Dear Professor

We asked CSB alumnae: "Who was the professor who influenced you in a life-changing way? What did you learn that changed your life and where has that taken you since your days at Saint Ben's?" The responses made us proud and nostalgic. Some even made us laugh. One thing is certain: connectedness among faculty and students does not end at graduation. It endures for a lifetime.

Thank you, CSB/SJU faculty, for all you do every day to make this a community like no other.

To: Ed Turley, music
From: Tracy Meyer '87, English

I took his music appreciation course as a freshman and it was one of the best classes I have ever taken. His passion for classical music inspired me to learn more about it and make classical music a significant part of my life. I have taken piano lessons as an adult for many years, insisted the same for my sons, been a longtime subscriber of the SPCO, taken advantage of opportunities to attend some of the world's top orchestras in my travels, and amassed a personal listening library. I'll never forget Dr. Turley's earnest advice that we know and own all nine Beethoven symphonies, for after all, we only have nine from one of the greatest masters. I have taken that advice to heart and am forever grateful for Dr. Turley's inspiration. It has yielded incredible joy!

To: Fr. Joel Kelly, faculty resident
From: Heather Hirsch Carabajal '02, liberal studies

Father Joel Kelly led a volunteer prison ministry group at Saint Cloud State Penitentiary. His experience facilitating a spirituality group with men taught me what makes me feel fulfilled as a person and led me down my vocational path as a marriage and family therapist. His thoughtful, heartfelt, and honest approach to the inmates and volunteers provided a foundation for my career centered around the values of social justice, healing, authenticity, cultural humility, and being trauma sensitive. He truly changed my life in a positive and meaningful way!

To: Jean Keller, philosophy; Madhu Mitra, English
From: Lisa Schmid '99, political science

Dr. Jean Keller: Professor Keller not only opened my mind to feminist theory and social justice issues, but she provided a safe space for me as I was coming out of the closet in a not always safe environment. She truly inspired me in my learning AND my living, and I still think of her often even though we are not in frequent contact. Her arrival at CSB/SJU fundamentally changed my experience at the institutions for the better.

Dr. Madhu Mitra: Like Professor Keller, Professor Mitra provided a safe space for me as I struggled to find my way in a space that didn't always feel GLBT friendly or inclusive. Professor Mitra also exposed me to social justice issues, and diversity issues, and to this date, some of my favorite books are from her class on women writers from around the world (forgive my memory lapse; I know that isn't the exact title). Professor Mitra is also just so wonderfully global (in terms of mindset, not just her national origin), and as a kid from the suburbs who had traveled infrequently, I really appreciated her perspective on things.

These two women made an indelible impression on me, and I'm better for having met them. Thanks for the opportunity to share my feelings. 

To: Kristin Vonnegut, communication
From: Molly Bergstrom Berg '96, communications & media

Dr. Kristin Vonnegut was my advisor while I completed my communication major. I didn't know her when I selected her but had heard she was "tough" and I liked the idea of the challenge via her version of tough. And she lived up to it. It was evident not only in the numerous speaking and rhetorical criticism classes I took from her but also in the new ideas, ways of thinking, and concepts to explore. For example, she empowered me to submit and later present my writing at a national communication conference. She encouraged me to go to grad school and get my MA (and secure a teaching assistantship). It was all of these things over the short course of two years while Dr. Vonnegut was my prof, advisor, and friend that continue to make a permanent impression on me personally and professionally. Every year, I participate in a few CSB events with prospective students and Dr Vonnegut's profound influence is part of my "CSB" story! I'm glad I took the challenge with the "tough" prof and advisor as it has yielded rewards ever since!

To: S. Josefina Caballero
From: Deborah Walczynski-Greene '79, psychology

Sra. Josefina Caballero was one of many influential professors I had the extreme pleasure of having in my life. Josefina was my second instructor in Spanish and taught me so much about latino cultures and the amazing people and their history. I knew nothing about the amazing diversity of the Spanish influences in our world until I met Josefina. Her fantastic classes opened the world to me and gave me a greater understanding of our county's minority population. Her diligent and in depth teachings lead me to understanding that there was more to our world than just the Caucasian majority I saw growing up. I used this eye opening experience to volunteer in New York and become familiar with the Puerto Rican influences in the Big Apple. I also studied abroad in Spain with Josefina and became immersed in the beautiful language and art history of Spain. These experiences lead me, a Psych major, to my first job recruiting for CSB/SJU in Central and South America. After that I worked as a Diversity Counselor for Educational Talent Search in St. Paul. After that I worked in downtown St. Paul as a recruiter for The College of St. Scholastica where I worked with non traditional students from many cultures and age groups. I owe so much to Sra. Josefina view of the world and my own country's beautiful diversity is due to Josefina's introduction to a greater and open life. I eventually married a Johnnie I met on our study abroad program and we raised our 4 children to speak Spanish and English. Our baby is a junior at CSB majoring in El Ed with a Spanish minor.

