Tag Archives: Ginny Arthur

Metropolitan State University celebrates 102nd commencement

A classmate’s enthusiastic appeal to Metropolitan State University students to seize upon their success and to “make the best out of your struggles” brought the audience of 2,000 to its feet as student Kossi Ayigah addressed the graduating class.

“Many of you sitting here have a story to tell. Throughout our educational journey, we have all overcome many obstacles and life challenges, but we made it,” Ayigah said.

Approximately 1,058 students received their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees this semester, with 785 students participating in Metropolitan State’s 102nd commencement exercises Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. To accommodate Metropolitan State’s growing student body, the spring commencement ceremony took place as two programs. The ceremony was livestreamed and is archived for viewing at https://youtu.be/j6PAjtFOslE.

From French-speaking Togo, Ayigah came to the United States in 2013. As a non-native English speaker, he struggled through his classes at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Speaking up in class was impossible, raising his hand was a “no-no.” He had to  search the dictionary for words to understand the context of his reading assignments; it took him nearly three hours to get through five pages. He had yet to learn that growth requires patience. Ayigah’s scholarly pursuits demanded even more from him when he transferred to Metropolitan State in December 2016.

“Along my educational road,life got harder. But regardless of my struggles and what was happening around me, I refused to be discouraged. I woke up every day with my head up, my chest out, a smile on my face, and I made sure that I took advantage of every opportunity,” Ayigah told the graduates from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Management, College of Sciences, and the School of Urban Education. He speech can be viewed at this URL: https://youtu.be/Oc3ZP5u0i8o

Ayigah graduates with his bachelor’s degree in accounting, having won a scholarship from the American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants along the way. He is a recipient of the President’s Outstanding Student award, representing the College of Management.

As the ceremonies opened, President Virginia Arthur addressed the graduates with the promise that their preparation at Metropolitan State has equipped them to become leaders, both in their careers and in their communities. She reminded them that, under Metropolitan State’s unofficial credo as the “University without barriers,” learning and pursuing a degree is possible in spite of obstacles, and education extends beyond a student’s life spent in the classroom.

“As one alumnus recently put it,” Arthur said, “We allow students to find their own passion and purpose and help them become lifelong learners, taking responsibility for the direction of their programs of study, and encouraging their active engagement in their community.”

Metropolitan State first admitted students in 1972. To date, 46,115 students have graduated over its 47 years as a higher education institution. At its founding, there were few options for students who did not fit the traditional mold: recent high school graduates seeking a residential experience. The founders were determined that Metropolitan State should be a “college for those who have no college,” and that it would honor the knowledge that learners brought with them to the university.  Metropolitan State now enrolls approximately 11,500 students and has a national reputation for innovative programs that empower students.

“Presidents often wish they had a crystal ball to see into the future. But as I stand before you today, and look into your faces, I can see the future—and I see that it is a bright and promising one,” President Arthur said.

Aaryka Pederson, President’s Outstanding Student award finalist, delivered the afternoon address to the graduates from the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs, the College of Individualized Studies, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Her speech can be viewed at this URL: https://youtu.be/1OQLFtHs0M0

“When you meet a challenge in life, think back to how you persevered while earning your degree and you pulled yourself through. Be proud of yourself and of what you have accomplished,” Pederson said. She graduates with summa cum laude honors, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“You have already shown how strong you can be by making it here today, and I know that that strength will flow into the rest of your lives, to help empower you to do great things,” Student Senate President Heather Moenck said, addressing the graduating classes. “Whether you are going into a new career, graduate school, or just opening up a new chapter of your life, you are influential and powerful. Going forward, do phenomenal things, challenge opinions and create a positive change in the world.” Her speech can be viewed at this URL: https://youtu.be/cOkZMSYhOJo

Outstanding Student honorees recognized at commencement are: Kossi Ayigah, College of Management; Stacy Buschmann-Ford, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Christopher Sugden, College of Liberal Arts; Cynthia Yoder, College of Sciences; Genevieve Calvillo, College of Individualized Studies; Jennifer Cannon, College of Liberal Arts; Raelene Caswell, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs; Rodrigo J. Sanchez, School of Urban Education; Tess Spence-Sing, College of Community Studies and Public Affairs; Jessica Stewart, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; and Taskin Hague, College of Management.

