Summer 2024 Digital Magazine

Welcome to St. Thomas Magazine Summer 2024

Schoenecker Center Magazine gif

Dear St. Thomas community,

In this summer edition of St. Thomas Magazine, we focus on how the new Schoenecker Center inspires multidisciplinary collaboration between faculty and students. However, as President Rob Vischer states in his letter, educating our students is about more than employment outcomes. "We are called to engage our students in a conversation that is inescapably about values," he says. The articles presented here represent that truth.

See also this Schoenecker Center photo gallery.

We hope you enjoy this digital edition of St. Thomas Magazine.

Rob Vischer on Educating for a Life of Purpose

Icosahedron sculpture
Universities are becoming more transactional, more focused on providing necessary job skills as efficiently as possible. Efficiency is important. Preparing our students for professional success is important. But I think one reason we have such stellar employment outcomes at St. Thomas is because we care about a lot more than employment outcomes. If we only…
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Schoenecker Center Ushers in New Era of STEAM Education

Administration, donors, faculty and staff attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Schoenecker Center in St. Paul on May 8, 2024, in St. Paul.
As the St. Thomas community came together on May 8 to dedicate the Schoenecker Center, the university's new home for STEAM education, faculty, staff and students made it clear: Bold, interdisciplinary learning is already alive and thriving within its walls. University leaders, the Board of Trustees and the building's many benefactors attended the Schoenecker Center's…
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Tommie Storyteller Searches for Truth and Justice

Usually the one asking questions, it is time for Dr. Mark Neuzil to have his story told. Standing in the new Schoenecker Center as a member of the Emerging Media faculty, he is surrounded by a reminder of the progress seen by the university he calls home. The retiring professor worked as an environmental journalist…
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Mastering the St. Thomas Sound: Tommie Record Label Debuts

480 Collective
It didn't take long for inspiration to hit. Just hours after opening the doors to the University of St. Thomas' new Schoenecker Center, music business students were already collaborating on their first big idea: a Tommie record label. "It sounded a bit crazy and daunting at first," Owen Hjerpe '24 said. "But it was also…
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Art History and Microbiology Collaborate in New Project

Biology major Shaylee Beckfield '25 believes bacteria can get a bad reputation. This spring she's helping correct any misconceptions – one colorful petri dish at a time. As part of a series of Agar Art workshops inside the brand-new Schoenecker Center at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Beckfield has passed out dozens and…
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Music to Our Ears: St. Thomas Acquires New Steinway Concert Grand Piano for Schoenecker Center

Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada sits at the new Steinway in Schoenecker Center
Professor of Music Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada traveled to Steinway & Sons in New York in March to select an extraordinary artisanal 9-foot concert grand piano for the new Schoenecker Center at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. She took a two-hour tour of the massive on-site factory and was able to watch piano components…
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Sights and Sounds: First Day of Class Inside the Schoenecker Center

Schoenecker Center opens for the first day of spring semester on February 5, 2024, in St. Paul.
St. Thomas officially opened the doors on Feb. 5 to the Schoenecker Center, the university's new central home for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education. The five-level, 130,000-square-foot complex on Summit Avenue is poised to become a national model for interdisciplinary learning, uniquely positioned to prepare tomorrow's graduates to work across fields and…
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Related Articles

The Future of Persistent 'Forever' Chemicals

Professor Ali Ling surrounded by items containing PFAS chemicals
Imagine a group of chemicals so useful they're in everything from your phone to your clothes, but they never break down and could be harming your health for generations. These chemicals do exist and there is not enough money in the world to remove them from the environment as fast as they are being added. Per-…
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Introducing 'The Crest': St. Thomas Student Media Gets New Name, Identity

TommieMedia, the student-run media organization at the University of St. Thomas, will rebrand as "The Crest" in fall 2024. Inspired by an evolving campus and media landscape, the name is also an ode to the organization's neighbor, the Mississippi River.
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A Mechanical Engineer Pursues Environmental Justice

Dubbed the "Eco Green Queen" after a company she founded, Dr. Fuschia-Ann Hoover '09 obtained her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of St. Thomas when there were not many African American women majoring in engineering anywhere in the U.S. Hoover shattered norms.
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University of St. Thomas Answers Industry Desire for Innovation

The rapidly emerging field of artificial intelligence is accessible to a wide variety of individuals thanks to a new Master of Science degree offered by the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering.
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The Balance of Power: Future-Proofing the Electric Grid While Seeking Carbon Cuts

The electricity used in every home and business is the same. But how that electricity is generated has stirred impassioned divisions for generations. Hear from Xcel Energy President (MN, ND, SD) Ryan Long, who discussed energy challenges and innovation at a University of St. Thomas Finding Forward event.
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Meet the Artists Behind the Schoenecker Center's World-Class Art Collection

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Anthony James is a rock star in the contemporary art world. A trained visual artist, his monumental sculptures – constructed from a mesmerizing combination of stainless steel, glass and LED lights – have appeared on all seven continents and even played a starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster. And now, one of his pieces calls…
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Do you know any incredible Tommies? graphic
There are many incredible Tommies at St. Thomas. Whether they are current faculty, staff, students or alumni, if you know an Incredible Tommie we should feature in a future edition, use this form to recommend them. We especially are interested in individuals who have significantly transformed communities and the world at large.

Read other stories in St. Thomas Magazine online.

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

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