To: Christina Tourino, English
From: Corey Hickner-Johnson '07, English

My freshman year at CSB, I was very lost and confused about what sort of career I wanted to pursue. My parents had always wanted me to be a doctor, but I was never interested in the field. My second semester, I enrolled in Professor Tourino's Literature class. In that class, I learned to think critically about literature, and I learned that I loved being in a classroom while discussing literature. In addition, Professor Tourino lived the example that women can be smart, academic leaders who are involved in social issues. I had never experienced that before. At CSB, I was an English/Ed. major, and afterwards, I became a 7th grade teacher. While teaching, I earned my MA in English from Saint Thomas, and now I am at the University of Iowa getting my PhD in English and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies. In Prof. Tourino's class, I was not an outstanding student, but I learned so much from her about how to study literature and also about how to be a woman academic. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to work with her! It was certainly a formative experience.

To: Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman, theology
From: Amy Patnoe '11, hispanic studies and peace studies

Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman helped me find my roots in faith and piqued my curiosity in Catholic social teaching. Because of her creative and applicable lectures, my now-husband, Sam, and I volunteered in Chimbote, Peru through ABE while at CSB/SJU and are now in the process of moving to Guatemala with the Peace Corps. Thank you, Professor Zimmerman, for inspiring me to take hold of my passions.

To: S. Dennis Frandrup, art
From: Hayley Mueller '10, communication & media and hispanic studies

Sr. Dennis taught the jewelry class I took as a senior. She did not take any nonsense and had tremendously high standards. She valued hard work and effort and taught me that showing up and putting in the time matters in life. To this day, I think about Sr. Dennis when I put on the jewelry I made in her class. I think about making sure I show up that day and put my best effort into everything I do. Thank you Sr. Dennis!

To: Axel Theimer, music
From: Melanie Pauls '95, music 

Axel was my voice teacher, choir director and Salzburg Study abroad director. He has helped me to grow as a musician, a performer and also as a member of the world. I have traveled the world with fellow musicians and experienced life in a way that many people don't get the opportunity to have. I continue to work in the music world as a choir director and musician and enjoy the love of music in the world around me.

To: Jack and Barbara Farley, management
From: Margrette Nemanich Newhouse '88, management

Jack Farley and Barbara Edwards Farley were excellent faculty members - not only did we learn so much from their experience and instruction in the classroom, but also the time they spent with us considering career possibilities. When I graduated, I was fortunate to have many career possibilities to consider. I can vividly remember sitting with Jack and Barbara in Jack's office in the Main Building weighing the alternatives and Jack picking up the telephone and connecting with a few of individuals within his personal network to validate the alternatives were the best. Many years later when considering "retiring" from my banking career to return back to CSB/SJU to join the faculty, again it was Jack and Barbara that helped me work through the possibility to make the best decision. I will be forever grateful to Jack and Barbara - and hope in some small way I have been able to "pay it forward" during my tenure to the next generation of Bennies and Johnnies as they consider their career and life path possibilities.

To: S. Carleen Schomer, chemistry
From: Maria Lund '88, nursing

Professor Sister Carleen Schomer seemed so petite and simply composed. In chemistry, she wrote and spoke fast and furiously at the chalkboard. Chemistry was so anxiety-provoking for me. I wanted to major in Medical Technology, and several chemistry classes were very important. What moved me about Sister Schomer was her pause from writing and teaching whenever anyone sneezed, turning around and facing the audience of faces, saying, "God Bless You!", and then turn back around and continue writing and talking through chemistry. Sister seemed so simple, and yet SO strong. I also admired how she only ate a bagel and cream cheese for lunch every day. She seemed so disciplined! I was in ROTC, and somehow felt so insecure and invasive showing up to class in my ROTC uniform on uniform days, but Sister always treated me with kindness and clarity. I cherish her determined spirit and simplicity that confirmed for me that we are indeed created in the image of God, and that the Benedictine Spirit of Community embraced even puny me at the time, with all my doubts. I didn't go on to major in Medical Technology, but I tell the story all the time about "Sister Carleen Schomer that taught chemistry fast and furiously, but always paused, turned around, and said, "God Bless You" whenever anyone sneezed. Even though I live in North Carolina, every day, in my mind, I'm going to Minnesota....reliving the monastic rhythm of joy, community and love I experienced at Saint Ben's. It carries me through the challenges of life every day.

To: Elaine Rutherford, art
From: Kendra Rajchel '09, English 

Professor Elaine Rutherford. She was always encouraging, always inspiring, always a positive force. She made an effort to understand her students, push them to be their best, challenge them. She encouraged me and the people in my class to push beyond our boundaries and see what it's like outside our comfort zones. She approached her students from a place of compassion and empathy.

From Elaine, out of the many things I learned from her, one of the most important was learning the meaning of criticism. I learned how to give and accept criticism. I learned criticism is not negative. Criticism is progress. Criticism is conversation. Criticism means to observe and think and communicate thoughtfully.

