UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Designer Jack Barkla makes Dr. Seuss cry
Xavier Tavera photographs Mexican-American vets
Puppeteer Michael Sommers pulls some strings
Artist Nooshin Hakim Javadi connects cultures Actor James Hong gets funny Maria Schneider rescues fellow musicians Michel Kouakou dances like an ocean wave
Sonja Peterson carves intricate sagas (including the one you see here)
Winter 2017 U of M.pdf
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Made possible by members of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association since 1901 | Volume 117, Number 2
Winter 2018 11
4 Editor's Note 5 From the Desk of Eric Kaler 6 About Campus English hopes for a new home in Pillsbury Hall, a class imparts outdoor surival skills, and we reveal how to spot fake news 11 Discoveries Access to maternal care dwindles in rural areas By Lynette Lamb
16 Dessa, Sonja Peterson, Michel Kouakou,
Jack Barkla, Nooshin Hakim Javadi, Xavier Tavera, Michael Sommers, James Hong, and Maria Schneider
34 Terry Ganley helped usher women’s
swimming into the modern era
By Tim Brady
38 A New Culture The U unveils a plan to prevent sexual misconduct 41 Off the Shelf Tom Krattenmaker wonders, can red and blue talk? 43 Alumni Stories Super Bowl planners Maureen Hooley Bausch and Wendy Williams Blackshaw, architect Richard Gilyard, and a nurses’ round-robin 47 Stay Connected Alumni travel to Iceland, a teacher inspires students with Goldy plates, plus other UMAA goings on 52 Heart of the Matter A dad gambles with his family
Cover photo by Nate Ryan; “Coming Together,” cut wood sculpture by Sonja Peterson This page from top: Easton Green, University Athletics, Mark Luinenburg
By Ben Doty
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8 5a , 201 ay 6 1 M ay, une Saturd rday, J Satu
“The University of Minnesota has been such an integral
have been happier with how the day turned out.” — RACHEL & ALEX SCHWEGMAN, U OF M ALUMNI
Photos by Grace V. Photography
a natural fit to get married at McNamara. We couldn’t
Jim Abrahamson, ’81 Eric Brotten, ’03 Rachel Cardwell Patrick Duncanson, ’83 Natasha Freimark, ‘95 Catherine French, ’79 Chad Haldeman, ‘08 Mark Jessen, ’85 Matt Kramer, ’84 Maureen Kostial, ‘71 Quincy Lewis, ’04, ‘12 Peter Martin, ‘00 Akira Nakamura, ’92 Trish Palermo Roshini Rajkumar, ‘97 Clinton Schaff, ‘00 Kathy Schmidlkofer, ‘97 Ann Sheldon, ’88, ’04 Tony Wagner, ’96, ’06 Myah Walker, ’10 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA GOVERNANCE President Eric Kaler, ’82 Board of Regents David McMillan, ’83, ’87, chair Kendall Powell, vice chair Thomas Anderson, ’80 Richard Beeson, ’76 Linda Cohen, ’85, ’86 Michael Hsu, ’88 Dean Johnson Peggy Lucas, ’64, ’78 Abdul Omari, ’08, ’10 Darrin Rosha, ’90, ’91, ’93, ’96 Patricia Simmons Steven Sviggum
ble: 018 a l i va d 19 of 2 n wA
part of our lives and our relationship that it felt like such
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chair Sandra Ulsaker Wiese, ‘81 Chair-elect Douglas Huebsch, ‘85 Past Chair Dan McDonald, ’82, ‘85 Secretary Scott Wallace, ’80 Treasurer Laura Moret, ’76, ‘81 President and CEO Lisa Lewis
To join or renew, change your address, or get information about membership, go to UMNAlumni.org or contact us at: McNamara Alumni Center 200 Oak St. SE, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55455-2040 800-862-5867 612-624-2323 firstname.lastname@example.org The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
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Outsiders and Art Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis. It was referred to as an artist warehouse—rather than a scrappy complex where some of the units didn’t have windows and people lived illegally— because of the gallery on the ground floor. This building was home to an angry carpenter and Law and Order fan, several entrepreneurs selling marginal products, an out-of-work bartender, two writers, a Jamaican who cooked outside on a propane stove, and at various times a flower shop, an exercise studio, and a pirate bar started by a man who’d lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. All of these people interacted in various ways. We shared a garden and a back porch, where my husband took on all comers in chess. But, what gave the building a certain dignity was the gallery. Art has a way of legitimizing even the most off-the-radar people and ideas. It encompasses open doors and open-endedness, heady themes, a diversity of viewpoints, and an imperative to experiment. There is a built-in expectation that someone will do something daring. Once, years ago, I thought I would be a painter. I got out my canvas and acrylics and brushes. I planned to paint a man in a chair, which seemed like a good, standard place to start. He’d be sitting, not squirming around creating hard-to-capture angles. He’d be brooding. I set out, all bravado and no training—nor, it turned out, any natural skill. I painted the head, the body, the chair, but the result was as one-dimensional as a roadkill squirrel. The painting was such a failure, in fact, that I tried to save it by turning it into an abstract. I swirled over the distinctive shapes. But, that didn’t look like much either. Ah, I thought. I’ll turn it into a sunset, the safe haven for amateurs the world over. But, mine was an ugly sunset. A brooding sunset. I shoved the painting down the garbage chute at the apartment complex where I lived. So, I am not a painter. Nor am I a dancer, an actor, a singer, or a puppeteer. What I am good at is appreciating art and its tenets. And I did so many times at the gallery in our building on the Mississippi. Every month or so, there would be an opening that doubled as a party. There was always wine and live music. And there was always a wild mix of high and low art: from moody paintings of workers in their cubicles to a coffin made of old doors to lamps constructed of musical instruments and parts of the demolished Lowry Avenue bridge. The gallery owner let just about anybody, including building-dwellers, have a shot at the white wall. The openings were attended by a wide swath of people, from smarty-pants aficionados to dabblers straight off the neighborhood pedal pub, and also lots of dogs. Once, the ubiquitous Scott Seekins, who had some paintings on display, stopped by the back porch for a bratwurst. It was odd to watch the prim, white-clad artist eat a brat. But at the gallery, people had a common language even if they didn’t. Did I occasionally storm out of our apartment at 2 a.m. in pajamas to disperse a crowd of art fans discussing life’s little problems on the back porch? Yes. But, there was never a time when I wasn’t glad the gallery was there, giving us all cover for our weirdness. Jennifer Vogel (B.A. ’92) can be reached at email@example.com.
4 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING President and CEO Lisa Lewis Editor Jennifer Vogel Senior Editor Elizabeth Foy Larsen Copy Editor Susan Maas Contributing Writers Allison Babka Tim Brady Ben Doty Suzy Frisch Dan Heilman Rob Hubbard Lynette Lamb Kristal Leebrick Camille LeFevre Jeannine Ouellette Britt Robson Jon Spayde Art Director Kristi Anderson Two Spruce Design Senior Director of Marketing Lisa Huber Advertising Send inquiries to MinnnesotaAlumni@umn.edu or call 612-626-1417 Minnesota Alumni ISSN 2473-5086 (print ) is published four times yearly by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, 200 Oak St. SE Suite 200, Minneapolis MN 554552040 in SEPT., DEC., MAR., and JUN. Business, editorial, accounting, and circulation offices: 200 Oak St. SE Suite 200, Minneapolis MN 55455-2040. Call (612) 624-2323 to subscribe. Copyright ©2017 University of Minnesota Alumni Association Periodicals postage paid at St. Paul, Minnesota, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to: Minnesota Alumni, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. SE, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55455-2040. Sher Stoneman
FOR ABOUT SIX YEARS, I lived in an artist warehouse on the
Give for the Good IT’S CALLED DRIVEN and, on its face, it
looks and sounds like a philanthropic campaign. In fact, it’s been 18 years since our last University-wide campaign. But Driven is more than that. To me, it’s a journey and, as a fellow alumnus, I’m asking you to help me and join me on this journey that’s intended to push us from being a very, very good University of Minnesota to one that’s unquestionably great. Driven is our opportunity to raise $4 billion—yes, with a “b’’—together. Why? Because as an alumnus you know how this wonderful university transformed your life, and continues to transform the lives of our nearly 68,000 students on our five campuses. We’re doing this because all qualified students—the best and brightest in Minnesota and beyond—should come to the U, regardless of their ability to pay. We’re doing this because our faculty deserve it. They deserve to have the best support and facilities. They produce the inventions and the cures, and they transform our students and the world. And we’re engaged in this Driven campaign because this community needs us. Minnesota needs a premier university. We are that already, but this campaign will let us soar. How? With these priorities. First, Driven will allow our university to continue to be a force for change as we drive a Minnesota plan for innovation, building on our history of invention, discovery, and job creation. Second, we will tap some of that knowledge to protect
Driving a future filled with promise A gift in your will creates a brighter tomorrow for talented students, transforming their lives so they can transform the world. Learn more at driven.umn.edu/waystogive or call Planned Giving at 612-624-3333.
and sustain agriculture, food, and water. We will deliver on our land-grant mission to protect our natural resources and feed the world safely. Third, Driven will help us accelerate advances in health. Our interdisciplinary collaboration—on our Twin Cities, Duluth, and Rochester campuses—will provide better treatment and quality of life for all Minnesotans, and pathbreaking research that saves lives all over the world. We also are driven to provide a place of opportunity for everyone. We’ll advocate for equity and opportunity and, among other things, we’ll work to close Minnesota’s achievement gap and enrich our shared quality of life by bringing the arts into communities statewide. Last—and my top priority for this campaign—we will elevate a world-class student experience. That doesn’t mean fancy dorms. It means more deserving students from Minnesota and around the world who need our support will receive scholarships and fellowships and have the chance to better their lives . . . and ours. And it means supporting those worldclass teachers and researchers who transform those students. This is our first launch of a university-wide campaign since 1999. Coincidentally, that’s exactly the year that most of our freshmen this fall were born. So, in my view, our first-year students have benefited from the generosity of those—many of you—who contributed to that campaign way back then. And the next generation—the ones who enter our University 20 and 30 years down the road—will thrive because of Driven. To learn more and to consider giving, please go to driven. umn.edu
Spinning Student Gabe Renz trims a vessel on a kick wheel at the Regis Center for Art. Photo by Easton Green 6 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
Reclaiming the Castle HE SPACE FEELS more like a barn
than the attic of a university landmark. But instead of haylofts and milking cans, the massive top floor of Pillsbury Hall is crowded with the castoffs of the building’s former life as the home of the U’s department of Earth Sciences. Rolls of yellowing maps—presumably now either out of date or digitized—spill off tables. Metal boxes crammed with rock samples are caked with dust. Oak flat files stand empty. In October, a group of roughly 20 state legislators and staff made its way through the clutter to an unfinished round room beneath the 1889 building’s turret. There, they were greeted by an actor playing John S. Pillsbury, the former governor and U regent, who moved to Minnesota in 1855 and eventually cofounded the C.A. Pillsbury and Company, which became the largest flour milling business in the world. The actor, donning a top hat and period clothing, was on hand to entertain legisla8 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
An actor playing John Pillsbury brought history to life during a tour of Pillsbury Hall in October.
tors, but also to convey a message using the gravity of history: Now is the time to renovate Pillsbury Hall, so the Department of English can finally have a home after squatting in Lind Hall for five decades. The renovation, which is expected to cost $36 million, would require approximately $24 million in state funding. The U’s 2018 capital request for the upcoming legislative session, which begins in February, also includes $200 million for general maintenance and improvements; $10.5 million to update campuses in Crookston, Duluth, and Morris; and $4 million to create a matching fund to preserve Duluth’s Glensheen mansion. Pillsbury had a limited education—he didn’t go to high school or college. But when the governor sent him a note asking the businessman to become a regent, he agreed. And when a new building that had been approved by the 1887 Legislature was half-destroyed by a fire, Pillsbury, by now the state’s former governor, offered to donate
$150,000—$4 million today—to complete what would become a science building. The gift, however, had strings attached: The U needed to agree not to relocate the Eddie Hoey and Zachary Doffing agriculture and mechanic arts education schools to another location 40 miles away. The agreement secured the University’s land grant status and stabilized its shaky financial situation. “Pillsbury Hall is a magnificent, iconic building much in need of interior renovation,” says Madelon Sprengnether, an English department Regents Professor Emerita, who accompanied the legislators on the tour. “It is on the National Register of Historic Places, not only because of its architectural distinction but also because of its significance in the history in the founding of the University. For [John S. Pillsbury’s] untiring efforts, he was named a lifetime regent and is known as the ‘Father of the University.’ No building better symbolizes the founding of the University than
After decades of waiting, the time may be ripe for a renovation of Pillsbury Hall
Pillsbury Hall. To celebrate its restoration is to celebrate the University itself.” Today, Pillsbury Hall is the second oldest building on campus. But while the ornately detailed sandstone exterior—considered the greatest example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in the state—is nothing short of stunning, the interior has the hollowed-out feel of a ghost town, with outdated drop ceilings and only one set of bathrooms, hidden away in the basement. That’s set to change if Sprengnether and her colleagues in the English department realize their 20-year dream to relocate from Lind
Hall, where they struggle to accommodate the approximately 6,000 students who take English classes in a building belonging primarily to the College of Science and Engineering. Students regularly study on the hallway floors. The plans for Pillsbury Hall are grand. In addition to housing classrooms, study spaces, production labs for video and digital storytelling, and offices for professors and teaching assistants, the English department would turn the building’s dusty, cluttered attic into an above-the-treetops public space for readings, lectures, and other community events. The English department has launched a public opinion campaign in support of the project, making the case that now—since Earth Sciences moved into the newly renovated Tate Hall, leaving Pillsbury vacant—is their moment. They are encouraging supporters to write and Tweet messages to legislators, tagging them with #Driven4MN and #UMNProud. Supporters note that theirs is one of the top-ranked M.F.A. creative writing programs in the country. And, as department chair Andrew Elfenbein remarked when welcoming legislators to the building in October, English has provided the formative training for many prominent entrepreneurs and CEOs. “Our alums teach your children, manage your businesses, lead your faith communities, and write the words Minnesotans are reading,” he said. “Now is the perfect time for the renovation of Pillsbury Hall. It will immeasurably benefit not only the arts and the humanities, but science and technology as well. We are so excited about what this renovation will allow us to contribute to Minnesota.” Or, as John Coleman, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, put it during the tour: “We live in a time where there is a need to empathize. And that’s what literature teaches.” —Elizabeth Foy Larsen
Fake News 101 Anyone who uses social media is likely to encounter fake news— articles, images, and videos that are produced to mislead the public for financial or political gain. Want to fight back? Lindsay Matts-Benson, an instructional designer at the U of M Libraries, offers these tips: Say no to clickbait. These are revenue-generating headlines that are so shocking or juicy that you feel compelled to follow them, usually to find there’s no “there” there. Check the domain name. Oddlooking domain names rarely result in truthful news. Avoid addresses with unconventional endings: ABCnews.com is real news; ABCnews.co.com is not. Look for a byline. A story without an author’s name may be fake news. If a website doesn’t include author profiles, it could be a sign the information isn’t accurate. Go for blue check marks. On Twitter, these indicate that the information is legitimate. Verify. Several independent organizations research and rate the veracity of the latest news stories, including Snopes.com, FactCheck.org, and Politifact.com. For more tips, check out z.umn. edu/smartnews.
