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

Can’t stop

them now Bennies are back on campus and taking steps to stay there safely Page 12

A shining success We wrap up an amazing campaign with a look back at the journey. Page 18.

INSIDE 10 Meet Interim President Laurie Hamen, J.D. 36 Cristo Rey Jesuit High School grads set for next step







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Running Toward the Challenge Community Always A Shining Success Story

1 Message From the President 2 Worth 1,000 Words 4 News 26 I’m a Bennie 27 Class Notes 34 Bennie Connection 36 Generosity

The College of Saint Benedict Magazine is published three times a year by the office of Institutional Advancement. EDITOR Greg Skoog (SJU ’89) ASSISTANT EDITOR Abby Hansen ’12 CONTRIBUTORS Ellen Hunter Gans ’05 Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13) COVER PHOTO Ashley Dalbec ’21 and Regan Dolezal ’22 are wearing masks on campus to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Photo by Tommy O’Laughlin (SJU ’13) CONTACT College of Saint Benedict Magazine Institutional Advancement 37 South College Avenue St. Joseph, MN 56374-2099 For address changes, please call 1-800-648-3468, ext. 1 or email csbalumnae@csbsju.edu Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer The mission of the College of Saint Benedict is to provide for women the very best residential liberal arts education in the Catholic and Benedictine traditions. The college fosters integrated learning, exceptional leadership for change and wisdom for a lifetime.


It’s good to be home

Interim President Laurie Hamen (center, in Bennie red) and her family gathered by the Saint Ben’s fish pond.

For the past six years I had the privilege and pleasure to serve as president of Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My plan was to retire from there. In fact, it’s fair to say that there were only two places that could have convinced me to do more in a time of significant challenges in higher education. One would have been my alma mater – St. Catherine University. The College of Saint Benedict is the other. This community holds special significance for me and my family. From 1992-96, we lived on campus for a time in Rainbow House, while I served as dean of students. In fact, when I came back to campus for a visit after being offered this job, some of the first questions I got from my sons were: “Is Rainbow House still standing? Can you send us a picture of it?”.

I’ve never forgotten what the Benedictines taught me about hospitality, love of learning and stability.” All three of my children were in elementary school during our time here in the 1990s. And I think – especially my sons, because they were a little older – grew up with a sense of Benedictine hospitality, even if it’s something they couldn’t have

put their finger on. And when it came time to choose where they wanted to go to school, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University was a place they knew – and it felt like home to them. Both boys became Johnnies. I have a Bennie daughterin-law and my other daughter-in-law was a College of Saint Benedict employee for a number of years. My daughter didn’t choose Saint Ben’s (but we love her anyway). Pursuing the opportunity to lead the College of Saint Benedict felt like coming home to me, too. I’ve never forgotten what the Benedictines taught me about hospitality, love of learning and stability. I feel called to work toward ensuring that this brand of women’s education is available. I want my granddaughters to be able to choose a vibrant, residential, liberal arts, Benedictine education at a college for women when it comes time for them to go to college. And so I’m here in this time of transition to do my part to ensure that there will always be a strong Saint Ben’s. I look forward to meeting and working with as many of you as possible over the next year. In the meantime, I’m happy to get down to work – because it’s good to be home.

Laurie M. Hamen, J.D. College of Saint Benedict Interim President

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New-arriving first-year students this year may not have been able to see the smiling faces welcoming them to campus. But we’re pretty sure their new Bennie sisters made sure they felt the love. L to R: Teniesha Ferguson ’23, Morgan Bain ’21, Claire Peterson ’22, Ashley Dalbec ’21, Grace Klupper ’21 and Sydney Richter ’23

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Five CSB Grads Earn Fulbright Awards From Two Organizations

CSB 2020-21 Fulbright winners (clockwise, starting upper left): Kathryn Weinmann, Samantha Givens, Amanda Bjerke, Julia Petron and (center) Allison Grodnick.

• Amanda Bjerke, a German major from Elko New Market, Minnesota, will serve in Germany.

ETAs may also pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities.

• Samantha Givens, a political science major from Ventura, California, will serve in Malaysia.

Since 2013, 39 students or graduates from CSB and Saint John’s University have earned U.S. Fulbright ETA awards.

• Allison Grodnick, a biochemistry major from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, will serve in Poland.

For decades, Fulbright Austria has worked with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to bring qualified university graduates from the U.S. to teach English in secondary schools in Austria. As teaching assistants, they help Austrian students develop the linguistic skills that will help them succeed.

In addition, two graduates received Fulbright Austria-United States Teaching Assistant positions through the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research: • Julia Petron, a German major from Zimmerman, Minnesota.

Five College of Saint Benedict 2020 • Kathryn Weinmann, a music graduates earned “Fulbright” awards, major from Fargo, North Dakota. but from two different countries and The Fulbright U.S. Student Program two different programs. places recent college graduates as English Three graduates received awards as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board:

Teaching Assistants in schools and universities overseas. The ETAs improve international students’ English abilities and knowledge of the U.S., while enhancing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country.

They also serve as an informal cultural ambassador and promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the U.S. and the Republic of Austria. Two other CSB graduates were accepted into Fulbright programs, but declined the invitation. Tracy Magooba – who earned the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellowship – and Ilyse Putz are both attending graduate school. Magooba was accepted into the Turkey ETA program, and Putz into the German ETA program.

19 CSB Students Admitted to Delta Epsilon Sigma Delta Epsilon Sigma is a national Catholic Honor Society with the purpose of recognizing academic accomplishments, dedication to intellectual activity and service to others. The College of Saint Benedict has been a member of DES since its beginning in 1940.

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Select CSB juniors and seniors are inducted each year, based on a series of criteria. Students must maintain a 3.9 grade-point average or higher on a 4.0 scale, while also being involved in the community through volunteer and extracurricular activities. This year five Bennie seniors and 14 juniors earned induction in April.


CSB/SJU Students Present Research Findings at Mayo Clinic

Four students at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University concluded their work this spring in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (MISP). SJU integrative health science and biology double major John Hicke ’20 (Ham Lake, Minnesota), CSB global business leadership major Jocelyn Metz ’20 (Plymouth, Minnesota), CSB biochemistry major Michaela Reardon ’20 (Woodbury, Minnesota) and SJU accounting and finance major Joe Sullivan ’20 (Marshall, Minnesota) represented the team from CSB and SJU. The interdisciplinary program provides research opportunities to teams of undergraduates from Minnesota private colleges, under the guidance of select master’s-level business students. Students

in this collaborative program work at the interface of science, medicine and business. Through teamwork, they learn the practical aspects involved in bringing an idea to the marketplace. The CSB and SJU students worked as a team on the project on campus throughout the 2019-20 academic year. They presented their findings in March at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and in a written report. On average, each student put in roughly 175 hours of work during the program. Now in its 14th year, MISP aims to assist high-achieving students

from private colleges in Minnesota gain real-life experience of innovation and commercialization under the auspices of Mayo Clinic Ventures. The students help in the assessment of innovative technologies submitted by Mayo researchers. The program was designed in 2006 by John Meslow, a retired Medtronic executive. Together with Mayo Clinic Ventures and the Minnesota Private College Council, Meslow created an innovative model for student experiential learning.

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Bacon Named CSB/SJU Dean of Faculty On April 13, Dr. Pamela Bacon was introduced as the new Dean of the Faculty at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Dr. Bacon is a professor of psychology and has taught at CSB/SJU since 2003. She has served in many leadership roles, including Chair of the Joint Faculty Assembly/Joint Faculty Senate, department chair, and co-chair of RISE (ReInvigorating Shared Education). As co-chair of RISE, she led the final revision process for the new Integrations Curriculum, guiding the process to completion. She has continued to work on the curriculum, serving as chair of one of the implementation committees and as a member of the Integrations Implementation Curriculum Committee (IICC). Among many other roles, Bacon recently demonstrated her collaborative

leadership in coordinating the renovation of the Main Building, working closely with faculty, staff, facilities and the construction team. She is the recipient of the S. Mary Grell Teacher of Distinction Award and has mentored dozens of students through research and internships. She was also a member of the committee that recently developed the new Scholars for Change honors program. Bacon is an active scholar, publishing and presenting her scholarly work nationally, regionally and locally. Her research interests include gender stereotypes and discrimination, relational-interdependent self-construal, self-concept and gender and scholarship of teaching.

CSB/SJU Documentary Team Wins Award Extending the Link (ETL), the student-run documentary group from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, was honored with an Upper Midwest Emmy® Student Production Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Upper Midwest Chapter April 3. The group won in the College-Long Form: Non-Fiction category for its 2019 documentary “Bayt Jadeed: Seeking Home” (bayt jadeed means “new house” in Arabic). Five other projects were nominated in the category: from Wartburg College (two entries), Central Lakes College, University of St. Thomas and Minnesota State-Moorhead.

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Bayt Jadeed was the 12th documentary the group has done in as many years. It looks at Germany’s efforts to settle over 1 million forced migrants who arrived in the country in 2015, then compares and contrasts that with local efforts in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which has seen a large influx in refugees arriving from Somalia. The group spoke with residents in St. Cloud, including Muslim community

leader Ayan Omar, and prominent religious leaders in the Twin Cities. The documentary was co-produced and co-directed by two 2019 CSB graduates – Danica Simonet, who majored in peace studies and German, from Northfield, Minnesota; and Mackenzie Kuhl, a political science major from Dubuque, Iowa.


