Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2020

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INSIDE 30 Diverse musical, environmental paths steered Scheele toward Saint John’s 20 Celebrating an amazing year in the improbable life of Fr. Columba Stewart 14 Liberal arts education helped Hardwick explore frontiers of laser technology



Features Hardwick left Collegeville ready to soar P. 14 He didn’t think he had the grades or the funds to attend Saint John’s, but his high school principal – a priest and Johnnie alum – thought otherwise. That launched David Hardwick ’60 on a career path that has taken him to the forefront of the laser technology field, and to so much more.

Columba’s remarkable story took root at Saint John’s P. 20 Part scholar, part monastic. Part Benedictine monk, part Indiana Jones. Fr. Columba Stewart is a “cutting-edge guy in a black habit,” and his life story and global preservation achievements combine so many unlikely elements that they make his accomplishments of the past year even more extraordinary.

Scheele dedicated to making the Earth a better place P. 30 Carter Scheele ’21 found a home for his diverse interests at Saint John’s, where he’s a doublemajor in music and environmental studies. Playing viola in a symphony orchestra and fighting wildfires for the U.S. Forest Service is an unusual combination, one that Scheele embraces and relishes.



is the alumni magazine of Saint John’s University. It is published twice a year, in the spring and fall, by the SJU Office of Institutional Advancement.

EDITOR Dave DeLand 320-363-3013





My Perspective View from Collegeville Service to the Church In Sight Johnnie Sports Transforming Lives Class Notes Alumni Connection Inspiring Lives

2 3 12 28 34 36 40 47 48

Jessie Bazan SOT/Sem ’17 Raj Chaphalkar ’08 Buck Dopp ’72 Dana Drazenovich Michael Hemmesch ’97 Ryan Klinkner ’04 Tom Mahowald ’86 Frank Rajkowski

PHOTOGRAPHY Rafael Alvarez ’23 Libby Auger Dan Borgeson Caitlin Harvey ’19 Michael Klonowski ’21 Nathan Lodermeier Guytano Magno Thomas O’Laughlin ’13 Nicole Pederson ’17 B.J. Pickard Capri Potter ’23 SJU photo archives Wayne Torborg Diane Tredik

UNIVERSITY ARCHIVIST Peggy Landwehr Roske ’77

EDITOR EMERITUS † Lee A. Hanley ’58

ADDRESS CHANGES Ruth Athmann Saint John’s University P.O. Box 7222 Collegeville, MN 56321



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Sense of place

defines the Saint John’s experience By Dr. Eugene McAllister, interim president One of the powerful descriptions of Saint John’s University is the phrase “sense of place.” Fr. Hilary Thimmesh, who served as president of Saint John’s, attributed it to Professor David Greene, a “gnarled and weathered” Shakespearean scholar from the University of Chicago and a frequent visitor to campus. As interim president, part of my job is to hold up a mirror to our campus community, pointing out how truly remarkable we are. To me, “a sense of place” captures the uniqueness, mystique and sacredness of Saint John’s. Saint John’s “sense of place” is a combination of people, ideas and ideals, located in this amazing setting of the Abbey Church and wooded fields, all under the umbrella of an intellectual Catholicism that is optimistic, hopeful and embracing. The photographs of the early years of the Abbey and the University that are on display in the Quad give a glimpse of the origins of “sense of place.” The monks laboring in the snow, building the church and classrooms while following the Benedictine call for the glorification of God were the beginnings. This “sense of place” was so exciting that Collegeville could not contain it. Fr. Baldwin Dworschak, the sixth abbot, was invited to help draft the Vatican II documents. He served as interlocutor with Marcel Breuer in the design of the Abbey Church. Our theologians were part of cutting-edge discussions, and the principles of social action and Catholic rural communities were part of the conversation.



In January, Minnesota Public Radio saluted Fr. Colman Barry’s role in creating this leap in communication and community. And Br. Dietrich Reinhart – like Fr. Colman a remarkable president – had the perspicacity to sponsor the creation of The Saint John’s Bible. This “sense of place” is alive today. The recognition achieved recently by Fr. Columba Stewart and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library is grounded in this “sense of place” and Saint John’s national and international importance. I had the privilege of attending Fr. Columba’s Jefferson Lecture in Washington, D.C. and marveled at the record crowd that came to hear a monk from Collegeville, Minnesota. Fr. Columba’s message was rooted in our “sense of place,” deftly turning from manuscripts to human dignity. From Lebanon to Syria to Timbuktu, humble people – people in danger – are entrusting this place, Saint John’s, to preserve their story and protect their heritage. This “sense of place” is advanced by the community members who serve for 30 and 40 years or more. The monastics living as counselors in the student residences build this “sense of place.” We can feel this “sense of place” in the pottery studio, the carpentry shop and the Liturgical Press. Saint John’s graduates share this “sense of place” in their new communities. And of course Fr. Don Talafous’s daily reflections are an integral part of our “sense of place.” As we move forward with our colleagues at the College of Saint Benedict to face the challenges confronting American higher education, I know we will be successful. We have a “sense of place.”


Santos’ message of compromise and healing resonates at SJU By Frank Rajkowski Achieving real change is often a difficult process, and the risk of failure can be high. But taking those chances is sometimes the only way to make the world around you a better place. That was the message conveyed by Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia from 2010-18, when he delivered the 13th annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture Feb. 4 at Saint John’s University’s Stephen B. Humphrey Theater. The annual McCarthy Lecture is sponsored by the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at SJU. It is meant to honor the SJU graduate and former Minnesota senator and presidential candidate’s deep commitment to the ideals and principles of democratic self-government. It seeks to inspire a new generation of young people to pursue fresh ideas, to challenge the status quo, to effect positive change in their communities and, like McCarthy himself, to lead with honesty, integrity and courage.

not with your friends. That’s important to understand.

That made Santos, who took the lead role in ending a 50-plus year civil war in his nation and won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, a fitting choice to deliver this year’s lecture.

The event marked a homecoming for Saint John’s graduate Valentin Sierra ’10, who interviewed Santos on stage following his lecture.

“It’s always easier to feel sorry for what you did than to get to the end of your life and feel sorry for what you could have done and didn’t,” he told the crowd. “Be bold. Be ambitious. If you’re not ambitious and you don’t set your aim high, your progress will not be as high as you would have liked.” The civil war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) stretched more than five decades. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians were killed while millions more were displaced. As defense minister, Santos gained popularity by the success he had battling the FARC, whose brutality caused the group to be labeled as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other countries. That helped pave the way for his election as president, but it also placed him in a unique position to make peace – even if it took a huge toll on his popularity with many Colombians. “Peace doesn’t just unintentionally grow,” Santos said. “You have to construct it. And you make peace with your enemies,

“Reconciliation and making peace are much more difficult than making war. Reconciliation and making peace means being able to persuade and to forgive. That’s very difficult.”

Sierra currently serves as the secretary of planning of the Colombian state of Caldas, located in the central part of the country. There, he is the governor’s “manager of public investments and development initiatives.” Sierra grew up in Colombia in the midst of the conflict with the FARC. He relished the lecture as a chance to return to his alma matter and show off a different side of his country than that to which many Americans have previously been exposed. “This is a historic opportunity for Colombia to be portrayed in a different light at Saint John’s and Saint Benedict,” Sierra said. “As a country that is transforming itself into a peaceful, prosperous society. A country that is turning the page of history and overcoming its violent past. “A country that has found reconciliation and healing.” Sierra said Santos’ example provides lessons that extend far beyond the borders of Colombia itself. “The whole world is sort of polarized right now, and the message that President Santos came to deliver is that we can find a third way of conducting the people’s business,” he said. “There is room to find compromise and healing.”




Modeas, Benedictine Volunteer Corps members inspired to serve The mission Alex Modeas is about to undertake began when the Saint John’s University senior was still in high school. That’s when he saw a 60 Minutes profile of Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School, a secondary school in Newark, New Jersey established in 1868 by Benedictine monks of Newark Abbey. The school has achieved nationwide acclaim for its academic success amid challenging conditions in Newark. “That really stuck with me,” said Modeas, a double major in political science and peace studies who is vice president of the SJU Student Senate this school year.

be filled over the course of this semester. The Newark Abbey posting is the only one in this year’s group of assignments located in the U.S. Modeas, who previously studied abroad in South Africa, said joining a domestic community helped draw him to the program. “When I studied abroad in South Africa, I was able to help tutor in schools,” he said. “So I’ve had that international experience. But it really appealed to me to have the chance to make a difference at the local level in a community in this country. So many things start out at the local level and can grow from there.” This year’s group of volunteers and their assignments:

“Some of the students involved in that story ended up coming here to Saint John’s. Over my time here, I’ve befriended them. I’ve learned more about their experiences and, year after year, my interest (in Saint Benedict’s Prep) has grown. “Some of those students have put in their plug and said they thought I’d make a great volunteer at their high school.” Now Modeas will get the chance to be just that. The Eden Prairie High School graduate is one of 24 SJU seniors selected for the 2020-21 Benedictine Volunteer Corps. The BVC is a service opportunity offered to recent graduates of SJU. According to its mission, “grounded in Benedictine values and spirituality, the BVC provides a unique encounter with the Catholic monastic tradition, the multitude of needs expressed in religious communities around the world and the challenge to commit one’s talents to meeting those needs.” Since it was founded in 2003, the BVC has sent over 240 volunteers to Benedictine monasteries around the world. Participants spend 10 months to a year supporting those communities in their work, prayer and common life. Modeas is one of three volunteers who will be assigned to the Newark Abbey working at Saint Benedict’s Prep School. “In my service experience, I’ve learned that it’s not about you, but about the people who you’re serving,” he said. The cohort will eventually number 27 with three spots yet to



Alex Modeas, Nick Swanson, Josh Aune – Newark Abbey/ Saint Benedict’s Prep School (Newark, New Jersey). Jack Cassidy, Drew Lodermeier – Santa Maria de Montserrat (Montserrat, Spain). Andrew Ellingson, Young Cardinal – Colegio Sant Anselmo (Rome, Italy). Owyn Ferguson, Leo Cumplido – Benedictine Monastery of Tabgha (Tabgha, Israel). Terran Ferguson, Jack Colleran – Tibati Monastery (Bogota, Columbia). Bardia Bijani Aval, Ben Vogel – Abadia de Jesucristo Crucificado (Esquipulas, Guatemala). Logan Spitzer, Dan Gehrz – Our Lady of Angels Priory (Cernavaca, Mexico). Andrew Scherer, Cameron Swanson – Saint Maur’s Hanga Abbey (Hanga, Tanzania). Noah Becker, Gabe Johnson – Saint Gertrude Convent of Imiliwaha (Imiliwaha, Tanzania). Keegan Odell – Christ the King Priory (Tororo, Uganda). Ethan Ploeger – Monastery of Saint Benedict of the Copts (Cairo, Egypt). Gabe Lovejoy, Joe Bello – Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat (Manila, Philipines). Sam Truhler – India/Sri Lanka.

Abbey Church organ project completes an original vision By Frank Rajkowski The sound of the present pipe organ will remain very much unchanged. But when work on the addition of nearly 3,000 new pipes to the organ at the Saint John’s Abbey and University Church is finally completed later this year, those sitting in the pews will most certainly feel the difference. “It’s not so much making it louder,” said former Saint John’s University president and longtime music professor Fr. Robert Koopmann ’68, SOT ’81, OSB, who has been playing the organ for decades. “It’s making the sound fuller and richer. The enormous 32-foot long pipes going in now will sound an octave lower than any of the pipes in the organ. The listeners will hardly hear a difference. But they will feel it. “It will vibrate the entire building ever so slightly.” Pipes were being installed last fall, with testing scheduled to follow. The official unveiling of the expanded instrument is scheduled for April 26. With the addition of the new pipes, which range from the size of a pencil to as heavy as 850 pounds, the organ will contain a total of almost 6,000. It will fulfill the vision for the original instrument designed by renowned organ builder Walter Holtkamp Sr. The current organ dates back to 1961, when the 2,200-seat church designed by famed architect Marcel Breuer first opened. Original plans for the instrument called for an organ with considerably more power and musical color. Installation began in September on the new pipes, which will provide both. “In a way, it’s finishing it, but it’s really more than that,” Fr. Bob said. “And we were so blessed to be able to secure the services of Martin Pasi, who we think is the top organ designer in the country.” The new pipes are both metal and wood. Pasi’s company – Pasi Organ Builders – is overseeing the project. Most of the new pipes were crafted at his facility in Roy, Washington. But a number of them – including enormous wooden ones so large a small child could fit inside – were constructed at the Abbey’s woodshop in Collegeville. The expansion has been on the wish list for years. Fr. Bob said

circumstances recently fell into place to complete the $1.2 million project, funding for which has already been provided by donors. “Everything came together at the right time,” Fr. Bob said. “We’ve wanted to do this forever. But all of a sudden, the donors came forth. They really came out of the woodwork. And they were almost all new.” Pasi said he was drawn to the project because it was not intended to change a historically significant instrument. “The goal is to make the organ more powerful,” he said, “the way an organ should be in such a large building. “I wouldn’t have taken on the project if they’d asked me to change the old organ. This is a historic situation being the last organ designed by such a well-known builder. Our mission is to enhance – and really complete – the original design.” CSBSJU.EDU/NEWS



SJU football team racks up milestones in memorable season The 2019 Saint John’s football team advanced farther than the program had in 16 years, racking up a series of memorable victories and record-setting performances along the way. The Johnnies finished the season 7-1 in MIAC play and 12-2 overall, earning a share of the school’s 34th conference title and advancing to the NCAA Division III semifinals for the first time since 2003. Senior quarterback Jackson Erdmann ’19 solidified his status as the top passer in Saint John’s history, finishing his college



career with a school- and conference-record 139 touchdown passes and 11,639 passing yards. Erdmann’s 5,040 passing yards in 2019 were 28 shy of the Division III single-season record. He and senior offensive tackle Ben Bartch ’20 had NFL scouts regularly making the trek to Collegeville to evaluate their pro prospects. • Led by Erdmann, who threw for 451 yards and three touchdowns, Saint John’s rolled past archrival Saint Thomas 38-20 before a sellout crowd of 19,508 Oct. 19 at Allianz Field in St. Paul.

