Saint Benedict's Magazine Summer 2017

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On the right


First-gen students are finding their way

INSIDE • First Impressions p. 10 • Pulling Together p. 18 • Full Circle p. 22




10 First Impressions 18 Pulling Together 22 Full Circle


1 Message From the President 2 Worth 1,000 Words 4 News 26 I’m a Bennie 27 Class Notes 34 Bennie Connection 37 Generosity

The College of Saint Benedict Magazine is published three times a year by the office of Institutional Advancement. EDITOR Greg Skoog (SJU ’89) ASSISTANT EDITOR Courtney Sullivan CONTRIBUTORS Ellen Bartyzal ’17 Megan Flynn ’17 Jeff Johnson (SJU ’17) Kristin Sawyer Lyman ’00 Hope Mueller ’17 Bridget Sitzer Nordlund ’08 Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13) Leah Rado Kelly Smith ’08 COVER PHOTO Walkways of Saint Ben’s, photo by Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13) CONTACT College of Saint Benedict Magazine Institutional Advancement 37 South College Avenue St. Joseph, MN 56374-2099 For address changes, please call 1-800-648-3468, ext. 1 or email Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer The mission of the College of Saint Benedict is to provide for women the very best residential liberal arts education in the Catholic and Benedictine traditions. The college fosters integrated learning, exceptional leadership for change and wisdom for a lifetime.




The College of Saint Benedict was born of a desire to educate those for whom education seemed an unlikely goal. Many of those proud German farmers’ daughters who occupied our early classrooms were the first in their families to go to college. As such, first-generation students are nothing new at CSB. But today we are called to be more intentional as we welcome new generations of Bennies. Today we reach out to find and embrace outstanding students, wherever they are – and that often means first-generation students and low-income students from underrepresented backgrounds. At Saint Ben’s, our firstgeneration students are a wonderfully diverse group. Today, first-generation students at CSB make up approximately 27 percent of the student body. Most come from Minnesota (81 percent), with four percent from California, four percent from Texas, eight percent from other states, and three percent international. Of the 462 first-generation students from Minnesota, 51 percent are from the Twin Cities and immediate suburbs, 14 percent are from the Central Minnesota region within 20 miles of CSB, and 35 percent are from other areas of the state.

Our goal is to make a Saint Ben’s education accessible for all students.”

First-generation students at CSB also are diverse in ethnicity and race. The majority are white (60 percent), dispelling myths that first-generation student status is synonymous with students of color. Nearly 14 percent of first-generation students at CSB identify as Asian American, and 16 percent identify as Hispanic of any race. Nearly seven percent identify as black or African American, with the remaining identifying as international students, American Indian, Native Hawaiian or two or more races. As it was in our past, attending CSB represents great financial sacrifice for families. Among all CSB students, there is a $100,000 gap in the median family income between students whose parents both have a bachelor’s degree ($149,300) compared to first-generation students’ families ($49,950). Our goal is to make a Saint Ben’s education accessible for all students. Many first-generation students represent the hope and aspirations of their immediate family and, often, their entire community. Attaining a college education is not merely a rite of passage, but a tangible, high-stakes opportunity to change the

Corie Dumdie Barry ’97 joined President Hinton while speaking at this year’s commencement ceremony.

trajectory of their lives. Students of great talent and potential are all around us. Our evolving student body is reflective of our current and future world, and we will do our best to serve that world by producing women educated in the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts tradition. The impact of these students can transform not only CSB and our community, but the world. The understanding that we have the ability to provide educational opportunity to young women who desire it, and especially to those who may not know of it, should fuel each of us to make Saint Ben’s a viable opportunity for all students.

Mary Dana Hinton College of Saint Benedict President

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The first cohort for the new Center for Ethical Leadership in Action is in action right now. Padra Xiong ’18, Lucy Dornbach ’19, Lesly Gonzalez-Barragan ’20, Nomin Angarag ’18 and Theng Yeng Xiong ’18 took part in some training sessions and a mentorship program this summer before dispersing to begin their internships.

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Honor Societies Celebrate New Inductees

The 2017 induction class for the Theta of Minnesota chapter of Phi Beta Kappa

Forty students from CSB (along with 25 from SJU) were inducted into the Theta of Minnesota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at CSB/SJU on April 26. Kathryn Enke, chief of staff to CSB President Mary Dana Hinton, was also inducted into the chapter as a CSB alumna member. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society (founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Virginia). Students are chosen based on their grade-point average (3.85 for juniors, 3.65 for seniors) and must be a liberal arts and/or sciences major. The selection committee also looks at the breadth and depth of the student’s program and other achievements, such as a thesis or other research; interest in other cultures or languages; extracurricular activities; and academic performance.

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Ten students from CSB (and 11 from SJU) were inducted into Sigma Beta Delta on April 19. Membership in Sigma Beta Delta is the highest national recognition a business, management or administration student can receive at a college or university with a Sigma Beta Delta chapter. To be eligible for membership, a student must rank in the top 20 percent of the junior or senior class and be invited by the faculty officers. CSB and SJU wanted to make the society more elite and require inductees to have a minimum 3.75 GPA. This year, the local chapter started a new practice of honoring alumnae/i. CSB graduate Camille Meyer ’82, vice president of finance at Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, was named an honorary member.

Twenty-nine students from CSB were inducted into the Omega Chapter of Delta Epsilon Sigma (DES) on April 7. It was the highest number of students inducted in the 77-year history of DES at CSB. Select CSB juniors and seniors are inducted into DES each year based on a series of criteria. Students must maintain a 3.9 grade-point average or higher on a 4.0 scale, while also being involved in the community through volunteer and extracurricular activities. DES is a national Catholic Honor Society with the purpose of recognizing academic accomplishments, dedication to intellectual activity and service to others. CSB has been a member of DES since its beginning in 1940.


Congratulations to 475 New Alumnae

On Saturday, May 13, 475 women joined the ranks of alumnae of the College of Saint Benedict in the college’s 102nd annual commencement ceremony. Corie Dumdie Barry ’97, chief financial officer and an executive vice president at Best Buy, delivered the commencement address. CSB presented its President’s Medal posthumously to Patricia Jackson Larson ’62 and conferred the Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree to S. Michaela Hedican, OSB, the 16th prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Elizabeth Erickson, a senior accounting major from Oakdale, Minnesota, was selected by this year’s senior class to be the senior commencement speaker.

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Bolaños-Fabres Receives Prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award Patricia Bolaños-Fabres, associate professor of gender studies and Hispanic studies at CSB/SJU, recently received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which will allow her to travel to Ecuador and conduct research. While leading a three-week gender and culture course in Otavalo, Ecuador, several years ago, Bolaños-Fabres became aware of elements of Kichwa (an indigenous language native to Ecuador and other Andean countries including Bolivia, Peru and Chile) in the Spanish spoken by both the indigenous and Mestizo people of the region. Driven by curiosity, she began researching and conducting interviews, eventually publishing “Popular Expressions and Language Contact: Ecuador” (2015) in the Spanish phraseology journal Paremia. In fall 2015, Bolaños-Fabres applied for, and eventually received, an international

research grant in Ecuador. This grant will allow her to take recordings of samples of oral production across three regions of Ecuador (coastal lowlands, Andean highlands and the Amazon River) over four months, spread over the summers of 2017 and 2018. She also received an internal CSB/SJU Collaborative Faculty/Student Research grant that will allow Tucker Lorentzen, an SJU senior economics and Hispanic studies major from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, to accompany her. Lorentzen will be researching the prevalence of perceived discrimination among indigenous peoples and its effects on their employment.

2017 Renaissance Lecture Features Alumna Speaker Bernadette Martens Chapman ’99 and her husband Clayton Chapman presented this year’s Renaissance Lecture at CSB on April 6. The Chapmans are the owners (Clayton is also the chef) of The Grey Plume in Omaha, Nebraska – named America’s greenest restaurant in 2015. Their lecture was entitled “The Meals We Share: A Chef’s Journey Through Mindfulness, Meaning and Mania.” For Bernadette, that “mindfulness” and “meaning” began during her time at CSB. “Saint Ben’s taught me that the visions I had and the passions that drove my life must include a thick thread of purpose that must somehow, someway contribute to the greater good,” she said. To that end, the Chapmans continue to push their business to be as sustainable as possible. All of the food served at The Grey Plume is sourced from local farms, and their restaurant was the first in the world to meet the fourstar SustainaBuild™ Certified Green Restaurant standard.

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The Chapmans accomplished their current level of sustainability with a mixture of the old and the new. The floors and furniture of The Grey Plume are made from recycled barn wood, while the LED light fixtures and programmable thermostats provide an unprecedented level of energy efficiency. The Renaissance Lecture Series was established in 2006 to bring speakers to CSB who “demonstrate the diversity of opportunities available for women and men and to encourage them to broaden their horizons in every respect, particularly in areas that are less traditional for the respective genders.”


