Monday, February 1, 2010

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Managing Editor

The final snow emergency of 2008-09 was the last time students would receive a call “from Jerrie Seibert.”

Jerrie Seibert, former director of Campus Safety, died on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis, less than a year after retiring from Saint Mary’s University.

Before coming to SMU, Seibert worked at the Winona Police Department for 32 years, where he served as deputy chief before his retirement. Then, Seibert worked at SMU for 10 years as the director of Campus Safety.

Chris Kendall, vice president for Student Development, said that he will remember Seibert for “his trusted advice, his people skills, his sense of humor, his love for his family and of course, his voice.”

For those who worked closely with Seibert at Campus Safety, his death signifies a great loss. For Clint Estle, associate director of Campus Safety, Seibert served as a teacher, co-worker and friend.

“Jerrie was a big part of my life,” said Estle. “He was my boss and partner here at Saint Mary’s and my friend. If I needed help with my truck or advice about a girl I was dating, I knew he was good for it!” Seibert had a knack for working with people, said Estle, and was able to provide comfort to others in situations that some would find uncomfortable.

“He knew when to crack a joke if he thought it would help ease the tension,” said Estle. “And he was right.”

A few years ago on graduation day, Seibert and Estle were driving around campus on a golf cart and found themselves in an interesting situation. Seibert and Estle were driving down the path next to Gilmore Creek and quickly found out that the golf cart they were riding on did not have any brakes.

“I could feel the panic building inside me as I pictured he and I crashing into a tree or ending up upside down in the creek,” said Estle. “I turned to look at him as he looked at me. All he did was shrug his shoulders and look back down the hill and concentrate on driving the cart.” Estle said that he and Seibert drove across the footbridge and ended up in the bushes by the Saint Yon’s steps.

“We sat there for a few seconds before Jerrie turned to me and said, ‘I think we need to get the brakes looked at,’” said Estle.

Two new vice presidents to join the SMU family

Editor in Chief

Saint Mary’s University is actively searching for two new vice presidents, a vice president for the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs (SGPP) and a senior vice president for university advancement.

“Really, only one of them is new,” said Ann Merchlewitz, executive vice president and general counsel. After Jeffrey Highland, former provost and vice president for the college, retired last spring, Jim Bedtke took on the duties of vice president for the college in addition to his position as vice president for SGPP. “One person can’t hold both positions,” Merchlewitz said, adding that both positions require a significant time commitment.

The new vice president for SGPP will “grow grad programs, grow (the university’s) reputation in the Twin Cities and make (the university) more visible,” Merchlewitz said, while Bedtke will retain the position as vice president of the college.

The senior vice president for university advancement is a new position that will oversee the Alumni and Development and Communications and Marketing offices.

The new senior vice president will look at “big picture things, integrating those two departments in ways that will benefit the university in the long run,” Merchlewitz said.

“The push for adding that new position is to continue to create some stability in that area (Alumni and Development),” Merchlewitz said. She said there has been a lot of turnover in the department in the last few years, and the senior vice president will be able to look at the “broad term” and “big picture” while those working in the department can continue to build relationships with alumni.

Merchlewitz believes both vice president positions are “investments in the institution” that will increase revenue by increased enrollment at SGPP or philanthropic and alumni gifts.

“I really believe that these are really big investments in the long term health and viability of the institution,” Merchlewitz said.

Faculty and staff donate $1,400 to local Food Shelf

News Editor

The Saint Mary’s University Volunteer Committee, comprised of faculty and staff, raised and donated $1,400 toWinona Volunteer Services to benefit the local food shelf, according to Laurie Haase, business office coordinator.

Each year, Volunteer Committee chooses to raise money through a variety of fundraisers to donate to a cause or group they feel is in particular need. The committee choses to help a local cause, the food shelf, because of a recent increase of families in need, Haase said.

The food shelf provides food for emergency situations and allows families that demonstrate financial need to come in and receive boxes of food, including items such as rice, beans and canned goods. The shelf now allows people to come in and shop from the shelves for food they actually want, Haase said.

“(Shopping) is a very cool thing that they do now,” Haase said. The committee raised money through several fundraising initiatives including “Jeans for a Cause” and “Let’s Do Lunch.”

“As employees, if you make a donation of $10 a month, you can wear jeans on Fridays,” said Haase about the ongoing “Jeans for a Cause” that helped raise some of the money. “Let’s Do Lunch” is a potluck that is sponsored each month by a different department. Staff members are welcome to come eat and leave donations, Haase said. These are ongoing fundraisers that occur each year for a different cause, which has in the past included Hurricane Katrina relief, supporting the De La Salle school in New Orleans and supporting the Nairobi campus.

“There are so many causes out there; sometimes it’s hard to pick,” Haase said. The committee was formed by Cynthia Marek, vice president for Financial Affairs, because of the willing individuals who wanted to match the efforts of student volunteers, Haase said.

“We wanted to come together as a committee and get organized to help not only the SMU community but the greater community as well,” Haase said.

Students learn to create iPhone applications

Editor in Chief

Saint Mary’s University is offering a topics course in iPhone application development as a kick-off to the university’s membership in Apple’s iPhone Developer Program for Universities.

“Students are able to actually develop apps that they can use on the iPhone,” said Ann Smith, associate professor and department chair of computer science. Smith said the program was started by Apple “to encourage universities to introduce iPhone application development into their curriculum.” Smith said students are able to learn and develop applications through an emulator on a computer and then “push” their applications to their iPhones if they have them.

“To do that without cost, we went through the process of becoming a member (of the Apple program),” Smith said. The university went through an application process and legal agreements with Apple, but the program itself is free of charge, Smith said.Students in the topics course will focus on eight programs before working on their own application. Smith said that during the last few weeks of the semester, students will design and develop an application to meet some sort of educational need. “They’ll be able to build pretty sophisticated projects by the end,” Smith said, adding that there will be “some sort of gathering” for faculty and students to have the opportunity to see the final results.

Smith believes the program has a lot to offer students, giving them a skill that is “really popular right now.” Smith is also excited that the students have the opportunity to create applications to “fulfill real needs.”

“It gives a way to enjoy the work that we’re doing with a different sort of angle,” she said.

Don’t miss the Green Team’s Sustainability Forums

There are only three of the Saint Mary’s University Green Team’s Sustainability Forums left. The Green Team invites all to join in discussions on how SMU is responding to climate change issues — and how to help. As SMU implements an Environmental Management System, the university will reduce consumption of resources, reduce its carbon footprint, become a better steward of creation and support environmental justice.

Tuesday February 23 – Behavior Change
Joe Tadie, Joyce Altobelli and Jeff Amundson will lead a discussion on how small changes in our daily lives may have the greatest impact on lowering our energy consumption.

Wednesday March 17 – Food
Mary Gleich, Curt Coshenet, Chris Kendall and Chris McClead will lead a discussion on how food affects and is affected by climate change including locally grown foods, composting, gardening, farming, Fair Trade, starvation and other topics.

Monday April 12 – Green Economy
Tom Marpe, Chris Kendall and Andy Robertson will lead a discussion on how climate change impacts the way we do business including green purchasing, marketing strategies, and new careers related to sustainability.

Cross country skiing in our own backyard

Copy Editor

Home to miles of maintained cross country skiing trails open to the greater Winona community and open to Saint Mary’s University students, the SMU Environmental Awareness Center (EAC) provides equipment free to any SMU students who wish to try their luck on skiis.

The trails are maintained by the Winona Ski Club and Brother John Grover. Brother Jerome Rademacher, who recently retired from trail maintenance due to health complications, was enthusiastic about the trails’ maintenance and expansion. Brother John said Brother Jerome was a ski enthusiast, but he gave it (cross country skiing) up in order to help take care of the trails. Brother John operates the EAC and makes skiis and snowshoes available. The EAC is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m., but Brother John is also willing to meet people at other times to loan equipment.

Brother John is willing to take new skiers out on the trail. “There’s not a lot to it,” he said. “I wish more people would take advantage of this equipment; it’s really here for the students. Cross-country skiing is a lifetime sport, and there’s no better exercise.”

Brother John can be contacted at or by calling Ext. 1404.

Jobs and Internships fair provides opportunities

Cardinal Staff

Saint Mary’s University students can prepare themselves for the Minnesota Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair on Feb. 16-17, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The Minnesota Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair is an annual event specifically geared toward currently enrolled sophomores, juniors and seniors. The event is sponsored by the Minnesota Private Colleges Career Services Association. The fair is a place where more than 150 organizations, including Mayo Clinic, Target Corporation, Teach for America and the Peace Corps, actively recruit to fill job and internship opportunities.

“Each year, we (SMU) have anywhere between 30 and 50 students that attend this fair,” said Jackie Baker, director of Career Services and Internships. The fair provides several chances for students to promote themselves to gain confidence when going out into the workforce and show employers what they have to offer. The students who attend get the opportunity for face-to-face interaction employers, interviewing experience and can possibly even get a job or an internship. Students have the ability to meet with over 150 employers in one building and also enables students to network.