• The Johnnies piled up 559 yards of total offense, led by 481 passing yards and four touchdown passes from Erdmann, to hold off Aurora (Illinois) 51-47 in the first round of the Division III playoffs Nov. 23 at Clemens Stadium. A 55-26 second-round win at Chapman (California) and a thrilling 34-33 quarterfinal victory at Wheaton (Illinois) followed before Saint John’s fell 35-32 at WisconsinWhitewater in the semifinals Dec. 14. • Erdmann, who won the Gagliardi Trophy honoring Division III’s most outstanding player in 2018, finished as runner-up for the award – trailing quarterback Broc Rutter of national champion North Central (Illinois) by just three votes. • Senior guard Dan Greenheck ’20 was named to the Associated Press Division III All-America first team for the

second straight season. Erdmann, Bartch, sophomore wide receiver Ravi Alston ’22 and junior defensive end/linebacker Danny Pietruszewski ’21 were second-team picks. Bartch was named to the All-America first team while Erdmann, Greenheck and senior defensive tackle J.W. Windsor ’20 were named to the second team. Senior cornerback Chris Harris ’20 was an honorable mention selection. Erdmann was named to the American Football Coaches Association’s All-America second team. • Bartch became the fourth Johnnies player, and the third in a row, to be named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The team was honored at halftime of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Jan. 1 in New Orleans. He also was invited to play in the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl Jan. 25 in Mobile, Alabama. CSBSJU.EDU/NEWS



Jim Sexton to receive 2020 Fr. Walter Reger Award Jim Sexton, Saint John’s University class of 1981, will receive the 2020 Fr. Walter Reger Distinguished Alumnus Award. It’s the highest honor bestowed by the SJU Alumni Association for service to the Saint John’s community. Sexton will receive the award as part of Saint John’s Day activities April 17. “I am honored, humbled and very appreciative to the Saint John’s community for nominating and bestowing this amazing honor to me,” Sexton said. “In my 43-year relationship with the university, I have been blessed to have crossed paths with Benedictines, professors, regents/trustees and fellow alumni. Together they have fueled my passion for getting involved with fellow SJU advancement team members, helping others to realize the opportunity and experience I was so fortunate to have.”

Raiola’s Basten Award honors his accomplishments and his friend’s memory For Lou Raiola, being named the 2019 winner of the Bob Basten Excellence in Leadership award was an especially meaningful honor. That’s not only because it recognized the 1982 Saint John’s University graduate’s decades of work uniting athletes, celebrities and companies with nonprofits to support worthy and vital causes. More importantly, it was because the award is named for his friend and former teammate. “I’m very humbled by this,” said Raiola, who received the award at a ceremony at halftime of the Johnnies’ Homecoming football game against Augsburg Oct. 5 at Clemens Stadium. “It’s such a tremendous honor.” The award is bestowed annually upon a former Johnnies football player who has exhibited outstanding leadership traits, has been involved in his community and with his alma



Sexton is president of Sexton Consulting Group, an insurance and financial services firm. He brings almost 40 years of expertise to client consulting at the retail level, and also has experience working the wholesale side as vice president for a major national insurance carrier. “Over the past four decades since graduating from Saint John’s, Jim has consistently made SJU a central part of his personal and professional life,” said Joe Mucha ’66 and Tom Nicol ’91 in their nomination letter. “To Jim, Saint John’s is family … and while Saint John’s has been there for Jim, Jim has always been there for Saint John’s.” Sexton served on the SJU Board of Regents/Trustees twice – 1999-2008 and 2009-18. He has dedicated himself to helping recruit future Johnnies from places that were impactful in his life: his hometown of Wayzata in the western Twin Cities, the greater Chicago area and the states of Arizona and Texas. Sexton also made a commitment to helping Saint John’s strengthen its relationship with SJU alumni and CSB alumnae in the Bahamas. Sexton currently serves on the new SJU Leadership Council, which is focused on strengthening the future for Saint John’s. mater, has carried a sense of fair play beyond the football field and has demonstrated an overall commitment to excellence. It’s named in honor of Basten, also a member of the class of 1982, who went to training camp with the Minnesota Vikings before embarking on a successful career as a business executive. He died in 2012 after a decade-long battle with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Raiola, who played football and hockey for the Johnnies, was a teammate of Basten’s and an All-MIAC running back in 1980. Since graduating from Saint John’s, he has been dedicated to uniting individuals and groups together to promote the greater good. He was a pioneer of what today is known as “cause marketing.” After working several years at Xerox after college, he founded Excelsior-based Force Multiply in 1986 – a company meant to combine his love of sports and a desire to serve the community. The company has helped partner companies, athletes and celebrities with nonprofits like the Special Olympics. “For the balance of my career and life, I want to be an igniter, working with others to make a difference in our world.”

Saint John’s Pottery celebrates 40th anniversary with Johanna Kiln’s fullest firing It had all the trappings of a 300-member family reunion, so perhaps it was only fitting that there was a decidedly celebratory vibe to the 40th anniversary lighting ceremony and firing of the Johanna Kiln at The Saint John’s Pottery. “This is a wonderful family that has come on this wonderful day,” said Richard Bresnahan ’76, Saint John’s University’s Artist-In-Residence and director of The Saint John’s Pottery since its inception in 1979.

“People often ask ‘How many pieces are in the kiln?’ We stopped counting at 12,000,” Bresnahan said. “This is the fullest firing that we’ve ever had in 40 years at Saint John’s.” The event was full in other ways as well. The assembled crowd paid tribute to kiln namesake Sister Johanna Becker, OSB, and other prominent benefactors of The Saint John’s Pottery.

“This is the 25th anniversary of the Johanna Kiln,” Bresnahan said, “so you’re here for a very special day.”

“As we remember Sister Johanna, whose name this kiln bears, fill our hearts with warm gratitude and affection for her compassionate, passionate commitment to artistic beauty,” said Saint John’s Abbot John Klassen ’71, OSB, who delivered the blessing.

The Oct. 18 lighting ceremony kicked off a 10-day firing of the largest wood-burning kiln in North America. Two years of planning went into the firing, along with local clay and glaze materials and firewood gathered from the Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum.

“The Pottery could not be possible without the monastery, and it could not be possible without this university,” added Bresnahan, whose wife Colette lit the kiln’s first chamber. “Their care and deep belief in an eco-mutual world is really the heart and soul of this studio.”



Inspiring Redmon earns prestigous teaching award Thomas Redmon has been inspiring students in the classroom since the 2010 Saint John’s graduate left Collegeville for Montana. Now, the first-grade teacher at Washington Primary School in Hamilton, Montana has been recognized for his work at the very highest level. Redmon has been named one of Montana’s recipients of the Presidential Awards in Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching – the highest recognition a K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teacher can receive from the federal government. Award winners come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. One math and one science teacher from each state are selected each year, alternating between the K-6 and 7-12 grade levels. In all, four teachers from Montana were honored this year. All winners received a signed certificate from the president, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C. for a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. That included a ceremony at the Department of the Interior on Oct. 17 and a White House tour the following day. “It was a pretty amazing experience,” Redmon said. “It was just incredible to be around so many other inspiring teachers from all over the country.” At SJU, Redmon – a native of Roberts, Wisconsin – played JV basketball and also served as a student manager and student assistant coach for the varsity team. He has taught in various schools in Montana and is now in his fourth year in the Hamilton School District. His first two years in the district were spent teaching fourth grade at Daly Elementary School. “My wife and I were just looking to do something different after college, and Montana seemed like a great adventure,” he said. “We’ve been out here 10 years now and we love it.” Those who knew Redmon in Collegeville are not surprised at the success he has gone on to achieve in his chosen field. “It was a big decision for him when it came to continuing


to play basketball or helping manage and coach,” former Johnnies basketball coach Jim Smith said. “And we encouraged him to help us out because he was a very bright guy with a great personality and a real eye for detail. “He was tremendous. He could see things that we needed to get done before we even told him to do it.” Smith said even then he could see attributes that would translate to the classroom. “He was just very perceptive when it came to what was going on,” Smith said. “He was a very intelligent young man. He was very organized. And he had the nicest personality you could ask for.” Redmon credits his time at SJU/CSB with helping to provide him with the background and training he needed to become a successful teacher. “The education program at Saint John’s and Saint Benedict is awesome,” he said. “The faculty when I was there were incredible, and I know a lot of them are still around. I had the chance to work at the Lab School in St. Joe, which was really helpful. “I had opportunities to get into the classroom, and that really benefitted me a lot.”

Nowak scores for cancer research in return to basketball court Ted Nowak’s return to the basketball court could not have gone much better – especially when you consider how many people the 1979 Saint John’s graduate may have helped by lacing up his sneakers again. Nowak was an All-MIAC performer during his time at Saint John’s University. He went on to play professionally for two years in Europe, and continued playing in rec leagues until age 55 – over seven years ago. “I stopped when my joints started giving me trouble,” Nowak said. “I had knee surgery. Then, two years ago, Pat McKenzie ’79 (the longtime team physician for the Green Bay Packers, and father of Saint John’s head basketball coach Pat ’04) did shoulder surgery on me. “If I had any thoughts of trying to shoot a basketball again, that pretty much did away with them.” Until, that is, a worthy cause called him back one more time. For over 30 years, Nowak has worked for Constellation Brands, a company that produces beer, wine and spirits. Constellation supports the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer

Sustainable greens flourish even during an SJU winter Even in the dead of the frigid Minnesota winter, 100 percent organic greens like lettuce mixes, chard, kale and pak choi are still growing in the heart of Flynntown on the Saint John’s University campus.

Research, which began in 1993 and was co-founded by the late Jim Valvano, a legendary college basketball coach. Because of his fundraising efforts the past nine years, Nowak was invited to the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York. On behalf of Constellation, he presented a check for $1.7 million – the result of national fundraising with Corona distributors. But Nowak wanted to find a way to take his support even further. So, with the assistance of the Jimmy V Foundation, he came up with a fundraiser of his own. That effort saw Nowak take to the court at halftime of the Indiana/Connecticut game, and in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd, shoot 10 free throws. Donors were allowed pledge a flat amount to support his cause, or a certain amount for each free throw he made. He hit eight out of 10 shots, raising over $40,000 on top of the $1.7 million check he had already presented. His fundraiser was so successful that the Jimmy V Foundation asked if he would repeat it next season. He agreed, hoping it will inspire similar free throw shooting across the country. swiss chard and 15 bundles of pak choi. This year, the student staff operating the facility numbers around 12. “It allows students the chance to learn how a greenhouse operates and what it takes to manage that kind of operation,” said Will Haanen, the SJU senior who is serving as the greenhouse’s general manager this school year.

That’s thanks to Edelbrock Greens, a student-run and operated deep-winter greenhouse that opened in 2013 and now provides produce to on-campus dining services, members of the College of Saint Benedict and SJU communities and the Minnesota Street Market in St. Joseph.

“It helps them learn sustainable ways of growing their own food. It also helps provide Dining Services with fresh leafy greens during the winter months, which cuts down on the amount they have to have shipped in from someplace else. That, in turn, cuts down on emissions.”

The greenhouse utilizes solar power and its growing season stretches from early fall well into the spring. Last year, it produced around 70 pounds of leafy greens, 25 bundles of

Haanen, a computer science major, said working at the greenhouse has supplied him with skills he expects will prove valuable in whatever career he eventually chooses.



On a sweltering June afternoon, Bishop Mark Seitz, SOT/Sem ’86, set out on a journey familiar to many in his flock: crossing the southern border. The bishop of El Paso, Texas accompanied a family of migrants across the Lerdo International Bridge, a legal entry point into the United States where many seek asylum — and have been turned away. As they made their way toward the bridge, a 9-year-old girl grabbed the bishop’s hand. Pigtails and a pectoral cross fell in stride. “It’s kind of like a parade, isn’t it?” Seitz quipped to his new friend. “And you’re the star!”

headed toward


Beaming together, they

Reuters photo

By Jessie Bazan, SOT/Sem ’17


U.S. Border Patrol granted the family entry into the United States hours later. Seitz recalls it as “one of the happiest moments.”

they feel unsafe, even in El Paso,” Seitz wrote. “They feel that they have targets on their backs because of their skin color and language.”

But many migrants are not as fortunate. The reality of family separations and filthy detention centers casts a dark shadow along this border community. Serving in El Paso raises challenging questions for Seitz.

Seitz’s daily life in El Paso may seem like a far cry from Collegeville, but the bishop recalls his time at the School of Theology and Seminary fondly. “I felt the attraction to the monastic foundation and

“… start with the fundamental, irreplaceable human dignity of every person and the preferential option Jesus shows for the poor.” “What do we do with that Christian mandate to love our neighbor, to care for those in trouble, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry?” the Saint John’s University School of Theology graduate said. “What do those words really mean?” Through the hardships, Seitz sees the Benedictine practice of hospitality shine through the people of El Paso. “When someone comes here, we want them to feel they are home,” Seitz said. “They may be away from the place most familiar to them, but we want them to know they are welcome.” Seitz saw a resilient, welcoming spirit pour out of the community again after the August 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso that left 22 people dead and 26 injured. “What you heard from people – not just religious leaders but everybody, including victims’ families – was we’re not going to allow this to change us,” recalled Seitz. “We’re not going to stoop to that level. We’re not going to hate. We’re going to be even more who we are: people who love. That’s the character of this place.” Inspired by the character of his people and outraged by the injustices plaguing them, Seitz wrote a pastoral letter on racism that garnered national attention in fall 2019. He called out white supremacy and systemic racism.

the long history of involvement of Saint John’s with the liturgical movement,” said Seitz, who studied with the revered Fr. Godfrey Diekmann, OSB, in one of his last years teaching. The tough part about being in Collegeville, Seitz said, was focusing on studies in the fall. “I was outside all the time!” he said with a laugh. “I’ll never forget fall around the lakes at Saint John’s. It’s just one of the best moments of my life in terms of having time in the midst of beauty.” To fellow alumni, Seitz suggests getting back to the basics when it comes to addressing issues at the border. “It doesn’t mean there’s not a place for a border or that we shouldn’t have an orderly process. All of that is true,” Seitz explained. “But if you’re thinking about what our response should be at the border, start with the fundamental, irreplaceable human dignity of every person and the preferential option Jesus shows for the poor. “Start there and then work to find the solutions.” Jessie Bazan, M.Div., SOT/Sem ’17, helps Christians explore vocation and calling in her work with the Collegeville Institute. She is editor and co-author of Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church (Twenty-Third Publications, 2019).

