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FA L L 2 0 1 9 M A G A Z I N E

There’s still one

glass ceiling that means opportunity for us all. See the renovated Main Building on page 10.

INSIDE A Warm Glow Check out our final push toward reaching our $100 million goal. Your gift matters!

10 The Main Attraction 16 Women Supporting Women 22 Womentors 26 Illuminating Lives Campaign Update




10 The Main Attraction 16 Women Supporting Women 22 Womentors 26 Illuminating Lives Campaign Update


1 Message From the President 2 Worth 1,000 Words 4 News 30 I’m a Bennie 31 Class Notes 38 Bennie Connection 41 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 Margaret Arnold CONTRIBUTORS Ellen Hunter Gans ’05 Sara Mohs Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13) Leah Rado COVER PHOTO Teresa Hall rotunda 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.


We lift

Each Other The College of Saint Benedict is many things. It is a stellar liberal arts, Catholic and Benedictine residential college for women. It is the living manifestation of the vision of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict who committed to educating the women of Central Minnesota. It is a place where curious and wonderfully ambitious young women transform into leaders committed to changing the world. Saint Ben’s is also a place where women – with enthusiasm, pride, hope and love – lift up other women. Saint Ben’s is women who choose to see the full humanity and complexity of other women and encourage those women to do more, become more, be more. Saint Ben’s is women who choose to lift one another up at their best moments and who extend a supportive hand at their worst moments. We lift one another up across time and space; across differences visible and invisible. We lift each other. The photo I’ve included here captures this beauty of women supporting women. Lois Liners, class of 1946, arrived at Saint Ben’s in 1942 and developed lifelong friendships. Over the course of her life, these friendships were sustained and nurtured as Lois traveled the world, including her time in Kenya. Today, Lois continues to lift up Bennies. Steffi Tapsoba, class of 2021, first encountered Lois through the Lois LeVasseur Liners and Robert Liners Endowed Scholarship for International Students. But what has developed is a friendship where two women lift one another, each making the other better. While we frequently speak about the wonderful friendships that are born and nurtured on our campus, at the core of those friendships are women who actively, with care and compassion, lift up other women.

We lift one another up across time and space; across differences visible and invisible. We lift each other.”

Lois LeVasseur Liners ’46 and Steffi Tapsoba ’21 share a special supportive connection.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Lois lifts me, as well. Few things bring me joy equal to the letters Lois and I exchange on a regular basis. Our correspondence varies, from current weather conditions to the state of the world to the world’s need for more Bennies. I know that you, too, have Bennies who brighten your day and the world around you. Let’s continue to lift one another to even greater heights. Sic Luceat Lux Vestra,

Mary Dana Hinton College of Saint Benedict President

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BIRD’S EYE VIEW New aerial images of campus, taken this fall, include Schoenecker Commons (bottom-center), the Saint Benedict Athletics Complex (top-left) and the newly resurfaced tennis courts (top-right). How many buildings can you name? We’ve come a long way from the original Main Building (middle-left)! Check out page 10 for a look back at the Main and a glimpse at amazing new interior renovations.

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Rising in Rankings In the 35th annual U.S. News & World Report rankings, CSB is ranked No. 82 and SJU is ranked No. 92. Both schools moved up several spots from the magazine’s ratings last year, with CSB moving up four spots and SJU three spots.

Criteria for the rankings include graduation and retention rates; undergraduate academic ratings among counselors and peers; faculty resources; student excellence; financial resources; and alumnae/i giving.

rated schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research and promoting public service.

Additionally, Washington Monthly ranked CSB No. 29 and SJU No. 50 among 214 national liberal arts colleges. (Both rising slightly from last year.) Washington Monthly

Another Record-Breaking Fundraising Year Last fiscal year (July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019), over 5,000 donors made it our most successful year ever for annual giving. The numbers show that when alumnae and friends work together, it adds up to have a significant impact on today’s Bennies. In fact, with the $100 million goal of the Illuminating Lives campaign drawing within reach, it’s worth noting that annual giving has been one of the most significant categories in that effort. Your gift, no matter the size, makes a difference.









Give CSB Day Tops Half a Million Dollars On Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, over a thousand donors stood up in support of Saint Ben’s on the very same day. Together they contributed $518,829 on Give CSB Day. That’s the largest single day of giving in CSB history. As in past years, a key component of Give CSB Day success was the $250,000 in matching funds contributed by 18 leadership donors. That allowed alumnae, parents, friends, faculty, staff and even students to make gifts on Give CSB Day knowing their contributions would be doubled (and, in some cases, tripled). A dramatic new twist to this year’s Give CSB Day effort though, was the introduction of smaller campaigns within the larger effort – campaigns for clubs and organizations on campus, for CSB Athletics and for CSB/SJU Fine Arts Programming. This allowed coaches, alums, fans and supporters to become active advocates and rally their personal social media networks.

Breaking the half-million-dollar mark was an emotional experience for Director of Annual Giving Maggie Weber Utsch ’00 and her team. “I will never forget that moment. So many people believe in this place and the students who are here. Our goal is to do all we can to provide as many scholarships as possible so that finances are not an obstacle to a Saint Ben’s education.” Give CSB Day 2019 by the numbers • $518,829 raised through 1,229 total gifts from 1,180 donors* in 24 hours • Largest single gift: $20,000 • Most common gift amounts: $100 (274 gifts) and $50 (256 gifts) • Average gift size (overall): $230.56 49 donors chose to make more than one gift.


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New Faces for Familiar Places Recent renovations on campus have given new purpose to existing spaces and improved opportunities for learning across Saint Ben’s. “Our newly renovated classrooms create true 21st century learning spaces,” said Ryan Gideon, CSB executive director of facilities. “Faculty have large, high-definition monitors and projectors connected to smart podiums where laptops can easily be connected. The technology doesn’t teach the class, but it definitely supports sharing, receiving and absorbing information seamlessly.” Main Building • Modern new classrooms, laboratory, office and lounge spaces make this a complete remodel of the lower, first, second and third floors. (See more on page 10.) • The building is now home to the Economics, Mathematics, Psychology and Computer Science Departments, as well as the Nursing Department (whose fourth-floor space was updated in 2015 to create the Guy and Barbara Schoenecker Nursing Education Suite). Henrita Academic Building (HAB) • The lower level of the HAB has been updated to match last year’s renovation of the upper level, which is home to the Education Department. • The lower level provides significantly larger lab and office space for the Exercise Science and Sport Studies Department.

The student lounge in the HAB feels much more up to date.

Clemens Library • The extensive interior renovation includes the creation of new individual and group study spaces, as well as the relocation of XPD – Experience and Professional Development. • Relocation of the IT Help Desk to this central campus space will make access more convenient for students. • Along with that IT presence comes a Mac lab, a 24-computer classroom, a 3D printer room and a “makers’ space” where students and faculty can try out new technology. Schoenecker Commons • This summer, Schoenecker Commons was recognized by Twin-Cities-based Finance and Commerce as one of their Top Projects of 2018.

Education students are working on robotics in refreshed HAB classrooms.

• Finance and Commerce engaged a panel of judges to look at the degree of difficulty, creativity in design, innovative construction techniques, cooperation among contractors and management, and sustainability efforts.

Updated lab space in the Main Building is giving computer science students new opportunities.

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Forster ’82 Named Entrepreneur of the Year Sandy Pfefferle Forster ’82 was honored Oct. 2 as the CSB Entrepreneur of the Year. Forster is the founder and owner of little pepper promotions in northeast Minneapolis. The 100% woman-owned, family run business provides promotional branding to clients in a personal, progressive and purposeful way, putting clients’ names on almost anything. An English major at CSB, Forster also serves on the Board of Trustees at SJU. In honor and memory of her son (David Forster [SJU ’11], an entrepreneur, runner and mentor) the Forster family sponsors “The Spark to Start: David Forster Campus Challenge,” a McNeely Center-organized, team-based race infused with physical and intellectual challenges.

Russ Sherlock ’83, founder of Equian, received the SJU Entrepreneur of the Year award. This year’s CSB and SJU Social Entrepreneurs of the Year were Tim Wensman ’79, John Bodette ’72, Steve Bresnahan ’75 and Bill Maney for their entrepreneurial leadership in conjunction with the St. Cloud Rotary Club on the launch of St. Cloud-based Pathways 4 Youth.

Forster (center), along with little pepper Director of Marketing Madeline Lomauro ’16 and Project Coordinator Kirsten Makela ’18.

President Hinton shares message at TEDxStCloud In front of a full house at the Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud, CSB President Mary Dana Hinton shared her story of “leading from the margins” as part of the third TEDxStCloud event on Oct. 10. Hinton, along with five other presenters, took the stage in TED (Technology, Education and Design) style – 12-18 minutes with no scripts – to share personal stories, research, ideas and expertise.

