Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2018

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INSIDE 18 Keeping Benedict in the water of the 21st Century 12

Hemmelgarn’s picture-perfect dream came into focus at SJU


Johnnies’ Oliver turns his challenge into inspiration


Innovation, community thrive at Learning Commons



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


2 3 8 10 16 28 32 33 34 44

Congratulations to Bob Cocker ’74, winner of the August 2017 Saint John's Magazine “Find Spiderman and the Johnnie Rat” contest. Three readers – Cocker, Roger Trobec and Fr. Odo Muggli – successfully located the miniature pictures hidden in the magazine. Cocker’s name was selected in a random drawing of those three names. He received Spiderman and Johnnie Rat toys.


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 Rob Culligan ’82 Dana Drazenovich Patrick Henry Ryan Klinkner ’04 Joram Manka Julie Scegura ’15 Eric Schubert ’92 Fr. Don Talafous ’48, OSB

12 Features

Hemmelgarn’s passions for photography, sports, travel developed into his dream job at SJU P. 12

He could envision bits and pieces of his ideal future before he got here, but at Saint John’s Brace Hemmelgarn ’12 found himself, found his focus, found his dream. He’s the Minnesota Twins’ first official team photographer, and also an accomplished travel and sports photographer with an eye for vibrant, breathtaking photos. At 28, he’s living that dream.

Carrying Benedictine values into a new century P. 18

There was a time when the Benedictine ethos of Saint John’s University seamlessly and naturally permeated the campus. Now, in a changing world with fewer monastics, there have to be more intentional and proactive means of instilling the Benedictine spirit. A look at new initiatives for carrying forth that spirit, its history and perspectives on its past and future.

PHOTOGRAPHY Ali Jungles ’19 Sierra Lammi ’19 Jen McNelly ’20 Thomas O’Laughlin ’13 Nicole Pederson ’17

VIDEOGRAPHY Myah Christenson ’20 Hannah Ellingson ’20 Hanna Skjeveland ’18 Brandon Spratt ’20 Josie Thelen ’19

UNIVERSITY ARCHIVIST Peggy Landwehr Roske ’77

EDITOR EMERITUS † Lee A. Hanley ’58

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

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Oliver’s inspiring life has no limits P. 24

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Being born without a left hand isn’t a deal-breaker for a college student, but it ordinarily is for a college basketball player. John Oliver ’18, though, is anything but ordinary – a vibrant, magnetic, dynamic personality who brings his bottomless well of positive energy and enthusiasm to the basketball court, to the classroom and to his own ambitious, limitless potential.

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more commonly based on credentials rather than one’s humanity. Hospitality was the exception in daily interactions. Away from Collegeville, I realized I had become Benedictine almost without knowing it. But upon reflection it was obvious why. Like so many Johnnies, my friends and I had spent many hours in the room of our monastic faculty resident. We all devoured the wisdom in Fr. Don’s Chaplain’s letter, as did most students of that era. I had nearly a quarter of my classes with monks or sisters. And, most powerfully, every day there were many monks praying, working and simply living among the undergraduates, reminding each of us that it was vitally important to think hard about how we would choose to live our lives. How could one not become Benedictine? It is a different world now at Saint John’s in some important ways. The monastic community is much smaller and older. There are only 11 monks teaching at the University. Though a number of brave monks continue to live with the undergraduates, eight of the 21 faculty residents are laymen. There are simply fewer formal and informal opportunities for current students to interact with Benedictine monks than most alumni enjoyed.

By Michael Hemesath ’81, President

“I never knew how Benedictine I was until I left Saint John’s.” I have heard this sentiment from many alumni. Their statement reflects two things: the power of the Benedictine charism to influence the lives of those it touches, and the degree to which that ethos was simply “in the air and water” at Saint John’s for so many generations. I can personally testify to this experience. I don’t remember talking explicitly about Benedictine values as an undergraduate. I never read “The Rule” in college and knew little about St. Benedict. I was an infrequent participant at the Liturgy of the Hours. Yet shortly after leaving Saint John’s, I came to realize that the values of the world beyond Collegeville were too rarely Benedictine. The sense of community I experienced at Saint John’s was not replicated in other communities. Respect for individuals was



Yet if you talk with recent graduates you will find they are no less Benedictine than earlier generations. This is no accident. The monastic community and the University have consciously worked together to ensure each new Johnnie has an intentional Benedictine experience during his four years. It starts at orientation with discussions of Benedictine values, an introduction to Benedictine history and a “Meet a Monk” event. It continues with men’s spirituality groups led by monks, programming for the whole community by the Benedictine Institute, lay faculty who are committed to sharing our Benedictine ethos in their classes, and a shared Abbey and University partnership to bring young monks into the faculty or administration. Sharing our Benedictine charism with the community now requires more planning and intentional actions than in earlier years of our history, but it has not lost its power to change forever the lives of the Johnnies it touches. Read more perspectives from Michael Hemesath by visiting his blog Quad 136 at:


Vande Hei shares Space Station experience with students at SJU By Dave DeLand

Photo courtesy of NASA

The student chatter inside Saint John’s University’s Pellegrene Auditorium came to an abrupt halt Feb. 20 when the projection screen suddenly showed Mark Vande Hei – at first just smiling and giving a floating thumbs-up, then doing backflips as the crowd broke into applause. Those 200 students had been transported to the International Space Station for an inside glimpse at the trip of a lifetime. “The thing I like the most is looking out the window and trying to share this experience,” said Vande Hei, a 1989 Saint John’s graduate and the University’s first astronaut. Vande Hei and fellow NASA astronaut Scott Tingle shared their reflections and answered questions from CSB/SJU and area high school and middle school students in a 20-minute NASA Inflight Education Downlink session from inside the Space Station, where Vande Hei arrived Sept. 13. “It’s just unbelievable, the inspiration to be able to show our students when we tell them ‘Work hard – you can do anything’ that it really happens,” CSB/SJU physics professor Jim Crumley said. “My goal – all of our goal, I think – is to be able to contribute something,” said the smiling Vande Hei, who wore a polo shirt, khakis and glasses while chatting next to Tingle inside the Space Station. Vande Hei’s Space Station experience included four space walks, literally hundreds of scientific experiments and countless situations where he called upon his 1985-89 Saint John’s roots. “It’s the sense of teamwork and respect for other people,” he said. “Discipline as well, of course, but also being able to recognize there are lots of ways to look at a situation. “Getting other people’s ideas and respect for those ideas is a great part of being able to find the best idea.” Students asked Vande Hei and Tingle a presorted list of 20 questions, some about matters that were decidedly scientific and some decidedly not:

Mark Vande Hei ’89 spent 51/2 months aboard the International Space Station, performing scientific experiments and four space walks and celebrating Christmas Day. WEIGHTLESSNESS? “I’ll miss the floating,” Tingle said as Vande Hei did more backflips and climbed the wall next to them, to the delight of the Pellegrene crowd. SHOWERS? “The short answer to that question is we don’t,” said Vande Hei, showing off a no-rinse bath kit. “That’s as close as we can do, rinse off with a wet towel.” SPACE FOOD? Apparently, it’s better than you’d think. “Of course you have a tortilla with peanut butter and jelly,” Tingle said. “Otherwise you have not been on the International Space Station.” VIDEO GAMES? No. But favored reading material? “You’re going to be convinced I’m a huge geek after I say this,” Vande Hei said, “but I really have enjoyed The Lord of the Rings.” Vande Hei ended his 5½-month Space Station mission Feb. 27 and returned to Kazakhstan the following morning. He’s also planning a Collegeville reunion, which he referenced while signing off from about 250 miles above Earth. “I’ll try to get back behind the Pine Curtain sometime soon,” said Vande Hei, who is scheduled to speak at Saint John’s ROTC commencement ceremony May 12. “It’s a wonderful place where you all are.”




Johanna Kiln firing illuminates a

By Dave DeLand The lighting ceremony and firing of The Saint John’s Pottery’s Johanna Kiln Oct. 20 was a celebration, but also a memorial. That’s a traditional element Richard Bresnahan ’76 always finds deeply moving. “By doing these memorial firings, it becomes a highly respectful part of a firing,” said Bresnahan, master potter and Artist-In-Residence at Saint John’s for 38 years. “It’s this emotional welcome to everybody who has come back.” Not everyone does. And that made the 14th Johanna Kiln lighting ceremony particularly emotional for Bresnahan, who in late July found himself about 48 hours away from being part of the memorial. “It’s even more special because of the recent things that have happened,” he said. “We had some unexpected circumstances that asked people to rally beyond their expectations.” On Oct. 20 – exactly 80 days after he underwent emergency quintuple bypass heart surgery – Bresnahan triumphantly lit the kiln. “The person who rallied the most to make this possible was Richard himself,” Saint John’s President Michael Hemesath ’81 said during the lighting ceremony. “It was not automatic that this was actually going to occur.” “People say, ‘Isn’t this going to be a wake-up call for you to retire?’ ” said Bresnahan, 64. “Are you kidding? It’s a second chance. I’m gonna ring the bell.” “I don’t see it as a second chance – I see it as another chance,”



“I made the decision – as long as I’m alive, we’re doing the firing” – Richard Bresnahan added Colette Bresnahan ’83 CSB, whose 911 call on July 29 probably saved her husband’s life. “We’re not like cats with nine lives. You can’t number the chances.” Twelve weeks earlier, the possibility was very real that Richard Bresnahan might not get another one.

ON THE BRINK The slender Bresnahan is by nature almost hyperactive. But heart disease runs on his mother’s side of the family, and for the past two years he had been feeling increasingly diminished. “I was having a hard time breathing in my normal (pottery) throwing,” he said. “I said, ‘I’d better hurry up and get the firing done.’ ” The morning of July 29 was worse than usual. “He just didn’t look right,” Colette Bresnahan said. “He couldn’t do his usual 40 crunches and 40 push-ups, and he was bothered by that.” Colette called 911. Subsequent tests at St. Cloud Hospital prompted decisive action by Dr. John Mahowald ’72, a long-time Bresnahan friend and cardiologist at CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center.

new chapter for Bresnahan firing,” he said. The firing included work from 33 artists, one with particular significance – long-time friend and colleague Mitsuo Kakutani, who helped build the Johanna Kiln and participated in 28 wood firings at Saint John’s. Kakutani, 82, died May 24. Chicago-based CSB/SJU alums Anne ’74 and Jim ’74 Clark retrieved about 100 pieces of Kakutani’s final work from his wife in Richmond, Ind., and delivered them to Saint John’s for the firing. Kakutani’s memory was further honored Oct. 29 – the final day of the kiln firing – in an emotional ceremony on Stumpf Lake. “You start to cry,” Bresnahan said. “You don’t get a chance to say goodbye to people. That’s very hard.”

“When he came out and told Colette what the blockage was, he said, ‘He’s got less than 48 hours to live. We’re bumping him to the front of the line,’ ” Bresnahan said.

But it’s also a rebirth. Bresnahan’s creativity has another lease on life.

“John basically said, ‘I’ve got your back. I’m not going to let you fall,’ ” Colette said. “That was so reassuring.”

“We’re blessed to have Richard as part of this community,” Hemesath said, “and to have Richard here as a healthy director of this project. Richard’s been inspired.”

When Bresnahan was wheeled into surgery Aug. 1, his thoughts were about family and friends – and about unfinished work.

RISING FROM THE ASHES Within a week of surgery, Richard was already pestering his wife to take him to the pottery studio to paint. “I asked Colette if I could have 45 minutes at the studio,” Bresnahan said. “She said no.” Before long, she relented. “He just had to paint,” said Colette, a retired nurse. “That’s kind of like (occupational therapy) at a hospital, right?” Working gave Bresnahan incentive to attack his physical therapy. So did the scheduled Johanna Kiln firing.

“I think it’s another chance to keep going, and to re-prioritize a bit,” Colette said, “although frankly I don’t think he’d do anything differently.” Phoenix-like, that opportunity has risen from the Johanna Kiln’s flames. “Now there’s this window,” Bresnahan said. “When you talk to other artists, they say ‘I’m thinking about how to get work done before I can’t make it any more.’ ” Bresnahan paused, looked around the studio filled with his life’s work and passion, and smiled. “That’s what I’m thinking too.” Watch a video of the fall 2017 Johanna Kiln Firing at

“I made the decision – as long as I’m alive, we’re doing the CSBSJU.EDU/NEWS



Fr. Columba’s inspiring story featured on ‘60 Minutes’ Fr. Columba Stewart, SOT ’85, OSB, professor of theology at Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary, and executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) was featured on the CBS news program “60 Minutes” Dec. 24. “60 Minutes” news correspondent Lesley Stahl interviewed Fr. Columba in Iraq, where HMML is partnering with displaced Iraqi Christians to digitize thousands of manuscripts that document the region’s culture and history. These collections are at risk of disappearing because of war, looting, disasters and neglect. Benedictines believe that understanding history is vital to the human experience and that preserving ancient documents is critical to this understanding. The Benedictine movement of the sixth century preserved ancient texts that served as a catalyst for new ideas and intellectual growth. Monastic communities preserved and shared these texts by handwriting new copies, making monasteries centers of learning. This is where HMML’s work becomes vitally important. Manuscripts historically were humankind’s best means for communicating its beliefs, history and most meaningful



cultural achievements. The manuscript collections HMML is digitizing and making accessible contain the record of a diverse convergence of historic cultures, languages and religious beliefs. HMML's work gives us the perspective we need to understand and address the difficult challenges we are facing today, and it is broad in its outreach. HMML is currently digitizing both Christian and Islamic manuscript collections at 16 fieldwork sites in 11 countries. Fr. Columba brings his expertise in languages and cultures into the classroom at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. As a scholar of Monastic Studies (Early and Medieval), and Eastern Christianity, Fr. Columba's work in the field surfaces in his instruction, where he challenges his students to explore the psychological and spiritual insights of early Christian writers. This summer Fr. Columba is teaching a course on Passions and Prayer: Early Monastic Insights into Human Psychology and Spiritual Practices. Watch the “60 Minutes” feature of Fr. Columba’s work at

Bush shares message of civil discourse at Saint John’s visit By Dave DeLand It wasn’t all that long ago when he seemed destined for the presidency, although Jeb Bush doesn’t spend much time these days dwelling on what might have been. “What you do is dust yourself off and get on with life,” Bush said Sept. 21 during a press conference at Saint John’s University’s Abbey Chapter House.

engagement is a primary Bush area of emphasis. “This lecture series has a theme of conscience and courage in public life,” said College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s political science professor Matt Lindstrom '92, director of the McCarthy Center. “Gov. Bush was never afraid to ask the question, ‘Why not?’” “Saint John’s is a place for those conversations to take place,” said SJU President Michael Hemesath ’81, “and we’re delighted to have those conversations taking place this evening.”