The main thing is getting the ingredients in and just playing around with them a little bit.
Ray Miller, U food processing facility coordinator, describing to the Minnesota Daily its new Row the Boat vanilla bean ice cream, which features fudge-coffee swirls and peanut-butter filled football candies.
Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 9
New Tricks U courses teach the public about everything from genomes to race relations to tipi construction
of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS) on the U’s St. Paul campus, a pile of balsam poles and two rolls of canvas will be turned into a traditional Sioux tipi before nightfall. A group of roughly 30 students have gathered here for hands-on tutorials in not just tipi construction, but also how the early Dakota people kept warm and dry in these winter dwellings. Bill White, the tipi enthusiast leading the demonstration, traces a line down the interior of one of the poles to show how the natural oils from his finger create a path for rain to travel down to the ground, sort of like a mini-downspout. This lesson is part of Image, Memory, Perception: A Dakota Guide to Outdoor Survival. Organized and moderated by Harlen LaFontaine, a Bush Leadership Fellow and enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Reservation, the three-session course is offered by LearningLife, an ongoing series of short classes, seminars, and one-day immersion experiences offered by CCAPS for anyone who craves learning in an environment that encourages intellectual rigor. “LearningLife is for people who want to combine personal development with academic engagement,” says Anastasia Faunce, the program director at CCAPS. “It’s designed to share the intellectual resources of the U with the general public.” In one popular offering, a U researcher helps participants understand the results of their 23andMe genetic tests. In another, a book club moderated by retired English and Women’s Studies Professor Toni McNaron explores race and race relations in the U.S. For his course, LaFontaine convened a diverse group of experts, from a forest ecologist who gave an overview of Minnesota’s biomes to the founders of Maritime Heritage Minnesota, a nonprofit that identifies, documents, and preserves sunken watercraft, including dugout canoes. An ethnobiologist schooled the group in Native American plants and foods, from prairie turnips to choke cherries to echinacea. And a retired chemical engineer who is now an expert on stone tools struck one rock against another to demonstrate flint knapping, an ancient method for shaping tools. His range of knowledge was not only impressive, but also living proof that if you’ve got the passion, it’s never too late to learn. —Elizabeth Foy Larsen
Entrepreneur Brian Krohn (Ph.D. ’15) speaking into a smartphone app designed to move the base of the tongue, strengthen upper airway muscles, and alleviate snoring. The voice-controlled game, developed with U colleagues, leads to “pushups for your tongue,” Krohn told the Star Tribune. The app is called Soundly.
The Board of Regents approved the University’s 2018 capital request to the Minnesota Legislature at its meeting in October. The $238.5 million capital request aims to maintain, repair, or renovate existing U facilities across Minnesota. It includes: Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement funding—totaling $200 million in state dollars—would maximize the effectiveness and extend the life of U facilities statewide. Greater MN Academic Renewal funding would renovate obsolete classrooms and laboratories on the U of M Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campuses. The request includes $10.5 million in state funding and $5.3 million in U investment. Pillsbury Hall Capital Renewal would renovate the unused Twin Cities campus building into modern teaching, learning, and research spaces. The initiative includes $24 million in state funding and $12 million in U investment. The Glensheen Renewal initiative would use a state investment of $4 million to create a matching program to preserve Duluth’s Glensheen mansion. The Board also approved the appointments of Michael Berthelsen as vice president for University Services and Allen Levine as vice president for research. Over the past year, Berthelsen has served as interim VP for University Services, leading non-academic operations of the Twin Cities campus. Since January 2017, Levine has served as interim VP for research, overseeing the U’s $900 million research enterprise across all campuses and facilities. For more on the Board of Regents, visit regents.umn.edu.
IT’S EARLY OCTOBER and the evening light is fading. But in the courtyard
Labor Pains Access to maternal health care is dwindling in rural areas
By Lynette Lamb
WO YEARS AGO, the hospital
in Grand Marais, Minnesota—a community far up Lake Superior’s North Shore—stopped offering obstetrical services. Although the town has willing medical providers, the hospital’s insurance carrier would no longer cover its childbirth services. Since that time, the expectant mothers of Grand Marais have delivered their babies in Duluth, a change that has forced them to undertake—while in labor—a twisting and sometimes treacherous two-hour drive south along Highway 61, which hugs the lake’s shoreline. This 110-mile road, a famous scenic route, is frequently choked with tourists or covered with snow and ice. If expectant mothers prefer not to risk the drive, they must find and pay for housing in Duluth in the weeks preceding their due dates. Situations like this are no longer rare in the United States. Indeed, daunting commutes to receive obstetrical services are increas-
ingly common for women living in rural communities, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Rural Health Research Center. In a study published last fall in the journal Health Affairs, center researchers showed that in the decade between 2004 and 2014, 9 percent of rural counties lost hospital obstetrical services, and that by 2014, fully 45 percent of all rural U.S. counties lacked such services. “Everyone deserves care when they are giving birth and preparing to give birth,” says lead researcher Katy B. Kozhimannil, associate professor in the School of Public Health. “Yet for a long time we’ve seen declining access to hospital care in rural communities. Those with less generous state Medicaid programs are even more likely to lose services.” The reasons behind this rural obstetrical gap are complex, according to coresearcher Carrie Henning-Smith. “There is no one culprit, nor one magic bullet to fix it,” she says. Among the reasons are low birth rates in Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 11
“Don’t we all want moms and babies to be healthy?” aging rural communities; the soaring cost of malpractice insurance, especially for OB care; national guidelines that require obstetrical hospitals to be ready for emergency caesarean sections; rural areas’ ongoing struggles to attract and retain doctors and nurses; and rural hospital closures and consolidations. To compound the problem, the researchers found that these gaps in rural obstetrical care are falling most heavily on women living in counties with larger African American and low-income populations. This finding exacerbates an already alarming racial disparity in maternal and child health, says Kozhimannil, with black women’s maternal mortality rate now four times higher than that of white women, and black infant mortality rates twice those of white infants. Medicaid is vital to providing maternal care for rural women, says Kozhimannil, given that it pays for 59 percent of births in rural areas. “We as taxpayers are funding this and should be getting good value for our money,” she says. “Don’t we all want moms and babies to be healthy?” The U.S. currently has what she describes as “horrifying disparities” in health care quality and accessibility between rural and urban areas. The challenges pregnant rural women face are daunting, says Kozhimannil. She thinks often of one particular Grand Marais woman she met, a patient with a high-risk pregnancy. The woman must take off a full day of work each time she has a 15-minute prenatal appointment in Duluth. Recently, an accident closed Highway 61, forcing Duluth-bound motorists to take a 27-mile detour. “All I could think about was that woman,” she says.
When hospitals close in remote towns, there may be an uptick in emergency births (anecdotally, researchers have heard of such increases). Fortunately, in Grand Marais, physicians, EMTs, and the sheriff’s office have come together to help pregnant women. “They all have each other’s phone numbers and will drop everything to help each other and the women. It’s extraordinary,” says Kozhimmanil. “But, not all communities have that sort of coordination and commitment.” Now, Kozhimmanil’s team is exploring the possible consequences of those closures, such as whether more women are giving birth in atypical settings like emergency rooms. They’re also trying to tease out infant outcomes from this trend, says Henning-Smith. “Is the baby at greater risk if the mother lives in a county without obstetrical services?” Solving this growing rural maternal health problem is complicated, says Kozhimannil, and might include ideas ranging from paying for pregnant women’s housing and transit costs to making community-based financing and policy changes that “acknowledge both the realities and the strengths of rural communities.” In Grand Marais, those strengths include a committed medical workforce; a top-notch local clinic; lactation support and birthing classes; as well as the aforementioned emergency coordination. Says Kozhimannil, “Grand Marais is amazing.” Whether all rural areas can meet this challenge remains to be seen. Lynette Lamb (M.A. ’84) is a longtime Minneapolis writer and editor.
Reining in Rogue Genes A technology developed at the U could be the key to controlling invasive species
Despite its breakthrough potential to improve the lives of humans and the state of our environment, genetic engineering comes with a major obstacle: Altered genes could unintentionally breed with their natural counterparts and release novel genes into the wild. This scenario may be preventable, thanks to researchers at the University of Minnesota’s BioTechnology
12 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
Institute, who have pioneered a technology called “synthetic incompatibility.” The approach, in a sense, makes engineered organisms a separate species, which in turn are unable to interbreed with their wild or domesticated relatives. “Our approach is expected to work in virtually any sexually reproducing organism without changing how they are normally grown,”
said Michael Smanski, an assistant professor in the U’s College of Biological Sciences, who led the study. It was published in October in the journal Nature Communications. Experts say synthetic incompatibility could be used to control invasive species, crop pests, and diseasecarrying insects, as well as prevent altered genes from escaping from genetically
modified crops into other plant populations. The technology may make it possible to increase the use of crops for medication, food, feed, and fuel, and raises hopes that genetic engineering may prove useful in efforts ranging from controlling Asian carp in North America to battling disease-carrying mosquitoes throughout the world.
The Case for Later School Start Times
Neuroscience and the Courtroom
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have confirmed what parents and teachers have long suspected: Students’ mental and behavioral health improves when schools start later. The study, which was coauthored by School of Public Health Ph.D. student (and former high school teacher) Aaron Berger, SPH Associate Professor Rachel Widome, and College of Education and Human Development senior researcher Kyla Wahlstrom, surveyed more than 9,000 students from eight high schools across the U.S. on sleep and certain health, academic, and behavioral issues. The schools in the study had start times ranging from 7:35 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. Adolescents who attended schools with later start times reported sleeping longer, which turned out to be significant in light of the fact that for each additional hour of sleep, there was a 28 percent reduction in students who said they felt unhappy, sad, or depressed. Sleeping longer was also associated with a decreased use of alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances. This research buttresses the conclusion of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that all high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Today, fewer than 15 percent of U.S. high schools comply with the recommendation. If schools can improve adolescents’ sleep by delaying their start times, the researchers believe that teens will go through high school with better overall mental health and less substance use, which will benefit not only their school experience and but also set them up for success in their adult lives. The study was published in the July issue of Sleep Health.
It’s a classic courtroom scenario: A defendant is presented with evidence and answers that it’s all news to her. Whether she’s telling the truth or lying is up to lawyers to prove and a jury to decide. A technology called Electroencephalography Memory Recognition (EEG), which uses a sensor-fitted skull cap to track activity in memory hotspots in the brain to determine if a subject recognizes a given image or word, may be able to improve the justice system by sorting out the factual from the phony. Now, a University of Minnesota study led by law professor Francis Shen has found that jurors can incorporate this new type of evidence into their evaluations of criminal defendants, but not be so wowed by the technology that the neuroscientific evidence outweighs the overall strength of the case. Shen and his research team at the Shen Neurolaw Lab, which explores the legal implications of neuroscience, asked online participants to read two fictional vignettes describing a person accused of a crime. By manipulating expert evidence and the strength of the non-neuroscientific facts against the defendant, they discovered that the neuroscientific evidence was seen as one factor in a host of evidence that determines guilt or innocence. The paper was published in August in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences. —Elizabeth Foy Larsen
Beyond the Salt Shaker: Reducing Sodium Yes, we all know that most Americans consume too much sodium. But a recent study conducted in three areas of the U.S. by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the salt we add to the foods we prepare at home isn’t why 85 percent of Americans are exceeding the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg per day. Rather, it’s the commercially prepared foods, including restaurant meals and prepackaged foods, that are increasing our risk for high blood pressure and strokes. While only 11 percent of our daily sodium intake comes from the kitchen salt shaker, Lisa Harnack, a professor at the School of Public health and the study’s lead author, says that 71 percent comes from commercially prepared foods (14 percent comes from natural sources, such as milk). Harnack says the findings reinforce the need for the food industry to reduce the amount of sodium in its products. In addition, the study is another reminder for consumers to understand that when it comes to lowering sodium in our diets, focusing on what we eat at restaurants and purchase from the grab-and-go convenience aisles is the most effective strategy. Requesting sodium content information for menu items can also help consumers make more informed choices. The study was published in the May issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 13
NEARLYOFCROPS NEARLYOFCROPS WORLDWIDEARE WORLDWIDEARE LOSTTODISEASE LOSTTODISEASE
IAMDRIVENTO IAMDRIVENTO HELPPLANTS HELPPLANTS FIGHTBACK FIGHTBACK
James Bradeen, James Bradeen, Professor Professor
How will we be able to feed 9.7 billion people in 50 years? Teams of researchers at the University of How will we be able to feed 9.7 billion people in 50 years? Teams of researchers at the University of Minnesota are tackling this challenge from every angle. From finding innovative ways to make crops Minnesota are tackling this challenge from every angle. From finding innovative ways to make crops disease resistant, to developing new methods of sustainable farming, to helping plants adapt to disease resistant, to developing new methods of sustainable farming, to helping plants adapt to climate change, weâ€™re solving the worldâ€™s biggest challenges. Learn more at discover.umn.edu climate change, weâ€™re solving the worldâ€™s biggest challenges. Learn more at discover.umn.edu
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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Scholarship support helped Emerald Egwim, the U’s 400-meter dash champion, compete while attending the Carlson School of Management, where she majors in management information systems. “I always say none of my achievements are my own,” she says. “They are a compilation of all the people who have invested in me, spent time with me, helped train me, helped teach me, and have been there for me.”