Photo by Yuppy Photo

CSB Awarded for Voter Engagement In November, Saint Ben’s received three awards in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for engagement in the 2018 midterm election. During that election, 55.1% of Bennies voted – a 36.7% increase from the 2014 midterm elections.

• Best in Class Award winner for most improved undergrad voting rate at a small, private institution.

• One of five schools (among 560 participating) to receive the ALL IN Challenge’s Champion Award for most improved undergrad voting rate.

• CSB and SJU both reached the top “Platinum” level for exceeding 50% voting rate.

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CSB Alumnae Board Welcomes New Members

New CSB Alumnae Board members, L to R: Lizzy Hansen ’15, Beth Reisdorf ’06, Lisa Murphy ’90, Casey Klinker Olijnek ’17, Heidi Golliet Colburn ’10, Bree Auringer Allen ’10, Breanna Gates ’19, Allison Ware ’19 and Alex Savre ’18. Not pictured: Maria Willkom Machemehl ’11

In July, CSB welcomed 10 new members of the Alumnae Board. The mission of the Alumnae Board is to foster and strengthen the lifelong relationships between the college and our alumnae, to connect, energize and promote Bennies and to support the mission of Saint Ben’s as the premier Benedictine college for women in the country. Board members serve up to three two-year terms. Bree Auringer Allen ’10

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Hansen ’15

Beth Reisdorf ’06

With an interest in environmental conservation, Bree hopes to connect with other Bennies to promote sustainability and affect change at CSB.

Lizzy loves the strong connection between alumnae and students and looks forward to maintaining and growing that connection through her service on the board.

Heidi Golliet Colburn ’10

Maria Willkom Machemehl ’11

As a teacher, coach and advisor, Heidi thrives in giving back to her community. She looks forward to expressing her passion for involvement through the Alumnae Board.

Maria looks forward to bringing her global mindset to the Alumnae Development Committee and putting her project management skills to work in continuing to offer resources and events to alumnae.

On the Alumnae Board, Beth plans to use her passion for connecting with others and connecting them to resources that can enhance their lives. She values planning events and programs that meet real, practical needs.

Breanna Gates ’19

From CSB Senate to the Alumnae Board, Breanna will leverage her experience as a student, an athlete and employee at the Institute for Women’s Leadership to serve on the Resource Development Committee.

Alex Savre ’18

Alex looks forward to giving back to the alumnae community by connecting, attending events and working on projects to strengthen CSB alumnae and students.

Lisa Murphy ’90

Allison Ware ’19

Lisa plans on deepening connections with alumnae herself while she works to develop and support systems for Bennies to connect and partner with each other.

Allison wants to do her part to say ‘thank you’ and give back to her alma mater. As a student admission marketing intern, she served as a liaison and a relationship builder for prospective students.

Casey Klinker Olijnek ’17

As a teacher, Casey builds relationships with students and helps them reach their full potential. She looks forward to doing the same on the Alumnae Board. Fall 2019 | 7


Welcome, CSB class of 2023

On Aug. 22, CSB welcomed 438 members of the class of 2023 to campus. The class represents 19 states and four foreign countries. Together, CSB and SJU enrolled 3,333 first-year-to-senior students this fall, and there are currently 1,725 students at CSB.

Launching the Fleischhacker Center In October, the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action, which opened at the College of Saint Benedict in 2017, was officially renamed in honor of Mark and Teresa Fleischhacker.

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The Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in Action will continue the work the center has already done toward supporting experiential learning. Most notably that happens through fellowships granted to high-achieving Bennies. Each Fleischhacker fellow receives $5,000 to conduct a full-time (40 hours/week for 10 weeks), on-site, unpaid internship, as well as a $1,000 living stipend. For many Fleischhacker fellows, opportunities like an unpaid internship would otherwise be impractical due to financial circumstances.

Before his passing in 2018, Mark Fleischhacker served twice as a CSB trustee and was a trusted and valued mentor for many students. As executive vice president and chief engineering officer for Lake Region Medical, Mark personified the notion of ethical leadership. He and Teresa have been faithful friends and benefactors for the college since the days when their daughter Katherine Fleischhacker Herzig ’06 demonstrated to them the power of a Saint Ben’s education.

Think Win BY | LEAH RADO

When Michael Engdahl took over as head coach of the College of Saint Benedict tennis team in 2016, he had what he needed to start to build a successful program. He had experienced returners. He had some talented incoming athletes ready to compete in a tough conference. … And he had his grandmother’s advice. The team was missing the right mindset. Not just a hashtag or a match-day rally cry, but a mindset that would help build team culture. “My grandma used to say ‘think win’ to my dad all the time,” Engdahl said. “It didn’t matter if it was a test, a job interview, homework, or a sporting event; it was a way she made sure he stayed positive and did his best.” Today, Engdahl uses Think Win with his athletes the same way his grandmother used it with his father. He signs his emails to the team with Think Win. He brings it up during practices and matches. And

the team has added a Think Win banner above the door to their newly refinished home tennis courts. “I love having Think Win as our motto, because it really puts us in the mindset that we need for matches,” said senior Tessa Rahrick. “It’s very hard to win if you don’t believe that you can, and you need to be able to trust in your abilities as a tennis player. You can change your whole mindset from ‘I hope I win this match’ to ‘I can win this match.’ ” Engdahl’s players are buying in. And that buy-in is starting to pay off, one match at a time.

While the team isn’t quite where it wants to be in the MIAC standings, it has beaten at least one Division II team each of the past three seasons, including wins over both St. Cloud State and Winona State last year. And those wins are what Engdahl says his team needs to keep building success. “When you Think Win going into a match, you focus on effort and staying positive. I am so happy with the mindset our players are developing,” Engdahl said. “Our players believe that college tennis is a big deal, and to be a part of this program is a big deal. “The really cool thing is that we haven’t had that big MIAC breakthrough yet. Once that happens, I can’t wait to see how the team responds. Their Think Win mentality will go through the roof.”

LOOK AT HER GO • #BENNIENATION and Fall 2019 | 9


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The Main


“At Saint Ben’s … even down to the architecture, it’s for women. It’s built for women, it’s built for you and you are important. And not everywhere says that, sometimes you are a P.S.” – RACHEL SCHMITT-KAISER ’89

in a Bennie Conversation with Tara Maas ’14 Read more from Rachel’s Bennie Conversations interview on page 29.

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1 St. Cecilia Hall 1882 2 St. Benedict Hall 1883 3 St. Scholastica Hall 1892

4 St. Gertrude Hall 1899 5 Sacred Heart Chapel 1914 6 St. Teresa Hall 1914

The Main Building Divided between the College of Saint Benedict and Saint Benedict’s Monastery, the Main Building is the oldest building on campus. As of this fall, it’s also the newest. In the fall of 2015, CSB took on the ambitious goal of updating the majority of our academic spaces, creating new administration and staff offices, and replacing key infrastructure campuswide. At the end of this summer, that goal was realized with the completion of renovations to the Main Building, the Henrita Academic Building (HAB) and the Clemens Library.

CSB Executive Director of Facilities Ryan Gideon explains, “As executive directors, [former Executive Director Brad Sinn and I] are stewards of the college’s vast facilities. We are tasked with carrying forward the vision of the sisters to provide the best possible living and learning environments for our students. Spaces designed and constructed by the sisters over the past 100 years have been respectfully renovated to be bright and open spaces with the latest teaching and learning technologies.”

President Mary Hinton further explains the process: “One of the key reasons we can repurpose these historic spaces is because the sisters insisted on them being built so well originally. Today, finding builders and architects who share that vision for ‘building to last’ is key. When it’s done well, modern technology, materials and energy efficiency won’t mask the historic beauty of a space; instead, they enhance it.”

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THEN Teresa Hall Through the Years GROUND FLOOR



The ground floor is where the gymnasium was first located. (Games had to be played around the pillars.) But by 1961, a “regularsized” gym was badly needed and the firstfloor library was bursting, so Murray Hall was built to serve as a gym and the library stacks moved downstairs. The library remained there until Clemens Library opened in 1986, after which the ground floor of Teresa Hall was converted to staff offices. Today it’s filled with modern, flexible classrooms.

The first floor held a library, museum and classrooms for art and sewing. Gradually, the whole floor became library space. After the library moved out (with the construction of Clemens Library in 1986), it became the Teresa Reception Center, graced with restored woodwork, stained glass and lighting. This configuration highlighted the area’s two fireplaces and provided space for meetings and receptions. In this latest renovation, the Teresa Reception Center spaces have remained essentially unchanged (although technology and furniture changes allow the larger spaces to function as classrooms).

The second floor originally held the auditorium and study hall. Once the Benedicta Arts Center was built in the 1960s, this space was converted to faculty offices, space for language study and the library’s media services area. In 1988, it became home to student accounts, financial aid and the college’s business office. Today it’s the home of the Mathematics Department, with faculty offices, a student lounge space and the Kathleen Kurvers Henderson ’85 Math Skills Center.

