11/19/2010

Plaza Sweet

From the President

Visionary Approaches

This fall St. Cloud State launched two projects destined to alter the university’s future inside and out: a major reorganization plan to make us a more effective, responsive place of learning for students and a new Welcome Center to make us a more viable, inviting resource for the community. Both initiatives are unprecedented, visionary approaches to challenges and opportunities both current and anticipated.

The new Welcome Center at Coborn Plaza – the University’s new accessible “front door” – is a superb example of the kind of public/private partnership that is the future for a community that’s becoming a true “university town.” University offices in the Welcome Center include the Corporate Education and Outreach Component of Continuing Studies – which serves 50,000 people on and off campus annually – the Small Business Development Center and new microloan program to assist individuals with achieving their entrepreneurial dreams, Admissions, an exhibit area called The Intersection that promises to have appeal to the public and the University Husky Store. These are facilities that interface with the campus and offer access, assistance and support.

Two high-tech classrooms and meeting rooms are available for use by community organizations with a connection to St. Cloud State and for the general public. With this place – this symbol of change and commitment to a collective vision – we are “turning the university inside out” and letting the world know what we have to offer.

What we have to offer community residents and our students is a University that is on its way to being leaner and more efficient in how and what it delivers to traditional and nontraditional students.

Reorganization conversations – the outgrowth of campus-wide strategic planning and strategic program appraisal – were accelerated by state mandated demands for deep budget cuts. The necessity to balance the budget with significantly less state funding and without the option of commensurate tuition increases intensified the complexity of these discussions. Faculty and staff met the challenge and carried out a fair and open process that led to recommendations that will shape the future of our university ... proving that we have a solid crew and sound ship to carry us through rough seas.

Beginning with academics, the University has cut 10 percent of its budget in the past three years and prepared for another 10 percent in reductions, totaling $14 million, in the next state budget biennium. Following a strategic program appraisal the University has cut 29 major, minor and graduate programs in order to preserve the rigor and relevance of St. Cloud State academics. During the current and following years the University will have eliminated 119 faculty lines as well as two senior administrative positions through reorganization in the Office of Academic Affairs. Through appraisal of support and service staff further decisions will be made to streamline offices while continuing to serve all constituencies.

It has been inevitable also that reorganization would extend to Husky athletics – to make hard decisions that will help build a sustainable athletics program and help the University meet its objective to provide the best possible experience for the largest number of student athletes that the university can afford. While eliminating football was put on the table as a possible way to help balance a $500,000 shortfall in the athletics budget, no decision will be made until St. Cloud State conducts a thorough conversation with its constituents and explores a variety of budget-cutting scenarios.

Reorganization has brought us to difficult decisions that we do not like being forced to make, but we must be clear about the need to secure St. Cloud State’s future and our ability to do the job our students, the community and the state expects us to do. The new Welcome Center will play a big part in helping us provide the services and the amenities that will help us achieve these goals.

Earl H. Potter III, President

University News

Articulation Agreement Signed with Central Lakes College

St. Cloud State and Central Lakes College (CLC), Brainerd, continue to join forces to enhance their offerings. The most recent agreement means that CLC psychology students can now earn bachelor’s degree credits starting with a one-hour lab portion of an online Applying Psychology course offered at CLC. Four credits will count toward the university’s community psychology bachelor of science degree. The  institutions have informally collaborated for many years and, according to John Hoover, assistant dean of the College of Education, the agreement formalizes the relationship the two institutions have enjoyed over the years.

Student Attends Outdoor Nation Youth Summit

Senior Zach Bauer, St. Cloud, joined 500 college students from all 50 states at the first Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in Central Park, N.Y., this past June. The event helped the organizers to develop a national agenda, set priorities and outline strategies to promote outdoor recreation and form a catalyst to motivate and mobilize Americans to use the great outdoors. Bauer, a student employee of Outdoor Endeavors, was the only Minnesota representative and worked with 10 other participants to help identify the main barriers when trying to convince people to use the outdoors.

Participants of the event, hosted by The Outdoor Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at championing the use of the outdoors on campuses and in communities, were chosen from a pool of 1,000 applicants; 47 percent came from urban environments, 33 percent from suburban and 20 percent from rural areas. Fifty percent of the participants came from a non-Caucasian ethnic background.

University Wins Award for Riverview Restoration

St. Cloud State University’s Riverview Hall was recently awarded a Restoration/Rehabilitation Award from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

Designed by Clarence H. Johnston, Sr., Riverview is the state university system’s only continuously occupied building on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The University and surrounding community have shown unprecedented support for the project, most recently featuring the building on St. Cloud’s South Side Home Tour,” stated the award declaration. The upgrades cost $4.5 million and took a little more than a year to complete. They included bringing the building into compliance with modern safety and accessibility codes. Technology upgrades added a computer lab and so-called smart classrooms. St. Cloud State also renovated one classroom to look as it did in 1911.

Riverview, which was built from 1911-13, was the neighborhood elementary school on St. Cloud’s South Side until 1958. Riverview then housed the university’s English Department until 2008. Communication Studies now calls Riverview home.

Grant Awarded for Archaeological Dig

St. Cloud State will receive one of 56 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants for the fiscal year 2011. The $56,050 grant will initiate research at five adjacent archaeological sites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which will inform an eventual National Register of Historic Places nomination.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund Grants are made possible by the passage of the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The amendment supports efforts to preserve Minnesota land, water and legacy, including our state’s history and cultural heritage.

Grants are available for history and historic preservation projects in three tiers: small or “Fast Track” grants of $7,000 or less, mid-size grants between $7,000 and $50,000, and large grants of more than $50,000. Each grant will preserve and enhance Minnesota’s cultural and historical resources.

The Gallery Vault is a Dream Come True

What has been a dream of some for many years came to fruition this fall when a student-operated art gallery opened in downtown St. Cloud.

Named The Gallery Vault, the facility at 822 West St. Germain St. was the result of a lot of a hard work by a few St. Cloud State University students. Those students include seniors Blake Weld, Chalyn Day and Robert Heid and recent grad Sara Larson ’10.

“The idea of having our own gallery off campus has been around for a while,” Weld said one day recently as he, Day and Heid gathered in the gallery. All are members of the Art Student Union (ASU) at St. Cloud State and all are expected to graduate this school year.

The gallery opened officially Sept. 17, and thanks to a $6,000 grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board has enough money to stay open until the first of the year.The students hope to raise enough money to keep the gallery open indefinitely.

Day credited Larson for doing the majority of the work writing the grant. “It was a lot of work and she did an outstanding job,” Day said of Larson who is now living and working in Portland, Ore.

“If not for her, none of this would have been possible,” said Day, Willmar, who specializes in large-scale printmaking.

By having a gallery downtown, community members are much more likely to visit the exhibits than they would if it were being shown on campus. That and the fact that they are learning how to operate their own gallery is a huge plus, Weld said.

“People are much more apt to come and interact with us,” said Weld, who is from Hopkins and specializes in black and white photography.

Besides offering a space to show their work to people in the greater St. Cloud community, the gallery offers students real-life opportunities of running a gallery. They must do everything from curate a show to paying the utilities, unlocking the doors and handling press releases.

“This is just another notch up from what we’ve learned in the classroom,” Day said. “We are learning the business end of the art world.”

Heid, from Luxemburg, said that getting such experience while still in school is huge. He hopes to use that knowledge when he graduates and pursues a career in either painting or print making or some form of multimedia.