The U launches a campaign to fund faculty, research, outreach, and student support
Photos, from top: Gopher Athletics, Brady Willette, Rhonda Zurn, Liz Banfield, AHC Communications, Dawn Villella
IN EARLY SEPTEMBER, under a bright
blue sky, U of M President Eric Kaler announced the public phase of Driven, the U’s first major, system-wide fundraising campaign in 18 years, and only the third in its history. The campaign, which launched an initial phase in 2011, aims to raise $4 billion by 2021—it’s already more than halfway there—and promises big accomplishments. The effort will support the U’s ability to “change lives throughout Minnesota and around the world,” said Kaler, standing outside the McNamara Alumni Center, surrounded by a brass band, cheerleaders, and various mascots including Goldy. It will fund faculty and research, outreach, and student education, allowing the U to engage “fully with the community to make this a better place to live.” Driven will support endeavors in a variety of areas, including agriculture, water availability, human and animal health, and addressing the state’s achievement gap. But a top priority, according to Kaler, is to assist students through scholarships, fellowships, and experiential learning programs. Already, since 2011, contributors have funded some 700 new undergraduate scholarships. “Students remain at the core of our mission,” Kaler said. “We transform their lives so they can transform our communities, our state, and the world.”
“Our invention will make farmers’ lives just a little bit easier and improve the quality of care they provide their cows,” says Peter Breimhurst, a microbiology major, scholarship recipient, and winner of the 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge. His team’s invention warms vaccines for dairy farmers in winter.
A team of U engineering and other students recently unveiled a new solar car, the 13th created by the U’s Solar Vehicle Project. With support from 3M, Ford Motor Company, and others, the team drove it across Australia as part of a competition in October. “We build a car, but we mostly produce people who are better at their job, people who go out in the world and make it better,” says the project’s director of engineering, student Graham Krumpelmann.
“There are a lot of problems in the world, but there are also a lot of solutions,” says Cayla Ebert, a U law school student who worked as a translator for the Asylum Law Project, which provides pro bono assistance to political refugees. She is the recipient of several scholarships.
Ned Patterson, U alumnus and associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is researching innovative methods for treating epilepsy in both humans and dogs. “One of the hardest parts of epilepsy is the unpredictability,” says Patterson, who received scholarship support as a student. “You’re fine 99 percent of the time, until you’re not.”
As a John and Nancy Lindahl Leadership Professor in the U’s Department of Family Social Science, Abigail Gewirtz studies issues affecting military parents who return to their families following deployment. “They could be physically injured, they could have traumatic brain injury, they could have post-traumatic stress disorder,” she says. “The least we can do is provide them with what we know works best.”
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Rapper, singer, writer, and rising empresaria Dessa
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THE BRAIN OF DESSA DARLING
finds fuel in philosophy
D E S S A’ S B R A I N
has always been turbocharged by a fascination with language.¶ Her father remembers his 3-year-old toddler greeting a family friend who stopped by their south Minneapolis house on short notice for the first time in more than a month. “Mark!” Dessa exclaimed. “I haven’t seen you in a fortnight!”¶ Dessa herself recalls making up definitions for the objects her elementary school bus passed by. “For example, a hydrant might be: ‘hydrant, noun, municipal faucets on corners to be used in case of emergency by authorized persons.’” ¶ Even her name was fair game for wordplay. Dessa was born Margaret “Maggie” Wander, but confesses she never felt like a Maggie and imagined different monikers growing up. The one that stuck grew out of her participation in poetry slams as a young adult. Dessa Darling: rhythmically stylish, with a boldness that seems subtly undercut, and thus protected, by a smidgen of self-deprecation.
By Britt Robson | Photos by Nate Ryan
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As it turns out, that’s also a pretty good description of Dessa the rapper, singer, nonfiction prose writer, poet, and teacher. Or, to use her umbrella term, the nationally renowned figure in “the language arts.” Given that she came out of the U of M with a degree in philosophy (’03), language was always going to pay Dessa’s bills and crystallize her self-identity. And her appetite was always going to be omnivorous, comfortably blending “high” and “low” culture, business and art, ferocity and compassion. She was a technical writer for a medical device company after college, copping her mother’s wedding ring in an effort to appear older. When a roommate dragged her to that first slam poetry competition, she saw it as a creative outlet, setting in motion the whipsaw similes and razor’s-edge narratives that propelled her to become the lone female rapper in the seven-member hip hop collective known as Doomtree. Dessa took the lead in professionalizing the Doomtree brand and the Twin Cities-based collective’s business operations, first as CEO and now as president, without dismantling the practice of consensus among members. All have released records under their own names but Dessa also put out chapbooks of poetry and prose, one published by Doomtree, another by the literary magazine Rain Taxi, two others as limited-edition inclusions to the first buyers of her music as a solo artist.
interpretations of her music, resulting in two sold-out, well-received performances last April. For 2018, the year Dessa turns 37, expect a book of her creative nonfiction essays from the venerable publisher, Dutton. The influence of the U The imprint of her parents is certainly evident in both the work ethic and disparate interests Dessa has cultivated. Her father, Bob Wander, went from being a lute player of 16th century music to a day trader on the grain exchange and then a commercial glider pilot who wrote books and taught others how to fly. Her mother, Sylvia Burgos, is a Puerto Rican who grew up in the Bronx, loves theater and music, and sells grass-fed beef on a farm in Wisconsin while also, until recently, managing communications for a private foundation. When Dessa was a junior in high school, Wander thought she was taking his dictum—talent x work = output—way too seriously. Dessa has a close bond with her younger brother, Maxie, who was 8 and took it hard when Bob and Sylvia divorced. Dessa, at 14, was fiercely protective. In interviews, she consistently describes her high school experience as that of a loner. Wander saw that she was maniacally competitive on the volleyball court and driven to excel in the International Baccalaureate program at Minneapolis’s Southwest High. But she didn’t seem like she was having any fun and he pulled her aside one day to say it was okay to ease up.
“My self-concept is very cerebral and language-based because I do Put simply, she churned on all fronts. The favorite artist of your teenaged daughter as well as the hip tastemakers on Facebook and Pitchfork was suddenly also on the cover of Minnesota Business magazine, signed to teach at the McNally Smith College of Music, a regular on MPR and public television programs, and asked to speak at Mayo Clinic’s Transform conference on innovation and at a Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College. That local ubiquity has led to more rarefied contacts and grander projects over the past year. Lin-Manuel Miranda called asking Dessa to contribute to the Hamilton Mixtape alongside heavyweights like The Roots, Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper, and Sia, then gushed over her version of “Congratulations” on social media last winter. He also tapped her talents for a benefit song for Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria. The New York Times commissioned her to write an impressionistic travel story about New Orleans for its Sunday magazine last March. And the Minnesota Orchestra invited her to collaborate with them on 18 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
“I wanted her to be happy and well-adjusted, and she was putting so much pressure on herself,” says Wander. “I said, ‘You can step back a little; you don’t always have to be the best.’” Dessa patiently told her father she planned to be valedictorian of her class. A year later, that’s what happened. Dessa chose to attend the U because it was urban, the in-state tuition was inexpensive, and it had strong programs in liberal arts and philosophy. Her high school IB program enabled her to shave off a year of credits and she finished her coursework before turning 21. The experience was meaningful enough that she interrupted Doomtree’s first European tour, flying in from Paris one night and out to London the next, in order to give the commencement address at the College of Liberal Arts in spring 2012. “The brilliant instructors I had at the U are not people with whom I am regularly grabbing coffee,” she says, while grabbing coffee at a Starbucks in Madison, Wisconsin, the morning after a show. “But the world that they
exposed to me is the world in which I base my whole life.” Two stood out. One was Thomas Haley in creative writing. “He was young and hot, so we were all attentive,” Dessa says. Haley unveiled the world of creative nonfiction, a prose form she had never heard of but which was an ideal fit—true-life narratives told with the artistry of a novelist. The best examples came “from a bunch of white guys named David,” including David Foster Wallace, David Sedaris, Dave Eggers, and David Rakoff. Dessa believes this is the way she wields language best, and searing stories about her brother, her father, and a lover she met while traveling in South America, along with the New Orleans piece in the Times, back her up. The other, perhaps even more influential professor was Valerie Tiberius in the philosophy department. One day in her Wisdom and Wellness class she put a philosophical theory on the board and asked her students to try to debunk it. Dessa, in full volleyball kill-shot, reigning valedictorian mode, laid out its flaws in a wonderful rebuttal. “I thought I had ‘won,’” Dessa remembers, relishing the cerebral jujitsu Tiberius had executed. “I think it was a Platonic argument she had put up—I’m not sure—but anyway, I had figured it out, and therefore, at age 20, I’m better than Plato! But then she said the philosopher isn’t here to defend himself so the onus is on us to muster our collective intelligence and actively defend his argument against our critiques. Tiberius called it
all my thinking in words.” ‘charitable interpretation’ and it was a phrase and a lesson I knew I would keep in my breast pocket.” The exercise initiated “a minor but significant shift” in Dessa’s thinking. Her facility with language allows her to be very comfortable with arguments; “they unfold before me like clock parts,” she says. But thanks to Tiberius, she now strives to learn more than to “win.” One aspect of this shift is that Dessa doesn’t seem to define herself by what she’s against. She believes “it is more honorable to be persuasive than be right, and that happens by understanding the logical or moral throughline of what someone is thinking.” If you can agree on common premises, your ability to persuade is enhanced. It’s an approach that deepens the impact of her artistry. She’s always going to be driven, but she has mitigated it in the best way possible. She’s a control freak with an inclusive generosity of spirit, a potent combination that helps explain the cultural breadth of her fan base. The clearest manifestation of this is probably Dessa’s onstage music persona. She cuts a commanding
figure—part tomboy Valkyrie, part smoky chanteuse—but tweaks it with heartfelt anecdotes and asides that hint at her vulnerabilities. At a sold-out show at Icehouse in Minneapolis this past September, she tossed gummy bears to the same crowd from which she accepted shots of whiskey, ceremoniously twirling each glass in a circle around her head before tipping it down her throat. One minute she was shouting, “Let’s start a mother----ing rap show!” and the next she was referring to herself as a gushing soccer mom-type who had abandoned her rap-cool veneer while watching Doomtree cohort Sims play the same Icehouse venue the previous week. “Where my asthmatics at?” she cried, searching the room for solidarity as she took a hit from her inhaler. “No, I’m not a cokehead, I’m a latchkey kid!” “I love the dualism between her brute strength and her tenderness,” says good friend and vocalist Aby Wolf, who has known Dessa since before Doomtree and is a frequent collaborator on her projects. “She really tries hard to connect with every member of the audience no matter how big the room.” Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 19
Finally, on “Call Off Your Ghost,” while again wandering into the audience, Dessa asked everyone to sit down and hold up their phones the way baby boomers once used lighters. She delivered the song’s sad, incisive lament about being unable to shake the heartache of a bygone relationship. The phones created a ghostly, campfire glow. Dessa has sardonically remarked on more than one occasion that heartache is her “niche.” She has admitted to tenaciously loving someone for a decade’s time, long after the relationship had physically ended. It is the one riddle in life she has been unable to parse. “Perhaps heartache for Dessa is the thing she can’t escape but it fuels her to create something beautiful, like a grain of sand inside an oyster becoming a pearl,” says Aby Wolf. “Dessa is beautiful and giving and kind, but also pretty complex,” says fellow Doomtree rapper and friend, Sims. “She can also be driven and demanding, and it might be hard to remain in a relationship with somebody that way. We have a good but complicated friendship. There are months that go by where we don’t get along because I can be as uncompromising and foolish—and as thoughtful and kind— as she is.” If so, then maybe there’s hope, because Dessa regards the way Sims and his wife Sarah love and interact as a model for the type of connection she aspires to have.
