CSB Winter 2020 Informed Newsletter

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2 Improving Learning to Improve Women’s Lives A Note From the President

8 New Major Highlights the Strength and Flexibility of a Saint Ben’s Degree

4 Building for the Future

10 Campaign Numbers

6 Dr. Corrie Grosse, a star environmental educator

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A Note From the President

IMPROVING LEARNING TO IMPROVE WOMEN’S LIVES “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” Most often attributed to Ghanaian scholar James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey, this nearly 100-year-old quote is both relevant and urgent today. The importance of educating women remains our critical mission, a mission that is not waning. Since the 1980s, women have outpaced men when it comes to earning college degrees in the United States. And, while education is a key indicator of economic and workplace success, women still lag in pay and access to opportunity. Women make up 50.2% of the college-educated workforce, and yet only 6.6% of the Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Mary Dana Hinton CSB President 2

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ONLY 6.6% These statistics don’t intimidate us; they fuel us. We’re working every day to improve teaching and learning so that Saint Ben’s women not only acquire a degree, but they leave equipped with a transformative blend of hard skills and soft skills that strengthen professional and personal success, the confidence to leverage those skills, and a robust network to open doors along the way.

Improved learning doesn’t just mean that women can overcome barriers. To us, it means that women can dismantle those barriers for themselves and those who come behind them. The result: improved lives, for these alums and for everyone they impact.

OF THE FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES ARE RUN BY WOMEN. proudly proclaims, wisdom for a lifetime. Our never-ending pursuit of wisdom means that Saint Ben’s women excel in every domain of their lives and work to empower others to excel as well.

Teaching and learning in the 21st century is not about the private pursuit of information and knowledge. It’s about, as our mission Mary Dana Hinton President, College of Saint Benedict


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Facilities Spotlight

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE If these walls could talk … They’d speak volumes. They’d raise their voices in support of elevating women, asking tough questions and relentlessly seeking answers. They’d speak of hospitality, justice and the Benedictine values that remain stalwart in the face of generations of change. They’d tell stories of suffrage, of world wars, of technological leaps, and of the threads of humanity that weave through it all. In 1881, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict laid the first cornerstone for what would become the Main Building. Nearly 140 years later, we can imagine the hope, anticipation and purpose that beat in their hearts. We’d like to think that they would be thrilled at what this space has become – and at what we believe it can be going forward.

And what it can be is thanks to the generosity and vision of the sisters who carry the legacy of those first pioneers. In 2015, the monastery agreed to the college’s request to purchase three buildings for use as administrative space. This purchase provided an alternative to building new that was both economical and environmentally friendly. It also made it possible for Saint Ben’s to invest in renovations to the Main Building. These renovations were designed to honor the space’s history while transforming it into the academic center of campus. The renovations were fueled by generous support from donors such as Colleen McCormick Malone ’80 and Mike Malone (SJU ’80), who were impressed with the vision for the space. “When Mary Hinton told us about the process


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“There’s a new energy here. The space welcomes active-based pedagogies and facilitates the different ways students want and need to learn today.” - Academic Dean Barb May

of reevaluating the space needs on campus, the savings realized in that reconfiguration and incorporating the Benedictine space with new space, we knew right away that we liked this plan,” says Colleen. On Oct. 24, 2019, Saint Ben’s President Mary Hinton dedicated the renovated space. Her remarks paid tribute to the building’s legacy and the college’s extraordinary partnership with the monastery. She also spoke of the future, celebrating “all who will learn and be inspired here in the years to come.” Indeed, the Main has inspiration built right into its foundation. All around this newly

reimagined building are innovative spaces for learning and connection. Its thoughtful design ensures that “modern technology, materials and energy efficiency don’t mask the beauty of the space; instead, they enhance it,” says President Hinton. The Main Building is now the hub for several departments and includes modern, flexible classrooms; ample office space, student lounges, laboratory space and more. Academic Dean Barb May has already seen firsthand how the space has shifted the dynamic on campus. “There’s a new energy here,” she says. “The space welcomes active-

based pedagogies and facilitates the different ways students want and need to learn today.” The creation of a centralized academic hub enables interdisciplinary connections between a number of different departments, including math, computer science, economics, nursing and psychology. This crosspollination amplifies the power and value of a liberal arts environment. “We can’t solve problems without using multiple perspectives, so having a centralized space where faculty and students can share those different perspectives is really important,” says Barb. The Main was built so well that its 140-year history is just the first chapter. Now we’ve laid a solid foundation for the next 140 years, and we can’t wait to see the stories that will be built upon that foundation.


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Faculty Spotlight

DR. CORRIE GROSSE Want to meet one of the international superstars of the climate change conversation? You’ll have to defer to the Bennies and Johnnies who get first dibs on her office hours. That’s right: We’re lucky enough to have this superstar on our faculty. Of course, Corrie Grosse probably wouldn’t use that word to describe herself. She’s much more concerned with action than with labels. Still, there are a few other labels worth mentioning: writer, scholar, activist, assistant professor and, most recently, part of an ultra-elite group of educators in the climate change movement. Corrie was just selected as one of the “30 under 30” by the North American Association for Environmental Education. More than 175 people applied for this prestigious distinction, and Corrie’s work stood apart. Corrie specializes in the intersection of energy extraction, climate justice and


grassroots organizing. At Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s, Corrie’s courses include Energy and Society, Gender and Environment, Climate Action Workshop and Global Climate Policy. And, her impact extends far beyond the classroom. Corrie’s research examines how communities work together to resist fossil fuels – and she walks the walk. Over the past several years, she has been an active voice in this conversation, helping to lead efforts to ban extreme energy extraction in our country. She has lived with activists resisting natural gas in Idaho, participated in grassroots efforts to ban fracking in California, and interviewed youth activists at the United Nations climate summit. She’s now embarking on a project to investigate how Native and non-Native organizations collaborate to resist the Line 3 tar sands pipeline proposed for Minnesota. (Remember, all of this has taken place prior to her 30th birthday.)