From Elaine, I learned to be tough and open. I learned how to be receptive to what is strong and weak about my work. It is one of the most necessary skills I have as an adult. Not only do I know how to accept criticism, but I am skilled in giving it--there is an art to doing it well. I learned from Elaine how to pad criticism with enough positive comments that the subject is open to the more negative comments. I learned how to communicate in a compassionate, articulate way.

I will never forget Elaine. I admire her. I will always be grateful to her, and some of the things she said to me will stay with me forever."

To: Charles Villette, modern & classical languages
From: Denise MacDonald Clemen '74, humanities and theater

I was a mediocre student of French, but junior year abroad - now there was something that sounded worth staying awake for. French language, culture, literature, art, architecture, cuisine, French cigarettes - Monsieur, you shared your love of all of it. Paris was the very first big city I had ever been to. And the first time I dipped my feet into a body of water other than the Mississippi, it was LeGrand Bleu. I drank my first glass of pastis with you, survived the cheese course with your guidance, and stood,overwhelmed, in front of my first Picasso because you took us there. My semester in France could easily have been just another failure. It would have been sensible for me to conclude, at that point in my life,that I had no business in France, no reason to learn a foreign language,no hope at turning the tide against a slew of mediocrity and heartbreak. But that's not how it went. A teacher who loves what he teaches generates knowledge and passion and possibility. Je vous remercie de toutcoeur, Monsieur Villette.

To: Bruce Dickau, education, and Norma Dickau, librarian
From: Anne Winfield Johnson White '79

Professor Bruce Dickau and his wife Librarian Norma Dickau were most helpful in helping me develop a sense of self which allowed me to stand with integrity, pride, and resolve not only on campus but in my adult life as a soldier, homeless, a young married family, a teacher, and as a woman facing MS and other ailments. I could call them anytime, anywhere and their emotional support of who I was made the difference between working to change my circumstances and disappearing. They taught me what a mentor was, what a student was and asked me questions until I could understand my own needs and questions. Dr. Dickau is still living in St. Joe, but I lost my friend Norma Dickau to cancer in February. I have been working to begin a scholarship in Norma's name so that every awkward, lonely, but high potential young woman will continue to have Norma's light held before as she transitions worlds. There are many other professors that were helpful at CSB: Dr. Linnea Welter OSB, English, Dr. Phil Welter, Music, Dr. Delores Super OSB, music. Sr. Gills OSB Music, S. Mary Helene Juettner OSB, and if the light of morning were to hit this I'm sure there would be many more. The main difference was that the Dickau's always checked on me, sent me notes, laughed at my jokes, cried with me as a parent when life wasn't easy but also gave me hope. The concern for me was as if the whole faculty were behind them in caring. I hope everyone has such a person to guide them.

To: S. Linnea Welter, English
From: Carol Berg '65, social work

S. Linnea Welter was my English teacher at CSB and since we shared a love of books, I remember her classes with fondness. She helped me probe into character, plot and context more than anyone I have known. And S. Linnea always had that little smile and a twinkle in her eye when she was making a particular point--which seemed to amuse her. She taught me to look for complexity in life and not to be fooled by what looks simple and one-layered at first glance. This was of great help to me as I moved on in life and in particular into graduate school, later becoming a history professor.

To: S. Mara Faulkner, English
From: Sandy Longhorn '93, English

Mara Faulkner called me in the fall of 1988, while I was still a high school senior, to talk about the possibilities of my coming to Saint Ben's and majoring in English. Her influence on my life has been one continual bright and shining force ever since. Along with other members of the CSB/SJU English Department (1989-1993), Mara showed me that living the writing life would be more than a dream; it would be my reality. I became a fledgling writer of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction at CSB/SJU under Mara's tutelage. She urged everyone in her classes to think critically and to take creative leaps; those two skills have served me well over the years.

Since leaving Saint Ben's in 1993, Mara and I have stayed in touch, all through the struggling years as I tried to be a poet. She encouraged me at every turn and cheered on my successes, first in grad school and then as I became a published poet and college professor. When each new semester arrives and I'm about to meet a new group of students, I think of Mara and the amazing classes she mentored. I hope I teach with the same core principles she demonstrated, principles of trust alongside risk-taking, principles rooted in respect for her students, her colleagues, and her field.

Finally, as a poet with my third book of poetry just hitting the shelves, I know in my heart that I owe some major portion of my joy to Mara's endless hours of work reading those beginning poems, stories, and essays and offering her generous feedback in her sloping script, gently shepherding me and shaping me into the teaching poet I am today."

To: Brian Johnson, chemistry
From: Tanya Pratt '95, biology

One of the persons that influenced me in a life-changing way is Professor Brian Johnson. I remember being in my General Chemistry lab in 1996 and working on a Carbon Tetrachloride experiment. I was taking an unusually long time to complete this experiment and I started becoming frustrated...I was actually the last student in class that day. I remember feeling just horrible! Professor Johnson was incredibly patient and he waited until I had completed my experiment; He told me "slow and steady wins the race." At the time I was comforted by the words and attacked my experiment with renewed focus. When next I returned to class...I found that I had done exceptionally well on the experiment.