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Student dorms on the third and fourth floor of Teresa make modern faculty offices today.

The third and fourth floors of Teresa were filled with student dorm rooms surrounding a rotunda (aka, “The Ro”) and featured a skylight (on the cover of this issue). Those spaces remained a student residence hall through 1987-88, after which they were converted to faculty offices. The college handled that conversion carefully, and the general layout of these two floors has remained the same since their opening (even through this newest renovation). In fact, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota gave CSB an award in 1992 for “preserving the historic resources of the state,” because administrators “had the foresight and values to protect this historic building.” The third floor is now home of the Economics Department, with faculty offices and a sundrenched student lounge. The fourth floor holds Nursing faculty offices.

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All around the newly renovated Main Building, there are amazing and innovative spaces for learning and connection.

Gertrude Hall Through the Years GROUND FLOOR



The ground floor of St. Gertrude Hall is where the dining service was located until the opening of the Gorecki Center in 2007, after which that level was repurposed for classrooms and administrative offices. (Actually, the kitchen itself was always located in Cecilia Hall, and was shared by the college and the monastery to prepare food for everyone on campus.) Today the ground floor of Gertrude Hall is occupied by the Psychology Department’s wet lab, EEG lab and student testing labs.

For at least the last 45 years, this floor was home to Admissions, Academic Affairs (both the provost and the dean’s offices) and the President’s Office. Before that, it also housed the registrar, business office and Physics/Chemistry Departments. Today it is classrooms and computer labs for all departments.

While this space was originally designed for classrooms and faculty offices, it was gradually taken over for administrative offices. For many years, CSB Institutional Advancement, Alumnae Relations and CSB/SJU Human Resources were located there. The new renovation has made this the home of the Computer Science Department, with faculty offices, classrooms, a lounge and a robotics lab.

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Gertrude Hall’s third floor was originally used for student dormitories. In more recent decades, it was converted to classroom space – including one of the first computer lab classrooms on campus, equipped with around 20 personal computers. At some point it also housed the Home and Community Services Department (which later evolved into the Nutrition Department and moved to the Ardolf Science Center in 1992), the College Archives and Economics Department faculty offices. Now it holds the Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger Psychology Education Suite, with classrooms, faculty offices and a student lounge area.

Like the third floor, the fourth floor was originally used for student dormitories. However, in 1972, the college established the Nursing Department on Gertrude’s fourth floor and it has remained there ever since. In 2015 that space was upgraded to create the Guy and Barbara Schoenecker Nursing Education Suite.

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Four women sit at a table: The CEO of a Fortune 100 company; a college administrator; a middle school teacher and mentorship program leader; and a government policy development executive. It could be a high-profile panel of distinguished executive leaders. Instead, it’s brunch with four best friends. They’re laughing, bonding over the myth of work/life “balance,” and gently roasting each other.

They’re all Saint Ben’s alumnae. They’ve been inseparable for 25 years, ever since they met as underclassmen and bonded over late nights and ambitious courseloads. The close-knit bond that these women share is of priceless value to each of them. And, research suggests, it could be even more valuable than they realize.

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As described in Forbes, a recent study in the Harvard Business Review found that “while both men and women benefit from having a network of well-connected peers across different groups, women who also have an inner circle of close female contacts are more likely to land executive positions with greater authority and higher pay.” And, get this: “There was no link found for the success of men in terms of the gender composition of their inner circles.” What is it about close female friendships that uniquely positions women for success? One explanation can be found by observing this brunch. Corie Dumdie Barry ’97, Angie Schmidt Whitney ’97, Erin Finn Burggraff ’97 and Anne Olson Kilzer ’97 are each undeniably successful. They have followed wildly different career trajectories and there’s little to no overlap between their careers. In fact, it’s a recurring conversation point that, in spite of their close bond, they have virtually no idea what each other does on a day-to-day basis at work. So if you were thinking that the answer to Harvard’s question lies in women helping each other make critical networking connections within their fields, or helping each other master the nuances of their roles – that’s not the case. At least not here. “We joke that it would be hysterical if we switched jobs for a day,” laughs Angie. “We’d just be clueless.” And yet, they have helped each other. Immeasurably. They’ve done so by functioning

Corie Dumdie Barry ’97

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Anne Olson Kilzer ’97

as a personal board of directors – a no-holdsbarred sounding board that listens, weighs in and provides unwavering support. They don’t need to be intimately familiar with the nuances of each other’s work to help navigate job transitions and tricky relationships with colleagues. They’ve injected confidence before big presentations and meetings with the boss. They say, “We see more in you than you see in yourself, and here’s why you will absolutely nail this.” And while the support is unequivocal, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unequivocally positive. “Oh, we’ll call each other out,” says Angie. “We’re not afraid to tell you if you’re being ridiculous,” adds Anne. That candor is what makes this particular breed of support so valuable. It’s unburdened by the filters inherent in so many other types of relationships. “These women help me process things in a different format, with more knowledge of me than my coworkers might have, and with more objectivity than my spouse might be able to provide,” explains Erin. The ability to bounce ideas around and process challenges with each other isn’t limited to their professional development. “As women, our personal lives can be so intertwined with our professional lives because so many of us feel such a strong sense of ownership over what happens in our homes, while also wanting success in the workplace,” says Erin. “To have a group of women who support both fronts is really essential as well. I can’t be my best at work if there’s something at home that’s weighing on me, and the reverse is true as well.”

Angie Schmidt Whitney ’97

Erin Finn Burggraff ’97


The real key to answering Harvard’s question may lie precisely in that tangle between the personal and the professional. Harvard’s study points out that “women seeking positions of executive leadership often face cultural and political hurdles that men typically do not.” The researchers suggest that a female-dominated inner circle could help provide “critical private information on job opportunities and challenges.” It’s that second word – challenges – that speaks volumes. Getting in the door for a potential job opportunity is a fantastic start. (That’s why the Bennie alumnae network is so powerful.) But to then be able to talk through your challenges – plus your points of pride – and the real-life stuff in a safe space? That’s what gets you in the door, down the hall into the corner office, and up past the glass ceiling. This inner circle – the one at brunch today – they’ve talked through the challenges of navigating life as a rising professional woman. They’ve also been in each other’s weddings and dropped everything when each had children. They’ve been shoulders to lean on through impossibly challenging moments. There is an endless supply of stories where they show up for each other – figuratively and literally. The support they give each other bridges their personal and professional lives. It lets them be who they

are without artifice or fear of judgment. It lets them be vulnerable. And it lets them ask for what they need. Is it any wonder, then, that this type of bond propels each of them forward and makes them more likely to achieve success? And let’s get this out of the way right here: Forget every Hollywood trope you’ve seen about catty businesswomen. There’s no room for competition here, and that’s part of the formula. Forbes reports: “There is research that shows women in particular benefit from collaboration over competition. Study after study shows women who support women are more successful in business.” These four women could never have predicted this enduring, profound connection when they first met at Saint Ben’s, and yet, their present-day relationship is a logical extension of where it started. “This was built at Saint Ben’s,” says Angie. “Saint Ben’s created a foundation for us of seeing what women can do, individually and collectively.”

“[At Saint Ben’s] we were immersed in a community of women, and that time we spent living amongst each other was a really formative period of time in our lives,” adds Erin. Anne, too, can draw a line between how it started and where it is now: “As part of and in addition to our jobs, we each try to really be of service and bring our values into what we do,” she says. “And Saint Ben’s has the values of community and social justice that both attract and support that strong moral compass, which is one of the things that brought us together in the first place.” Indeed, these women not only support each other fiercely, but are all committed to providing support outside the group, each in her own way. “It’s really hard to empower other people if you don’t feel empowered yourself,” says Anne. “This friend group brings that empowerment to us. Any time we doubt ourselves; any time we’re feeling overwhelmed or we need support; we turn to each other. And that allows us to then turn outward and be of service and be successful in other aspects of our lives.”

Saint Ben’s created a foundation for us of seeing what women can do, individually and collectively.” - Angie Schmidt Whitney ’97

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Of course, Angie, Anne, Corie and Erin are not the only examples of this type of bond that has emerged from Saint Ben’s. In fact, it’s worth noting that these four women are part of a larger friend group (pictured at right) made up of Saint Ben’s alumnae, the rest of whom graduated one year later. The four from the class of 1997 refer to themselves, laughingly, as “The Old Ladies.” Many of the women reading this are part of a similar group or know someone who is. And we each have our own stories. Perhaps, as much as we value our female friendships, we hadn’t previously drawn a line between those relationships and our success in other areas of life. What does it mean to be able to face tough challenges at work knowing that you have your own sounding board who knows you well enough to provide supportive but unflinchingly honest feedback? What’s the value of being able to ask tough questions, to throw around ideas or to simply vent? According to the Harvard study, it’s enough to land you in the executive suite if that’s where you want to be. “If I were to say anything to an incoming first-year student, it would be to keep your eyes open to the people who will bring out the best in you, and hold on to those people for dear life,” says Erin. Angie has two daughters. She says: “If I could wish for anything for my girls, it’s a strong, supportive group of girlfriends.” And if you don’t have this type of bond in your life? It’s never too late. Alumnae associations, like the one at Saint Ben’s, are ripe for reconnecting or building new relationships. We all deserve to have people in our corner who will build us up, call us out and show up for us.

