We're planning the celebration of the century, and you're all invited. In just five short years, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota will celebrate its centennial, and we've got one of the most important guest lists imaginable - our community.
We're proud to be a part of this community, and we're eager to paint the town SMU red! Mark your calendars for 2012, and save the date!
From its perch atop Terrace Heights, tucked in the majestic bluffs, our Winona campus exemplifies the breathtaking natural beauty of this picturesque area.
What started out as a school for young men in 1912, has grown into a diverse educational network extending from the undergraduate campus in Winona to our Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs (offering programs in Winona, the Twin Cities, Rochester, Apple Valley and more than 100 off-campus sites throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin "” and as far away as Kenya).
We're looking forward to a great year; our freshman enrollment is the highest it's been in twenty years, and our SGPP enrollment is exploding. Altogether, Saint Mary's students number 5,600, more than 2,250 in Winona-based programs alone.
Though our locations have expanded, and number of faculty, staff and students has multiplied, the spirit of SMU has remained constant for nearly a century. It's the same spirit that we believe flows generously through our caring community.
Here are just a few examples of ways that our SMU community works within the greater Winona-area community:
"¢ Music Access for All provides musical instruments, music lessons and sheet music to underprivileged youth.
"¢ The SMU I.T. department donates hundreds of computers and related equipment to area schools.
"¢ 1,000 K-12 students from ISD 861 and Winona Area Catholic Schools will attend performances in our Performance Center this year.
"¢ Our K-12 Reading Teacher Program prepares teachers who can develop, provide and supervise special reading programs for K-12 students. And our student teachers work and learn within area schools.
"¢ The Saint Mary's University Gifts for Winona program annually provides Christmas gifts for more than 1,625 Winona County individuals who are in need of help.
"¢ Through our Volunteer Services offices and Office of Campus Ministry, hundreds of volunteers help people in Winona and around the world. Most recently, hundreds of faculty, staff and students banded together to help our neighbors affected by flooding.
"¢ Almost 1,000 area youth participate in our summer sports camps.
"¢ We gladly make available our facilities and trails for various community events.
"¢ The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts inspires hundreds of young artists in dance and theatre.
"¢ As we anticipate our leaves turning colors, we will eagerly welcome hundreds of youngsters to campus for our annual trick-or-treat event.
"¢Â And the list continues with speakers, gallery exhibits, fundraisers, academic events, concerts and community involvement.
Winona is fortunate to have three higher-education institutions that bring thousands of fresh faces and helping hands into town each fall. Imagine the opportunities Winona has with that kind of manpower, that level of technology, the combined knowledge of each institution's talented faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities. Alone, each institution's contributions are significant; together, the possibilities are endless.
We're committed to a renewed spirit of collaboration with Winona State University and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical. After all, we all have the same goals "” to educate the leaders of tomorrow and to fill our students with both the knowledge and the heartfelt desire to help others.
Together, we have and will continue to make a difference. And, there's truly no better reason to celebrate.
Ann Merchlewitz is vice president and general counsel for Saint Mary's University of Minnesota