Reunion 2024

Alum College Sessions

Reunion 2024

Friday, June 21

1:15 p.m

What’s So Special about CSB and SJU?: A Conversation about Benedictine Values and How They Are Present in Your Lives - Rodger Narloch ’91, Psychology Professor & Director of the Benedictine Institute 

CSB, HAB 128B

When people try to explain what’s so special about CSB and SJU, they often say that there’s just “something in the water.” One can argue that the qualities that permeate the “water” of the CSB and SJU culture stem directly from the values of our Benedictine heritage. Come and participate in a conversation about these values and share how they have continued to shape you well beyond just your college years.


1:30 p.m

SJU Athletic Facilities Tour – Senior Development Officer for SJU Institutional Advancement-Pete Amann ’90  

SJU, walking tour, meet in front of Gagliardi Field 

Game changer-tour of SJU Athletic complex, Tennis, Baseball, Soccer and Field/Dome and new Baseball Clubhouse. Join Pete for a first-hand look at the modernization of athletic facilities at SJU. This year’s tour will feature the brand-new Baseball Clubhouse! These new dedicated fields are a game changer for current and future SJU students and gives SJU a competitive advantage in student recruitment. You will see how we have remained true to our Benedictine style with thoughtful and innovative design that gets right to the heart of the game. Let’s go for a walk and tour new athletic facilities! We will explore the Chang Tennis Complex; Becker Park/Haugen Field, the home of Johnnie baseball; Haws Field, where the Johnnie soccer team plays; and the new Gagliardi Field and Alpers Golf Learning Center. 


"The Maurice Effect,” How an Unlikely Friendship Serves as a Unique Pathway to Love with David Charpentier ’89

SJU-Quad 264

Charpentier ’89 will read passages from his recent memoir, The Boy Who Promised Me Horses, and discuss how his friendship with Maurice Prairie Chief can serve as a model in our attempts to love those around us. David Charpentier writes, “When a nine-year-old Indian kid first showed up at my door in the Village and asked me to go fishing, I wasn’t sure I had the time. My first day as a teacher at St. Labre Indian school in Montana was in two days. But I figured it wouldn’t take long. Until he showed up again, waking me the next morning by tapping on my window, and I didn’t say no, would never be able to say no to hardly anything he asked. I thought he wanted my help, and I convinced myself I could, expecting my clumsy efforts to make up for his absent father and drugged-out mother, his old grandma who tried to care for him, his dope-dealing cousin who stole and pawned his bike, his inability to read. But I was never sure. I waited for him to say thank you, to say I had changed his life. I heard only this: that he once told someone I was his friend; and that incredulous promise he made to me on my front steps, that he would one day bring me a horse.  Maurice was only seventeen when he disappeared from Montana in 1999 and ended up in Missouri, where he was hit and killed by a train.  David Charpentier has worked in Indian education his entire professional career, which began in 1990 when he traveled (fresh out of college in Minnesota) to Ashland, Montana, to teach high school English at St. Labre Indian School on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. David is the recipient of the Caritas Award for my work with the Bridge Foundation, a non-profit that provides cultural, educational, and leadership opportunities for Native American youth on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribes


Woodworking shop Tour - Fr. Lew Grobe

SJU, Walking tour - meet at Woodworking Shop 

The brand-new state of the art woodworking shop has helped with construction and expansion of many buildings such as Mary Hall in 1950, the interior of the new monastery in 1956, as well as the forms for the construction of the Abbey church in 1959-1961. The woodworking shop has also created thousands of pieces of furniture such as tables, bookcases, chairs, beds, and coffins for those in the St. John's community. They have also created cabinets to hold The Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition. The woodworking shop has always focused on values of stewardship and sustainability in its practices. Most recently, the woodworking shop has shared its talents on the Holtkamp-Pasi organ in the Abbey Church. The expansion of the organ, first built by Walter Holtkamp Sr. in 1961, means that there are no longer any musical limitations to community worship. The inaugural year of concerts for the organ will launch in the fall of 2021. 