Other commencement participants included:

  • Amy Gort, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs
  • Cheryl Tefer, trustee, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees
  • Michael O’Connor, president of the Metropolitan State University Alumni Board
  • August Hoffman, president of the Inter-Faculty Organization
  • Kristine Hansen, director of Alumni Relations

April 28: Metropolitan State’s 102nd commencement

Metropolitan State University celebrates its 102nd commencement.

Approximately 1,072 students are receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees this semester with 785 students expected to participate in Metropolitan State University’s 102nd commencement exercise.

To accommodate Metropolitan State’s growing student body, the spring commencement ceremony will take place as two programs Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S. The morning program will begin at 9:45 a.m., and the afternoon program will begin at 1:45 p.m. All guests must have a ticket. The ceremony will be livestreamed (http://bit.ly/2r7Njqr).

The morning program’s student address will be delivered by graduating student, Kossi Ayigah, who is recipient of the President’s Outstanding Student from the College of Management. The program recognizes graduates from the College of Liberal Arts, College of Management, College of Sciences, and the Urban Education Department.

Doors open at 9 a.m. and the procession starts at 9:45 a.m.

The student address for the afternoon program will be delivered by Aaryka Pederson, President’s Outstanding Student award finalist and College of Nursing and Health Sciences graduating student. The program recognizes graduates from the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs, College of Individualized Studies, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Doors open at 1:15 p.m. and the procession starts at 1:45 p.m.

Other commencement participants include:

  • Virginia “Ginny” Arthur, J.D., Metropolitan State University president
  • Amy Gort, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs
  • Cheryl Tefer, trustee, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees
  • Michael O’Conner, president of the Metropolitan State University Alumni Board
  • August Hoffman, president of the Inter-faculty Organization
  • Kristine Hansen, director of Alumni Relations
  • Heather Moenck, Student Senate president.

Congratulations to the graduating class of spring 2018.

Photos: Spring 2018 retirement reception

Spring 2018 marks the retirement of eight of our colleagues at Metropolitan State University. President Ginny Arthur, Provost Amy Gort, Inter Faculty Organization President August Hoffman and the Metropolitan State community gathered to thank them for their years of service.

Honorees included:
• Daniel Abebe, professor; College of Individualized Studies
• Rose Wan-Mui Chu, professor; School of Urban Education
• Valerie Geaither, professor; Human Services College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
• Leah Harvey, professor; College of Individualized Studies
• Paul Hesterman, director of Advising; College of Management
• Kat Lui, dean; College of Management
• Nancy Miller, associate professor; Human Services College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
• Joyce Paxton, director; AQIP Academic and Student Affairs

April 24: Spring 2018 retirement celebration

This spring marks the retirement of eight of our colleagues at Metropolitan State University. Join President Ginny Arthur and the Metropolitan State community in thanking them for their years of service.

The celebration is 2:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 24. Program will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Founders Hall Auditorium, St. Paul Campus.

Honorees will include:

  • Daniel Abebe, professor; College of Individualized Studies
  • Rose Wan-Mui Chu, professor; School of Urban Education
  • Valerie Geaither, professor; Human Services College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
  • Leah Harvey, professor; College of Individualized Studies
  • Paul Hesterman, director of Advising; College of Management
  • Kat Lui, dean; College of Management
  • Nancy Miller, associate professor; Human Services College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
  • Joyce Paxton, director; AQIP Academic and Student Affairs

Continue reading April 24: Spring 2018 retirement celebration

Susan Shumer memorialized with joyful stories, laughter and Community Engagement Fund

A memorial this week brought friends and colleagues together to remember Susan Shumer, who died on Nov. 19.

Shumer was the founding director of the Center for Community-Based Learning (CCBL), which became the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship prior to her January 2013 retirement as director emerita.

She came to Metropolitan State as its academic internship coordinator in 1992. In 1996, she co-founded CCBL and became its director. Her work was always guided by the convictions that Metropolitan State was built upon having strong relationships with the community, and that we must collaborate internally if we want to have effective collaborations externally. She made sure the university’s founding commitment to honoring community-situated knowledge remained central to our work.

Her influence led to many program innovations and national recognitions for Metropolitan State. Thanks to her vision and industry, community engagement as an approach to teaching, learning, and scholarship became “institutionalized”—in the finest sense of that word—at Metropolitan State, anchoring an institutional ethos and reputation as an “engaged campus” into which we continue to live and grow.