“I gave it my all when I ran for president, but I lost,” the 65-year-old Bush said. “I’m a big boy. It can’t be an obsession.”

“There’s this notion you read about how conservatives aren’t allowed on (college) campuses any more, which I find remarkable,” Bush said. “I actually haven’t had a tomato thrown at me.” The interview was part of the 11th annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture series, presented by the McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement – appropriately so, because

“There’s such fear of actually agreeing with someone who you may not agree with on 80 percent of the rest of the deal,” said Bush, who suspended his presidential campaign Feb. 20, 2016. “That’s not compromising your principles. That’s actually being effective. “If you have a chance to find someone who doesn’t think like you but agrees with you on a particular subject, the requirement ought to be you pause, take a deep breath and embrace that person and form a coalition to get something done.” Bush and Eichten discussed a wide array of topics, ranging from presidential elections to global climate change, chaotic leadership to North Korea’s nuclear threat, DACA to Russian election tampering to healthcare reform.

Instead, the former Florida governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate has refocused his life in the best way he can think of — by advocating for nationwide educational reforms, and by sharing his vision for a more collaborative climate in American politics. “Challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone and listen to people who don’t agree with you,” said Bush, who spent the afternoon Sept. 21 meeting with students, faculty and alums on the SJU campus before a receptive crowd packed the Abbey and University Church to hear his evening interview with Minnesota Public Radio’s Gary Eichten ’69.

of coalition and compromise, qualities that in Washington, D.C., are often perceived as weakness.

With all those subjects, Bush advocates a common cooperative thread. He also advocates a faith-based approach when addressing political problems.

In the contentious realm of American politics, Bush welcomes them. “We live in this hyper-partisan environment where bad behavior is accepted in one party because you’re part of that tribe and not in the other,” he said. “Calling out people in your own party who say outrageous things or do things that are inappropriate ought to be part of the engagement. They should be held to a higher standard.” Bush advocates instead for the politics

“It should be one of the most important parts of how you go about your business,” said Bush, Florida’s governor from 1999-2007. “Those are core beliefs that come from the teachings of Christ.” Still, Bush had one last bit of politician left in him as he stood to leave the stage: He waved the same red towel emblazoned with the Johnnie Rat that Saint John’s supporters waved at Target Field when the Johnnies’ football team played St. Thomas two days later. “I think if we re-focus our efforts from the bottom up,” he said, “it’s not as bad.”




Himsl managed to make his mark at SJU and in the majors By Dave DeLand He earned 10 varsity letters in baseball, football and basketball at Saint John’s University, where the 1936 Sagatagan yearbook said “his athletic ability knows no bounds.” He survived an automobile collision with a freight train that killed three of his fellow SJU students. He also is the only Johnnie to have managed a major league baseball team, although technically he never was the “manager.” Meet Avitus “Vedie” Himsl ’38, whose diverse life and career make him a unique footnote in SJU and baseball history. “My only regret was not to have the opportunity to play in the major leagues,” Himsl said in a 1984 story in Saint John’s Magazine. “I know I could have pitched.” But 57 years ago, Himsl was the first to do something nobody else in major league history had previously done. In the spring of 1961, Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley introduced the “College of Coaches” – a rotating system where four coaches took turns running the team, in lieu of a traditional manager. “Managers are expendable,” said Wrigley, whose team never surpassed .500 in the previous 14 seasons. “I believe there should be relief managers just like relief pitchers.” Himsl was a longshot choice to lead the team on Opening Day. “It was 100-to-1 odds that he would be the one to get the head coaching nod first,” said Jeremy Watterson, who profiled Himsl for the Society of American Baseball Research and in his book Montana Baseball History. “But Wrigley, due to Vedie being the pitching coach (in 1960), let him take the reins first.” Chicago started 5-6 under Himsl before he rotated to managing two of the Cubs’ minor league teams. Himsl had three managerial stints with the 1961 Cubs, compiling a 1021-1 record for a team that finished seventh in the eight-team National League.



Saint John’s served as a launching pad for Himsl, who spent more than half a century as a professional baseball player, coach, manager and scout. His father, Victor Himsl, attended SJU after leaving Austria and settling in Collegeville in the early 1900s, then moved on to Plevna in southeastern Montana. Vedie followed brothers Alois ’30 and Mathias ’34 to Saint John’s, where he majored in accounting and excelled in three sports. He played quarterback for the football team coached by George Durenberger ’28, and was the star pitcher on the first conference championship baseball team coached by Rev. Dunstan Tucker ’25, ’29 SOT, OSB. On Sept. 25, 1937, a car carrying Himsl and four friends struck an Omaha Railway freight train. Three were killed; Himsl, asleep in the back seat, was thrown 50 feet from the vehicle but recovered from head and leg injuries. “It’s like they don’t brace for the impact and somehow that lessens their injuries,” Watterson said. “Being in the back seat probably helped as well, but being in prime physical condition probably helped him more.” After his war-punctuated minor league pitching career ended in 1946, Himsl spent 45 years coaching, managing and scouting. He was noted for working with young players, and helped sign or develop future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Lou Brock and Ron Santo. Himsl died in 2004, 18 days shy of his 87th birthday. But every spring, his memory lives on as a major league footnote. If you believe you have items of historical record that might be a good addition to the SJU Archives, contact CSB/SJU Archivist Peggy Landwehr Roske ’77. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 320-363-2129.

Saint John’s seeks its veterans’ stories for Electronic Military Honor Roll Since the 2015 dedication of the Saint John’s Electronic Military Honor Roll, prominently displayed in the Gallery of Honor just outside of the Quad’s Founders Room and online at, many alumni have generously shared their stories of military service. Saint John’s wants to continue adding names, stories and photos to honor all Johnnie military veterans and share their service with future generations. Saint John’s invites all alumni and monastic military veterans, their family members and the loved ones of deceased Saint John’s military veterans to visit to upload the following information for inclusion in the Electronic Military Honor Roll: • Name, rank, branch and years of service • Commendations • Photo of the veteran in uniform (if available) • A story of the person’s service Saint John’s also seeks submitters’ permission to share their information with the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center’s Veterans History Project and other national remembrance efforts. The highly expanded digital honor roll of monastics, faculty and alumni follows previous recognition of Saint John’s military veterans. For many years, a bronze plaque titled Service Roll hung in Founders Room (formerly Alumni Lounge). It now hangs near the Electronic Military Honor Roll and lists 486 Johnnies from the classes of 1892-1918 who served in World War I.

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone ’86 has been nominated to lead the National Security Agency. Nakasone will also head the U.S. Cyber Command, the Defense Department’s digital warfighting outfit. Nakasone graduated from Saint John’s University with a degree in economics and received his commission in the U.S. Army through the ROTC program. Following World War II, a wooden plaque honoring service members was raised in the “cold hall” alongside what is now the Great Hall. In 2001, as that plaque fell into disrepair, Fr. Don Talafous ’48, ’52 SOT, OSB, Fr. Don LeMay ’49, ’57 SOT, OSB, Fr. Steve Wagman ’44, ’48 SOT, OSB and Thom Woodward ’70, reached out to all known veterans confirming their service. That led to eight bronze plaques honoring veterans back to the Civil War. Today the Electronic Military Honor Roll allows for continual chronicling to provide an eternal tribute and remembrance of the veterans of Saint John’s. Questions about the Electronic Military Honor Roll can be sent to co-creators Cathy Wieme ( and John Taylor ’58 ( of the Saint John’s Office of Institutional Advancement. John Gagliardi didn’t feel up to attending the Oct. 10 session of the “Leadership Lessons with John Gagliardi” class. So, the class came to him – surreptitiously. Forty-two members of the class snuck into the garage of the legendary Saint John’s University football coach’s Big Watab Lake home early that afternoon. When Gagliardi opened the back door to his garage, dozens of smiling students were sitting there waiting for him. “I was surprised,” said the grinning Gagliardi, whose 91st birthday was Nov. 1.





By Jessie Bazan ’17 SOT

“Like the disciples, we prayed that Christ would join us on the walk and help us to each find meaning in our pilgrimage.”

Chris Morgan examined the heat rash creeping across his exhausted extremities.

together on their course-required Kindles, then strap on the backpacks, lace up the hiking boots and walk.

“My feet ache like hell,” he said to his journal.

And walk some more.

Between the bug bites and swollen limbs, it was a rough day of class for the graduate student-turned-instructor.

Some people walk faster than others, so the group would reconvene in the afternoon at the next hostel. Naps were highly recommended before dinner and individual journaling time.

But to be fair, walking 19 miles uphill along the border of Spain and France is not your average assignment. Morgan, SJU ’11, SOT ’17, led nine Bennies and Johnnies across the Camino de Santiago last summer — six days after graduating with his Masters of Divinity degree. Morgan spent more than a year developing the “Christian Spirituality” course through the Department of Theology as part of his field education work. Before jetting off, students discussed the book Backpacking with the Saints and took a few practice hikes in the Arboretum to prepare for the four-week, 420-mile trek. “Embodied spirituality is important to me,” Morgan said. “I felt called to lead a group on the Camino because the pilgrim path invited us to explore the physical and spiritual aspects of our life journeys.” The group followed a similar pattern most days on the Camino: Wake up before dawn and pray Morning Prayer


The course centered on “intentional conversations” that Morgan facilitated with each student at various points during the pilgrimage. He used the story of the Road to Emmaus from John’s Gospel to frame the conversations. Walking together, Morgan would read a section of Scripture and then ask the student a handful of questions. “A question that kept coming up for people was, ‘Why am I on pilgrimage?’” Morgan recalled. “The conversations were meant to be reflective and motivational. “Like the disciples, we prayed that Christ would join us on the walk and help us to each find meaning in our pilgrimage.” After seven years in Collegeville, Morgan steeped himself into the opening line of the Rule of Benedict. He listened — a lot.

Questions From the Trail Morgan spent hours along the road to Santiago de Compostela listening to students share stories of love, loss and spiritual awakening. He also listened closely to himself. “By the end, I walked for 25 miles two days in a row — something I never thought I could do,” Morgan said. “Of course, it took four weeks of walking to get to that point physically, but I was in awe over and over that my body was able to recover quicker every day.” Morgan also gained confidence in talking with people about their spiritual beliefs — a discomfort he wrestled with throughout graduate school while discerning a vocation as a hospital chaplain. “I never want to make people uncomfortable by talking about religion or pushing them farther than they want to go spiritually,” Morgan explained. “My time on the Camino gave me the experiential knowledge of being able to walk with people and companion them.” Morgan credits the theology faculty and administration at Saint John’s for helping make his pilgrimage dream a reality. “I presented at a pilgrimage studies conference this fall, and people there said, ‘You did what?! Our administration would never have allowed us to do that!” Morgan said. “That tells me Saint John’s trusted me. “We have experience doing study abroad programs and are prepared to help people to help create them. Taking students on the Camino was a great affirmation of the formation and knowledge I gained at the School of Theology.” Jessie Bazan ’17 SOT is the program associate for the Collegeville Institute and youth formation minister at Pax Christi Catholic Community in Eden Prairie, Minn.

A sampling of the intentional conversation questions. What are you attending to today: spiritually, physically, emotionally?

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How do you experience the call? The discipline? The descent? The delight?

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What do you prioritize in your life, and how might some of those things garner disproportionate attention?

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How are you inviting Christ into your life?

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How have you experienced Christ in this pilgrimage?

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What gifts have you been given here, and how will you bring those back to your own community?

Chris Morgan (left) led a group on a spiritual path across Spain’s Camino de Santiago last summer, starting six days after he graduated from Saint John’s with his Masters of Divinity degree.

_____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________


Hemmelgarn’s picture-perfect

By Dave DeLand

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes and colors, and Brace Hemmelgarn could picture bits and pieces of his own even before he arrived at Saint John’s University. Bright lights … flying baseballs … emotional celebrations … breathtaking vistas … He saw those swirling elements through the lens of his imagination. He just didn’t know exactly what the big picture was yet. “It’s my dream job,” Hemmelgarn said, “but I didn’t know it was my dream job until I got to Saint John’s. “It was just a special place to come to school.


Everything started here.” At Saint John’s, Hemmelgarn found himself, found his focus, found his dream. It looks like this: • Hemmelgarn is the Minnesota Twins’ official full-time team photographer, the first in franchise history. “I don’t go to work – I get to go to a baseball field every day,” said Hemmelgarn, a 2012 SJU graduate and lifelong Twins fan. “That just happens to be where my office is, which is weird – and awesome.” “He’s living his dream,” said Barb Hemmelgarn, Brace’s mom, “and he refers to Saint John’s as his family. That’s what he always calls it – going home.”