“Latinos now tell me that for the first time in their lives


Hardwick’s laser focus

Saint John’s honed

’60 SJU grad has ridden the cutting edge of laser and fiber optic innovation throughout his stunning and still vibrant career. By Dana Drazenovich David Hardwick didn’t think he was going to college.

An emerging technology

He didn’t think he had the grades. He didn’t think he had the funds. He didn’t think much beyond the city limits of Austin, Minnesota.

The first working laser was unveiled May 16,1960.

His high school principal, a priest and Saint John’s University alumnus, thought differently. He saw the brilliance behind Hardwick’s less-than-dazzling report card and covertly put in a good word for him.

Hardwick graduated with a Saint John’s bachelor’s degree 14 days later and walked into a job at the Honeywell Research Center and a technology so new it was, as he put it, “a product without an application. “Well, now the applications are all over the place.”

Today, Hardwick ’60 is a Saint John’s education incarnate – a physics major infatuated with English and history, a successful executive at home in an art gallery, a tech innovator with an eye for opportunity and a commitment to humanity.

Hardwick has ridden the cutting edge of laser and fiber optic innovation throughout his stunning and still vibrant career. He was part of the Honeywell team that built one of the earliest lasers in existence, right behind the original that Theodore Maiman developed at Hughes Research Laboratories.

“I really, really believe in liberal arts education. And I also really, really believe in not treating college like a trade school. That’s important,” he said.

Now, at age 81, he continues to help startup companies develop and market new laser applications in everything from agriculture to eye surgery.

In 1956, when Hardwick left Spam Town for Flynntown, the industry that would define his life’s work didn’t exist. Only specialized scientists were thinking about Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER), but lasers were destined to reach ubiquity, and Hardwick would apply his liberal arts background to help them get there.

“My mantra: What do I want to do? I want to work on things that are interesting. I want to work on things that do good in the world. And I want to make money. And all three of these things are really important. If you don’t have that third one, by the way, you can’t go back and do it again,” Hardwick said.

He “was not a superb student,” as his friend and former professor Br. Wilfred Theisen likes to chide him, but Hardwick left Collegeville ready to soar.

Saint John’s lit his passion and his path, and Hardwick wants to pay forward the gift Fr. James Habiger ’47 gave him when he recommended the school and secretly helped Hardwick get a scholarship.

“I think once David got out in the world where he had to make his own way, really, he was a mover after that.”

“I just feel that what this place did for me, it should be doing for others,” Hardwick said.



HE DEDICATES TIME AND EXPERTISE to Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s Entrepreneur Scholars and contributes financially to a variety of programs, including scholarships for first-generation students like him. HE EXTENDS HIMSELF to current Johnnies like Michael Klonowski ’21, a physics major and student photographer who met Hardwick during a photo shoot this fall. Hardwick asked him about his interests and told him about the Technical University of Denmark, where Hardwick is an Industrial Fellow. Klonowski added him on LinkedIn the next day and discovered he had just connected with a laser industry pioneer.

As technology changes more rapidly and career paths become less linear, the value of a liberal arts education becomes increasingly clear. Just ask Adam Anderson. Anderson earned his Saint John’s bachelor’s degree in economics with minors in math and French, got a law degree from Stanford Law School and did a quick stint as an attorney. He then shifted to a career in the tech industry working for companies he had formerly represented. He advanced from product manager to software engineer to engineering lead at Silicon Valley software developer Palantir Technologies Inc., which in December won a $111 million contract with the U.S. Army. Anderson gratefully acknowledges the freedom Saint John’s gave him to explore a wide range of subjects outside of his major. His multidisciplinary studies and multifaceted career gave Anderson firsthand knowledge that the abilities to learn and adapt quickly and solve problems adeptly are key skills in today’s dynamic job market. “That’s where the breadth as well of the depth of a Saint John’s education really shines.”



Long Nguyen launched his first business venture as a Saint John’s junior and then vaulted into a tech career in Silicon Valley. Nguyen recently co-founded San Francisco-based Everfit, a business-to-business platform that helps gyms and wellness centers build client relations and lets fitness trainers create and deliver training from a mobile app. Nguyen’s résumé also includes running a software development shop and working for a Silicon Valley advisory firm for startup CEOs. His own first startup, Campus Konnect, became SJU/ CSB’s official mobile app. He credits Saint John’s for exposing him to a wide variety of subjects beyond his management major, setting his course through Entrepreneur Scholars and kickstarting his success with the renowned Johnnie alumni network. “I met my first boss and many other mentors through this network. The willingness of alumni to connect with each other and especially help recent graduates is unparalleled.” Nguyen hopes to develop Everfit into a major player in the fitness and wellness industry and strives to bring Silicon Valley expertise to the startup ecosystem in his home country of Vietnam.


The Saint John’s Pottery firing is a chance for Hardwick (upper left) to stoke the flames for an artistic endeavor he admires greatly and rekindle his relationship with the campus he loves deeply. “I was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s kind of spooky. I was talking to this guy in person.” Klonowski will remember their conversation for a long time. “It felt empowering for him to put out his hand for me and ask for my contact information, too. I thought that was really cool – and how interested he seemed in what I was doing.” That kind of connection can alter someone’s course. “That’s what I like to do,” Hardwick said. “Change people’s lives, in a nice way. It’s not a power thing. It’s just a ‘You know, this worked for me, and so the opportunity is there for others.’ ” HE TRAVELS from his home in Kennebunk, Maine, to volunteer when the Saint John’s Pottery fires the Johanna Kiln. It’s a chance for him to stoke the flames for an artistic endeavor he admires greatly and rekindle his relationship with the campus he loves deeply. “I just think of this place as home, you know?” Even his affinity for art can be traced back to Saint John’s, where he took his required art course and then stuffed it in the back of his memory until he was in his mid-20s and colleagues talked him into visiting the National Gallery of Art while they were at a convention in Washington, D.C. I said, ‘Let’s go and get a drink. The hell with the National Gallery.’ And they prevailed upon me to go with them. And I walked in and I was just, as the

English say, I was just gobsmacked, and I’ve been going to the National Gallery – I’ll bet you I’ve been there 75 times. Oh, I love that place. I just love that place.” When he visits a new city, he heads for its museums. “That’s what matters to me. And so, that came out of that art history course I took,” Hardwick said. “Did I remember any of it? It’s somewhere back there, but it’s hidden under layers and layers. But has it been useful for me? It has.”


A spectrum of opportunities Lasers tend to be a single wavelength: “That is, they’re not only red, they’re one exact shade of red, or one exact wavelength. That’s true of blue and all the way through to infrared. What that means is we can bring the light to a focus, to power levels much greater than the sun,” Hardwick explained. Pantone 200, better known around here as Johnnie Red, has a wavelength of about 620 nanometers, and it has cast a light on Hardwick’s life and career that extends well beyond his major. Certainly, his physics training helped him land his first job. However, it took more than scientific expertise to recognize business opportunities, to motivate employees, to work effectively in other countries. “I think what I do best is to form environments where other people can work together,” he said. “My own definition of what a CEO is or what a chair is, is that they’re largely facilitators. They facilitate an opportunity for people who really know something, i.e. the engineers, scientists and all that, to work together in a way that will be mutually attractive.” The liberal arts helped lay the groundwork for that kind of communication, community focus and critical thinking. “I think that at the undergraduate level, your task is to get yourself ready for the world, if you will, by having a technology in place, but also understanding the world that you’re going to be living in, the people that you’re going to be talking with, the partners you’re going to have,” Hardwick said. Saint John’s influence also shines through in Hardwick’s Benedictine-like humility. He has launched, built and led companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia and has a résumé that reads like a timeline for laser evolution, yet he tends to turn the focus to those who helped him succeed. “Through my career I’ve benefitted from just wonderful people,” he said. THE MONKS like Theisen, Fr. Alberic Culhane and Fr. Don Talafous, who taught him about the sciences and humanities and a world outside of himself. “I think that this place gives you a dose of what it means to sacrifice what you want to do in life to help others do what they want,” Hardwick said. THE HONEYWELL TEAM that took a chance on him right out of college, a job he said he landed thanks to “dumb luck.”

Imagination plays a critical role as Matt Reubendale and his teammates develop highly complex and valuable tech projects at San Diego-based Teradata. They often sift through the complexities and tap into their ingenuity by asking “What would have to be true?” Reubendale finds he is able to approach that question in a fundamentally different way than colleagues with more focused backgrounds. For that he thanks the varied disciplines and experiences of his Saint John’s liberal arts education. Reubendale came to Collegeville on an Abbey Scholarship, majored in political science, minored in psychology and poured himself into campus radio station KJNB. He learned how to get things done and how to be a leader as he and his fellow KJNBers figured out a way to stream the station on the Internet. Countless Johnnies and Bennies have helped him in his career since then, and he hopes to help others in theirs, he said. “The most important thing I learned at Saint John’s is you can’t do anything worth doing by yourself.”

THE FOUNDERS OF SPECTRA-PHYSICS, his second employer. He still gets a lump in his throat when he thinks about them. “I was the youngest and the dumbest, which is a great place to be when you’re 27



years old. And the five guys who started that company were all my father’s age … and they all treated me like a kid, and it was great because they just helped me so much,” he said.


THE WOMAN who helped him nurture the human side of his professional skill set as he matured from “the original smart ass” (his words) to an empathetic, motivating manager — Kathy, his wife of 39 years. “I have a very understanding wife who is trained in social work, and now her client list is just one, and that would be me,” Hardwick said with a laugh. “So, you know, she’s helped me a lot. I perhaps have a little more emotional intelligence now. I know I haven’t always had it. That’s something you do learn — in the school of hard knocks.” THE TALENTED YOUNG PROFESSIONALS who call on his expertise as they advance new applications of laser technology.

“It’s possible.” The motto emblazoned on the doors of DAYTA Marketing’s St. Cloud headquarters captures more than the company’s ethos. It also reflects CEO Luke Riordan’s spirit as he transformed from Saint John’s nursing student to management major to successful entrepreneur. Saint John’s liberal arts education taught him to welcome evolution both personally and professionally, and its diverse curriculum helped him discover that he had an affinity for marketing. Riordan wanted to serve his community in a way that uplifts the work of others. Today, DAYTA provides more than 150 organizations with digital marketing, marketing consulting and creative services. DAYTA’s core values – which include “We are never satisfied,” “We collaborate” and “We coach and mentor” – draw from the Benedictine values of stewardship, listening and community living. Riordan focuses on helping others succeed through his volunteer work for St. Cloud-area non-profits, including serving on Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Minnesota’s board, and his mentorship of current SJU/CSB students. He hopes his influence inspires entrepreneurs by teaching them that “it’s possible.”


“I’m having a terrific time right now because I’m working intensely with three small companies in Denmark and in all of them, I’m really the old man. They are so much younger than me, and so much smarter than I am,” Hardwick said in his typical self-effacing style. A 27-year-old is the CEO of Norlase, one of those companies. “And for me it’s just sheer joy passing on what I have to contribute and then watching him and his cohorts build a company that I’ve had some small part in.”

A world of possibilities Laser technology is at the heart of countless medical applications, including the MRI. One of the Danish ventures Hardwick works with has created motion-canceling technology, somewhat like the noise-canceling technology in headphones, that makes it possible to get good MRIs of babies and others who can’t lie still. “And this is huge. It can have real ramifications as to how MRIs are used in the future,” he said. Nearly 60 years after he graduated from Saint John’s, he still gets excited about new laser possibilities, still finds himself immersed in new business opportunities. Norlase in October launched its first product, LEAF, which gives ophthalmologists a more portable, efficient and far less costly option for providing laser treatment for retina and glaucoma disease. Another Danish startup he chairs, FaunaPhotonics, has developed a laser technique that scans agricultural fields and provides farmers with hyper-specific data regarding insect activities so they know what pests to spray for and how much. These projects add to a remarkable career that accompanied lasers from infancy to ubiquity. “It’s amazing to be a part of it and it’s amazing to know some of the key personalities that have made that happen, the scientists that have made that happen,” Hardwick said.

“There have been quite a few Nobel prizes awarded in the field, and I’ve met quite a few of those guys. It’s an honor to be part of an industry where we have so many leading scientists.” HARDWICK HAS HAD QUITE A FEW HIGHLIGHTS OF HIS OWN:


• Being trusted, at age 27, to open a production plant in another country. “I would say certainly a seminal point for my career was having the SpectraPhysics management team believe in me enough to send me off to Scotland with a $50,000 cashier’s check in my hand to start a subsidiary for SpectraPhysics in Europe so that we could make lasers over there.” • Developing an optical amplifier pump at Lasertron, Inc., a business he helped lead into fiber-optic telecommunications markets in England, Germany, Italy and the Asian Pacific in the mid-’80s and early ’90s. His boss didn’t want him to pursue the project, but Hardwick surreptitiously put together a team and created the product that is now used universally. • Helping to found the U.S. branch of a Russian company renamed IPG Photonics Corp. in 1999, which went public in 2006 and now has a market value of about $7.5 billion. He often gets asked when he’s going to retire. He had the means to stop working years ago. “I think it comes to a different question: How long can I be of use to people? And I always make this caveat when I get involved, you know – I will do things with you and in support of what it is you’re working on as long as you believe it’s worthwhile. “If retirement is doing what you want to do, I’m retired.”