The Gallery Vault, operated by the ASU and St. Cloud State University is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Mike Nistler

Taking the Bite out of Minnesota Winters

Outdoor Endeavors takes the stance that there is more to an international education than what is taught in the classroom.

The program, which offers a variety of outdoor trips and workshops to help students discover their outdoor skills, led a crew of 14 international students on an ice-fishing expedition in January. The trip was designed as an opportunity for the students to experience something uniquely Minnesotan.

Ivan Bartha, coordinator of experiential programs, came up with the idea in 2006 while running an ice-fishing trip for the University of Minnesota. Nearly all of the participants were international students.

Bartha saw something promising in the expressions of students who participated in the trip, which inspired him to repeat it.

The Center for Student Organizations and Leadership Development (CSOLD) shared Bartha’s enthusiasm for the idea and gave Outdoor Endeavors a mini grant which allowed them to give 14 international students an education in Minnesota culture.

Ted Sherarts, faculty emeritus who taught in St. Cloud State’s art department for 43 years, has participated in several excursions organized by Outdoor Endeavors including the international student ice-fishing trip. Sherarts sees the value in giving international students experiences that are unique to the area.

“Programs like this give international students a breathing experience of Minnesota lore,” said Sherarts, who Bartha refers to as the program’s “adoptive grandpa.”

The international students received the full experience of drilling holes, sitting in the cold and patiently waiting for fish.

Pyseth Seng, Cambodia, went on the trip to learn more about Minnesota recreation.

“I don’t know many things about Minnesota,” said Seng. “I thought it would be interesting to see what it was like to go ice fishing.”

Evan Parkhouse, who assisted in running the excursion, said that all of the participants enjoyed the novelty of being on a frozen lake.

“They took pictures of everything,” said Parkhouse. “Everyone had a really good time, even though we didn’t catch a lot of fish.”

But when the students did catch fish, everyone teemed with excitement.

“It was so exciting when I caught a fish,” said Seng. “It helped me understand why people sit in the cold all day and wait for fish.”

“The glee on their faces was unmistakable,” said Sherarts. “Everyone posed for pictures with the fish, not just the person who caught it.”

International Student Adviser Molly Hoffman believes experiences like this are vital to receiving an international education. This trip gave students the opportunity to show their families pictures and tell them stories about something they could not experience in their home countries.

“Not offering activities like this causes students to miss out on a lot of what Minnesota and St. Cloud have to offer,” said Hoffman, drawing from her own study abroad experience. “It’s the
things you can’t do elsewhere that are the most memorable.”

Lindsay Scherer

Faculty/Staff News

Caesarea Abartis

Professor of English Caesarea Abartis is one of six Minnesota artists recognized by the Central Minnesota Arts Board as a fiction writer and has received a $3,000 Individual Artist Award. The arts board selected Abartis from more than 40 applicants from Stearns, Benton, Wright and Sherburne counties for the award which recognizes outstanding artists in the region who have demonstrated prominent artistic achievement. Submitted to the competition were five fairy tales, retellings of the traditional tales of youth but intended to be read by adults: “Scheherezade Runs Out of Stories,” “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Mermaid” and “Red Riding Hood.”

Ronald Seibring

Director of Sports Facilities and Campus Recreation Ronald Seibring received the “Outstanding Service Award” by the Minnesota Service Cooperatives State Conference. He was honored for his work and support of the health insurance pool, grant application efforts and his innovative and entrepreneurial programs that help advance the goals and philosophies of the service cooperatives. The organization is comprised of eight service cooperatives representing 389 school districts, 276 cities, 66 counties and 188 governmental agencies.

Steve Klepetar

“Thirty-Six Crows,” written by Steve Klepetar, professor of English and faculty director of advising, has been published by Erbacce-Press. The book is a collection of 29 poems in a variety of styles bracketed by the title poem and “Crow on Barb Wire.”

Matthew Julius

Professor of biology Matthew Julius spoke at the 50th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation’s Tokyo Office, Oct. 6 in Tokyo, Japan. The one-day symposium celebrated research advances achieved through U.S.-Japan collaboration. He was one of eight American professors to speak at the event. The scientists discussed how bilateral cooperative research has contributed to the advancement of their particular fields and where they see the most productive opportunities for future cooperation.

Stephen I. Frank

Stephen I. Frank, professor of Political Science, received the first Distinguished Political Scientist Award at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Political Science Association at the University of St. Thomas in early November. In addition he was featured as the keynote speaker, giving an address on “30 Years of Public Opinion Research in Minnesota.” Frank is the founder and current faculty co-director of the SCSU Survey which is well-known for its annual poll of Minnesota adults as well as for its work with various state agencies, local governments and non-profit organizations.

Brenda Lenz

Brenda Lenz, chair of the Nursing Science Department, received a Nursing Research and Scholarly Activities award, one of 11 presented by the St. Cloud Hospital Nursing Research Committee. She was recognized for having published the most peer reviewed articles based on her 2006 study to see if baccalaureate nursing education programs are teaching nursing students to effectively intervene with patients tobacco use and tobacco cessation.

Feature Story

Plaza Sweet

The $30 million Coborn Plaza is redefining the town-and-gown relationship that is the heartbeat of St. Cloud.

Coborn Plaza is two, four-story buildings on Fifth Avenue adjacent to campus. The upper floors of the north and south buildings are Coborn Plaza Apartments, a 453-student housing complex leased by St. Cloud State.

The ground floor of the south building is the University’s new Welcome Center, a 12,000 square-foot facility managed by the Center for Continuing Studies. The north building’s main floor has 20,000 square-feet of retail along Fifth Avenue, including a book store, hair salon, coffee shop and tanning salon.

“This is an exceptional step forward in the life of this university and this community,” President Earl H. Potter told a crowd of nearly 250 at the Sept. 23 grand opening of the Welcome Center.

Potter calls the Welcome Center the university’s “new front door” and “the place where community and university meet.” It is, according to Potter, part of an effort to “turn the university inside out,” so that Central Minnesota can take greater advantage of university offerings.

The Welcome Center, which the university leases, has information kiosks, a way-finding system, a gear store, campus event tickets, professional development classrooms, a small business center, meeting spaces, an outdoor entertainment venue and an exhibit area.

The meeting spaces, including the Husky Conference Room, are used by students, staff and faculty when the meeting purpose has a community connection.

The exhibit area, called The Intersection, opened with history graduate student Alex Ames’ “Paths to the Future: Building New Connections in Historic St. Cloud.” Ames’ 10-part exhibit chronicles St. Cloud’s signature boulevard from early settlement through Fifth Avenue Live!

Fifth Avenue Live! broadly describes public and private development taking place along Fifth Avenue. In a narrower sense Fifth Avenue Live! refers to efforts by 5th Avenue Development, LLC, to remake both sides of the avenue from Ramsey Place north to Minnesota Highway 23.

“This is just magnificent,” business leader Dan Coborn said at the Welcome Center grand opening. “This is going to be Main Street St. Cloud.”

Rich Kelly ’92, a University-South Side neighborhood leader, echoed Coborn’s sentiments.

“This neighborhood is on the way up,” Kelly said. “We have just begun.”

The 5th Avenue Development partnership includes the Coborn family, Cornerstone Construction of
St. Cloud and local attorney Brian Schoenborn ’92.