I have always remembered this experience and I am appreciative of it even today. I had always been the kind of person who places time limits on myself. When I feel particularly pressured, I remember what Professor Johnson had said and it makes my thought process less "frazzled."

I am a physician working in the Bahamas for the last 13 years. Many times throughout my career I have been reminded that "slow and steady DOES win the race." Much thanks Professor Brian Johnson for providing me with words to live by.

To: S. Jacquelyn Dubay, art
From: Pat Pickett '63

Jacquelyn Dubay, OSB became my mentor when I was 14 years old. I was in high school but intent on "teaching" her that modern art was awful. She took me on. Through high school and the time I was at Saint Ben's, Jackie new when to push, when to challenge, when to let me cry. She saw so much in me I didn't know was there. Jackie walked with me through all the storms of adolescence, young motherhood, my outrageous idea to become ordained. In all the seasons of my life she was there as teacher, mother, friend, critic, grandmother to my children. I was able to fulfill my dream of being an artist, an Old Testament theologian, a mom and a grandmother myself.

To: S. Dolores Super, music
From: Barbara Plantenberg Stender '66, music

Sister Dolores Super was the person who encouraged me to change my major from El. Ed. to music. What she taught me is that when you love something and you are willing to work hard, you can achieve more than you had dreamed possible. That change in major led to 33 years as an elementary vocal music teacher and 14 years (so far) directing the Holy Name of Jesus Adult Choir.

By her personal journey, her strength, good humor, and the faith which Sr. Dolores has shared through the years, she inspired me to rise above what I thought were impossible situations. I am so grateful for her example and her friendship.

To: Robert Weber
From: Katie Hartley Kopperud Storms '03, political science

Hands down, Robert Weber was the most influential professor during my time at CSB/SJU. He was my freshman seminar professor but became my adviser for the rest of my time in college. In addition, I also worked as his teaching assistant for him during my sophomore through senior year. Professor Weber pulled me aside one day and told me that I had all the makings to be a wonderful attorney one day and that the world needed more female attorneys like me. I had been waffling in my decision to pursue physical therapy as my major. After he said that to me, it was like a light clicked on and I realized that becoming a lawyer was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. So I changed my major and never looked back. And now, as I write this, I'm working now as a partner in a mid-sized law firm in Minneapolis. More importantly, I met my husband in law school too. And none of that would have been possible without Bob's advice.

To: Vera Theisen, modern & classical languages
From: Pauline Maki '87, psychology

Professor Vera Theisen had an indelible influence on my world view and my ambitions for integrating cultural experiences in my life. As the gifted poly lingual instructor in my French language and literature classes, she raised the bar for broadening my language skills and my perspective on ways of thinking, knowing, and living. Her grace, high intellect, and strength of character made her an ideal role model for my budding academic ambitions. As a professor now myself, I emulate her generosity in inviting students to my home to enjoy a home-cooked meal though I confess it is my husband not I who has the culinary talent. Thankfully, I have not had to do what Professor Theisen did, which was to gently scold me for requesting milk with a fine French meal. I still employ my French skills when traveling abroad, visiting with French friends, or listening to French Canadian satellite radio. My sweet 6-year old daughter, AnaSophia, is learning French and never orders milk with a fine meal. Merci, Vera!

To: John Olson, economics
From: Rachel Hillman Vilsack '98, economics

One of the first days of our economics research project (Econ 384) class, Dr. John Olson told us a story. He said think of this class as climbing a really steep mountain. Some days you'll slip on the rocks. Some days you'll make progress through the clouds. Just keep going - do the research, collect the data, do the work. And, he said, on the last day of class when your project is done, I'll ask you what the view looks like from the top of the mountain. I drew a picture of this mountain after class and hung it up. All these years later, that picture of a mountain is still with me. It's moved with me to Ohio for grad school. It's moved from cubicle to cubicle, as my career progressed. And it hangs in my office today. Dr. Olson's analogy of climbing a mountain remains true. Some days the path is difficult to climb - you make a mistake or your research doesn't work out the way you'd hoped. Every now and then you see how your work has made an impact. You see how you made a difference. And the view is great.

To: Fr. Joel Kelly, faculty resident
From: Heather Carabajal '92, liberal studies

Father Joel Kelly led a volunteer prison ministry group at Saint Cloud State Penitentiary. His experience facilitating a spirituality group with men taught me what makes me feel fulfilled as a person and led me down my vocational path as a marriage and family therapist. His thoughtful, heartfelt, and honest approach to the inmates and volunteers provided a foundation for my career centered around the values of social justice, healing, authenticity, cultural humility, and being trauma sensitive. He truly changed my life in a positive and meaningful way!

To: S. Remberta Westkaemper
From: Diane Smith Hansen '64, elementary education

During my years at Saint Ben's there were so many people who have had a tremendous impact on my life. I thank them, and I thank God for them!