• He’s an accomplished sports photographer who spent the past decade shooting a myriad of professional and college games for a variety of platforms, including 200 or so photos that became Topps baseball cards.

day – especially last year, when our team found out they’re pretty good and they’re winning ballgames.”

• He’s also a globetrotting traveler whose breathtaking photographic images from those trips capture some of the planet’s most beautiful and remote corners.

for other media organizations, for himself – comes with a common thread: A sense of emotion that’s visible even in landscape photos.

Everything Hemmelgarn shoots – for the Twins,

dream came into focus at SJU Hemmelgarn is only 28. Sometimes, he has to pinch himself. “If you told 10-year-old me that would be the case,” Hemmelgarn said, “I’d be jumping for joy.”

A Labor of Love It’s not easy to jump when you’re lugging around two heavy suitcases filled with an array of photographic equipment. Hemmelgarn uses those massive telephoto lenses to capture everything that goes on at Target Field – from Byron Buxton bouncing off the center-field fence to the emotion of a home-plate celebration, from panoramic stadium shots to intimate artistic details. “He pours passion into his photos,” said Dustin Morse, the Twins’ senior director of communications and Hemmelgarn’s boss. “He’s going to come up with something great.” Hemmelgarn’s baseball season is nearly yearround, and his summers are filled with 14-hour days in what definitely is a labor of love. “You get used to the grind,” said Hemmelgarn, who shot 80 of the Twins’ 81 home games last season. “You want to be at the park every

“I want to bring out the emotion of the players and show off their personalities to Twins fans,” said Hemmelgarn, who began working for the Twins part-time in 2011 while attending Saint John’s. “With the players getting comfortable with him, they kind of light up the camera,” Morse said. “Brace has done a great job of showcasing our players’ personalities.” He’s living his dream. That dream came into focus in Collegeville.

The Panoramic Shot A St. Cloud native and an outfielder on St. Cloud Cathedral High School’s 2007 Class 2A state championship baseball team, Hemmelgarn inherited his father Mike’s interest in photography and also dabbled in graphic design. Still, he began his SJU career in 2008 without any thoughts of becoming the Twins’ team photographer. “Never in my life did I think that’d be the case,” Hemmelgarn said. “Coming out here, I knew I wanted to work in sports. But I didn’t know what I was getting into.” Before his freshman classes even began,


Hemmelgarn was enlisted to do graphic design for Saint John’s sports programs. He quickly branched into photography so he could use his own images in the design. “Here I was able to be myself and be as creative as I could have been, and I’ve grown from there,” said Hemmelgarn, who has never taken a photography class. “They let me pick up a camera and start shooting. “I don’t like being bad at stuff, so I just kept working at photography – teaching myself, going online, trying to learn from other people, trying to pick up bits and pieces from everybody.” He enrolled as a business major, but switched to communication during his sophomore year after a turning-point class with CSB/SJU communication professor Katie Johnson. “He walked in there with a purpose,” Johnson said of her Media in Society class. “I couldn’t believe how focused he was, and how present he was. “I’m tickled that he’s living his dream. He always had the panoramic shot in his mind.” Being present wasn’t easy. Hemmelgarn started shooting sporting events for USA TODAY Sports Images in 2010. He frequently drove to the Twin Cities to cover an evening event, but was always back in Johnson’s 8 a.m. class the next morning. “Everything came together,” said Hemmelgarn, who also was a four-year member of the SJU baseball team. “I was a student in the classroom as a communication major, but I was a student teaching myself photography and doing graphic design as a student employee. “I was getting two different educations in one.” Hemmelgarn is vocally grateful for the opportunities that helped him assemble the future he wanted.


“He’s like a P.R. machine for your college,” Morse said. “He’s always telling us about it – it’s the greatest place in the world, the greatest university in the world. You Saint John’s guys stick together.” And then the dream became a reality.

Everything Clicked The Twins contacted Hemmelgarn about a parttime job in Spring 2011. Answering that call entailed breaking a rule. Hemmelgarn and the Johnnie baseball team were on their spring trip to Arizona when the call came. “No cell phones at the field was the rule for (SJU baseball coach) Jerry (Haugen), but I knew I was expecting a phone call that day,” said Hemmelgarn, who answered the call from the Twins in the ballpark dugout bathroom. “We knew he was waiting for that call,” said Barb Hemmelgarn, who was in the bleachers with her husband. “All of a sudden he looked over to us with this huge grin on his face and gave us a big thumbs-up. “We knew what had happened.” Hemmelgarn worked for the Twins part-time as a student in 2011-12, and in 2013 after graduation. In 2014, he became their first fulltime photographer. “They saw something in me. I owe them everything for that,” he said. “They gave me an opportunity that changed my life. “It doesn’t feel like work – especially this past season, when the team was fun.” That fun included a playoff game at Yankee Stadium, and a champagne shower in Cleveland. Hemmelgarn chronicled both. “Everyone’s celebrating and pouring

champagne,” said Hemmelgarn, who used a rain cover to protect his camera. “You’re soaking wet. It burns your eyes. But you’re there in that moment, you’re documenting it and it’s awesome.”

Seeing the World Hemmelgarn gets a brief respite from baseball in November and December, but he fills his schedule with another passion – travel photography. “When the baseball season’s over, I want to go be creative doing something else – recharge my batteries, get away and visit nature, see the world and come back recharged and do baseball all over again,” he said. “I always joke with him that I might lose him to National Geographic because of those vacations he takes,” Morse said. “He’s certainly got a passion for travel and seeing parts of the world that not many people get to see. “Then he does us all a favor and takes pictures.” During his most recent offseason, Hemmelgarn took photo safaris to Colombia … then to Iceland and the Faroe Islands … then to Switzerland and Austria and the Swiss Alps. The previous year he visited the Lofoten Islands, off the northwest coast of Norway in the Arctic Circle. His astounding photos of the Northern Lights and dramatic landscapes look like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. “It’s probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” Hemmelgarn said of the Northern Lights. “They’re dancing. “It’s a surreal experience. It helps you realize how small you are in this world, and how beautiful it is outside of where you’re from. There’s a lot more to see.” But in the end, he always comes back – to

Minnesota, to the Twins, to Saint John’s.

Roots of a Dream The Twins Winter Caravan occupied much of Hemmelgarn’s January, and spring training began in February. Then comes a new season – 162 games, 14-hour days, countless pitches and thousands of pictures. Hemmelgarn loves it. “It’s a challenge to be creative every game,” he said. “How can you be different? How can you stand out and capture something different from everyone else? “When you’re in the moment, you don’t really think about it. But when you take a step back, it’s cool to look back on what you’ve accomplished.” He’s accomplished a lot. Ten years ago, Hemmelgarn was preparing to start college at the place where his dream would take shape. “He’s certainly proud of where he’s from,” Morse said. “This place helped me be a more well-rounded person with a variety of different talents,” Hemmelgarn said. “That’s what helped me stand out – that I could do a variety of things.” And sometimes, when he looks at a life that’s taken him to the cathedrals of baseball and the corners of the earth, Brace Hemmelgarn reflects on those Saint John’s roots. “It’s helped shape who I am,” he said. “And it all started here in Collegeville.” Dave DeLand, editorial and content director for SJU Institutional Advancement, is an awardwinning writer, guest lecturer at Saint John’s and former columnist for the St. Cloud Times. View a gallery of Brace’s images at




Saint John’s own Abbey Road Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn ’12

If you would like to download this photo of the Abbey Road entrance to the Saint John’s University campus, go to



There was a time when the Benedictine ethos of Saint John’s University seamlessly permeated the campus, enveloping inhabitants and visitors like a plunge into Lake Sagatagan.

THOSE BENEDICTINE VALUES YOU HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT? THE SPIRIT AND FEEL AND SENSE OF PLACE AT SAINT JOHN’S? YOU BASICALLY GOT THOSE THINGS BY OSMOSIS. “I always like the phrase about it being in the water,” said Rodger Narloch ’91, director of SJU’s Benedictine Institute. “That’s what everybody talks about here – it’s just something that’s so pervasive that you can’t help but pick up on it.”

“We have so many new people coming in,” Abbot John said. “We need to help them understand, to make explicit what up to now has been implicit – what was in the water before. We need to give greater expression to it.”

Times have changed. Fifty years ago, Saint John’s was a very different place.

It used to happen naturally. Now there have to be more intentional, deliberate and proactive means of carrying forth the Benedictine spirit into the future and into a world that desperately needs it.

In 1968… Saint John’s Abbey included 359 monks. Now there are 120. There were 77 monk faculty members. Now there are 11. Saint John’s student body was 98 percent Catholic. That figure currently stands at 57 percent. Welcome to the 21st century. “You do get some perspective and sense for how things are changing,” said Abbot John Klassen ’71, ’77 SOT, OSB, who took his vows in 1972 and is in his 18th year as leader of Saint John’s Abbey.


How does this happen? With the help of two programs – the Benedictine Volunteer Corps (BVC) and Benedictine Institute – that didn’t exist when the century began. “It’s more of a diverse distribution of the message,” said Br. Paul Richards ’78, OSB, founder and director of the BVC since its inception. “I think they’re alternative means, but they’re trying to do justice to the same message,” Narloch said. “It’s sort of an alternative way of living, an alternative way of approaching the world.” These innovative programs rely on lay people – SJU students,

Saint John’s and Saint Benedict students share a spiritual moment in the Stella Maris Chapel on the shore of Lake Sagatagan. Distribution of the Benedictine message has been diversified in the 21st century by the formation of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps and Benedictine Institute. faculty and staff – to provide vibrant new direction as supplemental messengers for Benedictine thought in a world with fewer monastics. They’re helping it stay in the water. “That is the metaphor that operates in my mind,” Abbot John said. “It’s fresh and transformative.” “The more people who adopt this kind of perspective, I think it can help change a culture,” Narloch said.

Since 2002 there have been 176 BVC members (nearly all Johnnies) who served in 18 countries and 26 monastic communities. The current BVC class includes 19 volunteers at nine sites, and an additional two sites are planned for the 2018-19 class. The experience has been transformational – for people served in those communities, and for BVC volunteers themselves.

“It’s the same life philosophy that we’re trying to communicate. It’s just a different conduit.”

THE TRANSFORMATIONAL BVC Concepts of stewardship, community and hospitality helped form the foundation of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps, which became a reality in 2002 partly due to shrinking monastic numbers. “We used to send monks out into the world to be the missioners,” Br. Paul said. “Now we’re sending graduates of the university to work in Benedictine monasteries. “In many ways, it’s an even better deliverable. It’s a better immersion into what Benedictine life is. They have to own it and do it.”

The monastic community at Saint John’s was considerably larger in 1972, when its young members included Br. Dietrich Reinhart ’71, OSB (center) and Abbot John Klassen ’71, ’77 SOT, OSB (to the left).


more purpose in everything I do now.” “Having a sense of community, a sense of belonging, is really important to my overall mental health and well-being,” said McCarty, whose company, EDGE Fall Protection, LLC, operates out of Minneapolis. “That was definitely strengthened by Saint John’s and the Benedictine Volunteer Corps.” “I had actually been thinking maybe monastic life isn’t for me, and I was starting to look in other directions,” Berns said. “Living that life for myself helped cross some things off my list of why I can’t be a monk.” With everyone involved, there’s a common thread – reinforcing Benedictine values. It changes you. “I don’t see how it couldn’t,” said Jacob Berns ’14, who volunteered in Rome during his 2015-16 BVC experience and is now a novice preparing to enter Saint John’s Abbey. “Part of the genius of Paul Richards’ concept is building the relationship between abbeys, but also utilizing that relationship to give these men that experience.” “It was a big turning point for me,” said J.D. Quinby ’14, who spent the 2014-15 school year teaching in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. “The inclusive and compassionate values that (Benedictines) have – I really wanted to become that type of person, and live my life based on those values.” “One of Br. Paul’s lines – he has plenty of ‘em – is ‘Go out and do good work,’ ” added Mike McCarty ’12, who spent the 2012-13 BVC term teaching in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya. “What I really loved was the ability to go out and see a need and try to help as best I could.” BVC volunteers make a difference in their selected communities, and their experience makes a difference with them. “I think our students are asking, ‘OK, if you say this is what you believe, where’s the beef?’ ” Abbot John said. “How does this really make a difference in the way you live your day-to-day life?” “I’ve become a more thoughtful person,” said Quinby, now a digital planner at Haworth Media in Minneapolis. “I have a better moral compass. I’m able to find


“There’s something really inspiring about the individuals,” Abbot John said. “That’s good. That’s a bingo.”

CATCHING THE SPIRIT The Benedictine Institute, formed in 2009, was the brainchild of the late Br. Dietrich Reinhart ’71, OSB. “It was always his dream to have something like this,” said Gloria “Chick” Hardy, the Benedictine Institute’s recentlyretired assistant director, “and it was his plan and goal to be at the leadership of that. “This whole Benedictine thing is a lifestyle, not a list,” Hardy said. “I always say it’s better caught than taught, and better felt than telt.” The Benedictine Institute concept: Strengthen and promote the Benedictine character of Saint John’s in fresh and innovative ways. “Essentially, it’s to educate employees and students and people affiliated with these campuses as to what the Benedictine perspective is,” Narloch said. “How do we keep this presence there Top left: Jacob Berns ’14 served in Rome during his Benedictine Volunteer Corps stint in 2015-16. He’s now a novice preparing to enter Saint John’s Abbey. Left: Mike McCarty ’12 taught and worked in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya during his BVC service in 201213, and relished his opportunity to make a positive impact.