Public projects under the Fifth Avenue Live! umbrella include the Civic Center expansion on the north end of Fifth Avenue and the National Hockey and Event Center (NHEC) renovation/expansion near the south end of the boulevard. The Civic Center project broke ground Sept. 14.

Coborn Plaza honors the Coborn family and Coborn’s, Inc., which annually donates more than $2 million and thousands of volunteer hours to the Midwest communities where it operates grocery, convenience and liquor stores. Coborn Plaza stands on the site of former Coborn’s grocery and
liquor stores.

Coborn Plaza is owned by J.A. Wedum, a Minneapolis-based foundation which has developed senior and student housing in Minnesota communities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Minneapolis, Fridley and Mankato. The foundation’s president is Jay Portz ’91.

Welcome Center tenants and amenities

  • Two Corporate Education and Outreach smart classrooms
  • Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center, a joint venture with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and others
  • University Husky Store has logowear, snacks and supplies
  • St. Cloud State Microloan Program
  • A St. Cloud State Admissions office
  • The Patio at Coborn Plaza, a powered outdoor venue with a 30-by-22-foot St. C logo of dyed and
    glass-embedded concrete
  • Two computer-based information kiosks
  • A computer-based way-finding system for campus buildings, programs and people
  • The 16-by-28 foot Husky Conference Room which seats 18


Coborn Plaza Apartments

  • Managed by the university’s Residential Life Department, Coborn Plaza Apartments has studio, two- and four-bedroom units.
  • The high-amenity apartments are fully furnished with private bath, private bedroom and in-unit washer and dryer. Appliances include dishwasher, range/stove, refrigerator, microwave and garbage disposal.
  • Utilities, including Internet, expanded basic cable and refuse/recycling, are included in the monthly rent.
  • Security includes camera monitoring and key-fob access to floors, apartments, rooms and the heated underground garage.


Current Coborn Plaza retail tenants

  • Campus Book & Supply
  • Fantastic Sam’s Hair Salon
  • Dunn Bros. Coffee
  • iBeach tanning salon


Jeff Wood

Trivia Addicts Unite

When KVSC radio launched its signature annual trivia marathon in 1980, the 6th Floor Stearns Playboys out-answered 25 teams playing in residence halls to become the first winners. This year when team Stefan’s Dream XI Veni, Veni, Veni snagged its second consecutive “golden urn” traveling trophy it was a victory over
66 teams with nearly 2,500 players
in sites throughout Minnesota and around the globe.

From its beginnings as a cool Residence Hall Association/KVSC venture to relieve cabin fever in the midst of winter, Trivia Weekend has mushroomed into a hot draw for addicted alumni, faculty, staff, students and external players willing to trade sleep for the thrill of digging for quick answers to incredibly obscure questions.

“This is NOT Trivial Pursuit,” said Jo McMullen-Boyer ’91, station manager of KVSC 88.1 FM,
St. Cloud State’s radio station. “These are questions that very few people
would be able to answer off the top
of their heads.”

Bleary-eyed as they were 45 hours into this year’s “Trivia in 3D” 50-hour marathon, it took only minutes for Stefan’s Dream members to nail the answer to a 25-point question, “What is the name of the fictional band Howard Newly was part of.” The thread to success started with the knowledge that Newly was the fictional dad in the 2007-09 ABC sitcom, “Samantha Who.” An Internet listing of the television show’s episodes included one titled “The Rock Star,” and the answer, “The Shadow Makers,” was just one more click away.

For repeat players like Stefan’s Dream veteran Aaron Broissoit ’00, Trivia Weekend is a homecoming
of sorts. A St. Cloud native who’s founded two successful Web design firms since earning his degree in communication studies, he gathers yearly with a multigenerational group of team members – largely alumni professionals who look forward to
the camaraderie of reliving a tradition they started as students.

“The big draw of trivia weekend is that it’s a combination of your best friends with the absurdity of the event,” said Broissoit, who started playing in 1994. “We’ve played all over the world on this epic course to the goal of winning. It took us a long time to get to such honored status,” he wryly said of the ascent to number one. His teammates include friend-since-childhood Alex Krueger ’00, now an electrical engineer in Minneapolis. Alex and his brother, Dr. Nick Krueger ’96, a physician in Montevideo, come home to St. Cloud every year to play on rival teams. This year Nick played for Mustache, the team that came in second.

Trivia also is a family pursuit for St. Cloud State Mass Communications Professor Mike Vadnie. He played in his 28th contest this year, and daughter Shannon Vadnie ’06, was among the many other veterans who joined him in the basement of local theatre Pioneer Place, headquarters for the Some Loose Meat Sandwich Assembly RQD team. Shannon still remembers answering her first Trivia Weekend question at age 5: “What was the name of the fish in Pinocchio? (answer: Cleo).”

Vadnie played for 14 years on the GDI team, which disbanded in 2000 after a long and successful run – “three top-three finishes in 15 years,” he said. “GDI is sprinkled around at least 10 different teams now.” Several of Vadnie’s teammates over the years have been former students, alumni who were drawn back to the cult of sleep-deprived loyalists who survived the 50-hour marathons on strong coffee, chips, barbeques, donuts and candy.

Community diehards include State Rep. Larry Haws and his family, who have competed for 20 years on the team Sigma Phi Nothing.

“Trivia is a great example of the extension of the university into the community,” said McMullen-Boyer. “It really does bridge the relationship of campus with community.”

In some cases, “community” stretches a long way. Sam Meyer supplied Stefan’s Dream with the answer to a 65-point question from his temporary quarters in Iraq. Magnus Kongstein, an international student at Augsburg College from Oslo, Norway, heard about the annual marathon and came to play on the Some Loose Meat Sandwich Assembly RQD team.

For the many students who play, work the phone banks and volunteer in other ways, “It’s an awesome form of out-of-class learning,” said McMullen-Boyer. “It’s a huge fun event, but they’re learning hands-on. And when students get involved they carry it with them forever.”

Jenna Albrecht Pass ’99 became “completely hooked” when as a mass communications student she visited the GDI team headquarters with a friend. “I ended up spending the entire weekend and came back again the next year and the next.”

A communications director from St. Cloud who’s lived in Los Angeles since graduation, Albrecht Pass returned one year to play and has listened online in recent years. “Last year I spent so many hours IMing (instant messaging) answers to Vadnie’s team my husband kept wondering why I was sneaking away to the office in the middle of the night. I’m a complete sucker for learning about new things and finding answers. The fact that there’s a whole weekend that fuels my addiction and dozens of people who share it makes me a very happy camper each year.”

For enthusiasts who begin as students, the yearly event with the funky team names and the great Sunday night celebration for those still standing remains a key connection with their alma mater. “This is a huge alumni event,” McMullen-Boyer said. “Hundreds come to play, and 40 to 50 volunteers are alums.”

“Alumni come through the door (of the studio), throw up their arms and say it’s good to be home,” McMullen-Boyer said.

Information about KVSC’s 2011 Trivia Weekend, scheduled for Feb. 11-13, will be posted Dec. 15. “Superheroes of Trivia” is the theme for what will be the campus radio station’s 32nd annual information treasure hunt.

2010 ‘Trivia in 3D’ by the numbers:

  • 2,000 to 2,500 players
  • 67 teams – eight outside Minnesota
  • 350 streaming online listeners
  • 2,500 cumulative volunteer hours
  • 50 volunteers per hour at KVSC, phone bank, UTVS
  • 30-35 volunteers on phone bank per hour
  • 52 sponsors – food and prize donations
  • 72 donated pizzas

Marsha Shoemaker

Campus Radio Station Takes Flight, Six Hours From St. Cloud State

Last summer 12 St. Cloud State students in a radio production class experienced the birth, life and death of a radio station over a 10-day period.