Construction Season

Work continues this summer on the “administrative cluster” of buildings – Caedmon, the Artisan Studio and St. Wendelin Hall. The buildings were sold by Saint Benedict’s Monastery to CSB in 2016. Demolition and the removal of hazardous materials was completed ahead of schedule in April. Construction and renovation are underway now. Caedmon will host offices of the Admission department. An atrium is being constructed, linking Caedmon and the Artisan Studio, which will be a welcome center for prospective students and their families visiting CSB. The renovated Artisan Studio building will house Human Resources, Institutional Advancement, Business Office and Marketing and Communications. St. Wendelin will house a photography studio and call centers for Admission and CSB Institutional Advancement. “This will be well underway in July, and will wrap up in mid-February 2018,” said Brad Sinn, executive director of facilities at CSB. Other projects underway: • Exterior work on the Benedicta Arts Center, including tuck pointing, brick work and replacing old stucco • A new campus boiler system and utilities upgrade (This will involve removing some of the older underground utilities including steam, hot water, condensate and electrical and replacing them with new piping.)

• New asphalt on the road from the North Entrance to the Gorecki Center • New carpeting, paint, furniture and energy-efficient lighting in Aurora, Corona and Regina residence halls Meanwhile, the most visible project on campus this summer is the construction of the College Avenue Athletic Fields. Both the competition soccer/lacrosse and softball fields should have their artificial turf installed by the end of July. The remaining fields will be seeded for grass. Phase one construction includes fences, sidewalks, a parking lot and walking trails. That work should also be completed in July. “That is well underway and a little bit ahead of schedule,” said Sinn. “By the time this magazine comes out, it will look done.” Construction of a softball stadium, a concession stand and a building that includes locker and training rooms are dependent on contractor bids, Sinn said. “If it comes in at the architect’s estimate, we’ll fly right into construction. If they come in a little bit higher, then we’ll have some value engineering to do.”

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Students Launch FiRED Up Friday Campaign to Promote Unity


Why Not Us? BY | LEAH RADO

The question had been running through Rachael Click’s head all offseason. After guiding the College of Saint Benedict softball team to 22 wins in 2016, she returned all but one senior heading into the 2017 season.

This spring, the CSB/SJU Advanced Media Writing class launched a student-led FiRED Up Friday campaign that aims to promote unity at CSB/SJU through a simple act – wearing red. FiRED Up Friday is CSB/SJU’s way of celebrating the generations that built this historic community. It is also about building unity among all Bennies and Johnnies, as well as faculty, staff and monastics. Even those outside of the CSB/SJU campuses – alums, prospective students, family members, friends and pets – are invited to dress up in CSB/SJU red on Fridays and participate. The campaign informally kicked off on Friday, March 31, in preparation for an official launch this fall. To that end, the class’s creative team spent the semester designing the campaign communications and promotional materials, including emails, posters, postcards, website and social media posts. CSB/SJU communication instructor Dana Drazenovich says FiRED Up Friday is an opportunity for students to put their professional skills in public relations, advertising and marketing to use while giving back to CSB/SJU.

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Rachael Click, Head Softball Coach

“I was awed by the students’ ability to come up with fun, creative ideas – and a lot of them – that also fit well with our goals for the campaign and CSB/SJU’s core values,” Drazenovich said. “It is so educational to take a course that allows the students to not only learn in an academic setting, but also practice starting and running a campaign in a real-world setting,” said Advanced Media Writing student and communication major Molly Cashman ’18.

With a solid group of returners – as well as nine talented first years – on the roster in 2017, Click believed her team had the potential to win close games and make the four-team MIAC Tournament field at the end of the season. She just needed them to believe it as well. “The challenge we needed to tackle this year was different than in the past,” Click said. “We now had depth with our pitchers and experienced players. This year, it would be about getting them to believe in their abilities and potential as a team. I knew their potential was something special, but I don’t think our team truly bought in to what they could accomplish.”


“Why not us?” she began to ask out loud. Soon, as well as echoing in Click’s head, the words also echoed across the field – home or away – before each game this season. In the pregame huddle, instead of a pep talk from coaches, Click or one of the athletes stood in the center of the group, shouting phrases that the entire team echoed, always ending with a resounding “Why not us?” “(At the beginning of the year), we were asking ‘Why can’t we be at the top of the MIAC this year?’ Nobody could come up with an answer, and so our theme emerged for the year,” CSB catcher Karlee Pfaff ’18 said. “Softball is such a big mental game, and having this theme and mantra allowed us to truly compete and believe that making the playoffs was up for grabs.” Click introduced the mantra on the team’s second day in Florida when, before an early morning game after a particularly late game the night before, she stepped into the middle of the huddle and told

her team to repeat after her. “I love cold weather. I love early mornings. I look good in my uniform. I am prepared. We attack first. Why not us?!” It caught on, and the positive thinking brought positive results. CSB won 10 of its 12 games in Florida, including a 4-3 win over No. 21 Manhattanville. The MIAC season started with 10 straight wins. And after that 10th win, punctuated with a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the eighth by Sara Wennerstrand ’18, CSB made its way into the NFCA Division III Coaches Poll for the first time in anyone’s memory. CSB, which was 21-5 at that point, made its debut at No. 24 in the country. CSB ended the year 16-6 and tied for third in the MIAC, earning the No. 4 seed in the MIAC Tournament – its first conference tournament berth since 2014. The team ended the season 27-13 overall. Wennerstrand, Megan Toninato ’18, Kate Deming ’19 and Emilie Antony ’19

earned All-MIAC First Team honors – the most first-team honorees for the program since 1994. A week later, Wennerstrand earned NFCA All-Midwest Region First Team honors, the first for CSB since 2014, and Deming, Antony and Pfaff all earned second-team accolades. CSB didn’t graduate anyone from its 2017 roster, and the future looks bright for Click and her program. “Our goal for 2018 will be to make it farther than we did this season, and that means regionals,” said Click, who will enter her sixth year with the program in the 2017-18 season. “Championship teams need to have traditions and routines, and (“Why not us?”) was one that helped the team prepare for the first pitch or their first at-bat. I believe the repeat-after-me tradition will be something that carries over into next season.”

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A FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENT IS DEFINED AS ONE FOR WHOM NEITHER PARENT HAS A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE. THAT’S A BROAD AND GROWING GROUP – BOTH NATIONALLY AND AT THE COLLEGE OF SAINT BENEDICT. For first-gens, getting to college is a milestone, since they haven’t had a family roadmap to follow. And staying in college is a challenge, since the current average household income of a CSB first-generation student is less than $50,000. They are considered at-risk students. But they bring to campus talents and perspectives that add to the community. “There’s a whole skill set that first-generation students present to us. And, when they get into leadership positions on campus, they have different ways of thinking that perhaps some of their peers may not have even thought about,” explains Brandyn Woodard, director of Intercultural & International Student Services. “They have different experiences that lend themselves to resiliency and pushing forward and dealing with conflict.” Still, while many first-generation students have tenacity and ingenuity and a different type of work ethic, there are other things that they don’t have: experience and information. In her 2013 book Mentoring At-Risk Students Through the Hidden Curriculum of Higher Education, Buffy Smith, an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of St. Thomas, points out one of the biggest problems facing firstgeneration college students. Briefly, they “do not know what they do not know.”

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Smith explains the “hidden curriculum” that exists at every college and university. “The hidden curriculum represents the unwritten norms, values and expectations that unofficially govern the interactions among students, faculty, professional staff and administrators.” To excel in college, she argues, students of all academic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds must navigate a world of new social norms – typically those of the white middle class. Last fall, President Mary Hinton outlined the College of Saint Benedict’s commitment to creating an inclusion ecosystem. Built on our history and mission of dwelling in community, the goal is to continue to build an environment that encourages, supports and builds inclusion along multiple dimensions: economic, racial and ethnic, geographic, religious, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity, perspective and thought. A key initial step in that process is making sure that when we welcome first-generation college students like the ones on the following pages, we’re giving them the tools and the insights to succeed.

FIRST-GENS AT SAINT BEN’S During the 2016-17 academic year, 569 College of Saint Benedict students – about 27 percent of the student body – were first-generation college students. It’s a group that, while largely white (60 percent), is also made up of nearly 40 percent American students of color. So it’s a more culturally diverse subset of the student population (which currently includes roughly 17 percent American students of color). And while some of our first-generation students come from high- and middleincome households, on average, most are from low-income families.