Benedictine Institute director Rodger Narloch (right) and recently retired assistant director Gloria “Chick” Hardy understand the value of educating faculty and employees about the Benedictine perspective, as well as the benefits of passing that perspective on to the student body. if (monastics) are not the ones delivering it? Part of it is to educate the lay people.” Those faculty and staff members, in turn, help embed Benedictine hallmarks in the student experience. It’s just another avenue for messages that traditionally have been imparted by monks. “The Benedictine Institute is helping educate lay folks who are now taking on a lot of these roles that monastics had before,” Narloch said, “to help them understand and hopefully fully get to value this perspective so that it can influence their work and that culture so it isn’t lost. “Most of our programming isn’t targeted at the students themselves,” Narloch said. “The idea is to help employees understand and integrate the Benedictine mission of these places into their perspective and into their work.” Those hallmarks also have been incorporated into students’ day-to-day lives through programs like the Men’s Spirituality Group and Benedictine Living Communities, concepts that currently are being reinvented. “This is very much a process of listening with your heart,” Narloch said. “The whole idea of welcoming people regardless of where they’re at or what they’re thinking is very Benedictine in and of itself.”

BUILDING ON THE CONCEPTS There remains a very tangible need for monastics to provide a foundation for everything else. “Without the previous generation, meaning the monastic communities, all the rest of this would be irrelevant,” Narloch said. “It wouldn’t be here.”

“You can talk about Benedictine values all you want. They’re great values, and they’re humanistic values,” Br. Paul said. “But if there aren’t men and women living the Benedictine life, the Benedictine life doesn’t exist.” “Without these monks living that lifestyle, being their good example to others,” Berns added, “I’m not sure it would hold together.” The mortar for those bricks now comes not only from monastics, but also from students and instructors and staff, from Benedictine Volunteer Corps and Benedictine Institute connections that provide more points of entry. It remains a universal message. There simply are new, innovative ways to get it into the mainstream. “The Rule of Benedict itself – in many ways, its values and spirituality – tends to be accessible across a broad range of people,” Abbot John said. There now are more ways of getting it into the water, more reasons for hope as the 21st century unfolds. “Yes, it has been in the water – and to a large part, I think it still is,” Narloch said. “If we’re a little more intentional about naming it or seeing it, we can then be more intentional about making sure it stays in the water.” 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.


Council, the centuries-old splintering of the Christian community was reversed. The ecumenical movement’s search for unity has become, increasingly, the recognition of the unity that’s already there.


Saint John’s Benedictines in particular have been ecumenical dynamos.

“There will always be monastics, for there is, though it may be unrecognized, a monastic in everyone.” So wrote a student in a course I taught 40 years ago. More recently, a friend told me of a student who wrote, “I see the world in black and white. Benedictines see the world in many colors.” Since 1975 it has been my good fortune to live close to the monks of Saint John’s Abbey and the sisters of Saint Benedict’s Monastery. I have learned that those two students were right. A monastic in everyone? Seems preposterous – but only if you’ve been tricked into thinking that monks have “forsaken the world.” Yes, they live apart. They pray more than most of us. They dress funny. But once you get to know them – as students at Saint John’s have for more than a century and a half – you know that monks have chosen this way of life “for the sake of the world.” The Rule of Saint Benedict, tested and found workable for 1,500 years, won’t let monks flee the ordinary into some abstract spiritual realm remote from what the rest of us inhabit. No one, not even the abbot, is excused from kitchen service. Guests (the monastery is never without them) are to be received as if they are Christ. And the secret to monasticism’s persistence through a millennium and a half: Benedict’s skepticism of any claim to perfection. He says the most any monk can claim at the end of his life is to have made


a good beginning. The monastic in everyone – in you, in me – is not an accomplishment. It’s a quest. Seeing the world in many colors? The key is Benedict’s characterization of the abbot’s responsibility: “directing souls and serving a variety of temperaments … accommodating and adapting himself to each one’s character and intelligence.” The monastery is an experimental, exploratory place where the full range of human personality can develop and flourish. The monastic habit is not “one size fits all.” The inner life of the monastery fashions a community that looks outward. This has been true for a long time. The 20 volumes of Ellis Peters’ Cadfael Chronicles – novels about 12th-century herbalist and amateur detective Brother Cadfael – portray a society in which the monastery’s wall is a permeable membrane. Inside and outside, sacred and secular, are not sharply separated. This came alive for me the first time I saw the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Great Hall at Saint John’s. Everybody from the surrounding territory showed up. In the 20th and 21st centuries, this ancient tradition of monastic welcome has come to fresh expression in ecumenical and interfaith relations. In the 20th century, with the founding of the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican

Fr. Kilian McDonnell ’49, ’51 SOT, OSB (who turned 96 in September), founder of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, learned during his doctoral work in Germany that overcoming Christian divisions requires living together even more than reading one another’s books. In 20 years as the Institute’s executive director, I heard countless expressions of amazed gratitude for Benedictine hospitality. Here’s one: “The Benedictines have been living in this rhythm of work, study and prayer for 1,500 years. This is no temporary fashion of our times, to be abandoned when the next fad comes along. I am joining in the rhythm of their prayers for a brief time.” Benedictines, more than most Christians, are capable of rootedness and far-ranging adventure at the same time. In one of his poems, Fr. Kilian gives a snapshot of this ironic ability, an image that could come only from more than half a century of seeking God after the monastic manner of life: "All our truths need bungee cords." Adherents of the Rule expect to learn new things from just about everybody, even from those more novice than they. Benedict instructs the abbot to pay particular attention to the youngest in the community. Benedictines have taken the lead in dialogues with Buddhists, Jews, Muslims. Monastic Interreligious Dialogue – which Saint John’s Fr. William Skudlarek ’59, ’64 SOT, OSB,

one body as they prayed the daily round of Psalms and scripture in English.

serves as secretary general – is like a particle accelerator in which forces interact to reveal primordial conditions, some fundamental features of human nature and human community. It’s not just ecumenism and interfaith relations that embody the contemporary worth of Benedictine tradition. In 1990 Saint John’s declared unmistakably that Benedictine values can be expressed in the world of commerce. Saint John’s gave its highest honor, the Pax Christi Award, to Bob Piper, who had led Piper Jaffray to the forefront both of investments and of public service. Bob was chair of the Collegeville Institute’s board, and my boss. Bob replied in a way that reflects the monastic in everyone and seeing the world in many colors: “I gratefully accept this award for myself, but even more, on behalf of all those heirs of Saint Benedict whose days are spent in a world called by such picturesque names as ‘dog-eat-dog,’ ‘cutthroat,’ ‘rat race.’ “I thank Saint John’s for being the sort of place it is – if it weren’t for monasteries, the vision of a prioritiesstraight, ordered life might vanish from the earth. “I commend Saint John’s for recognizing that others, living in the heart of the city far removed from Lake Sagatagan (and far from Lake Wobegon), can take their bearings from that same vision.” Patrick Henry was professor of religion at Swarthmore College (1967-84) and served as executive director of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (1984-2004). In 1976 he became one of the first Protestant oblates of Saint John's Abbey. He is father of Brendan Henry, SJU '03.

An inevitable result of this amalgamation was apparent in the presidency of the University. Br. Dietrich Reinhart held the office for 18 years in a stellar presidential term.

REFLECTIONS ON 7 DECADES OF SPIRITUAL CHANGE By Fr. Don Talafous ’48, ’52 SOT, OSB Two scenes from my early years at Saint John’s University in the 1940s will provide a necessary background for the transformation that has occurred over my 74 years here. • Sunday morning Mass for the local parish and the Abbey community was still in Latin. The sermon to the parish congregation was in German. Men sat on one side of the church, women on the other. As at every Catholic church, the priest presided at Mass with his back to the parishioners. • The elevator near the student dining room was where it is now, but it was operated by pulling on a rope. Changes in monastery life are inseparable for me from the refreshing changes that resulted from the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and all its subsequent ramifications.

As with almost every religious association in the Catholic Church, the late 1960s saw a dwindling in numbers at Saint John’s Abbey – from a peak of over 400 to the current number of 120. This diminishing number inevitably required a very painful withdrawal by the Abbey from some of its numerous missions and parishes. That left an ongoing concern about preserving monastic life and passing it on. The Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research and the Benedictine Volunteer Corps are two ways in which the monastery extends its ethos and spirit into venues around the world where lay Catholic graduates of the University embody and transmit that spirit. Lay groups of alumni have taken the initiative in passing on the Benedictine charism. That’s the kind of initiative to which the Second Vatican Council gave decided impetus. Important in its own way is the evolution from rope elevators to much more sophisticated machinery and technology, as well as many more buildings where the interior changes talked about earlier have been realized and made concrete (no pun intended).

The switch in language from Latin to English for those called the choir monks in the Mass and in the Divine Office hastened the union of the choir monks and the brothers.

The Saint John’s Bible is a good example of the union of art, technology and scriptural savvy.

Prior to this, the brothers did their daily choral prayer in English and the others – destined for the priesthood – in Latin. Even the new church building provided for separate blocks of seating for the two groups. The two groups soon formed

Fr. Don Talafous ’48, ’52 SOT, OSB, has been a student, professor, chaplain and faculty resident at Saint John’s. He works in Alumni Relations, has authored several books and writes Daily Reflections




It’s 10:45 on a Tuesday morning, and a solitary figure is pounding a basketball into the hardwood at Jim and Adrienne Smith Court. Sweat pours down his face as he practices low-post moves, over and over and over again. He starts on the right block, dribbles twice and spins into the lane for a layup or short jump shot – always with his right hand.

not worrying about what he can’t do.” “He could make all the excuses in the world, and put that as a barrier between him and accomplishing his goals,” added Garrett Goetz ’18, Oliver’s teammate and housemate. “But it’s never like that. “He just steps up to the plate and gets after it – that’s with everything.”

John Oliver was born without the left one.

And that’s both a reflection and an asset for Saint John’s, where four years ago an upbeat kid from Southside Chicago infused his adopted surroundings with the relentless dedication needed to play college basketball with one hand.

“In a way, it’s kind of like celebrating,” the Saint John’s University senior said with his omnipresent infectious grin. “You’re able to do so many things, and you don’t have that hand.”

“He just brings all of this positivity. It emanates from him,” said CSB/SJU communication instructor Dana Drazenovich, who relished Oliver’s contributions to her Introduction and Advanced Media Writing classes.

“John Oliver has spent his life focusing on what he can do,” Johnnies head basketball coach Pat McKenzie ’04 said, “and

“If they were visible, you’d just see this huge shield of positive vibes hovering around him.”


That’s the essence of John Oliver – his demeanor, his persistence, his devotion to friends and dogged determination to let nothing stand in his way. “He is a true ambassador of what Saint John’s represents,” Goetz said. “I’ve looked at my situation as one I can’t change. I make the best of it,” Oliver said. “The energy and positivity that you give out – what your aura is – people will pick up on that.”


“With energy, you’re a fountain or you’re a drain. He’s a fountain – always.” – Pat McKenzie You see snippets of that energy in facets of Saint John’s that have nothing to do with basketball. There’s J.O. the vibrant, inspirational person. “He stands out personality-wise with a two-second interaction,” McKenzie said. “I was trying to think of the word, and it’s ‘magnetic.’ He’s a remarkable kid.” There’s J.O. the involved student. SJU’s “Fired Up Friday” all-campus spirit initiative was launched largely by students in Drazenovich’s Advanced Media Writing class during spring semester 2017, and Oliver was at the forefront. “He brought so much energy that he drew people like a magnet to see what was going on,” Drazenovich said. “I was first to raise my hand in class for that one,” said Oliver, a communication major, “just to make connections with people and get them on board for the campaign.”

There’s J.O. the hyper-social Johnnie. “We’d go to dining hall, and even by the end of first semester freshman year he knew everyone,” said teammate and housemate Brent Hentges ’18. “You can’t go anywhere with him without getting stopped a million times.” “The energy you put into things is the energy you expect to get back from it,” Oliver said. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Why not fully immerse yourself into it?” Having one hand isn’t a deal-breaker for a college student. It ordinarily is for a basketball player. But J.O. is anything but ordinary.


“You have to work a lot harder when you’re at a disadvantage. That’s what formed him as a player. Nobody ever outworks him.” – Tyler Ulis Oliver and twin sister Nia were born Feb. 12, 1996 in Chicago Heights, Ill. Because of the way they were situated in the womb, John’s left hand never developed. “They were trying to put me in a prosthetic hand when I was a kid. I didn’t like it,” said Oliver, who learned to tie his shoes one-handed at age 5. “To me, it was a crutch. I didn’t want to be dependent on it.” With the support of parents Renee and John Oliver and a cadre of male cousins, he grew up as simply one of the boys. “They treated me as if nothing was different, whether it was wrestling around in the house or playing basketball in the back yard,” Oliver said. “Nobody treated me like I had a handicap or a disability.” That carried over to Marian Catholic High School, where Oliver was a starter as a junior and senior on one of the top-ranked basketball teams in Illinois. It featured future NBA point guard Tyler Ulis. “We’re best friends,” said Ulis, who is in his second season with the Phoenix Suns. Oliver and Ulis talk almost daily.

Garrett Goetz ’18 (from left), John Oliver ’18, Brent Hentges ’18 and Patrick Strom ’18 share a laugh during downtime at their rental house in St. Joseph.