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If I were to say anything to an incoming firstyear student, it would be to keep your eyes open to the people who will bring out the best in you, and hold on to those people for dear life.” -Erin Finn Burggraff ’97

Angie Schmidt Whitney ’97, Anne Olson Kilzer ’97, Corie Dumdie Barry ’97, Missy Baumert Frigaard ’98, Angie Anderson ’98, Toni Schewe ’98 and Erin Finn Burggraff ’97 (not pictured: Jeannie Bykowski Kenevan ’98, Stacy Rooney ’98 and Tina Tuohy ’98)

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WHEN KELLIE SIEMBIEDA ’14 LOST HER JOB BECAUSE OF A COMPANY REORGANIZATION, THE FIRST PEOPLE SHE TEXTED WERE HER PARENTS, HER FIANCÉ AND HER BENNIE MENTOR. KELLIE LANDED A NEW POSITION WITH THE SAME COMPANY ONLY A MONTH LATER – THANKS, IN PART, TO HER MENTOR. “My mentor was instrumental in helping me through my first move,” says Kellie. “She helped me find a role in my organization that was really beneficial to me and she talked me through negotiations. She helped me navigate through the emotional and professional hurdles of the transition.” When Kellie was at another crossroads in her career and was recruited by a different company, she again credits her mentor for empowering her to go bigger. “I really leaned on my mentor to talk through the whys and why nots to see if the move made sense. She encouraged me to take a role that I felt unqualified for, yet I’ve been extremely successful at it,” says Kellie.

Kellie’s mentoring experience isn’t a fluke. A 2018 study conducted by Lean Cuisine and New York University psychology professor Emily Balcetis found that 89% of women created more ambitious life goals in the presence of women they admired than they did when formulating them alone. Women are also more likely to succeed when they consistently have the opportunity to connect with allies who’ll provide them with a safe environment to share their ideas, fears and aspirations. One of the best ways to build these critical connections is through mentorship.

“My mentor was instrumental in helping me through my first move. She helped me find a role in my organization that was really beneficial to me and she talked me through negotiations. She helped me navigate through the emotional and professional hurdles of the transition.” - Kellie Siembieda ’14

Kellie Siembieda ‘14 and her Bennie mentor, Jen Kocourek ‘92

Fall 2019 | 23

ADVOCATES FOR INCLUSIVE MENTORING (AIM) Sandra Ordones ’20 is the student director of AIM, a campus-based program missioned to strengthen the personal, professional and academic development of Saint Ben’s historically underrepresented students, which include women of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, international and first-generation Bennies and those with invisible or physical disabilities. Sandra was both a mentee and mentor before becoming student director, and she says the program was critical in helping her feel a sense of belonging, not only as a Latina but also as a woman. “I’m an economics major and only a quarter of the students in my classes are women. My mentor was a global business major and she shared her experiences with me on how she would challenge herself in similar situations. Knowing that others are going through the same things keeps you from thinking you’re in the wrong place, and it helps you stay focused on learning how to navigate through challenges,” she explains. AIM was created in 2016 as a capstone project by two Saint Ben’s seniors who piloted the pairing of first-year and sophomore mentees with junior and senior mentors. The program was a success and continues to grow. Students apply for a year-long commitment and are paired according to their self-described identity, extracurricular and academic interests and geographical locations. The 2019-20 cohort includes 32 Bennies. “We know everyone is busy and has a lot going on, so the meetings don’t have to be anything formal. It could just be getting coffee together, doing homework or even shopping. The most important part is the interaction,” she says.

AIM mentor Phoua Vang ’20, director Sandra Ordones ’20 and mentee Kayla Vang ’22

“Since we’re underrepresented and minority students, it’s easier to feel like you don’t fit in. AIM offers resources and peer-to-peer relationships that counter that. It’s like a family away from home,” Sandra says. Phoua Vang ’20 was a mentee of AIM in its pilot year and has gone on to become a mentor. As a mentee, Phoua says her mentor helped her grapple with homesickness and stay focused on academics. “She’s been my rock throughout my college experience,” says Phoua. “I was really struggling with being away from home, and she gave a lot of support and cared about my personal well-being. She was vulnerable with me and acknowledged that it’s hard, but if you trek through the tough parts, it’s worth it. We’re still really good friends.” Phoua says being a mentor also has its benefits. “Being a mentor has really helped me grow as a student. It’s helped me take more advantage of the resources we have at CSB,” she says. Phoua’s mentee, Kayla Vang ’22, joined the program in her first year in hopes of boosting her confidence. Kayla was reserved in high school and wanted a college experience that stretched her comfort zone. She says the cohort creates a sisterhood where mentees and mentors find strength in sharing their stories. It has also provided support in unexpected ways. “As an out-of-state student, I had to stay on campus during breaks. Because there were no meal plans, my mentor cooked for me and we had dinner together. She was almost like a mother to me,” says Kayla.

“Being a mentor has really helped me grow as a student. It’s helped me take more advantage of the resources we have at CSB.” - Phoua Vang ’20 24 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

BENNIE MENTOR PROGRAM As lifelong learners, Bennies know that graduation is only the beginning of navigating through professional and personal experiences. That’s one reason why the Bennie Mentor Program (formerly the Bennie Connector Program) was created in 2009. For mentoring relationships beyond campus, the program engages new and experienced alumnae to exchange ideas, friendship and expertise in life and in their professions. Like AIM, the mentor/ mentee commitment runs from September through May each year and begins with an application process. This year, 210 alumnae are taking part in the program. Amy Anderson, assistant director of alumnae relations and administrator of the Bennie Mentor Program, says one of the most frequent comments she hears from mentees and mentors is how much they enjoy connecting with someone who shares their CSB experience, yet brings a different perspective. Kellie Siembieda got involved with the program after she graduated in 2014 because she longed for a stronger connection back to Saint Ben’s. She says besides giving her a springboard to a vast group of women, it’s provided her with career advice and perspectives she wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Her mentor, Jen Kocourek ’92, feels the same way. Jen joined the program after her 25-year reunion as a way of paying it forward, but she says she gets back as much as she gives. “We learn from each other,” says Jen. “I help Kellie navigate through the career world and she introduces me to new technology and shares her perspective on issues I can use as a manager. We coached each other and built a friendship.” Besides being a great learning and networking opportunity, Jen says the program has deepened her love for Saint Ben’s. “The older I get, the more proud I am of being a Bennie and being part of a strong Benedictine women’s college. It’s important to keep that legacy going and help young graduates navigate through their careers,” she says. It’s no coincidence that the essence of mentorship aligns perfectly with the Benedictine values of listening, respect for persons and hospitality. Amy says those values and the fundamentals of mentorship are important to women now more than ever. “In the face of movements like #MeToo, it’s important for women to continue to build each other up and be open with one another,” says Amy. “If it wasn’t for one of my women mentors, I never would have had the confidence to negotiate a salary or ask for a raise. Mentorship creates a safe space for women to share their experiences and get the support and encouragement they need to face their uncertainties. There’s something extremely valuable about learning how other women have become successful, dealt with hardships and faced their fears.”


You and your match are clear on why you’re together and the reasons you’re meeting. You’ve discussed and agreed on what you’ll work on, and you’ll recognize when you’ve met your purpose. From time to time you check to see if you should change your purpose in some way. COMMUNICATION

You communicate in ways you both prefer (in person, phone, Skype). You get back to your match in the timeframe you’ve agreed upon. You ask appropriate questions, are an effective listener and remember what your match tells you. TRUST

You welcome and keep in confidence the information that’s shared with you. You avoid any trust-breaking behaviors, such as cancelling appointments without compelling reasons, talking negatively about others or making excuses for why you can’t follow through on commitments. PROCESS

You meet often enough to suit both of you and the sessions are the appropriate length. You follow through on agreements between sessions and check in with each other to see if you’re both satisfied. PROGRESS

Mentors help mentees identify personal and professional goals and build competencies to reach those goals. At first, mentors take the lead on identifying learning resources and process the results with the mentee. As the relationship progresses, mentees take the lead on identifying interesting learning experiences. FEEDBACK

You do your best to give and receive feedback in an honest, tactful manner and as frequently as agreed upon.