MALY LOR “My parents work assembly jobs,” says Maly Lor ’20, from St. Francis, Minnesota. “They don’t want me doing that for the rest of my life.” Ever since her first year in high school, Maly knew higher education would play a role in her life. That’s why she joined Upward Bound, a program designed to help students tour, apply and prepare for college. When she discovered that both her Upward Bound adviser and her high school adviser were Bennie alumnae, that opened the door and made her think. She toured the campus, but it wasn’t until she was offered an Intercultural LEAD scholarship that she locked in on Saint Ben’s. (Learn more about Intercultural LEAD on page 21.) The financial support and the proximity to home made it feel possible. “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be here today,” she says. As a part of the Intercultural LEAD program for first-generation students,

she receives an annual $10,000 scholarship along with social and emotional support from her fellow Intercultural LEAD scholars. “I look to everything in I-LEAD,” she says, “These people have become family to me.” In her first year, Maly has come to love CSB/SJU and the community. “I love the support system we have,” she explains. And, while she looks forward to continuing her next three years as a Bennie, she believes the CSB/SJU community has room to grow. Her vision includes: • More white students attending multicultural events; • More faculty of color and more engagement from professors on issues of diversity; • More inclusion, acceptance and open-mindedness in general. Maly has three years to help shape the CSB/SJU community, just as it continues to shape her.

$49,950 First-gen students $149,300 Both parents with degrees

Two things jump out from this graph. 1 There is roughly a $100,000 gap in family income between students whose parents both have bachelor’s degrees and first-generation students. This isn’t just a Saint Ben’s phenomenon or even a higher-education phenomenon – this is indicative of a growing income gap nationwide. 2 The median income of our firstgeneration students is less than the annual cost at CSB. There is significant financial pressure on these families and students. And while scholarship support is invaluable, these students and their families definitely stretch. Between family resources, student loans and student-employment income, the average CSB first-gen student is responsible for around $15,500 per year. Summer Summer 2017 2017| 1313 | 13


Lesly Gonzalez-Barragan ’20 learned about Saint Ben’s through her time spent at Saint John’s for YTM (Youth in Theology & Ministry) Summer Camps. “When I learned that Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s were connected I was really excited, because my dream school was a private, Catholic, women’s college,” she says. Her college journey actually began in sixth grade when she applied to Breakthrough – a six-year college prep program that eventually helped her with things like ACT prep and college essays as well as FAFSA completion and scholarship applications. Breakthrough helped prepare Lesly for college but, surprisingly, so did being a first-gen student. “I didn’t know that having to be so independent in the past due to my family’s busy circumstances would prepare me this much,” says Lesly. “What I mean is that being a first-generation student and being involved in college prep programs, I was taught to self-advocate and be independent. I didn’t know how much I would need those skills here.” Lesly’s Breakthrough experience has given her a leg up and the willingness to self-advocate and seek out the resources that are available. “The clubs and offices here, like Benedictine Friends, RAs in the residence halls, the Experiential Learning Office (where Lesly works), Student Accessibility Services…. They’re all here to help,” she says. “The hardest thing to do is ask.” Her first year of college has been an experience. “It is empowering enough for me to know that I can call myself a college student,” she smiles. “But the connections we have as Bennies around the world make me feel even more powerful.”

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SOPHIA THAO “My decision to go to college means the world to my family and me,” says Sophia Thao ’20, of St. Paul, Minnesota. Sophia is the oldest of five children, so the first in her family to attend college. “College life suits me well. I love being independent and learning more to support my family and show them that they can do it as well.” For Sophia, that family support is a family tradition. “I’m always home and I have many responsibilities at home,” she says, “But to break away from the high expectations of me as the oldest Hmong daughter … it has been a life-changing

moment. I love the feeling of being independent and doing things for myself and growing and adapting to a different environment. Overall, I feel like this is a great change.” She’s making the most of that change. She’s found activities and joined clubs. In the fall, she will serve on the board of the Hmong American Involving Students club. And she’s definitely embraced CSB/SJU’s fine arts events. “I’m almost done with my FAE (Fine Arts Experience) requirements,” she says, “But I know I will still continue to go throughout my four years here.”

Her first year hasn’t been all smooth sailing. As the only person of color in her first-year orientation group, she felt shut out and shut down by the group. It’s difficult for her to define, but it certainly made an impression. “I would like our community connections to grow stronger between all cultures,” says Sophia. “I feel like that’s the only thing that I would strongly like changed.”

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SOMETHING WORTH CELEBRATING At Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s, we’re very proud of our legacy traditions – families where generation after generation returns, and the Bennie/Johnnie connections run deep. For first-generation students, however, it can be a little daunting. “The legacy tradition at this school is a big component and they say that can be intimidating,” says College Navigator Hannah Salto ’16, based on her survey and focus-group research with current first-generation students. First-generation students may already feel unsure about whether they belong because of their families’ education history. So seeing large groups of students being celebrated for just the opposite can be frustrating. “First-gens are really proud of what they’re doing, because that’s a big step in their family,” says Salto. “I would say – whether or not they like the label – the reality is that these students are trailblazers and pioneers,” agrees Brandyn Woodard, director of Intercultural & International Student Services. “But then legacy students are rightly proud, too,” continues Salto. Since both groups represent a large part of our campus community, she hopes to see a shift to where they’re celebrated and respected equally.

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XIA VANG Xia Vang ’20 has always felt welcomed and included at CSB/SJU as a student of color. But, she cautions, “I know some people do not feel the same way.” Xia specifically cites an incident in February when a group of students chanted “Build that wall” on a Link bus between campuses. The incident sparked protests, discussions and, Xia hopes, change. She hopes the result will be a more inclusive community. For Xia, the transition to college life has been as much environmental as it has cultural. “It’s so much quieter than the cities,” says the Maplewood, Minnesota native.

“I’ve been able to explore nature at Saint John’s,” she continues. “My friends and I biked down the Wobegon Trail from Saint Ben’s to Saint John’s – it was beautiful. If I were to go to a college back in the cities, I would never get that experience.” Xia’s also finding ways to keep in touch with her heritage while she embraces her new experiences. “I was involved in the Hmong American Involving Students club this year. In the fall, I’ll be taking on the treasurer role for the club.” She’s excited about that kind of leadership opportunity. “I feel empowered at Saint Ben’s,” she explains. “Saint Ben’s has given me opportunities to become a woman in power.”


FAITH VANG For Faith Vang ’20, thanks to programs and opportunities in place at Saint Ben’s, her first-generation status has had a positive impact on her college experience. Faith is an Intercultural LEAD scholar and, as such, she is matched with a closeknit cohort of 23 first-generation college students. (Learn more about Intercultural LEAD on page 21.) “Having that cohort has helped me find friends and a support group,” Faith says. “I know I’ve had a much different experience than my friends who are first-generation students who are not a part of I-LEAD.” Although Faith receives a scholarship of $10,000 annually through Intercultural LEAD, her mother was still leery about sending her to a private school where she would accumulate debt. Those concerns motivated Faith to work harder and apply for further scholarships and work a full work-study job on top of being a full-time student, because Saint Ben’s is where she wants to be. “I love how this campus gives people like me opportunities,” says Faith, referring to programs like Intercultural LEAD and the Intercultural & International Student Services Office. “They want to bring in more diversity to the school.” Faith has been accepted into the nursing program – which was a big relief. “My mom was telling me, ‘If you don’t get into the program, you should transfer.’ And I thought: This school is really important to me. And, although I do want to be a nurse, I would love to stay here for four years of college. I’ve had a really great experience, and I wouldn’t want to change it or transfer.”

SABRINA URICK Sabrina Urick ’20 learned about CSB at a college fair near her Southern California home. Her admission representative suggested a fly-in weekend to visit the campus and followed up diligently until Sabrina agreed. “That persistence in getting me more interested in the school is how I found out that this was the place for me,” she says. As a first-generation student, Sabrina is eager to embrace her opportunities and make the most of this experience. She works in the Experiential Learning and Community Engagement Office. She’s been accepted into the Bonner Leader program. She volunteers with Community Kitchen (a group that seeks to increase access to high-quality and nutritious food in the Stearns County area). In the fall, she will serve on the Residence Hall Association.

“I do feel more empowered being a student on this campus,” Sabrina says. “I feel like being a student on a different campus wouldn’t give me the same opportunities that I have [at CSB].” On balance, Sabrina is happy with her first-generation student experience. “I like how inclusive this campus is with all of the different ethnicities, all of the different places that people are from, there’s always something to do, people to talk to or someone to relate to here,” she says. But she still sees room for improvement. “I wish there was a life class that taught you all the essentials like good study tips. Because in high school, they just said, ‘Read over your notes, that’s how you pass the test.’ But here you have to apply everything. And, while they tell you you have to apply things in college, they don’t tell you how to do that.”

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It’s kind of our thing.

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randyn Woodard gets that. As director of Intercultural & International Student Services (IISS), he sees it fairly frequently in regard to first-generation students. “So, for example, Annette Raigoza (faculty) in chemistry works with first-gen students,” he begins. “Obviously, my colleagues in Academic Advising. And faculty members in econ and comm and psych…” As his voice trails off, it’s clear: one of the major challenges in serving our first-gen students is coordination. “There’s a lot going on. We have individuals who are outstanding in serving our first-gen students. We’re just not aware of who they are all the time.” Woodard is working to change that. And he’s not alone. First-generation college students make up over a quarter of the CSB population. It’s going to take a campus-wide commitment to help make sure they succeed. These are some (but not nearly all) of the key ways that commitment is taking shape today.