Dana Drazenovich is a former journalist and public relations practitioner who teaches Communication and First Year Seminar at SJU/CSB.

Aaron Stolte’s biology and environmental studies majors bring obvious benefits to his work as an environmental scientist with planning and design consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates. Less obvious but equally essential are the benefits of his liberal arts background in a profession that requires abundant writing, verbal communication and critical thinking. Stolte is based in St. Paul but works nationwide as a natural resources specialist for projects ranging from sitespecific surveying and planning to high-level evaluations over large geographic areas. “Every science course at SJU/CSB required written and/or oral exams, presentations, collaboration and close, thoughtprovoking discussions with professors,” he said. Stolte complemented his academics with experiences like playing football, working at the Career Resource Center and serving on the Benedictine Volunteer Corps. His four years in Collegeville laid the path to a job he loves. “The liberal arts education I received at Saint John’s has prepared me for a career in which I do not just do, but critically think about issues on behalf of clients and explain practical solutions.”


The epic journey of

Part scholar, part monastic. Part Benedictine monk, part Indiana Jones. Part studious researcher of ancient manuscripts with Steve Jobs’ taste for black attire, part adventurous Texas boy with a sly sense of humor and an affinity for spy novels, good jokes, swimming in Lake Sagatagan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.


Welcome to an amazing year in the improbable life of Fr. Columba Stewart, OSB, whose unlikely story and remarkable global impact took root at Saint John’s University. By Dave DeLand

“Saint John’s has been my home for 39 years. I can’t imagine what life would have been like if I hadn’t found my way here,” said Fr. Columba, executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and an SJU cabinet member – and that’s just for starters. “He’s a cutting-edge guy in a black habit. Columba says that in his mind, that’s the sizzle to the story,” said Joe Rogers ’89, HMML’s director of external relations. “He found what he was looking for here,” added Fr. Eric Hollas, SOT ’75, OSB, who helped steer Columba to Saint John’s in 1981. “I knew he was a really talented, smart guy and he could make a significant contribution to the place. “I had no idea it was going to be as great as it has turned out to be.” Indeed, it would be difficult to fabricate everything that has transpired for Columba over the past 12 months. They’ve been filled with international recognition and domestic accolades, unprecedented scholarly achievements and organizational triumphs, all grounded in his Benedictine commitment. “To me, that’s part of the story: How do you be Father Columba? How do you do that, and yet lead this Benedictine life, this balanced life of work and prayer and community, and at the same time jet around the world?” Rogers said. “This year’s been exceptional,” Fr. Columba said. “It’s going to be difficult to top this. It took a lot of energy to power through this thing.” That energy came from his roots, which planted and grew at Saint John’s over the past four decades. “I’m very aware of what a remarkable opportunity I’ve been given,” he said, “and such an array of experiences.”


Litany of honors

“You hate to say it, but it’s been kind of an opportunity for us – a moment where what we do is relevant.”

When a photographer from the National Endowment for the Humanities came to Collegeville to shoot the cover photo for the Fall 2019 issue of Humanities magazine, he took a dramatic – almost sinister – picture of Columba standing at the edge of Lake Sagatagan, wearing his hooded monk’s habit.

Columba’s media profile, meanwhile, has grown around the narrative of a monastic Indiana Jones, sort of the James Bond of monks.

“In the one they wanted to run I had my hood up, and I said, ‘Absolutely not. I look more Jedi than Benedictine,’ ” Fr. Columba said with a chuckle. “The only thing missing was the light saber.” Becoming a Star Wars character was about the only thing that didn’t happen for Columba over the past year:

Behind that narrative lies a very real person.

A sense of possibility Andrew Stewart (he changed his name to Columba when he professed as a monk in 1982) was born July 16, 1957 in Houston. He grew up with an affinity for exploration and history but no clue what to do with it.

• He was selected as the NEH’s 2019 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, an honor previously extended to people like Toni Morrison, Ken Burns, Martin Scorsese and John Updike. The first Minnesotan to receive the award, Columba delivered the NEH Jefferson Lecture, “Cultural Heritage Present and Future: A Benedictine Monk’s Long View,” Oct. 7 at Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. • He was honored by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and others on “Father Columba Stewart Day” Nov. 6 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul at an event celebrating the Jefferson Lecture. • He was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, a prestigious recognition that sent him around the country to speak at seven universities that have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, starting Sept. 11 at Saint John’s. That tour concludes with engagements at American University and Catholic University March 19-20 and at Valparaiso University April 16-17. • He was keynote speaker at virtually every major conference in Syriac studies and medieval studies. • He helped HMML secure a $1.4 million grant from the NEH while continuing his groundbreaking archival work at sites around the world – Mali, Iraq, Syria, India, Nepal, Rome.

“He rose to the occasion and met the challenge.” “For people who are not aware of HMML, they’re stunned it’s at a place like Saint John’s,” said Fr. Eric, HMML director from 1993-2002. “But then when they look at all the things we’ve done over the years – Minnesota Public Radio, The Saint John’s Bible, Collegeville Institute – we’ve always been an entrepreneurial place.” The urgency of that work has redoubled with ongoing developments in the Middle East. “Suddenly, our work has gone from ‘Oh, that’s kind of interesting, but esoteric’ to being totally relevant. People now get it,” Fr. Columba said.


“I knew I wanted to travel – that was clear,” said Fr. Columba, whose sisters Margaret and Emily still live in Houston. “I knew I liked old things. I knew I wanted to get out of Houston – it’s a little sticky in the summer.” His mother Lorraine was a grade-school teacher who fostered creativity. “National Geographic went in the bathroom on the rack. The maps she used to wallpaper my room. When I was very young, my whole room was covered with world maps. That kind of started it,” he said. “I collected stamps and coins. It was another way to learn

And that did it. Saint John’s resonated with Columba, who earned his master’s degree in religious studies at Yale in 1981 and then came to Saint John’s to teach. He professed as a monk July 11, 1982. “What do you want at that age? You want to belong to something. You want to be accepted. You want to be in a place where you fit or can do something that feels important to you,” said Fr. Columba, who earned his doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford in 1989. “I got that sense of possibility here.”

A perfect fit There was no shortage of possibilities at Saint John’s, and Columba dove into life as a professor, scholar and monastic. He also got involved in research in the Middle East – he reads English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Syriac and a bit of Coptic and Arabic – which soon led to another opportunity. In 2003, the position of HMML director opened. Columba started working with a new project in Lebanon early in the year and became director in September, six months after the Iraq War began.

about countries and history. I also had a particular love for air travel. I’d go with my dad (Frank) on business trips.” Columba’s upbringing also provided the roots of his faith, which was re-engaged when he enrolled at Harvard University. He graduated magna cum laude in 1979 with a degree in history and literature, then met Saint John’s monk Peter Stanger in a summer Latin class at divinity school. “Then I went to Yale that fall and Eric Hollas was there. It was from the two of them that I learned about Benedictine life at Saint John’s,” Fr. Columba said. “It was through Eric that I visited here summer of ’80.”

“I had no experience. I had never managed a budget of size,” Fr. Columba said. “I’m really not very good with money – I’m good at spending money. As one wise nun told me, ‘Well, brother, that’s what it’s for!’ ” As it turned out, he was really good at everything the job entailed – administration, outreach, fundraising, public speaking. “My background in debate and teaching meant that I wasn’t afraid to stand up in front of people and talk. I’m not an extrovert – I’m an introvert, but I can perform,” Fr. Columba said. “As he moved into it, it clearly was a good fit. He rose to the occasion and met the challenge,” Fr. Eric said. And things took off from there – including, frequently, Columba.


Iraq 2012

“ ‘Yaaas, I speak ze Eengleesh’,” said Fr. Columba, ch “Although people may think it’s odd that a Benedictine is running around like this, who else could do it?” Fr. Columba said. “I don’t have a family. I don’t have a dog. I don’t have the things that keep people centered on a home base. That gives me a certain amount of freedom.”

“The Monk Who Saves Manuscripts From ISIS.” “Next thing you know I’m in Iraq with CBS News, which is a juggernaut. They sent like 15 people – convoy security,” said

Stories from the road Gallivanting around the globe to preserve priceless ancient manuscripts feeds directly into the Indiana Jones narrative. “I’ve never been mistaken for Harrison Ford, but it’s been a useful metaphor for what’s going on,” Fr. Columba said. “I guess it amuses me. “But what people sometimes forget – because they don’t hear it in my voice unless I’m speaking with my own people – I’m from Texas.”

Iraq 2017

“I think you can’t ignore the fact that he’s a monk,” Rogers said, “because it’s what people easily latch onto.”

Fr. Columba, whose 60 Minutes story aired Dec. 22, 2017. “The nice thing about it was because it’s CBS News, we could go to all sorts of places that I could not have gone on my own.

That’s the storyline 60 Minutes latched onto after Columba was featured in a February 23, 2017 story in The Atlantic:

“I’m standing in Mosul with Lesley Stahl (above left). They’re still fighting on the other side of the river in the old city of

And nothing’s going to stand in the way of a guy from Texas.


India 2008

Iraq 2012

anneling his best Inspector Clouseau impersonation. Mosul. We’re there in our bulletproof vests and our helmets, doing the story.” Columba is frequently at risk while preserving ancient scholarly materials. “When he went to Iraq last spring (2019), the State Department put a warning out against travel, but he went anyway,” Rogers said. “He is at risk. And the risk to these rare and priceless cultural artifacts is very, very real.” His closest call came in August 2017 at the only hotel still open in Timbuktu – a city occupied by Islamist militants in 2012-13 and now secured by United Nations troops. “Two or three trucks full of jihadis came in from the desert. They’re not supposed to be able to get into the city, but they just came right across the sand. It was a large-scale attack,” Fr. Columba said. “We go inside and we hear all the shooting. It continued for two to three hours. At one point it sounded like somebody was shooting out of our garden. If they’d known we were there, it could have been bad.” Columba’s party hid inside the hotel for eight hours before being evacuated by U.N. soldiers in full combat gear. “You don’t do this for glamor and comfort. You don’t stay at

five-star hotels in Timbuktu,” Fr. Eric said. “His own sense of determination to see this through is what’s driven him. That’s what’s taken him to places where most of the rest of us would not go.” Columba’s monastic background comes in handy when working with people of different faiths. “Our Muslim friends in Jerusalem or Mali value the fact that I’m a monk,” Fr. Columba said. “That’s opened a lot of doors, whereas you might think that would be an obstacle.” So do his language skills. During his Jefferson Lecture address, Columba related a story about traveling into dangerous Northern Iraq in February 2009 with Najib Mikhael Moussa, now Archbishop of Mosul. French was their common language. “As we’re driving up to one town (Qaraqosh), he says, ‘By the way, they don’t like Americans here. I’m going to introduce you as a French Benedictine,’ ” Fr. Columba said. “They were fooled, because my accent’s not bad.” Most of them were fooled. “I’m sitting next to this young man, and he says, ‘I don’t speak French. Do you speak English?’ What do you do? ‘Yaaas, I speak ze Eengleesh’,” said Fr. Columba, channeling his best Inspector Clouseau impersonation.


Georgia 2008 “When he came to say goodbye to me, he said, ‘You know, we all have secrets. Yours is safe with me.’ ” In every situation, though, Columba relies on his personality. “You have to build a relationship,” he said. “They see a foreigner and it triggers all kinds of suspicion about what they really want. You have to get past that, and the monk thing really helps. “It’s clear I’m not a covert CIA agent. I’m not a representative of the United States government. I’m working for something that’s older and bigger.” And, like Indiana Jones, Columba usually succeeds in getting what he wants. There is, however, a major difference. “Indiana Jones took the object and put it in a museum,” Rogers said. “Columba would say it belongs with the community in Ethiopia that made it, or the community in the desert of Egypt that’s held onto it for 1,200 years. That’s where it belongs.”

His happy place Even while jetting around the globe – he has over 2 million Delta frequent-flier miles – Columba finds that Saint John’s is where he’s most relaxed, most comfortable, most … himself.


“I tell stories. I crack a lot of jokes. I tease people,” said Fr. Columba, dismissing the solemn, grave image reflected in photos. “I can’t smile on command – I just simply cannot do it. You have to get me interacting with somebody and sort of get it accidentally. Because it’s there.” So is his devotion to self-care, which in his line of work is essential. Indiana Jones has to stay limber. “One advantage of going to hot places is the opportunity to swim,” said Fr. Columba, who also runs and practices yoga. “And in the summer, I swim in the lake (Sagatagan) every single day. “I used to go to the (Stella Maris) Chapel and back, but that takes too long and it’s a bit too far now. I just swim anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes out and turn around and come back.” Back to the setting that grounds him. Back to the people and place he calls home. “My monastic perspective on life travels with me, as does the knowledge that my brothers care for me and believe in what I do,” Fr. Columba said. “It’s important to me that I belong to something larger than myself, and the Abbey gives me that sense of belonging.”