CSB/SJU Campus Ministry Offices Receive Service Award The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Campus Ministry offices have been jointly honored by the Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN) as one of 25 “Top Schools for Service 2020.” The award was announced April 23 during National Volunteer Week. “Campus Ministry at the College of Saint Benedict is deeply humbled to be recognized by CVN,” said Aaron Voth, assistant director of Campus Ministry at CSB. “We promise to use this honor as additional motivation to continue our work of engaging students in service to others.” “Pope Francis’ popularized notion of ‘encounter’ calls us to stretch ourselves as much as we are able to serve those most in need,” said Margaret Nuzzolese Conway, director of Campus Ministry at SJU. “We know that there’s a direct relationship between those who do post-grad service and one’s life-long vocation (religious and

lay people committed to ministry and the margins) so we prioritize this type of encouragement for how it results in a healthier Catholic Church.” Three factors influenced the selections, made by a three-person team at CVN in consultation with a CVN board member: • CVN’s Annual Membership Survey, where volunteer programs indicated the schools their volunteers originate from AND schools that have hosted successful post-graduate service events; • CVN’s Volunteer Survey, where recent volunteers indicated the schools they attended AND the factors leading them to choose their service programs;

• CVN staff feedback in more subjective areas – such as schools that CVN feels have demonstrated excellence in collaborating with its network of over 150 programs. “Based on the 2018 and 2019 CVN Membership Surveys, CSB/SJU was indicated as a popular school among volunteer program recruiters,” said Mike McCormick, outreach coordinator at CVN. “Our staff also feels that both the CSB and SJU Campus Ministry teams show exceptional encouragement of post-grad service among students and exceptional collaboration with our network.”

CSB/SJU Adopt Test-Optional Admission Policy This spring the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of ACT and SAT dates with no assurance of the availability of future test dates. Because of this, several colleges across the country announced they will be test-optional for the class of 2021, meaning the ACT or SAT will not be required for admission.

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University have adopted a test-optional undergraduate admission policy beginning with students applying for fall 2021.

The reliance on standardized tests for college admission decisions has been the subject of much discussion across the country for the last several years. “We join numerous other colleges that believe placing a high value on a standardized test as part of the admission process may disproportionately affect students of color, first-generation college students and students who come from

lower-income households,” said Nate Dehne, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at CSB/SJU. There will be exceptions to the testoptional policy. Those exceptions include students who have been home-schooled or attended non-grade-based schools; international students who need to demonstrate English language proficiency; and those who apply for the Nursing Early Admission Program. “CSB/SJU have always completed a holistic and thorough review of our admission applications,” Dehne said. “In addition to academic performance, we look carefully at life experiences, community engagement and leadership qualities.”

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New Data Analytics Minor Available This Fall Semester Building on the strengths of many existing departments, CSB and SJU now offer students the opportunity to minor in data analytics. “Data analysis and data analytics pervades the public conversation these days whether you are reading The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times,” said Parker Wheatley, professor of economics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. The program co-directors – Wheatley, Bob Hesse (associate professor of mathematics) and Imad Rahal (professor of computer science) – believe the new minor will have broad appeal to students across many disciplines.

“Real decisions are made based on data these days. Moreover, it is increasingly the case that graduate programs are encouraging students to take courses/ programs in data analysis before they start their studies,” Wheatley added.

“Data analytics is a central tool for decision-making, and whether a person’s profession is as an epidemiologist, accountant, marketing manager, physician, political adviser, nurse, teacher, historian or biologist … they will be immersed in data as they attempt to make good choices in a rapidly changing environment,” Hesse said.

The 22-credit minor features 14 required credits and eight credits of elective courses spread over the various disciplines. Departments with coursework contributing to the minor include Accounting and Finance, Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Environmental Studies, Global Business Leadership, Mathematics, Physics and Political Science.

Wheatley said all incoming first-year and sophomore students should be able to enroll in the new minor, adding some rising juniors may be able to complete it as well. “This minor complements a student’s major,” Rahal said. “By its design, it is an integrated program that requires students to take the skills from the data analytics courses and combine them with knowledge gained from their major to answer questions not possible only a few years ago.”

Moving Forward Toward Increased Collaboration This spring, the Boards of Trustees of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University introduced a broad initiative led by a Joint Strategic Visioning Committee (JSVC). Both boards believe that greater alignment between the two schools will put each in an even stronger position to compete in the competitive higher education marketplace.

The boards are currently working to explore and create an effective governance and leadership structure to move toward that end. This involves careful coordination with the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting body.

“At the same time, we want to retain each school’s individual identity as we believe separate experiences for men and women under an outstanding joint academic program is a unique offering that provides us a competitive advantage,” said Barb Brandes and Dan McKeown, chairs of the CSB and SJU Boards of Trustees respectively, in an email statement to the CSB/SJU campus communities.

A single leader will provide a more integrated structure that effectively implements new and exciting opportunities for our students while retaining our unique identities as separate schools for women and men. But, as Brandes and McKeown pointed out, “it is important that we do it right, and we still have much work ahead before we

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What might this look like and what will it involve? The most visible aspects of this process will be a common Board of Trustees and a single president.

embark down that path. Having interim presidents at both schools provides us the time to complete this work while ensuring operations remain on track.” Eugene McAllister, Ph.D., agreed to extend his term as Interim President of Saint John’s University. And in July, Laurie Hamen, J.D., became Interim President of the College of Saint Benedict. The JSVC and the boards will continue laying groundwork for a successful transition to the new model. “We plan to work with the interim presidents over the coming year to drive greater alignment between the two schools and position us for a smooth transition,” concluded Brandes and McKeown.


CSB Alumnae Association Welcomes New Board Members On July 1, eight Saint Ben’s alumnae joined the Alumnae Association Board of Directors. Maria Gathje ’14 “CSB has played a big part in my life for as long as I can remember. The community that CSB creates and fosters is one of the most unique and special things. I want to play a role in furthering that community and keeping alumnae connected to the college.”

Megan Brennan Wedl ’92 “I am interested giving back to the CSB/SJU community that has provided me and my family many opportunities in both business and life. I am interested in connecting, energizing and promoting Bennies to support the mission of Saint Ben’s.”

Diamond Rover ’20 “What an honor it is to serve, to learn, to grow with fellow Bennies. It will be an opportunity to develop and build on the legacy of former Alumnae Board members and a space to welcome more voices to the table.”

Jill Kraemer Johnson ’14 “I’m interested in being a member of the CSB Alumnae Board because I’m passionate about Saint Ben’s and I’d like the opportunity to reach out to other alums and advocate for Saint Ben’s.”

Mary Cavanagh ’83 “I would love to give back to Saint Ben’s and have lots of experience in the fields of professional, leadership and career development. I’ve worked in a number of organizations and helped professionals learn and grow in their careers and would enjoy applying my knowledge and insights to the needs of CSB alumnae.”

Julie Mayers Benson ’90 “The world has changed these past few months. It has given us all an opportunity to look at and prioritize people and activities in our lives. I have known for a long time that I wanted to give back to the CSB community that gave me my wings and helped develop the person and professional I am today. I think it is time to do so.”

Renotta Baxter Stainbrook ’77 “I am looking for meaningful volunteer work. I want the college to continue to thrive and provide excellent education and opportunities for young women as it did for me.”

Jenny Kunkel ’13 “In the last five years or so, being out in the rest of the world and engaging with the people and constructs that build the communities I am part of, I have become immensely aware of both the quality of the education that I received, as well as the unbelievable power of the all-women’s community that I was a part of, and continue to be able to draw strength on.”

Phi Beta Kappa Inducts 58 Bennies and Johnnies They may not have gotten the induction ceremony they anticipated, but this spring a new group of students was inducted into the Theta of Minnesota chapter of Phi Beta Kappa – the nation’s oldest academic honor society. This is the 11th cohort of students to be inducted into the chapter, which was approved and

such as a thesis or other research; interest in other cultures or languages; extracurricular activities; and academic performance. established at CSB and SJU in October 2009. Students are chosen based on their grade-point average (3.85 for juniors, 3.65 for seniors) and must be a liberal arts and/or sciences major. The selection committee also looks at the breadth and depth of the student’s program and other achievements,

A ceremony had been planned for April 22, but was cancelled because of COVID-19. Phi Beta Kappa certificates were mailed to students and the chapter continues to consider alternate plans for recognizing this year’s cohort.

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Running the Challenge

On July 1, Laurie Hamen, J.D., took the reins from outgoing President Mary Dana Hinton to become the Interim President of the College of Saint Benedict.


aurie previously served as the ninth president at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Prior to that, she was vice president for enrollment management, athletics and student affairs at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, for nearly 18 years. She returns to the College of Saint Benedict community, having served as the dean of students here from 1992 to 1996. Laurie holds a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. She completed Ph.D. coursework in educational administration at the University of Minnesota and holds a master’s degree from Winona State University. She is a product of a women’s college education, having earned her undergraduate degree from St. Catherine University in St. Paul. “We are thrilled to have Laurie’s breadth of experience and her personal and professional connection to the College of Saint Benedict in this vital interim leadership role,” says Barb Brandes, chair of the College of Saint Benedict Board of Trustees. (See page 9 for an update from the CSB and SJU Boards of Trustees.) “She is the ideal leader to advance the mission of Saint Ben’s and to work alongside the board, students, faculty, staff, alums and donors to ensure our community thrives.”

Vital interim leadership Stepping into a college presidency on an interim basis is challenging. Doing so in the midst of an institutional transition is even harder. Then toss in an ongoing global pandemic to make things especially interesting. Fortunately, Laurie seems uniquely positioned for the occasion. “Strong integration can be built upon by someone who knows the institution a little bit,” observes Laurie. “So I’m happy that I know the institutions – both of them. I bring the joy of knowing what can happen at a special place like Saint Ben’s.”

Maintaining Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s as distinct institutions for women and men respectively is crucial in Laurie’s eyes. “It’s the heart and soul of what we do. We should be proud of that and know that the ways Saint Ben’s develops women is our contribution to higher education in many ways. And that should be a part of what we contribute and continue to contribute to stronger integration between the two institutions.” One of the things that most excites Laurie about her new position is the CSB/SJU community’s continuing work in the Becoming Community initiative. “We’re living in a time of very deep interest in social justice,” she says. “And I don’t think you can come to a Benedictine institution without thinking about how you welcome another person and about the type of community you want to build. But for me, there is the concept of transformative inclusion. We are a community of people who have work to do in terms of inviting, celebrating and being part of one another’s lives. And we’re doing that crucial transformative inclusion work in the most dramatic time in a long time in terms of diversity, equity, social justice and anti-racism. That’s essential work of hope and love in the community.” In the meantime, Laurie’s resume brings experience that should pay immediate dividends. “In higher education right now, there’s always a question of how you present yourself for the best enrollment picture. Well, that’s what I’ve done for a number of years before I became a president. And so making sure the enrollment picture is the best it can possibly be is certainly on my mind and on everyone’s mind right now.”

“I don’t think you can come to a Benedictine institution without thinking about how you welcome another person and about the type of community you want to build.” Laurie Hamen, J.D

Clearly, there’s much to do. And Laurie’s ready to get started. “We are a place that, as one of our central tenets, teaches women to lead courageously. Of course, the only time you have to lead courageously is when it’s a tough time. If it’s an easy time, no courage is involved – you just do your thing. So, to exemplify that, I consider challenges like these something to run to instead of running from.”

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C O M M A L W As the College of Saint Benedict sets off into a semester like no other along with our partners at Saint John’s University, one recurring question has been: “What’s THAT going to look like?”*

*O  f course, while this is all accurate as of our press date, things can certainly have changed by the time you’re reading this. If you’d like to learn the most up-to-date details about any of the inside- and outsidethe-classroom aspects featured here, visit our website at csbsju.edu and click the COVID-19 Resources and Return to Campus Information link at the top of the page.

Regan Dolezal ’22

U N I TY A Y S Benedictine Values Guiding our Response to COVID-19 COMMUNITY LIVING AND GOOD ZEAL “We are not to pursue our own self-interests, but rather what would benefit another” (RB 72.7). LISTENING AND RESPECT FOR PERSONS To live in community requires that we respect all persons (RB 72.4; Romans 12:10). We are called to listen to others, to listen “with the ear of our hearts” (RB Prol.1). JUSTICE AND THE COMMON GOOD We commit to the common good and respect for the individual. Our actions are intended to establish a just order in our immediate environment and in the larger society. “We intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service. We hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love” (RB Prol.45-47). Bethany Bierscheid ’21


Commitment to community

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The global COVID-19 pandemic requires all of us to change our behavior. All campus residents, employees and visitors must commit to practices that will protect other students, faculty, staff, the monastic communities and our own families. As the Rule of Benedict reminds us, “We are not to pursue our own self-interests, but rather what would benefit another” (RB 72.7). This teaching has become an urgent obligation to do our part for the sake of the broader community. So this year, students, faculty, staff and all community members will be banding together to make the following commitment:

MY COMMITMENT • Follow physical/social distancing guidelines, maintaining a minimum of six feet between myself and others with whom I do not live, both on and off campus. • Wear a mask at all times when I am outside of my place of residence, both on and off campus. • Avoid activities that put myself or others at greater risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. • Abide by all seating, sanitation, hygiene, disinfection and occupancy limits in all public and personal spaces. • Abide by all expectations and restrictions on the Link bus. 14 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

• Complete my daily health screening honestly and accurately. • Not attend in-person classes when I am not feeling well and communicate this situation to my professors in a timely fashion. • Report to my resident/community assistant, residence director, area coordinator, faculty resident, or a campus health professional that I am not feeling well or experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and abide by the directives provided for caring for my health and the health of others.


What will that look like? INSIDE THE CLASSROOM A “block schedule with hybrid learning”? To help some of you wrap your heads around that, start by thinking J-Term. Rather than taking four four-credit classes at once to fill a semester, students will take one course at a time for four shorter blocks to make up the semester. “We did not make this decision lightly,” says CSB/SJU Academic Dean Barb May. “We conducted extensive analysis of several options for returning to campus, including a ‘back to normal’ scenario, taking into consideration the specific needs of our campuses and communities.” In the end, the block schedule with hybrid learning made sense for a number of reasons: 1 It exposes students and faculty to fewer students each day. 2 If there is a diagnosed case on campus and contact tracing is required, one class at a time simplifies that. 3 This schedule ensures that only two classes a day will take place in a classroom/learning space, allowing time to disinfect between class periods. 4 One class per day addresses a serious potential congestion problem on the Link buses. With this format, we can run buses at lower capacity and allow time for cleaning. 5 In the event that we do need to transition to move fully online, this format lets students focus on one online class at a time – a lesson learned from this spring.

6 FT BUILDING BLOCKS Just thinking about the logistics of taking an existing semester schedule and translating it to a block format on the fly is enough to make the head spin. “As the idea started to circulate on campus, we really started to talk about mathematical modeling that may help with the project,” explains Jason Kelly, assistant dean and director of academic advising. “In a best-case scenario, we could probably create a block schedule that would mean we would not have conflicts in about one-third of the student schedules. Taking everything we possibly could into consideration, a group of six of us from IT Services, the Registrar’s Office and Academic Advising rebuilt the schedule in a three-week period during June. This process included 925 classes and labs, 285 faculty members and 2,450 student schedules … and normally takes months. Then Academic Advising took all 2,450 of those schedules for returning students, made changes to about 80% of them and registered the 850 new students one-by-one.” Obviously, students had questions over the summer. Jen Schaefer, chair of the Biology Department, heard from students concerned with how we’ll fit that much information into a four-week block. She told her students to “rest assured, bio faculty are working really hard to reconfigure our courses. And, although the courses will be structured differently than in previous years, we’re still going to deliver the same high quality that we always have.” Fall 2020 | 15

C O M M U N I T Y IN ATHLETICS On Friday, Aug. 28, the MIAC presidents voted to postpone all fall competition until spring, and delay the start of all winter competitions until after Dec. 31, 2020 (though teams can still practice). After seeing winter championships cancelled last season and spring 2020 seasons cancelled completely, this was a painful blow for our fall and winter student-athletes. But with COVID-19 infections surging in several states around the country, the league felt it was an unnecessary risk to compete this fall.

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As outgoing Athletic Director Glen Werner ’93 put it, “While our teams are not competing this fall, they can still be just that – a team. We are still all part of Bennie Nation, and while [this] news is disappointing, we are already looking forward to coming back stronger, and hopeful for the chance to return to competition in the new year. Our athletes are a key part of our Saint Benedict campus community, and they will remain so this fall. They will be looked to as leaders as we navigate this semester under strict health and safety guidelines to keep our campus community safe and healthy.”



Fine Arts Programming certainly looks different this fall, with an online residency and performance series. But, as Executive Director Tanya Gertz explains, “We have greatly prioritized our students in the work and planning we’ve been able to do. That’s meant working closely with our campus fine art departments. We want as much as possible to honor and highlight our student artists and make sure they’re able to perform as safely as possible.”

Meanwhile, internships have evolved with a whole new look that might present new opportunities for the future. “Microinternships” are short, flexible, can be done online and are good for both the student and external partners. The CSB/SJU Experience and Professional Development office (XPD) has been encouraging organizations to create micro-internships of 40 hours over roughly a month. This way they not only align with the onecredit internship requirement for students’ experiential learning designation, but they can also fit neatly within the timing of this year’s block schedule.

One advantage of this fall’s structure is that it will be much more accessible remotely. “Fine Arts Programming is working to provide streaming options for family, friends and community to experience the achievements and creations of our students,” Tanya says. The Theater Department has recreated their season and plans to livestream it. The music and choir programs will be making similar efforts. Meanwhile, visual arts galleries will be open on campus – with masking, capacity limits and social distancing restrictions in place.

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“Micro-internships are an emerging national trend,” observes Laura Hammond ’05, associate director of XPD. “Students can complete an internship while working remotely from their residence hall – or home – no matter how active COVID-19 is at the time.” Businesses interested in reaching CSB/SJU students for microinternships can contact Laura at lhammond@csbsju.edu.


The best laid plans Months of planning, preparation and effort have gone into prepping for this fall. And, as any of us who planned and lost a summer vacation this year know, all of that could change. But, as any of us who watched the CSB/SJU community this summer know, we’re pretty good at adapting and finding new ways to succeed. HOME IS WHERE YOU MAKE IT In March, when campus closed and students returned home, Steffi Tapsoba ’21 had some things to consider. It’s a long way from St. Joe to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. “My country basically closed its borders earlier than the U.S.,” Steffi recalls. “Also, my parents are … not young. And my sister has a compromised immune system. I didn’t want to go and bring something home.” Staying in Minnesota seemed her best choice. But campus options were limited. Then she got a text from her friend Monica Cofell ’83. Monica lives in St. Joe and met Steffi almost a year earlier at one of assistant professor Ana Conboy’s Coin Français events at the Local Blend. Monica saw what was happening and wondered if she might be able to help. “So I talked it over with (her husband) Ray and I texted Steffi to let her know that staying with us was an option for her.” And that’s how Steffi, Monica, Ray and their daughter Maura (a student at Gustavus Adolphus College) came to spend a stay-at-home spring together. “We did a lot of art,” Steffi says when asked how she spent that time. “A lot of cooking and baking – Maura and I baked a lot of bread. We did some gardening. Maura and I made some music. …” Spring/summer 2020 housemates Monica Cofell ’83 and Steffi Tapsoba ’21

As that stay-at-home spring transitioned into a summer with no on-campus, residential student summer research projects, Steffi adapted her planned summer research job with the Computer Science Department to work remotely from a few blocks away at Monica’s house.

FROM MINNESOTA STREET TO McMENEMY STREET This summer saw the first Minnesota Street Creative Writing Workshops, an initiative of the Literary Arts Institute. The program, made possible by a generous grant, selects students (this year, nine of them) through a competitive application process to earn a Manitou Fellowship and a $7,500 stipend for the summer. The original intent was for fellows to spend the summer in residence at Saint Ben’s, working on their writing individually, as a cohort and in conjunction with a rotating roster of three renowned professional writers: essayist Kendra Allen, fiction writer Chelsey Johnson and poet Sun Yung Shin. Like many things this summer though, COVID-19 precautions shifted those plans and this year’s fellows worked on their writing from home. Rather than in-person workshops, road trips to publishing houses, a quiet residence hall for writing and one-on-one check-ins over lunch with English professor and director of the Literary Arts Institute Matt Harkins, students attended their workshops and met with editors at Graywolf Press and Coffee House Press via Zoom. But in the end, perhaps these changes were a good learning experience for this year’s fellows? “Meeting virtually can be challenging since our productivity becomes our own responsibility!” acknowledges Manitou Fellow Zoe Huot-Link ’21. “I’m reminded every day through rigor that creativity has to be first and foremost for my own fulfillment.”