The night after Icehouse, Dessa played a block party in downtown Madison. Although she was an opening act, the crowd size and enthusiasm for her performance eclipsed that of the headliner. Performing outside before more than a thousand people, the songs from the stage were delivered vigorously. But there were stark moments of intimacy that sealed the connection. In one, Dessa stood on the metal fence separating the crowd from the stage. After finishing a song, she was afraid she’d look silly climbing down and demanded that everybody turn their backs and face the Capitol grounds. “I’m not kidding!” she hollered so passionately that everybody knew she was camping it up, but almost everybody turned anyway. For “Children’s Work,” a wonderfully fragile and intense tribute to the relationship Dessa has with her brother Maxie, Dessa jumped into the audience and asked that everyone with small children bring them down close. Then, she rap-sang to them, her phrases illuminating the night like so many rising Chinese lanterns. 20 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
In the lobby of Dessa’s brain A highlight of Dessa’s successful shows with the Minnesota Orchestra last April was the clever way she set the scene for “Call Off Your Ghost.” Weeks earlier, she had sent a letter to the U, stating that she wanted to find out from a scientific, physiological perspective why her heartache refused to fade. The result was extensive work with the U’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, including MRIs and multi-day studies in which researchers attempted to pin down the exact locations in her brain that induced her heartache. Dessa put up a huge image of her brain scans and referred to it at various points in the concert. The wisecrack of the performances occurred when Dessa, chronicling her angst, remarked, “Now that I knew where all the love is, all I had to do was take it out.” Suffice it to say, barring a life-and-death circumstance, no scalpel is getting within a country mile of Dessa’s brain. It’s proven to be a singular source of insight, wit, artistry, and curiosity. And about 13 years ago, for a few terrifying days, Dessa found out what it was like to have it malfunction. The emergency began when she had an ovary removed, screwing up her body chemistry, physically and mentally, in a manner that medication couldn’t correct. “My self-concept is very cerebral and language-based because I do all my thinking in words,” Dessa says. “If I
Peterson: Courtesy Sonja Peterson • Kouakou: Sara Rubinstein
had to make a list of personal attributes, my facility with language would be at the top of the list—plus it is what I love doing. So when I couldn’t find words to use effectively and quickly, it felt like more than a rug coming out from under me; it felt like I was sewn to that rug being pulled out.” It took about a year to feel fully “normal” again. Since then, of course, Dessa’s brain has roared back with a mighty vengeance. In a short piece for Twin Cities weekly City Pages a few years ago, Dessa herself perfectly described the joy of engaging with that organ between her ears: “It’s a great privilege to report to work each morning in the lobby of my own brain and punch the elevator button that reads Invisible Universe of Ideas.” The elevator keeps going up. Britt Robson, once Rudy Perpich’s speech writer, covers the Timberwolves and all forms and styles of music for a variety of local and national publications.
LOST AND FOUND
Dancer and teacher Michel Kouakou embodies a world of movement By Camille LeFevre
PAPER CUTS For the photos on this issue’s cover and previous pages, we invited Dessa to visit the studio of fellow big thinker and interpreter of complexities, Sonja Peterson (M.F.A. ’09). “I draw people in with beauty and capture them,” Peterson says. Her intricate paper carvings, which often start as drawings and are hand-cut with X-acto knives or a router, explore heady themes like how society interacts with nature. Peterson grew up on a rural property near Rochester, where she had dogs, cats, hermit crabs, a lamb, and a horse she rode bareback through the woods. “My work has a precariousness or fragility to it that echoes the fragile balance we find ourselves in,” she says. Dessa explores Peterson’s “Intersections and Islands” series on pages 16-17, and is moved by “Submerged” on 19 and 20.
HE BEGINS WITH the bent-knee, straight-back stance
practiced by his tribe, the Baule people of Africa’s Ivory Coast. Then, Michel Kouakou ripples his torso, “to bring in movement that’s graceful,” he explains. Next come shoulder shimmies, which he learned while in Senegal; the flexible legs and open hips of Cameroon; then the rotating pelvis he picked up in the Benin Republic. In an instant, this aggregation of West African dance styles finds fluid and dynamic expression in Kouakou’s compact body, kinetically reaching out across time, space, and tradition like ocean waves washing eternally between continents. These movements are the foundation from which Kouakou, assistant professor of dance in the University of Minnesota’s Theatre Arts and Dance department, choreographs and teaches. “I’m captivated by the spiritual, ritualistic, and meditational aspects of traditional African dance,” he says. “That’s where it all began.” But as a youngster, he was also captivated by the moves of Prince, MC Hammer, and Michael Jackson. “Every young African man, while growing up, has a window in their sights to the Western world,” he explains. “The craft and ease of their dancing, combined with their talent and hard work, created something that felt—to me—like something out of this world.” So Kouakou began mixing traditional African dance with that of the pop icons. But he wanted more. He left Africa in 1999 to lead a nomadic existence in search of art and inspiration around the globe. He emigrated to Europe where he studied and performed modern and post-modern dance works. He discovered the still, Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 21
purposeful slowness of Butoh in Japan. He performed with Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group in Brooklyn, where he absorbed Wilson’s “grounded, weighty movement,” he says. By the early naughts, Kouakou had integrated it all into a style he calls AFASAM (derived from the first two letters of Africa, Asia, and America). “Combining it all together was a challenge,” he explains. During his travels, “I had allowed myself to be lost.” While learning new styles, “I allowed myself to copy others.” Then, he says, “I decided not to take class for five years. Finally, things started making sense in my body.” Today, he encourages his students to “be open enough to build a creativity that’s their own. Because, in this life, each individual has an important role in effecting change. To effect change, you have to bring something uniquely you.” He tells them “to be humble with movement first,” which means “finding the right weight, the right balance of movement in the body. It’s not about forcing the movement to do what you want, but letting it tell you when it should start, be, and end.” For Kouakou, finding oneself in movement “is like language,” he says. “You have to start with a language of your own, which for me was traditional African dance, in order to translate and integrate a world of dance” into a way of moving that’s unique. Then, as he tells his students, “dance like no one can see you.”
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something uniquely you.”
“To effect change, you have to bring
WALKING INTO JACK BARKLA’S
DESIGN AS A LABOR OF LOVE The legendary Jack Barkla has designed sets for nearly every theater in the Twin Cities By Kristal Leebrick
1960s-era rambler in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis is like stepping into a shadow box filled with trinkets from nearly every theater stage in the Twin Cities over the last five decades. Framed scale models of sets from the 1982 production of Mr. Pickwick’s Christmas at the Children’s Theatre Company and the balcony scene from the Guthrie’s 1971 Cyrano de Bergerac hang in the dining room. A finely detailed replica of one of Christopher Columbus’s ships, built for an exhibit at the University of Minnesota, is suspended from the ceiling in the living room. The studio is filled with posters and drawings from Dayton’s department store’s eighth-floor Christmas and spring flower shows, as well as sketches from productions
at the Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Dance Theatre, the Cricket Theatre, and Mixed Blood Theatre. A set and production designer since the 1960s, Barkla (B.E. ’65) is a Twin Cities legend. He already had hundreds of designs to his credit when then-Governor Rudy Perpich declared December 7, 1989, Jack Barkla Day in Minnesota. Today, that number is closer to 1,400 and growing. Though at 77 Barkla is well into retirement age, he still consults on private architectural projects. In fact, he had recently completed the drawings for Macy’s annual spring flower show when the company announced the closing of its downtown Minneapolis location, effectively ending Barkla’s 40-year run with the event. As a child, Barkla was fascinated with magic and illusion. He was a Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 23
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Nooshin Hakim Javadi explores the connections between people and cultures By Jeannine Ouellette
bright kid, but struggled in school because he has dyslexia, a learning disability he learned about later at the U while earning a degree in art education. He repeated fourth grade twice and spent a lot of time alone painting, drawing, and “making up things,” he says. In high school he was drawn to theater, but preferred making scenery to performing. At the U, he took a singing class from the late Paul Knowles, founder of the U’s Opera Workshop. Soon, he was down in the basement of Wulling Hall building a theater for the workshop. But it was a summer spent at the Bayreuth Festival Master Classes in Germany that ultimately convinced him to leave behind his plan to teach art and go into set design. In Bayreuth, he studied the stage lighting work of Wieland Wagner, grandson of composer Richard Wagner. “It redefined the stage,” Barkla says. “It changed my life.” In 1968 he left graduate school to work for the Children’s Theatre, and by 1975 Barkla was resident designer at the Guthrie. Over the next three decades, it was not uncommon for him to juggle multiple productions simultaneously. At the height of his career, he was the go-to set designer in the Twin Cities, the man who painted scenery and built props on top of designing the set. Among his many accolades is a framed note from Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), who said Barkla’s work on the 1980 Children’s Theatre production of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins made him cry. “Theater is a group art form,” Barkla says. “It’s an act of love to care so much about doing work that is done for other people.”
ART AS INV ITATION
IRANIAN-BORN ARTIST Nooshin Hakim Javadi grew up in
war. When she was a girl in the city of Qazvin, two hours northwest of Tehran, Iran’s capital, she was terrified by air raids. “My mom would pull my three siblings and me to her belly and sing a lullaby for us,” she says. “I could feel my mother’s fear—the tension in her body, the pounding of her heart—yet her singing voice would vibrate through her body into mine, and that soothed me so much.” Hakim (M.F.A. ’17) recounts this early experience of how emotion and human understanding can travel through one person to another. We are sitting under a canopy of golden maple leaves on the banks of the Mississippi River discussing her work in both performance and sculpture, along with her most compelling inspirations and motivations as an artist. Already, at age 34, Hakim’s accomplishments impress. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, in Iran and Germany. In 2017, she received both a Franconia Sculpture Park Jerome Fellowship and a prestigious Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center—plus, a residency at Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey. Making art that emerges from sociopolitical themes, Hakim explores the spaces between individuals and cultures. She has ground down an entire airplane wing, excavated a dead tree root from its earthly bondage, and grown crystals on shoes using root killer. Hakim’s work is curiosity-fueled, testing the elasticity and boundaries of both ideas and materials, from maps to backpacks to steel, and increasingly, nature. As for Hakim’s inspirations, she credits her artistic peers and teachers. “I was so close to giving up so many times,” she says, “but this community was amazing. I can’t say thank you enough times to my advisers and mentors, especially Chris Larson and Mark Knierim. And I’m excited to be teaching adjunct at the U of M spring semester.” During her elementary years, Hakim was fortunate to attend a private school directed by her architect father. “And my dad was supportive of my art, as well. That mattered, because in Iran, when you decide to become an artist, it’s a very hard road, financially. Iran has few foundations for the arts and little to no government support, while here I have many more opportunities and far less alienation.” Hakim’s mother worked as a teacher of sewing and fashion design. “Her work was something I really looked down on back home,” Hakim says. “Only after I moved away from my family did I come to appreciate and love the fabric and the creativity of sewing and design. Now,
This pair of shoes, encrusted with blue crystals, embodies the hope and difficulty intrinsic to the refugee experience.
I love to bring those elements into my art.” Also important—crucial, even—to Hakim’s art is her passion for bridging the gap between disparate groups of people, which is partly why she and her husband, Pedram Baldari, dream of someday founding an artists’ residency. “The idea would be artists from very different backgrounds collaborating with one another on projects,” Hakim says. “I have been so influenced by the artists I’ve collaborated with—Derek Glenn Martin, Aida Shahghasemi, and Katayoun Amjadi, and of course, my husband, Pedram. It’s transformative when you see two cultures merged together.” This theme of bridging gaps between people crystallized gorgeously in Hakim’s 100 Lullabies project at “Humanly Possible: The Empathy Show” at Instinct Gallery in Minneapolis in 2015. There, she and her collaborators invited opening night guests to sing and record a lullaby for a refugee child. The inspiration came from conversations between Hakim and her husband, who is Kurdish, and their friends. “We were all so upset about what was happening in Syria—we kept asking, ‘what can we do, what can we do,’ but we felt there was nothing. That’s when I went back to my own childhood in war and remembered my mom’s voice singing lullabies.” At the gallery, the lullaby singers were given private rooms in which to record their offerings, and the artists assured singers that only the recipients would hear them—one lullaby for each child. “We wanted to make it safe and private, so that people could really put their hearts into it, sing how they wanted to sing, without being afraid or self-conscious,” Hakim says. Ultimately, 40 lullabies were recorded in various languages—English, Chinese, Turkish, Farsi, and more—and given to Syrian refugee children in German hospitals. “I like when the artists make the work, but invite others to be a part of the art making,” she says. “In my own studio, I become selfish, so I need that back and forth.” As for what will next manifest from that pendulum swing between self and other, Hakim doesn’t like to plan, but she knows she will keep exploring—and working to narrow—the spaces between us. “Art is an invitation to something,” Hakim says. “You invite people and then you see how they respond. It doesn’t belong completely to the artist.” Jeannine Ouellette, whose essays and fiction have been widely published, is the founder of Elephant Rock, a creative writing program in Minneapolis. She recently completed her first novel. Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 25
WHEN XAVIER TAVERA (M.F.A. ‘17)
AFTER T H E WA R Photographer Xavier Tavera captures the lives of MexicanAmerican veterans By Elizabeth Foy Larsen
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moved to the Twin Cities in 1996 from Mexico City, he swapped a future law career for life as a photographer. But he also underwent an even more profound personal transition. “In Mexico, I’m nothing,” he says, referring to the fact that he can’t easily be labeled in a society where so many of his fellow citizens look like him and speak his native tongue. “But here, I’m Mexican and an immigrant and a person of color.” Understanding how that experience has impacted his fellow Latinos and their Minnesota subcultures has become a guiding force for his work. His most recent show, “AMVETS Post #5,” which is at the Minnesota History Center through April, includes 35 portraits of Mexican and Mexican-American military veterans who have returned home to St. Paul’s West Side from the
battlefields of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Many of Tavera’s subjects enlisted in order to become U.S. citizens, only to see their rights undercut when they returned home. Some felt abandoned by the country they fought to protect. Documenting their stories turned out to be profoundly moving for Tavera, who also teaches photography at the U. “Being Mexican, I was always very cautious about the military and was very anti-war,” he says, sitting in his office in the Regis Center for Art on the West Bank of the Twin Cities campus. It’s the day after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck his hometown, and while he knows his family is safe, he’s got his phone on his desk in case anyone needs to contact him via WhatsApp. “I realized that it’s easy for me to be anti-war when I’ve never personally had to see the horrors of war.”