I want to single out Sister Remberta Westkaemper. She was the college president when I was a freshman. The freshman health class she taught was amazing. She set the stage for the reality of college life, and shared philosophies and thoughts which led to the enhancement of physical, mental, and spiritual health. Her lessons were stitched together with golden threads of common sense, humor, and encouragement.

Sister Remberta was a science/biology teacher, and I became a first grade teacher. We took nature trips together, and collected plants and ideas that I could use in my classroom. Throughout my teaching I have realized that you could interest students in reading and math through the connection with science.

The whole world of nature leads to a true sense of wonder, and that was Sister Remberta's greatest lesson! As a mother, grandma, and teacher I continue to strive for the goal of developing that sense of wonder in others. The return of the first robin and the delight of the first snowfall will always be right up there with the celebration days of the year.

Thanks, Sister Remberta. You taught life science, but most of all---you taught us what life is all about!

To: S. Angelo Haspert
From: Susan Lindell Eastlund '89, elementary education

The Professor that influenced my life as a freshman and to the current day is Sr. Angelo Haspert. She taught a New Testament Theology class. Also, Sr. Telan who taught a Chinese language class and Sr. Balou who taught art classes. These women had a great impact on my life because they always encouraged me with such amazing spiritual wisdom.

To: Charles Villette, modern & classical languages
From: Terry Nelson '75, elementary education and French

A professeur who influenced me in a life-changing way is Monsieur C.J.Villette. I was a member of the first ever semester abroad at Saint Ben's in spring of 1973! We spent most of the semester in Cannes, France. There were many ideals & words he imparted to us during that time abroad. There are,however,7 words I have never forgot and to THIS DAY tell our children AND my students(while giving Villette full credit,of course!). Whenever they have come to me with doubts or questions as to whether something is possible, I repeat to them those 7 infamous words, "ask, all they can say is no". In other words, a person has nothing to lose and everything to gain if one would simply. . . ASK! Merci, Monsieur Villette. 

To: Charles Villette, modern & classical languages
From: Anne Doyle Smit '72, theater

The professor was Chuck Villette. In 1973, I was fortunate enough to be in the first group of CSB students that Monsieuer Villette took to Cannes, France for a semester. He was only 29 years old, but he arranged the semester in a wonderful way which maximized our intercultural experience through both independence and community. The first half of the semester we studied under his tutelage in a small, family-owned hotel six mornings a week, with afternoons free to explore Cannes and speak French. Then, after the start of our railpasses to coincide with a 6-day trip to Paris and environs, we had 4-day weeks followed by long weekends for the remainder of the semester. During those weekends, we planned and executed our own small group excursions around France,Italy, or wherever we could travel in three-and-a-half days. This arrangement maximized our interdependence and cohesion as a community, but also gave each of us experience that made us confident and independent in our ability to navigate international travel. In addition, M. Villette found a good balance of high expectations for class work and the ability to speak and write in French, and an informality in which we relaxed and learned in more playful settings (picnics, inns, boat rides, etc.). It was a marvelous precursor for our travels and learning throughout life!

To: Bela Petheo, Art
From: Bobbi Beavers Helmers '91, liberal studies

During my four years at CSB, I took every class I could fit into my schedule offered by Bela Petheo. I didn't have true talent for his studio drawing courses but did very well in art history.

Bela often said, "Art should not match your couch" and to this day I don't have a single art piece that fits into my home décor. He is part of my day to day life and will forever impact how I look at art. It should move me for reasons other than how I can incorporate it into my home. It should evoke emotion and cause me to question.

To: S. Mary Reuter, theology
From: Connie Meyers Meeker '88, management

Sister Mary Reuter was the professor, woman, sister, and friend that influenced me during my college days and continues that influence with her friendship still today. Sister Mary was my theology professor and then became my work study supervisor. She taught me her ways of gentle leadership as she was the chair of the Theology Department and also later became Prioress of the convent. She sparked my interest in learning more about my faith and especially learning more about St. Benedict. She influenced me with her support and friendship during my college days and I thank her for that.

To: Rev. Luke Mancuso, English
From: Maria Stanek Burnham '01, English

Professor Luke Mancuso was my freshman symposium professor, and the topic of my symposium was Critical Thinking about Current Issues. For the first time in my life, I learned to truly dissect an argument, write a persuasive essay, and think critically about controversial topics. In my high school years, I was never considered the "smart kid" in my classes. I worked hard and achieved good grades; but Luke, however, helped to nurture in me a love of learning and a passion for good writing which was something I never had before. He showed me the power in reading, writing and discussion. His infectious energy shed a positive light on our year-long journey together. You couldn't ask for a more perfect symposium professor because he is able to teach, to inspire, and to challenge his students in a profound way. Ultimately, I changed my major from Nursing to English/Secondary Ed., much in part to what I learned from Professor Mancuso. I have been a teacher for fourteen years, and each and every day I hope I can exude the passion and dedication to teaching that Luke Mancuso does every single day. 