The students and their instructor, Jim Gray ’97 ’03, production director at KVSC 88.1 FM radio, operated EAA Radio covering the world’s largest fly-in air show at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Whitman Regional Airport in Oshkosh annually transforms into the busiest airport in the world for seven days during the AirVenture, attracting more than 600,000 aviation enthusiasts.

EAA Radio provides information in the form of news, weather and informative interviews with a variety of industry newsmakers and politicians. It’s made possible thanks to a partnership between St. Cloud State aviation and mass communications alumni, the SCSU Mass Communications Department and the EAA.

For the past 14 years, Gray has been working with EAA Radio. When he joined the St. Cloud State staff in 2003, he inquired about the potential of creating internships.

Now, each July, Gray and a group of SCSU alumni and interns join with other volunteers to build a radio station, operate it for 8 to 10 days, and then tear it down. “Everyone gains experience in every aspect of radio broadcasting; from engineering to production to interviewing to marketing and promotion,” Gray said.

During the air-show, EAA Radio broadcasts 24 hours per day on AM, FM and streams its programming on the Internet. Of the nearly 40 people it takes to make EAA Radio happen, more than 20 are current or former SCSU students. “It really says a lot about our Mass Communications and Aviation departments that SCSU has taken a lead role at EAA Radio,” Gray said.

Some of the volunteers are mass comm alums while some are aviation alums and are currently professional pilots. Others come from areas as diverse as Business Management, Computer Science, Criminal Justice and Meteorology. The alumni have the opportunity to share their love of aviation and radio with current St. Cloud State students and build camaraderie with the next Husky generation.

Fareed Guyot ’96 enjoys mentoring students. “Radio and aviation have been lifelong passions of mine,” he said. “It’s great to be able to share this with these students and help them develop their skills. “

At AirVenture, students also have the opportunity for networking and job prospecting. Last year, EAA hired Guyot, who has managed EAA Radio as a volunteer since its beginning, into a full-time position as managing editor of E-Publications. This is a direct result of time spent at EAA Radio.

“When I was a student, KVSC trained
me as a radio reporter for free, a perk available to students and community members. Those skills would eventually allow me to pivot rapidly into another career field when the economy claimed my job as a pilot. SCSU kept me from going hungry!,” added Guyot, who also edited the SCSU Aero Club newsletter.

More information about EAA Radio is available at www.eaaradio.net

Work as Art

Every summer when Bob Trisko ’70 ’78 returns to the banks of the Mississippi for the Lemonade Art Fair on the St. Cloud State campus, he is reminded of his roots. Although his work takes him to cities around the globe, St. Cloud State is where he earned his undergraduate degrees in mathematics and art and later his master’s.

The studio where he creates his signature sculpture jewelry is not far from campus. While he retreats to his studio during the week to develop new designs or transform old jewelry into a new work of art, his weekends are spent traveling to art shows and fairs.

Since he began making free-form jewelry with horse nails in 1971, Trisko has won numerous awards for his work. He received a trademark for his wearable sculptures in 1995 and had his geometric-inspired jewelry featured at the Smithsonian Arts and Crafts Exhibition in Washington, D.C.

St. Cloud State alumni like Trisko are defying conventional wisdom and proving that mixing art with business can produce a profitable career. But it doesn’t come easy.

A report from the National Endowment for the Arts found that one-third of artists only work part of the year, and artists generally earn less than workers with similar education levels. The median annual salary of fine artists was $42,650 in 2008. Few exceed $80,000 a year. Few match the success of  Trisko, John Battenberg ’57 and Bill Skodje ’81.

“Success in art is making it,” said Battenberg, a Phoenix-based painter and sculptor. “It’s not monetary. You do it because you’re driven to do it.”

Art as Business
Battenberg, now nearing 80, recalls reaching his peak as an artist in his 30s – not long after he graduated from St. Cloud State and went on to earn his master’s in fine arts from Michigan State University and the California School of Arts and Crafts. A professor at the time, he traveled to art shows throughout Asia and Europe. He had an entourage scheduling shows, managing public relations and assisting him in the studio. “I reached a point when I’d walk into a museum and people would say, ‘That’s John Battenberg.’’’ Today, he prefers fleeing to his studio, surrounded by natural inspirations.

Battenberg’s work can be found throughout the world, but one of his most renowned projects – a two-part gate sculpture – is tucked away in a private Arizona estate. The six-ton gates took Battenberg five years to complete.

A Signature Style
These art graduates credit their success to their ability to embrace their talent and develop a signature style. “Most successful artists today are doing something different,” Trisko said.

Geometric and mathematic-inspired designs and fashion-forward color choices define Trisko’s style. Using his expertise in mathematics, he designs a line of rings that eliminate the traditional circular shape. The move is as much about function as design, he said. “They don’t flip or flop around.”

Trisko aims to make a statement with his jewelry that builds its own brand. “People will walk up to someone wearing a piece I designed and say ‘That’s a Trisko.’”

During his early years in parts of Europe, Battenberg became known for his painting, printmaking and drawing. It was not until years later that he explored sculpture and built his own quarry. From that sprung his signature war-inspired pieces and steel animals, including a husky that pays homage to his alma mater.

Today, Battenberg combines his first love – painting – with his signature sculpting skills to develop three-dimensional paintings. The paintings are both complex and challenging to create, even for Battenberg, a seasoned artist with six decades of professional experience.

From a printmaker and painter to a steel sculptor, Battenberg continues to look for different mediums and techniques to give his work a new edge. “I think everything leads to the next thing,” Battenberg said. “Every painting now trumps the painting before it. I hope to keep it that way.”

For artists, education and experimentation never end. “You need to keep growing as an artist and changing.Every year, I push myself to do something new in my work.”

Trisko pays attention to the fashion world and gets inspiration from the trends and colors he sees on fashion runways and magazines. Current fashion trends have led Trisko to infuse his designs with golden pearls and bright orange sapphires. “That’s what’s hot now,” Trisko said. “I don’t know what it’s going to be next year.”

Making It
Trisko said making it in the art business is as much about marketing and sales as it is about being talented in an art skill.

Although he has sold custom pieces for more than $500,000, Trisko offers jewelry at a spectrum of prices and styles to appeal to variety of customers. The average price of one of his rings is $2,500, but customers can find one for as low as $500. “I make sure I have something in my line of work that appeals to everybody,” Trisko said.

While the jewelry speaks for itself in some cases, Trisko says sales are made when he engages customers and shares the story behind the pieces. He enjoys slipping his rings on people’s fingers to show them the added comfort and panache his geometric designs offer.

John Battenberg ’57
Art Specialty: Painting, sculpture

Business: John Battenberg Studios

Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.

Website: Battenberg.com

Cost: $20,000 for least expensive painting to $150,000 for some sculptures sold to museums.
A Current Project: 3D paintings of fish. Battenberg pulls his inspiration from the dozens of pictures he takes of a Koi pond with an underwater camera.

Advice to Artists: Get your start at the center of it in cities like L.A. and always look for ways
to improve.

Bob Trisko ’70  ’78
Art Specialty: Architectural jewelry, including men’s and women’s rings, stackable rings, 3D rings, pendants.