• As an alumna-to-alumna mentor/mentee through the Bennie Mentor Program, contact Amy Anderson at or 320-363-5233. • As an alumna-to-student mentor through the Bennies in Business program, email

Fall 2019 | 25



It was a gloomy Wednesday in October and a sharp turn in the fall weather had left the campus heating system desperately scrambling to catch up. But through it all there was a warm, crackling glow from the Fireside Lounge in the Gorecki Center. This was the headquarters for this year’s Give CSB Day, and the results they had to report were heartwarming (if not fingerwarming). In that one October day, $518,829 was raised in support of scholarships for today’s Bennies … from 1,180 total donors. The huge dollar amount is impressive and gratifying. But the heartwarming part is that number of total donors. Each one of those individuals and families thoughtfully considered their options and chose to give toward this effort. Collectively, they made the magic happen. And, as we push toward the conclusion of the Illuminating Lives campaign, that’s a very important fact to keep in mind. In a $100 million campaign, individuals matter. Your gift matters. As of the end of October, we have raised over $90 million toward that $100 million goal. It’s come from alumnae, parents, friends and benefactors, all standing up for Saint Ben’s and our students.

Together, we stand for providing access to quality education to deserving young women. We stand for improved learning in 21st century academic spaces. We stand for building confidence by providing the full range of Saint Ben’s experiences to as many of our students as possible. WILL YOU STAND WITH US AND HELP ILLUMINATE THE NEXT 100 YEARS FOR SAINT BEN’S AND THE WOMEN WHO BECOME BENNIES? Visit our campaign website at, or check out some of the suggestions on the next page.



OUTRIGHT $67,952,206

GOAL $100,000,000


GOAL $63,000,000


GOAL $25,000,000


GOAL $12,000,000

26 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Actual (as of 10/31/19)


LIGHT IT UP What can you do to lend your light to advance the goals of the Illuminating Lives campaign? Here are five practical ways to get involved.



A whole set of campaign events is coming to locations around the country. Watch our website at to learn when one is coming to your area. Then show up! It’s a chance to reconnect with the college, meet some like-minded alums and friends and get familiar with the important goals of the campaign and its progress.

Consider leaving Saint Ben’s a gift in your will or estate. Our relationship with FreeWill makes it free and very easy to do. And, if you’re like most people, starting that process will be a great first step in organizing some important things that you may have been putting off. Find out more about FreeWill at And learn how you can start your Saint Ben’s legacy at

TALK THEM UP Who understands better than an alumna like you the transformational impact a CSB education can have on a young woman? The Illuminating Lives campaign is expanding access to that impact to deserving students everywhere. You’ve seen it. So say it. Tell someone about why these young women are worthy of investment. Need inspiration? Go to and scroll down to watch the campaign video everyone talks about after attending a campaign event.

SPEAK UP When you turn this page, you’re going to learn more about an initiative designed to capture and preserve stories from CSB alumnae from all generations. Bennie Conversations has already captured over 100 conversations! By telling our stories, we’ll celebrate and document the impact this college has had on its students – their families, their businesses, their communities … the world.

STEP UP Every annual gift, facilities investment, endowed scholarship commitment and documented will or trust bequest helps us reach our $100 million goal. Visit today, learn more and give!

Fall 2019 | 27

ANNUAL GIFTS TO CAMPAIGN SUPPORT STUDENTS TODAY Gifts to the annual giving program are at the core of the Illuminating Lives campaign and 100% of those gifts are used immediately to support students. When you invest in the women of Saint Ben’s this way, you’re a vital part of that illumination. In fact, it’s a powerful way for you to radiate impact across the globe and through generations. Your impact: The education of young women; the freeing of women’s minds in pursuit of ideas and ideals; the elevation of women’s voices and the space they need to grow, learn and lead. More than 95% of Saint Ben’s students rely on scholarships. When you make a gift of any size, you help to ensure that a young woman can have a full Saint Ben’s experience. She arrives here curious, ambitious and ready to explore a world of possibility. She leaves Saint Ben’s radiant with courageous leadership, passionate advocacy and critical thinking skills. This radiance will illuminate whatever path she takes – and the paths of those she will encounter along the way. What illuminates her path? It’s a powerful blend of mentorship and opportunity – to lead and to be inspired. It’s immersion in a space alight with women’s voices and anchored in Benedictine values. It’s a seat at a table where world-class academic rigor meets an invitation to ask questions and challenge the status quo. You count. And the women here are counting on you. We need your light. Thank you for believing in the women of Saint Ben’s.

28 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Saint Ben’s is ranked #1 among national liberal arts colleges for operating efficiency by U.S. News & World Report. Your gift goes farther here.

Thanks to donors like you, CSB is accessible to bright young women from middle- and lower-income backgrounds, placing us on the New York Times’ College Access Index of “50 colleges doing the most to promote the American dream.”

More than 100 Bennie Conversations Illuminate “Why Saint Ben’s” in Alumna-to-Alumna Interviews


JOIN THE CONVERSATION Bennie Conversations: How She Shines is an initiative designed to capture the individual impacts of our collective light. Our hope is to celebrate and preserve these moments that define a Bennie.

OUR INTERVIEWERS SHINE Bennie Conversations interviewers describe the experience as transformative and skill-building. Most interviews are between Bennies who know each other and provide an opportunity to spend time together. Some common interview themes include: • Bennies have a deep appreciation for their alma mater and love being part of a community that keeps getting better. • Bennie stories vary, especially in how they arrived on campus. But common threads develop around our path of experiences, traditions and values. • Bennies love the campus. Alumnae from the 1970s recall the open tundra, while those in the last 10 years mention beautiful buildings – new and old. All recall the beauty of Sacred Heart Chapel. To learn more about the benefits of interviewing Bennies, contact Abby Hansen ’12, CSB engagement officer, at

CAN YOU HELP? To reach our goal and record 500 alumnae conversations, we’ll need help. Lots of help. •  Tell your story. •  Conduct an interview. •  Recommend a friend. Reach out to learn more and volunteer by emailing Abby at

FOLLOW THE STORY Throughout the Illuminating Lives campaign, as we compile Bennie Conversations and other sparks of Bennie illumination, we’ll be posting them on the campaign website at – under the How She Shines tab. Come back to visit often to hear from more Bennies like Rachel.

Rachel Schmitt-Kaiser ’89 has built a career in the logistics and food industries. During an interview in Highland Park, Illinois, in August, she spoke to Tara Maas ’14 of leading courageously and living fully in her community and family. She also pointed out the importance of buildings in an all-women’s college. “When I went (to Saint Ben’s), people would ask me, ‘Why are you going to an all-women’s college?’ There is something about it that creates an environment that is collaborative and not competitive … and that allows you to be competitive. By having that collaborative background, by building that strength, by building those skills and that knowledge base, you go forward as a team and you know how to work as a team. … I feel that choosing an all-women’s college, like Saint Ben’s, fosters that to a different level. “It can come down to even a minute thing like the architecture was built for you. … If you go to Harvard, that was a school that was originally built for men. So, when they suddenly let women in, it was like ‘Oh and P.S., the women’s bathroom is down the hall.’ But at Saint Ben’s, it’s the men’s bathroom that is down the hall. Even down to the architecture, it’s for women. It’s built for women. It’s built for you and you are important. And not everywhere says that. Sometimes you are a P.S.” Fall 2019 | 29


BRITT AYERS ’14 FINDING PASSION ON A PATH TO HEALING For victims of severe burns, the path to healing is a long and difficult journey. Thankfully, there are medical professionals like Britt Ayers ’14, who discovered her passion for treating burn patients while in physician assistant school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Britt was fortunate to start her career at Regions Hospital Burn Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of the highlights in her career thus far was her role in the development of the current laser program at Regions Hospital. As a 2018 American Burn Association Cheryl Jordan Scholarship recipient, Britt visited the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. While there, she learned about laser therapy from some of the nation’s leaders in burn

30 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

reconstruction. “I was able to see firsthand how laser therapy can truly impact and change a patient’s life, improve scar pliability and provide symptom relief,” says Britt.

Giving back Britt’s work and expertise are holding the attention of her health care peers and community members, as she shares her knowledge and donates her time for the benefit of burn patients. She has presented at state, regional and national professional conferences. In addition to speaking, Britt enjoys giving back to her community while working alongside organizations such as Firefighters for Healing and the St. Paul Fire Foundations.

Furthermore, Britt shares, “I am passionate about the role of physician assistants in Minnesota health care.” She participates annually in PA Day on the Hill, advocating for the PA profession at the state capitol.