The Saint John’s Bible: From Inspiration to Illumination - Director Tim Ternes, and Saint John’s Bible Interns 

SJU, Sullivan Auditorium, Alcuin 170. There will be a host at the main door of Alcuin Library to direct guests to the auditorium. 

Guests will have a guided introduction to The Saint John’s Bible led by an outstanding CSB and SJU  current student. The host will introduce guests to the tools, methods, materials and art of this monumental project created to mark the new millennium. Hear the stories and inspiration behind the making of the original and learn about the stunning fine art edition created to share the Bible with the entire world. 


3:00 p.m.

Facilities Updates Tour–New and Remade: Monastery Buildings, Main, Haehn Campus Center and Clemens Library - Chad Marolf

Fireside Lounge in Gorecki Dining and Conference Center 

Through the Illuminating Lives campaign and beyond, the College of Saint Benedict has been investing in the construction of new spaces and the renovation of others. On this tour, you will learn how it came to be that the college purchased three historic buildings from the monastery and transformed them into an admissions welcome centre and spaces for other college administrative functions. This step allowed us to free up and completely remake space in the Main building, which is now home to the departments of Math, Computer Science, Psychology, Economics and Nursing. We have also created new spaces for students in the Haehn Campus Center and an all new Experience and Professional Development home called the Experience Hub. About Chad Marolf: Chad serves in the Institutional Advancement department as a Senior Principal Gifts Officer. He has been with CSB for eleven years, having served in a similar role for six years prior at St. Cloud State University. Chad harkens from Ohio where he grew up and went to college and grad school. He is married and has three kids ages 30, 27 and 25. He also recently became a grandfather. 


3:15 p.m.

Library and Learning Commons Tour – Vice President for SJU Institutional Advancement, Rob Culligan ’82 

SJU, Walking tour, meet inside the main doors of Alcuin library facing the Abbey Church.  

Innovation. Collaboration. Technology. These are the watchwords of 21st-century workplaces and communities. The Reinhart Learning Commons is designed for the kind of learning and teaching essential to preparing our students for their future. This exciting building combines flexible classrooms, the latest technology, and a variety of informal social learning spaces. It will provide faculty and students with the environment and the tools to fully engage in collaborative learning and innovative thinking. This tour of the newly remodeled Alcuin Library will demonstrate how a 21st century library provides flexible spaces for both solitary study and collaborative work; deploys the digital tools required by scholars and students; efficiently houses print resources; and supports a holistic academic experience with an array of academic support services. 


Dr. Brian Bruess, CSB+SJU Strategic Plan

SJU-Quad 264
Mission centered practice. Financial & operational excellence. The student experience. These are the three strategic priorities that are the foundation of the first ever fully joint CSB and SJU Strategic Plan. Come and learn about the initiatives already underway in each of these priority areas as well as how the CSB and SJU community is successfully launching the boldest strategic plan ever. Inspired by our Benedictine Heritage CSB and SJU are renowned for an unparalleled and rigorous student-centered education that empowers graduates to solve society’s more urgent problems to transform and unify a world in need. This plan will describe how we aim to do that and how alumnae and alumni can contribute to the good work being done.

The Saint John’s Abbey Oblate Program-continuing our connection to Benedictine life and values with Michael Peterson, OSB-Oblate

SJU-Slaggie Community Room, SE Corner of 1st floor quad, inside Saint John’s Abbey offices

We have graduated and moved off campus but many of us are always wanting to find ways to maintain the powerful relationships we had with the Monastic community and all that it gave us while being a student here at St. John's. Perhaps becoming an Oblate with the Saint John's Monastic Community might be an amazing way to not only maintain but also grow in our relationship with the community and with God. This session will explain the who, what and how of becoming an Oblate.  Father Michael Peterson OSB, The Vocations and Oblate Director of the Saint John’s Community will cover these areas of the program-who can be an oblate, do you have to be male, do you have to be Catholic and is there an age requirement or limit? Are there expectations, is there a cost, is there a time commitment, do I apply, are there study processes, how will I know if this is right for me, when do I become an Oblate, and lastly am I an Oblate for life? Fellow Johnnie alums Jim Platten ‘74 and Craig Anderson ‘74 – will share their own personal journey of becoming an Oblate, what it has meant for them and how they came to become an oblate.