Business: Trisko Jewelry Sculptures

Location: St. Cloud, Minn.

Website: Trisko2.com

Cost: $500-$500,000

A Current Project: Incorporating golden pearls and bright orange sapphires into designs to complement the latest clothing fashions.

Advice to Artists: “You need to keep growing as an artist and changing - while keeping it all in the style of who you are.”

Bill Skodje ’81
On YouTube there is a video of Bill Skodje ’81 strumming a cardboard guitar in gallery G312 of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, surrounded by 17th-century French and Italian paintings. Even though you never see his face, the scene reveals much about the soft-spoken Minneapolis man.

Skodje has worked with art collections at Mayo Clinic and Chicago’s Field Museum and helped Midwest Art Conservation Center with mural restoration at the original abbey church at St. John’s University, Collegeville. Today he is the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ senior art preparator – part of the art crew. This, his “work” as a roadie for his son David’s band and his daily habit of biking three miles to work from his home make for an artful, interesting life.

Walking through the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is like taking a tour of
Skodje’s résumé. He’s had a hand in building and installing most exhibits. Recently, he worked with the tomb sculptures featured in “The Mourners” and the 20 chairs showcased in “Chairevolution!,” as well as a reinstallation of the oceanic gallery’s permanent collection.

“Our museum is reorganizing our collection to make the variety of cultures and time periods more prominent,” Skodje said. “We contrast current artwork with the old to bring continuity into the discussion for viewers to ponder how these things relate to each other and to the viewer themselves.”

Each day he carries lessons learned at St. Cloud State to work. He feels lucky to have been a student at what he describes as a special, almost magical, time. “The professors at SCSU introduced me to a wide variety of art mediums and techniques,” he said. “I took classes in glass blowing, weaving, jewelry, ceramics, foundry, woodworking, print making, photography and history, theory and design. Having this broad foundation suits the work I perform at the museum.”

Skodje calls himself a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. In his ever-changing work, he sees this as a strength. Sometimes he uses AutoCAD to help plan the space. In one exhibit, Skodje mapped the Minneapolis skyline. In the period rooms he created and cast fake food to add a touch of life.

Most days Skodje works within the exhibits, regularly handling objects even the curators never touch. Wearing gloves – to protect him and the art – he helps move and install unusual items from Africa and precious works by Rembrandt and other art masters. Skodje says touch offers a connection. “You feel the quality, the care,
and the beauty,” he says.

Dawn Zimmerman

Historyteller

Imagine a time when women and men worked side-by-side in equality.

Picture a place where marriage across racial lines was a key to business success.

Envision a wilderness where kinship, friendship and mutual obligation were life’s governing forces.

You’re in Minnesota. And your guide back to the 17th and 18th centuries is Mary Wingerd, historian and storyteller.

The associate professor of history is the author of “North Country: The Making of Minnesota,” a book that describes nearly two centuries of cooperation, accommodation and peace among disparate peoples.

“It’s a central concept of the book that ideas about race are incredibly fluid and unfixed,” said Wingerd. “Remember, there were many, many people of mixed ancestry and people sorted one another out not by bloodline, but by how they dressed, what kind of customs they observed. It didn’t matter if they were European or African-American or Indian or of mixed ancestry – it was culture that counted.”

Fur trader George Bonga exemplifies how behavior, rather than skin color, defined identity. A descendant of Anglo-African slaves and Ojibwe Indians, Bonga famously declared he was one of the first “white men” to enter northern Minnesota.

Two centuries of full partnership in the fur trade provided Indian and mixed-blood women prestige and autonomy. “They acted as diplomatic ambassadors and cultural mediators and they performed essential labor for the family and the trade,” Wingerd writes.

Wingerd’s 449-page book, which hit bookshelves in May, was commissioned by the University of
Minnesota Foundation and published by University of Minnesota Press.

Production values, attention to Minnesota’s “third Indian tribe,” a more balanced viewpoint and a critique of Indian stereotypes are among the things that set Wingerd’s book apart from other Minnesota histories.

The beautifully appointed book has 155 illustrations/photos and 17 maps, many of them reproduced in color, some of them rarely seen in print. The University of Minnesota placed so much emphasis on this aspect of the book that it hired historian Kirsten Delegard to gather and extensively annotate the visual elements.

The Winnebago tribe, which was twice relocated to Minnesota reservations, is discussed at some length, a departure from the typical focus on the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes. For some of that discussion, Wingerd draws on the scholarship of retired St. Cloud State History Professor Ed Pluth, an expert on the tribe’s Long Prairie reservation and the failed Watab Treaty of 1853.

“North Country” avoids the Euro-American bias that characterizes most Minnesota history books. Witness Wingerd’s summary of the 1851 treaties that opened most of southern Minnesota for settlement: “[Alexander] Ramsey’s great project to open Minnesota had ended in a sorry spectacle of deceit, coercion, and promises broken almost before they were recorded.”

No American triumphalism here. Instead, Wingerd quotes fur trader Hercules Dousman: “The Sioux treaty will hang like a curse over our heads the balance of our lives.”

The prologue, epilogue and several illustrations analyze the Indian stereotypes that have dominated Minnesota popular culture and linger yet today. The Hamm’s beer jingle and the Land O’ Lakes Indian princess – icons of regional identity – are impeached as symbols of “an imagined history with little connection to the events that led to the making of modern Minnesota.”

Wingerd criticizes the “historically dissonant” Indian statues and Indian-named commercial establishments found throughout Minnesota, notably the Little Crow Country Club in Kandiyohi County, a golf course named for the assassinated Dakota spokesman and war leader whose scalp, skull and arm bones were museum artifacts through 1915.

The book ends with the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a narrative that details the complete breakdown of Indian-white relations. Wingerd argues that the emergence in the early 19th century of full-blown capitalism – specifically the real-estate boom, logging and milling – extinguished the values that made the north country unique. Gone forever was the hybrid culture where kinship, friendship and mutual obligation blurred racial differences and tempered economic urges.

Jenna Johnson: Student Soldier

From childhood Jenna Johnson knew she wanted to be a nurse, and acceptance into St. Cloud State’s nursing sciences program was one of the happiest moments of her life. After an unplanned and surprisingly rewarding detour in Iraq, she’s well on her way to achieving her destiny.

At 17, as other high school seniors worried about pimples and prom, the Little Falls native joined the U.S. Army National Guard to help finance her dream. While Johnson realized deployment was a possibility, being called to active duty after her freshman year and making the transition from student to soldier was a shock.

Johnson departed in January 2009 with an infantry unit out of River Falls, Wis. Growing up in an embedded military family – listening to stories around the dinner table − didn’t fully prepare her for leaving the comfort and familiarity of a Central Minnesota college town for an active Middle Eastern war zone – complete with sweltering heat and improvised explosive devices. Life at Camp Liberty north of Baghdad, where she was one of seven women in a unit of 230, was a life-altering challenge.

Concentrating on her multiple daily tasks helped her get through each day, and after work, while other soldiers spent their downtime surfing the Web or playing video games, she spent hers studying the textbooks she had sent over, reading and preparing for the day she would return to St. Cloud State.

Her military occupation specialty was Automated Logistic Technician, but the depth of Johnson’s experiences flowed much deeper than entering data into a computer. Applying IVs, joining convoys on missions, handling female detainees – it was all part of the job, and Johnson liked the pace. “Our company was extremely busy, and we worked very hard,” she said.

