak Park, Ill., is an associate scientist in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin Madison and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford University, then secured a coveted staff scientist position at Fermi National Laboratories, where he is already a leading expert in developing tests for dark matter. He has had numerous scientific papers published in international journals and authored two layman’s guides to the universe: “Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe’s Missing Mass and Energy” and “Nature’s Blueprint: Supersymmetry and the Search for a Unified Theory of Matter and Force.”
College of Social Sciences Leadership
Patti Gartland ’80
Patti Gartland, a lifelong resident of
Judith Moberg ’68
Judith Moberg, St. Cloud, first began teaching at St. Cloud State in 1969 as an assistant professor of geography. She dedicated herself to establishing a travel/tourism program at St. Cloud State before retiring in 1999. In 2001, as a result of Moberg’s commitment and determination, the travel/tourism emphasis became an individual major. Moberg received the University’s Outstanding Contribution Award and Distinguished Professor Award for excellence in teaching. It is said her contribution went far beyond the expectations of her employment, and the positive influence she had on students, St. Cloud State and the travel industry is still felt today.