Majors at CSB Biology and Hispanic studies

First-year residence hall Corona K

Favorite course/professor Microbiology with Professor Barb May

Favorite Bennie memory “Family dinners” at Gorecki with Bennie friends

When did you decide you wanted to become a physician assistant? High school

How did you prepare for that at CSB/SJU? Prerequisite coursework, an independent research project and student club involvement



Rachael Hawkins Casselman is the 2005 

senior manager for marketing analytics at Cantel Medical, Aug. ’19.

Jeanette Blonigen Clancy released her 1965  memoir “Beyond Parochial Faith” that weaves together the strands of her life, June ’19.

Catherine Zabinski received the Anna 1983 

K. Fridley Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award, Jan. ’19.

Michelle St. Martin Fischbach was 1988 

announced as Central Minnesota Builders Association’s new government affairs director, July ’19.

 Jane Kuebelbeck Williams was named vice president of finance for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Aug. ’19.

 Molly Dwyer graduated in May 2019 from the College of St. Scholastica with a doctorate in nursing practice, specializing in psychiatric mental health nurse practice. She is now working with the psychiatric consult service at Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth as a CNP PMHNP, Sept. ’19.  Elizabeth Malaktaris Wallis obtained her master of science in physician assistant studies from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Sept. ’19. solutions consultant at Bremer Bank in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Aug. ’19.

Karen Swearingen Richard was 1992 

named one of 51 honorees selected for Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2019 “Women in Business” awards, which honor the Twin Cities’ most influential women executives, entrepreneurs and business owners, May ’19.

2011 Artist Chloe Briggs Johnson has

exhibited her work on the College of Saint Benedict campus throughout the summer and fall of 2019.

 Aleah Wicks published a memoir titled “Fat Dog Farm: Tails of Farm Failures,” June ’19.

Allison Plunkett was named a 2019 Up & Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer, July ’19.

 elsey Rod is a regional registered dietitian K at Eden Senior Care, LLC, Aug. ’19.




is the interim associate dean for medical education at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Sept. ’19.

 livia Zajac Weber is currently attending O the University of St. Thomas in pursuit of a Psy.D.


Monica Langfeld entered the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps at Boston College, pursuing her M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction, expected 2021.


Precious Drew, co-founder of Perk, was featured as a member of the first Finnovation Lab cohort, May ’19.


president of the Benicia Education Foundation. She is also a math teacher at St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School in Vallejo, California, Aug. ’19.

a book, “Powerful Teaching,” Jan. ’19.

next Byron High School principal, July ’19.

Alyssa Hoffman earned her juris doctor degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, May ’19.

2013 In May 2019, Alexandra Bernard became

Sonya Boerboom Vierstraete co-authored 1998  Malia Evjen-Schroeder was selected as the 2000 


of criminology, law & society at George Mason University, Aug. ’19.

Tracey Kieser McGuinn has been named 1997 

a “Top Doctor” in the field of pediatrics by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine for the second year in a row, July ’19.

 manda Munsterteiger received her Ph.D. A in industrial-organizational psychology from Seattle Pacific University, June ’19.

Evan Lowder is an assistant professor 2012 

Brenda Geissler Ogle was named 1994 

department head of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota, May ’19.


Maureen Alderman is the food safety and 2009  quality product manager at General Mills, Aug. ’19.

Britt Ayers was chosen by the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants as the featured speaker at the Fall Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conference in Duluth, Minnesota, Oct. ’19.

 Erin Brown is the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s program director, Sept. ’19.

Breanna Riskey-Barta is the AVP treasury 2008 

Roberta “Bobbie” Beavers Helmers is 1991  the new office coordinator at the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice at St. Catherine University, Aug. ’19.


 egan Smith ran a 2:44 marathon at the M Fargo Marathon on May 18, placing second among female finishers and qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which will be held Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta. She competed on the Saint Benedict crosscountry team and now works as a physical therapist in Denver, May ’19.



received her White Coat at Xavier University School of Medicine, Aruba, Sept. ’19.

K ATHERINE “KATE” NOWAKOWSKI, M.D., graduated from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, May ’19.


For complete news and notes from classmates and to post your notes, go to BenniesConnect: or email us at Fall 2019 | 31






 EBECCA GROSS TO JEFFREY R CLOBES ’06, JULY ’19 Hannah Goossens to Derik Anderson, Aug. ’18

Kerri Graske to John DeSutter ’12, Nov. ’18

 Molly Kuisle to Timothy Flynn ’12, Sept. ’18

LARISSA REID TO TYLER LEKANG, JUNE ’19 Dana Joseph to Ted Fagrelius ’09, May ’19



Oct. ’18

Feb. ’19

 Katherine Kenefick to Mike Warner, Aug. ’18

Alyssa Hoff to Eric Gardner, April ’19

Jade Johnson to Josh Garland, Sept. ’18

Katherine Hendrickx to Tyler Haugrud, 2010 


Anna Conzemius to Joseph Connelly ’11, 2011 

Anne Lacher to Logan Meilleur, April ’19

Lisa Fenske to Stephen Shaw, June ’19 2013 

Dana Johnson to Cormac Strahan, Aug. ’18


Katherine Nowakowski to Ross Schreck, Oct. ’18

Jill Yanish to Robert Fischer ’13, Aug. ’18

 Vanessa Zimmermann to Brady Knott, Dec. ’18


Amanda Dvorak to Alex Nicholas ’14, Oct. ’18

 Kendall Harstad to Benjamin Broos ’14, Aug. ’18

WESLI WATERS TO AARON DOYLE ’11, MAY ’19 32 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine






 ary Catherine Decker to Bob Pawelski, M July ’19

Claire Kochevar to John Elliot, March ’19

Patricia Malone Gramke & James 1997  Gramke, girl, Emma, July ’19

 Megan Lawson to Nicholas Meyer, Aug. ’18

Anne Ceronsky Warrington & Thomas 2002 

 Emily Schroeder to Matthew Zimdars, July ’19

Noelle Gunderson Elliott & Blake Elliot ’03, 2003 

Maria Bredeck to Brady Winkels, Oct. ’18 2016   Molly Downes to Michael Bins ’16, Sept. ’18 Cathleen Gross to Alec Bramer ’15,  Sept. ’19

Megan Dobberstein to Adam Gooley ’14, 2017  July ’19

 Brittany Roelike to Ben Borgerding, June ’18  Erika Schlangen to Elliott Skogen, July ’19  Kristen Whitaker to Kyle Wojciechowski ’17, June ’19 Kathryn Baumhover to Blake Erickson, 2018  Aug. ’19



Warrington ’02, boy, Elliott, June ’19 boy, Owen, June ’19

 Erin Metz-Verdeja & Frank Verdeja ’04, girl, Willamina, April ’18 Elizabeth Salzer Plumski & Duane 2004  Plumski, girl, Kaylee, Feb. ’19

Meghan Marpe Bos & Brian Bos ’05, 2005  girl, McKenna, April ’19

 Lindsay Fredeen Ebeling & Erik Ebeling, boy, Caleb, Feb. ’18

Jamie Scherer to Jarod Vossen, May ’19


talk LET’S

The choice is yours. Your legacy is in good hands.



Let’s start the conversation now, so your voice can carry on through generations. A legacy gift of any size pays exponential returns. It’s an investment in ambitious, promising women – women who will honor your legacy with transformative, world-changing impact. Make a bequest through your will or trust, name CSB as a beneficiary, or establish a charitable gift annuity.

Contact Gigi Fourré Schumacher ’74 at or 320-363-5480 and learn more.

Fall 2019 | 33








 elissa Winter Philippi & Morgan M Philippi, girl, Cosette, March ’19  Holly Reinsmoen Robinson & Dan Robinson, girl, Loretta, July ’19


L indsay Junjak Schafer & Matthew Schafer, girl, Myla, Feb. ’19  ubrey Dahl Brown & Curtis Brown, girl, A Hayzel, July ’19