In addition to studying, Johnson kept in contact with professors and classmates. “Jenna was very good at taking the lead,” said Brenda Lenz, chair and associate professor in the nursing department. “She kept in contact with us via email.”

“It made me feel like I was in tune with my life back home,” said Johnson, which kept her mind off being thousands of miles away in a strange land where the threat of injury, or worse, loomed like a desert storm.

“It’s not like it was in, say, 2003,” said Johnson, who said she never felt she was ever in danger. But returning home safe has lightened the gravity of living in a military compound where mortars and car bombs shook the walls. “You’re so focused on the task at hand that you don’t think about it.”

Focusing is one of the many lessons Johnson learned while serving, and that attention to detail translated to academics. She returned to classes at St. Cloud State only one day after being released from active duty in the spring of 2010. Starting a week late in the semester, Johnson had to quickly readjust to college life. Engaging immediately with school helped with the transition from soldier to student where she applied the discipline of military training to the classroom.

“Jenna started right in with her academics,” said Lenz. “The nursing major is very rigorous, with most students studying 10 to 15 hours per week. Jenna missed a year of this and was still able to step right back in. Johnson and fellow nursing student Samantha Rausch, studied this fall in Chile, attending classes at the University of Concepción.

The lessons she learned while in the military translated well into the nursing program. Johnson brought back a newfound respect and appreciation for the chance she has been given to pursue her career goal. She no longer takes simple luxuries like getting milk at a grocery store or sitting down at a restaurant for granted. “You see over there the conditions that people live in, the poverty, and here people don’t realize how lucky they are,” she said. “I couldn’t be more thankful to be here.”

Mike Doyle

Double the Gift

Jim ’65 ’67 and Beverly Pehler ’72, joke that St. Cloud State University is “their third child.” And like all good parents who want to set aside money for their children’s college education, the Pehlers have established two funds to benefit students at St. Cloud State University.

Bev, an active St. Cloud community volunteer and Jim, a former state legislator and retired associate professor in the Learning Resources Center at St. Cloud State, established the Jim and Beverly Pehler Student Teacher “Emergency Need” Scholarship. It helps student teachers meet urgent expenses such as a car repair or child care expenses.

“I would just hate to have anyone who wanted to be a teacher be unable to do so because of emergency financial reasons that they can’t control,” said Beverly Pehler who attended a two-room schoolhouse and always wanted to be a teacher.

The Pehlers also established the Jim and Beverly Pehler Artist in Residence Endowment to bring artists to campus, whether it’s musicians, actors or fine artists.

“We both benefited from exposure to a variety of artists at college,” said Beverly Pehler. “Through those experiences I grew a lot. We want others to have the same opportunities and experiences that we had.”

The Pehlers hope that the visiting artists will enrich the lives of university students as well as elementary and secondary students in the area and community members.

“Both Jim and I pretty much worked our way through school — we both have education degrees, we both taught,” she said. “We had thought that we’d like to make a difference in the lives of others. We both realized how important teachers and artists have been in our lives.”

Ways to Give
When you give to St. Cloud State University, you’re honoring your connection to the University – you’re a positive force for the University and the lives of our students. And, if you’re a graduate, as you help enhance the university community, you’re ultimately increasing the value of your St. Cloud State degree.

  • Yes, your gift is tax-deductible. But you can also experience the real impact of making a difference in someone’s life.
  • And in your generosity, you’re fostering an attitude of giving that will span generations.
  • There are many ways to make a gift and many ways you can designate your giving.


To find out more, visit our Foundation website at: www.stcloudstate.edu/foundation or call the SCSU Foundation office at 320-308-3984.

Kara Rose

Softball Team Goes to Bat for Troops

This may be the off-season for the St. Cloud State softball team, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stepping up to the plate for a good cause.

The team got together earlier this fall to assemble care packages for troops in Afghanistan. It adopted a battalion of Marines stationed at Combat Outpost Reilly in Marjeh, Afghanistan.

“We wanted to start the year off with an emphasis on giving back to our community,” said head coach Paula U’ren. “We are always looking for volunteer opportunities and this event was presented since we have some players (past and present) on the team who have family members serving in the Armed Forces.”

The Huskies assembled 21 care packages for the troops.

“This was an amazing opportunity to send our troops some necessities as a simple way to say ‘thanks’ for all they do for us, each and every day,” U’Ren said.

The project was initiated by Cara Koski, the mother of Ally Koski, a sophomore on the softball team. The cause was close to the softball team’s heart because Kelly (Durkin) Loo, who played softball from 2006-07 and is a current St. Cloud State student, served in Iraq in 2008 as part of the Minnesota National Guard.

“Iraq is a very different place from the U.S.,” said Loo, a Specialist E-4. “Our base
was constantly mortared.”

Loo, who is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice, worked in a clinic where she tended patients with injuries such as bullet wounds and severed fingers.

Besides the stress of the work, there is harsh weather to deal with, from blinding sand storms that can last more than a week to heavy rains that can go on for days. “We worked anywhere from eight to 14-hours a day. My day consisted of going to work, working out for about two hours, then going to bed.”

That’s why the care packages that the softball team sent will be so welcomed, said Loo, who is married to Zachary Loo, who she met and worked with during her deployment. Zacharay Loo is a junior attending St. Cloud State where he is studying Political Science. The couple has a son, Connor Patrick.

“I think that what the softball team is doing is great and hope that they keep on sending troops packages, because no matter who receives it they will be grateful,” Kelly Loo said. “This is a great program and even if the team does not receive a ‘Thank you’ from the people who receive them, they will forever be appreciated for their good deed.”

The softball team has already been rewarded just by the experience, U’ren said.

“The kids were amazed by the items they needed. I was amazed when I read the list. They said to me, ‘Coach, we didn’t even know that they needed all these things.’ ”

St. Cloud State honored as 'Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campus'

Tony Orlando sang about them, but at St. Cloud State, yellow ribbons are more than just symbolic — they encompass what the university deeply believes and exhibits in its day-to-day existence.

The campus was honored recently with a state designation titled “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campus.”

The award was given to St. Cloud State because of its commitment to providing student veterans and their families with a high quality and caring learning environment, said John M. Eggers, director of Counseling and Psychological Services and one of the people responsible for furthering that goal on campus.

Much of what the committee that made the designation was looking for “was already being done at St. Cloud State,” Eggers said. But more importantly, by putting a detailed plan on paper furthers the university’s commitment for growth.

“My goal is to make sure that there is coordination and support for this,” Eggers said, adding that St. Cloud State was the only university in the MnSCU system to be honored with the award.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon connects service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources.

Eggers said that the support for veterans and their families starts at St. Cloud State’s President’s Office and filters its way down throughout the leadership.

St. Cloud State University has been Named by G.I. Jobs Magazine as a Military Friendly School for 2010

The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools which are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.

Among the faculty trying to make a positive impact is Karen Thomas. She lectures faculty and staff about what veterans might be going through as they make the move to campus life. Her presentations are centered on the idea that faculty are seeing more veterans in classrooms and might still have to make adjustments to post-military living.

Thomas lists some of the attributes veterans bring to campus:

  • Diversity—many kinds
  • Occupational experience
  • Training
  • World experiences
  • Travel
  • Maturity, age
  • “Team” mentality
  • Politeness
  • Appreciation
  • Socio/economic differences

Husky Sports

Husky Athletics Capture Fifth Place in 2009-10 Directors' Cup Standings

St. Cloud State athletics finished fifth, its highest ranking, in the final Division II Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings in 2009-10. The standings measure the overall success of athletic departments based on each team’s finish in NCAA championship competition and honors institutions maintaining a broad-based program and achieving success in many sports, both men’s and women’s.