Humble, transparent and kind. The 2020 agenda Beirut. Doha. Hanoi. Paris. Pakistan. An international ecumenical dialog representing the Vatican. A site visit for a potential project in Vietnam. A monasticism conference in Washington, D.C. Minneapolis to Beirut to Doha to Hanoi to Kathmandu to Seoul to Detroit to Minneapolis. “It’s the first time I’ve actually done an around-the-world itinerary,” Fr. Columba said. It’s all on his to-do list for 2020, along with three more Phi Beta Kappa lectures and visits to current preservation sites in Mali, India, Nepal and Iraq. Columba is working on new programs at HMML, which is a trend-setter in digital humanities and archiving. HMML recently received $1.4 million from the NEH to get thousands more manuscripts described and online. Cataloging images isn’t flashy, but his gathered work doesn’t mean much if it isn’t accessible to scholars. “If it’s not catalogued and described properly and uploaded onto a searchable database that scholars can find, it’s like sticking something in a drawer and saying, ‘It’s safe now,’ but it doesn’t do anybody any good,” Rogers said. Even with all that, Columba still has a HMML bucket list – North Africa, Northern India, Central Asia, South America. “That’s probably enough,” he said. “There’s stuff elsewhere, but the next person can do more.” The next person?

“Those three words were humble, transparent and kind,” he said.

“I may not retire, but I’ll stop – whether it’s my choice or the fickle finger of fate,” Fr. Columba said. “I want HMML to be sustainable and flourishing. I don’t want its survival to depend on me.”

“Go ahead with humility and respect. Show them that you acknowledge the richness of their tradition and the seriousness of their commitment.

In the meantime, there’s lots more to do. “The work gives me hope,” Fr. Columba said. “The situation can depress me. It’s a drop in the bucket in terms of trying to address political or humanitarian challenges.

“Be totally upfront and honest. Don’t play any games. Be transparent. “And then be a kind person. Don’t be angry. Don’t be huffy. Don’t be presumptuous. Just keep it real, and human.”

“But it’s the drop I can put in the bucket. That’s meaningful to me.”

And that’s his legacy. It’s a big world out there, but Columba Stewart is at home virtually everywhere.

A decade ago, Columba was in India preparing for a meeting when a three-word personal mantra came to him.

Dave DeLand is Saint John’s executive director of marketing & communication and an award-winning writer.




Raising the roof in Sexton Arena Photo by Thomas O’Laughlin ’13

A capacity crowd of 2,560 packed Sexton Arena to the rafters for Saint John’s Feb. 15 MIAC basketball showdown against archrival St. Thomas. The Tommies won 71-66 after the Johnnies won 87-70 at St. Thomas earlier in the season. Those were the only conference losses for both teams, which shared the MIAC regularseason championship with matching 19-1 league records. It was the ninth time Saint John’s has earned at least a share of the MIAC regular-season title.



n e t g r T e r a v i i l LEAD HIM s D TO SAINT JOHN’S By Frank Rajkowski

Carter Scheele has never been one to confine himself to a singular set of interests or activities. Rather, the Saint John’s junior has always been motivated to follow diverse paths. In Collegeville, though, the St. Cloud native has found a place where his respective trails can converge.


“This is a very welcoming place,” Scheele said. “All the people here are extremely friendly and kind. “I’ve felt very supported in everything I’ve done, and that means a lot to me.” Scheele has done a lot – both on and away from campus:

“Aircraft can cool off the fire enough for us to be able to engage it on the ground. But usually aircraft aren’t able to actually stop a fire from spreading. It takes people working on the ground to keep the fire from flaring up after the water or retardant dropped from a helicopter or airtanker has dried off.”

That forces those on the ground to be resourceful and able to • He is a double major in environmental make changes on the fly. studies and music – areas of focus that have each been important parts of his life since he was a child. “What we do varies depending on where we are and what • He plays viola in the school orchestra, and is also a member tools we have to use,” he said. “For example, if there’s a of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and the Amadeus stream nearby we could run a hose from it. But we do things Chamber Symphony, which rehearses at Saint John’s under like using a chainsaw or other hand tools to create firebreaks. the direction of SJU/CSB music professor Axel Theimer. “Wildland firefighters are some of the most adept • He has a passion for the outdoors that led him to a position with the U.S. Forest people at problem-solving …” Service, where for the past three summers he has been on the ground in various states in the western U.S. helping to combat and manage wildfires. “Carter is a remarkable student and a remarkable human being,” said David Arnott, the chair of the Music Department at Saint John’s and Saint Benedict. He gave lessons to Scheele in high school and helped recruit him to SJU. “He is socially conscious, dedicated to making the Earth a better place, adept at creating beauty through music and is able to keep mind, body and spirit humming along in total harmony,” Arnott said. “I feel would be less fulfilled if I didn’t have the chance to explore both sides of me,” Scheele said. “Firefighting seems like a completely different world from music. But I think at the end of the day, and the end of the year, I need both in my life to be happy.”

Feeling the heat Scheele’s work with the Forest Service puts him at the center of what can be some very dangerous situations. “I’m part of a 20-person crew,” said Scheele, who spent last summer in Oregon and Washington. “And we work directly on the fire’s edge.

Scheele summer 2018 in the Pacific Northwest.


“The value of being at a place like SJU extends far deeper than academics.” “Wildland firefighters are some of the most adept people at problem-solving and trying to figure out the best way to meet our tactical objectives,” he continued. “Usually, though, change is the only constant, and it's common that Plan A doesn't work out. “I remember assignments where we went from Plan A to Plan Y before noon as conditions changed, the fire jumped across the fresh line we’d put in and other crews arrived. We’re constantly adapting and finding what works and what doesn’t. Wildfires, especially in their initial phase, are always chaotic. “My first few fires, I had basically no idea what was going on and I relied heavily on the experienced folks I was with. Now, with more experience under my belt, I'm actually taking on a role of providing guidance and leadership to new folks.” Sometimes, that includes working in harrowing conditions. “There are times when you’re able to feel the heat coming into the truck because the fire is so hot,” Scheele said. “I can remember one time in 2018 when we were fighting a fire and the wind shifted. The fire had been going one way, then it started going another fairly quickly. We saw the fire


change direction and were already scrambling to get in our trucks and drive out by the time the guy in the helicopter above the fire announced over the radio that we should get out of there.” And fire is not the only hazard Scheele and his crewmates have to face in the field. “I can remember one day, this was also in 2018, when we were in northern Washington,” he recalled. “We’re in a lot of remote areas and a lot of time we’re working on extremely steep hills. It was about 8 in the morning, and a boulder that had been in place above us started coming straight downhill. “It’s standard operations for everyone to yell ‘rock!’ when one starts rolling, even if you don’t see it yourself. But this was a formidable boulder and we were all screaming as loud as we could.”

Calmer endeavors Music, in contrast, offers a sense of serenity. “It’s certainly more calming,” Scheele said. “For me, these two worlds are truly dichotomous. “Neither really complements each other very well. But they’re both important to me in different ways. I can’t imagine having one and not the other. I feel like my life is a series of oscillations between my two worlds. Sometimes I wish I

could commit to one, but that just isn’t possible.” Amazingly, though, his résumé does not stop with melody and flames. He is also captain of the SJU/CSB Nordic Ski Club team and, in the past, has served as a member of the campus fire department. “He’s very competitive and very driven,” said ski club coach Ion Senchea. “He’s the kind of guy who’s willing to put in the hard work to reach his goals.” He’s also involved in the Peer Resource Program. Over the Christmas break, one of the leaders of a scheduled PRP canoe trip to the Everglades dropped out and Scheele took over on short notice. “I hadn’t planned on going on the trip,” he said with a smile. “But it was a chance to go on a canoe trip to Florida in the winter. So I couldn’t pass it up.” Many of those activities would not have been possible were it not for scholarships he’s earned.

Scholarship and community

really impressive,” said Derek Larson, the chair of the Environmental Studies Department at SJU/CSB. “He’s so disciplined. He’s involved in many things that are very demanding. But he’s able to find time for it all, and that’s really a testament to his passion and work ethic.” “He’s just a great young man,” Theimer added. “He’s totally dependable. He’s always there when he needs to be, even with everything he has going on. He’s a great example of someone being able to balance being successful in music with other pursuits.” Scheele said that, for him, the value of being at a place like SJU extends far deeper than academics. “The other day, I had an experience that made me remember the value of a school like this,” he said. “A friend and I bumped into a professor (Troy Knight of the Environmental Studies Department) in the hall on his way to teach a class. We asked him if we could use snowshoes owned by the environmental studies department to go out for a snowshoe then. He instantly agreed.

He’s also received an outside scholarship from the Central Minnesota Arts Board.

“It didn’t have to be ‘for class.’ He’s the type of person who thinks spending time trekking in the woods is valuable even if it isn’t for an official academic purpose. And this is a professor who was still smiling and patient the third time I went into his office for help on the same assignment.”

“Were it not for scholarships and financial aid, I would not have been able to attend Saint John’s,” said Scheele, who was home-schooled through his senior year of high school.

After graduation, Scheele hopes to continue working in environmental/outdoor leadership in some capacity – though he said music will always play a key role in his life as well.

“And I would have missed being part of this sense of community, and belonging to a really unique and highquality place.”

“If I did just one or the other exclusively, it would be easier to grow tired of it,” he said.

Through Saint John’s, he’s been awarded the Bailey Environmental Studies Endowed Scholarship, the Dean’s Scholarship, a Saint John’s Grant and a Music Scholarship.

Faculty members who have worked with him said Saint John’s would be poorer without Scheele’s presence. “He is able to balance his variety of interests by being extremely organized and aware of what he intends to accomplish,” Arnott said. “He multitasks well and juggles well enough to bring every project he begins to a logical and successful conclusion.” Scheele took a year between high school and enrolling at Saint John’s to serve a term with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa. That, in turn, helped lead to his present role with the Forest Service.

“Doing too much of any one thing can ruin it. Variety is really the spice of life. When I get tired of firefighting at the end of the season, I can go play the violin. And when I get tired of that, I can look forward to being back out in the field. “I love having that change of pace.” Frank Rajkowski is a writer and video producer for SJU Institutional Advancement. He covered Saint John’s athletics for 19 years at the St. Cloud Times and worked as a web reporter for three years at KSTP-TV in St. Paul.

“The mix of experience and maturity he brings is




JOHNNIE TOMMIE game to be played at

Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for St. Thomas, which is planning to reclassify directly to Division I in 2021.

The latest chapter in the storied 119-year football rivalry between Saint John’s University and the University of St. Thomas will unfold this fall at one of the premier gridiron venues in the country. Officials from U.S. Bank Stadium and representatives from Saint John’s and St. Thomas have announced that the 2020 Johnnie-Tommie football game will be played Nov. 7 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Anticipated ticket demand for the 90th and final installment in a rivalry that dates back to 1901 is a prominent reason for moving the game – originally scheduled to be played at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville – to U.S. Bank Stadium.

S A T U R D A Y, N O V E M B E R 7, 2 0 2 0 U.S. BANK STADIUM

“Saint John’s is thrilled to be able to partner with U.S. Bank Stadium, the finest venue in the NFL. Since the announcement that St. Thomas has been invited to join the Division I Summit League, ticket demand for November’s game has already been off the charts,” said Saint John’s athletic director Bob Alpers ’82. “U.S. Bank Stadium will be an incredible venue to host this historic game. We want everyone to be able to see this final game in one of the great rivalries in all of college football,” said SJU head football coach Gary Fasching ’81. “We’re tremendously excited for our alumni and fans to have the opportunity to see this milestone game in this exceptional facility,” added Adam Herbst ’99, executive director of university relations at Saint John’s. The 2020 football season will be the last in the Minnesota


The last two Johnnie-Tommie games in the Twin Cities drew huge crowds. Nearly 20,000 fans attended the 2019 game at Allianz Field and more than 37,500 fans attended the 2017 game at Target Field. Demand for next year’s historic game is anticipated to eclipse those levels.

“This is a great opportunity for our alumni and fans,” said Rob Culligan ’82, vice president for institutional advancement at Saint John’s. “What better place to watch and enjoy a game on a frigid November day than in the comfort of an indoor, heated facility – the home of the Minnesota Vikings, the site of a Super Bowl and the Final Four.” Ticket sales to the public will begin March 13. Tickets will be available online at or in person at the U.S. Bank Stadium Ticket Office, located at the corner of Fourth Street South and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis.

Scorecard FOOTBALL The Saint John’s football team (12-2, 7-1 MIAC) won a share of its MIAC-record 34th conference title and made its 30th postseason appearance (26th in Division III), advancing to the national semifinals. The Johnnies ended the season ranked as high as No. 3 nationally. Quarterback Jackson Erdmann ’19 was runner-up for the 2019 Gagliardi Trophy as the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III. He also was named West Region Offensive Player of the Year. Erdmann threw for 451 yards and three touchdowns, leading his team back from a two-touchdown deficit in the first quarter to defeat St. Thomas 38-20 before a sellout crowd of 19,508 Oct. 19 at St. Paul's Allianz Field. Offensive tackle Ben Bartch ’20 received the Mike Stam Award as the top lineman in the MIAC and was a member of the 22man, 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. He was honored during halftime of the Sugar Bowl Jan. 1 in New Orleans and was selected for the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl later in the month. Bartch, Erdmann, wide receiver Ravi Alston ’22, guard Dan Greenheck ’20, cornerback Chris

Harris ’20, defensive lineman/linebacker Danny Pietruszewski ’21 and defensive tackle J.W. Windsor ’20 earned All-America honors. The Johnnies set a school record with 11 players named to the All-MIAC first team: Alston, Bartch, Erdmann, Greenheck, Harris, Pietruszewski, Windsor, running back Kai Barber ’20, linebacker Richard Carriveau ’20, safety Ryan LaCasse ’20 and center Nick Neumann ’21. Gary Fasching ’81 was named the MIAC John Gagliardi Coach of the Year for the fourth time in seven seasons. SOCCER The Johnnies finished fourth in the conference with a 6-4 record (10-81 overall) and advanced to the semifinals in their seventh MIAC playoff appearance in the past eight seasons. Forward Kagan Foster ’19 and midfielder Leighton Lommel ’20 were named to the All-MIAC first team, while defender Matt Anderson ’23, defender Joe Parise ’21 and midfielder Paul Wadsworth ’21 were honorable mention. The All-MIAC honor was the second consecutive for Lommel, and Foster led SJU with 26 points (11 goals/4 assists). Foster’s 11 goals tied him for fifth-most in SJU singleseason history and were the most since 2005.