In January, Hannah Salto ’16 became Saint Ben’s first “college navigator.” The position is a fellowship through the CSB President’s Office, funded through a grant from the Medtronic Foundation. It’s currently scheduled to run through July 31, 2017, but could be extended. The primary role of the position is to support students through the transition to college, with a focus on the most vulnerable members of an entering class. As such, the position reports to both the Admission office and to CSB Student Development. Working specifically with firstgeneration students, Salto connects different departments, services and people on campus to create a net of support so that students don’t fall through the cracks. Additionally, on a smaller scale, she works with the individual students who will be coming

this fall. She’s connecting with first-gen students from application, through admission, to enrollment – and potentially throughout their first academic year. “In the first four months, I did a lot of data and information collecting,” Salto says. “We count our first-gen students – they mark it on their applications – but that’s basically all we’ve been doing.” That means collecting raw data from the registrar and conducting demographic research, focus groups and surveys of current first-gen students to see what their experiences here have been. “There’s a different level of maturity and understanding for a first-generation student,” she’s learned. “Sometimes it goes along with low income. Sometimes it goes along with being a student of color. But there’s this passion that’s driving them to go to college. An appreciation for college, because their parents didn’t get to go.”

Hannah Salto ’16

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TOGETHER COLLEGE POSSIBLE College Possible has big goals and CSB/SJU is a pilot partner in learning how to reach them. The nationwide program is noted for its efforts to make college admission possible for low-income students through coaching and support. Today they’re joining forces with colleges – CSB/SJU among the first – to close the degree divide for low-income students. “Today only about nine percent of lowincome students graduate from college nationwide, compared to 77 percent of upper-income students,” says CSB/SJU College Possible Coach Cassandra Rolin. “College Possible wants to help colleges and universities to use the CP model to engage and support students and increase graduation rates.”

College Possible coaching is powered by Americorps fellows like Rolin, who tend to be recent college graduates themselves. “I focus my coaching sessions around renewing financial aid (FAFSA and MN Dream Act applications) and getting ready for fall and spring registration. I’ll talk students through financial holds, making sure they are communicating with Student Accounts and Financial Aid, meeting with their advisers, and just making sure students are using and taking advantage of the resources available to them.” College Possible at CSB/SJU serves roughly 200 low-income students from an office suite in the Henrita Academic Building.


engage and support



20 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

As Rolin explains, being on campus and in this space has some key advantages. “It’s near the Experiential Learning & Community Engagement office and the Writing Lab. Plus, the space is fairly private, to fully support students working through financial holds, applying for scholarships or renewing FAFSA. It also gives our students a space of their own to study quietly or chat with other College Possible students who may share a similar background story.”

ADVOCATES FOR INCLUSIVE MENTORING (AIM) “We chose to create AIM because we wanted to give other young women the motivation and the platform that we lacked as underrepresented women at CSB,” says Frida Alvarez ’17 of the program that she and fellow senior Bryanna Williamson concepted and piloted during the 2016-17 academic year. By pairing first-year, sophomore and junior mentees with senior mentors, the program strengthens historically underrepresented students’ personal development and leadership. “AIM mentors are Bennies that come from historically underrepresented backgrounds,” says Alvarez. “They have demonstrated leadership around campus, shown a will to work with people and are motivated Bennies. They are successful women that any younger Bennie would benefit from forming a relationship with.” AIM was launched in January as a pilot program. In addition to establishing mentor/ mentee pairs, the program also hosted monthly seminars on campus to continue developing identity, leadership and selfawareness. The results were encouraging enough that AIM is being brought back for the 2017-18 academic year. “We hoped to create AIM as a pathway for our Bennies to be rooted in their identity and thus more confident in their skills to organize and create the change they deem necessary for their success at CSB/SJU,” says Alvarez. For Alvarez and Williamson, the hope is that AIM will be a place for first-generation students to be themselves and ask the questions they feel afraid to ask. “We’ve

really tried to create a space where students feel comfortable to be themselves, but still a little uncomfortable to challenge them to grow into better human beings,” Alvarez reflects. “I believe this space will empower students to take charge of their education and be rooted in their identity to succeed at an institution like this.”

INTERCULTURAL LEADERSHIP, EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT (INTERCULTURAL LEAD) Since 2005, Intercultural LEAD has been CSB/SJU’s flagship program relating to first-generation college students. Unique to CSB/SJU, the fellowship program provides support for talented students to build on the leadership skills they’ve already demonstrated in their high schools and home towns. The program annually admits a small cohort of roughly 25 students and provides them with a $10,000/year scholarship, personal mentoring, student workshops and enhanced campus experiences that support emerging leaders. From the beginning, one of the program’s signature aspects has been the cohort format – forming tight connections with other students who have different cultural backgrounds but similar firstgeneration circumstances. The Intercultural LEAD program has been undeniably successful and produced some highachieving students. But as the campus population evolves, perhaps Intercultural LEAD will as well.

Bryanna Williamson ’17 & Frida Alvarez ’17 ADVOCATES FOR INCLUSIVE MENTORING

“Back in 2005, this was a way for us to recruit students of underrepresented racial backgrounds and also retain them,” says Woodard, the director of IISS. “But as our demographics have begun to shift, we’re at the point now where we have students who are part of Intercultural LEAD who have close friends and connections outside of the program in ways that help them transition and thrive in addition to the support they receive in the program.” Recognizing that shift as well as the fact that “Intercultural LEAD, in general, serves approximately 100 students a year, but there’s a need for serving 700 students on campus at any given time,” makes this a time of transition according to Woodard. “We know that we want our Intercultural LEAD scholars to have a larger role in helping fellow Bennies and Johnnies along this path of the firstgeneration student.” To that end, Woodard concludes, “We’re thinking about ways that we can maintain some connection to the heart and the essence of Intercultural LEAD, but also be forward thinking.”


22 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Thelma Gonzalez knew she would attend college. She just didn’t know how she would get there. It wasn’t just the 1,000-mile gap between her hometown of Dallas, Texas, and St. Joseph, Minnesota. As part of a growing number of first-generation college students from outside Minnesota at the College of Saint Benedict, Gonzalez ’13 had to navigate everything from applying for financial aid to deciding what to pack mostly on her own.

“Anybody can go to college and be successful,” says Gonzalez, now 26. “The students just need that drive that will get them somewhere.”

“I just didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “Nobody [in my family] had gone to college. I just didn’t know what I was doing.”

Long before she landed her current role advising high school students on college, she had that drive herself. During high school, she was encouraged to apply to CSB. After visiting campus, she says she fell in love with the strong community feel and was emboldened to move across the country by a CSB host student from California who proved it was possible.

That’s why Gonzalez is now giving back in a big way, using her success story at CSB to lend a hand to aspiring first-generation students at high schools in Texas, helping ease their path to a four-year college.

“It was a big leap for her,” says Laura Stork Beirne ’02, who met Gonzalez while recruiting students in Dallas and is now assistant director of admission. “She didn’t know anyone here.” That made it a tough transition. Gonzalez says there was an immediate culture shock coming from a low-income, Latino family in big-city Dallas to the largely middle-income, white population of rural Minnesota. Seemingly little things like getting sick were all the more challenging without family nearby to help her.

The distance between Dallas, Texas and St. Joseph, Minnesota is 1,000 miles.

“I was willing to take that chance,” Gonzalez recalls. “Being away from home, I grew up and grew up quickly. I had to do everything for myself.”

Summer 2017 | 23

“At the end of the day, EXTRA SUPPORTS she knew me going to Saint Ben’s would help me pursue my dreams.”

“Once students are here, we have to continue to provide programs,” Beirne agrees. “Things they need inside or outside the classroom are different.”

- Thelma Gonzalez on her mother’s thoughts


The competitive Intercultural LEAD program has 20 to 25 students in a cohort. She quickly found a bright spot and extra support when she was accepted into Intercultural LEAD, a fellowship program at CSB/SJU that started in 2005 to connect high-achieving first-generation students with leadership opportunities and extra financial aid. (Learn more about Intercultural LEAD on page 21.) The competitive program aims to engage historically underrepresented students, with about 20 to 25 students in a cohort. Originally, it was conceived as part of a broader strategy at CSB/SJU to increase enrollment and the ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity of the student population. But for Gonzalez, it provided muchneeded social support among her peers who were facing the same hurdles as first-generation college students, many of whom were also living far from home. Together, they helped troubleshoot problems big and small, from homesickness to finding academic help ... or where to get Mexican food in central Minnesota. That kind of extra support, along with strong mentorship programs, she says, is critical for all colleges if they want to retain firstgeneration students long-term. 24 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Nationally, first-generation students have lower graduation rates than their peers. And Gonzalez could have added to that statistic.