Bridget Sitzer Nordlund & Daniel Nordlund ’07, boy, Rory, May ’19

Breanna Riskey-Barta & James Barta, boy, Daxon, July ’19

Nicole Hjelmgren Banick & Peter 2009 

Katie Schlick Lisson & Todd Lisson, boy, 2010  Mathias, March ’19

Amy Eisenschenk Bertram & Curt 2011  Bertram, boy, Raymond, May ’19

Banick ’09, boy, Isaiah, June ’19

 Claire Hoolihan Philippe & J. Michael Philippe ’06, boy, James, July ’19

 Julie Haberle Schomer & Daryl Schomer, boy, Camden, Aug. ’19  Ann Foede Wigton & Daniel Wigton, boy, Anthony, March ’19

 egan Koester Theisen & Kevin Theisen, M boy, Logan, Feb. ’19

 ackenzie Belcher Brandt & Joseph M Brandt ’08, boy, Everett, July ’19

E mily Anderman Greenlee & Jesse Greenlee, girl, Violet, Feb. ’19

 ethany Schiemann Dingmann & Greg B Dingmann, girl, Emma, May ’19

 shley Quam Reiter & Jacob Reiter ’11, A girl, Rose, Aug. ’19

Audrey Gabe & Kyle Boyd, boy, Simon, Feb. ’19

 Amber Zoller Elfering & Joshua Elfering, boy, Archer, June ’19

 amantha Schadow Johnson & Brett S Johnson ’08, boy, Anders, July ’19

 Sara Schneeberg Ivory & Benjamin Ivory ’07, girl, Carmen, July ’18

 rista Oppegard Liepold & Darren K Liepold ’08, boy, Liam, March ’18

 Kim Shackleton Kuhl & Brian Kuhl ’03, girl, Sloane, June ’19

E rica Beesch Myhre & Anthony Myhre, boy, Fin, 2015, girl, Alexandra, 2017

 Erin Fogle Lauer & Benjamin Lauer ’07, girl, Rosalind, Sept. ’19

 shley Preusse Roelike & Christopher A Roelike, girl, Adalyn, Aug. ’19

 ara Grivna Wurm & Tyler Wurm, boy, M Elijah, May ’19

Annie Vaught Arnold & David Arnold, girl, 2007  Britta, May ’18

 elissa Skelly Lindquist & Bertil M Lindquist, girl, Mila, Aug. ’19

 olly Breeggemann McMahon & Luke H McMahon ’07, girl, Collins, May ’19

Jessica Scherer & Peter Lund ’09, girl, Josephine, July ’19

Chelsea Jenson Dunkel & Damon Dunkel, 2010  boy, Max, Aug. ’17, boy, Finn, June ’19






34 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine



 nne Haas Strack & Matthew Strack, girl, A Maria, July ’19

 ebecca Arnhalt Tesch & Taylor Tesch, R girl, Harper, May ’16, boy, Sawyer, June ’18

Mikala Foehrenbacher Gaffke & Drew 2012  Gaffke, boy, Otto, April ’19

J enna Odenthal Heimer & Bradley Heimer, boy, Joseph, July ’19



 attea Hahn Atkinson & Travis Atkinson, M girl, Coretta, Aug. ’18

 lison Schadow Brandes & Jack A Brandes ’13, girl, Emery, July ’19

 ngel Brunik Eggerichs & Michael A Eggerichs, girl, Audrey, Aug. ’18

 irstie Harmdierks Hall & Joshua Hall, K girl, Emmie, Feb. ’19

 Claire Thibault Wallin & Nicolas Wallin, girl, Emilia, June ’18 Sara Rodgers Gamayunov & Oleg 2014 

Gamayunov, boy, Nikolai, Sept. ’16, girl, Alesya, Feb. ’19

 Breanna Richey Magedanz & Tyler Magedanz ’15, girl, Layla, Aug. ’19 Tara Noack Hines & Chase Hines, girl, 2015  Hazel, May ’19

Olivia Zajac Weber & Preston Weber, girl, 2016  Arya, July ’19

| DEATHS 1944 Anne Zwisler McCann, July ’19 Virginette Hardwig Grunwald, April ’19 1950 

Mary “Phyllis” Foley Johnson, July ’19

Suzanne Welch Dachel, mother of 1957 

MaryTeresa Dachel Byker ’87, Aug. ’19

Rosemary Huebsch, OSB, June ’19

Mary Schwappach, May ’19

THEY WANT TO KNOW! Your friends – your classmates – Bennies who’ve never met you. … They want to know about the important moments and milestones in your life. So let us know so we can let them know. Tell us about your promotions, awards, babies, weddings and loved ones whom you’d like folks to remember. It’s not bragging, it’s just sharing. Register in BenniesConnect at to stay up-to-date all around. Or simply email

Edward Gordon, spouse of Rita Godlewski 1959  Gordon, June ’19

Stewart Laird ’59, spouse of Kathleen 1960 

Sullivan Laird, father of Mary Laird Underwood ’87 & Ann Laird ’93, June ’19

Mary Foley Stephenson, May ’19

Jeanette Vouk Fiedler, Aug. ’19 1961  Charles Altstatt, spouse of Margaret 1962  Hurley Altstatt, July ’19

Mark Hoolihan ’92, son of Katherine 1964  Unger Horton, Aug. ’19

Hazel Ehrnreiter Howes, mother of 1965  Sarah Howes ’09, Aug. ’19

Mary O’Rourke Baumhover, mother of 1966 

Christine Baumhover Monserud ’90, Jennifer Baumhover Merthan ’91 & Kathryn Baumhover Charlet ’97, June ’19

1969 Theresa Schumacher, OSB, May ’19 Esther Noske, mother of Mary Noske 1972  LaRoche, June ’19

Marcella Stone, mother of Ethel 1974 

Stone Muchlinski & Sheila Stone Seelhammer ’75, June ’19

Carol Mohs Ryczek, July ’19

Therese O’Brien, mother of Charlene 1975 

O’Brien Kelzer, Peggy O’Brien Schley ’76 & Paula O’Brien Germscheid ’82, March ’19

THERE’S POWER IN CONVERSATION Bennie Conversations: How She Shines is an initiative to capture and preserve what it means to be a Bennie through hundreds of recorded one-on-one interviews. Your stories – funny, sad, heroic, relatable – showcase the impact each of us has when we let our lights shine.

Contact Abby Hansen ’12 at to learn more about … • volunteering to tell your story. • volunteering to interview other Bennies. • suggesting Bennies with great stories to share. • suggesting Bennies who are easy to talk with to become interviewers.

Fall 2019 | 35


Ruth Moore, mother of Barbara Moore 1976 

James Nilson, father of Lori Nilson Jarnot, 1990  Dennis Ste. Marie, father of Kimberley Ste. 1982 

Marie Kresbach, mother of Janice 1977 

Betty Bishop, mother of Marianne Bishop Shay & Nancy Bishop Polomis ’84, May ’19

Dooley, July ’19

Kresbach Florey, May ’19

Leslie Roehl, spouse of Denise Mollenhoff Roehl, April ’17 Merlin Stumvoll, mother of Debbie Stumvoll & Sandra Stumvoll Anderson ’78, Aug. ’19 Loretta Zabinski, mother of Mary Zabinski 1978  & Cathy Zabinski ’83, June ’19

Robert Kuhn, spouse of Carol Bishop, 1979  June ’19

Marie Fier, mother of Julie Ann Fier Kerrigan & JoEllen Fier Betts ’84, Aug. ’19

June ’19

 ichard Kramer ’51, father of Ann Kramer R Weber & Susan Kramer Bagby ’90, June ’17

Lawrence Poston, father of Anne Poston 1983 

Annis & Mary Poston Hargis ’91, Sept. ’19

1984 Therese Swindells Thielen, May ’19 Helen Shantz, mother of Joanne Shantz 1986  Schneider, July ’19

Catherine Herrmann, mother of Mary 1987 

Herrmann Franta, Katherine Herrmann Christian ’89 & Susan Herrmann Rabenberg ’94, Aug. ’19

T helma Hall Nierengarten, mother of Mary Nierengarten Bjorklund ’62, July ’19

James Hanrahan, father of Kathleen Hanrahan Urban & Kara Hanrahan Spike ’97, Sept. ’19

Barbara Kelner, mother of Janis KelnerWassmund, June ’19

Marilyn Woessner, mother of Cheryl 1980 

Florence Hutchinson, mother of Kathryn Hutchinson Majsak, June ’19

Woessner Gerold, July ’19


Gail Schroeder Harris, Aug. ’19

LaVerne Torborg, mother of Julie Torborg Hussey & Laura Torborg Kakach ’83, July ’19

 hilip Heymans ’55, father of Amy P Heymans Kluesner, Ann Heymans Rodich ’82, Maria Heymans Becker ’92 & Christina Heymans Arneson ’94, May ’19


 aula Collette Budd, mother of Alexandra P Budd ’12, Sept. ’17

Rita Kunkel, mother of Kimberly Kunkel Eidem, May ’19 Doris Fischer, mother of Grace FischerSchneider, May ’19 Norman Schroeder, father of Ann Schroeder Gross, Sept. ’19

Marie Becker, May ’19

Ron Roering, father of Amy Roering, Aug. ’19 Leonard Pexa, father of Mary Pexa 1991  Blaschko, May ’19

Geraldine Koshiol, mother of Paula Koshiol Kraus, July ’19 Jean Repulski, mother of Paula Repulski Lindberg, July ’19 Wallace Bunnell, father of Amy Bunnell 1992  Bell, May ’19

Shirley Weeres, mother of Wendy Weeres Sakry, June ’19 Darrell Savage, father of Joan Savage Selberg, July ’19 LeRoy Kieke, father of Michele Kieke, 1995  June ’19

Lucy Santer, mother of Julie Santer 1996  Crane, June ’19

 David Rausch, father of Jennifer Rausch, June ’19 David Frojen, father of Deanna Frojen 1997  Boss, May ’19

Emmanuel Osadebay, spouse of Emily King Osadebay, Aug. ’19 Elizabeth Fluegel, Aug. ’19 1999 

Life is better when

BenniesConnect When Bennies connect, old friendships thrive and new friendships blossom. Use BenniesConnect to submit class notes, update your address, check on a friend and plant the seed for more meaningful connections— both personally and professionally. To register, go to and click on the BenniesConnect link.