To: Kay Wolsborn, political science
From: Michelle Huss Dumonceaux '99, social science

The professor who influenced me in a life-changing way was Dr. Kay Wolsborn, Political Science. I was fortunate to have her as a political science professor, and as a result of her passion and enthusiasm for politics in general, but also teaching, reading, and writing, I've been highly influenced in my own teaching by her practices as a professor. As a senior, I was able to T.A. for her first-year symposium course, allowing me to work on writing with her students, as well as start to think of myself as a secondary education social studies teacher, playing the part of both mentor and teacher. Dr. Wolsborn allowed me to actively lead in her course, meet with students to discuss their writing, as well as observe her interaction with her students from a different perspective. Now, 16 years into my high school social studies teaching career, I often think back to her practices as a professor. I have taught 9th grade American Government or Honors American Government since the Fall of 1999, a reflection of Dr. Wolsborn's influence on my teaching and subject-area preference. I have thoroughly enjoyed the curriculum and hope to share that enthusiasm with all of my 9th grade students. In addition, my work with first-year students as a senior at Saint Ben's has helped me in my work with 9th grade students as they're transitioning to high school. I love working with 9th grade students, as they experience one of the most important transitions in their young adult life, helping to welcome them to the high school experience, as well as setting them up with a great foundation of reading, writing, and studying skills. In many ways, this is exactly what I observed in Dr. Wolsborn's work with her first-year symposium students. Her emphasis on studying and effective writing has in-turn become an emphasis in my classroom as well.

One practice I took directly from her was highlighting student work from the short answer portions of our exams in her course and asking students to read out loud in class the day they were returned the answers that were particularly strong. I use this practice with every one of my exams, and did not really realize the time and effort it takes on the part of a professor until I started grading 100 of my own short answer papers, noting which students to ask to share for each of the exams that take place. This is just a small example of the amount of time she spent preparing and making her course lively, engaging, and rigorous for all of her students.

Finally, I was so energized by her passion for her subject that I went on to complete a professional masters in political science from the University of Minnesota. My advanced degree has enriched my teaching and my life, expanding on what I saw in Dr. Wolsborn--a life-long learner with passion for her subject and her students. She was a teacher I looked up to--and continue to look up to--for the wonderful work she has done inside of the classroom.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts about Dr. Wolsborn. I understand as a teacher how important it is for us to honor the teachers that have made a difference in our lives. Few teachers have the opportunity to hear from former students and understand the impact that they had. Teaching is a challenging journey--and I'm so thankful that I had Dr. Wolsborn as a model of teaching! 

To: Bruce Dickau, education, and Norma Dickau, librarian
From: Stacey Wiles '05, psychology and sociology

Bruce Dickau (Professor of Education) along with his late wife Norma Dickau are two individuals who certainly changed my life. Now Norma may have not have technically carried the title of professor but her long standing role as a reference librarian at Saint Ben's certainly assisted in the inspiration, research and completion of many presentations and papers initiated by our professors. Bruce and Norma led my 2004 spring semester study abroad group to Australia. To this day I look back on this experience and am forever grateful, as it was a significant and pivotal point in my undergraduate studies as well as my own personal growth and discovery. The group of students I travelled with were largely unknown to me prior, but by the end of that semester we had all become quite close. Close enough that we made an effort to spend the final three weekends of our stay in Australia doing activities together, meaning all forty of us. We wanted to cherish our last moments together knowing our move back to the US and even eventually back on campus, that we would be pulled apart by different classes, living arrangements, activities and reunited with the friends and family we had left behind. Typically one would think such a large group of forty students would not get along so well. And no, it was not all happy "g'day mates" all the time, but we learned to respect our differences and use that to help each other experience and find perspective in this amazing country we were exploring together. I am truly blessed to call many of those forty students dear friends as many of us have continued to stay in touch wherever life has brought us throughout the country or during continued travels around the globe. Whether happenstance or incredible forethought that Bruce and Norma selected such an eclectic group of students to participate in that study abroad experience, one will never know. What I do know, is that it was not just the cultural experience that changed my life, it was equally the friendships forged that had such a life changing influence on me. So again, thank you Bruce and Norma Dickau for being the catalysts of change in my life during my time at Saint Ben's. 

To: S. Rogatia, chemistry
From: Mary Ann Becker '75, nursing

Sister Rogatia was a chemistry professor who had the duty of teaching basic chemistry to our nursing class. I know that if it was not for her, I more than likely would not be in nursing to this day. She was kind yet tenacious and would not let you fail. I remember once sitting at the corner of her desk learning the Krebs cycle until I finally got it. She never made you feel dumb even though chemistry was not my best subject. She instilled the sense of not giving up even when something was difficult, to ask for help, and to complete the task to the best of your ability. There have many times in my nursing career that things were challenging, but remembering to persevere and ASK for help, has always gotten me through tough times.