CROSS COUNTRY SJU finished sixth of 11 teams at the MIAC Championship and ninth of 28 teams at the NCAA Central Regional. Trey Collins ’20 led SJU in 17th at the MIAC Championship and crossed the finish line 41st at the regional. GOLF The Johnnies finished ninth of 18 teams at September’s elite NCAA Preview, in which 15 teams were ranked in the top 22 nationally. They were third of 10 teams at the MIAC Championship in October. Three Johnnies earned All-MIAC honors (top 10 individually, including ties). Preston Kopel ’21 led SJU with a three-round total of 220 (+4) to tie for third, while David Schneider ’20 and Charlie Stuck ’21 followed with a 224 (+8) each to tie for eighth.




Scholarship Michael Kelly ’20

Scholarships didn’t just help Michael afford the cost of a Saint John’s education – they helped the senior neuroscience major find a sense of belonging. Kelly, a Duluth East High School graduate, was placed in foster care at age 15 and ended up being shuttled through three different homes during high school. But through all the adversity, his drive to succeed only grew. He maintained a 4.0 GPA during his high school career. And now, thanks to the Frey Family First Generation Scholarship and other scholarships he has received through gifts to the SJU Student Fund and outside sources, he’s preparing to graduate from Saint John’s in May while applying to medical schools. “(Scholarships) obviously made it financially possible for me to

come here,” Michael said. “But it’s been so much more than that. They’ve helped me to find a built-in support system and encouragement, both of which are invaluable.

“This is such a welcoming environment. And through faculty members and friends I’ve made, I’ve finally found a family – a family that has helped me overcome the sense of abandonment and loneliness that came with foster care.” In addition to making the Dean’s List and earning numerous awards, he’s been part of the Peer Resource Program and the Outdoor Leadership Center, served as a Student Ambassador, been part of the men’s volleyball club team, made service trips to Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, and spent two months in China studying cures for tuberculosis. He also founded and serves as president of the First-Generation Student Organization, a group designed to provide resources and help for first-generation students like himself. “I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve received, and I want others to have those chances too.”

Logan Payne ’20

a Senior Airman E4 from 2011-17.

Logan’s circumstances are a bit different than those of many of his classmates at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict.

During that time, he served multiple tours overseas as a member of a flight crew, including two in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.

So too was the road he traveled to reach Collegeville. The 28-year-old history major is a married father of two daughters – Charlotte, 3, and Elizabeth, 1. His wife Kathleen is a 2013 graduate of the SJU/CSB nursing program and works at St. Cloud Hospital.

“I think I’m more driven now (as a result of his military experience),” he said. “I certainly appreciate the educational opportunities I’m getting here more than I would have when I was 18 or 19.” Those opportunities were made possible, in part, due to scholarships – including the Legacy Scholarship and SJU Grant, both funded by gifts to the SJU Student Fund.

“I go to school, then I go home to my family,” the 2009 Rocori High School graduate said. “If you see me on campus after classes are over, I’m probably there either as part of a class or working on something.”

Logan was also awarded the Tony Patz Memorial Endowed Scholarship, named in honor of the 1987 Saint John’s graduate who played football for legendary former Johnnies head coach John Gagliardi and went on to become a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Logan is no stranger to hard work and discipline. After a brief stint at St. Cloud Technical and Community College following his high school graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force – serving as

Tony died at age 23 while training at Quantico Marine Base in 1988. The scholarship’s main criteria calls for it to go to a Saint John’s junior or senior who is also a history/humanities major.


Reflections Michael Pineda ’21

How excited was Michael’s family to learn scholarships would help make a Saint John’s education possible? Well … “We bought a cake,” he said. “We knew that it was pretty much the beginning to my future.” Michael says that future would not have been possible were it not for gifts to the SJU Student Fund, which helps fund some of the scholarships he receives. “Scholarships are everything,” said the Southern California native, who was raised by a single mother and is the first member of his family to attend a four-year college. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”

DeMarco Randall ’21 Ask DeMarco the most important thing he’s gained by having the opportunity to receive a Saint John’s education, and the junior from Denver doesn’t hesitate in the slightest before providing his answer. “It’s made me feel like I have the ability to accomplish anything,” he said. “There’s no limit to what I can dream about doing.

Michael receives the President’s Scholarship as well as a Catholic High School Scholarship and a Benedictine Scholarship. He also receives the Dan and Angie Bastian Cristo Rey and Hardy Reyerson Commemorative Scholarships, along with a Cristo Rey Annual Scholarship. All of that has helped him pursue his dream of one day opening his own video production company. He’s currently a big part of Johnnie Bennie Media and plays a key role in the livestreaming of Johnnie athletic events. Michael is also the lead video production specialist in SJU/CSB’s Kling Media Lab in the Colman Barry Creativity Center, located in the Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons on the SJU campus. “Being here reminds me to be humble and thankful for everything I get because I know I wouldn’t be here without the help of all those people,” he said. “If I could say anything to them it would be ‘Please keep giving.’ ”

But the Arrupe Jesuit High School graduate said he fell in love with the campus and atmosphere when he was flown in for a visit. “I was really liked the community feel,” said DeMarco, who is majoring in communication with a minor in political science. “I liked how small it seemed. But it seemed big at the same time. There are so many opportunities here. I knew this was where I wanted to be.” DeMarco wasn’t sure his family could afford to send him. Scholarships helped make his dream a reality.

“Coming here – and having the experiences I’ve been able to have – has given me so much confidence in my ability to adjust and adapt to any environment I happen to find myself in.”

He receives the Kevin and Kathleen Eichler Scholarship, the Ted and Albena Micke Scholarship, the Don and Martha Rasure Cristo Rey Scholarship, and the Catholic High School, Benedictine and Dean’s Scholarships.

Coming to SJU was a step outside the comfort zone for the firstgeneration student who grew up in Colorado with his mother and two sisters.

“When I found out going here was going to be possible, it made me so happy,” he said. “It made me feel like somebody really believed in me. And that was inspiring.”



Scholarship Ben Hansberry ’10

Especially since he moved away from Minnesota, Ben Hansberry has realized that Saint John’s gives him a unique background – even among his graduate school peers when he was at Columbia University. At Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s, Ben double-majored in music and philosophy. He values the common curriculum: Taking a lot of different subjects helped him think more broadly. “In my current position at the Teaching and Learning Lab at MIT, I’m not working in music directly,” he said. “But I’m able to work with graduate students from all disciplines and communicate with them. My goal is to teach people how to teach.”

Doug Imholte ’87 Doug originally went to another university to play baseball but knew something was missing. He found it at Saint John’s, where he got financial aid that allowed him to transfer. “I feel really blessed that I was able to get funding to get though Saint John’s,” he said. “It holds such a dear place in my heart. I met my closest friends there.” Doug’s outside perspective helped him pick up on Saint John’s cultural values right away. “When you come to Saint John’s from a bigger environment, you notice quickly that professors get to know you personally,” he said. “You feel the meaning of hospitality in a tangible way.” Doug played baseball at Saint John’s and made lifelong


When Ben graduated, he felt he was turning a page. “As a student, I benefitted from other alumni who came before me. I wanted to be a link in that chain we all believe is important. It felt important to me that I give back a little bit from what I had gotten. “Becoming a donor meant going from being participant in the crowd to someone who ensures the experience can happen.” Ben is thankful to the classmates who encourage him to give, particularly Gabriel Harren ’10.

“Gabriel texts me every year to remind me to give. It would be easy to let it slip. But every time I give it helps me reaffirm that this is still the sort of person that I want to be. “I want to stay in the habit of doing it every year. I consider it important to do my part for its own sake, because I’m grateful for what Saint John’s gave me.”

friends on the team. He believes he grew more from being in Collegeville’s rural setting than if he had stayed at an urban school with lots of distractions. After graduation, Doug volunteered for SJU alumni chapters and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He enjoys meeting Johnnies from different generations who have similar stories. “When you meet another Johnnie, you just have a special connection. I ask coworkers, ‘Do you know how to tell someone’s a Johnnie? They’ll tell you within the first minute!’ ” Doug and his wife Nancy prefer quarterly automatic giving through the Johnnie Sustainer plan. “I also get my employer, Marsh and McClennan Agencies, to match my gift,” he said. “It’s really important to me that young men who are looking to make a college decision have a chance to make it work financially. “That’s because there are alumni who are willing to invest in them to carry on the tradition.”

Reflections Manny McDonald ’10, DO, MBS

Manny is completing his residency in a Miami hospital system after finishing medical school at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He met Joe Brandt ’08 in his medical school interview and later met two other Johnnies in his medical school class and another in his residency. “We bonded right away and remain friends because of our Saint John’s experiences,” Manny said. “I also bump into people all the time in Florida wearing my Johnnie gear.” The friendships and brotherhood the Newark, New Jersey native experienced at Saint John’s – particularly on the Student Senate, where he served as president – are among his best memories.

Bill Olson ’91 Bill is the fourth of seven kids from a blue-collar family in Chicago. When he learned about Saint John’s through a sister’s friend, he convinced his dad to drive him to Minnesota for a visit. Once in Collegeville, Bill and his dad noticed people smiled at them and seemed eager to offer assistance and directions. Bill was hooked. He wanted to become a Johnnie. He suspected his family couldn’t afford to send him to Saint John’s, but Bill was offered a generous scholarship package that changed the equation. He befriended many students and monks and considers those lifelong friendships very special. His three children were all baptized by his mentor and friend Fr. Bob Koopmann, OSB ’68.

“When I got the Intercultural LEAD scholarship, it was definitely a surprise. It was truly beneficial, in more ways than I expected. I know how much pressure my scholarships relieved for me, so I want other students to not feel that pressure and be able to explore.” Manny formed a bond with his cohort of I-LEAD scholars. That bond smoothed his transition from high school to college and prepared him for success in life. He served in the Benedictine Volunteer Corps and taught biology at Saint John’s Prep School for the first year after graduation. After that, Manny earned a master’s in biomedical science at Rutgers University before going to medical school. “I was a Student Ambassador for the annual giving department. I remember calling people and praying that someone answers and gives 10 bucks,” he said. “Giving is the right thing to do. Why not give something back? Someone did it for me, so I’m going to do it for the next person.”

Bill is married to Becky Petrik Olson ’91 whom he met at SJU/ CSB. They are parents of one college graduate and two current students, extending that legacy to the next generation. Bill owns and operates Five-O Consulting, Inc., a successful IT consulting business. He serves on his class committee and on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, helping classes mobilize for Reunions and organize yearly class gifts to the Student Fund. The Olsons focus on #giveSJUday, when special matching grants are made available to inspire donor support. “I give until it feels good,” said Bill, who is quick to point out that he didn’t always understand this concept. After graduating and working for a mid-size nonprofit before beginning his IT career, Bill realized how financial gifts help make missions possible and remembered his own scholarship. “Someone did it for me, and now it’s time I do it for the next generation of Johnnies.”



Milestones … in the spotlight 1980 Dr. Michael Richie was recognized by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis

as one of its eight Leading with Faith Award winners. The awards go to people who have enriched their professions and personal lives by setting their sights on faith and making it an integral part of their workplace, where their peers, employees and others have been touched by their generous presence. Richie is an ophthalmologist, founder and medical director of the Richie Eye Clinic in Faribault. 1982 Jim Carey has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Minneapolis-based Union Bank & Trust Company, the only union-owned and operated bank in the Upper Midwest. Carey is also managing partner and president of Union Bank & Trust. Kevin Gray, managing partner of the law firm of Rajkowski

Hansmeier Ltd., has been accepted into the American Board of Trial Advocates. The organization champions the ethics, professionalism and principles of the legal profession. 1985 Nils Erickson, Department of Logistics and Resource Operations instructor, was named Civilian Educator of the Year at the United States Army installation at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A retired Army lieutenant colonel, Erickson has taught at the Command and General Staff College for 14 years, both as an officer and a civilian. He was cited for his ability to make complicated material relatable to students.

John Rainwater was recently promoted to Regional Solicitor

1990 Tom Wicka and his company NovuHealth for the third

consecutive year have been named to the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal’s Fast 50 list of the fastestgrowing private companies in the Twin Cities. This year NovuHealth was ranked No. 19, based on nearly 80 percent growth from 2016-2018, and came in as the top-ranked healthcare company on the list. 1991 Steve Blum was recognized by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis as one of its eight Leading with Faith


Award winners. The awards go to people who have enriched their professions and personal lives by setting their sights on faith and making it an integral part of their workplace, where their peers, employees and others have been touched by their generous presence. Blum is chief financial officer and director of Star Bank in Minneapolis.

for the U.S. Department of Labor in Dallas, Texas. Rainwater manages 50 attorneys and staff in offices in Dallas and Denver. He is responsible for all litigation and legal services to Department of Labor agencies in 11 states from Texas to Montana. Rainwater has been a DOL attorney for 21 years and received the department’s Distinguished Career Service Award in 2018. 1992 Dr. Robert Anderson, an orthopedic surgeon with Summit Orthopedics in the Twin Cities and also the company’s president, is one of the main contributers to One World Surgery. The organization is a nonprofit confronting the global health crisis by partnering with communities, healthcare providers and leaders in

healthcare to deliver surgical services worldwide. Anderson and his family have made annual trips at their own expense to Honduras to address the needs of the Honduran people. Dr. Marc Jaros has been appointed conductor of the

Twin Cities Catholic Chorale. Jaros is director of choral activities at Normandale Community College, a member of the American Choral Director’s Association and a highly regarded member of the Twin Cities music community. He has extensive experience performing and teaching the great masterpieces of sacred music. 1993 Paul Schmelzer was selected as the co-recipient of an

Arts Writers Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Creative Capital. Schmelzer and associate Nicole Caruth received $30,000 to start writing a platform called The

Ostracon in 2020. The Ostracon will look at figures and ideas outside the mainstream of contemporary art that may offer insight into new forms of art. 1997 Michael Skram has been elected Managing Shareholder of the O’Meara, Lee, Wagner & Kohl, P.A., law firm in Edina. Skram is a graduate of Saint John’s and an honors graduate of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. He is licensed in both Minnesota and Iowa State Courts as well as multiple federal jurisdictions. 1998 Brent Bois, president of Calhoun Truck Lines in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, was elected Chairman of the Board Directors of the Minnesota Trucking Association Aug. 1. Bois graduated from Saint John’s with a major in Management & Behavioral Sciences, has been with Calhoun Truck Lines for 20 years and has served as president since 2008. 1999 Jesse Stremcha has been named vice president and chief development officer for St. Paul-based Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, which is among the largest human service organizations in the state. He will provide overall leadership in philanthropy

to engage individual donors, congregations and faith communities, and volunteers. He will also serve as president of the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Foundation. Stremcha has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint John’s. 2004 Cole Deibele was named Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 3A Coach of the Year. Deibele, a former all-MIAC baseball and football player at Saint John’s, coached Monticello High School to a 19-7 record and the 2019 Class 3A State Tournament. 2005 Dr. Jeremiah Eisenschenk was selected to Minnesota Monthly magazine’s list of

the top 30 family medicine doctors in Minnesota. Voting was conducted through a survey of other physicians in the field. Eisenschenk, who works for Essentia Health at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, also received Essentia’s Patient Experience Award in 2019. Eisenschenk graduated from Saint John’s Prep in 2001, SJU in 2005 and from the University of Minnesota medical school in 2011. 2008 James Ristvedt received the highest score in the state on




the Arizona Bar Exam, which was held in July. A graduate of Saint John’s and the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Ristvedt earned the top score among the 525 applicants. His score ranked in the 99.8th percentile nationwide. 2009 Ryan Tansom was featured in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as host of the

popular Life After Business podcast for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to understand how to grow and exit their companies. Tansom is president and co-founder of Arkona, a Minnesota-based consulting firm helping business owners.

director), Reagan (director of photography and editor) and Murphy (director of photography and editor) partnered with executive producer Derek Bitter and producer Anne ButtersAnderson on the project. 2020 Sam McNamara received the American FFA Degree award Nov. 2 at a ceremony in Indianapolis. The award is the highest degree achievable in the National FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) organization, and it recognizes an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state association. McNamara was unable to attend the ceremony because he is a member of the Saint John’s football team.

… on the move 1998 Reynaldo Aligada was appointed as District Court

2017 Ian Fritz, Patrick Reagan and Conor Murphy, all 2017 Saint John’s graduates and filmmakers at SSQTCH Media in Minneapolis, won a Midwest Emmy Award Oct. 5 in the

Sports – Program Series (Outside of News) category for their video Dream. State. Season III. Fritz (producer and


Judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District Aug. 6 by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. The Second Judicial District consists of Ramsey County. Aligada previously worked as First Assistant Federal Defender at the Office of the Federal Defender in Minneapolis, in civil litigation and as a Judicial Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals. “I was impressed by his

distinguished career on the state and federal levels,” Walz said, “as well as his commitment to community.” Aligada received his undergraduate degree from Saint John’s University and his J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. 2013 Jacob Harris has rejoined Fredrikson & Byron as an

attorney in the Litigation, White Collar & Regulatory Defense and Appellate groups after serving as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Margaret H. Chutich, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court for the Court’s 201819 term. Harris helps clients navigate complicated business disputes, government investigations and appeals. He is a graduate of Saint John’s and the University of Michigan Law School. 2017 Dan Harrington, a former Saint John’s football standout, has obtained an IT project management job at the National Football League’s headquarters office in Manhattan.

… on the bookshelf 1968 Larry Hergott, M.D. recently published Departure From the Darkness and Cold: The Hope of Renewal For the Soul of Medicine in Patient Care. The

book contains the essays and poems Hergott wrote during his career in medicine. 1986 Tom Kubinski recently published Two-Time Stage 4 Cancer Survivor Says, which chronicles his experiences as a two-time survivor of stage 4 throat cancer – what he calls his “dance with the devil.” 1986 John Rosengren has written a new book, A Clean Heart, that will be published in May by Mango Press. Rosengren’s first novel is set in Minneapolis and tells the story of a counselor at an adolescent drug treatment center run by “a hard-drinking nun with an MBA.” 1998 Vinh Ho recently published Geoarbitrage: How to Move Abroad, Start an Online Business, and Live as a Digital Nomad in Thailand and Vietnam. The book shows readers seeking to make a lifestyle change how to start an online business, move abroad and leverage the lowcost savings to scale up their business. 2000 P.H. Perrine recently published his new book Percenters and the Amber Pendant, a dystopian novel in which people are divided by the powers they have and the air they breathe.

2017 Jessie Bazan, M.Div., SOT/Sem ’17, recently published a book with Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, and nine other millennial women theologians. The book, Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church, is a series of letters between the young women and Sr. Joan on issues facing women in the church today. Bazan, who served as the book’s editor, also contributes Service to the Church articles for Saint John’s Magazine (See Page 12).

… doing cool stuff 1983 Willie Willette, a custom furniture maker based in

Minneapolis, was recently asked to participate in the Hulu TV show Deluxe Small Business Revolution, Main Street Edition as an expert advisor to a new business owner. 1984 David Bodette was named general manager of Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel, Milwaukee’s first-of-its-kind independent arts hotel. An arts and luxury hotel veteran and a sculptor in his free time, Bodette oversees daily operations of the 219-room hotel and arts experience. He previously managed some of the country’s most prestigious luxury and historic hotels, including Ritz-Carlton properties, The Queen Mary

Hotel in Long Beach, California and The Langham Hotel in Boston. 1999 Tom Loftus and wife Robin Schwartzman were featured

in a Sept. 7 story on KSTP-TV for their love of miniature golf. They run A Couple of Putts. com, a web site dedicated to mini-golf reviews and mini-golf lovers. They also appeared on Holey Moley, an ABC television program showcasing mini-golf lovers. 2009 Karl Nohner, principal of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, was chosen to represent the public education sector within the first Minnesota Young American Leaders Program at a November workshop at the University of Minnesota. The program is adapted from the Harvard-based Young American Leaders Program and focuses on research on American crosssector collaborations. 2010 Nick Blanco, who founded the Saint John’s Fishing Club during his college years, has opened Driftwood Wilderness Lodge ( in Larsen Bay, Alaska. He was aided in the enterprise by Tyler Johnson, another 2010 SJU graduate.





2002 Christina (Adams ’03) & Rod Guetter, girl,

1997 Duana (Olson ’98) to Thomas Boyd, 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013



2016 2017

2019 2020

April ’18 Michelle (Melsen ’08) to Ryan Sufka, Aug. ’19 Jennifer (Tong ’10) to Chase Kroll, Sep. ’19 Sienna (Kuhn ’12) to Joel Cherrico, Sep. ’19 Stephanie (Battista ’12) to Benedict Cahill, Aug. ’19 Kayla Pachl to Evan Bojar, Aug. ’19 Kate Hanjum to Bill Jaffee, Jan. ’20 Kirsten (Bates ’15) to Josh Smith, June ’19 Jeana (Renier ’13) to Max Tusa, Jan. ’20 Kirsten (Anderson ’14) to Ryan Finnefrock, July ’19 Briana (Traut ’15) to Samuel Hollis, Aug. ’19 Lexi (Alm ’14) to Jesse Johnson, May ’19 Kaylee (Mathews ’14) to Dan Mathews Cahill, Oct. ’19 Mary (Bechtold ’15) to Blake Bellefeuille, June ’19 Cathleen (Gross ’16) to Alec Bramer, Sep. ’19 Elizabeth (Camber ’14) to Patrick Gibbons, Sep. ’19 Emily (Gebhart ’15) to Spencer Hanson, Jan. ’19 Kimberly (Lidstone ’16) to Stephen Palkert, Nov. ’19 Madison (Peitz ’16) to Scott Echternacht, Dec. ’19 Taryn (Schriner) to Ryan Bugler, Dec. ’19 Sarah (Haas ’17) to Joe Haas-Mahowald, Aug. ’19 Erin (Stocker ’17) to Mitchel Niehaus, Jan. ’10 Maddisen (Farver ’19) to Mark Falls, Oct. ’19 Korissa (Franklin ’20) to Jon Koenig, Dec. ’19







Births 1999 Elizabeth & James de Leon, boy, Fulton,


Jan. ’20 Emily & Tim Enright, boy, Alistair, Aug. ’19 Holly Manthei & Mike Thielman, girl, Hannah, Nov. ’19



Eve, May ’19 Meghan & Zach McBroom, girl, Vivian, Dec. ’19 Heather (Hinnenkamp ’01) & Christopher Stanley, girl, Lucy, Dec. ’19 Emily (Tretter ’12) & Charles Walter, girl, Bailey, Sep. ’19 Anne (Ceronsky ’02) & Tom Warrington, boy, Elliott, June ’19 Shannon & Paul Determan, boy, Bradley, Dec. ’19 Noelle (Gunderson ’03) & Blake Elliott, boy, Owen, June ’19 Rachael & Tim Flagstad, boy, William, March ’19 Erin & Isaac Flenner, boy, Ike, Dec. ’19 Alissa (Keene ’04) & Josh Theis, boy, Sawyer, Sep. ’19 Meghan (Marpe ’05) & Brian Bos, girl, McKenna, April ’19 Kirsten & Alex Conzemius, boy, Albert, Aug. ’19 Anita & Ryan Flanders, boy, Kian, Nov. ’19 Angie & Rich Loeber, girl, Riley, Feb. ’19 Tina & George Fortier, boy, Benjamin, Sep. ’19 Claire (Hoolihan ’06) & Mike Philippe, boy, James, July ’19 Michelle (Pickle ’10) & Jeff Brown, boy, Lucas, Nov. ’19 Maja Janjic & Dusan Kosic, boy, Marko, Dec. ’19 Erin (Fogle ’07) & Ben Lauer, girl, Rosalind, Sep. ’19 Holly (Breeggemann ’07) & Luke McMahon, girl, Collins, May ’19 Amanda & Paul Rynda, girl, Cora, Oct. ’19 Laura & Kyle Triggs, boy, Dominic, Oct. ’19 Stephanie (Deter ’08) & Kevin Crane, boy, Henry, Feb. ’19 Kaylen (James ’08) & Jeff Jackson, girl, Elizabeth, Dec. ’19 Emily (Sandberg ’08) & John Mayerhofer, girl, Eva, Sep. ’19 Jenny (Vuong ’08) & Allen Ng, girl, Kenzie, Nov. ’19 Kamila & Eric Ostendorf, twin girls, Haley and Charley, Sep. ’19 Bridget (McLoone ’09) & Patrick Deering, girl, Sloane, Sep. ’19

2009 Jamie (Eskuri ’09) & Jake Lantry, boy,







Jeffrey, Jan. ’19 Jenny & Max Moreland, boy, Murray, Sep. ’19 Mary Beth & Brayden Wagner, boy, Briggs, June ’19 Hannah & Peter Stommes, girl, Josephine, Jan. ’20 Tamara & Bobby Chapman, boy, William, Aug. ’19 Jessica (Hoeppner ’10) & Gregory Donaldson, girl, Adeline, July ’19 Katie (Kalkman ’06) & Gabriel Harren, girl, Emerson, Sep. ’19 Stephanie (Lahr ’10) & Peder Jacobson, boy, William, April ’19 Brianna & Michael Koltes, girl, Charlotte, Nov. ’19 Nicole (Magedanz ’10) & Ben Morris, girl, Hazel, Sep. ’19 Lindsay (Havlik ’10) & Benjamin Wessels, boy, Holden, Nov. ’19 Melissa & Andy Obritsch, girl, Claire, June ’19 Emily (Miller ’10) & Nathan Orr, girl, Lily, Sep. ’19 Ashley (Quam ’11) & Jacob Reiter, girl, Rose, Aug. ’19 Emily & Eric Ressemann, boy, Maxwell, Aug. ’19 Marie (Walmsley ’11) & David Walmsley, boy, Jonah, June ’19 Kaylee & Alex Warzecha, boy, Lincoln, Dec. ’19 Shannon & Bryan Wachter, girl, Eskar, May ’19 Kristin (Donner ’12) & Adam Weber, girl, Isabelle, Sep. ’19 Alison (Schadow ’13) & Jack Brandes, girl, Emery, July ’19 Amy (Bechtold ’16) & John Gans, boy, Beckett, Sep. ’19 Samantha & Scott Schroeder, girl, Violet Jo, Dec. ’19 Clare (Murn ’13) & Trent Johnson, boy, Milo, Jan. ’20 Rebeka (Schwendemann ’14) & John Scepaniak, boy, Ivan, Oct. ’19 Alli (Renze ’15) & Brandon Schaust, girl, Teagan, April ’19 Megan (Voss ’14) & Mitchell Schulte, boy, Mason, Sep. ’19 Emily (Gebhart ’15) & Spencer Hanson, boy, Griffin, Oct. ’19

2017 Rebekah (Meschke ’16) & Michael

1954 Rev. Donald Burkart, SOT/Sem ’58,

Wojahn, boy, Rowan, June ’19



1934 Florence Griffin, spouse of deceased,


1937 1940 1943 1944 1945 1949


1951 1952

Dr. Richard, mother of Tim ’70 and deceased, David ’68, Jan. ’20 Dee Korbel, spouse of deceased, George, Aug. ’19 Bob Bray, father of Dennis ’65, Jan. ’20 Rev. Arthur Hoppe, Sept. ’19 Helen Gillette, spouse of deceased, Kenneth, Jan. ’20 Adam Schweitzer, Aug. ’19 Art Buchl, brother of deceased, Stan ’50 and Andy ’52, Oct. ’19 Murnane “Red” Maenhout, Sept. ’19 Ralph Opatz, father of Charlie ’80, brother of Don ’56, Dec. ’19 Douglas Coy, father of Robert ’78, Aug. ’19 Betty Mae Feda, spouse of deceased, Dr. John, mother of Tom ’74, Sept. ’19 Bernie Jansen, Sr., Oct. ’19 Roland Altmann, March ’18 Rev. Lawrence Gerend, Jan. ’20 Richard Chmielewski, father of Chuck ’88, Oct. ’19 James Oehrlein, Jan. ’20





Nov. ’19 Sylvester Knapp, Oct. ’19 Valentine Riley, Dec. ’19 George Sowada, July ’16 James Dullum, brother of deceased, Ted ’57, Nov. ’18 John Heinzkill, Oct. ’19 Augustine Ludwig, Nov. ’19 Jim Botz, Jan. ’20 Nancy Clements, spouse of deceased, Dr. Robert, Jan. ’20 John McAlpin, Dec. ’19 David Perl, Jan. ’20 Thomas Auger, June ’13 Vincent Eichten, Oct. ’19 Kevin Jonas, father of Thomas ’84, Sept. ’19 James R. Murphy, brother of deceased, Patrick ’51, Sept. ’19 Kenneth Terhaar, father of Gregory ’94 and Daman ’00, Oct. ’19 Mary Bassett, spouse of Jim, mother of Tony ’84, Tom ’92, Kevin ’91, Larry ’92, Luke ’94 and Daniel ’98, Sept. ’19 Karl Petters, father of Karl ’82 and William ’84, brother of deceased, William ’43 and Fred ’50, Jan. ’20 Charles Pilon, brother of deceased, Joe ’66, Oct. ’19

1959 Sherry Bias, spouse of deceased,

1959 1960



1963 1964

James, Oct. ’19 Gerald Esselman, brother of deceased, David ’62, Sept. ’19 Robert Fischer, father of Bob ’82, Aug. ’19 Dennis Gacke, Sept. ’19 Larry Poston, MD, Sept. ’19 J. Keith Connelly, Dec. ’18 Rev. Richard Engels, SOT/Sem, Oct. ’18 Catherine Herrmann, spouse of Jerry, mother of Martin ’86 and deceased son, Jerry ’85, Aug. ’19 Rev. Chrysostom Kim, OSB, SOT/Sem ’60, Dec. ’19 Dr. James Wagner, Sept. ’19 S. Helenette Baltes, OSB, SOT/Sem, Jan. ’20 Rev. Martin Fox, SOT/Sem ‘65, Oct. ’19 Milo Tiefenthaler, Dec. ’19 Ron Ebnet, Jan. ’20 Dennis Weimerskirch, brother of Arnold ’58, deceased brother, Joseph ’60, Sept. ’19 Bruce Olson, twin brother of Dennis ’63, Aug. ’19 Dennis Schowalter, Dec. ’19 Gerry Faust, Nov. ’19 John Flynn, father of Gabriel ’90, Jan. ’20

LA Theatre World presents SEVEN Saturday, March 14 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Chanticleer – Trade Winds Saturday, April 4 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Ana Gasteyer – I’m Hip Friday, March 20 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Jeremy Messersmith Friday, April 17 @ 7:30 p.m. Escher Auditorium, CSB

Chicago Thursday, March 26 @ 7:30 p.m. Gorecki Family Theater, CSB

Earth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure: The Mystery of the Dinosaurs of the Deep Saturday, April 25 @ 1 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience Saturday, March 28 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Fine Arts Series

College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University

To order tickets call 320-363-5777 or visit SJUALUM.COM/CLASSNOTES



1964 Francis “Mike” Fullenkamp, Dec. ’19 1965

1966 1967 1968 1969 1970



Charles Mertensotto, SOT/Sem, Aug. ’19 Joseph Coyne, Jan. ’19 Roderick Dougherty, Jr., Nov. ’18 Hazel Howes, spouse of Ron, mother of Joe ’00, Aug. ’19 Hardy Reyerson, brother of Maurice ’73, Nov. ’19 Sandra Sexton, spouse of Bob, Sept. ’19 Robert Connor, Sept. ’19 John Flynn, father of Gabriel ’90, Jan. ’20 Don Nett, brother of John ’61 and Joe ’71, Dec. ’19 Alison Sundgren-Schneeweis, spouse of Tom, Jan. ’20 Marcus Ahmed, Dec. ’19 Dennis Merritt, Nov. ’19 Rev. John Steiner, SOT/Sem ’74, Oct. ’19 William Dalsin, brother of Jim ’76, Oct. ’19 David Farrington, brother of Terry ’75, Nov. ’19 Thomas Whalen, SOT/Sem, Sept. ’19 Kathleen Haws, mother of Pat ’72 and deceased son, Brian ’75, Sept. ’19

1972 S. Mary Benita Jasurda, OSB,

1973 1974 1975

1976 1977 1977

1978 1979

SOT/Sem, Dec. ’18 S. Mary Gabriel Roeder, SSND, SOT/Sem, Aug. ’19 Diane Aulwes, spouse of Joe, Oct. ’19 Msgr. Donald Krebs, SOT/Sem, Sept. ’19 Doug Chalupsky, brother of Gary ’62 and Carl ’65, Aug. ’19 Stan Johnson, Sept. ’19 Dorothy Pierzina, mother of Br. Robin, OSB, Dec. ’19 John Asmussen, father of Jess ’01, Feb. ’20 Camilla Degen, mother of Larry, Dec. ’19 Jean Davis, mother of Michael, David ’86 and deceased, Patrick ’78, Oct. ’19 Kent Seaman, brother of Kristopher ’97 SOT/Sem ’01, nephew of Fr. Don Talafous, OSB ’48, SOT/Sem ’52, Aug. ’19 Thomas Willenbring, brother of Bede ’70, son of deceased, Joseph ’42, Feb. ’20 Pastor John Berg, SOT/Sem ’83, Nov. ’19

Become an Enrollment Partner Today The Saint John’s Alumni Association has partnered with the SJU/CSB Admission office to create a new volunteer program called Enrollment Partners. This program matches alumni with specific recruitment activities to make it easy for alumni to share their love for SJU/CSB with future Johnnies and Bennies in fun and engaging ways. Specific volunteer roles for alumni include: • Admission Event Panelist – share college, career and professional experiences and advice with prospective students and their parents at Admission events • Admission College Fair Assistant – represent SJU/CSB at local college fairs • Admission Young Alum Ambassador – for our youngest 10 graduating classes, provide prospective students with oncall information and experience about specific majors and career targets • Student Mentor – support prospective high school students from the time they are admitted to the time they enroll • Admission Video Spotlight Volunteer – create a personal video message that is shared with prospective students


1980 Ruth Moore, mother of John ’80, 1981


1984 1986 1987 1989 1990 1992 1993 1999 2005

July ’19 Norbert Hemesath, father of Michael, Dec. ’19 Jeanne Mevisen, spouse of Greg, Aug. ’19 Steve Galvin, brother of Jim and Mike ’78, Sept. ’19 Chuck Kajer, Nov. ’19 S. Anne Malerich, OSB, SOT/Sem, sister of Tony ’72, Oct. ’19 Michael Schwartz, Dec. ’19 Joe Vaughn, father of Danny ’18, brother of Bob ’81, Michael ’93, son of deceased, Dale ’57, Sept. ’19 Rhoda Anderson, Oct. ’19 Jeff Gewedik, Dec. ’19 Thomas Murphy, father of Tom, Vic ’92 and Dan ’05, Sept. ’19 Rick Pihl, Jan. ’20 Mark Hoolihan, son of deceased, Hon. James ’64, Aug. ’19 Gregg Schreiner, Nov. ’19 Maria Pitt, spouse of David, SOT/Sem, Nov. ’19 Kathy Braaten, sister of Br. Walter Kieffer, SOT/Sem, Nov. ’19

and their families that may be used geographically and/or within an alums high school alma mater. Tom Mahowald ’86 and wife Tracy Meyer ’87 signed up to become Enrollment Partners. They partnered with SJU/CSB Admission representative Carol Gadd-Marshall to meet a prospective family in their hometown of Eagan, Minnesota. Tom and Tracy were able to add insight to the recent and current student experiences of their sons Joe ’17 and John ’21. “The informal setting allowed us to share with prospective students how alums are involved with the student experience,” Mahowald said. “Alums attend Accepted Student Receptions, the annual Job and Internship Fair Networking Reception and participate in the alum to student mentor program InterAction. “These are great examples of how the Johnnie/Bennie network becomes real to the students and their families.” To find more information and apply to become an alum Enrollment Partner volunteer, visit and click the Volunteer tab.




Through rain or shine, sleet or snow is a special part of being a member of the Saint John’s community.

From Reunion June 26-28 to Homecoming Sept. 25-26 to Family Weekend Oct. 16-17, from lectures and retreats to chamber choir concerts to sporting events and so much more, Saint John’s and its Alumni Association offer something for everyone. To learn more about upcoming events for SJU alumni and friends, visit or join more than 9,300 SJU alumni and friends at




Lessons from Brother Louie By Buck Dopp ’72

t was 1968, and I was a freshman waiting for the professor in my first class at Saint John’s University. An 8 o’clock class – what was I thinking?

Louie would read to us from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and then ask us what it meant. Each week he assigned a two-page paper on a theme in Gatsby.

The class description for Rhetoric 101 should have included a warning label: “Attempting to get up early enough to attend an 8 a.m. class for a whole semester could be hazardous to your health … and your GPA.”

He corrected our papers in front of us during one-on-one meetings in his closet-like office. It was unnerving to watch him fixing my bloopers with his red pen. He grunted and sighed in obvious displeasure as he dissected my writing the way some people filet a fish. He lit one cigarette after another until we were both swallowed up in a cloud of smoke.

My fellow students and I had yet to reflect any of the values of the Benedictine monks who had the great responsibility of providing us with a quality Catholic liberal arts education. There wasn’t an ounce of piety among us. We looked more like refugees who had abandoned our homes in the middle of the night. One classmate showed up barefoot. One guy sported a bathrobe, and a kid in the back row suited up in his high school track uniform. Br. Louie swaggered in a few minutes late with a couple of small books in one hand and a lit Marlboro in the other. His shaved white head shined in stark contrast to his black monk’s robe, so short we could see that he wore no socks. He applied black shoe polish to white sneakers to make them look more formal and match his robe. A World War II veteran, Br. Louis Blenkner looked like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family and sounded like Lurch. Raising his eyebrows, adjusting his glasses and waving his cigarette back and forth were his main gestures. Br. Louie’s strict grading earned him the nickname “Grammar Nazi.” He told us, “God gets A’s, seminary students B’s, English majors C’s, and the rest will get D’s and F’s.” We hoped he was kidding, but we didn’t know for sure.

Somehow – I suspect divine intervention – I passed Rhetoric 101. I never worked so hard for a C. I learned a lot about grammar and punctuation, a little about F. Scott Fitzgerald, and above all learned never to take an 8 a.m. class. The last I heard of Br. Louie, he had quit teaching in the 1980s to become a caregiver – cooking and cleaning for AIDS patients. That took a lot of love and guts because, at the time, most people believed AIDS could be transmitted by regular contact. Br. Louie didn’t let those fears keep him from serving others in love. After I retired, I became a freelance writer for the local paper. Every time I revise or proofread, I do so with the knowledge I gained from those one-on-one sessions in Br. Louie’s office. Br. Louie died in 1993 at age 71. I silently thank him for all those times he tattooed my writing with his red pen. I never got a chance to thank him in person – something I regret. Perhaps the greatest lesson Br. Louie taught me had nothing to do with writing at all: Never judge people by their outward appearance. It’s what’s on the inside of a person that counts. Buck Dopp ’72 is a retired Comcast vice-president and freelance writer living in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Inspiring Lives is reserved for reflective pieces with a Benedictine theme. Please submit essays, poetry or other reflections for consideration to Dave DeLand at



Shaping a life, shaping the future Rob Kost ’79 has some valuable advice he likes to pass on to younger colleagues in the real estate field – and, really, those in all walks of life. “It never hurts to know a little bit about everything,” Kost said. “It helps to have a well-rounded background. “Knowing something about a wide variety of subjects helps you appreciate a lot more things. And that makes life more enjoyable.” It’s an outlook that Kost – a Minneapolis resident and director of commercial services at Upland Real Estate Group – attributes to the liberal arts education he received at Saint John’s. Especially impactful, he said, was a semester he spent studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria. “The European experience I got at Saint John’s was so valuable,” he said. “That really stuck with me. One of the things I took away from the experience was a love of classical music. And I’ve gone on to sit on the boards of music schools.” Kost has also remained connected to his alma mater, helping organize reunions and serving as class chair. “The friendships I made at Saint John’s, and from just getting to know other graduates, have endured over time,” he said. “They’ve helped me in my personal life. They’ve helped me in my professional life. Everybody knows about the close-knit community that exists among people who went to Saint John’s. “People who graduated from other schools even joke about it. I think they’re a little jealous.” Kost said he wants to help others have the same experience he did. It’s why he has donated both financially and of his time over the years.

CSB/SJU study abroad students Galway, Ireland

And it’s why he has set up an estate plan to make sure his contributions to Saint John’s will continue. “The older you get, the more you reflect,” he said. “My life has really been shaped in a large part by Saint John’s. The education, the atmosphere and the philosophy – it all played a huge role in shaping who I am.”

For more information on ways to LEAVE


contact the Planned Giving team at 320-363-2116 or visit Read more inspiring donor stories at

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INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT P.O. Box 7222 Collegeville, MN 56321







June 26-28 2020 Classes ending in 5 and 0 — Your class reunion is fast approaching! Mark your calendar to reconnect with friends and enjoy the campuses in the summer. Learn more and register today at