Clockwise from top left: Lorenzo C. Rangel, U.S. Marines from 1952 to 1954 Sebastian J. “Sam” Hernandez, U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1954 Peter F. Franco, U.S. Army from 1957 to 1960 Rosemary Campos Crowe, U.S. Marines from 1969 to 1971 Luis Alvarado, U.S. Army
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Theater professor Michael Sommers animates the inanimate By Elizabeth Foy Larsen
“MOMMY AND DADDY are off to Napa!” That’s the first
of many moments when the adults crack up during Molly And the Magic Boot, a performance where a little girl is left at her grandma’s farm only to realize—the horror!—that she’s forgotten the charger for her electronic devices in the car that is now joyously speeding toward California wine country. 28 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
STRINGS AT TACHED
The kids in the audience recognize Molly’s predicament as a nightmare come to life. The adults understand that her devastation is also a send-up of the plugged-in culture they hate but helped create. What’s unusual about this scene isn’t the dual-audience appeal—that formula has made Pixar billions. Rather, it’s the fact that this all-too-human scenario is being performed not by actors but by puppets who bounce across a stage that’s no bigger than a television set. A papier-mâché computer boasts about his whizbang fabulousness, until he, a tablet, and a cardboard iPod start to lose their juice. “No power,” he moans, his keyboard flapping up and down like a mouth. “Shutting down. Lights . . . fading.” Welcome to the Driveway Tour, a free and freewheeling summer series of puppet shows put on in Twin Cities parks and yards by Open Eye Figure Theatre, a nationally acclaimed company led by U Theatre Arts and Dance Associate Professor Michael Sommers and his wife, Susan Haas. “I love the idea that with puppetry you can take people into miniature worlds and explore gigantic ideas,” says Sommers, gesturing toward Open Eye’s intimate mainstage in its 90-seat theater in south Minneapolis. “Puppets aren’t real—they’re papier mâché and cloth. So they can live and die and come back to life right in front of you.” Founded in 2000, Open Eye’s whimsical but also deeply emotional and challenging works—many are created only for grown-ups—are part of a lively puppetry scene that’s taken hold in the Twin Cities. The community got its start in 1973, when In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre brought its massive folk-art puppets to theaters and the streets of Minneapolis’s Powderhorn neighborhood. The company’s public workshops, which reach peak capacity every year before the MayDay Parade and Festival, have exposed several generations of Twin Citians to the basics of puppet making and maneuvering. It’s a tight-knit community, where everybody seems to know everybody. “Puppeteers in general aren’t competitive with each other like I’ve seen in other art forms,” says Liz Schachterle (B.A. ’07), who goes by
Courtesy Open Eye Figure Theatre
the stage name Liz Howls. “There is an older generation that’s really supportive because they want to see the form continue. And there are resources. If I’m doing a show and I need something, there is a network of people who are eager to jump in and make it happen.” “In the Heart of the Beast and Open Eye have created a synergy and a place where people can not just watch puppetry, but do it as well,” says Gülgün Kayim, the director of arts, culture, and the creative economy for the City of Minneapolis. “The richness that brings to our community is huge.” Today, you can see the influence of both companies throughout the Twin Cities in theaters and events that include the BareBones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza along the Mississippi River, the Art Sled Rally in Powderhorn Park, and artist Christopher Lutter-Gardella’s stories-tall moose and wolf, which lurk above the crowds at events like the Holidazzle Village in Loring Park and Northern Spark. Sommers started his artistic life as a set designer, a pursuit he began in his small-town Wisconsin high school when he realized that “getting goo all over my pants, [which were] from the Sears catalog, appealed to me.” After he and Haas moved to the Twin Cities, he worked in theater, primarily for the then-upstart Theatre de la Jeune Lune, where he did everything from creating sets to performing supporting roles to scrubbing toilets. As his career progressed, Sommers was drawn to puppetry as a way to tell narratives that rely more on gestures than text—to animate the inanimate. In Open Eye’s oeuvre, chairs float, plates magically slide across tables, and burlap sacks have sad smiles. The aesthetic veers from retro and sweet to downright creepy. While his work draws on Eastern European puppetry traditions, Sommers is self taught. But he sees teaching others as central to carrying on the traditions he and Haas have nurtured at Open Eye. “Michael and Susan have been huge influences in my work,” says Schachterle. After graduating from the U, she spent time refurbishing puppets for the Driveway Tour, an experience she describes as a revelation. “The puppets were falling apart and I’d remake them in Michael’s hand,” she explains. “It taught me so much about specific things, like how to carve feet or how to make a foot land better by putting a weight in the toe.” Schachterle went on to work with other “puppet
Top left: a scene from Open Eye Figure Theatre’s Molly and the Magic Boot. Top right: Sommers’s production of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Juniper Tree.
nerds,” eventually creating the Full Moon Puppet Show, a monthly cabaret/puppetry slam that she transported around town in a Burley trailer pulled behind her bike. Full Moon is now on hiatus, but occasionally makes an appearance on Open Eye’s roster. Theater graduate Justin Spooner (B.A. ‘11) is carrying on Open Eye’s mission both through his work as a puppeteer and as a high school teacher at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. “Michael has a low-tech aesthetic that’s about using what’s available and around you,” he says. In a class he teaches about “object theater,” Spooner brings in a box of junk—anything from books to Silly Putty—and asks his students to arrange the items according to how smart they are. “I’m teaching them how they can turn objects into characters,” he says. “A white mug from a diner has a personality that’s different than a white tea cup.” It’s a lesson that would delight his former teacher. “Why are we bothering wiggling around pieces of wood attached to string at a time when you can create anything on CGI?” Sommers asks, pushing his fingers through a flash of white hair that seems to have a life of its own. He doesn’t answer the question. But he doesn’t need to. His work is the best answer there is. Elizabeth Foy Larsen (M.F.A. ‘02), author of 111 Places in the Twin Cities That You Must Not Miss, edits and writes for a host of local and national publications. She is Minnesota Alumni’s new senior editor. Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 29
THE ENTERTAINER Actor James Hong considers his legacy By Allison Babka
talents, as one might expect from a guy who has earned nearly 600 film, television, and voiceover acting credits spanning seven decades. But he has a few additional skills that perhaps aren’t so obvious. “I’m 88 now—89 pretty soon— and still can breakdance!” Hong says with a laugh. Long before he became known for his roles in top Hollywood vehicles like Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, and the Kung Fu Panda franchise, Hong grew up above his family’s herb store in the now-gone Chinatown area of downtown Minneapolis. After graduating from Central High School, Hong studied civil engineering in the early 1950s at the University of Minnesota, where, when he wasn’t studying, he entertained friends with his impressions of Clark Gable and Groucho Marx. He also did celebrity impressions on famed Minneapolis broadcaster Cedric Adams’s radio show, “Stairway to Stardom.” Hong moved with his family to California just as his senior year at Minnesota was getting underway. And that’s when it became clear that acting—not civil engineering— was his true path. Along with his Central High friend Don Parker, Hong began performing in Hollywood nightclubs and theaters, eventually becoming one of the most prolific actors in history. With that kind of longevity, Hong has a bird’s eye view of the entertainment industry and the state 30 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
Clockwise from top left: comedy team Hong and Parker; Hong as Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner; Hong with Jack Nicholson; at a reception with Nicole Kidman
of film today. He recently saw Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi film in which he played eyeball geneticist Hannibal Chew. He’s not sure the movie lives up to the original. “I think the sequel is trying to be a little bit too philosophical, a little too
artistic,” he says. “It didn’t excite me as much, even though it had all the special effects, which were wonderful—probably the best I’ve seen.” Hong is an expert at entertaining audiences. His recent turns include Star Wars: Rebels, Kung Fu Panda:
Courtesy James Hong
JAMES HONG is a man of many
Courtesy Maria Schneider
Legends of Awesomeness, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and the upcoming Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes with Johnny Depp. He says his Minnesota upbringing honed the observational skills that led to more than a few Hollywood opportunities. “All that time practicing in front of that Minnesota bathroom mirror paid off,” Hong says. When he was being considered for the 1977 film The World’s Greatest Lover, director Gene Wilder, who was also the film’s star, needed a character called “Yes Man #3” to play opposite actor Dom DeLuise. He asked Hong if he could do any accents. “I said, ‘Oh, yah, sure, I am from Minnesota,’ in my Swedish-Minnesota accent,” Hong remembers. “[Wilder] said, ‘That’s it! That’s it!’” With a full plate of acting work, Hong doesn’t make it back to Minnesota often, but during a visit in 2014 he noticed how much the U of M campus had changed. “There are more buildings of course,” he says. “And the wonderful river flats are gone. That’s where we used to park our car and climb up the hill. In those winter months, you had to park way down there where the ice was blowing across your face and walk up those steep hillsides to the campus.” Hong eventually graduated from the University of Southern California. But he says he’ll always be a Gopher at heart. “I would love to get an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota,” he laughs. “I deserve it, you know.”
Jazz composer Maria Schneider fights for musicians’ rights in the age of YouTube By Rob Hubbard
HEADING UPSTREAM MARIA SCHNEIDER (B.A. ’83) has made it in the music business. She’s become
one of the world’s most celebrated jazz artists, a composer and bandleader who picked up her fourth and fifth Grammys in early 2016. Soon after moving to New York City in 1985, Schneider started gaining a strong reputation as a composer and arranger. She formed her Maria Schneider Orchestra in 1992 and has recorded nine albums with the group, the most recent, The Thompson Fields, inspired by her upbringing on the plains of southwestern Minnesota. She also collaborated with soprano Dawn Upshaw and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on 2013’s Grammy-winning Winter Morning Walks; worked with the late David Bowie on some of his last projects; and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 2012. But, Schneider warns, the industry in which she has thrived is ailing. Fundamental changes in its structure and economics are endangering the livelihood of musicians and songwriters to such an extent that an exodus of talent is already underway. Schneider is worried enough about the future of the industry that she’s become an advocate for the musicians who are making little from popular recordings and swimming in red ink. As Schneider sees it, their dual nemeses are behemoth streaming services Spotify and YouTube. The vast majority of the content on video-sharing website YouTube is uploaded to the site by users. In the case of music, that’s usually in violation Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 31
of copyright law. Neither they nor those who watch the videos typically provide monetary compensation to the artists who originally created the music. “To me, YouTube is just a big cesspool of illegally procured stuff,” Schneider says. In response to criticisms like Schneider’s, Christophe Muller, head of YouTube International Music Partnerships, wrote in a 2016 blog post, “Today, thousands of labels and rightholders have licensing agreements with YouTube to actually leave fan videos up and earn revenue with them.” Meanwhile, Spotify is a streaming service for music, video, and podcasts that is offered free with the option to upgrade to a subscription model. A song played by a
“Many have this glorified image of the starving musician, but you can’t both starve and live.” Spotify user earns an extremely small fraction of a penny (in the thousandths), and that’s often split between many entities, including performers, songwriters, publishers, and record companies. “A recent U.S. Copyright Office report said that 80 percent of the songwriters in Nashville have left the business since 2000,” Schneider says. “Songwriters just can’t make a living anymore. “A lot of the stars on these streaming sites are being given huge advances, and then the pie is decreasing for everyone,” she says. “I’ve asked people: Name one classical or jazz album that’s made its budget back through streaming on Spotify and YouTube. Nobody can name one. I know a young hip-hop musician who had a song that was played 70 million times on Spotify. He never got a check for more than $60 in any pay period. Many have this glorified image of the starving musician, but you can’t both starve and live.” So, Schneider is fighting back. She and others in New York have started MusicAnswers.org, which represents the interests of songwriters, composers, performers, and producers—“the ones who aren’t getting paid while these companies are making billions of dollars,” she says. Their goal is to educate the public and young musicians, many of whom don’t even know what they’ve lost, about what’s happening in the business. The site contains videos, articles, and calls to action. How did the economics of music become so unfavorable to musicians? Schneider points to two key business deals as doing the most damage: Google purchasing 32 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
YouTube (despite calling the video site a “rogue enabler of content theft” the year before) and the three largest music companies—Sony, Universal, and Warner—cutting deals to offer their music on Spotify in exchange for equity in the streaming service, while also making deals with YouTube. It’s a situation that’s drastically shrinking the revenue that goes to most musicians. “In the old days, the record companies were paying for the records,” Schneider says. “And only one out of 12 records actually made its budget and was paying for itself. That’s why record companies largely took a bigger amount of the profit, because they were like banks, paying for all these losing records. Musicians now are mostly paying for their own records. We’re the bank. We’re taking on the financial risk.” The cost of creating an album varies widely, from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. “All of my records cost about $200,000 to make now,” Schneider said, “and we definitely can’t go above that.” Schneider has found financial success by creating and releasing her records via the crowdfunding ArtistShare label. But those who record for Sony, Universal, or Warner, which Schneider says reap up to 80 percent of the world’s recorded music sales, are at the mercy of Spotify. “Streaming is driving the technology,” she says, “so much so that they aren’t putting CD players in cars or computers anymore. And people aren’t even wanting downloads anymore. So everybody wants to stream, but it’s not financially feasible to pay for your record with it. What’s that going to do to music, to classical music and jazz? Who’s going to fund it? How long can that go on, throwing money at things that can’t possibly make the money back?” Schneider says there are steps the average music fan can take to make sure musicians get fairly paid. “If you love someone’s music, find their own website and see where they steer you to buy the music,” she says. Some musicians will list several options. “Go to where they ask you to go first. A lot of times, they sell from their own site. If you can buy directly from the musician, go for it. Do it at their website or at the merchandise table at a show.” Schneider encourages visiting MusicAnswers.org to learn more about supporting musicians. “Congress wants to rewrite copyright law and that’s huge,” she says. “We need a force of people writing to their congressional representatives, saying, ‘This is important to us.’ Then maybe we’ll have some power. We need to be like Paul Revere, galloping from house to house saying, ‘Quick, join the force. It’s now or never.’” Rob Hubbard, author of Brave New Workshop: Promiscuous Hostility and Laughs in the Land of Loons, writes about arts for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
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Romeo and Juliet
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Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 33
34 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