To: Charles Villette, modern & classical languages
From: Beverly Hahn Cote '74, liberal studies and theology

There were many dedicated, intelligent, and devoted teachers at Saint Ben's and I'm sure there still are. One who stands out for me is Chuck Villette.
I had the privilege of being part of the first "experimental semester in Cannes" with Monsieur Villette and 19 others in the spring of 1973. I think I can say that, for all of us, the time spent in France was a life-changing event, evidenced by our group's 40 year reunion in 2013 and the comments from the women who participated.

Monsieur Villette was demanding, in the best sense of that word. He challenged me academically, gave praise when it was due and admonishment when it was necessary. He helped open my eyes, as did our time in France, to understand other cultures and appreciate the wonders of travel, gifts for which I am thankful and hopefully have nurtured throughout my life. He helped our group build community so that many of us still keep in contact. He continued to be a mentor, supporter and a friend in the ensuing years. I am so grateful M. Villette was one of my professors and I hope he knows what an impact he had on my life.

To: Carolyn Finley, music; Charles Wright, philosophy; Rene McGraw, philosophy
From: Rebecca Haile '14, psychology

The impossible part about this question is choosing just one professor. I have three instructors that greatly assisted me in becoming who I am today. I love all of them dearly for how they have helped challenge and shape me and I often find myself wishing I could go back into their classrooms for just one more class. Unable to choose between them I will offer a brief answer for all of them:

Dr. Carolyn Finley
Carolyn is a high-spirited diva who uses her passion for music to drive her students to new heights. When I first met her I had never had formal voice lessons before and I was timid and uncertain what to expect. The energetic Texan telling me to "Come on in!" was not what I expected but we quickly formed a deep friendship. The greatest thing Carolyn ever did for me was push me outside my comfort zone while giving up some lesson time here and there to let me talk through my feelings about those ventures. She introduced me to Stage Managing and jazz- two things I never expected to encounter in college. And now I love both deeply! Carolyn has the gift of being able to see where her students want/need to go before they realize it themselves. By steering them in the right direction, Carolyn gives her students the opportunity to explore new areas and develop confidence in finding themselves and their passions before graduation. Through her guidance, I learned to embrace chances and confidently follow my heart regardless of naysayers and negative odds.

Dr. Charles Wright
Dr Wright is a wonderful Philosophy prof who focuses on Eastern/Asian philosophies. He takes these lessons to heart through his instruction of Aikido. While I loved every second of his classes, it was as "Chuck Sensei" that he had greater influence. For Chuck Sensei, Aikido is not just a martial art; it is a way of life, one centered on balance and flow. The most basic concept is that you do not try to resist force but rather find a way to redirect it into something harmless. By applying this concept to every aspect of your life, not just on the training mats, life becomes much more enjoyable and conflict is easier to handle. A friend of mine, still at CSB, was mentioning that she tells her family she practices Aikido on them all the time, but it is the mental, willful side of Aikido in place of the physical throws and falls. The weekly practice of Aikido helped to maintain this mental state. Even in dojos here in Colorado, I have found myself missing Chuck Sensei's instruction of Aikido. The spiritual aspect of it was deeply influential in shaping me into a less confrontational, high-strung person.

Fr. Rene McGraw
Fr Rene has a special twinkle in his eye when he talks about philosophy. His passion becomes the passion of his students and gives them the fire they need to wrestle with some of the most difficult philosophers possible. Anyone who has read Martin Heidegger knows just how dense and confusing he can be. Fr Rene turns it into something more understandable and every class keeps you awake and engaged- often to the point of running for your next class. Even when the schedule changed my last year and his classes were 80 minutes long, we were still talking through the passing period with questions and thoughts so that I had to race to my next class (thankfully just one floor down in the Quad). Fr Rene taught me that passion and fun can thrive in the most difficult areas of life. His classes were by far the hardest I have ever taken, and they were by far the best classes I have ever had! This leads me to seek out the 'hard' path and challenge in life rather than take the easy way out and miss incredible opportunities.

To: Anthony Sorem, psychology
From: Christy Metros Bougie '90, liberal studies

Dr. Sorem directly influenced the outcome of my grades and experience at Saint Ben's. It was "syllabus" day of my sophomore year in Psychology class. Dr. Sorem gave us an education lecture that resonated with me and opened my eyes to the dedication I needed to be a successful student at Saint Ben's. That day he told us that going to college was our "job" and that "job" demanded 8 hours a day minimum and 40-50 hours per week for classes and studying. For some reason, it stuck with me and I made that my goal. It helped me get on the Dean's list and build my career after Saint Ben's.

To: S. Mara Faulkner, English
From: Marguerite DeSpain '83, pastoral ministry and religious education

Sr. Mara has continued to inspire me over the past 30+ years. I went on to study feminist theology and to open a Women's Center at the University of Vermont. I became a writer. These all directly flowed from Sr. Mara's teaching. I hear the voices of the women writers Sr. Mara taught me...again and again.. Virginia Wolf, etc., in my mind. More importantly, I see the loving example of Sr. Mara, a feminist with a strong voice not rooted in anger but in love. Her example and the examples of brilliant women she put before me....have been a lifelong inspiration that I will always cherish. Thank you Sr. Mara!