“It’s a great event,” said Baker. “It’s an event everyone should attend!”

Pre-registration for the Job and Internship Fair is required before Feb. 12, and costs $14. For more information, students can contact the Career Services and Internships Department in Saint Mary’s Hall, room 136 or visit and click on “Job & Internship Fair Graphic.”

Clock Tower commemorates alum

Feature Editor

More than 11 years ago, Saint Mary’s College alumnus and Saint Mary’s University Trustee Emeritus, Oscar Straub ’52 and his wife Mary Jane Straub, a 1952 graduate of the College of Saint Teresa, were searching for ways to visually improve the SMU campus while camouflaging the giant power plant smokestack located in the middle of campus.

The couple, both significant supporters of the SMU community with a great interest in art, decided the best way to accomplish this task was to construct a visually appealing structure around the smokestack.

On Oct. 1, 1999, the Oscar and Mary Jane Straub Millennium Clock Tower, located between Saint Mary’s Hall and the plaza, was officially introduced to the SMU campus at a special dedication ceremony under then president of the university, Brother Louis DeThomasis.

“It (the clock tower) is something unique about our campus,” said senior Erin Roden. “It is a part of our school and not only looks nice but is also useful.”

Despite its unique appearance, the clock tower still follows the traditional grandfather clock chimes at every quarter, half and hour. The tower also is programmed to play a number of different hymns including “Ave Maria” and “Immaculate Mary.” In addition, each year the tower also plays “Pomp and Circumstance” on Commencement Day.

Although the structure was originally a gift to improve the campus appearance, the university felt it was appropriate to use the tower as a way to commemorate the Straubs for their years of dedication and support to the SMU community.

The university dedicated the courtyard surrounding the clock tower to the Straubs and honored their service to the SMU community with a dedication plaque located at the base of the tower.

“He (Oscar) and his wife were very dedicated to SMU,” said Dr. Mary Fox, former vice president of university relations and current professor Interdisciplinary Studies. “Because of their goodness and great generosity, we have this highly-unusual smoking clock tower.”

Unfortunately, this past January Oscar passed away, but his many years of dedication and service to the university will continue to live on as part of the SMU campus.

Sculpture reflects campus, community

Cardinal Staff

Amid the Oakes Plaza of Saint Mary’s University stands a towering structure, composed of many steel, bronze and wooden bars positioned to form several crosses. This dramatic sculpture, while very much a part of theWinona campus, is often overlooked by SMU’s students and staff.

“I walk by it a million times a day, but I never think about it or its history,” said the University Archivist Dr. Bill Crozier.

There is actually much to be known about Oakes Plaza’s focal structure, titled “Gateway to Belief.” In the early 1990s, SMU’s former president, Brother Louis DeThomasis, envisioned for the campus a garden to be complemented by art, according to Dr. Mary Fox, professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. Thus, the idea of “Gateway to Belief” was born.

“Gateway to Belief” was created by the Russian sculptor and architect Alexander Tylevich, said Crozier. With the help of nearly 60 other local artists and artisans, the sculpture was successfully constructed in 1995. “Gateway to Belief” was a gift to the university donated by Rosemary Oakes Kalm ’74.

The donation honors Kalm’s mother, the late Grace Gibson Oakes, who had recently passed away at the time. According to Crozier, the structure’s completion was a ceremonious event.

“A large crowd came to see the sculpture,” said Crozier. “The concert choir and band were there. Even Bishop Vlazny was there.”

Though celebrated at first, “Gateway to Belief” received some negative responses soon after. Fox said that the piece was very controversial, provoking many thoughts and opinions about the art. Despite its abstract design, however, critics admired the piece for its cultural integration. Tylevich dedicated himself to incorporating particular aspects of location into his art. He took into consideration the history of the area and the human activities that took place there. Because of this, “Gateway to Belief” reflects various elements of the SMU campus, along with the Winona community. For instance, Crozier said that the bronze panels portray Winona’s Native American history, as well as a number of Catholic symbols and beliefs. The steel towers form the shape of a cross regardless of where the viewer is standing. Even its red, silver and yellow color scheme relates it to the well known “Columns” structure in the plaza.

These are only a few of the many symbols added to “Gateway to Belief.” Although the structure has been a part of SMU’s campus for nearly 15 years, “Gateway to Belief” still accurately depicts the culture and history of the community. So long as the structure stands tall in Oakes Plaza, it will continue to bring the university into the future. “Gateway to Belief” holds much more than meets the eye.

