SaintsRiseUp Safe Return | Campus Updates

Oct. 2 Safe Return update

Safe Return

Safe Return

Greetings, colleagues!

I want to offer my gratitude to all who are faithfully abiding by the coronavirus health and safety precautions of physical distancing, masking and frequent hand washing. Our numbers of positive coronavirus cases remain manageable at this point, but it is the nature of the virus that this could change quickly. Evidence appears to show we are doing well at not fostering transmission of the virus through classrooms and labs. It is in social settings that we see transmission occurring, perhaps mostly through living quarters. And our numbers are in "uptick mode" as are the rising numbers in St. Louis County and across Minnesota.

We must remain vigilant. Without a doubt, it's challenging for many of us to resist precaution fatigue. On the Duluth campus, for example, we are seeing incidents of individuals in Storm's Den not wearing masks, and persons wearing masks improperly, either through indifference or ignorance. 

To help slow the spread of coronavirus, each of us must continue to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves, our friends, and our families. Make sure that when you wear a face covering, you select the right type, wear it properly, and keep it clean. 

Here are tips from the CDC:
How to Select, Wear, and Clean your Mask  
How to Wear your Mask Correctly  
And remember, free testing for COVID-19 is available here in Duluth and around the state, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health. Among the locations are: 

  • Duluth - Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Drive. 

Today, Friday Oct. 2: noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday Oct. 3 and Sunday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • St. Joseph, MN - Clemens Field House, the College of Saint Benedict

Tuesday, Oct. 6; Wednesday, Oct. 7; Thursday, Oct. 8, noon to 6 p.m.

  • Inver Grove Heights - Inver Grove Heights Armory

Tuesday, Oct. 6; Wednesday, Oct. 7; Thursday, Oct. 8, noon to 7 p.m.

  • Cloquet - Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College gymnasium

Tuesday, Oct. 6; Wednesday, Oct. 7; Thursday, Oct. 8, noon to 6 p.m.

Developing the student athlete
The College has an honorable tradition of holistic development of our student-athletes. We are now taking that commitment to a new level. Last month, the Department of Athletics launched the Student-Athlete Development Program to enhance the growth of our student-athletes within and beyond their academic and athletics experiences. The initiative provides resources to enrich the student-athlete's holistic experience and personal growth as they navigate through their educational endeavors while preparing for life after college. Our four "commitment areas" are: Commitment to Wellness & Performance, Commitment to Personal Development, Commitment to Academic Excellence, and Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion. 

Bravo, Director of Athletics Franco Bari and colleagues! 

New funding platform
Have you heard about the exciting new fundraising platform that's been launched by College Advancement? It enables individual programs and projects to crowdfund. Take a look at the new donation opportunities available by visiting and clicking "Give Now." If you have an idea for a project or program you'd like to submit, review the Fundraising Project Request Form

This new platform will also be a key tool in our annual Give to CSS Day in March. If you would like to participate in Give to CSS Day 2021, you must apply through the Fundraising Project Request Form by Nov. 1. Examples of programs and projects that have participated in the past include: HIIM LaTour Eichenwald Forum, Computer Information Systems Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Fund, and the Art Collection and Preservation Fund. On Give to CSS Day 2020, we raised approximately $78,000 across all the projects. For more information, contact Erin Kreeger at

Know an excellent communicator?
The search for our Communications Director position is underway with the retirement of Bob Ashenmacher - in fact, his last day is today! Bob has faithfully served the College for nearly three decades and has played a key role in promoting and reporting on CSS, building relationships with news outlets and community organizations and keeping us all informed internally as well. We will miss Bob and wish him the very best in his next chapter! Congratulations Bob!

I welcome everyone's help letting your networks know that the Communication Director's position is open so that we might attract a strong and diverse pool of qualified candidates. Please reach out to Diane Vertin, Committee Chair, with any questions you might have: 

The committee will review applicants beginning the week of Oct. 12, with the first set of Zoom interviews to be conducted the week of Oct. 19, and finalist interviews the week of Oct. 28.

Employers still want Saints
Career Services reports that employers are still eager to connect with our students to provide information about jobs, internships and career opportunities.  Check out the  Fall 2020 Virtual Fairs.  If you know students who are interested, please direct them to the fall fair inquiry form and Career Services will follow up with registration and preparation direction.

Amazing Saints!

  • Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Art Paul LaJeunesse, who completed a beautiful new mural that celebrates the history of Virginia, MN! A wonderful distinction that underlines how our Saints are contributing to their communities in remarkable ways.
  • Congratulations to McNair Scholars Eric Jeffords and Breanna Cole on the publication of their research paper in collaboration with Dr. Glenn Simmons, Jr., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus. The research focused on certain enzymes and proteins and their impact on kidney cancer patient survival rates.Their research paper has just been published in Oncology Letters, a peer-reviewed online medical journal. Congratulations, Eric and Bre!

Peace and Justice Series
Our signature Peace and Justice lecture 2020-21 series kicked off this week in a 100% virtual format. Thank you to Dr. Tom Morgan for leading this effort to bring remarkable and thought-provoking conversations to the community. This year's theme is "New Immigrants - Familiar Stories?" You can catch the recording of this week's first lecture by journalist and author Tom Gjelten, "Welcoming New Nations to our Nation"

Homecoming is almost here
Homecoming will look a little different this year, but with plenty of opportunities to connect virtually. Many fun and creative online events are planned from Oct. 8 to 10 to  help you build community with your fellow Saints, no matter where you are. They include a virtual 5K run, a Saints Movie Night-In featuring a premiere from two of our alumni, documentarians Chris Parr and Harris Dirnberger, and a virtual pub night. I'm particularly looking forward to kicking off the weekend and greeting our alumni with Morning Coffee and a Conversation on Saturday. Here's more information

The weather is cooling which means that winter is not far off. During this time of seasonal change, remember to take good care of yourself and your loved ones. We have heard and know that these unprecedented times can take a toll on our spirits and on our physical and mental health. We pray for the College community, for your well being and strength. I hope you get outside (safely) and enjoy the beautiful creation we are blessed with.
Stay safe!
Be well!