To: S. Linnea Welter, English
From: Marcia Blaylock Kwiecinski '75

Despite never taking one of her classes, Sister Linnea Welter had a powerful influence on my life. She is my mother's elder sister, and her lifelong devotion to the English language - its proper use in speech and writing, and the delights and wonders of written works - continues to affect my life today. After I left the college, I treasured our letters to one another in which we discussed the books we were reading and new authors we'd discovered. I am now working as a proofreader and editor for e-book authors, a job which actually found me, thanks to that heritage of love for the written language.

To: Human relations faculty
From: Diane White '73, elementary education

I am so sorry to report that I don't recall my professor's name. I needed to take a human relations class to graduate and he was inspiring, dedicated and caring. I graduated in 1973 and I hope you can find him for me for at least a "thank you." He stretched my limits and made me believe in myself. That's what makes our institution of learning so extra special. 

To: Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman, theology
From: Mara Wurm '09, mathematics

Every single one of my professors influenced me in so many ways, but one that stands out to me was not one I interacted with much during my time at CSB. I knew from my first year that I wanted my upper level theology course to be Family, Church, & Society, and my senior year gave me the opportunity to take it with Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman. About a week left in the semester she had each of us take out a piece of paper and write down everything that we were worried, bothered, angry, or stressed about. A few of us shared some of the items we had written down, then she told us to take that piece of paper, crumple it into a ball, and throw it on the floor in the middle of the classroom. All of our stress and anger which had been written down had now been discarded. It was time to move on from everything that was affecting us and forgive those who were affecting us. That was the end of the class period. I still think about that when I'm having a difficult day and remember that it helps to share your troubles and even more importantly, to forgive.

To: S. Margretta Nathe, German
From: Iris Pahlberg Peterson '75, English and German 

Sister Margretta Nathe from the German Department changed my life when I was part of the very first group of Bennies and Johnnies that Sister Margretta led to St. Gallen, Switzerland for a Fall Semester Study Abroad trip in 1973. What I learned most of all was that the friendships we forged with one another on that trip could last for a lifetime. We usually meet annually and sometimes a few times a year for brunch. Whoever is in town is welcome. People travel from all over the USA and even from overseas sometimes to attend our annual Swiss reunions. We are in our 43rd year. We have seen each other through good times and bad times, marriages, divorces, births and deaths. From enthusiastic, youthful travelers in Europe in 1973, we are still enthusiastic and youthful at heart, always supportive of each other and always glad to get together to share what's going on in our lives and to reminisce about the very special time when we were Bennies and Johnnies living and studying in St. Gallen, Switzerland. 

To: S. Mary Anthony Wagner, Liturgical Press
From: Rita Lauer Reissner '75, nursing

Sr. Mary Anthony Wagner influenced me into a life of service, and how important it would be, not just for me, but for others. She taught me in a January interim class which was titled something such as: "Community Service to others." We visited prisons, nursing care facilities, etc.

To: Stephen Humphrey, English
From: Colleen Lilly '81, humanities

Dr. Stephen Humphrey. He was a gem. He taught world lit and I learned so much from him in the classroom. He was a master teacher. He also invited us to meet him personally and have a chat with each of us about the class and life. What I learned from him was kindness and respect which he embodied. I so appreciated him as a person and a teacher. Blessings to Stephen Humphrey!

To: Katie Johnson, communication
From: Sydney Klinker Andringa '13, management & communication; Emily Gasperlin '13, English & communication

We remember the first day of your Comm 103 class like it was yesterday - it certainly turned out to be an important day for both of us. The students sat in silence, taken aback by the list of rules you had just projected on the screen. Sharing our thoughts or ideas was not allowed unless specifically asked. All communication in class discussion must go through the professor; there would be no responding directly to a classmate's comment. Questions were not encouraged. The rules seemed daunting and downright hindering to a communication class.

Then you broke all your own rules, and asked the class why we believed the bogus rules on the screen. You had demonstrated the class topic perfectly: we do not need to blindly follow and believe what we hear from the media. We should discuss, ask questions, learn from that dialogue, and form our own opinions once we have all the facts. From that moment on the class not only learned from you, but from one another. This open culture was especially impactful in many ways for the two of us.

Neither one of us registered for the class because of any particular interest in communications. We were a Management and English major, but honestly neither of us felt we had found our niche on campus yet. It didn't take long to realize that the class was by far our favorite of the semester, and soon we had each added communications to our plans for the rest of our college careers.

The class became an important one for us both, but more importantly, you became extremely important to us. You are important not only because of the role you played in our education and future career success, but also because your classroom discussions and your ability to draw the very best out of your students made it easy to get to know classmates. We met the first day of your class, and have been close friends ever since.

Your class was the springboard for two young women to find their place both at CSB/SJU and in life. You are a one-of-a-kind person who has made a once-in-a-lifetime impact on us - THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts.