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The Bahamas & Saint John’s build on rich legacy, renewed connection


Maurer’s benevolent wheels are always spinning


Visionary historian presidents left their mark on SJU


Endowing the legacies of Gagliardi, Smith



Features As musician or humanitarian, Maurer keeps his wheels rolling P. 12

His epic benefit bicycle trips have taken him across the U.S. and the globe. His stellar musical career has connected him with Eric Clapton and exceptional performances. George Maurer ’88 has made his mark at Saint John’s and around the world, through music and devotion to charitable, Benedictine causes. This is the profile of an eclectic, exceptional Johnnie.

Bahamians making vibrant impact, at SJU and around the world P. 20

Saint John’s Student Senate President David Johnson III is one of a record number of Bahamians currently attending SJU/CSB. That number is surging, helping to build upon the historical connection between the Caribbean island nation and Collegeville, and those Bahamian students and graduates are thriving and shining. These are some of their uplifting stories.

Historian presidents left indelible mark at Saint John’s P. 28

They were historians, but they also were builders and visionaries. University presidents Fr. Colman Barry, OSB, Fr. Michael Blecker, OSB and Br. Dietrich Reinhart, OSB all made pivotal contributions, and Saint John’s Chair of Critical Thinking Nick Hayes ’69 takes an insider’s look at their accomplishments and their impact on the future of the institution.

Departments My Perspective View from Collegeville From the Archives Service to the Church In Sight Alumni Connection Johnnie Sports Advancing the Mission Class Notes Inspiring Lives

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

EDITOR Dave DeLand 320-363-3013


CONTRIBUTORS Margaret Arnold Jessie Bazan SOT ’17 Dana Drazenovich Mike Killeen Ryan Klinkner ’04 Brock Welch ’13

PHOTOGRAPHY Sean Donohue ’16 Ali Jungles ’19 Michael Klonowski ’21 Thomas O’Laughlin ’13 SJU photo archives



Peggy Landwehr Roske ’77

EDITOR EMERITUS † Lee A. Hanley ’58

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

SJU ALUMNI ARE SOCIAL Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at Follow us on Instagram at Subscribe to blogs at

Find Saint John’s Magazine online at ©2019 Saint John’s University



Living Our Commitment to Community By Michael Hemesath ’81, President “In every parish I have worked, it is the Johnnies and Bennies who are providing the lay leadership to keep the community strong and healthy.” So said a Twin Cities priest when a Johnnie introduced himself and his alma mater came up in the conversation. At a recent reunion, Johnnies honored two of their physician classmates from small Central Minnesota towns, in part for their work in healthcare but more significantly

in this issue, the history of Benedictine service in The Bahamas goes back to 1891, and Bahamian students have been braving Minnesota winters since 1924. This long and deep relationship has without a doubt had the most impact on any community outside of Minnesota, and arguably rivals the influence of Johnnie grads anywhere. When I first visited The Bahamas in 2013, I had the privilege of meeting the Governor-General of The Bahamas, Sir Arthur Foulkes. He was a long-serving politician and ambassador, and an important leader of the independence movement in the Bahamas in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. After centuries of colonial rule, in 1973 The Bahamas earned independence from Britain and became a sovereign nation. The 1960s and ’70s were an era during which many former European colonies became independent, but the Bahamian path was different than that of many other nations. “The independence movement took place with relatively little political, economic and social unrest and almost no violence. I believe this was due in large part to the Catholic and Benedictine influence in The Bahamans,” Sir Arthur said. “Without the Benedictines, the transition to independence and our future could have been very different.”

Many Benedictine-educated men, both from Saint Augustine’s College (high school) in The The February reception in Nassau, Bahamas with members of the SJU Bahamas and at SJU, provided a strong base of Alumni Association and CSB Alumnae Association Bahamas Chapters leaders across political parties that supported a is an annual highlight for Saint John’s President Michael Hemesath and peaceful, democratic transition. Subsequently, Saint Benedict President Mary Hinton. those same leaders and younger Johnnies and Bennies helped maintain political stability for the philanthropic and civic leadership they provided to and economic growth, making The Bahamas one of the help their towns thrive. most well-educated and prosperous nations in the British A big holiday charitable event felt like Reunion on campus Commonwealth. with the participation of dozens of Johnnies and Bennies who had supported and often led one of the most important One of the most important hallmarks of our Benedictine charism and the education we provide at Saint John’s is our social service organizations in the Twin Cities. sense of community. Whether the influence is in a small One of the things that makes SJU and CSB so well-known church parish or in a nation-at-large, we can be immensely and widely respected in Minnesota and beyond is the way proud of how Johnnies past and present have lived their our alumni succeed both personally and professionally commitment to community. – and at the same time contribute to making their communities a better place. Read more perspectives from Michael Hemesath by visiting This is certainly true in The Bahamas. As you will read his blog Quad 136 at



Saint John’s bids farewell to Gagliardi while celebrating his lasting legacy By Dave DeLand They stood silently in two long red lines that cascaded down the steps of the Saint John’s Abbey and University Church and along the driveway where the casket was being loaded into a hearse. For the members of the Saint John’s University football team, it constituted a final salute to coaching legend John Gagliardi – a man who meant so much to so many in the Saint John’s community for so long. For others in the funeral crowd and in generations yet to come, Gagliardi’s impact has only just begun. “What John coached began on the field, but that experience turned out to be the shortest engagement of all,” said Fr. Tim Backous ’76, ’84 SOT, OSB, who conducted the Oct. 16 funeral. “What was really happening on those sidelines and in that locker room was just a beginning.” “There’s not a person in here who would say that what he’s done since (playing football at SJU) would have been possible without John,” said Denis McDonough ’92, who after playing for Gagliardi went on to become White House chief of staff. “That’s what he did – he got ordinary kids to do extraordinary stuff. That’s a life lesson that you take with you.” “Ultimately, the impact that he’s had is really special at Saint John’s,” added former SJU quarterback Tom Linnemann ’00, choking back tears. “It lasted so long, and he basically tied generations of Johnnies together.” Gagliardi – who won a record 489 games during a 64-year college football coaching career that included six decades and four national championships at Saint John’s – died Oct. 7, 25 days before his 92nd birthday. The crowd that filled the Abbey Church included family and friends, hundreds of former players and former coaching colleagues and opponents. They all came to say goodbye to the father, spouse, coach, mentor and friend who meant so much to them, and to share memories of the elements that made Gagliardi special – including stories and words from the man himself that punctuated the otherwise somber tone. “With all this amazing outpouring and all the great stories, a

guy should have the decency to be dead. That was one of my dad’s favorite lines,” said son Jim Gagliardi ’89, who elicited the same roar of laughter his dad got while using that joke at countless speaking engagements. “As I prepared for this day,” Fr. Tim said, “I kept hearing John’s voice mumbling in my ear – ‘That’s enough about me.’ ” The crowd disagreed, largely because of the impact Gagliardi made on their lives. “John was an amazing teacher,” McDonough said. “He didn’t say a lot to teach, but he did a lot to teach and he showed a lot to teach. That’s the blessing of having had the chance to play for him.” “There are painters, and then there’s Michelangelo,” Fr. Tim said. “There are musicians, and then there’s Mozart. There are writers, and then there’s William Shakespeare. “And of course there are coaches, and then there’s John Gagliardi.” Also in attendance were Peggy Gagliardi, who was married to John for 62 years … their children Nancy Little, Gina Continued on page 4




Benson, John and Jim … and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “For all his success in football, I’m pretty sure that’s not what John Gagliardi considered his greatest achievement,” Fr. Tim said. “Without a doubt, it was his marriage, his children and grandchildren that were the source of his greatest joy.” “Their family shared their dad with all of us,” Linnemann said. “We’re not his children, but at a certain level all of us kind of feel like that. “Today was special, because both families came together and were able to celebrate John.”

Gagliardi Football Legacy Fund banquet Sept. 22) where he got to hear so many people say so many nice things about him,” Jim Gagliardi said. “We are so fortunate in our family to have this outpouring.”

Ultimately, they were saying goodbye only to the man. His memory and legacy are truly timeless.

“After this week of such wonderful musings and remembrances, I feel so much can and will be said about him for years to come,” Fr. Tim said.

“We had that great event a couple weeks ago (the John

“That’s what true genius leaves behind.”

Johnnies’ Jackson Erdmann Awarded Gagliardi Trophy

Saint John’s University junior quarterback Jackson Erdmann ’20 was named the 2018 recipient of the Gagliardi Trophy, as the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III, on Dec. 14 prior to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Shenandoah, Texas.

“I want to thank my coaches, teammates, family and most importantly, God, for I am nothing without them.” Given annually since 1993 and sponsored by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John’s, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named after John Gagliardi, Saint John’s legendary Hall of Fame head football coach who retired in 2012 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history. Gagliardi died Oct. 7 at age 91.



Erdmann is the fourth Johnnie to win the Gagliardi Trophy, joining wide receiver Chris Palmer ’96, wide receiver Blake Elliott ’03 and linebacker Carter Hanson ’17. Erdmann was also named the Offensive Player of the Year Dec. 14 following the Stagg Bowl. “I am beyond honored to receive this award,” Erdmann said. “I want to thank my coaches, teammates, family and most importantly, God, for I am nothing without them.” A consensus first-team All-American (American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, and the 2018 West Region Offensive Player of the Year, Erdmann led NCAA Division III in passing efficiency (189.8), passing touchdowns (47) and points responsible for (290). The 2018 MIAC Most Valuable Player, Erdmann set singlegame program records last fall for passing yards (470 on Oct. 13 vs. St. Thomas) and passing touchdowns (7 on Nov. 10 vs. Thomas More). Erdmann also set a single-season school record for passing touchdowns. “Jackson epitomizes what this trophy is all about,” said Saint John’s head coach Gary Fasching ’81.

McDonough shares perspectives with McCarthy Center crowd By Dave DeLand History is about stories and perspectives, and Denis McDonough ’92 has played a major role in both – from his undergraduate days at Saint John’s University to the broad spectrum of public service that took him to the pinnacle of the United States government. “Being able to go into the White House every day was a huge blessing,” said McDonough, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff from 2013-17. “I refuse to accept that the best days of America are behind us. It’s not consistent with the history that we’ve lived.”

McDonough served as deputy national security advisor and National Security Council chief of staff before his four years as White House chief of staff. “Just to remind people of the extraordinary nature of Denis’s service, if you look at chief of staff since the position was created after World War II, the average tenure in this position is 18 months,” said interviewer Ken Jones, SJU/CSB professor of history and a McDonough faculty favorite during his undergraduate years. “Denis served four years, so this is an awesome accomplishment.” “Despite his intense schedules, he regularly met with student groups that I would take out to Washington, D.C., for our summer internship program,” added Matt Lindstrom ’92, SJU/CSB political science professor and director of the McCarthy Center. “He always left each one of us thoroughly impressed and proud.” The McDonough/Jones question-and-answer session quickly turned into a litany of stories – about politics, about Saint John’s and about the world in general, mixed with perspectives McDonough gained along the way. McDonough left the White House in January 2017. He has no interest in public office or a political position, focusing instead on refugee issues.

“I know what I want to do – I want to go help refugees. I’m not waiting Former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough ’92 (left) shared his perspectives on around for government politics, public service, history and Benedictine values with SJU/CSB history professor Ken service,” McDonough Jones during the 12th annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture Oct. 15 at the Saint John’s Abbey said. “The world’s a and University Church. broken place, but there’s a role for individuals to Sharing that history and perspective is part of the process, help fix it. I think the most broken place right now is people which brought McDonough to the Saint John’s Abbey and forced from their homes with nowhere to go.” University Church Oct. 15 as featured speaker for the 12th annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture. Doing that entails implementing the Benedictine ideals “The United States has constantly renewed itself by that regular flow of new blood,” said McDonough, who graduated summa cum laude from SJU with a degree in history and Spanish. “Call that Jeffersonian or call that Benedictine, I like that a lot and I think we should keep doing it.”

McDonough learned at Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s.

“I want to find a way to make sure that I’m living out all the ideals that we learned here,” he said. “You can’t play if you’re not in the game. The sky’s the limit for Johnnies and Bennies.”




Durenberger outlines political history and hopes in MPR book discussion By Dave DeLand It’s essentially a history book, filled with the reflections, hopes and dreams of a man who saw that history from an insider’s perspective. When Republicans Were Progressive is also a road map, one that 1955 Saint John’s University graduate and former Senator Dave Durenberger hopes can be a blueprint for a brighter political future. “The progressive is one that understands the problems that challenge a community. That’s what we have to get back – in a political sense, and in our everyday lives,” said Durenberger, who discussed his book Oct. 30 with co-author Lori Sturdevant and Minnesota Public Radio news editor-at-large Gary Eichten ’69. Their discussion was recorded before a capacity crowd at The Forum inside the MPR building in St. Paul, and broadcast Nov. 1 on MPR.

(Above) Former Senator Dave Durenberger ’55 shared ideas with co-author Lori Sturdevant and their MPR audience during an Oct. 30 discussion in St. Paul. (Below) Durenberger’s Saint John’s legacy was honored Oct. 16 at the dedication of the Senator David Durenberger Atrium inside Simons Hall.

“This has sort of a gut Saint John’s feeling – it starts with respect for others,” Durenberger said. “The bottom line is now we’re (politically) out of balance,” said Sturdevant, columnist and editorial writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The quest for power is what matters most, rather than how are we going to govern.” “It’s great Minnesota history,” added Eichten, who moderated the discussion. “It challenges the oft-expressed idea that Minnesota has always been a blue state, a Democratic state. It’s not true.” Durenberger – the only Republican in Minnesota history elected to three U.S. Senate terms – brought a centrist perspective with him to Washington, D.C. when he was first elected in 1978. Durenberger earned the nickname “Senator Health” for his expertise on health care issues, chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and worked across the aisle with Democrats on myriad issues – something that rarely happens in the current political climate. “If we had progressive Republicans like Dave Durenberger in



charge,” Sturdevant said, “I think we would by now have a much better functioning health care system in this country. We’ve made politics the end rather than a means to an end in our civic life.” In their book, Durenberger and Sturdevant also share ideas and opinions about remedies and systemic changes to restore civic, centric politics. “The idea is to take back both of these parties in some fashion,” said Durenberger, who still considers himself a Republican even though he “got fired” from the party. “What I hope is that this book is not just an exercise in nostalgia,” Sturdevant said. “What I hope is it’s actually a bit of a blueprint for what worked … in the hope that people who want to make government work again can find some ideas that they can put to use.”

Saint John’s Pottery celebrates milestone year An historic year for The Saint John’s Pottery kicks off in March with a featured exhibit at pottery’s national conference, and culminates in October with a milestone event. The pottery studio is prominently involved in Claytopia, the 53rd annual conference of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts. It will be held March 2730 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and Twin Cities satellite sites. “For us, it’s a marker of starting the 40th anniversary and doing that through the exhibit and the book and then the firing,” said Ryan Kutter ’03, Saint John’s Pottery studio manager.

an April 29 SJU Exhibit Reception at Westminster Presbyterian and by contacting the pottery studio. All that leads up to the big event this fall – the celebration of the 40th anniversary of The Saint John’s Pottery, which starts with an Oct. 18 firing ceremony that marks the 15th firing of the Johanna kiln. “We get a lot of phone calls throughout the summer saying, ‘Do you know when the firing’s going to be?’ ” Bresnahan said. “For the alumni, at least they know the firing is Oct. 18.”