“When I passed the ball, I never really thought about his hand,” Ulis said. “I’d throw crazy behind-the-back passes,


John Oliver (center) and teammates (from left) Patrick Strom, Oakley Baker ’21, Garrett Goetz and Brent Hentges celebrate during the closing minutes of the Johnnies’ victory over St. Olaf Dec. 9 at Warner Palaestra. over-the-head passes. He never had trouble catching them, no matter where I put the ball.” “You’d get surprised facial expressions (from opponents) when they’d see me in actual competition,” Oliver said. “You can hear young kids – ‘Look, he doesn’t have a hand.’ ” Oliver made up for it in myriad ways, tangible and otherwise. “He’s always positive,” Ulis said. “That’s the type of energy he brought to the team – just being there for his teammates, no matter what was going on. “He feels like that probably made him a better player, and a better person. It’s definitely inspiring.” It also helped make Oliver a Johnnie.


“The people that I’ve been able to connect with here really opened my mind to different ways of thinking.” – John Oliver Saint John’s began recruiting the 6-foot-3 Oliver during his junior year at Marian Catholic, despite the obvious question. “I thought, ‘Well, how does this work?’ ” McKenzie said. “But they were really good, and this kid starts on one of the best high school teams in Illinois. “If the kid had two hands, we probably couldn’t get him.” As it turned out, Saint John’s had Oliver from his initial campus visit. “I think it was my first fly-in,” Oliver said. “Wow, this place is completely different. The people are different.


“I think I love it.” From the very start, Saint John’s loved him right back. “I said, ‘That kid’s going to run Saint John’s when he comes up here – he’s going to own the place,’ ” McKenzie said. “And he kinda does.” Still, coming from Southside Chicago to Central Minnesota constituted a culture shock. Basketball helped bridge that gap.


“What he lacks in having one hand he makes up for in every other aspect of the game. He knows that he has something to prove. He’s proven himself.” – Brent Hentges The tattoo on Oliver’s left shoulder is the four words that have become his mantra – “Set Your Own Limits.” That sentiment resonates with his SJU basketball teammates, who are like family. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have the mindset of ‘I can’t do this,’ ” Hentges said. “Everyone loves him.” “I’ve loved the connections I’ve made here,” Oliver said. “I consider them my brothers now.” Those brothers initially weren’t sure how to react to a onehanded teammate. “Honestly, my first impression was ‘No way – this is unbelievable,’ ” Goetz said. “After playing with him so long, you don’t even think about it anymore.”

As a junior, Oliver started all 28 of the Johnnies’ games, averaging 2.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and shooting 59 percent from the field. He had the fewest turnovers of any SJU regular, was second on the team in blocked shots and is a tenacious defender. “There’s great strength in understanding a weakness,” McKenzie said. “John plays to his strengths. “He’s good on the offensive glass. He doesn’t turn it over. He’s going to be in the right place, pick up some garbage points, and he’s a great defender. It just fit with the group we had.” A highlight in the Johnnies’ 19-9 season was a two-point overtime win at Hamline in which Oliver had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 6 offensive boards. A high ankle sprain delayed the start of Oliver’s senior season, and the addition of 6-8 Lucas Walford to the Johnnies’ roster changed his role.

“When I heard that, it really hit home for me,” Oliver said. “That somebody can consider me an inspiration – I’d never experienced that before. Some people never get it.” Oliver also partners with former SJU football player Antoine Taylor ’17 in The Cause International, an apparel company that donates proceeds to charitable causes in the U.S. and South America. “We’re trying to help as many people as possible,” Oliver said. “We want to continue to inspire through what we do. “This doesn’t happen if I don’t come to Saint John’s University.” Oliver’s postgraduate plans include continuing The Cause International and a career in marketing and public relations for a sports organization. “To me, it’s like God has a plan for everybody,” he said. “I feel like my plan is unfolding just fine.” It’s unfolding without limitations.

Still, Oliver remains a focal point on a team that won its first MIAC regularseason championship since 2001 and qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament – at the center of every pre-game team huddle, vocal and energetic and supportive and willing to make any contribution possible. “He definitely sets the standard for the team,” Goetz said. “It’s just leading by example. Everyone loves J.O.”

It’s been shaped by Saint John’s – and vice-versa. “I can’t imagine meeting John Oliver and forgetting him,” Drazenovich said. “He’s the kind of guy who when he gets an opportunity, he absolutely makes as much out of it as he possibly can.” John Oliver (from left), his mother Renee, sister Nia and father John share family time with their dog Rocky.

“He’s shaped us – I really believe that,” McKenzie said. “Saint John’s is a little better because he’s here.

“I get it from (opposing) players, usually after games – ‘Hey, man, I love what you’re doing. I respect you for what you’ve accomplished,’ ” Oliver said.

Nobody should. There have been obstacles. There will be more.

He makes even bigger contributions elsewhere.

John Oliver has never met one he couldn’t handle.


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.

“J.O. is a guy who embodies the Benedictine values. I don’t think he adopted them when he came here – those things have been ingrained in him his entire life.” – Garrett Goetz Oliver got a call last summer from Marian Catholic basketball coach Mike Taylor, who wanted him to talk with a freshman who was missing a hand. “The first name he mentioned when he got to high school was your name,” Taylor told Oliver. “He wants to be like John Oliver.

“I would never bet against that kid.”

CONTRIBUTE TO THE STUDENT FUND Students like John Oliver benefit from the Saint John’s Student Fund, which provides need-based academic scholarship support to 95 percent of SJU students. To contribute, visit, call 800-635-7303, or reply by mail to P.O. Box 7222, Collegeville, MN 56321.



A Historic Success

Alumni and friends joined at Homecoming 2017 to celebrate the completion of Forward Ever Forward, the most successful capital campaign in Saint John’s history.

tradition. On the next three pages, students share how they use an academic centerpiece – the new Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons – in their learning.

A record 27,200 donors contributed $188 million to the campaign. Of this amount, $121 million has been received for facilities, programs, endowment and operations. The remaining $67 million will come to Saint John’s in the future from outstanding pledges and planned gifts.

By the end of the Fall 2017 semester, 117,640 patrons had visited the renovated Alcuin Library and Learning Commons. That compares to 46,022 in Fall 2015 (the library was closed for renovation in Fall 2016).

Donors’ generosity supports four key areas: Scholarships, Academics, Athletics and Saint John’s Benedictine

Thank you to all who contributed to this campaign’s success and opportunity for Johnnies today and tomorrow. Forward!

(Above from left) Saint John’s University Trustee and campaign co-chair Joe Mucha ’66, former interim SJU President and campaign co-chair Dan Whalen ’70, Board of Trustees chair Marilou Eldred, Abbot John Klassen ’71, OSB, University President Michael Hemesath ’81 and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Rob Culligan ’82 toast the success of the Forward Ever Forward capital campaign during the Oct. 6 celebration. Visit for four short videos of campaign results.



Innovation, Community Thrive at Learning Commons By Dana Drazenovich

It’s 4:30 p.m. on a December Monday, and the Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons is buzzing. Students lounge and read in the warmth of the upper level’s McKeown Fireplace Forum and other relaxed gathering and studying spots tucked throughout the building. Natural light illuminates the entire interior. The unmistakable sound of baristas at work fills the student-run Schumacher Coffee Shop, nicknamed “The Schu,” an immediate hot spot when it opened last fall. “Students love being able to go in there and get a cup of coffee and sit down to study,” said visiting assistant business professor Steve Schwarz ’01. Versatile classrooms and event rooms – furnished with moveable tables and desks, whiteboard walls and dual display screens – double as ideal places for quiet solo time or working on group projects. “I like that there are spaces that students can go meet as a group or as a team when class is over,” said Schwarz, who teaches his Global Business Leadership courses there. Bardia Bijani ’20 has liked having classes in the Learning Commons. “The layout of the space invites interactive education, which it doesn’t in many other contexts.” Former SJU President Br. Dietrich ’71, OSB smiles from his portrait at the top of the stairs as if he can see Saint John’s flourishing in this facility honoring his legacy. The $188 million Forward Ever Forward campaign funded the 22,000-square-foot Learning Commons, renovated Alcuin Library and new Saint John’s Bible Gallery, which connect to form a campus learning hub that gives students and professors the environment and tools for collaborative learning and innovative thinking.





INNOVATION An inspiring environment

Downstairs, the Johnnie Bennie Campus News team gets ready to shoot this week’s newscast in the Colman Barry Creativity Center’s video studio.

Michael Frye ’18 trains the camera on anchors Anja Wuolu ’20 and Ellen Munshower ’19. Andrew Breyen ’21 and Emerita Palencia ’19 wait in the adjacent control room, ready to roll the graphics and script for the teleprompter. Their advisor, Instructional Technology Specialist Ethan Wittrock, helps manager Emily Webster ’18 troubleshoot audio problems. Instructional Technology offices are right across the hall in the Don Talafous Media Center, bringing together media staff, equipment and training facilities for an accessible, cohesive tech-centric learning environment. “OK, start zooming in,” Webster tells Frye, and another production of CSB/SJU’s weekly student online news program commences. The Learning Commons moved Johnnie Bennie Campus News from a makeshift set hidden on the Quad’s fourth floor

to a state-of-the-art studio in the heart of campus — and closer to the broadcast news profession. “A lot of the programs and software and equipment are the same as in the industry, so that’s helpful,” Webster said. The network-worthy set and “prosumer” equipment – better than consumer-grade but less expensive than professional equipment – make for an inspiring environment.

“It’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen,” said Nate Barrett ’21, Johnnie Bennie Productions manager. “I went to a couple of other schools’ facilities, and they had nothing that was even close to this. “It just kind of blows you away. It’s so modern, so high-tech, and everything’s so new. I’m excited to learn how to use everything.”

Cutting-edge technology Next door in the Kling Media Lab, students edit video and photos on new 27-inch iMacs using multimedia software like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. The floor-to-ceiling windows and ergonomic furniture mark a major step up from the cramped, windowless former lab. Visiting associate professor David DeBlieck found the facility helped his First Year Seminar students as they created videos for his class. “The equipment there was convenient for them to do their editing, and that combined with the staff being there to give them one-on-one assistance really worked well.” CSB/SJU’s Strategic Directions 2020 sets the goals of creating centers for learning and taking advantage of current and future technologies to enhance faculty teaching and student learning. The Learning Commons is making those goals realities.



INTERACTIVE A deeper understanding

Caleb Pflug ’19 sits poised at the news set in the video studio, eyes on the teleprompter as he waits for his cue. Then it’s go time and Pflug makes his broadcast debut, reading his news script on camera while his classmates try their hands at operating the studio’s cameras, teleprompters and audio equipment. Wittrock and Classroom and A/V Support Manager Adam Bauer provide instruction, and by the end of the 55-minute class period, Pflug’s Introduction to Media Writing class has had a learning-focused broadcast news experience.

“Being connected with the library and with IT services allows us to talk about how information literacy and media literacy play a crucial role in every major and also our everyday lives,” Wittrock said. “By developing these skill sets our hope is students will have a deeper understanding of the importance of information, of accuracy, of its biases.”

The Learning Commons extends that education beyond formal courses, too. The Don Talafous Media Center is stocked with video and DSLR cameras, microphones, lighting kits and portable hard drives, available to students of all majors for class or personal projects. “Their ability to access equipment and software and hardware that would otherwise be very expensive for them to purchase on their own is a notable improvement because we have more of it, because it’s accessible, because it’s connected to the library and other technology resources,” Wittrock said. Twenty-first century workplaces and communities rely on innovation, collaboration and technology. The Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons ensures that faculty and students have a place to experience all three. Dana Drazenovich is a freelance writer and former journalist and public relations practitioner who teaches Communication and First Year Seminar at CSB/SJU. Take a look inside the Learning Commons’ Colman Barry Creativity Center in a video produced by CSB/SJU students at

“It made things realistic to me,” Pflug said. “It’s one thing to write something on a piece of paper or even submit something to a teacher, and it’s another to have it not only on camera but in the studio, where it can be a live feed.” Next, Pflug and his classmates will learn how to apply their journalism skills to the video medium by actually producing a segment. A growing number of professors, from First Year Seminar to nursing, are partnering with Instructional Technology to integrate video and audio projects into their courses.




Fellowship It’s a special part of being a member of the Saint John’s community. From Reunion (June 22-24) and Homecoming and Family Weekend (Sept. 21-22) to lectures and retreats, to chamber choir concerts, to sporting events, to much more, Saint John’s and its Alumni Association offer something for everyone. To learn more about upcoming events for SJU alumni and friends: Visit or Join more than 8,000 SJU alumni and friends at



Scorecard FOOTBALL The Saint John’s football team (9-2, 7-1 MIAC) made its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III playoffs and ended the season ranked No. 14 nationally by both the AFCA and Guard Dan Greenheck ’20 and safety Max Jackson ’19 were named All-Americans by D3football. com, while linebacker David Franta ’18 earned CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team honors. Ninety-seven SJU football studentathletes have earned All-America honors 126 times in the program’s 107-year history. Wide receiver Will Gillach ’19 was named to the 22-man Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team, the second Johnnie to achieve the honor (defensive lineman Kevin McNamara ’07 in 2006). Gillach and the rest of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team were honored New Year’s Day at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Franta, Greenheck, Jackson, defensive lineman Nathan Brinker ’19, wide receiver Evan Clark ’17 (December), cornerback Leonard Gutierrez ’18 and tackle Andrew Jarosz ’17 (December) were named AllWest Region. Quarterback Jackson Erdmann ’20 and running back Dusty Krueger ’18 joined those seven on the All-MIAC first team.