Sister Margaret Mear’s ‘The Waiting’

Cardinal Staff

In 1982, “The Waiting,” a sculpture by Sister Margaret Mear, professor of art and design at Saint Mary’s University, was installed on the Winona campus.

After several years of welding in the sculpture room at SMU, the finished product was a close-to-life-size horse made of mild steel and mounted in cement. Standing about 8.5 feet tall and weighing in at 500- 600 pounds, “The Waiting” was positioned in Saint Mary’s Park behind Heffron Hall. Today, the sculpture can still be viewed as a part of SMU’s campus in its original location, although it has been vandalized twice, Sister Margaret said. Since 1982, she has made repairs to the sculpture on two occasions, both involving damage to the head and neck region of the sculpture.

“You take a risk displaying something on a college campus,” Sister Margaret said. “But it hasn’t been damaged for quite a while, which is good.”

Aside from sculpting, Sister Margaret enjoys many other forms of art, but horses are her favorite subject matter. She feels that humans have a bond with horses and that we share a lot in common with them. “I love horses dearly,” Sister Margaret said. “I think their form is very exciting, and I like to use horses as a metaphor for people.” Other work by Sister Margaret can be viewed on campus, including a drawing displayed on the first floor of Saint Mary’s Hall. In addition, several of her drawings and other works are currently being shown as part of the faculty display in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries in the Michael H. Toner Student Center, which will be open for viewing until Feb. 14.


Cardinal Staff

What if you knew that the world as we know it will no longer exist in 45 years? What if you knew we were able to put a stop to its destruction but didn’t? It seems unbelievable, but this is exactly how “The Age of Stupid” forecasts our future.

The Greenpeace documentary, recently presented at Saint Mary’s University by the Philosophy and Frozen River Film Festival clubs, is a thought-provoking and inspiring film, taking its viewers through the reality of the changes and disorder of our planet. It begins with a man, played by actor Pete Postlethwaite, who lives alone on the devastating wasteland that used to be Earth. The year is 2055, and humankind is nonexistent. He searches through archives of old video footage, trying to pinpoint where things went wrong and how people could have saved themselves.

Throughout the film, the audience is exposed to issues like global warming, war and the excess of human consumption. “The Age of Stupid” approaches these topics using a variety of mediums including authentic news clips, sarcastic cartoons and human interest stories.

Viewers of the documentary follow a collection of people across the globe, such as a mountain guide from France, a Nigerian medical student, two children from Iraq, an Indian businessman and a farmer in Great Britain. These people struggle in different ways with the “stupidity” of the world, and their stories motivate audience members to act against the harmful trends with which we’ve somehow become comfortable.

Should an oil company earn nearly $700 per second while people in Nigeria live on less than $1 a day? Is war a reasonable solution for gaining control of the oil market? Should wind energy be sacrificed because the turbines disturb the scenery? Is water from a bottle really better than the tap? “TheAge of Stupid” raises these questions, along with many others, and it’s up to us to fairly determine the answers.

As the man in the film says, “We could have saved ourselves.” We still have a chance to make a change. We can rise above “The Age of Stupid.”

Fringe Fest to feature some familar faces

Cardinal Staff

On Jan. 29, the Frozen River Film Festival Fringe Fest will feature a few familiar faces.

Davey Warner, outdoor leadership coordinator at Saint Mary’s University, will be playing acoustic guitar and singing from 2-4 p.m. at Jefferson’s Pub and Grill. His music will include folk, contemporary and classical guitar.Warner said he decided to play for FRFF because, “I love playing and performing, and I haven’t had many opportunities for solo performances.”

Chris Kendall, vice president for Student Development, will be performing with his band, “Chris Kendall and the Coulee Kings,” at the Blue Heron Coffee House at 7:30 p.m. “All of the songs we perform are original tunes that I have written, and hopefully, they add to the local flavor of this event,” said Kendall. Kendall decided to perform for the festival in support of the unique films the festival brings to the community.

Benjamin Scott, a sophomore at SMU, will be reading his original poetry at Mugby Junction from 4-6 p.m. The poetry reading is called “A Confluence of Voices” and will include several SMU and Winona State students. Scott is participating in the Fringe Fest because, “When there’s any opportunity for expression — particularly poetry — to take place, it would be a shame to miss it.”

Fringe Fest is a mix of arts and entertainment in conjunction with businesses, artists and musicians to promote the FRFF and local businesses. Fringe Fest will be making its debut as part of FRFF this year.

There will also be many other performances during the Fringe Fest. For a full schedule of events, visit