3:15 p.m.

Rock and Roll Goes Hollywood - Thom Woodward ’70 

SJU-Quad 346

Thom Woodward '70 will offer a PowerPoint presentation with music snippets and commentary to connect pop music with the movies.


Saturday, June 22

8:15 a.m.

5k Walk/Run 

HCC Atrium

Lace up your shoes and join us for an energizing walk or run around campus


8:30 a.m.

Green Tea, Hospitality, and Health - Richard Bresnahan ’76, artist in residence 

SJU, Saint John’s Pottery Studio

How did green tea traditions evolve over time, and what are the benefits to crafting the perfect brew? Gather around the irori tea table at The Saint John’s Pottery with Director and Artist-in-Residence Richard Bresnahan ’76 to learn about the intriguing history of the Japanese tea ceremony, tea-related art objects, and the importance of good tea-drinking habits.


“Did women play basketball before Caitlin Clark?”

SJU, Quad 264 

Ok, that’s the easy question.  The answer is “yes”.  Really! But wouldn’t you like to know some of the details?  When did organized competition between schools begin?  Professional teams?  Did anyone care?  What were the barriers and was change just waiting on the arrival of a spectacular shooter like Clark? Professor Jones developed a course on “Sport and Society in Recent US History” that he taught every year for almost a decade at the end of his 46 years at CSB/SJU.


Arboretum Walk - Saint John’s Outdoor University 

SJU, One-hour walk meeting on Abbey Church steps 

You’ve hiked the Chapel Trail, but how much do you know about the trail and the surrounding landscape? Take advantage of this opportunity to walk a short loop of the trail and get a close-up look at plants and wildlife and learn more about the natural history of the 2,944 acres of lakes, prairie, oak savannah and forest surrounding Saint John's with a guided walk with arboretum experts. 


'ROTC-A proud history-a bright future' with Lucas Dahl, Scholarship & Enrollment Officer for ROTC

SJU, Quad 346

The Fighting Saints Battalion has commissioned approximately 3,000 young men and women into the US Army. The Battalion is comprised of students from Saint John’s University, The College of Saint Benedict, and Saint Cloud State University. The students within the battalion are active in the universities and various ROTC events which include-Student leadership organizations athletic departments, Ranger Challenge, Northern Warfare Competition, and Bataan Death March.
Please join us as Mr. Lucas Dahl looks through the history of the ROTC program, and how those traditions and values are carried out today on campus.
Mr. Lucas Dahl is the Fighting Saints Battalion Scholarship and Enrollment Officer. He came to the Department of Military Science after 13 years of service in the U.S. Army.
Mr. Dahl enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004 as a Cryptologist (Russian) Linguist. While studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Mr. Dahl was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from West Point in 2010 and was commissioned as an Ordnance Officer. Some of his previous assignments include 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, FL, the Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central (JSOAC-C), Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, and the 45th Sustainment Brigade, Schofield Barracks, HI. He culminated his career serving as the Southeast Regional Commander for West Point Admissions. Mr. Dahl deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom (2012) and Inherent Resolve (2015).

2 p.m.

A Science of Female Friendship, Carol Bruess, PhD

CSB, HAB 128B

What do relationships with our female friends, sisters, family members, colleagues and the neighbor ladies have to do with our physical, psychological, professional, and personal wellbeing? Just about everything—and then some. In this session, relationship social scientist Dr. Carol Bruess will share the intriguing science of female connections. You’ll learn the lesser-known, often-surprising ways women’s relationships play a crucial role in our physical health. You’ll leave with concrete ideas about how you can and should create and sustain rituals of connection with your fellow sisters and sistas—no matter your age or stage of life. Why? Because research shows (spoiler alert): it is the single best predictor of how long you’ll live! Carol J. Bruess has a PhD in relationships communication and is Professor Emeritus of Communication/Family Studies, University of St. Thomas, MN. For more than three decades she has been a researcher, author, social scientist, professor and speaker passionate about how humans create healthy relationships and marriages through micro-moments of interaction, ritual, and dialogue. She is particularly interested in the way the digital age and smart phones impact in-depth listening, robust conversations, and human empathy​. The author of five books (including “What Happy Women Do”), she has a popular TEDx Talk “Are All Relationships Messy?” Carol is a contributing writer at TED.com, and has given more than 400 TV, podcast, radio and media interviews, including MPR, NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times and PBS. She's been married for 32 years to CSBSJU’s president, Brian Bruess. They have two adult children, and currently parenting the 95lb Bernedoodle George, a certified therapy dog who is happily serving CSB+SJU students as puppy-in-residence. A life-long artist and creator, Carol was recently appointed by Governor Walz to serve as on the Minnesota State Arts Board.


Facilities Updates Tour–New and Remade: Monastery Buildings, Main, Haehn Campus Center and Clemens Library - Chad Marolf

CSB, Fireside Lounge in Gorecki Dining and Conference Center 

Through the Illuminating Lives campaign and beyond, the College of Saint Benedict has been investing in the construction of new spaces and the renovation of others. On this tour, you will learn how it came to be that the college purchased three historic buildings from the monastery and transformed them into an admissions welcome centre and spaces for other college administrative functions. This step allowed us to free up and completely remake space in the Main building, which is now home to the departments of Math, Computer Science, Psychology, Economics and Nursing. We have also created new spaces for students in the Haehn Campus Center and an all new Experience and Professional Development home called the Experience Hub. About Chad Marolf: Chad serves in the Institutional Advancement department as a Senior Principal Gifts Officer. He has been with CSB for eleven years, having served in a similar role for six years prior at St. Cloud State University. Chad harkens from Ohio where he grew up and went to college and grad school. He is married and has three kids ages 30, 27 and 25. He also recently became a grandfather. 


SJU Abbey Church Tour 

SJU, meet under Bell Banner

The Abbey and University Church was designed for a complex community made up of Benedictine monks, students of the University, the Seminary and the Preparatory School, a parish attached to the monastery, and visitors. The design of the church was based on the premise that all these members should be allowed closer participation in services. This was achieved by building a vast worship space without columns and based on a trapezoidal shape that would enable all to sit as close as possible to the altar. The church is a technological feat as well. Incorporating a massive use of cast and steel-reinforced concrete, it was fundamentally constructed by local carpenters who made the forms into which the concrete was cast. The large bell banner at the north side, the main entrance to the church, houses a cross made of oak harvested from the woods at Saint John's Arboretum, and the five bells that call people to worship. It is 112 feet high, stands on thin parabolic arches, and announces that this is indeed a special place. 


Life in the 1960s, what was it like at CSB-SJU in conjunction with the events that took place in the United States with Chuck Achter ‘69

SJU, Quad 264

This interactive session will highlight life on the campus' of CSB+SJU along with major events that affected our country.  We will also look at the fashions and fads of the 60s and daily life for students. Chuck Achter graduated from SJU in 1969. He has been a lifelong educator in public education and higher education. He and his wife Brenda have two married adult children and two grandchildren.


Monastic brewing: historical and contemporary perspectives

SJU, Quad 170

In this session, Br. Denys Janiga OSB will present some historical and contemporary perspectives on monastic brewing.  He will discuss the role of monasteries in brewing beer during the middle ages, with a particular focus on Benedictine monasteries, and now during the global craft beer renaissance.  Br. Denys has been brewing beer for over ten years and so this session will conclude with a tasting of some of his beers.