The annual JohnnieTommie game produced an NCAA Division III-record crowd of 37,355 fans – the majority of whom were Johnnies fans – Sept. 23 at the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field in Minneapolis. SOCCER The Saint John’s soccer team won its final two regularseason games to finish fifth in the MIAC with a 4-4-2 record (7-8-2 overall) and made its sixth consecutive appearance in the MIAC Playoffs. Midfielders Zack Boerjan ’19 and Daniel Bruckbauer ’18 were named to the All-MIAC first team, while goalkeeper Payton Spencer ’20 was honorable mention. CROSS COUNTRY SJU finished third out of 11 teams at the 2017 MIAC Championship and eighth out of 31 teams at the NCAA Central Regional. The Johnnies have 35 top-eight finishes at their last 36 NCAA Central Regionals (going back to 1982), including five titles and 23 top-five finishes. Matthew Burgstahler ’18 finished eighth at the MIAC Championship and achieved All-Region

distinction (top 35) with a 30th-place finish at the regional. He earned the MIAC’s Elite 22 Award for cross country by having the highest GPA among the top 15 finishers at the conference championship. GOLF The Johnnies finished second out of 10 teams at the MIAC Championship and tied for sixth out of 18 teams at the elite Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational in October. The 18-team field included 13 top-25 teams, including eight ranked in the top 10. Johnnies Matt Lutz ’20 and Sam Olson ’18 earned All-MIAC honors (top 10 individually, including ties). Lutz birdied two of his final four holes to finish at even-par in the final round and at 5-over par (221) for the tournament to tie for fourth out of 49 golfers. Olson carded a 1-over par 73 in his final round to tie for eighth at 223 (+7).

Will Gillach





Milestones … in the news 1977 John Adams was named one of the 2018 Men of Excellence by the Chicago Defender. Adams, chief financial officer of the Rainbow Push Coalition, received his award March 2.

Chris Sheehan ’84 spent two years at Saint John’s, and that was enough to inspire a career that includes running two Minneapolis-based photography businesses and working with some of the country’s biggest advertising and retail names. “I pretty much attribute my path to a liberal arts education such as Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s,” he said. His commercial studio, Sheehan Photography, has maintained success for 20 years in a highly competitive profession. Meanwhile, Shelter Studios — a 16,000-square-foot space with six studios and a comprehensive inventory of equipment photographers can rent, from cameras and lighting to specialty accessories — steadily gains momentum. "I modeled Shelter after the best rental houses in New York, and it's the most complete rental shop in Minneapolis. We cater to photographers from New York to L.A., and we’ve got all the toys they’re used to." The introduction to photography class Sheehan took his sophomore year at Saint John’s piqued his interest. A chance meeting with a commercial photographer a few years later introduced him to his life’s work, and his talent combined with an entrepreneurial spirit sealed his success. “It’s a long way from that liberal arts class.”


Gophers player Drew Goodger said “He’s not just a vendor … Gopher athletics and Tony kind of go hand-in-hand.”

1983 Jim Whitcomb was elected president of the Southeast U.S. Korean Chamber of Commerce. Whitcomb, 2016 Sam Harper, chief operating executive director of middle officer for Hippy Feet, a market banking and Minneapolis-based social specialized multinational organization that helps the industries for JP Morgan Chase homeless community, was & Co. in Atlanta, Ga., was interviewed in a holiday story approved by the Chamber’s by FOX 9 News. Using a board of directors at its annual pop-up employment model meeting Jan. 10. to support area homeless youth, Hippy Feet makes socks and donates one pair to homeless shelters for every pair of socks sold. Hippy Feet was recognized for its work to help solve short-term and long-term homelessness during the 2025 Plan Leadership Awards, hosted annually by 1988 Mark Towne was promoted to the Minneapolis Downtown the rank of brigadier general Council. effective July 27, 2017. He and his wife Marianne live in Northern Virginia, where Towne currently serves in the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve G3. 1996 Tony Nicklow, owner of Tony’s Dinner in Dinkytown, a “college town area” near the University of Minnesota, was featured in a sports page article in the Star Tribune (“Tony’s Diner Owner is a Team Player”) on Aug. 10. Nicklow has catered for the University of Minnesota Gophers football team and other Gophers sports for the past seven years. Former

Edwin Torres was profiled with an opinion piece in The New York Times after the Times editorial board invited young immigrants who were spared from deportation and allowed to work legally during the Obama administration to share their personal stories. His

essay told his story of attending Saint John’s University and succeeding academically as well as in major leadership and civic engagement opportunities. Torres, an attorney, credits the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) with the opportunity to succeed and serve as a “productive member of our society.”

… in the spotlight

private contributions during his 41-year career in life and health insurance. He also was recognized for his contributions to the Boy Scouts of America, to the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, and for service and leadership in his community. The City of Indianapolis Office of the Mayor proclaimed Dec. 5 as Ed Bonach Day, and on Dec. 18 Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb awarded Bonach with the Sagamore of the Wabash – the highest distinction in the state of Indiana.

1969 Charles Achter received the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa State University School of Education in 2015. Achter is senior lecturer and 1981 Robert Walsh Jr. received assistant to the director of the Albert Nelson Marquis the Iowa State School of Lifetime Achievement Award, Education. He started teaching an honor bestowed on lawyers at Iowa State in 2007 after 32 who have “achieved career years as a high school principal. longevity and demonstrated unwavering excellence in their chosen fields.” He also received the honor of being one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators, an award presented to less than one half of one percent of active U.S. attorneys. Walsh is a partner at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, where he is 1974 Kurt Wachtler has been a practicing personal injury law inducted into the Hill-Murray attorney. High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Wachtler, a 1970 graduate of Hill-Murray and 1972 and 1973 Saint John’s football All-MIAC honoree, is an engineer with Texas Instruments.

1976 Ed Bonach, recently retired from his position as chief executive officer of CNO Financial in Carmel, Ind., was recognized in a Dec. 2 speech by Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bonach was lauded for his public and


Michael Crouser ’85 honed his photography skills and cultivated his love for books as a student at Saint John’s. He brought them together for his first book, 1994’s Saint John’s in Pictures, which taught him the basics of publishing, printing and selling a publication. “It was a photographic undertaking, but it was also a business undertaking. It was a great experience.” That experience inspired his highly acclaimed books to come: 2007’s Los Toros, 2008’s Dog Run and 2017’s Mountain Ranch. Crouser started his career in commercial photography. “Eventually it became an exploration into personal aesthetic and personal expression and using that found aesthetic to explore topics like bull fighting or dogs or mountain ranching,” he said. “The camera became a way to explore topics that were fascinating to me, photography aside – disappearing cultures, rough and violent ways of life or exploring the topics of life and death.”

1983 Tony Schertler, executive director of the Dakota County (Minn.) Community Development Agency, received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National

Crouser exhibits his work nationally and internationally and continues to examine unique pockets of the world through his camera lens. “It’s still a great way for me to make my way through life.” SJUALUM.COM/CLASSNOTES




Brotherly influence helped lead Peter Crouser ’94 first to photography and then to Saint John’s. “I grew up watching my brother work with a camera and film and work in the dark room, and I thought that looked really fun,” he said of Michael Crouser ’85. He followed Michael and their brother Dan ’83 to Collegeville and honed his eye taking photos for what was then the Public Affairs Office. He has since forged a unique commercial photography career, evolving with the shifting media landscape from big photography studios to a successful freelance career with clients like Gander Mountain (now Gander Outdoors). “I think if I had to put my finger on just one reason Saint John’s helped me it was how to better communicate with people and form relationships in the business world.” Crouser’s newest specialty: virtual home tours via interactive 3D real estate photography. “In the past couple of years, advertising photography has taken a nosedive,” he says. “It’s sort of forced me to reinvent myself, at least part of myself, in the real estate world.”


Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Schertler worked for nine years in the private sector as senior vice president at Springsted Incorporated, a public sector financial advisory firm. He also served 15 years with the City of Saint Paul, 10 of them with the department of planning and economic development.

Law – Claimants. Montpetit and Scully are partners at SiebenCarey, Minneapolis.

… on the move

1982 Bill Jeatran has been appointed president of Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh, serving the insurance needs of middle market companies in the U.S. Jeatran has served as a board member of the Saint John’s University Board of Trustees and of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

1984 Paul Williams, a 1987 graduate of the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, was interviewed and profiled in the school’s online Alumni News page after receiving the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017. Williams, president and CEO of Project for Pride in Living (PPL) in Minneapolis, was honored for his work with the nonprofit organization that provides housing, employment training 1988 Erich Martens is the new executive director of the and education in Minneapolis’s Minnesota State High School Phillips neighborhood. He League. He started Mar. 1. previously served as deputy Martens became the seventh mayor of St. Paul and before executive director in the 101that worked for foundations year history of the MSHSL, and a nonprofit lending which is a voluntary, nonprofit institution. association of public and 1995 Jeffrey Montpetit and private schools with a history Michael F. Scully ’78 have of service to Minnesota’s been included in The Best high school youth since 1916. Lawyers in America® 2018. Martens, formerly principal They were selected by their at Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minn.) peers for work in the practice High School, replaces Dave areas of Personal Injury Stead, the longest serving Litigation – Plaintiffs and executive director in MSHSL Workers’ Compensation

history. An education and mathematics double major who also played football at SJU, Martens served as principal at Sauk Rapids-Rice since 2004. He previously served as principal at Sauk Centre (Minn.) High School from 1999-2004.

1992 Denis McDonough, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, has been named an executive fellow of the Global Policy Initiative in the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. McDonough will serve as an instructor for the Keough School’s global policy seminar, teaching the inaugural cohort of 38 graduate students in the new Master of Global Affairs program.

of the Hennepin County Bar Association Real Property Section.

2006 Nic Barlage has been named president of business operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. Barlage joins the Cavaliers after serving as senior vice president and chief sales officer with the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, Barlage was part of the Cavaliers organization for five seasons where he was most recently vice president of sales and service before departing for Phoenix in 2014.

2009 Pete Jensen has been awarded a graduate fellowship through the University of St. Thomas’ Murray Institute to study human rights, government, economics, education and health care in Brazil. Awardees are expected to share the results of their research with 2000 John Saunders, an experienced Archdiocesan educators and/ real estate and business or the national community law attorney, has helped of Catholic educators. Jensen found Avisen Legal, P.A., in is currently a science teacher Minneapolis with five other at Hill-Murray School and attorneys. Saunders, who has is pursuing his master’s a master’s in rhetoric from St. degree in arts in theology and Cloud State University and community engagement at J.D. from the University of Luther Seminary, both in St. St. Thomas, serves as chair Paul, Minn.


Michael Murray ’01 launched his professional photography career at age 19 when he sold a $5 print of a shot he had taken for The Record. Now he has his own company, Michael Murray Photography, and photographs events and sports photos for a variety of Twin Cities high schools, colleges and non-profits, plus weddings, engagements, family portraits and 300 to 400 portraits and events a year. His art major plus work with The Record, the Office of Marketing and Communication and Arca Artium set him up for success in 2008, when the photography studio where he was working closed and he struck out on his own. “Saint John’s/Saint Ben’s gives you autonomy. They teach you to get your job done, and if you get your job done and it’s professional and you meet the expectations set for you, you are free to grow.” Although he works with a lot of different schools, his portfolio contains plenty of Johnnies and Bennies and photos the school itself has hired him to take. “That just speaks to the community of Saint John’s. They practice what they preach.”





Scott Kranz ’07 isn’t sure if his love for outdoor adventure inspired his photography or vice versa, but both motivated his 2015 transition from lawyer to full-time photographer. “After we moved to Seattle in 2013 I jumped into the Pacific Northwest’s outdoor scene and took off running,” the Minneapolis native said of his new home. “My love for both the outdoors and photography grew hand-in-hand and at an exponential rate.”

… on the bookshelf

1973 Kevin Cashman, global leader of CEO and Executive 1963 Franco Pagnucci, emeritus Development at Korn Ferry, professor of English at the has published a third edition University of Wisconsinof his book Leadership from Platteville and poet, has the Inside Out: Becoming published a book of poetry, a Leader for Life (BerrettFirstborn (North Star Press of Koehler). First published 20 St. Cloud) that was selected years ago, the anniversary as an Outstanding Work edition includes new research of Poetry for 2017 by the in leadership, neuroscience Wisconsin Library Association. and psychology as well as This is his seventh volume insights from Cashman’s of poetry. Pagnucci was a interviews with CEOs and presenter at CSB/SJU Reunion work with thousands of other 2017 teaching a class on leaders dealing with the new writing family stories. challenges of leading in the 21st century.

He made a daring professional leap but landed well. Kranz’s clients include Eddie Bauer, CLIF Bar, Travel Oregon and Backpacker Magazine. Kranz dove into photography as a hobby while studying abroad in France his junior year. Now he continues to combine photography with travel — and outdoor adventure — in places like northern Japan, the French Alps and, more recently, Patagonia and Antarctica. His time at Saint John’s also set him up for his big plunge into adventure. “I think it’s safe to say that given the pristine natural environment on the Saint John’s campus, I was more than ready to explore the outdoor scene when we moved to Seattle.”



R.J. Hinkemeyer, has published Shadows on the Soul: A Maryland Mystery. His latest novel tells the story of a Catholic priest who gets entangled in a homicide investigation. Hinkemeyer is also the author of the Minnesota Mystery series. An Army veteran and former Federal official, he lives with his family in southern Maryland. He received his graduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

1985 Michael Crouser, a Minneapolis photographer, published his third monograph, Mountain Ranch (University of Texas Press) in the summer of 2017, featuring 165 toned black-and-white images from the disappearing world of cattle ranching in the mountains of Colorado. The 10-year project has received national attention for its significance in documenting the lives of Colorado mountain ranchers with stories on National Public


Radio and Colorado Public Radio as well as reviewed by Shutterbug Magazine and American Cowboy Magazine.