erry Ganley, senior associate coach of women’s and men’s swimming at the U of M and the U’s first All-American female athlete, is a bit of a throwback. In a world where modern champion swimmers grow as tall and square-shouldered as building cranes, Ganley is more slight than buff, and no taller than your average Y lane swimmer. She’s unassuming in manner and speech, too. Walking through the swim team offices, deep within the state-of-the-art Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the Minneapolis campus, wearing maroon and gold sweats, she speaks of her many years with the Gopher program as though unaware she is delivering a history of women’s sports at the U. “I started swimming as a kid in North Minneapolis,” Ganley (B.S. ’79) says. “Went to Ascension Church, went to Ascension School, and swam with the Ascension Swim Club in the [Amateur Athletic Union] program. There was no girls’ swimming team for high school but I was a pretty good AAU swimmer and wanted to continue swimming when I entered the U.” That was in fall 1973. The country was in the middle of an oil crisis and embroiled in the Watergate scandal. “I was still living at home, so every day I took the 5 bus from North Minneapolis downtown to Block E and transferred to the 16 bus to go to Norris Hall on campus.” The women’s team practiced in a pool at the Norris “ladies gymnasium,” which was older and smaller than the pool used by the men’s team in Cooke Hall. But they had a talented new coach, Jean Freeman, herself a North
Minneapolis kid and a fresh graduate of the U. Freeman had moved directly from the lanes to the gutters, and in fact had coached Ganley at Ascension. Now, she was guiding the Gopher women for the princely sum of $50 a year. This was before a 1972 amendment to the federal Civil Rights Act, known as Title IX, forced sports programs across the country, including at the U, to invest in women’s sports. In the ’70s, competing as a gifted female athlete was strictly a DIY endeavor. “There were no lockers available to us at Norris,” says Ganley. “So, everyone carried what they needed in their backpacks: towels, shampoo, swimsuit, makeup. There were about 30 women, swimmers and divers, on the team. We all just made do.” By the time Ganley was a junior, she and her teammates were privileged to get one night a week swimming at the Cooke men’s pool. “We got use of the lanes on Thursday nights beginning at about 6:30, when the guys had finished their practice,” she says. There were no scholarships for female swimmers, so Ganley had to work part-time while carrying a full load of study at the U and swimming endless training laps. No money existed for team travel, which meant that though Gopher women’s teams competed at Big Ten Conference Championships, they couldn’t afford meets against other conference competitors. Women’s teams would schedule events with local colleges instead. Her freshman year, Ganley took first place in the 50-yard backstroke (this was pre-meter swimming) at the Big Ten championships, and scored high enough in other events to account for 46 of Minnesota’s total 199 points. She qualified for the national championships of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). At the time, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) had no interest in women’s sports— whether basketball, swimming, or track—so female athletes competed within the AIAW. Schools like the U were hardly more interested in women’s sports than the NCAA was. The entire budget for all of women’s
athletics at the U in 1973-’74 was around $35,000. Men, meanwhile, had about $2.2 million to play with. Not surprisingly, when it came time to send Ganley to the AIAW finals at Penn State in 1974, there was no funding for the trip. To raise money, Ganley and Freeman sold T-shirts in the lobby of Cooke Hall. They raised $550, which they figured was plenty. Asked whether the disparities between the men’s and women’s swimming programs ever bothered her, Ganley provides a sporting answer. “[Freeman] and I always respected the men’s program,” she says. “We didn’t want to put anyone down. We just wanted to lift our own team up.” She still wants to do that, taking any opportunity to laud the talents—and dedication and hard work—of today’s student athletes. Ganley and Freeman set out for Happy Valley. Unfortunately, no one told them that attendees of the AIAW championship swim meet would be competing for hotel rooms with rabid fans of Pennsylvania high school
In the ’70s, Terry Ganley’s champion women’s swim team had to sell T-shirts to pay for meets By Tim Brady Photo by Eric Miller
wrestling, who were holding their state tourney at the same time. Star swimmer and coach had to find accommodations out in the wilds of central Pennsylvania. Competing against the top swimmers in the country, some of whom had swum in the Munich Olympics a year and a half earlier, Ganley finished 12th in the backstroke and in the top 20 in three other events. She became, in the process, the first woman to earn All-American honors in any sport in the history of Gopher athletics. Two years earlier, Title IX had passed, stipulating that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” For all its legalistic clauses, no single measure has done more to revolutionize the participation of female athletes in sports. It began affecting budgets at the U during the summer of 1974. A complaint filed by the Twin Cities Student Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 35
36 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
Tim Brady is the author of five books, including His Father’s Son: The Life of General Ted Roosevelt, Jr. He lives in St. Paul.
Assembly with the federal Office for Civil Rights helped prompt an immediate boost in funds for the women’s athletic department, from a projected $50,000 to $115,000. It was far from the 42 percent of the total athletic budget the assembly sought for women’s sports, but it was an improvement. For the first time, seven of the nine women’s sports programs at the U would have full-time coaches. Even before the Title IX changes took effect, men’s athletics administrators chewed their nails about its coming effects. In 1973, Athletic Director Paul Giel worried that it would be “men’s athletics that pay the bills.” U Vice President Stanley Wenberg echoed that sentiment, saying “it would not be fair to saddle our present athletic department with financial responsibility for any part of the cost of women’s intercollegiate athletics.” But the very fact of their concerns made it feel like the wheels were turning in the direction of women’s sports. In late 1975, a separate women’s intercollegiate athletics department was established at the U, and the first women’s athletic director, Vivian Barfield, was named a year later. The U substantially boosted its funding request of the state legislature for women’s sports and for the first time, a small sum was set aside for needbased scholarships for female athletes. For Ganley, who still had three years of swimming eligibility remaining after her first national championships, the hard work continued. So did the accolades. She would earn All-American honors three more times at Minnesota and would continue to relish her association with her Gopher teammates, even as they continued to train and swim under spartan circumstances. Ganley remembers a trip to a Big Ten tournament in Indiana. “The whole team wound up staying together in sleeping bags in a teammate’s parents’ basement in
“We didn’t want to put anyone down. We just wanted to lift our own team up.”
Ganley in 1974: She was the U’s first female All-American athlete.
Kokomo,” she says. Training tables were held beneath whatever Golden Arches they passed along the way and inside an old van with a weak heater, which required the women to sit on each other’s feet to stay warm. Ganley is not the sort of coach who brings up the hard knocks of the old days in order to put her swimmers in their places. But when the temptation does arise, she acknowledges that “I’ve probably been thinking of that trip.” Ganley came from a family of eight, including her parents. She was the youngest of the bunch and three of her brothers served tours in Vietnam. Harboring grudges is not in her nature. “For me, I just wanted to compete,” she says. “I just wanted to swim. I know the bigger thinkers like Jean [Freeman] were more aware of the disparities of our circumstances. She saw male swimmers at my skill level getting recruited, getting scholarship offers from around the country, and she understood the basic unfairness of it all.” Ganley was hired as Freeman’s assistant in 1977. It was the beginning of a 40-year stint as a swim coach for the Gophers. During that time, she witnessed the growth and evolution of women’s swimming, and the whole of women’s athletics at the U. Budgets increased and so did salaries for women’s coaches, boosted in part by Rajender v. University of Minnesota, a lawsuit settled in 1980 that enjoined the U from engaging in employment discrimination based on gender. Cooke Hall became available to the women’s team on a more equitable basis and then, in 1990, the Freeman Aquatic Center was built. Meanwhile, the Gopher swim team, under the guidance of Freeman and Ganley, kept improving. In 1999, it won its first Big Ten Conference Championship. It won again the following year. In 2004, Freeman retired from coaching and Ganley, after 27 years as an assistant, was named co-head coach of the Gopher women’s swim team, along with Kelly Kremer, who had been coaching the Gopher men. More Big Ten championships followed and in 2006, Ganley and Kremer were named co-Big Ten Coaches of the Year. The men’s and women’s teams have since combined to form a single entity with Kremer as head coach and Ganley, who has chosen to focus on the development side of the program, designated senior associate head coach for both men and women. Ganley helped take women’s swimming to the top of the Big Ten Conference, first as a swimmer and then as a coach. Today, men and women swimmers at the U are distinguished mostly by the cuts of their suits.
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Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 37 THREE HOURS NORTH OF THE TWIN CITIES
The U rolls out a plan to address sexual assault and harassment on campus By Jennifer Vogel
38 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
campus, from one where sexual assault and harassment take place with unfortunate regularity to one where such transgressions are rare to nonexistent? That is the question the University of Minnesota is grappling with as part of President Eric Kaler’s Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct. Kaler, who calls addressing this “public health problem” an “important personal mission,” launched the plan in early 2017. “Recently, our Twin Cities campus—like too many across the nation—has been the center of sexual assault news and conversation because of the reported behavior of some of our students and faculty,” Kaler said during his State of the University address last March. “When responding to such incidents we must be guided by our values, and we must take actions that express our priorities.”
A New Culture
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Over the past several years, the Twin Cities campus has been the setting of a string of disturbing incidents: Former U Athletic Director Norwood Teague resigned in 2015 after sexually harassing female employees; former student and Sigma Phi Epsilon member Daniel Drill-Mellum was convicted in 2016 of rape; five football players were expelled or suspended (five additional players were cleared through the U’s disciplinary process) following an alleged assault in 2016; and former head football coach Tracy Claeys was fired in early 2017 for his support of players threatening a boycott in the incident. “We are at a tipping point at this university,” says School of Public Health Dean John Finnegan, who is charged with implementing Kaler’s initiative. “In the past, we have done good work here at the U in providing services for survivors,” he says, singling out The Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education and Boynton Health. “This is now the University saying, we need to go upstream. We need to really look at the issues of changing our culture and preventing this kind of activity in the future.” In October, Finnegan released a report documenting what the effort might look like. It will likely entail training for students and all staff and faculty, and a public health awareness campaign that would include posters and T-shirts, based on a model implemented at other colleges, called “It’s On Us.” The approach, devised partly by the U.S. Department of Education, “works to educate, engage, and empower students and communities . . . to do something, big or small, to end sexual assault.” The report also includes recommendations for surveys and other methods of assessing the success or failure of the initiative and suggestions for generating useful research. The cost totals around $540,000 over two years. While the plan’s fine points are yet to be worked out, in October, the Board of Regents made a policy change requiring the U to “adopt procedures on each campus for providing training on prohibited conduct to all members of the University community.” “What we are talking about is the full spectrum of microaggression and harassment and inappropriate gender-based remarks all the way over to the criminal side, assault and violence,” says Finnegan. “This all gets in the way of why we are here as a university.” Measuring rates of sexual misconduct is notoriously tricky, since the crimes are believed to be underreported and even the definition of assault can be subject to interpretation. A 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct found that 23.5 percent of responding female undergraduates on the Twin Cities campus reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats,
The problem of sexual misconduct is “primarily, but not exclusively, caused by people who identify as male and are trying to outdo other men at being male.” or incapacitation since enrolling at the U. That was in line with the aggregate rate found across the other 26 universities included in the survey. A 2016 study commissioned by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that an average of 10 percent of women were assaulted during a single academic year across the nine campuses examined by researchers. “One of the biggest takeaways was the amount of variation [in rates of assault] from one school to another,” says coauthor Christopher Krebs, a criminologist with North Carolina-based RTI International, a nonprofit that provides research and technical services to governments and businesses. “We really think schools need to understand their problem. They need to know the problem in their community if they hope to address it.” The dramatic differences in single-year rates between schools—from 4 percent at one to 20 percent at another—suggest that campus culture matters. Krebs says figuring out which factors or actions lead to a school being safer is the “hundred million dollar question.” He did find that sexual assault and harassment, which he places on the same continuum and considers part of the same culture, tended to be higher at schools where staff and students viewed leadership as ineffectual at dealing with sexual misconduct. “It sounds like the U of M is trying to be proactive and do the right thing,” he says. In mapping an approach that is “communityassessment-based and evidence-driven,” Finnegan’s October report proposes widespread online sexual misconduct prevention training followed by face-toface or department-based training—some targeting Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 39
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especially vulnerable groups, like LGBTQIA and international students—perhaps led by facilitators. The effort is expected to be underway by early 2018. The report was generated with input from over 300 faculty, staff, students, and advocates, including Trish Palermo, president of the Minnesota Student Association, which has launched its own sexual assault task force to work alongside the President’s Initiative, and Katie Eichele, director of the Aurora Center, which provides free and confidential support to those coping with relationship violence, sexual assault, or stalking. “I’m excited that our campus is ready to take the next step forward, which is prevention,” says Eichele. “I know we can do it.” In addition, the report was devised with advice from California-based psychologist and consultant Alan Berkowitz, who made a presentation at Coffman Union in September. Speaking to a mostly full auditorium, Berkowitz advocated for a multifaceted approach. “You don’t create the problem,” he said. “But the environment either inhibits the problem or it permits the problem.” He suggested that training be different for men, focused on rape prevention, than for women, focused on risk reduction. “Because the men who sexually assault care more about what other men think, and also because we want to create a safe environment for victims to come forward, the research is clear that separate gender programs led by same-gendered facilitators are better,” he said. The problem of sexual misconduct is “primarily, but not exclusively, caused by people who identify as male and are trying to outdo other men at being male. That’s why we say prevention is men’s responsibility.” Training can undo what he calls “pluralistic ignorance,” the incorrect belief that one’s private attitudes, judgments, or behaviors are different from those held by others, and “false consensus,” the belief that a person represents the majority when, in fact, they are in the minority. Undetected rapists, Berkowitz said, have “extreme overperceptions of other men’s acceptance and support for their attitudes and behaviors.”