This fifth place finish is even more impressive when you consider that there are 288 Division II schools competing. It is the first top-10 finish for the Huskies and the highest since finishing 11th in the 2003-04 standings.

A successful winter sports season propelled the Huskies into the top five of the standings. The St. Cloud State men’s basketball team finished in a tie for third in the nation and garnered 83 points towards the total. The Husky basketball team won a school record 29 games and advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, winning its quarterfinal game before falling in the national semifinals.

The men’s hockey team placed fifth and won its first NCAA tournament game in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 overtime win against Northern Michigan at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

St. Cloud State senior track and field athlete Heather Miller of Sun Prairie, Wis. won an NCAA Division II National Championship in the indoor pentathlon in March. Miller scored a national and school record 3,993 points to win the title.

Other top 10 finishes nationally for St. Cloud State included a seventh-place finish in wrestling, and ninth-place finishes in women’s indoor track and field, baseball and women’s tennis.

“During their time at St. Cloud State our student-athletes experience tremendous learning and growth while following their academic and athletic passions,” said Director of Athletics Morris Kurtz. “At St. Cloud State this balanced development takes place in the classroom as well as on the playing fields. While we are extremely proud of the athletic successes achieved by our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have established the Huskies as a competitive national force in intercollegiate athletics, we are equally as proud of producing the highest caliber of student-athlete.”

Anne Abicht

WCHA Honors and Awards

The St. Cloud State men’s and women’s hockey teams were well represented on the WCHA Scholar Athlete team as nine women, the most in school history, and six men were named to the prestigious academic team. The prestigious WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award was developed through Association member Faculty Representatives. To earn recognition as a WCHA Scholar-Athlete, student-athletes must have completed at least one year of residency and have a grade-point average of at least 3.50.

Those athletes are sophomore guard Anna Donlan, Hillsboro, Wis.;  senior defender Jenaca Fredheim, Campbell River, British Columbia; senior forward Caitlin Hogan, Oakdale; junior forward Courtney Josefson, Bemidji; senior forward Katie Kemmerer, Anchorage, Alaska; junior defender Ashlan Lambert Eden Prairie; senior defender Kelly Meierhofer, Sauk Rapids; senior forward Holly Roberts, St. Cloud and sophomore forward Brittany Toor, Hartland, Mich.

The St. Cloud State men’s hockey team was represented by senior defender Jon Ammerman, Moorhead; sophomore forward Jordy Christian, Moorhead; junior defender Chris Hepp, Savage; sophomore forward Drew LeBlanc, Hermantown; sophomore forward Travis Novak, Alberta; and senior defender Garrett Raboin, Detroit Lakes.

Senior Caitlin Hogan also was named the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first St. Cloud State female hockey player to be so honored. Three times during her career at St. Cloud State Hogan was named to the WCHA Scholar Athlete team and the conference All-Academic team. In 2009-10, she landed on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V Second Team. She is also the recipient of the 2009-10 WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship. A marketing major, Hogan plans to pursue an MBA and one day work in sports marketing.

Celest Stang

Huskies Among Nation's Top DII Baseball Teams

The St. Cloud State baseball team completed a successful 2010 season with a school record 41 victories and captured second place at the 2010 NCAA Division II Central Regional tournament in Farmington, N.M.

The Huskies were ranked 25th in the final Collegiate Baseball Division II national poll. The Huskies
also received a No. 26 ranking in the final PING Division II national poll for 2010.

The Huskies’ 2010 schedule included wins over nationally ranked Minnesota State University, Mankato and New Mexico Highlands at the regional tournament. The schedule also included games against several teams that received national rankings or votes in 2010, including Southern Arkansas, Southwest Minnesota State, Winona State and Wayne State (Nebraska).

“One of our team goals three years ago within the coaching staff was to be a top 25 team after three years,” coach Pat Dolan said. “There is always much discussion about the national polls, but we have shown we can play with the top teams in the country. We definitely have room for improvement in certain areas, but it is gratifying to receive this type of national recognition.”

“As proud as I am about our players on the field, I’m sincerely proud of our student-athletes in the classroom and all the things we have them help out with in the community. We again had more than 20 players with a 3.0 grade point average and when you include that with the community relations activities they do throughout the year, it really makes our success on the field and all of the broken records that much more special.”



St. Cloud State broke numerous team and individual records this season including team records for most hits (653), best batting average (.350), most wins (41), most runs (511), most doubles (133), most home runs (58) and most total bases (1008).

Heather Miller Academic First Team

St. Cloud State track and field athlete Heather Miller ’10 added one of the top academic honors in the nation to her outstanding career at St. Cloud State last spring.

The Sun Prairie, Wis., native was named to the 2009-10 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of AMERICA (CoSIDA).

An Academic All-American® must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30. Miller received her nursing degree in May. She is a two-time Academic All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) selection and an Academic All-District team member.

She earned the Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award given by the NCAA and NSIC.

During her collegiate career, Miller was named to six conference academic teams, four in the NSIC and two in the North Central Conference.

Alumni News

Former Student Government Preseident Still Diving in Where Needed

Kevin Burkart ’94, Prior Lake, isn’t Superman, but some people might argue otherwise.

After all, he’s jumped out of airplanes to raise money to fight Parkinson’s disease. And recently, he plunged into the muddy waters of a lake to find a wedding ring valued at more than $10,000.

You might remember seeing a brief mention of Burkart in the Spring 2008 Outlook for raising money to fight Parkinson’s disease. Because his father suffered from the disease, Burkart pledged “100 perfect jumps” in one day to raise $40,000. And then, this past June, Burkart made 150 successful jumps in one day to raise $68,000 more.  For his efforts,  Burkart has been selected to receive the Community Service Award from the National Parkinson Foundation.

His latest “heroics” came at Prior Lake’s Mud Bay.

Burkart, a former president of the St. Cloud State University Student Association, was settling down to a nice dinner around 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, when his phone rang.  Burkart, a scuba diving instructor, was being summoned because a woman had lost her wedding ring in the muddy water of Mud Bay.

It was a calm night, temps in the 60s, so Burkart decided what the heck, he’d give it a try.  By the time he had hear gear and lights and everything assembled, got to the lake, met the distraught couple, Doug and Felicia Schaefer, and got a bearing on the approximate location where the ring plopped into the water, it was about 9:30 p.m.

The sky was pitch black. Under the water, in the muck and mire, it was even darker. Despite having a halogen lamp and a flashlight as well as a light on his head gear, Burkart couldn’t see much of anything. He decided to grope around the lake bottom with a bare hand, where he uncovered “cigarette butts and aluminum cans, sticks and whatever,” he said. He was digging in about 3 to 4 inches of crud and couldn’t see a half inch in front of his nose when he saw a glint of something.

As he reached toward that glint he unearthed a wedding ring, a ring that Burkart said “wanted to be found, it spoke to me.” Like any unassuming superhero, Burkart wasn’t going to take any credit for the find. If it wasn’t the ring wanting to be found, it was the description that Felicia Schaefer, gave him. She pointed out a spot about 40 yards away from where she was that she thought the ring entered the water.