“Years ago,” Monica says, “when I was a student at Saint Ben’s (400 miles from her home in Wisconsin), I acquired a ‘Minnesota Mom and Dad’ who worked at Saint Ben’s. I had people who helped me out. And I’m just glad I can pay that forward.”

Fall 2020 | 17



We kicked off the Illuminating Lives campaign in 2012 because we know that our alumnae, friends and benefactors share a vision of transforming lives for young women. We encourage and validate and prod and push and challenge and expand our students. Why? Because we know what happens when you match potential with the right kind of support: women soar.

in the liberal arts and the Benedictine values and given the tools and the courage to change the world.

In the Illuminating Lives campaign we saw a chance to collectively extend our reach and light more paths forward. Together, we stand by our belief that there is no greater value and no greater return on investment than an educated, empowered woman who is grounded

So how does the story go? Did we get a happy ending? A quick glance at the incredible bar graph here definitely showcases the happy part. But ending? We’re going to continue working to set Bennies up with the best possible beginnings.


OUTRIGHT $73,007,493

GOAL $100,000,000

ACTUAL $112,908,090


ACTUAL $74,195,631


ACTUAL $27,587,227


GOAL $12,000,000

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Actual (as of 6/30/20)


Goal Achieved


You, our community, blew us away with your enthusiasm and generosity. We surpassed our ambitious $100,000,000 fundraising goal ahead of schedule, and since we’re among the world’s top colleges when it comes to operating efficiency, you know we’ll make every penny work hard. Saint Ben’s is about so much more than the four short years Bennies spend here. We do our best to prepare women not for a degree but for life. Being prepared for life means continuing to learn, to be challenged, to mess up and to do better, to evolve, to question and to stretch. That’s what we’re doing, too. (See sidebar “Becoming Community” on page 23 for much more on this transformational effort.) The Illuminating Lives campaign has been an epic story with more heroes than we can count: The donors, who dug deep and gave generously because they believe in the mission of Saint Ben’s. Presidents Emerita MaryAnn Baenninger and Mary Dana Hinton. The board of trustees, who gave over $40 million toward the goal. Barb Melsen ’78 and Tom Schlough (SJU ’64, parent ’89), who cochaired the campaign. Dave Roberts and the late Mark Fleischhacker, who chaired the board’s Resource Development Committee. The staff, who have worked so hard to enact change and do it the right way. The faculty, who brought to life a comprehensive new curriculum for the 21st century. The students who spoke up, spoke out, and dove in. And you, our community, for showing unwavering support along the way.

Ambitious goals of the Illuminating Lives campaign Provide access to make the full Saint Ben’s experience more accessible to deserving young women from all walks of life through life-changing scholarships and stipends. $59.8 million in new scholarships raised.

Build confidence by matching the curiosity and potential of incredible women with the right kind of support. (Because that’s how women soar.) Fleischhacker Center stipends make unpaid internships feasible for low-income students.

Improve learning by supporting the people, programs and places that embody the future of our vibrant liberal arts education. Academic spaces across campus have been updated with 21st century tech.

It’s too long a tale to tell, but on the next few pages we’ve pulled together some of the most impactful chapters in the Illuminating Lives campaign’s journey to success.

Fall 2020 | 19

July 1, 2012

Illuminating Lives campaign begins

July 2014

Mary Dana Hinton arrives as president

April 2013

 SB kicks off year-long C centennial celebration

Our 2013 commencement ceremony kicked off the centennial celebration for CSB – A Century of Connection. This significant moment in the college’s history served as the juncture between the first 100 years and the college’s next 100 years of women’s education.

April 2014

F leischhacker gift of $2.5 million honors Baenninger’s service

The 10-year term of President Emerita MaryAnn Baenninger matches that of President Emerita S. Colman O’Connell ’49 for the longest in school history. Teresa and the late Mark Fleischhacker chose to honor those years of service – and how MaryAnn made the most of them – with a gift of $2.5 million.

November 2015

The Illuminating Lives campaign served as a backdrop for President Hinton’s six years leading Saint Ben’s (which, as shown above, kicked off with a colorful fun run). Her consistent efforts to strengthen and defend the liberal arts – guided and lifted up the campaign’s mission and priorities.

 achel Mullin ’14 named R Rhodes Scholar

May 2015

 trategic Directions 2020 S lays foundation for change

CSB/SJU Strategic Directions 2020 (SD2020) was a holistic, joint vision between the two colleges, outlining areas of focus for the five years between 2015 and 2020. 20 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine


December 2015

Nursing suite renovation completed

January 2017

Spring 2017

$10 million gift creates Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in Action

We made a quantum leap forward in the experience of nursing students with a $2.5 million renovation to the nursing suite in the Main Building. This renovation created the Schoenecker Nursing Education Suite.

December 2015

Purchase of monastery buildings

Saint Benedict’s Monastery continued its long tradition of support for the college by making three buildings available for sale. By renovating those buildings to create Schoenecker Commons, CSB was able to free space in the Main Building and economically create a true 21st century learning environment.

 onstruction of new C athletic complex announced

An anonymous $10 million gift (the largest outright gift in the school’s history) created a permanent endowment fund that supports the operation of the Mark and Teresa Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in Action. Among the roles of the Fleischhacker Center is providing stipends that can make unpaid internships and other experiential learning available to students who couldn’t otherwise afford to participate.

February 2017

Link incident shows how far we have to go when it comes to inclusion  Our objective of building confidence scored a major win with the development of a new athletic complex featuring soccer/lacrosse fields, softball fields, and intramural/multi-use fields. With facilities in place, Saint Ben’s can encourage all students to pursue athletics and wellness at their own level (varsity, club, intramural or recreational).

July 2016

 SB and SJU host the first C Liberal Arts Illuminated conference

Fall 2016

Advocates for Inclusive Mentoring formed as studentled mentoring group

 istorically underrepresented students H at Saint Ben’s face a uniquely challenging set of circumstances. Recognizing the need to address those circumstances and strengthen these students’ personal development and leadership is key to their holistic inclusion. So Frida Alvarez ’17 and Bryanna Williamson ’17 concepted and piloted Advocates for Inclusive Mentoring (AIM). The AIM program pairs first-year, sophomore and junior mentees with senior mentors and continues to thrive today.

July 2017

Photo credit: Rachel Ketz • raketz@csbsju.edu

In February 2017, a six-second video opened eyes within the CSB/SJU community. In the video, a group of students on the Link chant “Build That Wall.” The video, which made many students uncomfortable, sparked protests and honest, productive dialogue. It also informs discussions and efforts that continue today.

Saint Ben’s ranked among top schools for promoting “The American Dream”

Striking recognition of our progress to date came from The New York Times’ College Access Index, which measures economic diversity and ranked Saint Ben’s 42nd in the nation – ahead of many flagship state institutions and private colleges boasting much larger endowments. According to the Times, the index “is based on how many low- and middle-income students colleges graduate and how much those students must pay.”

Fall 2020 | 21

August 2017

November 2017

 ffice of Experience & Professional O Development (XPD) provides comprehensive path to career development

March 2018

 ykhoff, Esker top-ranked D ROTC nursing cadets

 aint Ben’s receives S rare service designation

The volunteer support that Saint Ben’s receives, and the ways we’re able to utilize that support, are humbling. It’s a distinctly Saint Ben’s phenomenon and explains why Saint Ben’s was the first college in the nation to receive the Service Enterprise designation from the Points of Light Foundation.

The reimagined XPD office empowers students to connect their aspirations with opportunities and translate their liberal arts education to achieve meaningful personal and professional lives. More focused internships and experiential learning means students are taking better advantage of the transformational opportunities they have here.

July 2018

 SB and SJU host the second C Liberal Arts Illuminated conference

September 2017

Summer 2018

 aint Ben’s invited to join the S American Talent Initiative (ATI)

Schoenecker Commons allows Main renovation

 ATI is a growing alliance of colleges and universities which aims to substantially expand opportunities for talented low- and moderate-income students. ATI members include places like Saint Ben’s, all of the Ivy League and some of the best-known undergraduate institutions in the country – all of whom graduate at least 70% of their students within six years.

November 2017

 aint Ben’s named most efficient S liberal arts college

 .S. News and World Report declared U Saint Ben’s the nation’s most efficient liberal arts college in terms of operating efficiency. This means Saint Ben’s donors can be confident their gifts stretch farther.

22 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

In 2018, approximately 170 ROTC nursing cadets received their commission in the Army and reported to active duty at hospitals across the world. At the top of that list were two College of Saint Benedict students and cadets. Becca Dykhoff ’18, from Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Mary Esker ’18, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ranked Nos. 1 and 3 on that list, respectively.

February 2018

CSB and SJU awarded $600,000 grant for Becoming Community

(See sidebar.)

February 2018

L aunch of the Bennie Career Closet helps inner confidence shine on the outside

Business attire can be prohibitively expensive, especially for college students. The Bennie Career Closet allows students to “buy” (at no cost) a professional outfit for an interview or event. The closet is stocked solely by donations from Bennie alums and the community. (You can find out more about donating by emailing Marcia Mahlum, divisional operations officer for Saint Ben’s, at mmahlum@csbsju.edu.)

The Malone Welcome Center in Schoenecker Commons gives Saint Ben’s an inviting space for prospective students. And the renovated Main Building now houses key administrative operations. The renovated Main building functions as a 21st century academic hub, sustainably designed with respect to the building’s heritage. The Main now houses the Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics and Psychology departments in addition to Nursing. The dedicated space for STEM learning sends a message to current and future Saint Ben’s students: you belong and are welcome in these disciplines.


Fall 2018

Institutional Learning Goals reflect an institution’s promise to its students. The “new” goals for Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s include: Think Deeply, Embrace Difference, Engage Globally, Serve Graciously and Live Courageously. Formalizing these goals was a key part of developing our dramatic new Integrations Curriculum.

Fall 2018

We are Bennies

In the wake of Title IX, the emerging CSB varsity teams relied on trailblazing pioneers – our “Blazers” – to lead us into competitive athletics. Over 40 years later, a generation of women has grown knowing those fields are open to them. Today our student-athletes – varsity, club and intramural – let their lights shine on those trails. We are one team. We are Bennies.


New Institutional Learning Goals unveiled Authentic community doesn’t mean everyone has the same experience, but it does mean creating a space where everyone’s experience is valid and heard. We started this critical self-reflection years ago, but it ramped up in a big way in 2018 when we received a $600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support initiatives focused on inclusive pedagogy and community building. This grant facilitated Becoming Community, a campus-wide effort to teach and enable Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s faculty, staff and students to become agents of change by preparing them to not simply learn about oppression, but actively dismantle oppression. An immense task indeed, given generations of oppressive structures and the often unintentional but deeply rooted patterns that play out in large and small ways every day. Becoming Community starts with transformative inclusion. “People talk about inclusion as though it’s about open arms – as in Welcome; come be one of us,” says Amanda Jantzer ’04, assistant professor of psychology and one of the leaders of the Becoming Community initiative. “Transformational inclusion is different. Transformational inclusion says, Welcome! You’re here, so that means ‘us’ is different. Together, let’s discover what the new ‘us’ is.” This multifaceted initiative has opened space for critical reflection, unfiltered dialogue and translating these learnings into intentional change. It has included faculty development, research, work groups to take action on specific topics, and workshops with thought leaders. Faculty have the opportunity to earn certification for dedicated engagement in the initiative. While the grant is for three years, there is tremendous optimism for this to be not simply an initiative but an embedding of new ways of thinking, learning, practicing and sharing. “There’s a sense of momentum,” says Amanda. “The Benedictine tradition is about collective action, and how we grow and change together as a community.”

Fall 2020 | 23

November 2018

March 2020

Campaign launches its public phase

Donors flood student emergency fund with generosity

When the call came out to support Bennies left stranded or vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic, donors stepped up in a big way. More than $73,000 in gifts rolled in, and the Saint Ben’s Senate also made contributions to support their peers. The fund helped many students get back home safely (funding transportation, food and lodging) along with resources to support day-to-day living expenses and distance learning for those in need.

June 2020

Endowment impact

Saint Ben’s endowment has more than doubled since the campaign began, going from $43.2 million to $86.7 million. That’s an amazing change over just a few years!

December 2019

November 2018

 lub formed for firstC generation students

More than 25% of the student body at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s are first-generation students, meaning their parents do not have four-year degrees. Creating the First-Generation Organization is a step taken to provide resources for making sure students, especially first-generation students, succeed throughout college and adulthood.

Dryer Scholars

Gifts to CSB and SJU from Janet Setter Dryer ’83 and Dan Dryer (SJU ’80) will create scholarship opportunities for graduates of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. (See page 36.)

January 2020

$ 11 million Stewart commitment is largest ever from alumna

May 2019

 aint Ben’s receives grant S for enhanced honors program

Furthering our objective to provide a leading liberal-arts education, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a highly competitive grant to support a new Saint Ben’s/Saint John’s honors program built on three pillars: the new Integrations Curriculum; a social change model of leadership; and experiential learning.

24 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

“I believe deeply in the power of a college for women to develop and nurture the leaders of our future,” said LeAnne Stewart ’87 of the gift that she and her husband John announced in January.

June 30, 2020

Campaign closes at $112,980,090

Find out more about our campaign success at csbilluminatinglives.com.



“It helped me to get to know who I was as a woman. To be not afraid of speaking up. Not afraid to challenge. I am even more so that person today, because of that liberating experience of being on a campus with all women and pushing each other.”

“In whatever they’re doing they’re brightening the world by being their best selves, bringing empathy, love, commitment and passion to their work. In their friendships and relationships, being good humans. There is a basic decency in Bennies.”

– Ndaneh ’87

– Emma ’15

“Saint Ben’s gave me the ability to really trust myself and to listen to myself and the confidence to do things and if it doesn’t work out, there is always another decision that can be made.”

“I feel like when I went, people would ask me, “why are you going to an all-women’s college?”…There is something about it that creates an environment that is collaborative and not competitive ... and that allows you to be competitive. By having that collaborative background. By building that strength, by building those skills, and that knowledge base. You go forward as a team and you know how to work as a team and I feel that choosing an allwomen’s college, like Saint Ben’s, fosters that to a different level.”

– Jen ’97

“CSB gave me confidence to go out in the world and be an equal. To sit at the table in whatever Fortune 500 conversation I was in at that time. It gave me the confidence and the understanding that I am not alone and that I can do whatever is in front of me.”

– Rachel ’89

– Susie ’98 “Saint Ben’s taught me to think.” – Marie ’65 Historically, women haven’t been socialized to tell their stories. But we have around 250 examples of Bennies who were willing to buck that trend. One of our routes toward the goal of building confidence was to elevate women’s stories through the Bennie Conversations initiative. We recruited volunteers and trained them to interview Bennies, encouraging them to take up space and reflect. We thought these conversations would be interesting. We didn’t know they’d be revolutionary. These women poured out their hearts. Interviewers cried with their interviewees. Bennies told of accomplishments, learnings, hopes, fears, heartbreaks, regrets and ambitions. They revisited their memories of Saint Ben’s and were often surprised by how truly integral their experience here was in shaping their lives. We realized just how rare it is for women to be given space, time and encouragement to be the central figure in a story. We don’t want it to be rare anymore. You can find clips and excerpts of some of these incredible conversations under the How She Shines tab on csbilluminatinglives.com.

“I would do it all over a thousand times. Being surrounded by women who feel no pressure but to be themselves is one of the rarest, most wonderful things. I don’t imagine there are many opportunities to live like that again. There is fellowship, community, laughter.” – Emily ’11

“Saint Ben’s taught me to speak up for what you believe in. If you want something, ask for it.” - Jona ’92

Fall 2020 | 25


Drs. Renee Sandy ’05 (left) and Renauldo Gordon (SJU ’04) (right) were joined on the set of “De Island Docs” by Dr. Zalika Adams, a (now retired) clinical psychologist, for their episode covering depression and addiction.

RENEE SANDY ’05 DE ISLAND DOCS When Dr. Renee Sandy ’05 was pursuing her master’s degree in hospital and health administration and management, one of her professors asked the class what they were doing to impact changes in the health care system. “And up until that point,” Renee says, “I hadn’t really thought about it. I had just been going with the status quo – I was an emergency room doctor and I was just working on healing the patients who came into the emergency room.” She began to consider how she could get to the source of the problem and really effect change. “So I just started Googling how to start a TV show. It was the most random process ever. And I started getting information on how to write and produce.”

26 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

The result is “De Island Docs,” her ongoing collaboration with Dr. Renauldo Gordon (SJU ’04). “We have an online platform and a TV show,” she says, referring to the television program which airs in about 10 Caribbean countries. “Our motivation was basically patient education, because I worked for two-and-a-half years as a doctor in Trinidad. And, in my time there, I felt like a lot of people had a lot of misinformation about certain medical conditions,” explains Renee. “De Island Docs” frequently focuses on conditions and issues that specifically impact African American and Caribbean populations. (She says a long-term goal is to expand the show and air it in some African countries.)

“We did a show where we looked a lot at sugar content – mostly in drinks,” Renee says, offering an example. That episode featured a nutritionist, followed by a physical trainer who came on to demonstrate some light exercises. They interviewed an endocrinologist, who linked high sugar intake to diabetes. “And, at the end, we always have a testimonial of a person. In this case it was a young man who had bariatric surgery and was 700 pounds and is now 200 pounds. And he mapped out his journey and all the things he was implementing to get his health back in order. So each episode is three or four eight-minute segments like that.” To learn more about “De Island Docs,” check out the larger story online now at csbsju.edu.

Major at CSB Biology, with a pre-med focus

First-year residence hall

Brian (“I think it was a pilot program, having first-years in the basement of Brian. We had it nice!”)

Favorite Bennie memory (After reminiscing on practices with the cross country team and jumping into Lake Sagatagan for an Admission department photo shoot …) “The Thanksgiving dinners. Yeah. I would say that’s number one. You got to dress up, and it’s always so much fun to sit with your friends.”




1999 Michelle Williams Kramer was appointed as the new director of Catholic schools and continuing education for clergy for the Diocese of New Ulm, effective July ’20. Prior to this appointment, she was the principal at St. Philip’s Catholic School in Litchfield, Minnesota, for six years. She also recently completed her doctoral coursework in educational leadership at St. Mary’s University in Winona and the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

1978 Angela Tornes of the National Park

Service was recognized as this year’s recipient of the River Management Society’s Outstanding Contribution to River Management award. She has spent 30+ years working with communities to accomplish their conservation goals, create river access and develop trail systems, May ’20.

1986 Mary Grenier Degiovanni retired from

her position as Finance Director and City Administrator for the City of Sartell, Minnesota, after 16 years of service.

1988 Kristina Anderson is working as a

mental health clinical consultant with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services.

Michelle St. Martin Fischbach was featured in the St. Cloud Times in May 2020 as Minnesota Republicans endorsed her to run for Congress against U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.


JULIE MARTINKA SEVERSON released a new book called “Secret Twin Cities: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.” She is also co-curator of “Here in the Middle: Stories of Love, Loss, and Connection from the Ones Sandwiched in Between.”

1993 Sandy Longhorn serves as the director for the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. She has received the Porter Fund Literary Prize for Arkansas authors and the Collins Prize from the Birmingham Poetry Review. Her poetry has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies and she is the author of three books of poetry: “The Alchemy of My Mortal Form,” “The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths” and “Blood Almanac.”

2000 Valerie Meyer Jarstad was featured in

April ’20 on Fox 9 News in Minnesota for a story on families postponing routine wellness visits and vaccinations for their children due to concerns over exposure to COVID-19. Dr. Jarstad is a physician at M Health Fairview.

Carla Staffa is a design teacher at the Colegio Maya in Guatemala City.

2001 Bonnie Wittkop Jordan joined the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in New York as practice support manager for the mergers/acquisitions practice group, June ’20.


Kelly Mahlum was hired by St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota) as head women’s basketball coach, April ’20.

1994 Gwendolyn Maue O’Brien graduated


 RISTIN SKJEVELAND K JOHNSON was appointed to the

Austin Utilities Board of Commissioners in May ’20. A 28-year veteran at Mayo Clinic, she is currently the vice chair of administration, southeast region of Mayo Clinic Health System.


K ATHLEEN BARAGA PERSIAN joined the Stearns Bank N.A. Board of Directors. Kathy is the senior vice president and chief information officer for Schwan’s Company in Bloomington, Minnesota, March ’20.

with a doctorate of nursing practice in educational leadership from American Sentinel University, April ’20.

Jennifer Simon Theis is senior community engagement manager at Alzheimer’s Association.

1995 Nicole Tharaldson Mulder was

featured in the Summer 2020 issue of Definitive Women magazine and in the June 23 edition of YouShouldHaveAskedMeFirst.com. The article is titled “Empowering Confidence: Nicole Mulder.” In 2010, Nicole founded Epitome Skincare, a Minnesota-based company. For the past several seasons, Nicole has also been the executive director of Theatre L’Homme Dieu in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Jennifer Holton Tacheny received an Alumni Leadership award in April ’20 from Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact (IAMNCC). Jennifer is co-director of young adult spirituality programming with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet (CJS) in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1999 Molly Orth Koenen is one of four owners of

Pioneer Management Consulting, a business strategy, program and project management, and organizational change management firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


MELANIE LACOMB MCMAHON was appointed by St.

Paul, Minnesota, mayor Melvin Carter in June ’20 as the executive project lead for redevelopment to drive progress on eight key real estate projects within the city that are in varied points of development. 2005 Rachael Hawkins Cassleman was promoted to director data analytics at Cantel Medical, April ’20.

2006 Kathleen Anderson Abernathy is chief

executive officer at Providers Choice, Inc.

Kathryn Kalkman was appointed executive director of Impact Hub MSP, Feb. ’20. Mary Winzenburg Uran was featured in a Star Tribune article about Minnesota women leaders in the running world, May ’20. In 2011, she established Girls on the Run Twin Cities, the local chapter of the national organization aimed at girls in grades three through eight.

For complete news and notes from classmates and to post your notes, go to BenniesConnect: csbalum.csbsju.edu or email us at csbalumnae@csbsju.edu. Fall 2020 | 27


2008 Jessica Handwerk Wildes is the

marketing and communications director for the city of West Bend, Wisconsin.

2009 Stephanie Blanda Brown became the

president of the Minnesota Kindergarten Association in May ’19.

2010 Hadley McIntosh Marcek graduated in

Spring 2020 with a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Katie Million is the manager of Do It Yourself Fundraising Events and Finish MS: Endurance Events at the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Oct. ’19. HAYLEY BERRISFORD MUELLER was named vice president of development at Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Feb. ’20. Katherine Krois Quade is the founder and creative visionary of Balanced Roots Retreats located in Minneapolis.


2014 BreAnna Arenholz Dirkes is senior

marketing lead at Brunswick Corporation.

Maria Gabriela (Gaby) Galeano is employed at La Constancia in El Salvador as a people logistics business partner. In an effort to increase female representation in their operations, Gaby created a program in which women could get a forklift driver certification. Thirteen women took on the challenge and successfully passed, making them the first female forklift operators in El Salvador.

MARRIAGES 2003 2004

Anne Plaisted to Brett Bohnen, June ’19

2015 Meghan Flannery was selected as the

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Junior by her Lake Minnetonka Chapter, May ’20. The award recognizes the accomplishments of members ages 18-35. Meghan earned this honor for her leadership, community service and dedication to the preservation of local history. Starting Fall 2020, Meghan will attend the University of Loyola in Chicago to pursue a master’s degree in public history.



2016 Anna Baumgartner Brokofsky graduated with her medical doctorate from the University of Minnesota Medical School, May ’20.


2011 Anna Hoeschen was recognized by

3M for her original poetry in honor of International Women’s Day and 3M’s commitment to inclusivity.


2012 Elizabeth Gleich is the associate pastor

at First Church of Christ, Congregational, in Glastonbury, Connecticut.


passed the Minnesota State Bar and participated in the admission ceremony in the Minnesota House of Representatives at the state Capitol in October ’19. Aly is now a practicing attorney.

Grace Janssen is a work-based learning specialist at Western Technical College.

2013 Breann Kluck Butts completed her

pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and has accepted a position as an attending physician in the Complex Care Center at the same location.

 Marketing business owner Bridget Deutz was awarded the 2020 Emerging Leader Award from American Advertising Federation’s Central Minnesota chapter.


NICOLE HOCHSPRUNG TO NORAH DELUHERY, NOV. ’19 Elizabeth Larson to Matthew Swanson, 2011  Oct. ’19

Delaney Lundeen to Joseph Long ’13, March ’20 Andrea Schiebe to Paulo Leon Silva, Feb. ’20 Sarah Berkowitz to Timothy Peterson, 2013  Feb. ’20

Ashley Forstrom to Brandon Hildreth ’13, May ’19

Hudda Ali Ibrahim published a new book, “What Color is my Hijab;” which was written to inspire young people to achieve great things and to teach children about the importance of diversity. Jamie Korin Lauer was named a recipient of the World Literature Today Translation Prize, which recognizes the talent and promise of translation students worldwide. Jamie won the prose category for her translation from the Spanish of Chilean author Pia Barros’s short story “Prohibitions,” May ’20. She is completing a certificate in literary translation at Indiana University Bloomington, along with a master’s degree in comparative literature.

28 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine


LYNNAE BOE was named South Wind Princess at the 2020 St. Paul Winter Carnival, Jan. ’20.

Bridget Erickson joined the team at Swim Creative as content developer, May ’20.






Zoe Darling to Michael Kerfeld ’16, Aug. ’19 Alyssa Hoffman to Jonathon Litchy ’16, Oct. ’19

BIRTHS / ADOPTIONS Sarah Thul Mattson & Jonathan Mattson, 1999  twin boys, Theodore & Thomas, April ’20

Kathryn Jeffery Foley & Matthew 2001  Foley ’01, boy, David, June ’20

Amy Peffer Grossman & Troy Grossman, twin girls, Millie & Margot, April ’20  Gretchen Weber Nelson & Eric Nelson, boy, Henry, Feb. ’20


Sarah Henderson Gasparick & Travis 2002  Gasparick, girl, Grace, March ’20

Anne Radabaugh Darling & Matthew 2003 


Elizabeth Kilkus to Colin Sayles, May ’20


Courtney Kimball to Devin Roll ’14, Oct. ’19


Lauren Windfeldt to Daniel Lang, Jan. ’19

Melissa Schuler to Derek Osland, June ’19

Andrea Driscoll to Philip Kissling, June ’19 2014  2015

Darling ’04, girl, Hayden, April ’20

Kathleen McCarney Campbell & Robert 2004  Campbell, girl, Margaret, April ’20

Heidi Ramler Fletcher & Paul Fletcher, boy, Hayes, June ’20 Kathryn Schmucker Kiley & Gregory Kiley, girl, Honora, Nov. ’18 Megan Haines Berendes & Anthony 2006  Berendes ’06, boy, Ryan, Aug. ’19






Jessica Braun to Julie Nahrgang, Oct. ’19


Ashley Bukowski to Michael Sowada ’16, Feb. ’20 Erin Medvecz to Zachary Garrett, Nov. ’19 Anna Baumgartner to Brian Brokofsky, 2016  March ’20


Hanna Kooima to Jacob Fossing, Dec. ’19 2017 

 olly Moriarty Rusin & Spencer Rusin, M boy, Nolan, Nov. ’19 Lindy Watanaskul & Zachary Bikus ’07, girl, Corrine, June ’20 Nicole Johnson Blackmore & Aaron 2008  Blackmore ’08, boy, Logan, April ’20

Kaylene Seurer to Kevin Olund, Aug. ’19 Erin Stocker to Mitchel Niehaus ’17, Jan. ’20 Elizabeth Jakubic to Joseph Ackerson, 2018  Dec. ’19

Miranda Kremers to Jake Brand ’18, May ’20



Korissa Franklin to Jonathan Koenig ’20, 2019  Dec. ’19

Laura Jennissen to Joseph Schaad, June ’19 Megan Cummings to Spencer Walker, Dec. ’19




2008 Natalie Ulrich Petersen & Daniel

Petersen ’08, boy, Levi, April ’20

Kali Herman Walton & Kyle Walton, boy, Elon, June ’20


 ritta Kolb Coughlin & Alex Coughlin ’09, B boy, Forde, Aug. ’19

 nna Roach Orts & Michael Orts ’09, A boy, John, June ’18 & girl, Aubrey, April ’20

Kara Rae Thomalla Panek & Justin Panek, boy, Huxley, April ’20 Anna Lynch Sandquist & Ryan Sandquist ’08, boy, Merit, May ’20 Emily Persichetti Schuster & Nicholas Schuster ’10, boy, Anthony, Dec. ’19 Susan Sass Drucker & Brandon Drucker, 2010 

girl, Koda, Oct. ’19 & girl, Jaseana (age 13), Aug. ’19

Sara Engelbrekt Thompson & Timothy Thompson ’08, boy, Jordy, Oct. ’19 Ana Baumgartner Zieglmeier & Ben Zieglmeier, boy, Morgan, Oct. ’19





L AURA ANDERSEN ALONZI & NICHOLAS ALONZI ’11, GIRL, REY, JAN. ’20  ydney Solberg Condon & James S Condon ’11, boy, Charles, March ’19 Danielle Karp Lilly & Andrew Lilly ’11, girl, Elouise, March ’20 Tamara Krueger Wimmer & Ryan Wimmer ’10, boy, Beau, Feb. ’20



ARIEL TAUER & NICK BRENCKMAN, BOY, BROOKS, NOV. ’19 30 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

 llisha Kunkel Sand & Jacob Sand ’12, A boy, Milo, April ’20

Morgan Girard Wolfe & Andrew Wolfe ’12, boy, Rocklyn, April ’20


DEATHS 1944 Margaret Truszinski Pattock, Feb. ’20 1945 S. Mary Jane Slaney, OSB, June ’20 1946 Virginia Ziebol Lyon, June ’20 1948 Vivian Zimmerman Boyle, May ’20 Gregory Bechtold ’79, son of Eulalia 1949  “LeMay” Wagner Bechtold, April ’20

Lorraine Bolfing Hesse, May ’20

S. Emmanuel Renner, OSB, Jan. ’20

Dolores Rewitzer Sellner, Feb. ’20

Donald Welna, spouse of Harriet Healy Welna; father of Elizabeth Welna Hoffman ’80, April ’20


Beverly Schmitz Cook, Feb. ’20

Pauline Bombardier Krogen, July ’19

1951 Phyllis Wyffels Johnson, May ’20 Margaret Grebner Hanson, Feb. ’20 & 1952  spouse Tom Hanson ’52, Dec. ’19



Goldean “Posey” Beck Reiter, March ’20

Maureen Griffin Miller, June ’20 1955  1957 S. Carmen (Mary) Mulcahy, OSB, Jan. ’20 Louis Haak Jr., spouse of Bette Jayne 1958  Youso Haak, April ’20

Julia Bedford Buermann & Shawn 2013  Buermann ’10, girl, Lydia, Jan. ’20

Marissa Gillespie Haakonson & Aaron Haakonson ’11, girl, Cedar, June ’20 Clare Murn Johnson & Trent Johnson ’14, boy, Milo, Jan. ’20 Samantha Lloyd King & Nathan King ’13, boy, Asher, May ’20



Sara Fiedler Maciej & Adam Maciej, boy, Landon, May ’20 Abbey Loso Rausch & Joby Rausch, boy, Crew, June ’20 Miriah Hoffman Reisdorf & Andy Reisdorf, girl, Piper, April ’20 Amanda Brown Bruening & Robert 2014  Bruening ’13, girl, Juliana, Nov. ’19

1959 S. Ione Jesh, OSB, Feb. ’20 1960 Dixie Aus Labat, April ’20 Carolyn Struthers Dondelinger, Jan. ’20 1962   S. Thomas (Diane Marie) Welder, OSB, June ’20 Robert Hart, spouse of Pauline Plante 1963  Hart, April ’20

1965 Meredith Long Sherwin, March ’16 Hugh McDonald, spouse of Mary Beskar 1966  McDonald, June ’20

 Camille Manderfeld Skluzacek, mother of Lori Skluzacek Sydes ’89, Dec. ’19 William McLaughlin, spouse of Nancy 1968  Spilane McLaughlin, June ’20

Emma Betts, mother of Georgene Betts 1969  Roblyer & Janelle Betts Sloan ’76, May ’20

 Kayla Parker Jennissen & Kevin Jennissen ’14, boy, Stephen, June ’20 Kelly Davenport Hellier & Ethan Hellier ’14, 2015  girl, Reagan, May ’20

Hailey Schwietz Martell & Thomas Martell, boy, Charlie, June ’20 Bailey Rykken Reynolds & Anthony Reynolds ’15, girl, Crosby, June ’20  Kaitlyn Nelson Rydeen & Joseph Rydeen ’13, boy, Emmett, Jan. ’20



Alexandra Renze Schaust & Brandon Schaust ’14, girl, Teagan, April ’19 Rebekah Meschke Wojahn & Michael 2016  Wojahn ’17, boy, Rowan, June ’19

Carol Rueckert, April ’20

1971 Patrice Patton Gatzlaff, Dec. ’19 Andrew Bowerman, spouse of Debra 1976  Gregor Bowerman, March ’20

Jane Clark, mother of Sally Clark Arden & 1977  Teresa Clark Naughton ’78, April ’20

 John Asmussen ’76, spouse of Beth Wegleitner Asmussen, Feb. ’20 Thomas Schroepfer, father of Michele Schroepfer Marrinan, Dec. ’19  Joseph Fleming ’52, father of Anne Fleming Mellesmoen & Barbara Fleming ’80, March ’19 

Fall 2020 | 31


1977 Georgine O’Toole, mother of Margaret

(Peggy) O’Toole-Martin & Erin O’TooleTomczik ’92, April ’20

Mary Cantrill Weightman, June ’20

Clifford Bosak, father of Sherie Bosak, 1979 

1987 Richard Lannon, father of Lynn Lannon

Steichen, Joan Lannon Schwarz ’88, Gail Lannon Miller ’90 & Cheryl Lannon Heimel ’91, May ’20

Mitchell Brett, son of Sarah Aarhus Brett, 1988  Jan. ’20

April ’20

Rita Hessian, mother of Paula Hessian Dinndorf, Mary Hessian Des Lauriers ’82, Joan Hessian Stewart ’87 & Amy Hessian ’88, April ’20 Earl Bedard, father of Cynthia Bedard Owens, Feb. ’19 Ellen Flynn, mother of Mary Flynn Worley, Feb. ’20 Harold Roske, father of Mary Roske 1980  Holway, April ’20

John McCormick, father of Colleen McCormick Malone, June ’20  Mary Fox O’Boyle, May ’20 George Ruhland, father of Nancy Ruhland, March ’20 John Hougnon, father of Mary Hougnon 1982  Benjamin & Jane Ann Hougnon ’84, April ’20

 Susan Ruether Eickhoff, daughter of Jane Schmid Ruether ’54 & mother of Jennifer Eickhoff ’08, Feb. ’20 Mary Jean Schneider, mother of Helen Schneider Naylor, Susan Schneider Reisdorf ’83 & Julie Schneider Schmitz ’84, May ’20 Cornelius Lawyer, father of Elizabeth Lawyer Tomten & Susan Lawyer Smolders ’86, March ’20 John Marszalek, father of Laura 1983  Marszalek Hudalla, June ’20

Thomas McLeod Sr., father of Lisa McLeod Lofquist, Jan. ’20

Ann Nietfeld, mother of Sandra Nietfeld, Feb. ’20

S. Jocile Robinson, OSB, March ’20

J. Clarice Bartek, mother of Maggie 1984 

Bartek & Cecile Bartek ’91, May ’20

Carol McLain Heinze, March ’20

Richard Kierzek, father of June Kierzek 1985  Bohlig, April ’20

Patricia Goblirsch, mother of Jacqueline Goblirsch Windschitl & Mary Goblirsch Erickson ’88, Sept. ’19

Gilbert Peck, father of Marcy Peck Meyer, Dec. ’19

Gertrude O’Connell, mother of Sara 1997 

 James Oehrlein ’52, father of Carol Oehrlein Potter & Amy Oehrlein ’94, Jan. ’20

 John Moriarty ’51, father of Joan WelshMoriarty, April ’20

Thomas McNellis, father of Theresa Balbo Streiff, May ’20 Roger Weber, spouse of Mary Rudolph Weber; father of Joan Weber Vievering ’80, Diane Weber ’83 & Patricia Weber Gersch ’86, June ’20 James Lovsted, father of Lori Lovsted 1989  Peeples, April ’20

1990 Maria Bastian Lux, April ’20 James Kramer, father of Amy Kramer 1991 

March ’20

O’Connell Flynn, Jan. ’20

Marc Henderson, spouse of Courtney Johnson Henderson; father of Sydney Henderson Maanibe ’13 & Shea Henderson ’17, July ’18 Alfred Jurewicz, father of Michelle Jerewicz, April ’20 Clarence Matzek, father of Julie Matzek Mattimiro, April ’20

David Reiter, father of Lisa Reiter, Feb. ’20

Leroy Haeg, father of Sarah Haeg Roers, June ’20 John Nielson, father of Cassandra Nielson Spitzley, March ’20 Marjorie Joan Segal, mother of Ann-Marie  Segal Stojevich, Sept. ’19

William Beck, father of Elissa Beck 1992  Dattalo, Feb. ’20

Richard Chalmers, father of Ann Chalmers DeSutter, April ’20 Edward Ricke, father of LeAnn Ricke Earle & Linda Ricke Dietz ’95, March ’20  Ronald Ebnet ’62, father of Kelly Ebnet & Kerry Ebnet Herker ’95, Jan. ’20 Michael Court, father of Christine Court Jackson, Jan. ’20

Robert Thomsche, father of Kim Tomsche, April ’20 Patricia Forster, mother of Teresa Forster 1987 

Patricia Kolodjeski, mother of Karrie 1994 

 ernard Carlson ’66, father of Michelle B Carlson Imholte, May ’20

Kolodjeski Fredrickson & Susan Kolodjeski Reinert ’96, Feb. ’20

Jennifer Novakoske, Feb. ’19

Jack Neilsen, step-parent of Kassandra Keiser Rooney, April ’20 Kermit Olson, father of Angela Olson 1998  Erickson, March ’20

Gregory Hartung, spouse of Ema Urness Hartung, May ’20

1999 Amy Antoine Wolvert, March ’20 Susan Conlin, mother of Meagan Conlin 2000  Phillips, Katherine Conlin ’02, Brenna Conlin Healy ’03 & Suzanne Conlin Gorski ’06, May ’20

Brenengen, March ’20

 Gregory Steele, SOT/SEM ’93, father of Andrea Steele Wolf, Brenda Steele Ewing ’95 & Beth Steele Halvorson ’95, March ’20

32 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

Kline, Jan. ’20

Elizabeth Kane, mother of Patricia Kane, May ’20

Carlton Cronin, father of Sheila Cronin, May ’20

Frank Morrissey, father of Mary Morrissey 1995 

Donald Shipley, father of Susan Shipley, 1996 


Burns, April ’20

Mallard, May ’20

Carroll Vomhof, father of Amy Vomhof Junko, May ’20

Priscilla “Jane” Petrie, mother of Paula 1986  Petrie Baker, May ’20

1994 Mary Ellen Nord, mother of Jennifer Nord

George Kluzak, father of Nicole Kluzak Szubnski, June ’20 Nicole Constonguay, Jan. ’20 2001  Walter Spanier, father of Jill Spanier Wuertz, June ’20 Glen Bauer, father of Christina Bauer 2002  Lindstrom, May ’20

Katherine Langer Robertson, Feb. ’20

David Plaisted, father of Anne Plaisted 2003  Bohnen, April ’20

Bernice Fritz, mother of Amy Fritz Hamlin, 2006  June ’20

David Walter, father of Julie Walter 2009  Bohlman, Feb. ’20


 ichael Brand ’77, father of Lisa Brand M Kurtz, June ’20

Joseph Hutton, father of Chantyl Hutton, 2012  March ’20

Scott Longley, father of Kaitlyn Longley, 2014  Feb. ’20

Lynn Schroeder, mother of Erynn 2015  Schroeder, Feb. ’20



BIG PICTURE WHEN YOU SPEND JUST A FEW MINUTES SIGNING UP TO BECOME A SAINT BEN’S SUSTAINER ONLINE, YOU’LL GET … • the comfort of knowing your regular (monthly or quarterly) gifts are providing real scholarship support for today’s Bennies.

• the peace of mind of knowing your gifts happen automatically – there’s nothing for you to remember.

• the pride of knowing that your comfortable, recurring gifts quickly add up.

And now you’ll also get this great set of four colorful postcards, showing off some of the most identifiable parts of our campus. Mail them as postcards or keep them for yourself as colorful reminders of a place you’ll always be able to call home.

MEET THE ARTIST Maggie Eli ’17 is a graphic designer here at Saint Ben’s. As a student, she majored in art, with emphasis on book art and computer art, and added a communication minor. Though she works remotely from her home in Washington State, her heart never leaves this campus. So when we asked her to capture some of her favorite sights and spots, she knocked it out of the park with a series of colorful prints that pop off the page. We hope they bring about great memories of your own connections to campus!


Fall 2020 | 33


1 1. On a beautiful fall day in October 2019, Alyssa Hoffman ’16 married Jon Litchy ’16. Pictured with the new couple are, L to R: Megan Lenz ’16, Emily Doyle ’16, Lizzy Wolfe ’16, Jess Hoffman, Aly Hoffman ’16, Jon Litchy ’16, Kevin Jacobs ’16, Matt Lerick ’16, Adam Kolb ’16 and Gabe Hanson ’16. Another Bennie/Johnnie union! 2. B  reanna Gates ’19 celebrated her bachelorette party in June with friends which, of course, included some Bennie alumnae! Back row, L to R: Ashley Gates, Alison Newton ’17, Alexandra Johnson ’20, Macy Kelly ’17, Madi Green, Allison Kubista. Front row, L to R: Grace Wolhowe ’19, Breanna Gates ’19 and Sidney Schiffler ’20.

34 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine



3. Each year, this group of Bennies from the class of ’99 gather to assemble first-year care packages. Each person collects six things over the year (nail polish, socks, snacks, etc.). Each box is identical and includes a letter and picture from the group. Front row, L to R: Kelly Stockwell Hanson and Anne Rohe Holmberg. Back row, L to R: Laurie Hagen Strey, Sarah Kraling Trull, Melanie Ziskovsky Peterson and Karrie Schmitz Maetzold.




4. M  eredith Mescher McCowan ’02, Hannah Scott Kamke ’02, Callie Kieger Den Hartog ’02 and Nicole “Nici” Jordan ’02 honored their college roommate Nikki Hemmesch ’01, who passed away unexpectedly in 2009, by running their own version of the Platte River Half Marathon in April. The group had planned to run the marathon in Colorado this year to honor Nikki (who was a frequent runner at the marathon), but due to COVID-19 conditions that resulted in cancellation of the event, they each ran independently in their own towns of St. Paul, Elk River, New Prague and Centerville. Their motto: “No Bennie Runs Alone!” 5. In  October 2019, Bennie friends from the class of ’92 celebrated their 50th birthdays by flying to a place none had been before: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They had a great time walking the beach, discovering wineries and distilleries. L to R: Rachel Franklin, Karla Schmitt, Elizabeth “Beth” Johnson, Kristi Bezenek Campbell, Gerilyn Jacobs Kusnierek, Karen Gallagher Winker and Erin O’Toole-Tomczik. 6. F or nearly 10 years, this group of Bennies has gathered (almost) monthly. They call themselves “Salon.” They support each other through the many different challenges that await us all in life (careers, families, relationships, meaning, etc.). The group includes Catherine Hansen ’09, Ashleigh Leitch ’09, Heather Cederholm Corcoran ’10, Breanna Auringer Allen ’10, Robyn Meyer-Thompson ’09 and Laura Huiras-Ziegler ’10. 7.  This group of Bennies got together in Tucson, Arizona. L to R: Patsy Aksteter Pierson ’65, Rita Aksteter ’61 and Lou Reiter ’61.


7 Fall 2020 | 35


Investing in Futures

Alum couple’s gifts open doors for Cristo Rey Jesuit’s shining stars

BY | DANA DRAZENOVICH Emily Sanchez Ambrocio, Ignacio Sanchez Romero, Jennifer Agustin Ambrocio and Fredi Ponce Parra are the first recipients of the Dryer Scholarship, which will fund a CSB/SJU education for four graduates of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School each year, two Johnnies and two Bennies, with the hope of sending over 100 students to college. Dryer Scholars will receive about $20,000 annually, enough to finance the gap other sources like the Pell Grant and Minnesota State Grant don’t cover. Janet Setter Dryer ’83 and Dan Dryer (SJU ’80) have a deep history of educationbased philanthropy and have been involved with Cristo Rey for much of its 13-year history. They are excited to be connecting

Cristo Rey Jesuit’s shining stars with their alma maters. “I just felt like so many doors were open to me as a result of my Saint Ben’s education and in turn, we are blessed to be able to pay it forward,” says Janet. “As a person of faith and going to a school built on faith and that is steeped in Benedictine values, really builds the foundation for wanting to give back.” “It’s the community,” Dan adds. “That’s the secret sauce. The education’s great, the setting’s great, but it really is the community. And we got to thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be great to create an opportunity that supports both our colleges and an organization like Cristo Rey?’”

The Dryer Scholarship builds on an already strong relationship that traces back to the Cristo Rey Network’s origins in the 1990s. “Almost from the beginning, Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s have been official partners with Cristo Rey, which is why we have Cristo Rey students from across the country,” says Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB, Saint John’s deputy to the president for advancement. The Dryers are more than happy to continue to build those connections and opportunities. “Even though you graduated from high school, you need the next step, and we both had a great experience with Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s,” says Janet.

Dana Drazenovich is a former journalist and public relations practitioner who teaches communication at CSB/SJU. 36 | College of Saint Benedict Magazine

CRISTO REY JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL is one of 37 schools in the national Cristo Rey Network. The network serves 13,000 students in 24 states, making them the “largest network of high schools in the country that exclusively serve low-income students,” according to cristoreynetwork.org. The first Cristo Rey school opened in 1996 in Chicago. In 2007, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School opened in south Minneapolis. Ninety-eight percent of Cristo Rey students nationally are students of color.

JENNIFER AGUSTIN AMBROCIO performed so impressively in her Corporate Work Study Program internship at Ameriprise that she won the Ryan Family Corporate Workplace Excellence Award. She immersed herself in a variety of other school and family activities and earned National Honor Societycaliber grades. “I’ve always challenged myself with different class work and classes, so overall I’ve taken five AP classes because I’m a pretty serious student.” She’s interested in a communication major with the possibility of going to law school.

The schools operate on a model that includes standardsbased academics, individual goal setting and a one-day-a-week Corporate Work Study Program. Cristo Rey Jesuit has 120 corporate partners. “These kids are actually working and making a difference for these companies,” says Dan. “And through that, they’re not only earning money, but they’re learning that they can do it, that this world out there really is open

IGNACIO SANCHEZ ROMERO watched his mom work back-to-back jobs after his dad died in 2016. He looked after his two younger brothers and excelled in his demanding AP courses at Cristo Rey and internship in U.S. Bank’s global corporate trust department through the school’s Corporate Work Study Program. “It’s been very difficult, but I’ve been able to get through it to overcome some challenges, to keep my grades up.” That internship has already given him valuable experience, and he intends to build on that at Saint John’s.

to them, and at the end of the day that is what really makes this work for them.” CSB and SJU have strong connections to the Cristo Rey Network (both colleges are charter partners and have enrolled graduates from across the nation for over 20 years), but specifically to Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Alum connections

FREDI PONCE PARRA volunteered in the office, plus taught Sunday School at Holy Rosary Church in Minneapolis every weekend and spent much of his week doing the extra studying his AP math and science classes required. “I really had to push myself and stay on track and stay motivated to really try to improve myself and educate myself.” He has his sights on a nursing major and a career as a nurse anesthetist, and he’s excited to join CSB/SJU’s close community.

at the high school like President Jeb Myers (SJU ’97), Director of College Counseling Raquel Gudiel ’09 and College Counselor Elizabeth Rojas ’17 are key to that success. Cristo Rey Jesuit has had a 100% college acceptance rate since its first graduating class in 2011.

EMILY SANCHEZ AMBROCIO worked 30 hours a week at the Richfield Target to help her family stay afloat after her dad was temporarily deported in 2018. She pulled some allnighters doing homework for her classes at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis because she wanted to turn in nothing but her best work. “It was really hard, but I always kept that mindset where, you know, ‘I can’t give up, I can’t give up, I can’t give up.’” Now, she is looking forward to continuing her Spanish studies and exploring business-related courses at Saint Ben’s. Fall 2020 | 37



DOUBLE UP Give CSB Day is almost here – a 24-hour sprint to raise as much money as possible for Bennie scholarships. And, thanks to matching gifts that are already in place from some generous donors, your gift on Give CSB Day will be matched – dollar for dollar. That means double the impact!

Mark your calendar, watch your email and join us on social media to track our progress.




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Saint Benedict’s Magazine Fall 2020  

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

Saint Benedict’s Magazine Fall 2020  

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

Profile for csbsju