Big stories punctuate 2018 Year in Review at CSB and SJU

Bookmark and Share

December 20, 2018

By Mike Killeen

When you assemble a year in review story, you first think about the “big” stories that went down in that calendar year.

Doing that, you’re struck by the number of big stories at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in 2018.

None were bigger than the death of John Gagliardi, the iconic and legendary SJU football coach who passed away Oct. 7.

Yet, John would be happy to know that eight athletic teams or individuals from CSB and SJU qualified for their respective national tournaments in 2018. And yes John, the football team did just fine, reaching the national quarterfinals and producing the Gagliardi Trophy winner in Jackson Erdmann.

CSB announced the public phase of the $100 million Illuminating Lives campaign. The campaign is the largest in the college’s history, with the largest component focused on growing the college’s endowment.

That announcement came on the heels of the dedication of Shoenecker Commons, housing a variety of administrative offices, and making “Bennies” the official nickname of CSB.

Here’s a month-by-month look at some of the highlights from 2018 at CSB and SJU:

January – School resumes for spring semester, and a number of students and staff volunteered for activities surrounding the Super Bowl in Minneapolis … SJU’s Dan Harrington served as an operations intern for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

February – SJU graduate Mark Vande Hei ’89 returned from space after spending 5½ months aboard the International Space Station … CSB and SJU received a $ 600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support initiatives focused on inclusive pedagogy and community building. The goal for BECOMING Community is to teach and enable CSB and SJU faculty, staff and students to become agents of change by preparing them to dismantle oppression.

group of studentMarch – Both the CSB and SJU basketball teams make their respective national tournaments … The CSB and SJU Society for the Advancement of Management (S.A.M.) Case Study team won its fifth consecutive title, and for the sixth time in seven years, in the Joseph Bush Undergraduate Division at the 34th annual S.A.M. Case Study Research Competition … CSB was the first college in the nation to receive designation as the Service Enterprise designation from the Points of Light Foundation … SJU student Ryan Graham took over Michelle Obama’s social media account March 12-16 as part of Obama’s “Better Make Room” student campaign, designed to reach students through social media.

April – The Donald J. McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship received a $1 million donation to continue student entrepreneurship at CSB and SJU … SJU graduate Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone ’86 was confirmed by the Senate April 24 to become director of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

May – Graduation ceremonies were held at both  CSB and SJU … Seven students from CSB and SJU received awards from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board ( John Beckius was a late addition to the group) … The CSB softball team qualified for the national tournament and set a school record with 36 wins … The SJU golf team finished in a tie for 19th at the NCAA Division III Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina … CSB senior Megan Sundstrom finished 17 th in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

June – Reunion was held June 22-24 at both campuses.

July – The Liberal Arts Illuminated conference was July 9-11. The conference, hosted by CSB and SJU, gave participants the opportunity to address the challenges faced by liberal arts institutions but also to affirm and celebrate the core values of a liberal arts education.

August – Summer is over already? Classes began Aug. 27.

September - Sept. 20 was a big day for CSB athletics as the new athletic complex was dedicated and the nickname “Bennies” was officially celebrated … Three graduates earned 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards from the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship: Teresa Mazzitelli ‘72, Steve Cummings ’83 and Elizabeth (Madden) Ogren ’85.

JohnOctober – Legend. That’s the only word The Record newspaper used in its headline after long-time SJU football coach John Gagliardi passed away Oct. 7. His funeral was Oct. 15 at the Abbey and University Church, two days after SJU beat St. Thomas 40-20 at Collegeville ... Give CSB Day was Oct. 3, and the school achieved its biggest day of giving to date as $432,424.74 was raised during a 24-hour period. Money raised will fund scholarships for current and future CSB students … Denis McDonough ’92 returned to SJU to talk about his days as President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff … Three faculty members - Kate Graham, Henry Jakubowski and Chris Schaller - are part of the LibreText Project, providing content for online books.

buildingNovember – CSB launched the public phase of the $100 million Illuminating Lives campaign. The campaign is the largest in the college’s history, with the largest component focused on growing the college’s endowment … The Bennies’ volleyball team qualified for the national tournament … Give SJU Day saw 1,754 donors contribute $575,533 during the 24-hour period, with the money raised to be used for student scholarships at SJU … Schoenecker Commons was dedicated at CSB … The SJU football team qualified for the national tournament … CSB and SJU were ranked No. 2 among baccalaureate schools with 365 students who studied abroad in mid-length study abroad programs, according to Open Doors 2018, the annual report on international education … The CSB cross country team sent two runners to the national tournament for the first time. Senior Morgan Pierce finished 99 th and first-year Abby Goff 134 th.

December – Junior quarterback Jackson Erdmann won the Gagliardi Trophy as the top player in Division III … College Scorecard 2018 ranked SJU No. 1 and CSB No. 4 in the Minnesota earnings category … SJU senior Marvin Heimer was named the No. 5 ROTC cadet in the nation.