… doing cool stuff

1951 Terry Dooley was selected as the 2017 recipient of ENR California’s Legacy Award, presented annually to an individual who has achieved a lifetime legacy of service in design and construction and who has given above and beyond to his profession and community. A 63-year construction executive, Dooley was honored for his contributions to the advancement of seismic repair and retrofit techniques in the Los Angeles area.

(Minnesota Public Radio), previewing the four-piece group’s "Curtain Call" from its new album, Symmetry Somewhere. The song was named the Current’s “Today’s Song of the Day.”

Marriages 1996 Aaron Carnell to Dan Bartek, Dec. ’16 2007 Sara (Schneeberg ’07) to Ben Ivory, July ’17

2008 Katie Dunn to Chris Erichsen, Aug. ’17 2009 2010


1985 Paul Vogel completed the Antarctica Ice Marathon Nov. 28, covering the 26.2mile course in 5:50:26 in temperatures that hovered around -13F. Vogel ran to honor 2012 the Navy SEALs and to pay 2013 tribute to Brian Hoke, a former SEAL who was killed in action last fall. Vogel’s time ranked 20th in the men’s division, eighth among American runners. 2013 Charlie Bruber has been on tour in the U.S. and Canada with musical groups Tabah and Black Market Brass. Bruber, an electric bass player and vocalist, was featured with Tabah on 89.3 The Current


Andrea Norris to David Horn, June ’17 Michaella Johnson to Garrett Backes, Sept. ’17 Emily (Rud ’11) to David Bernardy, Sept. ’17 Josh Thelen to Zack Thelen-Liebl, Dec. ’16 Megan (Stinchfield ’12) to Leo Flynn, Oct. ’17 Katie (Elmquist ’12) to Andrew Grausam, Sept. ’17 Marissa (Gillespie ’13) to Aaron Haakonson, Oct. ’17 Kara (Nyberg ’12) to Matt Reeve, Nov. ’17 Emelia (Hauck ’13) to Austin Jacobs, Sept. ’17 Megan (Lehman ’13) to Joey Benson, Aug. ’17 Alison (Schadow ’13) to Jack Brandes, Sept. ’17 Meghan (Simmet ’13) to Dan Hermes, Oct. ’17 Sarah (Kruger ’13) to Andrew Hilger, Sept. ’17 Riley (Johnson Ries ’13) to John Ries, Sept. ’17 Amy (Kiminski ’14) to Tim Baebenroth, May ’17 Hayley (Enfield ’15) to Thomas Fadden, May ’17

Tommy O’Laughlin ’13 was awed by Saint John’s beauty when he arrived in fall 2009. “At the time I was really into landscape photography, and of course these places really lend themselves to landscape photography.” Eight years later, O’Laughlin was hanging out the window of a twoseater plane taking aerial photos of that landscape as CSB/SJU’s institutional photographer. O’Laughlin freelanced for about a year after graduating before CSB/SJU called him back. “The opportunity to spend more time here beyond being a student was enticing, and I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t stay away.” He and his student workers photograph virtually every aspect of campus – sports, events, portraits and the occasional aerial. Mentoring those students is an unexpected bonus. “It’s been so rewarding to see students’ faces light up when they start to internalize the training and they look at the back of the camera and say ‘Oh, man, I really took this,’” he said. “Every photographer is just so unique, and seeing that firsthand though my students really informs my work in a critical way.” SJUALUM.COM/CLASSNOTES



2014 Amy (Knutson ’15) to Jake Hall, Aug. ’17




Caitlyn to Joseph Heimerl, Aug. ’17 Clare (Murn ’13) to Trent Johnson, June ’17 Laura (Kosch ’14) to Calvin Koep, Oct. ’17 Laura (Jellinger ’14) to Joshua Lindquist, Aug. ’17 Lindsey (Weber ’14) to Matt Martien, June ’17 Brienna to Justin Miller, Jan. ’17 Molly (Johnson ’14) to Andrew Spear, Sept. ’17 Tara (Frey ’16) to Zane Heinselman, Sept. ’17 Laura (Backus ’15) to Tom Steichen, July ’17 Melissa (Torgerson ’16) to Troy Bauer, May ’17 Kassandra (Gall ’16) to Ben Brown, Sept. ’17 Michaela (Roskowiak ’16) to Nathan Kor, Aug. ’17 Sarah (Lindenfelser ’15) to Taylor McAlpine, Oct. ’17 Rebekah (Meschke ’16) to Michael Wojahn, July ’17

Births 1996 Kindra & Chris Englund, boy, Crosby,

2005 2006



Dec. ’17

1998 Naomi (Nakada ’00) & Brian Lynch, girl, Kiwa, Jan. ’18

1999 Amy & Pat Brady, girl, Penelope, July ’17 2002



Nicole & Jeremy Kletzin, boy, Connor, Oct. ’17 Sommer & Drew Engelman, girl, Oakley, May ’17 Sara (Anderson ’02) & Brendon Krieg, boy, Oliver, May ’17 Kristina & Jamie Louwagie, girl, Lyla, Oct. ’17 Leah (Haehn ’03) & Nick Sanner, boy, Callan, Sept. ’17 Kareema & Darren Dookeeram, boy, Zachary, Apr. ’17 Jana (Viramontes ’02) & Alan Gaffaney, boy, Joseph, May ’17 Kelly (Koenig ’05) & Nate Hiestand, boy, Spencer, Apr. ’17 Kathleen & Jim Pach, girl, Katherine, Oct. ’17 Lisa & Saul Wolf, boy, Ivan, Nov. ’17 Liz (Leslie ’06) & Joe Housman, boy, Louis, Aug. ’17





Jillian (Rigg ’09) & Pat McKenzie, boy, Patrick, Nov. ’17 Breanna & Paul Olsen, boy, Hann, Dec. ’17 Kaitlin & Frank Jadwin, girl, Ina, Nov. ’17 Amy & Joshua Meyer, girl, Courtney, Aug. ’17 Brooke (Wheeler ’07) & Jason Hardie, girl, Lily, Apr. ’17 Julie (Seifert ’08) & Kyle Kluever, boy, Miles, Apr. ’17 Rachel (Istas ’06) & Nick Prudhomme, twin boys, June ’17 Ashley & Matt Reubendale, girl, Eleanor, Nov. ’17 Melissa & JJ Seggelke, boy, Benjamin, July ’17 Michelle (Pickle ’10) & Jeff Brown, girl, Emma, Aug. ’17 Rebecca & Christopher Hoye, boy, Brayden, Nov. ’17 Katie & Casey Larson, boy, Corey, Nov. ’17 Katie (Meyer ’08) & Tony Rawlings, girl, Mila, Aug. ’17 Tamara (Slivnik ’07) & Kyle Shaughnessy, girl, Josephine, Nov. ’17 Krysten & Aaron Schwartz, girl, Emilia, Nov. ’17 Kristina & Joe Degiovanni, girl, Alice, Nov. ’17 Laura & Paul Eich, boy, Lachlan, Aug. ’17 Emily & Michael Fairchild, boy, Michael, Nov. ’17 Anne (Strommen ’08) & Luke Keene, boy, Harrison, Aug. ’17 Katie (Peterson ’08) & Tim Kennealy, boy, Francis, Jan. ’18 Mallory (Lundeen ’08) & Justin Swierk, boy, Nikolai, June ’17 Sonya (Kamen ’09) & Andrew Gaydos, girl, Matilda, Aug. ’17 Brooke (Peterson ’09) & Karl Nohner, girl, Julia, Jan. ’18 Jenna & Mike Carr, girl, Silje, Jan. ’18 Madeleine & Valentin Sierra Arias, girl, Allegra, Dec. ’17 Jill (Warren ’2010) & Aaron Traut, boy, Hayes, Sept. ’17 Shay & Jeff Vandendriessche, girl, Layn, Oct. ’17 Tamara (Krueger ’11) & Ryan Wimmer, girl, Josie, Aug. ’17 Laura (Andersen ’11) & Nick Alonzi, boy, Anthony, Aug. ’17


Kayelee (Gill ’13) & Jack Freeman, boy, James, Nov. ’17 Abby (Neigebauer ’11) & Patrick McClure, girl, Murphy, Aug. ’17 Melissa Kay & Andrew Obritsch, boy, Elliot, Oct. ’17 Kayla (Parker ’14) & Kevin Jennissen, girl, Eleanor, Sept. ’17

Deaths 1942 Rev. Fintan Bromenshenkel, OSB, 1943 1944 1947

1948 1949




brother of deceased, Rev. Silvan Bromenshenkel, OSB ’44, Sept. ’17 Dr. Arthur Turek, father of Tom ’67, brother of deceased, Robert ’42, Oct. ’17 Dr. George Minner, DDS, Aug. ’17 John Spiekermeier, July ’17 Patricia Cook, spouse of deceased, Richard ’47, Nov. ’17 Mary Hanson, mother of Br. John ’78; spouse of deceased, Dr. Harris ’47, Oct. ’17 Catherine Renner, mother of Richard ’78 and David ’82; spouse of deceased, Robert ’47, Dec. ’17 Gordon Durenberger, Aug. ’17 Gordon Moosbrugger, Jan. ’18 William “Bill” Cofell, father of David ’87, Nov. ’17 Vincent Helling, Nov. ’17 James Lenarz, Nov. ’17 Eleanor McHale, mother of Michael ’75, John ’79 and Gregory ’84; spouse of deceased, Patrick ’49, Nov. ’17 Robert Schanhaar, July ’17 Eldor Wilfahrt, father of Tim ’76, Oct. ’17 Tom Landwehr, father of David ’74, Oct. ’17 Rev. Leo Leisen, brother of Donald ’61 and Rev. Richard ’52, Dec.’17 Donald Matakis, Sept. ’17 Rev. Robert Matter, brother of deceased John ’48, Nov. ’17 Lawrence Roche, Aug. ’17 Leo Walsh, May ’17 Renee Hansen, spouse of deceased, Gerald ’51, July ’17 Robert Rengel, July ’17 Joan Seifert, mother of Matt ’76, Mark ’78, James ’87 and Paul ’84, spouse of deceased, Donald ’51, Sept. ’17 Bill Weiler, father of Mark ’01, Aug. ’17 Virginia Reichert, spouse of Tom ’52





Donna Hinnenkamp, spouse of deceased, Art ’52, Jan. ’18 Art Hinnenkamp, brother of deceased, Al ’49, Jan. ’18 Katherine Ruhland, spouse of deceased, John ’52, Dec. ’17 Dorothy O’Brien, spouse of Ed ’52, mother of Hank ’81, Dec. ’17 William Weyandt, father of Bill ’87, Nov. ’17 Bibi Tristani, spouse of Felix ’52, mother of Miguel ’77 and Martin ’83, Nov. ’17 Arnold “Arnie” Zent, Oct. ’17 Michelle “Shelly” Coborn, daughter of deceased Dan ’52, sister of Chris ’81 and Tom ’91, Oct. ’17 Jim Engel, father of Greg ’79 and Jim, Oct. ’17 Eileen Schwieters, mother of Gary ’82, spouse of deceased, Guy ’56, Dec. ’17 Rev. Joseph Kieselbach, Oct. ’17. Rev. Thomas Dignan, Sept. ’17 Conrad Schmid, father of Doug ’84, brother of Allan ’48 and deceased brother, Terry ’62, Oct. ’17 Diane Peichel, spouse of Phil ’54, mother of Ted ’83, Dec. ’17 Kenneth Ziebarth, Sept. ’17. Mary Donahue, spouse of Michael ’54, mother of Gary ’79 and William ’84, Aug. ’17 Ray Bowar, father of Tom ’81, Jan. ’18 Ralph Torborg, father of Tom ’82 and Dan ’86; deceased siblings, Fr. Lawrence ’48, Fr. Elmer ’51 and Leander ’51, Jan. ’18 Chuck Grady, Dec. ’17 Darlene Hofman, spouse of Bob ’55, mother of Rob ’81, Paul ’86, Tom ’88, John ’89 and Tim ’93, Dec. ’17 Helen Krebsbach, spouse of deceased, Tom ’55, Dec. ’17 Rev. Donald Wingert, July ’17 John “Jack” Stackpool, father of Dick ’81, Sept. ’17 John Hartle, June ’16 Paul Castner, Jr., brother of Peter ’55, July ’17 Dr. Richard Coller, brother of Fr. Jerome, OSB ’56, Dec. ’17 Rev. Eugene McGlothlin, OSB, Feb. ’18 Catherine Putz, spouse of Ron ’56, Oct. ’17 Elvira “Spatz” Eizenhoefer, spouse of Dave ’56, Aug. ’17 Katherine Lilly, spouse of James ’56, July ’17