36 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine


Keith Hempel, father of Lucia Hempel 2001  Higgins, Aug. ’19

Kathleen Wise, mother of Kristina 2002  Leuthard DeWulf, Aug. ’19

Donald deChambeau, father of Amanda deChambeau Eckerman, Aug. ’19 Suzanne O’Brien, mother of Nicole 2003  O’Brien, July ’19

Marilyn Stockinger, mother of Jacklyn 2004  Stockinger, July ’19

Kent Seaman ’77, father of Kristi 2007  Seaman Norton, Aug. ’19

Barbara Vermeer, mother of Jamie Helling 2009  Gervais, June ’19

Terrance Backus, father of Brianna Backus Oliverius, July ’19 Martin Reker, father of Katrina Reker 2011  Bogart, July ’19

Aaron Broughton, spouse of Stephanie Theobald Broughton, Sept. ’19 Virgil Gruenke, father of Mary Gruenke Greeley, Aug. ’19 Christopher Decker, father of Mary 2015 

Catherine Decker Pawelski, July ’19


REALLY? CSB and SJU on social media are great, but the CSB Alumnae Association has a whole stream of alum-specific content to keep you up-to-date and connected. Like and follow us everywhere!


LOOK GREAT IN RED? Referring a student is one of the best ways you can help build the CSB/SJU tradition. If you know a high school student who would make a great Bennie or Johnnie, let us know by filling out the Student Referral form on our website. As an added bonus, we’ll send them a voucher for a t-shirt that they can redeem during a campus visit.

Go to to help dress someone for a lifetime of success.

Fall 2019 | 37


2 1 1.  Ellie Varberg ’19 and Judy Zimmer ’84 met at the Legacy Gifts Subcommittee Meeting in St. Louis Park in August ’19. Judy worked with Ellie’s mom when they were both starting off in their careers; they are still close friends. 2. The 33rd annual CSB Athletic Golf Classic on Sept. 16 brought together many supporters of CSB athletics, including these classy Bennie alumnae and friends: L to R: Sue Fischer, Mary Underwood Kosak ’76, Sharon Hall ’76, Ann Grundman Swanson ’76, Margi Welle Sitzer ’76, Patty Hamm ’76, Jane White Schneeweis ’76, Nan Brown ’76 and Ann Beuch Cafferty ’76. 3. The CSB and SJU Duluth alum chapters gathered a large group of Bennie and Johnnie families for a picnic at Park Point Beach House on July 31. 4. B  ennie friends of Rebecca Gross Clobes ’12 lifted her up on her wedding day in July! L to R (or somewhere thereabouts): Maddi Milton ’13, Adia Zeman Theis ’12, Mikala Foehrenbacher Gaffke ’12, Rachel Stobb Mitcavish ’12, Rebecca Gross Clobes ’12, Stephanie Battista Cahill ’12, Stephanie Kaplan ’12, Jacquie Donohue ’12, Grace Janssen ’12, Jackie Carlson Hayden ’12, Laura Abell ’12, Alison Tsuchiya Theiler ’12, Elise Whitesell Olson ’12, Kayla West ’12, Tara Maas ’14, Molly Scott ’13, Brenna Finley Erdmann ’12, Stephanie Gibbs Swanson ’12 and Brianna Schrankler ’12. 5. Class of 2004 Bennies enjoyed their 35th birthdays at Reunion 2019 in June. L to R: Missy LaVoir Preiner, Julie Oxley Kazeck, Heather Navratil Singsank, Joquel Rudningen Molenaar, Kelli Doschadis Petersen, Denise Kadrlik-Johnson and Kerry Schoenecker Geis.

38 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine







8 6. The CSB and SJU Denver alum chapters gathered a large group of Bennie and Johnnie families for a picnic at Congress Park on Sept. 8. 7.  Alumnae Board members Maria Stanek Burnham ’01 and JoBeth Pike Ranfranz ’80 cheered on the Twins during CSB/SJU Day at Target Field in July. 8.  The CSB/SJU Young Alum Committee (YAC) hosted “Hot Dogs & Hot Topics” at Padilla in Minneapolis on July 30.


9. C  lass of 1980 Bennies gathered to celebrate the summer of 2019 on the lake. Bennies seated from L to R: Shelly Johnson Hauge, Colleen McCormick Malone, Jane Franta Scully, Erin McKee Merrigan, Patty Feldhege Carruth and Sharon Murphy Burns.

Fall 2019 | 39


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 gifts help us plan for the scholarship support Bennies need.

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. Year to year, 90 percent of Sustainers feel satisfied enough to continue their support. 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.



40 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine



A lifelong learner discovers lifelong giving

Being aware of that option didn’t make it any less of a significant decision. Angie and her husband had clear, honest conversations. “It’s important because if I were to pass away today, that would mean my husband and child would see less than what’s in my 401(k) account. So that was an important conversation to make sure we were on the same page. I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today without my experience at Saint Ben’s. And I want others to have that experience.”

Photo by Megan Hedstrom Tansom ’09


Angie, husband Dan Complin and son Chase have plans for the future – for their family and for Saint Ben's.

Angie Krtnick Complin ’04 learned a lot as a student at Saint Ben’s. She’s continued to learn lessons from the college in the years since she graduated.

people, you know, giving annually from the cash I had in my pocket. Even as I was still paying student loans, and cash resources were limited. It was important to me because I wouldn’t have been able to attend Saint Ben’s if I hadn’t received the scholarships that I did.

“It was a big learning experience to become an alumna,” she recalls. “There’s a tremendous difference. I left campus and had this huge fear that I was just never going to see my Bennie sisters again. But it was exactly the opposite. I learned there is this whole community of people in the Twin Cities. And I just found myself even more appreciative of, and passionate about, Saint Ben’s.” In 2011, that passion led Angie to join the CSB Alumnae Board. And she’s been serving ever since. “Most recently I served as [Alumnae Board] president,” she says. “And, as president, you also serve on the board of trustees of the college. So my involvement has progressed and gotten deeper and broader over the last nine years.” Like thousands of other Bennie alumnae, Angie’s passion for the college led her to give in support of scholarships for today’s Bennies. She says, “My giving to the college started the way it does for most

“And I was aware of the Presidents’ Circle and I had heard of things like the endowment and planned giving. But in my head, those were for people who have more to give. They weren’t for someone like me. I’m still working to grow my retirement fund and grow my assets. I don’t come from a family with wealth; I’m growing it myself.” But Angie still had another lesson to learn. And this one came from Senior Planned and Principal Gift Officer Gigi Fourré Schumacher ’74. “Gigi came to one of the alum board meetings and explained what planned giving really is,” says Angie. “I realized it can include designating the college as a beneficiary of one of my retirement accounts. It wasn’t just for folks who can say, ‘I’m planning to write a check in five years for $1 million.’ It can mean other things that are within my reach.”

Angie has a long way to go before her gift to Saint Ben’s comes to fruition. But if there’s anything she’s learned from Saint Ben’s, it’s that Bennies are worthy of the effort. “I really hope [my gift] provides lots of women the opportunity to have the experiences I did. To come have this transformative experience where you kind of learn who you are, you learn your values, you learn skills that you can bring out into the world. You have experiences that broaden your perspective. You just transform as a whole being and leave campus ready to share those gifts with the world.”

To find out more about including Saint Ben’s in your plans, contact Gigi Fourré Schumacher ’74, senior planned and principal gift officer, at or 320-363-5480.

DISCOVER FREEWILL Putting a will in place is a crucial step for the future – but one that always seems to get put off for another day. Our new collaboration with FreeWill makes creating a will of your own QUICK, EASY and FREE. Visit today!

Fall 2019 | 41



Your words have


The new Alum Referral Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship (renewable for four years, totaling $4,000) available to deserving prospective Bennies and Johnnies. And all it takes to qualify is your recommendation. Give your support to help them make a CSB/SJU experience affordable while you help us fill our campuses with talented, ambitious students who can make our community even stronger. Act quickly though, referral deadline for this year is Wednesday, Jan. 15! Visit today to learn more.


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Saint Benedict's Magazine Fall 2019  

Saint Benedict’s Magazine is published three times a year by the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Saint Benedict's Magazine Fall 2019  

Saint Benedict’s Magazine is published three times a year by the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Profile for csbsju