“For potters, it’s the single biggest deal,” added Saint John’s Artist-In-Residence Richard Bresnahan ’76. “We’re going to be having a variety of visibilities throughout.”

The Saint John’s Pottery 40 Years Exhibit Calendar

Those include:

Open March 24-May 12

• A Saint John’s Pottery exhibit open March 24-May 12 at nearby Westminster Presbyterian Church Gallery

March 18 Delivery and exhibit installation at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis. Overseen by Dr. Rodney Allen Schwartz.

• A March 29 NCECA panel discussion including Bresnahan, Minneapolis Institute of Art Director Dr. Matthew Welch, James Beard Award-winning chef Raghavan Iyer and Br. Paul-Vincent Niebauer ’74, OSB • An exhibition book featuring photos, essays and poems focusing on prominent Saint John’s Pottery works

March 29, 4:30-5:30 p.m. NCECA Panel Discussion, Auditorium, Room 1 of Minneapolis Convention Center. Featuring Richard Bresnahan, Dr. Matthew Welch, Raghavan Iver and Br. Paul-Vincent Niebauer, OSB. Moderated by Samuel Johnson.

That book – Forty Years On: Richard Bresnahan and Artists of The Saint John’s Pottery – illuminates elements of The Saint John’s Pottery. It will be available at the NCECA, at

March 29, 6-8 p.m. NCECA Exhibit Reception at Westminster Presbyterian. Artists to be available to visit with guests, most of whom will be associated with NCECA.




From the Archives: Eugene Dupuch left lasting legacy with Johnnie Fight Song The name Dupuch is renowned in The Bahamas, where family members are known for a variety of political, journalistic and humanitarian accomplishments. It should be similarly noted in Collegeville for another achievement, one that’s been revisited literally thousands of times. In the fall of 1933, Bahamian Eugene Dupuch ’34 responded to a contest to write a Johnnie Fight Song. He composed it in his Saint John’s University dorm room and broke it out at the Johnnies’ Homecoming game. “I sat down one night and wrote the words,” Dupuch said in a 1971 interview with Saint John’s Magazine. “I roughed out the music on a ukulele and then wrote the piano score by ear. That’s how it started.” It goes like this:

Fight, you Johnnies! Fight you Johnnies! Stand and fight like men for old Saint John’s Fight, you Johnnies! Fight you Johnnies! You are Alma Mater’s own true sons Show the world what SJU can do, The fighting Johnnie spirit will win through Make the vict’ry greater for your dear old Alma Mater and the Cardinal and Blue Rah! Rah! Rah Rah Rah! U-rah! Saint John’s Rah! Rah! Rah Rah Rah! U-rah! Saint John’s

named after him), newspaper editor, political statesman, musician and advocate for equal rights and improved racial relations. But at Saint John’s, his most enduring contribution is as a songwriter.

The Johnnie Fight Song was ranked by Congressional Gold Medal bandleader Fred Waring among America’s top 10 university fight songs. Eugene was preceded at Saint John’s by brother Etienne ’28, who was among the first Bahamians to attend SJU. Subsequently, Sir Etienne Dupuch was knighted by three different countries, earned two honorary doctorates and spent his lifetime waging battles for social justice as editor of the Nassau Tribune for 53 years. Eugene, who died in 1981, went on to a distinguished career in The Bahamas as a lawyer (the Dupuch Law School is



The song and its impact were acknowledged in a story in the Oct. 19, 1933 edition of The Record. (Background) Dupuch’s original sheet music. If you believe you have items of historical record that might be a good addition to the SJU Archives, contact SJU/CSB Archivist Peggy Landwehr Roske ’77 at or at 320-363-2129.

Hendershot showcases 48-year career at SJU/CSB

Benedictine Volunteer Corps expands its reach

Jim Hendershot will retire following spring semester after 51 years of teaching art, the last 48 of them as an associate professor at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict.

The biggest class in the 16-year history of Saint John’s Abbey’s Benedictine Volunteer Corps was unveiled Dec. 4.

But before leaving, he wanted to spend some time with “friends” – the prints, graphite and charcoal drawings and enhanced prints/mixed media work that represent his artistic career.

The 26 volunteers in the 2019-20 BVC chapter will serve on five continents at 13 monasteries in 12 countries and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

“It’s just like visiting old friends that I haven’t seen for a while because they’ve all been such a part of my life,” said Hendershot, whose artwork was on display Jan. 28-March 1 in a retrospective show at the Alice R. Rogers and Target Galleries at the Saint John’s Art Center.

Two BVC members will serve at each of the 13 monasteries. Assignment locations: Dominik Bame, Kirk Harrington Cairo, Egypt Darragh Cutter, Grant Hesse India/Sri Lanka Lucas Friederichs, Luke Olley Bogota, Colombia Ryan Gall, Kevin Lamb Newark, New Jersey/Saint Benedict’s Michael Garber, James Gathje Coban, Guatemala Sam Gerdts, Joshua Olson Hanga, Tanzania Noah Hynes-Marquette, David Stokman Rome, Italy Jaheer Jones, Arturo Viera Humacao, Puerto Rico Jacob Kirsch, Jacob Ruhland Imiliwaha, Tanzania John Miles, Mike Reilly Tororo, Uganda Matthew Minnehan, Muqkadeen Poole Jilin, China Taylor Pickthorn, Richard Swanson Montserrat, Spain Aaron Schweitz, Michael Timmerman Tabgha, Israel

“I call it my journey,” he said. “There’s stories behind almost all of these pieces. I really think of them as family, and they all have their own tales.” Hendershot displayed these “stories” and selected outstanding works from his students during James L. Hendershot, Retrospective Fifty: Structures with Figures. “We are so fortunate to have Jim share his life story through his art in this retrospective exhibition,” said Jill Dubbeldee Kuhn, gallery manager. “It is exciting to see the expanse of work he has produced over a lifetime.” The exhibit showcased many themes from Hendershot’s life: • Riding the railroad as a child with his family and father, who worked for the railroad. Hendershot’s related work, Dining Car, is in the Library of Congress collection, and his Sleeping Car II is in the National Gallery of Art collection, both in Washington, D.C. • Depicting sailboats on Lake Erie while he was living adjacent to a lagoon leading into the Rocky River and ultimately Lake Erie • Drawings of his wife, Susan, and scenes from his many visits to New York and London over the years • Aerial views of farmers’ fields and Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul “I see this show as a celebration of our Benedictine values,” Dubbeldee Kuhn said, “married in his deep commitment to education and the arts.” “I do love teaching. I love young people,” Hendershot said. “It’s going to be hard when next year comes.”

The BVC is a service opportunity offered to men recently graduated from Saint John’s. Grounded in Benedictine values and spirituality, the BVC provides a unique encounter with the Catholic monastic tradition, the multitude of needs expressed in religious communities around the world and the challenge to commit one's talents to meeting these needs. Beginning in 2003, the BVC has sent over 215 men to 24 Benedictine monasteries around the world to support those communities in their work, prayer and common life. CSBSJU.EDU/NEWS



Sister’s Striking The first pitch of the Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins game last August zinged across home plate — and a nun in full habit brought the heat

By Jessie Bazan ’17 SOT/Sem


r. Mary Jo Sobieck, SOT ’07, strode to the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago as her face flashed across the jumbotron.

With confidence befitting Babe Ruth, the college athleteturned-theology teacher popped the baseball off her inner right elbow, turned to the catcher and let loose a strike.

“When I went out into the concourse after the game, people kept stopping me wanting to take selfies. I called a friend from the car who told me, ‘Dude, you’re trending on Twitter! You just went viral!’ ”

It was the ceremonial pitch heard ’round the world.

Within hours, the former center fielder started fielding calls for interviews from Good Morning America and watching replays of herself on ESPN’s SportsCenter. The clip of her pitch amassed hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube alone.

“A few former major league players came up to me in my seats and said, ‘Gee, you can really throw the ball,” said Sr. Mary Jo, a Dominican sister who took the rubber as part of Marian Catholic High School Night at the ballpark.

Media from around the world shared the story of the flamethrowing sister. “Mojo,” as her students affectionately call her, became so popular that the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum created a bobblehead in her likeness“God


Story On and Off the Field Sr. Mary Jo continues to stay active in her Chicago neighborhood, walking or running two to three miles daily and lifting weights. Runner’s World magazine featured her routine online last August. Sr. Mary Jo started taking summer classes at the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary after joining the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois. She holds fond memories of walking out to the highway and back every morning at 6 a.m. to process everything she was learning. “When I had papers to write, it was good to clear my head and get into some wide-open space and let God do God’s work,” Sr. Mary Jo recalled. The sports buff also took full advantage of living on the sports-crazed Collegeville campus. People could often spot Sr. Mary Jo cheering at Johnnie football and Blazer volleyball and basketball games. Studying at a Benedictine school helped Sr. Mary Jo practice an awareness of God in all things – even athletics. “The practice of awareness is about always being attentive,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be the extraordinary. God is in the ordinary: in the changing of seasons, in the emotions in my body, and in sports. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has created a figurine of Sr. Mary Jo Sobieck, SOT ’07.

“It’s all of that, not just the holy stuff. It’s the joys and the sorrows. There is beauty in all of it.”

gave me the gift of being an athlete, so I want to give it 110 percent,” said Sr. Mary Jo, whose fastball has been clocked at 76 miles per hour. “Sports have always had a real connection to me with the sacred.”

This sister’s on-field success offers a joyful story to a Catholic church — and world — thirsting for positive press.

Sr. Mary Jo grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the youngest of 10 kids. She played on a variety of teams at St. Cloud Cathedral High School, where she returned last fall to throw the “first pass” at a football game. Sr. Mary Jo then attended the College of Saint Scholastica, where she played volleyball and softball.

“My story offers authenticity,” Sr. Mary Jo said. “I didn’t do anything to get this attention. I was just myself. What we preach has to also be lived out in an authentic life. “That’s who Christ is — and who we are called to be.” Jessie Bazan ’17 SOT/Sem is the program associate for the Collegeville Institute and outreach coordinator for the Saint John’s Abbey vocations team.





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By Dana Drazenovich

By Dave DeLand

George Maurer is pedaling through Newfoundland, his bicycle tires spinning like the reels of a cassette tape as he records the people and places along the path of his annual cross-country bike ride. Maurer ’88 feels a kinship with the 1980s-era Onkyo dualtape cassette recorder that duplicated his first solo piano release, Behind the Pine Curtain, spinning away in Patrick Hall while he was earning his music composition degree. More than 30 years later, that old tape deck still holds a spot in his Nicollet Island living room, more metaphoric than nostalgic as Maurer plans his sixth annual epic bicycle trek this summer in Vietnam. “I see these bike rides more and more as being an opportunity, sort of like the wheels of the bike are like a cassette tape that’s recording a trail as they go through


and the wheels hit the pavement and you’re soaking up information, you’re soaking up stories,” he said. Maurer is best known as an acclaimed pianist and composer who has shared the stage with rockers ranging from Eric Clapton to Dan Aykroyd to Bruno Mars, won a slew of awards including a McKnight Composer Fellowship, been commissioned to write original music for the likes of St. Paul Ballet and packed many a Midwest venue with the George Maurer Jazz Group. Recent highlights include touring with the Midtown Men— starring the four original leads of Broadway’s Jersey Boys —

George Maurer ’88 biked across Iceland in 2016. He is heading to Vietnam this summer for his sixth annual benefit bike trek.

music directing the Teen Idol stage performance about his friend and mentor Bobby Vee, and composing four songs for the One Voice Mixed Chorus’s Healing & Hope Through Song.

compositions and bicycle expeditions as he spent time with a woman who is working to preserve the cultural history of Newfoundland’s fishing villages.

He has broadened to European audiences with the help of fellow Johnnie Nathan Duc Koestlin ’96, who lives in Berlin and organized Maurer’s debut performance there in 2014. Maurer plans to return to Berlin after his Vietnam ride to spend the rest of the summer creating music with the European musicians he has met through Koestlin.

“I’m always trying to find out what the layers are of the place I’m going through,” Maurer said. “What I got to do in Newfoundland is add that layer of interviewing artists and having conversations with another artist in another province in another country and seeing what it is that they do with their ability in the arts to illuminate the role of arts in their communities.”

Maurer added adventure cyclist to his repertoire in 2014 when he rode across the USA’s contiguous 48 states in 48 days on his first ride to raise money for cancer research in memory of his friend Carolyn Held, wife of Patrick Held ’73. Last summer’s journey brought his fundraising to $50,000. It also brought him to the intersection of his musical

Thanks to his relationship with Saint John’s, the ear of Maurer’s heart is always listening, the tape recorder in his head always whirring. He is working with St. Cloud public radio station KVSC-FM 88.1 to develop a radio series called Tales from a Bicycle Seat, which will start with the Vietnam expedition.


FINDING HIS VOICE “I’m not just contained to one style of music. I’m not contained to one way of being an artist.” “I want to do it in a way that amplifies my ability to come back with more stories and more understanding and knowledge — just to go about it in a Benedictine sort of way, like ‘How do I listen as I go through these things? How do I listen as a musician? How do I listen as an artist? “There’s this kind of calling to go there.” Following his calling has brought Maurer down a nontraditional career path that makes up with extraordinary experiences what it sometimes lacks in financial stability. “The thought of George sitting at a desk would kill me,” said his brother and ardent supporter Patrick ’89. “He’s had the opportunity to do what he loves for a living, and I think very few people get to do that entirely.”


Rewind to 1987. Gary Berg, then a College of Saint Benedict administrator, has heard about a student worker with impressive piano skills and goes to see him perform at the Benedicta Arts Center. “He was really talented, but he was afraid of his own shadow,” said Berg, who shortly after founded G.L. Berg Entertainment, the agency that has represented Maurer since day one. “He sat at the piano and didn’t talk, and knowing George now that’s hard to imagine.” Saint John’s helped Maurer find his voice and build on the appreciation for the arts and value of contributing to the greater good that his parents instilled in their four children. “He is a very special Johnnie graduate,” said SJU/CSB music professor Ed Turley, “and he really exemplifies someone who has combined his music with a liberal arts life and everything this can provide for a person.” That influence shows itself in his continual search for new

and meaningful artistic, cultural and personal experiences, and it comes through in his work.

He wrote the SJU Football Anthem that fills Clemens Stadium at the start of every home game.

KVSC recently aired Junctions and Sidetracks, a 12-episode radio series featuring in-depth interviews about family, history, race and forgiveness, Maurer explained.

He directed music for the Saint John’s Boys Choir’s Boys on Broadway shows for 20-plus years.

“It’s an intimate look over an artist’s shoulder showing how and why art is created — to create empathy.”

He has served on alumni boards, taught and visited classes and encouraged younger Johnnies and Bennies to follow their calling.

Maurer created the music and playwright Anne Bertram wrote the libretto as a companion piece to their musical theater production Empire Builder, Maurer’s first full-length musical.