“As a professor, I now have the privilege to spend hours each week sharing my passion for climate justice activism with young people who are leading our future.” - Dr. Corrie Grosse

Corrie knows she’s not in it alone. She’s multiplying her impact by inspiring others to learn what’s at stake and take action. “As a professor, I now have the privilege to spend hours each week sharing my passion for climate justice activism with young people who are leading our future,” she says. She’ll go to the ends of the earth to help make that future brighter. Case in point: Each year, Corrie leads a group of Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s students on a trip to


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the UN Climate Change Conference. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for students to be among the very few who get to be inside the negotiations that may determine the course of our collective future. The 2019 conference (COP 25) took place from Dec. 2-13, 2019, in Madrid, Spain (relocated from its original location in Santiago, Chile, due to unrest there). According to the UN: “Climate change is happening [….] and it is already having a significant impact on the world, and on people’s lives. And if current trends persist, then global temperatures can be expected to rise [enough to] bring wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts.” It’s a daunting reality. And leaders like Corrie are tirelessly taking action and educating others to make a real difference. That’s energy well spent. Professor Grosse (far left) with CSB/SJU students attending the 2019 climate conference. Five students were able to attend due to the generosity of Vicki and Lee Morgan, local advocates for the environment.


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Program Spotlight



Saint Ben’s has always been a place where the whole person is valued. Here, women are encouraged and supported as they develop intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, socially and physically. In the fall of 2020, those segments will intersect more than ever with the launch of a new major: Exercise Science. Exercise Science and Sport Studies has been a minor for many years, and a Sports Medicine minor has been available for even longer. But students’ interests have continued to evolve, and they made their voices heard. Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s listened. After piloting various programs in the area over the past decade, now it’s official. And for the women who complete this degree here, it won’t be just any Exercise Science degree. It’ll be an Exercise Science degree from Saint Ben’s. The distinction is important.


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Why? This degree leverages what a liberal arts education does best: It considers not just the nuts and bolts of the academic material, but also how that material translates to the real world. It is one thing to be able to read and comprehend scientific literature, but it’s another to be able to translate that into evidence-based decisions that affect people’s lives. “We want students to become clientcentered practitioners,” says Don Fischer, chair of the department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies. “That means being able to really understand and interact with their clients in a way that reflects the Benedictine values of respect for others and listening.” An Exercise Science degree rooted in liberal arts also means an integrated, interdisciplinary approach that adds value to whatever career

path a graduate may take – whether it involves research, client care or both. Students will become fluent in their specific area of study (e.g., exercise physiology), but their coursework will also draw from other departments such as Nutrition and Biology. The result, says Academic Dean Barb May, is that graduates “will be better collaborators and thinkers. They’ll embed the lifelong skills of flexible learning and whole-brain thinking that enable them to face any challenge.” This interdisciplinary approach adds value even to those who won’t select Exercise Science as a major. “Any of our preprofessional health students, such as premed, pre-physical therapy or preoccupational therapy, can add value to their studies with this coursework,” says Don.

And they’ll do it in a modern, bright and technologically advanced space in the newly renovated lower floor of the Henrita Academic Building (HAB). All students pursuing an Exercise Science major will start with an introductory course. Designed for first-year students, this course incorporates a career exploration component that will help them identify and test out different subdisciplines with real-world exposure. By the end of their tenure here, they’ll have completed a capstone project focused on either academic research or an internship. Either way, they’ll be ready to enter the field prepared to think, act and serve with integrity and confidence.

“ We want students to become client-centered practitioners.” - Don Fischer, chair of the department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies


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Progress Update



OUTRIGHT $70,792,974

DEFERRED $22,681,832 ACTUAL $93,474,807

GOAL $100M




ACTUAL $26,145,197

Actual (as of 12/31/19) GOAL $12M

Goal Goal Achieved


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Nearly 200 Bennie Conversations illuminate “Why Saint Ben’s” in alumna-to-alumna interviews Bennie Conversations interviewers describe the experience as transformative and skill-building. What are some common themes? •B ennies have a deep appreciation for their alma mater and love being part of a community that keeps getting better. •B ennie stories vary, especially in how they arrived on campus. But common threads develop around our path of experiences, traditions and values.

•B ennies 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 ahansen001@csbsju.edu.


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ANNUAL GIVING 37 South College Avenue St. Joseph, MN 56374 Please direct questions to 800-648-3468, ext. 3 or mutsch@csbsju.edu


Professor John Olson

If you’re looking for a trustworthy, educated source on the most cost-effective way to give back, it’s hard to beat a respected professor emeritus of economics. John Olson fits that description. John is passionate about making school accessible for hardworking students, and he recently made a gift to Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s of some appreciated stock. While everyone’s tax situation is different and each person should consult a tax professional, John advises that “Generally, making charitable gifts of appreciated non-cash assets offers tax advantages.” Plus, John points out, it’s remarkably easy.

Interested in following John’s generous lead? Contact Malik Stewart, CSB development officer, at 320-363-5170.

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