A look back at CSB/SJU in 2020

Academics Campus & Community Athletics Student Features

December 11, 2020

Face it – 2020 was a pretty crummy year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus changed life on the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University campuses. Masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing became the new normal.

But despite all that, there were great things that happened in 2020 at CSB and SJU.

CSB’s Valerie Doze was named a 2020 Truman Scholar. SJU’s Ben Bartch was drafted by the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. CSB successfully concluded its “Illuminating Lives” campaign. SJU graduate Denis McDonough was nominated to head Veterans Affairs by President-elect Joe Biden. Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos spoke at SJU.

Here’s a look back at the year:


The Benedictine Volunteer Corps selected a 24-man cohort for 2020-21 … S. Emmanuel (Audrey) Renner ’49, professor emerita of history and president emerita of CSB, died at the age of 93. S. Emmanuel was the 10th president of the college, serving from 1979-86 … CSB senior Hope Schwinghamer accumulated (at the time) 6.7 million followers on Tik Tok. 


Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia from 2010-18 and the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner, delivered the 13th Annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture … CSB was named one of the top producers of 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. students for the fifth time in six years by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with five graduates … A new exercise and health science major was announced at CSB and SJU, and courses were offered starting fall semester … Mary Dana Hinton, the 15th president of CSB, announced she would step down at the conclusion of the academic year to become the 13th president of Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, on Aug. 1.


CSB junior Olivia Engling and SJU junior Sam Black were named Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact … The MIAC playoff champion SJU basketball team beat Ripon College and Wisconsin-Eau Claire to advance through the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III national tournament. But The Johnnies’ Sweet 16 matchup with St. Thomas scheduled for March 14 was canceled due to COVID-19 … Four students from CSB and SJU presented their research at the annual Scholars at the Capitol event at the State Capitol in St. Paul, sponsored by the Minnesota Private College Council … SJU senior wrestler Noah Becker qualified at 133 pounds for the NCAA Division III Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19 … CSB and SJU suspended on-campus classes and all events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online classes began March 23 and continued until the end of the semester … Five Johnnies qualified for the 2020 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19 … CSB diver Emily Quill and SJU diver Jack Grabinski were scheduled to compete in the diving events at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19 … The CSB/SJU Society for Advancement of Management (S.A.M) Case Study team won the Joseph Bush Undergraduate Division at the online S.A.M. Case Study Research Competition for its seventh win in nine tries … CSB and SJU inducted 25 students into Sigma Beta Delta. the highest national recognition a business or accounting major can receive at a college or university with a Sigma Beta Delta chapter.


text for eventIn an email announcement to the communities, the Board of Trustees at CSB and SJU announced the intent to hire a single president to lead both schools … Three SJU seniors were selected as the 2020 Man of Extraordinary Service award winners - Alex Modeas, Andrew Smith and Quinlen Marshall … Phi Beta Kappa’s Theta Chapter of Minnesota inducted 58 CSB and SJU students into the nation’s oldest academic society. It was the 11th cohort of students inducted into the local chapter … Extending the Link, the student-run documentary group at CSB and SJU, was honored with an Upper Midwest Emmy® Student Production Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Upper Midwest Chapter for its 2019 documentary “Bayt Jadeed: Seeking Home” … CSB junior Valerie Doze was named a 2020 Truman Scholar. Doze,  who is a biochemistry and German double-major at CSB, was the fifth CSB student to win the award … Nineteen students from CSB were accepted for induction into the Omega Chapter of Delta Epsilon Sigma (DES) … Celebrating Scholarship and Creativity Day at CSB and SJU was held online as 31 students were honored for their undergraduate research … Ben Bartch was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 10th pick of the fourth round (116th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft … A new data analytics minor was announced at CSB and SJU, and classes began in the fall.


Commencement ceremonies were postponed at CSB (May 9) and SJU (May 10) because of the COVID-19 pandemic … Following the death of George Floyd May 25 in Minneapolis, the CSB/SJU Joint Faculty Senate, CSB President Mary Dana Hinton, SJU Interim President Eugene McAllister and CSB/SJU Student Senates issued statements on the killing of Floyd.


text of campaignFive CSB 2020 graduates earned Fulbright awards. Three received Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs), and two received Fulbright Austria-United States Teaching Assistant positions … CSB and SJU announced plans to institute a block schedule with hybrid learning for the 2020-21 academic year to help safeguard the community from the COVID-19 pandemic … CSB 2020 graduates Michele Beadle and Elise Miller received Young Botanist Awards by the Botanical Society of America … The CSB/SJU Libraries received funding for two projects from the National Endowment for the Humanities CARES Cultural Organizations program … CSB concluded its “Illuminating Lives” campaign by raising $112,908,090 in gifts, successfully breaking its goal of $100,000,000. 


Laurie M. Hamen, J.D., became the interim president of CSB. She returned to CSB community, having served as the college’s Dean of Students from 1992-96. … Five 2020 graduates of CSB and SJU received awards from the Teaching Assistant Program in France … The CSB/SJU Nursing Department raised its cohort size from 54 to 72 students following formal approval by the CSB and SJU administrations … CSB and SJU developed a new app titled “Bulletin” allowimg students, their families, faculty, staff and other interested parties to stay up-to-date on what’s happening on the campuses … Zippia, a career website, found that SJU and CSB ranked Nos. 1-2 for the best college employment placement in Minnesota in its 2020 analysis … SJU graduate Joey Stock ’20 signed with the Boston Red Sox … Fall semester classes began both in-person and online at CSB and SJU.


Kathleen Hall Jamieson delivered the 14th annual Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture during the first Community Engagement Day at CSB and SJU …  Axel Theimer, director of the CSB/SJU Chamber Choir and the SJU Men’s Chorus,announced that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year.


The SJU football program was ranked No. 1 in College Athletic Advisor’s Top 20 Programs That Inspire … Give CSB Day raised $562,131 for Saint Ben’s students in a 24-hour period … Dr. J. David Arnott, associate professor of music at CSB and SJU, received the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association Master Teacher: Studio Award …. A joint sustainability office was created to serve both CSB and SJU, headed by Rachel Brodeur.


A new CSB/SJU webpage made its debut, the first major redesign since 2016 … Give SJU Day raised $729,281 from 1,702 donors contributed over the 24-hour period … The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneur ship selected three graduates as Entrepreneur of the Year winners.


SJU Interim President Eugene McAllister announced in an email that he will be leaving SJU at the end of May 2021 after a nearly two-year tenure … SJU alumnus Denis McDonough ’92 was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs in his administration.

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