“At the core he’s the exact same person he was when I met him,” Berg said. “He’s talented, he’s solid, he’s just such a good person. Those things haven’t changed. He’s just developed them.”

“You have to keep doing what the Benedictines did and going ‘Here’s a way to live life that’s full and inquisitive and life-long. I’m still in a classroom. Every time I get on a bike or every time I sit down on a piano bench or sit down with a new collaboration, I’m learning something new.”

Patrick remembers hesitating to enroll at SJU, where he would be a year behind George.

He, in turn, has left his impression on Saint John’s.


He worked as an Admission representative for four years and helped cultivate relationships in areas like inner-city Chicago.

Fast forward to December 2017. The Midtown Men are playing with the Boston Pops on their national tour, and

“Now, when somebody says, ‘Oh, you’re George’s brother,’ I couldn’t be more proud.”

(Far left) Maurer rehearses with his first Saint John’s band onstage at the Benedicta Arts Center in December 1985: (from left) Richard Witteman ’89, Joe Cleveland ’88, Mark Watz ’86, Joe Bjorklund ’87, Maurer and Michael Hahn ’89. (Left) Maurer performs at Summertime by George summer 2012 in St. Cloud. (Above) Maurer played with Eric Clapton (left) July 2004 at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.


“It’s an intimate look over an artist’s shoulder showing how and why art is created — to create empathy.” Maurer is at the piano. As vocalist J. Robert Spencer introduces him to the audience, he describes Maurer’s fundraising bike rides to thunderous applause. “It’s just, who does that? You know? That’s so beautiful,” Spencer said. “It’s just an added layer of his beauty and his originality and who he is as a person. He really cares about people and their feelings and their well-being, and he wants music to be a huge part of that for everyone.”

“I think one of his strengths is his very innovative programming as a composer, and certainly he’s a first-rate performer as a pianist and as a collaborative musician,” Turley said. Those talents have earned him a national reputation. The Minnesota Orchestra and National Symphony performed his music. The Chiffons sang and Buddy Holly’s Crickets played his arrangements. The Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts has enthusiastically embraced Autumn Song, a musical conversation between 20th century American playwright Tennessee Williams and 19th century German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, whom Maurer’s close friend the late Fr. Mark Thamert, ’73, SOT ’79, OSB introduced him to in German class.

The Midtown Men keep impressive company, recording a Christmas song in 2012 featuring members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and produced by E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt. Still, Maurer is one of Spencer’s go-to’s when he’s making his own music.

SJU/CSB professors, too, have performed and recorded his compositions.

“George first off is a wonderful person and he loves music and he loves collaborating,” Spencer said.


“He has no ego, but I value his opinion musically so much.” Maurer’s piano professor can attest to his abilities.


“As a composer he very intuitively understands whatever medium he’s writing for,” Turley said.

Rewind a few years, to a cool Seattle morning in July 2014. Maurer’s back tire is in the Puget Sound, the United States stretched out before him. He has just won a coveted

McKnight Composer Fellowship but hit pause on his music to take this solo odyssey. By the time he dipped his front tire in the Atlantic Ocean 3,600 miles later, he trusted his own capabilities — and the goodness of strangers – a lot more. “Going across Nevada and running into situations with mechanical breakdowns in the middle of the desert and figuring that out, and meeting friendly people, really caring people, I thought ‘Well, how does that apply to other countries?’” He did another U.S. ride, then Iceland, Sri Lanka and Canada, which ignited his desire to share his experiences more widely.

I’m not contained to one way of being an artist,” he said. “And then you tie this back to Saint John’s, and it’s the basic liberal arts experience, the monastic experience.” (Left) Local kids got to test Maurer’s specially designed bicycle July 2017 at Pulmoddai, Sri Lanka. His fundraising trips have generated $50,000 for cancer research. (Below) Maurer displays his Saint John’s pride. Dana Drazenovich is a former journalist and public relations practitioner who teaches Communication and First Year Seminar at SJU/CSB.

“What being on a bicycle allows you to do is break down barriers. You don’t have glass, an enclosed car or vehicle, sheltering you from what you can smell, what you can see, what you can hear,” he said. “You don’t have the speed that keeps you from really noticing the detail that’s going on around you. You can stop at any moment to talk to somebody, to take a picture, to notice something. You have the ability to empathize with what’s happened in a place or what’s going on around you.” On one unforgettable stop, Maurer sat down on a Sri Lankan beach with some Muslim fishermen. One of them set down his nets when he found out Maurer was American. “He took my hands in his hands and said, ‘Can you please, when you go back to America, tell everybody that being Muslim isn’t bad?’ “I already get it, but you think about how many people don’t think or apply that suspension of ‘What is it I believe?’ in order to listen to another person’s story, and I think questioning that is an important part of being an artist or being a liberal arts-type well-rounded person.”

STARTING THE NEXT CHAPTER Maurer is about to hit play again in May when he sets off along Vietnam’s coast. He’s still working out the details, but he knows he wants to volunteer in communities along his route and perhaps raise funds to help eliminate the unexploded ordnance that still peppers Vietnam’s landscape. He undoubtedly will return with new stories and perspectives to share through Tales from a Bicycle Seat. “This journey is, I think, a natural outgrowth of my journey as a composer. I’m not just contained to one style of music.




Winter Wonderland in Collegeville Photo by Michael Klonowski ’21

Saint John’s students make their way past Guild Hall and head toward Tommie Hall on a snowy February afternoon. Despite a record February snowfall and polar vortex temperatures that dipped as low as minus 34, Johnnies and Bennies persevered through one of the most dramatic Collegeville winters in memory.


SJU I Bahamas


By Dave DeLand

It’s a typical weather day in January, which for David Johnson III means two things:

The average high temperature back in his hometown of Nassau, Bahamas is 77 sun-kissed degrees. The average low temperature in his university town of Collegeville, Minnesota is 1 degree. But even though he’s wading through snow in a parka instead of walking down a sandy beach in a swimsuit, Johnson is really glad to be right here at Saint John’s University. “I wanted to be somewhere where I could perform to the best of my ability, where I could truly excel, where I could find myself and make a significant impact on the lives of others,” said Johnson ’19, SJU’s 2018 Convocation student speaker and president of the Student Senate. “I feel like Saint John’s does a great job of giving you the tools to change the world.” So do countless other Bahamians. There are a record 63 attending Saint John’s and the College of Saint Benedict during the 2018-19 school year, and for a variety of reasons that number has increased significantly. “That’s unprecedented,” said Philip Galanis ’75, past


president of the Saint John’s Alumni Association Bahamas Chapter and member of the Saint John’s Board of Trustees. “That’s six times the number when I was there.” “It’s a good place for us to come, to get grounded and then spread our wings – whether it’s back in The Bahamas or in the United States,” added Prince Wallace ’68, Saint John’s first Bahamian trustee and a key figure in recruiting and retaining Bahamian students. “We all still carry with us the Benedictine values.” Those values have been cultivated through a Saint John’s/ Bahamas connection that dates back to the 1890s. The current SJU/CSB Bahamian enrollment surge – sparked in part by enhanced scholarship opportunities – has only strengthened those bonds. “There is no place in the world where Saint John’s University and its Benedictine monks have had a bigger impact on the political, economic and social life of a community than in The Bahamas,” said SJU President Michael Hemesath ’81. A vibrant new chapter is being written in the history of that connection, both in terms of Bahamian graduates’ personal achievement as well as their contributions around the world.

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the world “Being a Bennie or Johnnie, that’s like a speed pass in Disney World,” said Saint John’s junior Owyn Ferguson ’20. “There really is some solid job security in being a Bennie or Johnnie.”

a business venture promoting intercultural competency and cultural agility training for schools and businesses.

“People hear that you went to Saint John’s, and they credit what you’ve achieved,” added Basil Christie ’66, another key figure in the connection. “Those of us who attended there have returned home and are respected in our communities.”

Persistence helps. Recent Bahamian recruiting gains are attributable partly to Director of International Admission Alex Schleper ’87 … to predecessor Roger Young ’68, whose formative Bahamas involvement dated back to the early 1970s ... and to Nassau recruitment liaison Judith Adderley.

That’s good for The Bahamas, and good for SJU/CSB. That’s good for Bahamian students, for a variety of reasons. The weather is just one of them.

Promoting the Dream Johnson considered majoring in biochemistry or global business when he arrived at Saint John’s, but quickly gravitated toward communication and a career as a motivational speaker. “To be embraced that way and to be applauded for doing something I was passionate about immediately helped me to fall in love with being here,” said Johnson, who with classmate Muqkadeen Poole ’19 has launched “The Move” –

Stories like Johnson’s are only part of the reason why Bahamian enrollment at SJU/CSB is growing:

“Every college fair that I went to, I’d see Alex Schleper,” said Johnson, who attended Saint Anne’s, an Anglican high school in Nassau. “Any time I saw him, he said, ‘You should apply to Saint John’s. You’d be a great Johnnie. I feel like you’d really thrive there.’ ” “Alex was probably the most persistent recruiter there is,” added Donovan Inniss, a 2018 pre-med graduate. “He sold the school like no other.”

Familiarity helps. Joint February visits with alums in Nassau by Hemesath and CSB President Mary Hinton have become a new Bahamian tradition.


“Michael Hemesath and Mary Hinton have done such a wonderful job of ensuring that they will concretize the bridge between The Bahamas and Saint John’s/Saint Ben’s,” Galanis said.

Funding helps. Galanis and Wallace were instrumental in facilitating a Bahamian government program that awards students annual scholarships of up to $15,000 on top of their SJU/CSB scholarships. “We worked with the Ministry of Education to form an MOU – Memorandum of Understanding – to enable Bahamian students to get scholarships here,” said Galanis, who served 15 years in the Bahamian Parliament and until recently chaired The Bahamas Trade Commission. “That’s worked out extremely well. That’s why there’s such a large influx of (Bahamian) students.”

“One hundred percent of the students came from (private schools like) Saint Augustine’s, the Benedictine high school,” said Christie, former director of the Saint John’s Alumni Association Bahamas Chapter and Special Olympics Bahamas. “But now in the last two years they’re also coming from public schools.” As recently as 2011, the incoming Bahamian class at SJU/ CSB totaled eight. Over the last two years, that total is 42 – more than any other foreign country. “There are more opportunities for everyone on an equal playing field to be granted the opportunity to go to college,” said SJU sophomore Simeon Farquharson ’21, who was one of the first five students from public schools who arrived at SJU/CSB in 2017. “That’s something that’s changing for the better.”

“My parents went from ‘You’re never going to Minnesota’ to ‘You’re definitely going to Minnesota,’” Johnson said. “Financial aid was a really crucial component.”

All of that has helped to build on a rich history.

“It put more money into the pool,” Wallace added. “That allowed more students to come up – especially those students that went to public high schools.”

Galanis, Wallace and Christie are pivotal figures in the contemporary history of the connection between The Bahamas and SJU/CSB.

Historically, most Bahamians came to SJU/CSB from Saint Augustine’s College, a private high school in Nassau.

“We call them ‘The Pioneers,’ ” Johnson said, “because they really did a good job of paving the way for us here at this school.”

Giants Past and Present

That history dates back 128 years, to when Fr. Chrysostom Schreiner became the first of 103 Saint John’s priests and brothers who would serve in The Bahamas between 1891 and 2012. “The giants who started this – the monks that came back in the 1890s – they are never forgotten,” said Wallace, who grew up hearing stories about Saint John’s and Central Minnesota from Fr. Marcian Peters ’32, OSB. “The Benedictine monks were the dentists, the midwives, the builders of each of these islands,” Christie said. “Their hand was in everything.” (From left) Philip Galanis ’75, Prince Wallace ’68, Basil Christie ’66, Saint John’s President Michael Hemesath ’81 and Denard Cleare ’02 were among those who gathered in the Quad for a September 2018 event honoring Wallace.


David Johnson III ’19 plans to pursue a career in motivational speaking. Watch his 2018 Convocation speech at sjualum/saint-johns-magazine “They built The Bahamas,” added Pierre Dupuch ’60, whose family’s rich history of contributions to Saint John’s includes the “Johnnie Fight Song,” written in 1933 by his uncle Eugene Dupuch ’34. (See story, Page 8) “If you drive around The Bahamas, you see (the monks) made a tremendous sacrifice and a tremendous contribution,” Dupuch said. “I’m very happy to see that Saint John’s has stepped forward in keeping this going.” That’s the mission of a new generation of giants. “There are those very quietly doing what the monks taught us, and that is how to be a good Christian,” Wallace said. “There are literally hundreds of us down there, men and women, that have helped make my country what it is.” “Johnnies are at every level of our country’s management,” Christie added, “every level of various ministries. The standouts are immeasurable, incredible.” The accomplishments of those standouts resonate both in The Bahamas and at SJU/CSB, and connections with those alums have been invaluable to contemporary students. “That has truly helped me in ways that I cannot imagine,” Inniss said. “It seemed like I gained foster parents in a sense when I speak with our alum network.”

away,” Johnson said. “They’re truly there for us.” They’re working to extend that history, despite the winter weather – or, depending on the individual, perhaps because of it.

Winter Wonderland Oh yeah. The weather. For a Bahamian student, that’s often the ultimate Collegeville culture shock. “Sometimes folks would ask us, ‘Oh, do you ride dolphins to school?’ or ‘Do you sleep in the ocean?’ ” recalled Bernard Ferguson ’13. “No matter how much you tell a Bahamian that they need to prepare for the winter, they’re not going to realize how brutal it is until it actually arrives,” said Johnson, who quickly learned about layering. Others learned lessons in their own ways:

Oral Hudson ’88 played basketball at Saint John’s and sang the National Anthem before home games. He sometimes did so dressed for the elements – even indoors.

“They’re always a phone call away, an email away, a message


Johnson’s wardrobe when he’s at home in The Bahamas (left) looks a little different from his winter attire at Saint John’s (right). “I would be on the basketball court on the bench and I had gloves on my hands,” said Hudson, now an entertainer in Nassau. “Everybody else was looking at me like I was crazy.” Before arriving at Saint John’s, Inniss had never seen snow before.

“We were excited – excited to be learning, excited to experience winter for the first time,” Bernard Ferguson added. “I think that continues to build each year.”

“It was so exciting,” he said. “5 a.m. comes, and I heard a stampede of boys running down the hall (of Mary 2) going outside. I go outside and run around and jump in the snow. After maybe five minutes – OK, this is enough.”

Ultimately, though, for Bahamians being at SJU/CSB is about spirituality, opportunity and education.

Ditto for Ashley Farrington ’11.

Faith and involvement are key elements in Johnson’s SJU experience.

“My buddy Darien (Nixon ’12) and I were sitting there (in class) and it snowed for the first time,” said Farrington, now associate principal at Wayzata Central Middle School in Minnesota. “He and I looked at the teacher and said, ‘We’ve gotta go outside. It’s snowing for the first time!’ “We both ran outside, sticking our tongues out to see how it tastes, trying to hold it even though it melted right away.” Many Bahamians relish the novelty of the cold and the changing of the seasons. “I think that adds to the attraction of going to Saint John’s,” said Ty Cox ’12, now a musical and theater performer in New Mexico. “They know they’ll experience snow. For me, it was part of the attraction to going there.” “I like the fact that you have all the seasons,” said Barry Griffin ’09, now an attorney and political leader in Nassau. “I


was excited to experience fall and experience winter and the snow. It was a different kind of world almost.”