When it comes to risk reduction, Charlene Senn, a professor of applied social psychology at the University of Windsor in Canada, has devised one of the more promising approaches. The training, which she calls “resistance education,” is delivered in small-group settings. It teaches first-year university women to assess risk, recognize and resist coercive behavior, and take action—whether leaving a room, yelling, pushing, or kicking. “Research shows that when women use even one tactic,” there is a 60 percent chance of foiling a potential rape, Senn says. Her program also includes a positive sexual education component. The training, which studies show reduces victimization, “makes sure every woman has a strategy that she would feel comfortable using.” To those who view this type of instruction as blaming or unfairly putting the onus on women to fend off male behavior, Senn says, “If we know something that we know from evidence is effective and we don’t tell women, that is not feminism.” Beyond training, the U plans to create a campus-wide public health awareness campaign that emphasizes the need for bystander intervention, suggesting how and when to step in—expanding on earlier efforts by the Aurora Center. “We know bystanders can have a huge impact,” says Finnegan. The exact contours of the campaign are yet to be determined. The trick, he says, will be to develop a theme that everyone, including graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, and staff, can relate to. “This is the part where it’s not all science. We need art in here, too. “I’ve been doing public health campaigns since 1980,” Finnegan says. “And so, we’ve certainly learned that if you are talking about change in the long run, you are really talking about multi-layered strategies. You are talking about education, communication, use of technology; you are talking about policy.” Despite the lack of a wellworn path forward—there isn’t a wealth of concrete evidence showing what reduces campus sexual misconduct—Finnegan says the answer is “really out there, there is no doubt in my mind. “We may push the envelope on this.”
OFF THE SHELF
Crossing the Great Divide Can Red and Blue Talk to Each Other?
By Jon Spayde
NYONE WHO HAS attended an office
meeting, a rally, or a holiday dinner lately knows that as a culture, we have become profoundly divided. The media is full of stories of angry public confrontations, family rifts, and trending Google searches like “psychologist near me.” It’s become harder to talk to people with whom we disagree. Enter Tom Krattenmaker (B.A. ’83), who as a confirmed agnostic, recently published a memoir about crossing religious and political boundaries. Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower explores Krattenmaker’s admiration for Jesus Christ while imparting insights into contemporary American culture. Krattenmaker is a journalist who cares deeply about the topics he chooses to cover. When he was at the Minnesota Daily as an undergraduate journalism major, he wrote about draft registration on campus and protests against Honeywell’s work with the Department of Defense. Later, as a reporter for the Orange County Register, he covered televangelist Robert Schuler, whose Crystal Cathedral megachurch was embroiled in controversy. Without realizing it at the time, he had found the subject that would turn him into an author: the role of religion in public life. Confessions, published by Convergent Books, is Krattenmaker’s third book on the topic—and a second-place winner at the 2017 Religious News Association Awards. In it, he describes how, in the course of his reporting career, he came to respect people whose evangelical beliefs were 180 degrees from his own. A recent conversation with the author yielded some pointed suggestions for how people on all sides of the yawning political divide might begin to open up to one another. Krattenmaker’s awakening, he says, came mainly as the result of stories he wrote and people he met. After the Register, he worked for the Associated
Press before exchanging the newsroom for the university press room, handling communications and PR for Princeton, Swarthmore, and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, while writing religion-themed columns for USA Today. (Today he’s a communications director for the Yale Divinity School, and is still a columnist.) “I really had a burr under my saddle when it came to evangelical Christians, whom I just equated with the Christian right,” he says. A professor who taught in the master’s program in religion and public life he completed at the University of Pennsylvania chided him for his prejudice—but it took personal interactions to really bring him around. “I met a couple of evangelicals in Portland who shattered my stereotypes,” he says. “I found out about projects they were engaged in that I thought were really impressive and even inspiring, and they were so refreshingly different from the stereotype. It was great material for columns and eventually a book, The Evangelicals You Don’t Know. It was meaningful personally, too, because this informed some of my own ideas about engaging with public issues, challenging my own stereotypes, and reaching across divides.” He’s quick to point out that these people were so-called “new evangelicals,” more liberal than most— and yet for the resolutely secular Krattenmaker, there was still a divide to be crossed: He had to put his disagreements with their theology on hold. He would ask them respectful questions about their faith rather than try to score debating points. “I asked them things like, ‘What does the idea that God loves you mean to you?’ I learned that they would appreciate and even trust the secular perspective, as long as they knew that I wasn’t against them personally and that I was committed to understanding them,” he says. Does Krattenmaker think that such an attitude can translate into crossing today’s brutal political battle lines? His answer is a qualified yes. He has also Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 41
“IT’S SHOWING RESPECT FOR THE PERSON EVEN IF YOU DON’T RESPECT THE IDEAS.”
engaged with ultraconservative evangelicals, and when he does, he says, “I lower my expectations. I mean, I immediately intuit that I’m not going to persuade them of anything right away. I’ll often fall into reporter mode, ask a couple of questions and just listen. The only thing that I can maybe change their mind about is the idea that all liberals are impossible people. I just listen to them without rolling my eyes. That’s a pretty low bar, but I can do that.” Krattenmaker insists that he doesn’t mean we ought to falsify our own values in seeking connections with those with whom we disagree. “It’s showing respect for the person even if you don’t respect the ideas,” he says. “I’m not telling anybody to respect bad ideas or bad philosophies or ill-conceived solutions to problems.” It’s a hard balancing act, though, isn’t it? Holding one’s ground while opening up to someone who may be hostile? “The reason that it’s hard,” he says, “is the same reason it’s so worth doing. I’ve seen polling data that suggests most Americans think that this kind of nonpartisan communication would be a good thing, that they don’t like how the two extreme sides seem to control the microphones.” The fact that so little of this sort of receptive, open-minded conversation takes place today doesn’t discourage Krattenmaker; it excites him to try the experiment. “It’s transgressive in a cool way to do these things—show respect, listen, ask questions—because it’s sort of against the ‘rules’ of our current form of partisan warfare.” Jon Spayde is a longtime Twin Cities writer and editor.
Maureen Hooley Bausch (left) and Wendy Williams Blackshaw (right), Super Bowl planners extraordinaire
Super Bowled-Over Two U of M alumnae lead preparations for hosting the Super Bowl
By Suzy Frisch
N FEBRUARY, the Super Bowl will draw an
expected 1 million-plus visitors, thousands of members of the media, and the eyes of the TV-watching world to Minneapolis as the game is played in the new U.S. Bank Stadium downtown. The Twin Cities will host an enormous menu of events and parties over the 10 days surrounding the game, including the NFL Experience in the Minneapolis Convention Center and Super Bowl Boulevard on Nicollet Mall. Of course, February is the heart of winter in Minnesota. So, the nonprofit Super Bowl Host Committee, the brain center for preparations, is embracing the cold with its branding theme, the “Bold North.” Leading the effort are two U of M alumnae, Host Committee CEO Maureen Hooley Bausch (M.A. ’88) and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Wendy Williams Blackshaw (B.A. ’82).
Bausch created the Bold North idea as a way to highlight the Twin Cities’ singular blend of arts, culture, business, entertainment, and love of the outdoors in all temperatures. “I want the Super Bowl to be more than a game,” she says. “I want people to have a good time and walk away being amazed at how sophisticated and alive Minnesota is.” Planning an event of such magnitude means marshalling a plethora of resources and mastering thousands of details in a short amount of time. “The Super Bowl is such an enormous undertaking,” says Blackshaw. “There are so many facets and so many moving parts. That’s what makes it overwhelming at times but exciting and a challenge. We’re working with the NFL, the city, and sponsors. Plus, you’re building an organization while you’re managing all of these constituents and moving parts.” Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 43
44 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
The People’s Architect RICHARD “DICK” GILYARD believes in the
transformative power of good ideas. The 77-year-old architect has spent decades spearheading projects that are ambitious and modern, yet human-centric. He worked on Cook County’s Lighthouse Keepers Museum, for example, and a design for an extension of I-35 near Duluth that saved historic buildings. Gilyard (B.A. ’61, B.Arch. ’64) is retired, but you’d hardly know it from the long days he spends emailing, calling, and meeting people to discuss a variety of projects. Partly that’s just the nature of the profession. “Architects don’t retire,” he says, “they just move to a different drafting board.” But it’s also because Gilyard is passionate about what he does. One initiative in particular has been
his focus for more than a decade: Prospect Park 2020. That’s an effort to redefine the look and feel of one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods, where Gilyard lives, which is located near the U’s Minneapolis campus and close to the St. Paul border. Gilyard is the president and architect of the nonprofit looking to transform what is now an underutilized industrial area of Prospect Park into a vibrant, innovative development for residents and businesses, while making the most of its proximity to the Green Line light rail corridor. Funding has come from sources like the McKnight Foundation and Funders Collaborative. “We’ve said 2,500 housing units, and let’s stack ‘em up,” says Gilyard. “We want
Fortunately, Bausch and Blackshaw have ample experience in prominent roles. Both spent years working at Mall of America, with Bausch joining the team in 1990, before the mall opened. She rose to the role of executive vice president of business development—essentially general manager—and successfully transformed it from a retail center to the state’s biggest tourist attraction. Bausch majored in elementary education at U of M Duluth and taught for a few years. Then, she helped her dad grow the family’s Stillwater grocery store into part of the Cub chain. She returned to the U and earned a master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in marketing from the Carlson School of Management. After 13 years in the grocery business, Bausch was ready for a new challenge when the Mall of America opportunity presented itself. Blackshaw, who earned a speech communications degree at the U and also was a hockey cheerleader, handled MOA sponsorship sales and marketing for a decade before becoming vice president of marketing and sales at Sun Country Airlines. A master of organization, Blackshaw says she excels when leading a team. She says her “amazing team” at the Host Committee is composed of 20 percent U graduates. “They are all multitasking experts who cross over into many different areas. My job is to keep this organization moving ahead.” Blackshaw calls Bausch a visionary who comes up with “out there” ideas and makes them happen. When Bausch asked Blackshaw to join the Host Committee, she didn’t hesitate, considering it a dream come true to plan a Minnesota Super Bowl, and with her friend to boot. If Minnesota makes a stellar impression before, during, and after the Super Bowl, the two believe more people will come back to do business, visit in another season, or host an event. Ultimately, they say, the effort could boost Minnesota’s economy. “When they see how much we enjoy the outdoors and how wonderful the people are,” Bausch says, “that is what will bring people back over and over again.”
Courtesy Kay Hatlestad
to see maker spaces, libraries, and a variety of design styles. It could be a living laboratory of 21st -century, sustainable, regenerative development.” Gilyard’s dedication to this and other visionary projects is a testament to his inquisitive, forward-thinking nature. A graduate of Minneapolis’s North High School, he always enjoyed drawing, but entered the U as a journalism student where he wrote for The Minnesota Daily. He switched to architecture after a brief talk with late, legendary Minneapolis architect Ralph Rapson, who was then dean of the School of Architecture. Over time, Gilyard developed what he calls a modernist style marked by a cleanliness of line and an eye for contemporary touches. His signature projects have included the Demontreville Jesuit Retreat Center in Lake Elmo and the U’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, along with a number of residential, corporate, and institutional buildings. Work he did for the U.S. Courthouse Construction Program between 2005 and 2008 earned him honors from the American Institute of Architects for his leadership in advancing design excellence in federal architecture. And though Prospect Park 2020 involves working with a daunting number of stakeholders, including the U, the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and about 7,700 area residents, Gilyard’s faith in the project is unrelenting. “This neighborhood is eclectic, everything from Carpenter Gothic to Frank Lloyd Wright and contemporary work,” he says. In the end, what keeps Gilyard glued to his drafting chair is an abiding passion for design and how it can enhance and define the areas where people live. “The enduring question for me on any given project is, ‘What do we really want to have happen here?’” he says. “Development is going to happen. Is it going to happen to us, or are we going to help shape it?” —Dan Heilman
Friendships Built at the U IN THE AGE of status updates and “reply all,” it’s hard to remember that until very recently, long-distance relationships were maintained by pen and paper. If you want proof, just ask the U of M School of Nursing’s class of 1952, whose graduates have been keeping each other updated on life’s ups and downs through a round-robin letter that’s been going strong for 65 years. A round-robin is a collection of letters written by every member of the group (of the initial 15 graduates, nine are still alive). When one member receives the package, she reads all the letters, replaces her earlier correspondence with a new update, and sends it to the next person on the list. While there have been lean years, it’s a method that’s clearly worked for the class of ’52,
whose members forged their bond while living together in a dormitory for nursing students that was eventually razed to make way for a U hospital building. Their letters are a testament to the power of enduring friendships and a chronicle of changing times. There are concerns about how the field of nursing has become more impersonal in the age of computers, details about political awakenings, updates on children, and, now that the “Robins” are in their late 80s, bittersweet discussions of hospice, memory loss, and the death of spouses. For classmate Alice Arnold Litton, who hasn’t returned to Minnesota since the class of ’52’s five-year reunion, the round robin has provided a decades-long bond with other nurses. “The connection with the people who were related to my profession was very meaningful,” she says. “I felt like a part of the community even though I wasn’t there.” —Elizabeth Foy Larsen
We pay as much tuition as everybody else and so we want to have the same rights.
Jack Baker, speaking in Out North: MNLGBTQ History, a TPT documentary that premiered in October. Baker (J.D. ’72), while the U’s student body president, championed one of the first college gay rights organizations in the nation.
Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 45
Essential Europe Graduation Trip
May 20 â€” June 7, 2018 Give your new graduate a lifetime of memories with our Essential Europe tour â€” it will further their education and bond to the University while showing them the highlights of 8 incredible countries with fellow 2018 grads. For itinerary and cost, visit z.umn.edu/GradTrip18
MORE THAN 50 trips are offered through
the UMAA Travel Program each year. Find your next destination at UMNAlumni.org/travel
NEW BOARD CHAIR TAKES OFFICE LEARN
Explore some of the big, compelling issues of the day—from what DNA sequencing reveals about cancer risk to the geography of food—at the Alumni Association’s annual Minne-Colleges, in Naples, Florida, on January 20 and Scottsdale, Arizona, on February 10. The Minne-Colleges are half-day-long learning opportunities for alumni and friends of the University of Minnesota. They feature presentations by some of the U’s top faculty and scholars on a wide variety of topics. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn in a casual, engaging atmosphere. For more details, visit UMNAlumni.org
Feast on this forthcoming Alumni Association webinar: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Career Advancement and the Job Search, February 1, noon to 1 p.m. (Central Time). The proliferation of social media presents an opportunity for people to use these channels to advance their careers. This webinar will cover 10 do’s and don’ts when leveraging social media for career and personal branding purposes. Hear best practices, discover some new tricks, and learn from others’ mistakes. To sign up and learn about other upcoming webinars, visit UMNAlumni.org/virtual Can’t make the set time? Webinars are available 24/7 at UMNAlumni.org/ goldmind. Free of charge, webinars and other Alumni Association programming are possible thanks to membership and our business partners. To learn more about becoming a business partner, email Senior Director of Marketing Lisa Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org
SHARE This spring, the UMAA will launch a new online platform that will empower users to seek advice and make informal career connections based on shared professional interests. Free for all students and alumni across University of Minnesota schools and colleges, the platform will connect alumni and allow students to seek advice from alumni willing to share their expertise. For more information, contact Senior Director of Alumni Networks Jon Ruzek at email@example.com
MAKE A DIFFERENCE You’re cordially invited to the Legislative Kickoff Breakfast on February 22, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the McNamara Alumni Center. Get a briefing on the 2018 University of Minnesota legislative request and learn how you can help. Breakfast is on us, but registration is required. Go to UMNAlumni.org for more information.
Sandra Ulsaker Wiese (B.A. ’81) took office in July as the chair of the Alumni Association’s board of directors for 2017-18. She has served on the board for 11 years and is the 81st chair in the UMAA’s 113-year history. “I’m honored to serve as the chair,” says Wiese. “University of Minnesota alumni are a powerful ally for this great institution and I look forward to keeping the alumni message strong and clear.” Wiese is the senior vice president of government affairs and business development at Data Recognition Corporation, a Minnesota-based company that provides K-12 and adult education products and services nationwide. She has previously served in senior-level positions—in corporate law and government affairs—at two Fortune 500 companies and worked in state and federal government. In addition to her bachelor of arts in political science from the U, Wiese holds a juris doctor from William Mitchell College of Law. She is an avid Gopher sports fan. Also in July, a handful of new UMAA board members took office: Pat Duncanson (B.Ag. ’83), Minnesota Student Association President Trish Palermo, and Professional Student Government President Rachel Cardwell.
Winter 2018 MINNESOTA ALUMNI 47
AT YOUR SERVICE More than 500 Gopher alumni nationwide—including across Minnesota and as far away as Japan—volunteered 1,264 hours during the fourth annual UMAA-sponsored U of M Day of Service on October 14. Volunteers pitched in at food banks, picked up trash, planted trees, and removed invasive species, among other activities.
CHILLING IN ICELAND Last summer, a group of 16 alumni and friends joined the UMAA’s Travel Program trip to Iceland, a top destination for the past several years. Led by an expert local guide and chauffeured by an equally knowledgeable and entertaining coach driver, the group toured the country’s highlights over 11 days. They saw otherworldly landscapes, bubbling lava fields, and powerful waterfalls, all the while learning about the sagas of Iceland and local culture. The best moment for many, though, came during the closing event in Reykjavik, when 10 Icelandic U alumni joined travelers for a social hour and dinner, which turned into 48 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
an unforgettable evening of swapping University of Minnesota stories. “Meeting the Icelander alumni was one of the highlights of the trip,” says traveler Edna T. Pampy (B.A. ’70). “As individuals, we have much in common with people from other countries and are richer for sharing
our perspectives and experiences.” Traveler Rich Rosenberg (B.A. ’70) agrees. “We shared the same set of feelings toward each other, bounded by respect and a common bond—that we all attended the University of Minnesota,” he says. “It makes for a smaller world.”
COMING UP: Give your 2018 Gopher graduates a pat on the back and memories to last a lifetime. Through the UMAA tour Essential Europe, May 20–June 7, they’ll see the highlights of Europe with other graduates, furthering their education and bonding with the U. For more information on this incredible 19-day journey through eight countries, visit z.umn.edu/ gradtrip18
DRIVING PROOF Andrea Busch, a kindergarten teacher at Galtier Community School in St. Paul, purchased U of M license plates at her local Department of Motor Vehicle office in 2014. Busch (M.Ed. ’14) bought them not only to support U student learning through the Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship, but as an inspiration to her own young students. She tells them to keep an eye out for her Goldy plates. Busch, who calls herself a “lifelong learner,” says they are a reminder to her kindergartners that she expects them all to be ready for college someday. Over 2,000 alumni and others have purchased U of M license plates, available at DMV locations throughout Minnesota, for $25 annually. Learn more at UMNAlumni.org/plates
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MEMBER ADVANTAGES Thank you for being a member! Don’t forget to make the most of your member advantages. Here are just a few: PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT u Take part in a quarterly roster of noncredit courses (save 10% on continuing education). u Invest in yourself with a course in the Carlson Executive Education program (save 10%). EXPLORE CAMPUS u Visit the Weisman Art Museum and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (discounted membership rates). u See the finest Northrop Dance, U of M Theatre Arts, and School of Music performances (member ticket rates). u Dine with a view from the Campus Club (local and non-Twin Cities membership discounts). u Tour the Raptor Center for a beak-to-nose educational experience (weekend program discounts, save 20% on birthday parties). MEMBERS-ONLY ACCESS u NEW! Live web conversations, exclusively for members, with campus leaders and community influencers. u NEW! Minnesota Alumni Market, where all products are alumni made. If you are a graduate of the U of M, UMAA member, and owner of your business we would love to get you involved. MNAlumniMarket.com u Advance notice and special pricing of exclusive events. Keep an eye on your inbox! u Online access to U of M Libraries (subset of student access). u Continue reading this award-winning magazine! Membership includes a subscription. SPECIAL SAVINGS SECTION u NEW! Chocolat Celéste offers 20% off online purchases with your UMAA member code. u 20% savings on U of M Bookstores apparel and gifts in store and online. u Academic pricing on select Apple® products at the U of M Bookstores. u 10% discount at Goldy’s Locker Room locations in the Twin Cities. u Show your member card for alumni rates at Graduate Minneapolis, formerly The Commons Hotel, on campus. For details, visit UMNAlumni.org/member-rewards 50 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
A SPECIAL WELCOME
to our newest fully paid Life Members!* As a Life Member, you join more than 18,000 loyal and enthusiastic alumni supporting the U’s important work. Dues are invested in a fund that provides a stable support for key Alumni Association programs. Ijeoma Ajaelo Robert Anderson Sanford Anderson Sydney Anderson Dean Armstrong Howard Atkin Margaret Bakko Mark Bakko Bonnie Baumgartner Lowell Becker Claire Benway Micah Benway James Brandt Scott Brownlee Jon Butkovich Jacob Calhoun Klaudia Calhoun Nathaniel Cogswell Terence Coyne Jason Danford Karla Danford Lindsay Darrah Amanda Dickson Donald Ditter John Doubek Scott Dylla Audrey Eickhof Jack Eickhof John Eschenbaum Trevor Fedie Nicole Fillman Scott Fillman Lisa France James Frazee Mary Freppert Mary Glaeser Keith Graupmann Thomas Grover Jo Ann Gulstad Mary Hall Sangkyu Han Cameron Hedlund Jordan Hedlund Barbara Heinemann
David Higgins Michael Hodapp Ann Holdahl Scott Holdahl Stanley Hoooper Jane Hooper Jihee Jung Magdalena Kappelman Vicki Kleeberger Paul Kluge Barbara Kolb David Kolb Kellye Kosanda Matt Kramer Allen Kuperman Margaret Kurth Laurie Landeen Neal Landeen Gretchen Lang Jeffrey Lang Susan Lepppke Thomas Lindow David Lipp Curtis Marcott Michael McGrath Mary McNeil Brian Mundstock Donna Nelson Kyle Nelson MaryAnn Nelson Robert Nelson Mary Olberding Gregory Olson Jeff Olson Ann Ooms John Ostman Lloyd Otte Harsh Parikh Deborah Pembleton Michele Petherick Ned Polovina Roshan Rajkumar Roshini Rajkumar Hilary Reich
Jon Reich W. Virginia Reilly Denise Remus Sage Ro John Rogers Mary Rowles Aileen Runde Marilyn Rushenberg Jill Rusterholz Val Seaberg Mary Seidlitz Stephen Seidlitz Jordan Seitz Timothy Seline Jeffrey Shelstad Nicole Siddons Joshua Sidwell Steven Skorich Ashley Sogla Dana Solomon Bryan Stadick Jack Staloch Patricia Stark Elizabeth Swanson James Swanson Sarah Takenaka William Tanner Thomas Thorson Freddie Tshiaba Mbuyi Kawaya Caitlin Ulmen Nicholas Ulmen James Van Houten Jeffrey von Munkwitz-Smith Sara Wacek Joseph Walsh Chi Yeung June Young William Yu Lei Zhang Eric Zimmer *Reflects July 16-October 9, 2017
Join this list of Life Members by upgrading your membership today! UMNAlumni.org/join | 800-862-5867
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HEART OF THE MATTER
SATURDAY NIGHT at the Beau Rivage in
Biloxi is a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of neon color and carnival sound. A sevenhour drive from Gainesville, Florida, where I live with my wife and two boys under 3, the hotel casino offers up the perennial Wheel of Fortune along with TV-themed slots Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory. Everyone here came to play against the odds, their hopes as expansive as the American Dream. Many are older, seemingly searching for something. A cheap thrill? There is a fine line between fortune and bankruptcy. But hopefuls come in all stripes: smokers to nonsmokers, boozers to pop drinkers, singles to marrieds and married-agains. Upstairs, my wife’s aunt and her friend are watching our two boys in our hotel room. Down here in the casino with my wife, I’m remembering the fun we used to have before going from a couple to a family changed so much. My wife got pregnant a week before she was to have her first IFV treatment. It was a precious gift, which from the start seemed tenuous at best. Our son Sam had a single artery in his umbilical cord that had to somehow do the job of two. This high-risk pregnancy, with possible complications for our child, brought ultrasounds every two weeks, myriad tests, and sleepless nights.
52 MINNESOTA ALUMNI Winter 2018
Games of Chance By Ben Doty
We are architects of our own grand delusions. A list of things I didn’t foresee: As a new father I would be less of a husband; as a mother she would be less of a wife; our intimacies would diminish; I would lose time for everything except parenting; I would be physically present, but emotionally absent, when my wife needed the most from me. I was naïve. I was selfish. I was withdrawn. I had gone through life without having to care for anyone but myself, so Ben Doty (M.F.A. ’10) is a financial analyst and bad poker player. Illustration by Miguel Gallardo
when Sam came along, I was more than a novice. I was also a poor partner for the task of caring for another human being. We disappointed each other and argued. We slept in separate beds, one of us usually on the couch, just to get some shut-eye, all the while wondering if it was supposed to be like this. Tonight my wife and I are playing the roulette wheel. I bet the outside where the odds are clearer. My wife plays the inside numbers that make her lucky: 29, 22, and others. Bets become final, players put their chips in across the 36 numbers, as if there is some psychic method to the ways they skip and hop across the board, some vulnerability to the wheel, a calculated flick in the finger pinch that sent the white ball spinning, something whispered into their ear and no one else’s. We are hundreds of dollars ahead of the hundred we split between us when we started. Her arm rubs up against mine. “Isn’t this fun?” she says. “Yes,” I say. “I like playing this when I’m with you,” she continues. Our phones ring. The kids need us. Yet we are having a good time together. “We have to go,” I say. The timing, however, is good. We leave when we are still winning, when we are still ahead, when we are lucky.
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Published on Nov 29, 2017