The summer after her first year, Gonzalez’s sister was diagnosed with cancer. That fall, she strongly considered leaving CSB to return to Texas and help her family. She had already seen several other students who didn’t have the support of Intercultural LEAD or had family issues of their own quit after their first year. But instead, Gonzalez’s older brother and sister encouraged her to stay in Minnesota, giving her an ultimatum: don’t come home until there’s a college degree in your hand. It was the first time she realized that an accomplishment she thought was a given – graduating from college – was such a huge deal for her entire extended family. “I was paving the way for them,” she says of her nephews. Even her mother, who had been apprehensive about her daughter living across the country, was convinced she had to be at CSB. “At the end of the day, she knew me going to Saint Ben’s would help me pursue my dreams,” Gonzalez adds. At the time, Beirne and academic adviser Theresa Anderson also pressed Gonzalez to consider staying at CSB and keeping on track to graduate in four years. “We were fortunate that returning to Saint Ben’s turned out to be the right decision for her,” says Anderson, who was also on the steering committee of Intercultural LEAD. “I think completion of college is a lifechanging experience. This has given her access to things she might not have had.”


“Being able to return to her community and return some of that gift ... now it gets to benefit a whole group of students.”

Today, Gonzalez says she’s grateful she took the advice of her family and CSB mentors – and not just because she gained a college degree. Like other first-generation students so many miles away from family, Gonzalez says staying in college pushed her to become more independent and confident in herself and her skills, quickly blossoming into a self-assured leader on campus. That trait is common in first-generation students, according to Anderson, translating into a lifelong habit of boldly taking initiative and risks. Gonzalez founded the first Latino organization on campus with friends during her first year after seeing a void in Hispanic clubs on campus. She served as a peer facilitator to help new Intercultural LEAD scholars. And she interned at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, counseling students on college while also hosting prospective students at CSB. “She was so proud and connected to the place – that was a hard-won achievement,” remembers Kelly Kraemer, a peace studies professor who was Gonzalez’s advisor. As Gonzalez neared graduation, Kraemer encouraged her to search for a career that would follow her passions. It was during her work helping fellow students that Gonzalez suddenly realized what that calling would be: assisting other first-generation students just like her. “This is the type of community I want to help,” she says. “They don’t have people they can look up to.”

- Theresa Anderson, Thelma’s Academic Advisor


Gonzalez councils 100 students per year. After graduating from CSB in 2013, Gonzalez followed through with her aspirations and set about paying her good fortune forward. She’s become a faithful donor to CSB in support of scholarships. And she’s gone back to Dallas to work as a college counselor with high school students just like herself. She’s helping them navigate financial aid and college applications, and inspiring many to pursue college even when they doubt it is possible. “Thelma is such a genuine person. She has grown as a professional,” Anderson says, “using her courage and persistence in college to benefit a new group of students in her home community.”

has come full circle, returning to her former high school to help counsel 100 students a year on college admissions. She’s already recruited seven students to attend CSB/SJU and helped many others find the right fit in a four-year college – no matter how close or far away it is from their home. “I can see they love it because they aren’t coming back,” she smiles, adding that she tells them about college: “These are going to be the best years of your life. It’s something you will always look back on.” Many students she works with are low-income and first-generation college students, wide-eyed about the possibility of moving away from family. She says she often has to reassure not just students – but also their parents – that attending college is worth the challenges and can provide opportunities for a lifetime. “It’s something they never thought possible,” she says. Her story is proof it is possible. And one by one, she’s helping other first-generation students achieve their own success stories at CSB – and beyond.

At the Dallas-based college planning program, Education Is Freedom, Gonzalez

Summer 2017 | 25


MARGRETTE NEMANICH NEWHOUSE ’88 Figure it out In January 2017, Margrette Nemanich Newhouse was appointed the third director of the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at CSB/SJU. After a 17-year career in commercial banking that began after graduation, Margrette returned to CSB/SJU with a wealth of experience in innovation and leadership, and a mantra that also serves as a great piece of advice for all emerging entrepreneurs – “Figure it out.” “Entrepreneurs and innovators are paving new pathways where others haven’t ventured before,” says Margrette. Finding the curiosity to identify a problem/opportunity, assess the possibilities, identify when an initial pathway needs to be replotted, determine the resources required, and be resilient (even though you are now designing Plan H as the previous plans haven’t worked) – these are all variations of “figuring it out.” When students have experience in figuring it out – whether the venture was a “success” or not – they have confidence in their problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, team work and communication skills that are much sought after in the world today. Margrette also teaches in the Global Business Leadership capstone course, Advanced Global Strategy. In the class, students engage in a very applied approach to understand the complexity of organizations. They explore the curiosity, creativity, resilience and leadership required to design and implement strategy.

Major at CSB Organizational leadership (concentration in finance), accounting minor

First-year residence hall Aurora

Favorite course/professor Organizational Leadership Program (OLP) – Jack Farley and Wendy Klepetar

Favorite Bennie memory Inside the classroom: When the OLP professors called a strike when we could not come to terms on our company’s new labor contract. (John, my negotiating partner at the time, is now my husband.) The next morning, they had junior management students picketing outside our OLP offices and called The Record and The Cable to cover the event.

26 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Outside the classroom: Otis Day & the Knights coming to play at Pinestock.

What are the greatest challenges in your career? Developing and then prioritizing the many, many possibilities and partnerships for continuing our work to Inspire the Entrepreneurial Spirit. In a recent survey by David and Jonah Stillman in their book Gen Z @ Work, 64 percent of Gen Z report they plan to have their own business someday – either full time or as a side business.

How has your Saint Ben’s education influenced your career? One way was the impact of having an undergraduate residential liberal arts college experience within the context of the Benedictine community. Engaging and observing the Benedictine values in action throughout the college community by the sisters, monks, faculty and staff has forever impacted how I bring myself to my work, my community and my family. Another fundamental impact on my career and life was engaging in the liberal arts experience. I was able to complement my interest in business with coursework in music, history, theology, communication, human development, etc. The liberal arts have helped me tremendously when taking on new leadership responsibilities or projects. Because of them, I appreciate the elements within the diverse context of people, resources and trends that are involved in moving an initiative forward.

What advice would you give to emerging women leaders? Whether you are a current student or a young alumna engaging in the world, remember you are always a Bennie. Go into the world and be curious and confident. You are not alone on your journey. In addition to family and friends, you have an amazing Bennie (and Johnnie) network ready to support you. And you are always, always welcomed back home at the College of Saint Benedict. To learn more about the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship and the programs mentioned in this article, please visit center-for-entrepreneurship.


Margrette and Sam the Shark were ready to pick the best pitches at this year’s Eric Rego Big Idea Competition in February.



S. Mara Faulkner’s opinion piece about inclusivity and loving your neighbor was published in the St. Cloud Times, Dec. ’16.

Linda Hutchinson, owner of Hutchinson 1970

Associates, was announced as a speaker for TEDxEdina in Jan. ’17.

Theresa Keaveny is executive director 1978 at Sustainable Farming Association in Minneapolis.

Dr. Mary Zitur Miley was presented with 1979

the 2016 Laureate award by the American College of Physicians-Minnesota (ACPM) chapter in Oct. ’16. This award honors members of ACPM who have demonstrated an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education or research, and in service to their community and the ACPM.


Jeanne LeMieur was honored by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls at their annual employee-appreciation event. She was recognized for 15 years of service in their finance department, Feb. ’17.


Deirdre McCarrell Otis

and her husband were honored at the Minnesota State Capitol for child advocacy and given the Unspoken Hero Award. This award was presented by Governor Dayton and local state representatives for their work as current foster care providers and for helping countless couples understand and complete adoptions locally and globally in the last decade.


2001 Kristi Kubista-Hovis is the director of

specialty programs at the Rural Business

Service in Rural Development/USDA in



was named the 2017 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. Julie practices at Lakewood Health Systems in Staples and is also the president of the Minnesota Network of Hospice & Palliative Care. Laurie Westman Huotari was named 1993

partner at Stoel Rives, LLP, an Am Law 200 law firm, Jan. ’17.

Washington, D.C.


Anne Walters is chief development officer at Girl Scouts River Valleys. Sara Palmitessa is a digital sales & 2005

marketing coordinator at KMSB-TV in Tuscon, Ariz.

2009 Ashley Hendricks Kaplan is an

instructional coach at Fairmont Area Schools in Fairmont, Minn.

2010 Katie Tri Benson is a quality operations specialist at American Beverage Corporation in Elk River, Minn.

Dr. Brooke Kreitinger, visiting assistant 2001

professor and director of undergraduate studies in German at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was awarded the 2016 German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award by the American Association of Teachers of German.


Kathryn Isham, PsyD, LP, graduated summa cum laude from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology with her doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed psychologist in the state of Minnesota.


Kelly Giebel is a product consultant at UnitedHealth Group in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Katherine Hansen is a student pastor at Central Christian Church in Gilbert, Ariz.