Paying it forward “That religious aspect is something we were raised in, and we’ve been able to extend it in the Saint John’s community,” said Johnson, who also has been a member of the Cultural Affairs Board, president of the Archipelago Caribbean Association and an Entrepreneur Scholar. “Saint John’s has been welcoming, and it has made me feel comfortable.” “Finding a faith-based school was really important to me,” Owyn Ferguson said. “Also, just seeing Bahamian alums and how successful they’ve been in their careers was something that was really attractive to me. “The next stage is transferring this intensity and broadening the foundation. This is very intentional, and it’s up to this next generation to pick up.”

Bahamian students have broadened perspectives at SJU/CSB while at the same time broadening their own.

the Bahamian attendance here at Saint John’s/Saint Ben’s,” Farquharson said.

“Without the experiences I had at Saint John’s – whether that was being in student government, doing Campus Ministry, my internship at the Basilica, having that religious stability with the monks – it all helped in a total formation and I would say a 180 transformation in my life,” said Ramond Mitchell ’17, who also served in the Benedictine Volunteer Corps.

“I’m really excited to see what the future holds,” Inniss said. “I think it’s going to be really great.”

“All those great experiences and also all of the great mentors at Saint John’s really helped to unlock a lot of potential in my life.” That’s what the link between Saint John’s and The Bahamas has always been about – unlocking potential and building connections. “By Saint John’s and the government cooperating hand-inhand with this new program, it’s definitely going to drive

“Saint John’s has helped me to think globally, think bigger than the Bahamian society, think bigger than the U.S. society,” Johnson added. “It has helped me to think about changing the world.” He has become part of a bigger community. And at Saint John’s, that community is flourishing, thriving, growing ... No matter what the weather. Dave DeLand, editorial and content director for SJU Institutional Advancement, is an award-winning writer, guest lecturer at Saint John’s University and former columnist for the St. Cloud Times.

Owyn Ferguson ’21 displays his Bahamian pride during his Fall 2018 study abroad semester at the University of Salzburg in Austria.


Donovan Inniss ’18

efore starting the grind of medical school, Donovan Inniss ’18 needed a break. “I wanted to take a gap year in between,” Inniss said. “I wanted to experience life a bit more before I dive into the full 10 years of medicine.” That’s why this year he’s working at Tokyo’s Bunkyo Gakuin University, the partner for Saint John’s/Saint Ben’s Japan study abroad program. “Essentially, I have three jobs in one,” Inniss said. “I’m a (resident advisor) for international students that come here for study abroad … I work in the intercultural office and help them deal with culture shock in Japan, even though I’m kind of in culture shock myself … and then I teach English and help tutor a lot of the university students here.” It’s a big job, one for which Inniss honed myriad skills at SJU. “Saint John’s/Saint Ben’s has equipped me exponentially,” Inniss said. “It was a perfect choice. I don’t think I would have the opportunities I’ve had at any other school than Saint John’s.” Those opportunities included medical internships at the

University of Minnesota (neuroscience), the University of Michigan (gastroenterology) and with the Mayo Clinic Innovations Scholars program. Before entering medical school, Inniss also earned a testimonial from SJU/CSB academic advisor Lisa Scott: “He’s the one student I’ve ever had that I’d let do brain surgery on me.” “I’m thinking neuro, emergency and trauma, and possibly public health and bio tech,” Inniss said. “I can see myself doing one specialty for maybe 20 years and then moving on to a United Nations position with the World Health Organization or something.” For now, Inniss is expanding his overall experience – as did Saint John’s. “You get to actually experience life and self-growth and development,” Inniss said. “It’s something that should be cherished.” (Above) Donovan Inniss was joined in Collegeville by his family – (from left) sister Denaé Inniss, father Dwight Inniss, Donovan Inniss ’18, mother Tenisha Hanna-Inniss and brother Devyn Inniss – at graduation May 2018.

Ashley Farrington ’11

he new associate principal at Wayzata Central Middle School stood outside the front door on the first day of class, gazing at a dream come true. “It just felt full-circle. It felt really good,” said Saint John’s graduate Ashley Farrington ’11. “Things like this don’t normally happen to people like me where I came from.” At age 29, Farrington has realized an ambition born in The Bahamas and cultivated at Saint John’s. “The education program (at SJU) was amazing,” said Farrington, who started as a third-grade teacher before moving up to a top administrative role at the largest middle school in the Wayzata school district.

Brooklyn Park with wife Hilary and their son Lamont, 1. Mom found a way to send her son to Saint John’s. Now, he’s making life-changing contributions of his own. “It gives kids who look like me – kids of color – the opportunity to see themselves in a position like mine,” Farrington said. “Education was what I always wanted to do. I feel like educators have the chance to have the biggest impact on students.”

“The professors and the team helped me become the teacher and now principal that I am today.” So did Farrington’s mom. Karen Smith raised two kids as a single mother with tight finances, but still fostered her son’s dream. “Life wasn’t the easiest always, but my mom instilled some of the greatest things in us,” Farrington said. “That’s been a life model for me, and that’s something I strive for and do in my work as an educator. “My mom tells this story all the time: ‘I knew this boy wanted to be a teacher when he was 6 or 7 because he would always have all the neighborhood kids on the porch, teaching them,’ ” recalled Farrington, who lives in

Ashley Farrington ’11 lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, with his wife Hilary and their son Lamont, 1.

Owyn Ferguson ’20

he smiling young man in lederhosen at the forefront of the photo is a Bahamian … who attends an American university … and was studying abroad in Austria … where he spoke German and posed for a picture in front of the Berchtesgaden Alps that separate Salzburg and Bavaria. Owyn Ferguson ’20 is basically a multicultural experience all by himself. “I always was interested in doing some sort of international experience – aside from, you know, coming to America,” said Ferguson, a Nassau native and Saint John’s University junior who spent fall 2018 studying at the University of Salzburg. “My German’s really gotten better.” “Coming to Minnesota is studying abroad, but he’s double studying abroad basically,” said fellow Bahamian David Johnson III ’19, president of Saint John’s Student Senate and Ferguson’s best friend. “He’s embracing it. That goes to thinking globally as well.” Having opportunities to embrace was a major factor that drew Ferguson to Saint John’s, just as it’s been throughout his educational career. He did that in The Bahamas, where as a senior Ferguson was selected Head Boy at Saint Anne’s School and Gentleman of the Year by The Bahamas Gentleman’s Club. He does that at Saint John’s, where Ferguson has been a Student Senate member, played in the wind ensemble and brass choir and in 2017 earned the Man of Extraordinary Service Award.

He did it in Austria, where his experiences included language immersion, Octoberfest and playing trombone with an Austrian orchestra. An economics major, Ferguson is leaning toward a career in finance, commercial real estate and equity sales. Possibilities abound, thanks in large measure to SJU/CSB. “Just considering how many Bahamians have benefitted professionally from being a Johnnie or a Bennie is something I’ve been thinking about a lot,” Ferguson said. “Saint John’s opened my eyes to so many opportunities.” (Above) Owyn Ferguson ’20 wore his new lederhosen for this photo taken in front of the Berchtesgaden Alps during his Fall 2018 study abroad semester at Austria’s University of Salzburg.

Barry Griffin ’09

arry Griffin ’09 made a big impression at Saint John’s University. He’s making a big impression now in The Bahamas, professionally and politically. He also made a big impression on Queen Elizabeth II. “She was an absolutely lovely lady,” said Griffin, who in 2012 met the Queen after earning the opportunity to “moot” for her by being one of the top law students at King’s College in London. “A moot is pretty much a mock trial,” said Griffin, who was principal speaker. “Afterward, we had the opportunity to have tea with her. “It was a great experience. She was very energetic, very warm.” Griffin knows a thing or two about energetic. At Saint John’s, he graduated with honors … was president of the International Affairs Club … served four years in student government … and represented Saint John’s and the U.S. at Harvard and Hong Kong Model United Nations events.

“During my senior year in high school, I visited Saint John’s and absolutely fell in love with the campus,” he said. “That kind of won me over.” Now back in the Bahamas after law school, Griffin works as a corporate and financial services attorney at Delaney Partners. He is also in demand as a speaker and TV commentator. “I’ve gotten very politically involved,” Griffin said. “I’m the chairman of the Progressive Young Liberals, which is the youth arm of the political party here called the Progressive Liberal Party. “I’m essentially a voice for young people, within the party and within the country – pushing progressive policies, pushing things that matter to young people.” And Saint John’s launched it all. “It was the liberal arts education that introduced the world to me,” Griffin said. “Saint John’s played an instrumental part in the direction that I’ve decided to take in life.”

Simeon Farquharson ’21 he Founders Room on the first floor of the Saint John’s Quad was hopping, thanks to an energetic band with a distinctly Bahamian flavor. “We’re called The Jaywalkers,” said lead singer Simeon Farquharson ’21, whose vibrant performance had much of the crowd on its feet on a festive Friday night. “We’re trying to get known around campus so we can have a chance to perform and showcase our different talents.” Farquharson has plenty of those. A sophomore finance and computer science major who played French horn in The Bahamas All-Star Marching Band, the effervescent Farquharson is a First Generation student and one of the first from a Bahamian public high school to attend Saint John’s. “He’s always open to new experiences,” said fellow Bahamian David Johnson III ’19, president of the SJU Student Senate to which Farquharson also belongs. “You want to talk about Bahamians with culture shock? He is not one of them.”

Uh, no. Farquharson dove into his Saint John’s experience – sometimes literally, like on a hot afternoon last summer at Lake Sagatagan. “Me and a few guys who were working here just walked onto the beach and all of us took off our shirts and ran straight in,” Farquharson said with a laugh. “I just cannon-balled into Lake Sag.” Expanded scholarship opportunities through Saint John’s and the Bahamian government helped him take that plunge. “I’m the only guy here from my high school (C.V. Bethel Senior High in Nassau),” Farquharson said. “Here, I feel like there’s more opportunities being offered for students of different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions.” You’ll see that cross-section anywhere Farquharson and The Jaywalkers play. “It was a fun crowd,” he said of the September event. “I definitely feel the Saint John’s community brought that out of me, in the regard of working a room at performances.”

The Jaywalkers include (from left) bassist Sam Colella ’20, guitarist Paul Franta ’19, lead singer Simeon Farquharson ’21, drummer Jaheer Jones ’19, saxophonist Ray Harren ’20 and keyboardist Rudy Wilson ’21. See their September performance at sjualum/saint-johns-magazine

Ty Cox ’12

e’s all about music – opera, show tunes, jazz bands, wedding songs. He’s all about vocal performance – stage productions, musical theater, narration. Most of all, Ty Cox ’12 is about artistry and helping others. His Collegeville experience served as the springboard for it all. “I think Saint John’s is the reason why I do what I do, to be honest,” Cox said. “It definitely was the foundation to where I am right now.” Cox lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he completed a master’s degree in vocal performance in 2016 and is in the process of applying for doctoral programs. He has performed as far away as Brazil, in roles ranging from Sweeney Todd to Peter and the Wolf, from William Walton’s Façade to college gigs at Brother Willie’s Pub. “I had the best voice teacher, (SJU/CSB professor) Carolyn Finley,” said Cox, who also performed with Fr. Bob Koopmann while at Saint John’s. “She helped me appreciate the art and craft and discipline required to study music.” His Benedictine background inspired Cox to help others in a variety of ways. He taught vocal performance and other courses at the New Mexico School for the Arts, the top arts high school in the state. He has been coming back to Minnesota for years to

perform in weddings for Johnnie and Bennie classmates. He volunteers every June as a counselor at the Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp, held in Clarksville, Ohio for kids ages 10-17 who have lost a limb. Cox was born without his lower left leg. “That’s why I volunteer every year – to show kids they can do whatever they want,” he said. “They can be athletes. They can be musicians. You just have to know how to adapt. “I’ve been adapting for 29 years, and it has paid off.” (Above) Ty Cox ’12 (center) volunteers every June as a counselor at the Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp for kids ages 10-17 who have lost a limb. (Below) He also performs in musical and theater productions.

Historian Presidents Car ried a Vision for Saint John’s

By Nick Hayes ’69 The story may be apocryphal: I have heard it many times and in different versions. Abbot Baldwin Dworschak, OSB, whose tenure as abbot of Saint John’s Abbey spanned more than two decades (1950-71), took the long view of time. He also served as president of Saint John’s University from 1951-58, presided over the expansion of the university and the Prep School, and was instrumental in the construction of the Breuer buildings on campus. In the face of complaints about delays or postponements, Abbot Baldwin was stoic. “What difference,” he would say, “does another year or a hundred years make to a Benedictine?”


We often speak of Saint John’s “sense of place.” It has that. It also has its own sense of time. This sense of time was manifest in three of the presidents of Saint John’s University who were both Benedictines and historians: Fr. Colman Barry, OSB, president from 1964-71 Fr. Michael Blecker, OSB, president from 1971-80, 1981-82 Br. Dietrich Reinhart, OSB, president from 1991-2008 They brought to Saint John’s a vision that combined a Benedictine worldview (or Weltanschauung as one of them taught me long ago in my student days) with an historian’s sense of continuity and change over time.

“Historians,” in the words of my colleague, Ken Jones, professor of history, “think about change and continuity over long sweeps of time. “The details matter, but only insofar as they somehow illuminate the big picture,” Jones said. “Benedictines in a way live in the long term.”

Fr. Colman’s vision: ‘Imagine’ Fr. Colman was an historian of the monastic past and a visionary of its future. He had his critics who called him a showman, not a scholar. Fr. Colman took the remark as a compliment. Fr. Vincent Tegeder, OSB, the chair of the history department, wrote in his evaluation of Fr. Colman’s teaching that “his open and jovial personality serve him well in the classroom.” As a former student in Fr. Colman’s class on the history of Catholicism in the United States, I know what Fr. Vincent meant. A trademark crewcut gave Fr. Colman a dash of style. He would briskly walk into the classroom as if he had just

returned from discussions in Rome at the Vatican II Council and would drop the names of celebrity theologians and bishops he had met. Fr. Colman spoke without notes and developed his themes through a stream of jokes and anecdotes of his encounters with the luminaries of Catholicism in our time. The author of three books, he acknowledged his students had helped him on the way. On the first day of one of his classes, he began, “Gentlemen, this semester we are going to write a book.” Fr. Colman never forgot his roots as an Irishman from Lake City, Minnesota. His confrere, Fr. Hilary Thimmesh, OSB, professor emeritus of English and also a former president of Saint John’s (198291), recalls Fr. Colman’s unique approach. “Saint John’s was very Teutonic, and Fr. Colman was

Fr. Colman Barry, OSB (left) was instrumental in establishing Minnesota Public Radio in 1967 along with Bill Kling ’64. Fr. Colman’s contributions to Saint John’s University also included founding the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and establishing the Jay Phillips Chair in Jewish Studies and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.


definitely not Teutonic,” Fr. Hilary said. “He brought a bit of the Irish imagination and personality to this otherwise German place.” The late writer Bill Holm observed that to understand Minnesota, you have to know that the Thirty Years War is still being fought out in its small towns. This insight might explain the origins of Fr. Colman’s most celebrated achievement – the beginning of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) at Collegeville in 1967. It was a product of both the parochial and the cosmopolitan sides of Fr. Colman. He harbored a bit of resentment that the Lutherans at St. Olaf College had a radio station (WCAL) and the Catholics at Saint John’s did not. Holm would have understood why Colman wanted the radio station, and also why he was determined that it would be much more than just a Stearns County copy of WCAL. While Fr. Colman indulged in a bit of rivalry with Lutheran St. Olaf, he embraced an ecumenism that aspired to much more than a mere conversation between Catholics and Lutherans. The origins of today’s Collegeville Institute lie in Colman’s encouragement of an inter-faith dialogue between Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Saint John’s. Colman led with the first steps toward what became the Ecumenical Institute and eventually the Collegeville Institute. The Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) has its origins in a conversation between Pope Pius XII and Fr. Colman. In the wake of World War II’s unprecedented legacy of destruction, the Pope asked Fr. Colman what could be done to protect the heritage of medieval manuscripts. In effect, Fr. Colman’s reply appeared years later in the form of his support and encouragement for the work of Fr. Oliver Kapsner, OSB, who undertook the task of microfilming manuscripts in Italy, Switzerland and Austria. A year later in 1965, Fr. Colman officially launched HMML with Fr. Oliver as director. Colman had a vision for Saint John’s. Above all else, he wanted to raise the visibility of Saint John’s to a national level. MPR, HMML, the Collegeville Institute – these and other initiatives served that vision and positioned Saint John’s to play a national and, in fact, an international role as SJU entered the second century of its history. Friends of Fr. Colman are fond of recalling how he would


Fr. Michael Blecker, OSB, brought to the Saint John’s presidency an expansive worldview based partly on his doctorate in medieval history, and he applied that perspective during a time of dramatic change to help SJU shape a “Christian humanist tradition.”

lead a discussion of what Saint John’s could be in the future and would always end with a smile and one word: “Imagine.”

Fr. Michael’s attention to the past Fr. Michael projected a different style than Colman. A touch more reserved, Fr. Michael entered the classroom as if he had just stepped out of a fascinating conversation at the Algonquin Hotel Roundtable and wanted to invite us into the conversation. He projected a hint of privilege. Rumors spoke of Fr. Michael’s early education at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. We students knew he had his bachelor’s degree from Harvard.

– “Occam’s razor,” often referred to as the principle of parsimony. Fr. Michael taught us that ideas matter in history. In the radical challenges to universities in the 1960s, he saw the rise of a neo-nominalism driving the fragmentation of culture and higher education, pushing “marketplace colleges” and promoting the fetish of over-specialization. Out of the crisis, he predicted Saint John’s would shape a new paradigm, a “Christian humanist tradition.” His critics would say that he applied “Occam’s razor” to the budget and finances of Saint John’s. If SJU was to thrive in the second century of its history, it needed both an idea and a modernized fiscal system. The modernization of its finances had to replace a long tradition of budgeting by custom. In the fall 1965, I was one of a crowd of first-year students who enrolled in the History of Western Civilization team taught by the history faculty in the old Auditorium, today’s Humphrey Auditorium. A mid-semester essay exam demanded a reckoning. How many assignments had gone unread?

Br. Dietrich at a Saint John’s Bible dedication at John Carroll University. Fr. Michael’s family’s story, however, revealed a life that was far from privilege. His father was from Novaco, a remote village in Croatia. He had only a grade-school education. His mother was a German refugee with a high school education. Reading through the family records, you suspect Fr. Michael’s parents had stories to tell about both the human tragedy of Europe’s wars and the travails of making it as immigrants to Chicago.

In the next class after the exam, Fr. Michael entered the Auditorium a bit later than usual and carried armfuls of blue books. He reached the lectern, placed the blue books on a table and looked out on the class of a few hundred plus students. A moment of silence. Then, he asked, “Is there a Nick Hayes in the class?” What had I done? Let me skip the details of what he said next. The conversation marks the moment when I became an historian.

Br. Dietrich’s focus on peace

With a doctorate in medieval history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fr. Michael could convince you that the politics of his favorite era – the 13th and 14th centuries – were today’s breaking news.

At Minneapolis’ De La Salle High School in the 1960s, one student objected to the assignment – Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars. The Vietnam War and its opposition were raging and climbing toward peaks of acrimony at Chicago and Kent State.

His teaching years came in the 1960s, a time of crisis and change in American politics, society and culture.

The student was “Tommy” Reinhart.

When he lectured on “nominalism and the crisis of medieval Christianity,” you inferred that the roots of America’s crisis in the 1960s lay in the 14th century rise of the philosophy of William of Ockham and his philosophical weapon

Our Latin teacher, George Stasik – who looked like a blend of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Chips – gingerly asked “Tommy” why he objected to reading Caesar’s history.


“Tommy” Reinhart had much to say and, simply put, argued the case for studying peace, not war. Old Mr. Stasik nodded his head approvingly. Years later, I was not surprised to learn why “Tommy” had taken “Dietrich” as his monastic name. It represented his tribute to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It was also no surprise when he once told me that among his achievements as president of Saint John’s he was particularly proud of his role in setting up the peace studies department. Historians think in time. Br. Dietrich held a doctorate in history from Brown University, studied at Oxford, and earned a reputation as one of the best teachers in the history department. His specialization in the history of the English Revolution in the 17th century gave him a keen sense of the fragility of institutions over time. Br. Dietrich called on Saint John’s to embody the answer to a question he often posed: “What does it mean to be a Catholic college of the next century and millennium?”

Artist Bela Petheo’s painting of Br. Dietrich Reinhart, OSB, reflected his visionary contributions to Saint John’s, including the construction of the Guesthouse, the New Science Center, Sexton Commons and creation of The Saint John’s Bible.

In one of my last conversations with Br. Dietrich, I admitted to a bit of impatience and irritation with the slow pace of progress on the resolution of a particular issue. It seemed important at the time. “Don’t worry,” Br. Dietrich said with his characteristically impish smile. “The monks will make the decision. “They just need a hundred or one hundred fifty years to decide.”

Nick Hayes ’69 is a professor of history and holds the university chair in Critical Thinking at Saint John’s. A frequent guest on television and radio, he has also published nationally and internationally in newspapers, magazines and journals. He has received awards from the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Program and also won an Emmy in 1991 for his work on Twin Cities Public Television’s (TPT’s) Television and Democracy in Russia. The Saint John’s University Alumni Association presented him with the Alumni Achievement Award in 2014, He is a contributing writer for – the premier political blog in Minnesota. You can access his articles for MinnPost. com at His first work of creative nonfiction, a memoir And One Fine Morning: Memories of My Father (Nodin 2010) was a regional best seller. His second memoir, Looking for Leningrad: My Russian Life, 1978-2018 is scheduled for publication by the Nodin Press later this year. For more information, visit



Fellowship It’s a special part of being a member of the Saint John’s community.

Alumni are the best student recruiters By Brock Welch ’13

From Reunion (June 21-23) to Family Weekend (Sept. 20-21) to Homecoming (Oct. 4-5), from lectures and retreats to chamber choir concerts to sporting events and so much more, Saint John’s and its Alumni Association offer something for everyone. To learn more about upcoming events for SJU alumni and friends, visit or join 9,000 SJU alumni and friends at

One of the greatest gifts alumni can give is the gift of sharing the SJU/CSB story with a prospective student who ends up becoming a Johnnie or a Bennie. In July 2018 SJU/CSB hired Nate Dehne as vice president for enrollment management and marketing. Nate is bringing a great deal of new energy to the position and is excited to have more alumni engaged in the process of recruiting students. “Alumni engagement in the recruitment process is crucial to our success” said Dehne. “Students and families are focused on value and return on investment, and there is no greater example of the quality of the education students receive at SJU/CSB than our alumni.” The alumni association board of directors is working with Nate and the Admission team to develop ways alumni can impact the recruiting process and open the Saint John’s campus to high school students in their sphere of influence. Being a Johnnie or Bennie for life really does have meaning as our alumni network is strong and impactful whether it is Minnesota or Malaysia. Alumni play a key role in helping students with informational interviews, mentorship, and connections with internships and jobs. To find out more about our impressive outcomes and connections, visit A campus visit is the most important part of the enrollment process for showcasing everything SJU/CSB has to offer. Please encourage the prospective college students in your life to schedule a visit at You may even decide to join them as an excuse to get back to campus. Brock Welch ’13 is vice president of student recruitment for the Saint John’s University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is partner and CPA at HW & Associates, LLC. Contact him at



Scorecard FOOTBALL The Saint John’s football team (12-1, 8-0 MIAC) won its MIACrecord 33rd conference title and made its 29th postseason appearance (25th in Division III), advancing to the national quarterfinals. The Johnnies ended the season ranked as high as No. 4 nationally.

Dan Greenheck ’20 and safety Max Jackson ’19 earned All-America distinction. The Johnnies set a school record with 10 players named to the All-MIAC first team: Auger, Brinker, Erdmann, Gillach, Greenheck, Jackson, defensive end Ted Kalina ’19, center Nick Neumann ’21, linebacker Danny Pietruszewski ’21 and cornerback Sam Westby ’19.

Quarterback Jackson Erdmann ’20 was named the 2018 Gagliardi Trophy recipient as the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III. He also was named the D3football. com National Offensive Player of the Year and the Jim

Gary Fasching ’81 earned the West Region Coach of the Year award and was named the MIAC John Gagliardi Coach of the Year for the third time in six seasons.

Johnnies win MIAC basketball championship

SOCCER The Johnnies saw their streak of consecutive MIAC Playoff appearances end at six, by one point, with a 4-6 record (8-7-1 overall) in 2018. Midfielder Leighton Lommel ’20 was named to the All-MIAC first team and midfielder Zack Boerjan ’19 was honorable mention. Forward Ben Becker ’20 led the team with 15 points (seven goals and one assist).

The Saint John’s University basketball team won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoff championship – its first since 2001 – with an 82-79 victory over Augsburg Feb. 23 in the title game at Warner Palaestra. The win earned the Johnnies their second consecutive berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, and the 19th postseason tournament berth in school history. Christopherson MIAC Player of the Year. A member of the 22-man 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, Erdmann was honored during halftime of the Sugar Bowl Jan. 1 in New Orleans. Nathan Brinker ’19 received the MIAC’s Mike Stam Award as the top lineman in the conference and was a semifinalist for the Cliff Harris Award, which is given to the top small-college (non-Division I) defensive player in the country. Wide receiver Will Gillach ’19 was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America first team, the Johnnies’ 16th Academic All-American in the last 15 seasons. Brinker, Erdmann, Gillach, tight end Tommy Auger ’19, guard


CROSS COUNTRY Saint John’s finished fifth out of 11 teams at the MIAC Championship and 10th out of 31 teams at the NCAA Central Regional.

Kevin Lamb ’19 (18th) and James Mathison ’19 (19th) led SJU at the MIAC Championship, while Lamb, Mathison and Noah Webb ’21 finished 44th-45th-46th at the 210-man regional. GOLF The Johnnies finished fourth out of 10 teams at the MIAC Championship and tied for eighth out of 18 teams at the elite Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational in October. The 18-team field included 12 top-25 teams. Matt Wahl ’20 and David Schneider ’20 earned All-MIAC honors (top 10 individually). Wahl led SJU with a threeround total of 220 (+4) to finish sixth out of 50 golfers, while Schneider posted a 223 (+7) to claim 10th.

Johnnies reach the summit at Campbell Trophy event By Dave DeLand For the uninitiated, the William V. Campbell Trophy Summit provided an educational reminder that Saint John’s University’s blend of academic and athletic excellence makes it a truly special place. Back here in Collegeville, that’s already common knowledge. “We’ve known it all the time in our little corner of the world – the combination of pretty darn good football and amazingly strong academics is this cocktail we’ve been lucky to indulge in at Saint John’s for a long time,” said Blake Elliott ’03, one of 10 SJU graduates who attended the Summit Aug. 22-25 in Stanford, California.

Saint John’s attendees at the second annual Campbell Trophy Summit included: (Back row, left to right) Mark Flynn ’78, Blake Elliott ’03, Ross Denne ’03, Tom Kost ’78, Paul Gans ’05 and Mark Franta ’80. (Front row, left to right) Jeff Norman ’78, Carter Hanson ’17, David Franta ’18 and Steve Johnson ’13.

“This is what Saint John’s is about,” said Mark Flynn ’78, a member of the Johnnies’ 1976 NCAA Division III National Championship team and a Summit organizer. “They came here to get an education – and by the way, they’re competing effectively on the athletic field.” “To some degree we probably take that for granted,” Elliott added. “But when you get to an event like that and see that we’re so well-represented, it’s pretty cool.” Named after iconic football player/coach and Silicon Valley business world mentor Bill Campbell, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to an exemplary scholar/athlete from one of the NCAA’s 778 universities that participate in football. Nominees must have a minimum 3.2 grade-point average, must be a leader and impact player on the football team and must be a well-rounded, exceptional individual.

“People would argue that for 20-plus years, he was the person who had the most impact on inspiring and mentoring a generation of leaders in Silicon Valley,” Flynn said of Campbell, who died in 2016. The Campbell Trophy Summit – launched in 2017 to bring together former nominees to share ideas that make a difference in the world – advances Bill Campbell’s legacy. In 2007, Campbell hosted a reception in Palo Alto, California, honoring Saint John’s coach John Gagliardi with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Positive Coaching Alliance. Gagliardi presented Campbell with a plaque naming him an

honorary member of Saint John’s J-Club. “It’s almost a networking event,” said Elliott, the 2003 Gagliardi Trophy winner as the country’s outstanding NCAA Division III player. “What’s personified in that event is how we can help each other network to be more successful professionals, and also how you can give back to the people behind you to help them be more successful.” Of the 105 former nominees for the Campbell Trophy or previously the Draddy Award (the name was changed in 2009) who participated in this year’s Summit, four were Johnnies – Elliott, Steve Johnson ’13, Carter Hanson ’17 and David Franta ’18. Only Stanford had as many. Also participating were Saint John’s graduates Flynn, Jeff Norman ’78, Tom Kost ’78, Mark Franta ’80, Ross Denne ’03 and Paul Gans ’05, giving SJU a double-digit participant entourage unmatched by any university. “I want more,” Flynn said. “Saint John’s is terrific about nominating a candidate. These guys will evangelize.” “It resonates with the type of people that Saint John’s is going after,” Elliott added, “and the type of people that are going after Saint John’s. “Guys are going to Saint John’s not to play in the NFL – they’re going to Saint John’s to be doctors and entrepreneurs and great fathers.”





Timeless stories mark Smith’s Hall of Honor induction

By Dave DeLand

“It’s been a great run,” said Smith, who retired as the Johnnies’ head basketball coach in 2015 after 51 seasons and a Minnesota collegiate record 786 victories. “There is a spirit here that you really don’t experience in too many places.” “Saint John’s values honor more than it does fame,” said J-Club President Vic Moore ’72. “Jim is the epitome of honor.” “I loved my time here, and I loved Saint John’s,” Smith added. “We found a home.” Smith’s basketball players, meanwhile, found a coach, mentor and friend who built a program and changed lives. “You’ve been a father figure, a mentor and a role model for so many Johnnies,” said Tom Arth ’66, student manager and trainer on Smith’s first basketball team. (Smith also coached track, cross country and golf and served as athletic director.)

Jim Smith had barely begun addressing the crowd of family, friends and basketball players gathered Feb. 16 inside Guild Hall when his wife Adrienne stood up and walked toward the stage. Armed with 61 years of marital perspective, she placed a timer on the podium in front of her bemused husband. Thirty minutes later, the timer rang when Smith was in mid-sentence. “I’ll rewind it,” he said, not missing a beat. There are lots of things about Smith’s rich life and storied coaching career at Saint John’s University that he’d love to rewind. The Jim Smith Legacy Event marking his induction as a charter member of the Saint John’s Athletic Hall of Honor now has a prominent place on that list.


“He never belittled you. He never dressed you down. He never made you his example or whipping boy,” said Pat McKenzie ’04, who played for Smith, was his assistant coach for nine seasons and succeeded him as SJU’s head basketball coach. “That certainly is something I’ve tried to emulate.” Twenty-eight family members were among the 275 people who turned out for an evening filled with stories, fond memories and examples of Smith’s modesty and sense of humor. “He was really worried no one would come – honest to God,” said SJU athletic director Bob Alpers ’82, who also played basketball for Smith and was his assistant coach for 20 years. “I really don’t deserve this award,” Smith said. “But I didn’t deserve to have colon cancer in 2003, either.” The testimonials came from master of ceremonies Tim McNamara ’77 and a parade of speakers ranging from

HONOR referees to sportswriters to long-time St. Thomas coaching rival Steve Fritz. “Smitty, I want to thank you for everything,” Fritz said. “What a great mentor I’ve had – role model, competitor and especially a good friend.” Smith sat taking notes alongside the podium, awash in memories: • From the smell of the wooden Rat Hall floor, to the noise during Johnnie/Tommie games (“This gym actually made me lose my hearing,” Smith said) • From 16 international team trips, to countless Minnesota road trips and box lunches on the bus • From chasing referees while in a wheelchair after breaking his leg, to the unwavering support of his family “We just thank you,” said daughter Bridget, “for being the dad that you are.” Building on that legacy is the goal of the Jim Smith Basketball Leadership Fund, designed to enhance and strengthen the program. “The leadership that he exemplified and taught us through teamwork, commitment and aspiring to excellence was the model that I took from Jim,” said Dan Smith ’79, a fund leadership volunteer team member and also a member of SJU’s championship 1978-79 team. “When you think about role models and the way you want to be as a man, you’re our role model,” Alpers added. “Quite honestly, you’re the best guy I know.” Characteristically, Smith deferred to the team. “The program is in good hands, believe me,” Smith said of McKenzie. “I’m so thankful that you are coaching our Johnnie team and carrying on the tradition.” Team. Tradition. Those are things Jim Smith could go on about that forever – if not for that timer.

The Jim Smith Basketball Leadership Fund In honor and recognition of his legendary basketball coaching career and the extraordinary impact he had on the lives of team members, students and fans, Saint John’s is delighted to establish the Jim Smith Basketball Leadership Fund. The goals of the Jim Smith Basketball Leadership Fund are simple: To honor Jim Smith and his impact on Saint John’s players and students To provide funds to enhance and strengthen the SJU basketball program The annual proceeds from this endowment fund will be used to support the following activities: Leadership enhancement programs for basketball players and student managers Providing tools and resources needed to enhance coaching staff stability and support recruitment initiatives Improvements to the overall player experience that will enhance recruitment and retention Further establish and maintain Saint John’s basketball as a top-tier MIAC and NCAA Division III program To learn more about making an endowment contribution to the Jim Smith Basketball Leadership Fund, please contact Troy Fritz in Institutional Advancement at 320-363-3281 or




Gagliardi’s J-Club Hall of Honor induction celebrates his legend and expands his legacy By Dave DeLand

treasure for each of us,” said former Johnnie standout and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough ’92 via video message. “We’ve all been impacted by John.” “There’s something unbelievable about being first,” added Saint John’s athletic director Bob Alpers ’82. “And doggone it, John, if anybody deserves to be the first inductee into this Hall of Honor, it is you.” Gagliardi, wife Peggy and members of their family entered Guild Hall to a standing ovation from a crowd gathered to honor the man and the lives he touched during six decades as the Johnnies’ coach.

Voices from the past included his own. Voices of the present paid tribute to his legendary career and innovative impact, his competitive spirit and spirited compassion. Voices referencing the future advocated for honoring, preserving and expanding on that legacy. And John Gagliardi smiled through it all – not just because he had become the first member of Saint John’s University’s J-Club Hall of Honor, but because of the love and gratitude that poured forth from those surrounding him. “I think it’s important for John to hear what impact he’s had on people’s lives,” said Mike Grant ’79, himself part of a legendary football coaching family and master of ceremonies for the Sept. 22 event at SJU’s Guild Hall. “He’s not just a national treasure – he’s also a personal


“This is unique to us,” said Todd Fultz ’90. “This is ours – to have a coach that’s the all-time winningest coach in the history of college football.” “He changed my life,” said Tom Wicka ’90. “John has the heart of a champion,” added Joe Mucha ’66, a member of the first two of Gagliardi’s four national championship teams. “That really became part of our personality. You’ve instilled that in all of us.” The opening words of the presentation were Gagliardi’s own, taken from film clips of previous speaking engagements: • “Behind every successful guy is a very, very surprised mother-in-law” • “When we first got married, I said, ‘Peggy, I don’t know that much about marriage, but I’ve been coaching for a while. Let’s handle this like I handle football – I’ll make all the major decisions, and you make the minor

HONOR decisions.’ I’m here to tell you there’s not been one major decision that’s come up yet” They were followed by a litany of voices, all of whom recounted the impact Gagliardi made on their lives – athletically, professionally, personally, profoundly. There were filmed tributes from McDonough, Tom Love ’59, Bill Laliberte ’70 and from ESPN’s 2014 video Saint John. There were personal tributes from those in attendance – Grant and Alpers, friends Norm Skalicky and Dan Whalen ’70, Gagliardi Trophy winners Chris Palmer ’96 and Blake Elliott ’03 and Carter Hanson ’17, coaches Jerry Haugen ’76 and Jim Gagliardi ’89 and Brandon Novak ’00, former players Mucha and Tim Healy ’87 and Vic Moore ’72 and Fultz and Wicka and Willie Seiler ’94. It was a fitting launch for the Hall of Honor, which will physically be located inside Warner Palaestra and will recognize individual and team excellence in Johnnie athletics. It also was a fitting occasion for the debut of the John Gagliardi Football Legacy Fund, which hopes to raise $3 million during its first 18 months for football program enhancements – stadium, coaching staff, equipment, recruitment. “We want to honor John for the program that he built, the success that he’s had and the incredible impact he had on so many players and fans,” Healy said. “We’re all here because of that impact.” “It’s really important,” McDonough added, “that we redouble our efforts to make sure that John knows and has confidence that his legacy will continue.” There’s much more to come for the J-Club Hall of Honor, which on Feb. 16 inducted long-time Saint John’s basketball coach Jim Smith as part of its inaugural class. More inductions will follow. “The J-Club board is going to be busy. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” Alpers said. “But there’s absolutely no question we would not have this unless John consented to be the first.”

The John Gagliardi Football Legacy Fund In honor and recognition of his legendary football coaching career and the extraordinary impact he had on the lives of countless players, students and fans, Saint John’s is delighted to establish the John Gagliardi Legacy Fund. Like the concepts John used to build a dynasty at Saint John’s, the goals of the John Gagliardi Football Legacy Fund are simple: To honor John Gagliardi and perpetuate his legacy of excellence To further enhance and strengthen the SJU football program Uses for the fund will include: Clemens Stadium enhancements Seating, scoreboards, playing surface, sound system Coaching enhancements Staff expansion and retention Program enhancements Equipment, travel, recruitment To learn more about making an endowment contribution to the John Gagliardi Football Legacy Fund, please contact John Young in Institutional Advancement at 320-363-3098 or



Milestones … in the spotlight 1970 Steve Lepinski has been inducted into the Brainerd High School Distinguished

Cyril Paul ’59 is from The Bahamas only in a technical sense: He obtained provisional Bahamian citizenship when he moved there to become a police officer after graduating from high school in his native Trinidad. He then arrived at Saint John’s University in 1955 and has carried that adventurous Caribbean spirit with him throughout a rich, joyous life. “I have benefitted a lot by being at Saint John’s,” said Paul, 88, who lives in Minneapolis. “It’s like a renewal.” A standout track athlete at SJU, Paul was still rolling at age 78 when he bicycled from Minneapolis to Los Angeles – 2,200 miles – to raise money for Saint John’s.

Service Hall of Fame for his service to mental health care. Lepinski, a 1966 Brainerd High School graduate, served almost 30 years as chief executive officer at the Washburn Center for Children in Minneapolis, a leading children’s mental health organization in the state. 1979 Richard Ostlund was elected chair of the Fairview Health Services Board of Directors, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Since joining the Fairview

SJU launched his career as a teacher and also as a singer. Paul and his band The Calypso Monarchs – a fixture at Reunion celebrations – are scheduled to perform for the fourth straight year this June. “I don’t want you to stand there and give me applause – I want you to participate,” Paul said. “Feel the rythym and dance. “If you want to have a tropical experience, I can give you portions of it.”


Board in 2013, Ostlund has served many leadership roles, including representing the board alongside President and CEO

James Hereford in reimagining the new partnership between Fairview, the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Physicians. 1999 Jeff Muntifering, Minnesota Zoo Conservation Biologist in Nambia, and his work have been recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) with AZA’s 2018 William G. Conway International Conservation Award for the “Scaling Up Communitybased Rhino Conservation in Namibia” project. As part of his work in Nambia, he has been hosting KARE 11’s Sven Sundgaard who has been following Muntifering’s work. 2000 Kevin Bitterman has been appointed to the Tofte Lake Center Board of Directors. Located in Ely, Minnesota, TLC is a retreat center for artists, scholars and leaders wishing to expand and deepen their creative work inspired by nature in a collaborative, communal environment. Bitterman, who resides in New York City, serves as director of institutional advancement and partnerships with Theater Communications Group. 2005 Mark Sylvester, chief financial officer and president of Minneapolis-based medical incubator Invenshure, has been recognized by the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal as its CFO of the Year in the small private company category. Sylvester has held seven medical startup CFO positions. 2017 Ramond Mitchell is the recipient of the 2018 National Youth Award for Religion

and the 2018 Directors Cup, awarded by the Government of The Bahamas Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Mitchell served one year in the Benedictine Volunteer Corps at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy, and is pursuing a master’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame with the Echo Program under the McGrath Institute for Church Life. He also serves as a parish apprentice at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Lutz, Florida.

… on the move 1983 Stuart Harvey, a member of the Saint John’s University Board of Trustees, has been appointed executive chairman of the board of the directors of WageWorks, Inc. a leader in administering consumer-directed benefits. Since April 2018, Harvey has served as the chairman of Paysafe Group, a multinational payments company.

has served the organization in various capacities, including as director of the United Nations Ebola Response Liaison Office in New York. He graduated from Saint John’s with a degree in economics. 1991 Brent Eichten has joined Fredrikson & Byron as the firm’s chief information officer. Prior to joining the firm, Eichten led the Enterprise Technology Operations group at Merrill Corporation, where he was responsible for the modernization of technology services leveraged by Merrill’s customers and employees. 1999 John Feste has been promoted to president of Marks Group Wealth Management, a Minnetonka-based firm that provides financial planning and investment advisory services. Feste co-founded the company with Marks in 2008, and previously held the position of managing principal. He also leads the firm’s charitable giving and community efforts.

… on the bookshelf

1985 United Nations SecretaryGeneral António Guterres has appointed Victor Kisob of Cameroon as assistant secretarygeneral and deputy executive director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Kisob joined the United Nations in 1989 and

1965 Ed Vogt has written American Hearts: A Particularly American Love Story, “a story of lost love, courage and American values.” Vogt has written for professional journals and for major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle. He holds a degree from Harvard University and has taught in the graduate and undergraduate schools of the University of California at Berkeley. 1967 Khalil Nakhleh has published Rebellious Memory: My family, My village, My homeland: Deconstructing narratives of

Pierre Dupuch ’60 is part of a rich family tradition, both in The Bahamas and at Saint John’s University. “How many were there (who attended SJU/CSB)? There’s 10,” said Dupuch, a 25-year member of the Bahamian Parliament who still runs his printing business and writes newspaper columns. “That’s not a bad average.” His father Etienne ’28 was one of the first three Bahamians to attend Saint John’s, and uncle Eugene ’34 wrote the Johnnie Fight Song (Page 8). Grandfather Leon started the Nassau Tribune in 1903. Etienne was editor for 53 years (19191972) and is noted as “longest serving newspaper editor” in the Guinness Book of World Records. Pierre and brother Bernard founded Executive Printers in 1970. He operates it with Susan Dupuch, his wife of 52 years. Pierre has been around long enough to have been a student in the early 1950s of Benedictine monk Fr. Camillus – better known as Fr. Don Talafous ’48, who’s still going strong at Saint John’s at 93. “Ask him if he remembers who Fr. Camillus was,” Dupuch said. “He’ll probably say, ‘You’ve been talking to that Dupuch boy.’ ” SJUALUM.COM/CLASSNOTES



Basil Christie ’66 was considering the priesthood when he left Nassau, Bahamas, and enrolled at Saint John’s University. He took a different path, but one just as generous and Benedictine. “Being at Saint John’s and living with the monks really heightened my vocation to be of service to God’s people,” said Christie, an energetic 73. “I needed to be out there doing God’s work.” What ensued is a lifetime spent helping others and promoting SJU. Christie did missionary work in Mexico after graduation, then launched into a lifetime of service back in The Bahamas. A highlight was the 25 years he spent as director of the Bahamian Special Olympics program. “I have a passion for working with people with disabilities,” said Christie, who also served as director of Friends of the Blood Bank and is a past president of the Bahamas chapter of the Saint John’s Alumni Association. He remains very active in recruiting Bahamian students to attend SJU/CSB. “A true response to God’s call is right there at Saint John’s,” Christie said. “I think Benedictineism is service. I’d been called to join. That became my life.”


belongingness. Born and raised in a small Arab Palestinian village in Galilee, Nakhleh earned his doctorate in cultural anthology at Indiana State University. After 30 years abroad teaching and researching and working in his field, he returned to Palestine where he is retired and writes about issues pertaining to the future of his Palestinian homeland. 1972 John Weiss has written Back Roads, Best of the Best, published by Shipwreckt Books Publishing Company, Rushford, Minnesota, and the Rochester Post-Bulletin. For nearly 40 years, Weiss drove the back roads of southeast Minnesota covering the region for the Post-Bulletin. 1974 Dean Hovey has published his next book of the Whistling Pines cozy series, Whistling Wings: A Whistling Pines Mystery. Hovey is also the winner of the 2018 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for his book Family Trees: A Pine County Mystery. 1984 Jon McGee, vice president for planning and public affairs at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict, has published his second book, Dear Parents: A Field Guide for College Preparation. Written for parents and families of college-bound students, Dear Parents is a field guide to navigate the complex and often emotional challenge of getting a daughter or son prepared and through college. The second of McGee’s books to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Dear Parents, as well as Breakpoint, published in 2016, is available at

2005 Zach Vertin has written A Rope from the Sky, an account of America’s challenge to forge the nation of South Sudan

from scratch, from a hopeful beginning to its collapse. Vertin, a former diplomat, is a foreign policy expert. He is currently a lecturer at Princeton University and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. He previously served in the Obama Administration as a senior adviser to the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, and prior to that he was a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group.

… doing cool stuff 2018 Gabriel Kwan, a Minnesota Public Radio Gary Eichten News Fellow, is a reporter covering minority issues, education and human interest in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Some of Kwan’s recent stories heard by listeners include a profile of an up-and-coming award-winning young painter, a Wisconsin man named a martyr by Pope Francis, a high school football player’s recovery from a severe brain injury and a World War II veteran’s survival of combat missions.

1998 Eric Kraus is the project founder/coordinator and president of Standing Rush, LLC. Standing Rush was founded as a conservation real estate company that specializes in the biological restoration and long-term preservation of ecologically sensitive areas in northwest Ohio. 2006 Dr. Michael Zauhar of Lakes Chiropractic in Brainerd recently completed his Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner certificate. Zauhar – whose

100-yard interception return touchdown sealed Saint John’s victory over Mount Union in the 2003 NCAA Division III national championship football game – is one of the very few Central Minnesota chiropractors to hold this certificate.

Marriages 1985 1999 2001 2007 2008 2009

Maria to Michael Crouser, Feb. ’18 Jennifer to Kevin Jost, Oct. ’18 Katie to Brian Traxler, June ’18 Alison (Burg ’10) to Cory Bemis, Oct. ’18 Christine to Zach Swan, Sept. ’18 Amanda (Suchy ’09) to Kurt Schmit, May ’18 2009 Krista (Seipel ’09) to Benet Schulz, Sept. ’17 2011 Emily (Miller ’10) to Nate Orr, Sept. ’18 Mollie to Jim Renier, June ’18 Jena (Wiehoff ’13) to Philip Orzechowski, Aug. ’18

2012 Rachel Thomas to Kevin Healy, May ’18 Kelsey (LeClaire ’14) to Joe Smith, June ’18 2013 Amanda (Brown ’14) to Rob Bruening, June ’18 Alicia (Renstrom ’13) to Arturo Cerna, June ’18 Ashley (Delp ’14) to Sam Dittberner, June ’18 Maggie (Hooley ’13) to Dan Gutmann, Sept. ’18 Amy (Ranweiler ’13) to Jacob Harris, Sept. ’18 Taylor (Jacobs ’13) to John Marinkovich, Sept. ’18 Mary (Rymanowski ’13) to Brian Peterson, June ’18 Bethany (Luckemeyer ’13) to Anthony Retica, Sept. ’18 Angela (Stevens ’14) to Dustin Schlangen, Oct. ’18 Cara Ryan to Tyler Schmitz, Nov. ’18 Samantha Welter to Scott Schroeder, Oct. ’18 Rachel to Xiao Wang, Aug. ’18 2014 Abby (Hansen ’14) to Tom Hart, Aug. ’18 Kelly (Davenport ’15) to Ethan Hellier, Sept. ’17 Laine (Rajkowski ’14) to Samuel Hines, Dec. ’18 Sydney Cusack to Johnny Hite, June ’18 Danielle (Vanderhyde ’18) to Thomas Lambert, May ’18 Sara (Tiemens ’14) to Garrett Lee, Sept. ’18 Stella (Fredrickson ’14) to Mike Sandager, Oct. ’18 Sarah (Torchia-Lynch ’14) to Cody Torchia-Lynch, Jan. ’18 2015 Samantha (Ellingson ’15) to Lucas Aabel, Aug. ’18 Lauren (Thoma ’14) to Mitchell Ergen, July ’18 Sarah (DeWitt ’15) to Kevin Grenning, Sept. ’18 Emily (Gebhart ’15) to Spencer Hanson, Jan. ’19 Lucy (Colosimo ’15) to Joe Hoppert, Oct. ’17 Nicole Driscoll to Chris Labadie, July ’18 Nicole to Chris Labadie, July ’18 Elizabeth (Bergner ’15) to Benjamin Rossini, July ’18 Kara (Schoenherr ’16) to Michael Scardigli, July ’18

Prince Wallace ’68 feels indebted to Saint John’s. “I know that I can never repay the Benedictines,” said Wallace, who arrived at Saint John’s in 1964 with a full scholarship provided by Benedictine monks. “We’re all in our own small way trying to give back.” Wallace, 72, has succeeded to such an extent that many feel they owe a debt to him. Fellow Bahamian Philip Galanis ’75 was so moved by Wallace’s contributions that he wrote about it in a piece published in the Nassau Guardian. “I called it A Bahamian Icon in Minnesota,” Galanis said. “It’s about Prince’s life. He hates the attention. That’s why I love it.” Wallace’s wildly successful business career is only the beginning of his story. For decades, the 2018 Fr. Walter Reger Distinguished Alumnus Award winner has counseled Bahamian students, hosted gatherings at his Twin Cities home and provided support – just as others did for him. “If we didn’t take care of others or spread the Benedictine values,” said Wallace, the first Bahamian on SJU’s Board of Trustees, “then what they gave us would have been in vain. It’s important that we carry that forward.”




Philip Galanis ’75 served 15 years in the Bahamian Parliament, is the second Bahamian selected to the Saint John’s Board of Trustees and chairs The Bahamas Trade Commission. When he arrived at SJU, he had no inkling of anything like that. “I didn’t have the foggiest idea when I left home in 1971 that I would be an accountant,” said Galanis, 64. “I didn’t open an accounting book until I got to grad school – after I got my liberal arts degree.” What he got in Collegeville was far more important. “What you find from people who’ve gotten a Saint John’s/ Saint Ben’s education is they’re critical thinkers,” Galanis said. “And there’s always been this sense of giving back to the community.” Galanis is a driving force behind the expansion of the Bahamian student body at SJU/CSB in recent years. That’s just one way in which he’s giving back. “Saint John’s very much polished the rough ends,” he said. “It helped to build the character. It helped me to concretize some of the things that ground me, to develop a moral compass. “It really was one of the best decisions of my life.”


2015 Carolyn (Bedford ’15) to Mike Torgerson,

2006 Cassandra & Brian Adamek, boy, Xavier,

May ’18 2016 Lauren (Schoenbauer ’16) to Edward Mallak, Aug. ’18 Mone'Kai (Shannon-Thornton Soiro ’16) to Frantz Soiro, July ’18 Molly (Evavold ’16) to Marcus Vievering, June ’18 Amy (Eiden ’18) to Drew Wilfahrt, Aug. ’18 2017 Kaitlyn ( Ludlow-Broback ’17) to Samuel Broback, June ’18 Alexis (Good ’16) to Zach Grieves, Nov. ’18 Natasha (Stubeda ’18) to Dylan Koll, June ’18 Ashley (Laliberte ’14) to Landon Martinez, Sept. ’18 Casey (Klinker ’17) to Bradley Olijnek, Oct. ’18 Tess (Troyak ’17) to Jeremy Reller, Oct. ’18 2019 Kelly (Dills ’19) to Marvin Heimer, Oct. ’18

Aug. ’18 Brittany (Klang ’06) & Patrick Kalmi, boy, Peter, May ’18 Anesa & Samir Omerefendic, boy, Damir, July ’18 Elizabeth (Sauer ’07) & Bryan Bauck, girl, Sophie, June ’18 Tanya (Lindquist-Fleegel ’07) & Bryan Fleegel, boy, Jack, Aug. ’18 Emily (Simone ’09) & Jay Harrison, boy, Benjamin, June ’18 Laura (Deal ’11) & Mickey Ramczyk, boy, Joseph, Feb. ’18 Emily (Tohal ’07) & Raj Chaphalkar, boy, Luke, Sept. ’18 Nikki (Bender ’08) & Peter DeLisi, boy, Jack, Aug. ’18 Flo & Peter Frey, girl, Ruby, July ’18 Bethany & Levi Glines, boy, Barrett, Sept. ’18 Anna (Martin ’12) & Pete Larson, girl, Ellie, Feb. ’18 Ashley & Eric Nystedt, boy, Oscar, Nov. ’17 Megan & Lance Radziej, boy, Reid, July ’17 Megan & Lance Radziej, girl, Reagan, June ’18 Maki & Nick Swanson, boy, Yukito, July ’18 Nicole (Hjelmgren ’09) & Peter Banick, boy, Jack, Dec. ’17 Jaime (Streine ’09) & John Lenczewski, girl, Elise, June ’18 Jill & Jeff Nechas, girl, Ellie, July ’18 Veronika & Dan Philippe, boy, Remy, July ’18 Veronika Philippova & Daniel Philippe, boy, Remy, July ’18 Angie (Ballman ’09) & Kyle Punton, boy, Theodore, May ’18 Angela (Tate ’10) & Andy Aebly, girl, Eleanor, July ’18 Heidi (Sutter ’09) & Joel Coleman, boy, Noah, Aug. ’18 Callie (Harp ’10) & Jake Koehler, boy, Kellen, Sept. ’18 Sara (Kokkila ’11) & Evan KokkilaSchumacher, girl, Hannah, July ’18 Missy (Koch ’10) & Matt Mulligan, boy, Bejamin, May ’18 Anne & Drew Percival, boy, Boden, Aug. ’18



Births 1985 Maria & Michael Crouser, boy, Conrad, July ’18

1990 Tiffany Tillemans & Erik Pederson, girl, Genevieve, Sept. ’18

1991 Lisa (Notsch ’93) & Dr. Richard Cash, 1999 2000 2001 2002

2004 2005

girl, Zelie, Aug. ’18 Kay & Pat Breen, boy, Joseph, April ’18 Susan (Schulzetenberg ’04) & Mike Gully, girl, Lilyana, Oct. ’18 Katie (Jeffery ’01) & Matt Foley, girl, Margaret, Oct. ’18 Hannah & Chris Froelke, boy, Vincent, Oct. ’18 Brittanie & Mark Koch, boy, Jack, Aug. ’18 Mary (Schwarz ’02) & Tim Oakland, boy, James, Feb. ’18 Jenne & Matt Weber, boy, Winslow, Oct. ’18 Ann & Tim Johnston, boy, John, Oct. ’18 Anna (Burgason ’11) & Andy Dirksen, girl, Mary, Dec. ’18 Brianna & Chris Gadacz, boy, Jaxon, Nov. ’18 Jenn & Mark Hoffman, boy, Emmett, Sept. ’18 Rachel (Gadberry ’05) & Bob Mack, girl, Genevieve, July ’18



2011 Lisa (Brand ’11) & Nick Kurtz, girl,

1950 Catherine “Cotton” Petters, daughter of

Madison, Aug. ’18 Samantha (Koeck ’11) & Andrew Leintz, girl, Lucy, May ’18 Katie (Brown ’11) & Luke Nelson, girl, Luna, Oct. ’18 Emily (Sherlock ’12) & Tom Purnell, boy, Jack, June ’18 Brittney (Helmbrecht ’11) & Alex Schoephoerster, boy, Lincoln, Jan. ’19 Megan (Bennett ’11) & Ben Vathing, twins boy & girl, Finn and Rory, Sept. ’18 2012 Molly (McCue ’12) & Ted Kain, girl, Bridget, July ’18 Kaycee (Knutson ’12) & Gavin Miller, boy, Briggs, July ’18 Michelle & Thomas Udermann, girl, Rebecca, July ’18 2015 Elizabeth (Ringle ’15) & Michael Benson, boy, Lysander, Nov. ’18 2020 Kathleen (Jameson ’13) & Logan Payne, girl, Elizabeth, Sept. ’18

deceased, Fred ’50, mother of Robin Swingley ’15, Dec. ’18 George Ramier, father of Joe ’84, July ’18 1951 Mary Lou Dahms, spouse of deceased, Robert, deceased brothers, Tom May ’42 and Loren May ’39, Oct. ’18 Rose Deutsch, spouse of Gene ’51, Dec. ’18 Betty Klein, spouse of deceased, Bill, Oct. ’18 Rita Landherr, spouse of Jerry, March ’18 Jim Leinen, father of Chris ’80 , Jan. ’19 Eileen Roedl, spouse of deceased, Eugene, Aug. ’18 John “Jack” Stary, brother of Paul ’59 and deceased William ’52, Jan. ’19 1952 Roger Birk, Nov. ’18 Andrew Buchl, Sept. ’18 Donald Culhane, brother of Rev. Alberic, OSB, deceased brother Francis ’45, Oct. ’18 Virginia Engel, spouse of deceased, James, the mother of Greg ’79 and Jim ’85, Sept. ’18 Robert Scheuer, Nov. ’18 Mary Schneider, spouse of Claude, Aug. '18 Rev. Eugene Theisen, M.M., brother of Rev. Wilfred, Lyle ’53, deceased brother John ’56, Dec. ’18 John “Jack” Zangs, Jr., July ’18 1953 William Bierbaum, April ’17 1953 Donald Condon, brother of deceased, Philip ’56, Dec. ’18 Eugene Deterling, Sept. ’18 Irene Fischer, spouse of Jim, mother of Mike ’80, Dec. ’18 Thelma Huyink, spouse of Roger, mother of Charles ’75, March ’18 Vincent Schaefer, July ’18 1954 John Braun, Nov. ’18 Don Coy, father of Sean ’81, Bill ’86 and Tim ’90, brother of deceased Dick ’55, Nov. ’18 Barbara Kemper, spouse of deceased, Leo, Jan. ’19 Hans Koehler, June ’18 Rose St. Peter, spouse of Dom, June ’18 Gerald Zink, Nov. ’18 1955 Leslie Chen, Dec. ’18 Thomas Coleman, Aug. ’18

Deaths 1926 Frances Fruth, spouse of deceased, Martin, mother of Roman ’59, Aug. ’18 1942 Dorothy Coy, spouse of deceased, Michael, mother of Michael ’70, Thomas ’73, Aug. ’18 Victor Lauer, father of Rich ’70 and Michael ’76, Dec. ’18 1943 Benedict Walters, Aug. ’18 1945 Edward Melkon, July ’18 1946 Monsignor Allan Nilles, Oct. ’18 Alfred Pflipsen, Nov. ’18 John Streitz, father of Bob ’80, Sept. ’18 1947 Audrey Zins, spouse of Ed, Nov. ’18 1948 Edward Edelbrock, brother of deceased, Wally ’43 , Dec. ’18 Ann Lynch, spouse of deceased, Martin, Nov. ’18 1949 Arthur Noehring, Aug. ’18 James Pass, Dec. ’09 Raymond Trettel, Feb. ’19 1950 George Borgerding, father of Brian ’77 and Paul ’88; brother of Rev. John SOT ’61 and deceased, Howard ’41, Jan. ’19 Jim Gassner, Nov. ’18 Jerry Martinka, brother of Bob ’54, Jan. ’19 Robert Peffer, Jan. ’19

Oral Hudson ’88 was a standout athlete and singer at Saint John’s. During home basketball games, he got to be both. “I sang the National Anthem before every home game in the two years (1984-86) I was there, and then I played in the games,” said Hudson, who also left a recording of his vocal rendition that was used at Warner Palaestra during ensuing seasons. Hudson, 57, lives back in Nassau, where the management major has been a full-time singer and entertainer since 1999. “I worked in banking first but then decided to follow my heart and get back into entertainment,” said Hudson, who through his company Singagram performs in cabaret shows, hosts karaoke and serves as MC at weddings and other functions. “I didn’t like being cooped up behind a desk all day.” At SJU, Hudson sang in opera workshop and performed at local venues with George Maurer ’88. In The Bahamas, his singing runs the musical gamut. “We do everything from native music to rock, pop music to classical. We do everything,” Hudson said. “Saint John’s played a big part in my life.”




Bernard Ferguson ’13 dreamed of creating something like Johnnie Bennie Media when he was a Saint John’s computer science major, although that’s not what he called it. To Ferguson, it was Project 8. “I was working in Media Services,” he said, “and there was nothing really being done on (campus cable TV) Channel 8. So, Ferguson grabbed a video camera. “It’s a project. It’s Channel 8. I was pretty much over the moon about Project 8.” It’s now a flourishing studentrun organization that provides learning opportunities while producing video and audio programs for the SJU/CSB community. After graduation, Ferguson worked in computer science at the University of Minnesota four years before moving to New York, where he’s studying creative writing at New York University. He also volunteers with Button Poetry, an organization that films poetry performances around the country. Meanwhile, his SJU legacy lives on through Johnnie Bennie Media. “I’m really happy about that,” Ferguson said. “That’s what I dreamed of.”


1955 Betty Heymans, spouse of Philip, mother

1960 William Cavanagh, father of John ’91,

of Gregory ’84, Timothy ’86, Mark ’87 and Steven SOT ’86, Dec. ’18 Robert Hofmann, father of Rob ’81, Paul ’86, Tom ’88, John ’89 and Tim ’93, Oct. ’18 Rev. Bernard Kahlhamer, Oct. ’18 Clarence “Joe” Legel, Jr., Jan. ’19 Charles Miller, Sept. ’18 Richard Sipe, brother of John ’65 and Mike ’68, Aug. ’18 Mark Welter, Nov. ’18 1956 Elmer Hasker, Jan. ’19 Joan Kotsmith, spouse of Bill, Nov. ’18 Rev. Edward Meulemans, Dec. ’18 Rev. Kieran Nolan, OSB, Dec. ’18 1957 John Bendix, Jan. ’19 Patrick Cummings, brother of Greg ’56, Oct. ’18 Rod Dachel, Dec. ’18 Theodore Dullum, May ’15 Sandy Durning, spouse of Jim, Sept. ’18 James During, Dec. ’18 Marty Gallagher, Oct. ’18 Peter McCarron, father of Tom ’91, brother of deceased Ralph ’58, Sept. ’18 Dennis Morgeson, Sr., Dec. ’18 Robert Tuma, Jr., Dec. ’18 1958 Alfred Abati, Feb. ’18 Dan Barnett, Aug. ’18 James Donohoe, brother of Jerome ’61, Aug. ’18 Louis Faust, Aug. ’18 Darlene Heltemes, spouse of deceased, Donald, Aug. ’18 Donald Heltemes, Sept. ’18 Leon Lysher, Nov. ’18 George Marschall, Aug. ’18 Charles Pfeffer, Jr., father of John ’89, son of deceased, Charles Sr. ’28, Nov. ’18 Joe Plut, brother of Bob ’66 , Jan. ’19 John Uldrich, Jr., Jan. ’19 1959 Mary Chalmers, daughter of Gordy, sister of Eric ’92, Sept. ’18 James Christenson, father of Todd ’84, Oct. ’18 Richard Haeg, father of Gregory ’84, Benedict ’88, Christopher ’92, Daniel ’93 and Tim ’94, Aug. ’18 Jerry Leonard, Jan. ’19 Alvina Mies, spouse of deceased, Tony ’59, Jan. ’19 Peter Seifert, father of Mike ’89, Jan. ’19

Sept. ’18 Dawn Mannella, spouse of Felix, mother of Tony ’84, Felix, Jr. ’86, Fred ’94, Frank ’95, Nov. ’18 Wanda Singsank, spouse of Jim, Jan. ’19 1961 Jim DeMorett, father of Paul ’88, brother of deceased John ’59, Dec. ’18 Henry Paulisich, Dec. ’18 1962 Richard Grommesh, May ’17 Jerry Jurek, Oct. ’18 1963 S. Marthe Feder, July ’18 Daniel Goulet, father of Dean ’89, Dec. ’18 Ken Heitz, brother of Duane ’58, Nov. ’18 Kim Johnson, July ’18 Rev. Matthew Naumes, Aug. ’18 1964 John Herrick, Jan. ’19 Myrna Rockers, spouse of Dio ’64, Sept. ’18 David Schieffert, Dec. ’18 1965 Donald Burrichter, Nov. ’18 Bill Murphy, father of Bill ’92, Sept. ’18 1966 James Bruggeman, Jan. ’19 Stephen Munstenteiger, Sept. ’18 1967 John “Jack” Braun, Feb. ’18 Francis “Jack” Hartl, Jan. ’18 1968 Rev. Robert Hales, OSB, CAM, Sept. ’18 Bob Koshiol, brother of deceased, Jerry, Nov. ’18 Joe Rousseau, Nov. ’18 Dr. James Schuler, Jan. ’19 1969 Donald “Pat” Hare, Oct. ’16 James Hertel, Jan. ’19 Sandy Loosbrock, spouse of Steve, Jan. ’19 Marilyn Menzhuber, spouse of deceased Ronald, Jan. ’19 Rev. Dennis Michno, Sept. ’18 1969 Richard Unger, Nov. ’18 1970 Daniel Adelmann, Dec. ’'18 Timothy Duerr, Jan. ’19 1971 Dr. Bruce Kuhlmann, Dec. ’18 Joan Lawler, spouse of John, Aug. ’18 1972 Kent Charpentier, brother of Don ’60 and Keith ’64, Dec. ’18 Corrin Dwyer, spouse of deceased, John ’72, Sept. ’18 Jill Hayden, spouse of Jack ’72, Oct. ’18 Rev. Richard Thell, Nov. ’18 1973 Peter Sovell, Oct. ’18 Dick Steimann, brother of Fritz ’77, Dec. ’18

1974 Benjamin Schilling, Aug. ’18 1975 Mark Starbird, brother of Jeff, Nov. ’18

1976 Gerard Fredella, Oct. ’16 Patrick McKee, Nov. ’18 Arlene Platten, spouse of Jeff, Nov. ’18 1977 Terry Welsh, Aug. ’18 1978 Robert Bester, Jan. ’19 Kathleen McDonough, mother of Bill, Denis ’92 and Jim ’95, Oct. ’18 1978 Mark Yaeger, father of Andrew ’08, brother of Greg ’80 and John ’86, Dec. ’18 1979 Bill Harrison, twin brother of Mark, Oct. ’18 1980 James Bruner, Dec. ’18 Mary Anne Egar, mother of Tom, Nov. ’18 Brad Hodges, Jan. ’19 1981 Stephanie Anderson, spouse of Michael, mother of Scott ’07, brother of James Blonigan ’94, July ’18 Cornell Eull, brother of Bill ’83 and Marty ’85, Dec. ’18 John Gagliardi, father of John and Jim ’89, Oct. ’18 Dave Young, father of Tom, John ’83 and Mark ’85, Sept. ’18

1982 Patrick Smith, Aug. ’18 1983 Lois Bell, mother of Rick, Jan. ’18 Joe Chouinard, brother of Dan ’84 and Bill ’86, Aug. ’18 Rev. Paul Knutson, July ’18 Timothy O'Brien, brother of John ’87, Dec. ’18 1984 Rev. Albert Grendler, Aug. ’18 1985 Lorraine Stewart, mother of Rev. Columba, OSB, Dec. ’18 1987 Harriet Haeg, mother of Mark, Nov. ’18 1988 Betty O'Brien, spouse of John, July ’18 1989 S. Mary Jo Donaldson, OSB, Dec. ’18 Mary Kelly, mother of Larry Fraher, Feb. ’18 Christopher Lind, Nov. ’18 S. Lucille Schafer, sister of deceased, S. Yvonne, SOT ’90, Jan. ’19 1993 Jason Boedigheimer, Dec. ’18 1995 Aaron Yorek, Dec. ’18 1996 Angelo Catenza, Sept. ’18 2002 Erik Stenberg, brother of Paul ’04, Aug. ’18 2018 Robert Quade, Aug. ’18 Daerek Wilson, Nov. ’18

Ramond Mitchell ’17 met Pope Francis and lived and worked at Sant’ Anselmo Monastery in Rome during his memorable 2017-18 service with Saint John’s Abbey’s Benedictine Volunteer Corps. “It still feels like a blur now that I’m back,” Mitchell said. “It’s something that I think about every single day. I can’t believe I lived in Rome. “It also helped me to put into perspective everything that I studied at Saint John’s.” Winner of the Bahamian government’s 2018 National Youth Award for Religion, Mitchell was Convocation student speaker and president of the SJU Student Senate as a senior before embarking on his BVC adventure.

Delfeayo Marsalis & The Uptown Jazz Orchestra Saturday, March 16 @ 7:30 p.m. Escher Auditorium, CSB

CSBSJU Theater: All Shook Up Thursday, April 4-Saturday, April 13 (various times) Gorecki Family Theater, CSB

Reduced Shakespeare Company: The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged Saturday, March 23 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

DakhaBrakha Saturday, April 6 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Dali Quartet Friday, March 29 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

Fine Arts Series

College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University

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He returned last May to begin a master of arts in theology program with Echo at Notre Dame University, and was placed at St. Timothy Catholic Church just outside Tampa, Florida to do leadership work for two years. Mitchell hopes to work in liturgy and music in a parish or diocese. “Saint John’s really does provide a lot of opportunities for kids to really find their passions,” he said. “My Saint John’s experience is probably the reason that I’m at this point of my life now.”




Poignant last notes from life’s final chapter By Gabriel Flynn ’90 Soon my father will die. But isn’t that the ultimate plight of every poet? As aptly described in his poem Dying Every Day, a very slight and gradual decrease in memory, self-awareness, executive function and self-care has been noticed in Dad. They call it dementia. He doesn’t suffer from it; rather, he lives and thrives with it. Like Starlings surviving another winter, as he penned in 2009, author John Flynn ’67 persists. When I enrolled at Saint John’s and wrote for The Record, I hoped to follow in my hero’s footsteps and become – no matter what field I entered after graduation – a hard-working, conscientious man. I now have the pleasure to interview my own father. John Flynn grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, graduating from Shanley Catholic High School just ahead of its most famous alum – baseball great Roger Maris, who according to Dad “absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame.” His appreciation for Catholic education blossomed after the nuns and priests decided to rebuild Shanley after it was almost totally destroyed by an EF5 tornado – “the third biggest tornado in U.S. history back in ’57,” recounts Dad. A theater major, he starred in many stage plays at SJU and took up a calling to professional theater that he maintained (with a few brief digressions along the way) his entire 45-year career. “The Cricket, State, Orpheum, Old Log, Dudley Riggs’s – I worked them all,” says Dad. He was an avid journal keeper and became a published writer of prose and poetry. Over the years, Dad’s best themed work concerned living in an Irish Catholic family with a stoic father and very busy mother. Well-educated, industrious and sparse (at times), his concerns with family and neighbors are embedded within his brain and pen. Truly growing up in a Cottonwood Yard in the great expanse of the North Dakota prairie, Dad recounts anecdotes and experiences in his poetry, prose and letters.

It may sound a bit paradoxical to describe a set of poems as “a trip down memory lane” when someone has dementia, but that exactly describes The Earthen Finch, published 2018. Perhaps Dad’s condition is atypical, but most of his long-term memory is intact in glorious detail. Short-term memory, very fuzzy at times, is different. “They say these symptoms will most likely increase in time,” says Dad. “But I digress.” Describing dementia and recounting life lessons from SJU, Dad wrote this “proudly in one take” in 2015:

DAILY DIMINISHMENT John Flynn Live like there's no tomorrow. Die like there is. Fill what's left with prayer and poetry, the love of children and boxer dogs. The essence of life is death. Poetry is a tug of war with death. Both win.

John Flynn has two ex-wives, four children and six grandchildren and currently lives in assisted living in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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


Jim DeChaine ’65 has a constancy and service to people and places that are easily seen as he reflects on his remarkable education and career, enduring friendships and long association with Saint John’s University. counseling psychology. “I obviously owe that full ride to Duke to my SJU education,” he said. “Saint John’s is so good in a foundational liberal arts education that it allows graduates to pursue a lot of different goals.” The DeChaine-Nolan separation didn’t last as Nolan served as his chief of staff for his first three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives beginning in 1974. After Nolan decided not to run for a fourth term, Jim returned to Saint John’s University for the second time in 1980 where he served as the acting interim vice president of institutional advancement and dean of admission Jim witnessed the growth of “Saint John’s strong presence in the nation’s capitol” in the 1970s and 1980s. “A lot of Saint John’s grads are attracted to public service,” he said. He started one of the first congressional semester internships for Saint John’s students, many who stayed in the capitol and a few with whom he remains in touch.

This includes a life-long friendship with former U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, whom he first met in the first grade in Brainerd, Minnesota. After their high school graduation, Jim “A lot of Saint John’s In addition to connecting with his SJU (right) and Rep. Nolan (left) attended grads are attracted to friends, attending D.C. alumni events Saint John’s University but not at the and visiting campus, Jim also was same time, Nolan attending for his public service.” part of the Saint John’s community first two years of college and Jim, a as a parent. His son Chris graduated from Saint transfer student, attending his last two years. John’s in 1988. He is hoping for a third generation of After a job at Honeywell, Jim returned to Saint John’s DeChaines at SJU as his grandson looks at the school as the assistant director of admissions working with Fr. as a prospective student. Don LeMay, OSB. “It was a big title and there was only two of us,” said Jim. “But once you met Fr. Don LeMay After reading about a charitable gift annuity, he and you had to go to Saint John’s. He probably recruited 25 his wife Theresa decided to use this tool to give back to Saint John’s. He is pleased to know that upon the time percent of the students during that time.” of their death their gift would go to SJU. Jim then applied and received a full scholarship to Duke University, where he earned his doctorate in “I owe a lot to Saint John’s so it’s…

“Time to Give Back.” Your Gift, Your Impact. To learn more on making a bequest to Saint John’s, visit or contact Jim Dwyer ’75, director of planned giving at 800-635-7303 or

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Profile for CSB & SJU

Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2019  

Saint John's Magazine is published in the fall and winter for alumni, parents, friends and the Saint John's University campus community.

Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2019  

Saint John's Magazine is published in the fall and winter for alumni, parents, friends and the Saint John's University campus community.

Profile for csbsju