Feb. 1, 2023 Newsletter


In this issue, we're spotlighting our 2023 Tommie Award finalists, Nkechukwu Akpati, Katie McGinnis and Viviana Ruiz! The Tommie Award is presented each spring semester to a University of St. Thomas senior who, according to students, faculty and staff, best represents the ideals of St. Thomas Aquinas through scholarship, leadership and campus involvement. Profiles of each finalist are listed below in alphabetical order.

Voting to determine the Tommie Award recipient is scheduled for Feb. 8-10. A ballot will arrive to your official St. Thomas email address.

Tommie Award Finalist: Nkechukwu Akpati '23

Tommie Award finalist and psychology major Nkechukwu Akpati '23 has stayed busy during his time at St. Thomas, juggling a number of leadership and community building roles. He's president of the Black Empowerment Student Alliance, serves as a resident advisor, produces his own podcast, and received the inaugural Good Trouble Legacy Scholarship. The Newsroom recently…
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Tommie Award Finalist: Katie McGinnis '23

From being involved with the Stewardship Garden to Undergraduate Student Government, St. Thomas Tommie Award finalist Katie McGinnis has been active on campus. The Newsroom talked with McGinnis about her interest in environmental science and theology, the school community, and involvement in student clubs. What made you interested in environmental science and theology? Why did…
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Tommie Award Finalist: Viviana Ruiz '23

Viviana Ruiz headshot.
Since transferring from Texas A&M to St. Thomas, Tommie Award finalist Viviana Ruiz '23 has embodied a culture of encounter. The communication studies and Catholic studies double major is an intern at the Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership, a Duc in Altum core team member in Campus Ministry, and a former percussionist in the St.…
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More News

St. Thomas Partners With St. Paul Public Schools to Enhance Teacher Prep

Maxfield Elementary Collaborative Learning School
A University of St. Thomas and St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) partnership is aiming to better prepare future teachers while bringing innovative instruction to one of the Rondo neighborhood's longest-serving elementary schools. Maxfield Elementary School – which serves 350 pre-K-5 students – will officially become a Collaborative Learning School starting in fall 2023, university and…
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St. Thomas Magazine: The Innovators Issue Part 2

The second digital edition of the Innovators issue of St. Thomas Magazine is out now! Read about how our campus continues to transform, offering space for new technologies and collaboration. You'll also meet faculty, staff and students who are working to improve educational outcomes for all in our community.

Read the latest edition of St. Thomas Magazine.

DFC Scholars Share Impact of College

Second-year student Koko Agbobly, a Phi Theta Kappa and peer mentor to first-year students at the University of St. Thomas' Dougherty Family College (DFC), wants to enter the medical profession but isn't quite sure what path to take. She hopes to have a better understanding once she completes an internship at Mayo Sports Clinic that…
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Celebrating Black History Month

Black History month - more than just a month graphic
As the calendar turns to February, St. Thomas organizations have filled the month with opportunities to participate in experiences that put the spotlight on Black Americans. The Diversity Activities Board is hosting a number of events, including a Purple Couch conversation this Friday, Feb. 3, on "Colin Kaepernick: The Power of Black Silent Protest." To learn more about this event and others, visit TommieLink.

Each year, USA Today publishes a special edition celebrating Black History Month. This year, with the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on the cover, the University of St. Thomas provided expert commentary for multiple stories.

Read more.

Extending the Table With Peace Meals

Peace Meals offers a path forward to build community and understanding across lines of religious and cultural division by gathering at the common table for food, friendship, and hospitality. In these sessions students will have the opportunity to experience the richness of constructive conversations across lines of difference and be trained to facilitate them. Peace Meals gatherings: every other Tuesday (Feb. 14, Feb. 28, March 14, March 28, April 11, April 25) during convocation hour (11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.). To learn more and register, click here.

Feb. 3: Cor Jesu at The Saint Paul Seminary

Join The Saint Paul Seminary for eucharistic adoration, confession, praise and worship music with young adults, college-age and older. Father Bryce Evans, co-pastor of St. Mary's in Lowertown and Catholic Studies professor, will preside at the Feb. 3 gathering at 8 p.m. inside St. Mary's Chapel. To learn more, click here.

Winter Weather Preparedness

Though snow transforms St. Thomas campus into a winter wonderland, it also brings potentially hazardous conditions. The University of St. Thomas has compiled winter weather guidelines to help you prepare in the case of dangerous weather.

Stay Healthy This Semester: Get Vaccinated

With the start of a new semester, it's a great time to schedule a flu shot or COVID-19 bivalent booster if you didn't get one in the fall. Schedule a vaccination by calling the Center for Well-Being at (651) 962-6750.

The university reported four new COVID-19 positive cases for the week ending Jan. 27, 2023. See full dashboard details on the COVID-19 webpage.

In Our Prayers

Please remember in your prayers several cherished members of the St. Thomas community who have recently passed, including retired greenhouse manager Steven Trost; former adjunct professor Nino Pedrelli; former Admissions Office and Alumni Relations employee Katie Stephens-Spangler '02; and longtime U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger.

Please also remember in your prayers Patricia Chenier, the mother of two St. Thomas staff members, Ann Kopecky and Donna Matuszewski.

Read more about their lives and contributions at St. Thomas.

Professional Notes

Engineering Professor Mahmoud Kabalan, director of the Center for Microgrid Research, was recently awarded a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation that will help advance microgrid research and expand student opportunities.

Law Professor Teresa Collett received a John Paul II Champion for Life Award in the Adult Pro-Life Professional category from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The annual awards program recognizes individuals who "love, respect and promote life."

Read more Professional Notes.

Seen Around St. Thomas

Men's basketball guard Andrew Rohde goes for three against South Dakota State on Thursday, Jan. 26, at Schoenecker Arena. The Tommies defeated the Jackrabbits 60-54. (Andy Kenutis)

In the News

In the News: St. Thomas Prominently Featured in USA Today Special Edition for Black History Month

Each year, USA Today publishes a special edition celebrating Black History Month. This year, with the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on the cover, the University of St. Thomas provided expert commentary for multiple stories. Executive Vice President and Provost Eddy Rojas and College of Arts and Sciences Professor Paola Ehrmantraut provided insight into the development…
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Other Media Highlights: The announcement of the new partnership between St. Thomas and Saint Paul Public Schools to create a collaborative learning school was featured in several stories across Twin Cities media, including pieces from the Star Tribune and KSTP.

Finance professors John Spry and Kathryn Combs were featured in a Time magazine article amid the Mega Millions lottery frenzy that helped kick off 2023.

Read St. Thomas "In the News" stories.

In Case You Missed It

Urban Art Mapping Receives NEA Grant for BLM Murals Research
Building a Community of Support With the DFC Advisory Board
gener8tor Showcases St. Thomas-Founded Early-Stage Start-ups

Know of anything or anyone interesting around the university that would make for a good Newsroom feature story? Let us know at news@stthomas.edu.

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