(pictured 2nd from left) and her allfemale team from the Eugene Dupuch Law School of the Bahamas won the 9th Annual Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) International Law Moot Competition in March ’17. The annual competition encourages budding attorneys to become familiar with areas of community and international law and to provide law students with the opportunity to appear and present before the region’s highest court on original jurisdiction matters.

health veterinarian at USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.

Shannon Slaikeu Horstman is a 1999

human resources partner (training and development) at Guild Incorporated in St. Paul, Minn.


2006 Laura Wilant Willenbring is a public

Lara Grove Zuleger is a senior data 1995

platform engineer at Bremer Bank in Lake Elmo, Minn.

ichelle Schirmers Raml is an assistant M principal at Sartell Middle School in Sartell, Minn.


Sara Kokkila Schumacher recently finished her Ph.D. work at Stanford and is a postdoctoral researcher in highperformance computing at IBM in San Francisco, Calif.

For complete news and notes from classmates and to post your notes, go to BenniesConnect: or email us at Summer 2017 | 27



Rita Allen is an asset servicing associate at ITM Twenty First in Minneapolis.

2014 Lauren Thoma is an ESL teacher at Apollo

Mary Baumgard is a senior digital strategist at New Blue Interactive in Washington, D.C.

Erin Wissler is in the master of public service administration program at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

irsten Peterson de St. Aubin is a senior K media relations specialist at Carmichael Lynch Relate in Minn.

Carol Giron received a master of arts in forensic psychology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

ate Johnson is a judicial law clerk at the K Minnesota Court of Appeals.

ia Lor received her master’s in K intercultural communication and linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.

Marissa Oram is a doctoral student in the Molecular Biosciences Program at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center in Minneapolis. Tara Maas is a leadership annual giving 2014 officer at the College of Saint Benedict.

Stephanie Pinkalla is a government relations associate at The Nature Conservancy in Minneapolis.

High School in St. Cloud, Minn.

2015 Clare Johnston earned a master’s

degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in Feb. ’17 and is currently working on her doctorate in chemistry at the same institution.

Katherine Maguire is working with AVID, a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap in schools. She is also an assistant coach for the Metro Marlins club swim team in Orono, Minn. Ali Mick is an associate project manager at Periscope in Minneapolis.



won the women’s race at the 2017 Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in Phoenix, Ariz., with a time of 2:42:50 (a full eight minutes ahead of the second-place runner).

2016 Megan Posusta is a senior business

analyst at UnitedHealth Group/Optum in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Afton Windsperger is a digital project manager at DAYTA Marketing in Saint Cloud, Minn.

2017 Kelly Thoreson is an enrollment

coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities.

Maren Iverson completed her one-year 2015 commitment to Americorps and is now attending the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.

ALUM Campus Visit DAY

FRIDAY, AUGUST 4 Introduce us to the next generation of Bennies and Johnnies! Our annual Alum Campus Visit Day is a perfect opportunity for CSB/SJU alums to introduce relatives, friends and neighbors to our community. Mark your calendar and make plans now to take a tour with the teens in your life. The day will include tours of both campuses, a student panel, lunch and (of course) some fantastic reminiscing for you.

Register at Can’t join us on Aug. 4? Introduce us at or attend one of our other campus visit days!

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MARRIAGES 2004 Liz Johnson to Evan Nash, March ’16






2009 Allyson Draxler to Darrell Cameron, Dec. ’16

Lori Heinz to Jacob Welch, April ’17

Megan Norton to Sam Wigersma, Sept. ’16 Lindsay Baun to Anthony Schulte ’09, 2010 Nov. ’16

Ashley Budde to John Stoltman, Nov. ’16

2011 Nadia Christensen to David Franta ’09, July ’15

Erin Connelly to Christopher Wagner, Sept. ’16 Katara Dockendorf to Tom Henderson, Oct. ’16

Kaia Lundin to David Scales, July ’16

Christine Lucachick to Ralph Gelo, Sept. ’16 2012

Jaclyn Machacek to Colin Regis, March ’17

Danelle Rolle to Elker McFarland, Oct. ’16

Megan Seipel to Ian Hansen ’12, Sept. ’16

2013 Hannah Frost to Tyler Graffunder ’12, Sept. ’16

Ashley Rynda to Aaron Stolte ’12, Aug. ’16

Kayla Deutz to Aaron Anthony, Aug. ’16 2014 Katie Krozner to William Paul ’13, June ’16 Claire Brasket to Dillion McLain, June ’16 2015 Tess Foster to Christian Ellens, Sept. ’16

Chloe Holtan to Tyler Delwiche ’15, Oct. ’16

Shay Peterson to Bradley Wollum, Oct. ’16

Rachel Streich to Lane Mitchell, Dec ’16


Kaitlin Duda to Tarik Hujdurovic, March ’17

Keep the connections alive at


C arla Younger Hoffman & Daniel Hoffman, boy, Samuel, July ’16

1998 Sarah Fyre Berry & Paul Berry, girl, Lina, April ’17

2000 Elizabeth Holm Amman & Philip Steger, girl, Anna, Oct. ’09, girl, Evelyn, May ’12





Natalia Calderon Hofman & Bradley 2008 Hofman, boy, Kieran, Jan. ’17

Marisa Hlavka McKeever & Mike McKeever ’07, girl, Nova, Nov. ’16 Kathryn Amann O’Fallon & Robert O’Fallon, boy, William, Feb. ’17 Carolyn Hejny Stang & Chad Stang ’08, girl, Catherine, Dec. ’16 Hien Dang Studniski & James Studniski, boy, Elijah, March ’17 Sara Felland Baker & Brandon Baker ’09, 2009 girl, Rowyn, Jan. ’17

Samantha Schmidt Foertsch & Stephen Foertsch ’09, boy, Brooks, Oct. ’16 Emily Simone Harrison & John Harrison ’07, boy, John, Feb. ’17

Ashley Hendricks Kaplan & Lucas Kaplan, girl, Addison, June ’16

Heather Laudenbach Kociemba & Dustin Kociemba ’07, girl, Morgan, March ’17 Cassandra Raehsler Langner & Beau Langner, girl, Arabella, Feb. ’17



Sarah Chuppe Mack & Stanley Mack ’09, boy, Stanley, Nov. ’16 Alison Roeder Mailander & Joe Mailander ’08, boy, Hap, Jan. ’17

Jessica Dobmeier Moser & Adam Moser, girl, Lyla, March ’17

2002 Christina Schochow Greazel & Chris

2005 Amy Glaeser Hedtke & Kyle Hedtke, girl,

Brittaney Johannes Nathe & Kent Nathe, girl, Emersyn, Jan. ’17

Heidi Weisbrich Marquardt & Trevor Marquardt, boy, Reed, March ’17

Kara Thomalla Panek & Justin Panek, girl, Tavah, Dec. ’16

Patricia Slivnik Regnier & Andrew Regnier, girl, Elsie, Jan. ’17

Lindsay Krieg Block & Joe Block, boy, 2006

Rebecca Schleicher Sauerer & Brian Sauerer, boy, Landon, Dec. ’16

Bethany Keene Buus & Ryan Buus, girl, Ellory, May ’16

Megan Hedstrom Tansom & Ryan Tansom ’09, twin girls, Zoey & Everly, Nov. ’16

McKenna, Jan. ’17

Greazel, girl, Grace, Feb. ’17

Andrew, Nov. ’17


GIAVANA BAIN JONES & DAYTON JONES, BOY, DAVYN, FEB. ’17 J ennifer Lindquist & Mimi Van Ausdall, boy, Auden & girl, Reese, Jan. ’17 Sheri McHarg McGrath & Jeff 2003 McGrath ’00, boy, Maximilian, Oct. ’16 Rita Imholte Moravec & Wade Moravec, girl, Greta, Feb. ’17 Karen Schoenecker Geis & Brandon 2004 Geis ’04, girl, Kylee, Jan. ’17

Sara Pederson Sagedahl & Adam Sagedahl, boy, Oliver, Oct. ’16 Colleen Niznik Federer & Joseph 2005

Federer ’05, twin girls, Kassidy & Ruby, April ’15

30 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Ashley Hinnenkamp Schnell & Grant Schnell, girl, Laney, Jan. ’17 Rachael Lukes Albrecht & Zachary 2007 Albrecht, boy, Brett, Feb. ’17

Shannon Schmitz Anderson & Colin Anderson, girl, Ainsley, Dec. ’16 Annie Vaught Arnold & David Arnold, boy, Connor, May ’16 Amanda Smith Devereaux & Paul Devereaux ’06, girl, Philippa, Oct. ’15 Amanda Kack Flannery & Lance Flannery, boy, Caleb, Dec. ’16 Anne Redmon Johnson & Kyle Johnson ’06, girl, Chloe, Dec. ’16 Marina Maric & John Fillman, girl, Mina, March ’17

Clarey McKeown McInerny & Brendan McInerny, girl, Frances, March ’17

Chelsie Kahlhamer Meemken & Joseph Meemken, girl, Mila, Feb. ’17

Lindsey Johannes Payne & Ryan Payne, girl, Gracelyn, Jan. ’17

Kathryn Bontjes Freeman & Michael 2010 Freeman ’11, girl, Rory, March ’17

Amanda Fuller Groethe & Carey Groethe, boy, Nolan, March ’17 Alissa Burg Gunderson & Nicholas Gunderson ’09, girl, Katherine, Aug. ’16

Angela Rodgers Hickman & Cole Hickman ’08, boy, Garrison, Dec. ’16

Quinn Bennett Krebsbach & John Krebsbach ’08, boy, Rory, Feb ’17 Laura Gamache Saumer & Alex Saumer, girl, Liliana, May ’16 Jacqueline Duchschere Thurmes & Michael Thurmes ’10, boy, Bennett, Nov. ’16







Rachel Polk Parker & Dustin Parker, girl, Tori, Jan. ’17

Ashley Quam Reiter & Jacob Reiter ’11, boy, Vince, Dec. ’16 Anne Haas Strack & Matthew Strack, girl, Madison, Dec. ’16

The college will host a visit March 19-21, 2018, with a team representing the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). CSB has been accredited by HLC since 1933. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the college to: Public Comment on the College of Saint Benedict Higher Learning Commission 230 South LaSalle Street Suite 7-500 Chicago, IL 60604-1411

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be in writing.

The public may also submit comments on HLC’s website at

Comments must be submitted no later than Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.

Karen Kudrna Toepfer & Anthony Toepfer, boy, James, Nov. ’16 Jenna Odenthal Heimer & Bradley 2012 Heimer, boy, William, Nov. ’16

Kayla Becker Johnson & Paul 2013

1961 Leonard Gerhart, spouse of Pauline

Jennifer Strege Lillehaug & Jacob Lillehaug ’13, girl, Annaleise, June ’16

Laurence Goodspeed, spouse of Elna Werner Goodspeed, March ’17

Nicole Cariolano Olson & Michael Olson, girl, Chloe, Sept. ’16

Micheal Korsmo, spouse of Angela Helfter Korsmo, Aug. ’16

Bernhardt Gerhart, Oct. ’16

Johnson ’11, girl, Aria, Aug. ’16

DEATHS 1936 Florence O’Brien Ryan, Jan. ’17 1945 S. Olivia Forster, OSB, Feb. ’17 1946 Louise Theisen, Jan. ’17 1948 Stanley Cervenka, spouse of Patricia Reiten Cervenka, Dec. ’16

Paul Kemp, spouse of Margaret Beste Kemp, Feb. ’17 Antoinette ‘Toni’ Pollock Hunstiger, 1949 Jan. ’17

Anne Murray Kuyava, Dec. ’16

1962 Michelle Pettitt, daughter of Geraldine Backes Pettitt, Feb. ’17

1968 Maxine Sturzl Koeniguer, Dec. ’16 1969 Bernard Schloemer, spouse of Elizabeth Hollerman Schloemer, March ’17

1970 Frank Pintozzi, spouse of Colleen Reagan Pintozzi, Nov. ’16 Margaret DuBois, mother of Jeanne DuBois Woodward, March ’17 Rhona Moore Hill, Sept. ’13 1972

Michael Boyle ’54, spouse of 1952

Shirley Brusseau, mother of Mary Brusseau Sellner & Peg Brusseau Cox ’76, Feb. ’17


Velma Smith Brown, Sept. ’16

Elizabeth O’Hotto Gillen, Jan. ’17

1973 Clara Kent, mother of Patricia Kent, Dec. ’16 1974 Jean Rothstein, mother of Carol Rothstein

Dolores Des Roches Boyle, Dec. ’16

1957 Mary Joan Krech Draxler, July ’16 1960 Katheryn Briscoe, Jan. ’17 1961 Kenneth Broton, spouse of Karin Moe Broton, Jan. ’17

Culp & Margaret Rothstein Hebig ’77, March ’17

John Laurent, spouse of Ann Monahan Laurent, March ’17

1975 Casimir Weller, father of Lois Weller Detloff, April ’17

Martha Barringer, April ’17 1976 Martha Bishop, mother of Marthy Bishop Smoliak & Carol Bishop ’79, Feb. ’17 John Franta, father of Karen Franta van der Hagen, Catherine Franta Schwarz ’77, Jeanne Franta Burtzel ’79, Janet Franta ’85 & Jane Franta Scully ’89, Feb. ’17

1977 Isabelle Greene, mother of Kathleen

Greene & Ramona Greene Bear ’78, Jan. ’17

Lorraine Pumper, mother of Mary Pumper Johnson, Jan. ’17 Gary Thyen, spouse of Julie Huth Thyen, Jan. ’17

1978 Roger Finneman, spouse of Simone Ortis Finneman, Dec. ’16

Norie Mahowald, mother of Maryanne Mahowald, Feb. ’17. Dorothy Gruidl, mother of Beth-Anne Gruidl Rowe & Mollie Gruidl Tobias ’84, Dec. ’16

1979 Gilbert Molitor, father of Kathleen Molitor Hendrickson, Feb. ’17

Michael White, spouse of Debra Guggemos White, March ’17

1981 Genevieve Chapman, mother of Judith Jeon-Chapman, March ’17

Leroy Lilly, father of Colleen Lilly and Mary Lilly Wozniak ’87, April ’17

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1981 Ronald Witschen, father of Ramona Witschen, April ’17

1982 Frederick Brass, father of Kate Brass Hentges, Jan. ’17

William Rose, father of Lisa Rose, OSB & Amy Rose Techam ’92, Nov. ’16

1983 Mary Wallen-Zekich, mother of Mary Wallen Katzner, April ’17

Patricia Milbert, mother of Monica Milbert Lawyer, March ’17 Dolores Jarocki, mother of Janice Jarocki Terry, April ’17 Dan Coborn ’52, father of Suzy Coborn 1984 Ellis, March ’17

Sylvester Uphus, father of Peggy Uphus Raitor, Katie Uphus ’89 & Andrea Uphus ’91, Jan. ’17

1985 Peter Engelmeyer, father of Mary Engelmeyer Delong, Feb. ’17

Jerre Miller ’54, father of Stephanie 1986 Miller Curtis, Jan. ’17

1987 Richard ‘Dick’ Bodger, father of Suzanna Bodger Anderson & Jaqueline Bodger Neiland ’89, Feb. ’17

Rose Fier, mother of Kristin Fier Welin, Jan. ’17

1988 Margaret Roehl, mother of Kathleen Roehl Campbell, March ’17

John Fandel, father of Mary Jo Fandel, March ’17 Thomas Belland, father of Michelle Belland Oquist & Elizabeth Belland Aldrich ’89, Dec. ’16

1989 Ruth Ann Howard, mother of Susan Howard Lass, Feb. ’17

Robert Mattern, father of Patrcia Mattern, March ’17

1990 Anthony Connelly, father of Kelly Connelly Welch, March ’17

1992 Robert Benner, father of Jennifer Benner Darling, Feb. ’17

Luverne Fischer, father of Lucy Fischer Warren & Emily Fischer Roering ’95, Jan. ’17

1993 Dennis Radue, father of Amy Radue Halstrom, Jan. ’17

Patrick McMullen, son of Lisa Formanek McMullen, April ’17

1994 Wayne Mielke, father of Kristin Mielke Beckers & Kimberly Mielke, Dec. ’16

THE 5 BROWNS September 9 • 7:30pm Escher Auditorium, CSB MUCCA PAZZA September 16 • 7:30pm Escher Auditorium, CSB JOHN McCUTCHEON September 30 • 7:30pm Escher Auditorium, CSB THE OK FACTOR October 4 • 7:30pm Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO October 27 • 7:30pm Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Carol Stuhr, mother of Melissa Stuhr Morin, Jan. ’17

1995 Joyce Gladieux, mother of Lori Gladieux


Haarstad, Jan. ’17

David McNeill, father of Amy McNeill Rimel, March ’17 James Hadden, father of Kate Hadden Severson, Nov. ’16

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1996 Gustave Knott, father of Jodi Knott, March ’17



1998 Judith Ann Foreman, mother of Bridget Foreman Blankenship, April ’17

1999 Robert Aubin, father of Amy Aubin Fielding, Feb. ’17

Leroy Williams, father of Michelle Williams Kramer & Melissa Williams ’05, April ’17

2000 Gerald Meier, father of Kristi Meier Sabrowsky, Aug. ’16

Mary Josephson, mother of Ann Josephson West, Dec. ’16

The main CSB/SJU Facebook page is wonderful. But are you missing out on a whole stream of alumnae-specific content on our Alumnae Association’s page?

2001 Michael Pierce, father of Kristen Pierce Gerrits, Jan. ’17

George Patton, father of Amanda Patton Koubsky & Kristen Patton Bauer ’03, Dec. ’16

2003 John Farley, father of Sarah Madge Carey, March ’17

Make sure to Like us and discover the latest alumnae news, information, events, photos and stories from Saint Ben’s.

John Frandson, father of Mary Frandson McTeague, Feb. ’17 Carol Haehn, mother of Leah Haehn Sanner, Feb. ’17

2004 William Denison, father of Noel Denison Berkholtz, March ’17

Stephen Etheridge, father of Tara Etheridge Geisler, March ’17


Barbara Frank, mother of Lindsey Frank Johnston, Jan. ’17 Barbara Oxley, mother of Julie Oxley Kazeck, Jan. ’17 John Niedenfuer, father of Elizabeth Niedenfuer & Hannah Niedenfuer ’10, Feb. ’17

2005 Trudy Gustafson, mother of Sarah Gustafson, Feb. ’17.

Mirabelle Philippi, daughter of Melissa Winter Philippi, April ’17

2008 John Craig, father of Ashley Craig, March ’17

2011 Lisa Willkom, mother of Maria Willkom Machemehl, Feb. ’17

Lucy Margaret Pickerign, infant daughter of Cassandra Harrington Pickerign, Jan. ’17

2015 Michael McKeehan, father of Megan McKeehan, April ’17

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU! Who’s got more than 23,000 friends willing to offer advice, lend a helping hand and keep them up-to-date on their beloved college home? You! That’s who. Your Saint Ben’s connections never have to fade away — keep them growing strong and find us online today!

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Summer 2017 | 33


1 1. Over 200 alums and friends were on hand in April for the 5th annual CSB/SJU REDTalks event at the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. Magician Jared Sherlock ’11 emceed and introduced eight intriguing speakers from our CSB/SJU community. This year’s event was planned by volunteers from the Young Alum Community. Pictured here from L to R: Kristin Sawyer Lyman ’00 (YAC staff liaison), Devin Roll ’13, Jenna Laufers ’15, Christina Pollock ’14, Jake Ingalls ’12, Meghan Simmet ’13, James Kimeu ’09 (YAC staff liaison), Stephanie Rothstein Homuth ’09, Rob Pezan ’15, Stephanie Pinkalla ’14, Justin Juan ’14, Jared Sherlock ’11 (emcee), Mike Wallgren ’11, Brian Jennissen ’11. Not pictured, Molly Reger ’14.


2. T elzena Coakley ’62 and Dorothy Coakley Bain Lockhart ’77 hosted a group of alums and friends at their home in Nassau this past February during a CSB/SJU visit to the Bahamas. One of the guests of honor was Dr. Linda Davis ’77, who recently became provost at the University of the Bahamas. Pictured L to R: Chandrice Ferguson, Valerie Jones ’94 (CSB executive director of alumnae relations), Helene Ferguson ’83, Dellareese Cooper Richardson ’97, Jean Bain ’83, Pamrica Coakley Ferguson ’83, Dorothy Coakley Bain Lockhart ’77, Dr. Linda Davis ’77, Telzena Coakley ’62, Mary Dana Hinton (CSB president), Alfreda Cooper ’77, Terry Dolan (president, CSB Board of Trustees). Not pictured: Michael Hemesath ’81 (SJU president).



3. O n March 13, S. Colman O’Connell ’49, OSB, 11th president of the College of Saint Benedict, celebrated her 90th birthday. She’s shown here with President Mary Dana Hinton and Fr. Don Talafous ’48, OSB. 4. On March 25, young alums volunteered at the St. Paul Books for Africa warehouse, followed by a social at the Flamingo restaurant. Pictured here are participants Sophie Kem ’13 and Samantha Exsted ’14. 5. O n Feb. 18, young alums gathered at The Depot Rink in downtown Minneapolis for an afternoon of fun on the ice. Pictured here are 2016 classmates Anna Cron, Kayla Schmelz and Allison Steen.

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6 6. This past February, a group of alumnae came together to brave the cold and snow during our annual Eco-Spirituality Dogsledding Retreat in Ely, Minnesota. The inspirational trip included time for adventure, exploration, reflection and prayer. Pictured L to R: Kristin Sawyer Lyman ’00 (program leader), sled dog-in-training, Mary Carr ’13, Kelly deRosier ’74, Joanne Soltys Carr ’79, S. Christian Morris ’68, OSB (spiritual leader), Susan O’Malley Kosel.


7. Kara Ehlert ’11 and Emily Dauk ’11 (pictured here at NASA) were among 60 educators nationwide chosen to participate in NASA’s 2017 Microgravity University for Educators at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The program invites teachers to learn about NASA curriculum resources for educators while experiencing the space center and testing a mock satellite launcher device that they engineer with their students. During the testing, they were able to videoconference with their students from St. Thomas Academy and Mankato East High School in Minnesota. 8. Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s alum board members gathered together in January for the 6th Annual Joint CSB/SJU Alum Board Meeting and Social at the Pool & Yacht Club in Lilydale, Minnesota.


9. A lums and friends gathered for the 8th Annual Mingling & Music event hosted by the CSB/SJU Music Department and the CSB and SJU alum offices in February. A great time was had by all and the music by Pastiche was a real treat! Pictured here are those in attendance. 10. M eet the class of 2017 Class Representatives: Back row L to R: Casi Quillin, Christine Palmer, Elizabeth Erickson, Ellen Reidt, Elizabeth Schneider, Megan O’Connor, Emily Heying. Front row L to R: Megan Monosmith, Megan Posusta, Megan Myers.


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SUSTAINER? Being a Saint Ben’s Sustainer means that you stand up on a recurring basis for today’s Bennies. It means you know the importance of giving to fund the scholarship help on which over 90 percent of our students rely. It means you understand the impact that women’s education has – today and tomorrow.

Being a Sustainer provides a steady, predictable stream of giving.

Don’t get us wrong. We love a nice lump sum as well, but predictable Sustainer donations help us prepare and plan for what level of support we’ll be able to offer.

It takes less time than you’d spend ordering a customized dog sweater.

Becoming a Sustainer is fast.

That makes being a Sustainer easy for you – and important for us. We retain around 90 percent of our Sustainers from year to year. Our overall donor retention rate is under 75 percent.

There’s no need to remember anything.

Just like a good rotisserie oven, you can set it, and forget it!

Being a Sustainer is, well, sustainable. Less paper, less postage, fewer administrative costs ... That means more dollars end up where they’re really needed – helping Bennies.



36 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine



I’ve been a donor for many years because I love Saint Ben’s and I love the presence of Saint Ben’s in my life. I am never going to have a lot of wealth, but a planned gift is an opportunity for me to share the wealth that I will have at the end of my life. It’s part of the stewardship value from my Benedictine learning.”

Joan Strom Riebel ’64

Planned Giving Made ^ Easy BY | ELLEN BARTYZAL ’17

Joan Riebel ’64 has been a donor to Saint Ben’s for years. She’s seen the importance and, at, giving is easy to do. She’s thought about planning for something more … but it’s always sounded complicated. Recently though, through her involvement as a class representative, Joan learned about the emphasis Saint Ben’s is placing on reaching first-generation students and students from low-income families. She wanted to find a way to do more, so she reached out to Gigi Fourré Schumacher ’74, senior planned and principal gifts officer, about including Saint Ben’s in her estate plans. She was amazed at how easy it was to do. She got a change of beneficiary form from Gigi, listed CSB as a beneficiary and dropped it off at her financial institution. There were no complicated changes to make to her will and no expensive attorneys involved.


“For me it’s a social justice issue,” says Joan. “This is one way I can hopefully help young women get a stellar education at the college and begin to have some kind of impact on those lower-income students. It also helps to feed the diversity on campus as we know it.” In addition to her enthusiasm for helping students, Joan is also passionate about Bennies becoming better educated in financial literacy, especially when talking about money and being fiscally responsible by creating a will. “I come from a generation of people who don’t talk about money much,” she says. “I think a lot of us don’t have a really good understanding of philanthropy and some of those possibilities that are available to us and how important giving back is, especially at our age. I think the older you get the more you worry about whether or not you are going to have enough money to live on and take care of yourself.” Joan understands this realistic worry, so she chose to give a planned gift that accommodates her lifestyle.

“That was another aspect that made it so easy,” she says. “I’ve designated my gift to Saint Ben’s, and I fully hope that it will all go to Saint Ben’s. But if I need additional funds to take care of myself besides the other money that I have, it’s there.” In a recent meeting of class representatives at Saint Ben’s, Joan was struck by the younger alumnae who also stressed the importance of being financially literate and understanding the ideas behind philanthropy, giving and sharing of wealth. This gives her hope for future donors. “I think it’s wonderful that we are really letting people know that, like every other institution, we cannot go on and cannot thrive without resources and funds from the community.”

Contact Gigi at or 320-363-5480 and start a conversation about your own plans and dreams for the future.

Summer 2017 | 37



October 7 DON’T MISS IT!

Mark your calendar and make plans now to join us. All classes, all ages, all day – it’s going to be a perfect chance to reconnect and reminisce. Get your red ready now!