1957 Jim Laing, father of Tom ’83, brother of







Virgil ’63, Jan. ’18 Rev. Robert Landsberger, brother of Gerald ’50, Rev. Nicholas ’57 and deceased, Jerome ’43, Feb. ’18 Sheldon Mielke, brother of deceased, Thomas ’51, Apr. ’17 Harold Nilles, brother of David ’72 and deceased brother, Paul ’60, July ’17 Daniel Rorabeck, Nov. ’17 Jim Braus, brother of deceased, S. Mary ’67, Oct. ’17 Chris Kauffman, Jan. ’18 Mark Lohmann, brother of John ’64, Oct. ’17 Rev. Francis Wehri, July ’17 Michael Fandel, father of Neil ’91 and deceased brother, Val ’37, John ’47 and Thomas ’50, Aug. ’17 James Chan, father of James ’89, Aug. ’17 Susannah Trebtoske, spouse of Peter ’58, July ’17 Richard Appelgren, brother of Doug ’72, Jan. ’18 Donald Hamling, father of Tom ’87 and Paul ’81, Jan. ’18 Richard Sexton, Nov. ’17 Marietta Schwartz, daughter of Richard Haeg ’59, sister of Benedict ’88, Greg ’84, Chris ’92, Dan ’93 and Tim ’94, Sept. ’17 Anna Blais, spouse of Don ’60, Sept. ’17 Rev. Robert Brown, Jan. ’18 Duane Deutz, brother of Ron ’58; deceased siblings, Rev. Mark ’58 and Roger ’62, Jan. ’18 Mary Ann Hoppe, mother of Joe ’87, spouse of deceased, Roger, 60, Nov. ’17 Brian Gapko, son of Rudy ’60, Nov. ’17 James Staudt, Oct. ’17 Melvin “Ed” McGaa, Aug. ’17 James Nowatzki, June ’17 Gladys Kobishop, sister of Rev. Don Tauscher, OSB ’61, Nov. ’17 Michael Maeder, Sept. ’17 Patrick C. Murphy, son of Mike ’61 and brother of Tim ’88, Jan. ’18 Marie Curtis, spouse of Jack ’62, Oct. ’17 Jeanne Halloran, spouse of Gordy ’62, Sept. ’17 Kenneth Fischer, July ’17 Mary Kin, spouse of Steven ’63, Dec. ’17 David Rohan, Nov. ’17 Sister Mary Alice Schnur, OSB, Aug. ’17

1964 Brian James Conn, son of Jim ’64,

1965 1966


1968 1969




1973 1974

Oct. ’17 Don Corbett, father of Tom ’97, Feb. ’18 Gary Hackenmueller, Jan. ’18 Sandra Tomczik, spouse of Ron ’65, mother of Paul ’92, Dec. ’17 Dave Mosford, brother of Robert ’68 and brother of deceased, Tom ’64, Jan. ’18 Gail Ponterio, spouse of Dr. John ’66. Dec. ’17 Paul Jennissen, Nov. ’17 Gary Youso, brother of Severin ’59, and Ron ’64, Jan. ’18 Bette Bishop, mother of John ’67 and Jim ’79, Sept. ’17 Duane Steil, Mar. ’17 Tom Blake, brother of Peter ’69, son of deceased, Dr. James ’34, Dec. ’17 Terry Lies, brother of deceased, Neil ’61, Oct. ’17 Ronald Menzhuber, father of Chris ’00, Oct. ’17 Leon Tauscher, brother of Fr. Don, OBS ’61, July ’17 Gary Kremer, brother of LeRoy ’64 and Michael ’72, July ’17 R. Thomas Keyes, Jr., brother of Jim ’70 and Dan ’76, Dec. ’17 Michael Fastner, father of Mike ’04, Jan. ’18 Bill O’Connell, Jan. ’18 Deborah Ratte, sister of Rev. Tom Andert, OSB ’70, Dec. ’17 Joan Courchane, mother of Chris ’99 and sister of Tom Wozniak ’71, Dec. ’17 Warren Peterson, Nov. ’17 George “Jerry” Huss, May ’17 Sandra Battistini, spouse of Marcus ’71, July ’17 Edward Pull, son of deceased, Edward ’49, Dec. ’17 John Sellner, brother of Tim ’77, Jan. ’18 Monica Baltes, mother of Rev. Tim, OSB ’72, Dec. ’17 Deborah Taddei, spouse of Jim ’72, Sept. ’17 Mary Lou Walz, spouse of Gary ’72, July ’17 Prudence Johnson, mother of Craig ’73, Nov. ’16 Patrick J. McKeon, III, Sept. ’17 Earl Christianson, father of Tony ’74, Dave ’75, Peter ’79, Bill ’83, Eric ’85, Paul ’88 and Nicholas ’93, Aug. ’17



1974 Howard “Howie” Braun, father of 1975



Chris ’14, brother of deceased, Dr. Don ’68, Oct. ’17 Ernest Pierzina, father of Br. Robin, OSB ’75, Dec. ’17 Bob Pfannesnstein, father of Jon ’97 and deceased brother Tom ’74, Nov. ’17 Paul Tix, Aug. ’17 Jim Ebacher, brother of Jon ’86 and Tom ’78, Sept. ’17 Sister Alice Doll, OSF, Aug. ’17 Sister Johnette Punam, OSB, Feb. ’18 John Rajkowski, brother of Frank III ’79 and Michael ’84; son of deceased, Frank ’43, Aug. ’17 Dr. Joseph Cella, father of John ’80, Joe ’78, Jim ’85 and Tom ’94, Dec. ’17 Elizabeth Felicelli, mother of Jerry ’78 and Robert ’80, Dec. ’17 Scott Shipley, brother of Steve ’75, Nov. ’17 Marge Finley, mother of Mike ’78 and Paul ’92, Sept. ’17 LeDonna Norman, mother of Jeff ’78 Aug. ’17 Anne Barta, spouse of John ’78, July ’17

1979 Frank Anderson, Jr., brother of Tim ’79



1983 1984 1985 1986 1987

1988 Tom Miller, Jan. ’18

and Jeff ’86, Jan. ’18 George Cummings, father of Tom ’79 and Michael ’89, July ’17 Robert Erpenbach, brother of Mike ’80, Oct. ’17 Dr. Tom Nyvold, brother of deceased, Robby ’84, Nov. ’17 Bernard Petrich, father of Michael ’81, Mar. ’17 Ned Saimon Arriola, father of James ’07, Nov. ’17 Christopher Fashant, son of Ron ’53 and brother of Tom ’76, Oct. ’17 Rick Villalta, brother of Donald ’82 and Peter ’87, Aug. ’17 Paul Li, Jan. ’18 Steve Larson, son of Wayne ’60, brother of David ’89, Dec. ’17 Jonathan “JY” Young, brother of Jeff ’82, Jan. ’18 Myron Felix, father of Bob ’85, Nov. ’17 Jeff Benning, brother of Ken ’85 and Paul ’88, Oct. ’17 Christopher Traiser, Jan. ’18

1993 1994 1995 1996 2000 2002


Hazel Fecht, mother of Rev. Geoffrey, OSB ’88, Sept. ’17 John Beutz, son of Bob ’64, brother of Chris ’90, Jan. ’18 Thusnelda “Teddy” Herzfeld, mother of Noreen, SOTA ’94, Aug. ’17 William Buttell, Jr., father of Will ’95, Aug. ’17 Michelle Rodell, spouse of Nathan ’96, July ’17 Rev. Ron Schmelzer SOT, father of Stephen ’01, July ’17 Joan Willenbring, mother of Jim ’02 and Bob ’05, Oct. ’17 Gary Hugeback, spouse of Bonnie ’02, Sept. ’17 Spencer Gurrola, Aug. ’17

Alumni Association reaching out to Saint John’s alums By Brian Kelly ’99 The Saint John’s University Alumni Association Board of Directors is excited about the opportunity to enhance communication between the board and the entire alumni base. The board works hard to help Saint John’s, current students and the alumni network, and we want to share everything that’s happening so you know where and how to engage with SJU. The Alumni Board’s five committees are focused on: • Helping admissions recruit new students • Helping current students prepare for life after Saint John’s • Keeping alumni connected • Promoting Benedictine values in their lives • Helping raise money for scholarships through the SJU Student Fund Each committee has projects that provide alumni an opportunity to engage with SJU. Please consider volunteering for Take a Johnnie to Lunch, being available for a conversation with a prospective Johnnie or serving on your class committee.


One of my primary goals in my year as alumni association president is to have more Johnnies participate in these programs. We don’t need a lot of your time – we just need a little bit from a lot of you. For many alumni, a reunion is coming up June 22-24. The new summer reunion with Saint Ben’s has been one of the alumni association’s great successes. Be sure to mark this on your calendar and gather your classmates for a memorable and fun Reunion weekend. Please watch this space for continued communication. We will highlight the work of each board committee and key events you will want to attend. Brian Kelly ’99 is President of the Saint John’s University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is a Wealth Management Advisor with Northwestern Mutual. Contact him at

THE ROSE ENSEMBLE Welcome the Stranger: The Promise of Saint Benedict & Saint Scholastica Friday, March 16 @ 8 p.m. Great Hall, SJU CHE MALAMBO Saturday, March 24 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN Saturday, April 7 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU

AIR PLAY Saturday, April 28 @ 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. The 2 p.m. performance is sensory friendly Escher Auditorium, CSB DAYMÉ AROCENA Friday, May 4 @ 7:30 p.m. Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, SJU DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM Saturday, May 5 @ 7:30 p.m. Escher Auditorium, CSB

To order call 320-363-5777 or visit



Who You Are Speaks Louder By Tod Worner The list contained topics being offered to student leaders at a Saint John’s University/College of St. Benedict Student Leadership Seminar, and it looked impressive. The voice at the other end of the phone was confident and articulate, crisp and engaged. It was Jack Cummings ’18, president of Saint John’s University’s student body, and he was just as impressive. “We’ve had a speaker who had to cancel last minute, and we wondered if you might be able to speak in his place?” he said. “Here are some of the topics we have so far: Goal-setting and project management. Leveraging your leadership. Business leadership. Innovation. Managing a team. Building and marketing a brand. What do you think?” Wow. Saint John’s University is barely an hour away from my home in Minneapolis. For years, my family has driven by it (largely unaware of the towering Abbey Church) en route to a lake resort by Detroit Lakes or on my way home from college or my wife’s North Dakota family home. My most intimate connection to the university at that point was learning to water ski behind iconic Saint John’s football coach John Gagliardi’s speedboat (Coach Gagliardi is my aunt’s brother-in-law). That was until I met Mike Cummings. Mike is the physician who recruited me to my current clinical position, one of my closest friends and one of the wisest people I have ever known. He is a 1979 Saint John’s graduate, and Jack Cummings’ uncle. For 17 years, I have had lunch with Mike, gone out for beers, taught with him, exchanged towel-snapping humor and plumbed topics ranging from faith to politics, history to literature. And over the years, Mike has taught me a great deal about Saint John’s.

Than What You Do When Mike begins reflecting on the university, it’s as if he just left the campus yesterday. The landscape in his language brings Saint John’s to life – from the cavernous Abbey Church and the buzzing Refectory to the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library and woodworking shop, from the Great Hall and the quadrangle to the Abbey guesthouse and the Stella Maris chapel on Lake Sagatagan. The thing that has always stuck with me about Saint John’s University (and by extension, its sister College of Saint Benedict) is that culture matters. If it is doing its job, a university is not simply meant to educate. It is supposed to form. And formation is not a matter of bestowing knowledge, but engendering wisdom. Even more than fostering skills and employability, college should forge character. Beyond offering facts that populate the mind, college should offer lessons that cultivate the soul. Saint John’s did that for Mike Cummings. Something in him incessantly looked for this substance and he found it at Saint John’s. To this day, upon finding out that a person of particularly impressive character – bright, witty, religious, deep, grounded – went to Saint John’s (or Saint Ben’s), I simply nod my head and say to myself, “Well, that makes sense.” So what wisdom could I impart to a group of leaders coming out of a University that I already greatly esteem? Simply this: Be genuine. Be intentional. Be courageous. Be respectful. Be visionary. And don’t forget to pray. God calls you to lead. Lead faithfully. Who you are speaks louder than what you do. Tod Worner is an internal medicine physician & adjunct assistant professor of clinical medicine for the University of Minnesota Medical School. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.

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


Planned Giving A Lasting Impact on Students Bob Delorme ’53 impacted students for most of his adult life. And at age 86, the political science professor emeritus at California State University Long Beach (CSULB) has made a provision in his will to Saint John’s University to continue impacting first-generation college students with scholarship support. His 92-year-old brother Gregory, a designated beneficiary in the younger brother’s will, instructed Bob to give the money to Saint John’s, creating a unique “brotherly” scholarship fund for students. A first-generation college student from Cando, N.D., Delorme is grateful for the guidance he received

from local business people with ties to Saint John’s and the College of Saint Benedict. Upon discharge from the U.S. Army in 1956, he returned to Saint John’s to work as assistant registrar to Fr. Gunther Rolfson, OSB. Delorme received his doctorate in political science at the University of Minnesota in 1968 and taught at CSULB for 34 years. In 1974, as department chair, Delorme organized a semester-long symposium featuring six nationally known speakers who each spent two days on the campus presenting a major address and participating in class discussions. Having been active in the 1968 presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy ’35, Delorme included him as one of the major speakers. The speeches and classroom discussions were edited and published in a book, The State of American Society, to which Delorme added a chapter summarizing and interpreting the contributions of the speakers. The connection to Senator McCarthy began in 1953 when McCarthy was SJU’s commencement speaker. This continued when former professor Emerson Hynes ’37, who worked in the McCarthy senate office, helped the young doctoral student attain summer internships in 1963 and 1964 in the Bureau of the Census. After moving to California to teach, Delorme returned to campus over the years to visit Fr. Gunther, former professors, classmates and friends. More recently he returned to campus for the Eugene McCarthy lectures and now has a special connection to the Eugene McCarthy Center. He donated 27 Eugene McCarthy books and memorabilia, including the iconic blue and white Gene McCarthy presidential campaign daisy stickers.

Your Gift, Your Impact. To learn more about making a bequest to Saint John’s, contact Jim Dwyer ’75, director of planned giving, at 800-635-7303 or

Bob Delorme ’53

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID


Saint John’s University

P.O. Box 7222 Collegeville, MN 56321








We look forward to seeing you

JUNE 22-24

Classes ending in 3 and 8

Your class reunion is fast approaching! Mark your calendar to reconnect with friends and enjoy the campuses in the summer.

Learn more and register today at