“Felicia really found it. She pointed out to within six feet where it was. That ring has good karma.”

Recognized for Community Support

Peter Kimball ’69, Elk River, received the Americanism Award from the Elk River American Legion recognizing his advocacy and support of positive changes and improvements in the community. Kimball is the founder and president of the Three Rivers Area Citizens League and is founding member of the Elk River Community Foundation. Kimball retired in 2000 after spending 30 years teaching social studies, psychology, economics and special education.

Honorary Degree Awarded

Gordon Viere ’75, Medina, was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of business administration for outstanding achievements in his professional and personal life at St. Cloud State’s spring commencement ceremonies.  “As CEO of LarsonAllen, one of the nation’s 20 largest accounting and consulting firms, Viere is at the top of his field,” President Earl H. Potter III said as he introduced the honoree. “As a man who has demonstrated compassion and service to others in extraordinary ways, Gordy is a role model of the highest order.” He is the incoming chair for the Executive Board of Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest and served on the SCSU Foundation Board of Trustees. St. Cloud State also honored Viere in 1997 with the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Currently LarsonAllen has 64 St. Cloud State alumni employed in St. Cloud, Brainerd, Minneapolis, Austin, Eau Claire, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington D.C. offices.

Elected to Board of Directors

Kimberly Bruemmer ’01 ’03, Fargo, N.D., was elected to the board of directors for the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA). For the past seven years, Bruemmer has been at North Dakota State University where she coordinates campus-wide programming and leadership initiatives. Bruemmer is an active NACA volunteer for more than 10 years and has held regional leadership roles, including serving as chair of the NACA 2010 Northern Plains Regional Conference.

Person of the Year

Randal Zimmer ’80, Milaca, was named Minnesota Person of the Year by Wrestling USA Magazine in May 2010. Zimmer began his wrestling career in Wabasso and continued wrestling at St. Cloud State. He taught 30 years and coached junior high in Milaca and in 1987 became head wrestling coach. During his 22-year career he has posted a 500-113 record with nine trips to state as a team. Zimmer has sent 77 students to state competition, including 42 place winners.

Receives Appointment

Lawrence Boerboom ’72, Somerville, N.J., was appointed chief of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Integrated Review Group (IRG) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review (CSR) in December 2009. Since 2004, Beorboom has been the scientific review officer for the CSR study section that reviews cardiac and vascular related small business grant applications in addition to the center’s point person for the review of small business grant applications. Boerboom was formally the director of research, leading a team focused on developing tissue-engineered medical devices at LifeCell Corp. in Branchburg, N.J.

Business Owners Honored

The following were honored by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for their entreprenuership:

Lisa Kolrud-Hannum ’86, St. Paul, founder and owner of Beehive PR Inc. was named one of the 25 Women to Watch for 2010. Beehive PR started in Hannum’s basement more than a decade ago and has grown to 13 employees that serves clients such as Deluxe Corporation and medical device maker Coloplast.

The following were recognized as Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses:

Valerie (Kruger) Doherty ’76, Eden Prairie, co-founder and co-owner of Doherty Employment Group. Doherty Employment Group provides highly personalized, proactive human resources outsourcing and comprehensive human resources services.

Michelle Morey ’89, Long Lake, co-owner and vice president of sales and marketing of Magnetic Products and Services, Inc. Magnetic Products and Services is specialized in computer media and accessories and have direct distributorships with Imation, Fuji, Maxell, IBM and TDK.

John Folkestad ’89, Edina, and his business partner are co-founders and co-owners of Salo. Salo provides financial staffing to firms looking to engage highly experienced accounting and finance professionals for just-in-time interim projects and direct-hire positions.

Kristine (Morey) Hunter ’93, Loretto, co-owner and vice president of operations of Magnetic Products and Services, Inc. Magnetic Products and Services is specialized in computer media and accessories and has direct distributorships with Imation, Fuji, Maxell, IBM and TDK.

Of Note ...
Matthew Cullen, West Fargo, N.D., signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Wild. Cullen has played for five other NHL teams and has scored 169 goals and 292 assists in 880 games.

Teacher of the Year

Mark Savage ’84, North Branch, was chosen by his peers for the 2010 Teacher of the Year in the North Branch School district. Savage has been a teacher in the North Branch School district for more than 25 years.

Honored for Service

Michael Koehler ’95 ’96, Sioux City, Iowa, received the Exceptional Duty Award for his service in the Sioux City Police Department Alcohol Safety Action Program. In 2009, Koehler also received a Commissioner’s Special Award for Traffic Safety by the Iowa Department of Public Safety for his efforts in making Iowa’s roadway’s safe.

Named CFO

Timothy Steinkopf ’84, San Jose, Calif., was appointed as the chief financial officer for Purfresh, a provider of clean technologies that purify, protect and preserve food and water. Steinkopf brings more than 25 years of experience at both public and private companies, and most recently served as chief financial officer of SumTotal Systems, where he was responsible for all aspects of corporate finance. Steinkopf will manage the financial and administrative functions of Purfresh as it expands its presence in domestic and international markets.

Hall of Fame Inductee

Daniel Hagen ’81, St. Cloud, is a 2010 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Hall of Fame inductee. Hagen is the St. Cloud State Huskies men’s basketball career scoring leader with 2,136 career points and ranks second on the career rebounding charts with 482 points. He is the vice president of lending at Plaza Park Bank in Sartell, where he as been employed for more than 20 years. The Hall of Fame was established to recognize and honor those who made significant contributions to the conference, to create favorable publicity for the league and to help preserve the history of the NIC.

Historic Preservation

Patrick Mastey ’99, St. Cloud, received the annual St. Cloud Historic Preservation Award for the rehabilitation of several historic homes in St. Cloud neighborhoods. The St. Cloud Historic Preservation Award recognizes outstanding local achievements in historic preservation Mastey is the owner of Patrick R. MASTEY ENTERPRISES.

Diving into Taco Sauce

When Lonna Stenger Christenson ’94 St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud State with a degree in criminal justice, she had no idea that one day she’d be bottling southwest sauce. But that’s exactly what she and her husband, Dan, owners of D & L Taco Gringo, Clearwater, are doing.

Their Taco Gringo Southwest Sauce is being mass-produced and sold in several Central Minnesota grocery stores, including Byerly’s, Coborn’s and Cash Wise stores.

“It’s just flying off the shelves,” Lonna Christenson said of the sauce that the couple has been using in its Mexican restaurant for the past three years.
  

The Christensons dreamed of the sauce, literally, in part because of their love of vacationing in Mexico. They enjoyed a similar sauce in restaurants there, but couldn’t find anything like it back home.
  

One morning Dan Christenson woke up and told his wife he dreamed of the sauce that they would eventually produce.
  

  After working in the criminal justice field for seven years, Lonna Christenson was looking for a different field that would allow her more time with the couple’s two children. The couple talked about opening a restaurant and Clearwater was chosen because it didn’t have a Mexican restaurant.
  

“The first year and a half was a struggle, but this past summer business was fantastic,” Lonna Christensen said.
  

As for the sauce, it’s going gangbusters.
  

“We put it on everything we serve here,” she said.
  

The sauce’s unique, ranch flavoring and touch of zestiness is what allows it to stand out from other sauces on the market, she said. “It sells itself.”
  

The process has been a learning experience, from creating a recipe to hiring a graphic designer to create the label to sampling the product in local grocery stores. “I learn something every day,” Lonna Christensen said.


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