Greg Mellas, director of the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship. President Ginny Arthur; and Shumer Family, husband, Rob, and daughters, Jessica and Aimee.

President Ginny Arthur at the memorial announced the creation of a fund to support Shumer’s legacy of community-based scholarship. The fund will be administered by the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship.

“I am very grateful to announce the establishment of the Shumer Community Engagement Fund. This fund, founded on combined gifts from Susan’s estate and from Rob (Shumer), will support programming in the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship,” President Arthur said.

“On behalf of the entire university community, I want to express our deepest appreciation for this gift from Susan and Rob, and to the family for bringing it to fruition.”

Shumer’s high points  at Metropolitan State are marked by many   accomplishments, including the following:

  • 1998: Received a HUD “Community Outreach Partnership Centers” grant to work in collaboration with community partners on affordable housing in the East Side;
  • 1999: Began efforts to position Metropolitan State for Campus Compact’s “Engaged Campus” designation;
  • 2001: Launched Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders) in collaboration with MCTC;
  • 2002: Received funding from Minnesota Office of Higher Education to fund From Programs to Practice: Building the Engaged Campus;
  • 2003: Established the “American Democracy Project” at Metropolitan State, in partnership with the New York Times and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities;
  • 2003: Metropolitan State and LISC were named finalists for the “Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaborations;”
  • 2005: Developed the Circle of Engaged Learning, a visual representation of a social change model that connects civic engagement to the mission and vision of the university;
  • 2005: Organized the university’s inaugural observance of Constitution Day – A conversation with members of the Minnesota Supreme Court: The Significance of Supreme Court Nominations in the Constitutional Context, and Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom;
  • 2006: Established the President’s Circle of Engagement program to recognize faculty members for integration of community engagement into their teaching and scholarship;
  • 2007: Hosted Nobel Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu during Metropolitan State’s hosting of youthrive’s PeaceJam conference;
  • 2008: Conducted institutional self-study to secure the Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification for Metropolitan State (Susan also contributed to the renewal of this classification in 2015);
  • 2008: Launched Metro State Votes, a series of activities and programs to inform, engage, and involve the university community in civic action during each election season;
  • 2009: Metropolitan State was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction (the first of two such recognitions of the university by the Obama administration);
  • 2012: Developed and launched the “Community Engagement” course designation process to assist students in identifying community-engaged learning opportunities in the course schedule;
  • Led the process that resulted in re-naming “CCBL” as “ICES,” broadening its scope and placing it on an enterprise-wide footing within the university.

Oct. 9: Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Metropolitan State University and the state of Minnesota annually designates the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in place of the federally recognized Columbus Day, and further recognizes that Metropolitan State’s Dayton’s Bluff campus is situated on formerly Dakota land and adjacent to sacred burial mounds on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes the unique cultures and challenges of indigenous peoples worldwide. These challenges include human rights, developmental, educational, environmental, and medical/health issues faced by members of native cultures.

Read 11 nations and flags of Minnesota Native Americans

Attend a celebration and recognition of the significant contributions of Native Americans to the United States during Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Monday, Oct. 9. Events will take place outside the commons near the Great Hall, Saint Paul Campus. In case of weather interruptions, presentations will be moved to inside the Great Hall.

Planned events include:

10 am to 6 pm – Native American tipi demonstration and display;(this display will be weather dependent).

3 pm – Smudging and blessing by Ernie Whiteman, a spiritual elder and cultural teacher from the Arapaho Nation. He works at Dream of Wild Health in Hugo, Minn.

3:10 pm – Welcome by President Ginny Arthur

3:15 pm – Ernie Whiteman will give an overview about American Indian spirituality and the use of tobacco and other sacred medicines, along with his thoughts on the importance of Indigenous Peoples Day’s work with youth and food sovereignty.

4 pm – Intermission with a light meal

4:15 pm – Maria McCoy and Nelda Goodman – Healing Through Time: Aanikobijigan (the String of Lives).  Ancestral wisdom, knowledge and resiliency is encoded in our DNA and is passed down through the luminous string of lives. Our DNA memory wakes up and can change when we begin our healing journey

5:15 pm – Asiginok Women’s Drum Group

5:45 pm – Closing comments by Tom Cook, special assistant to the President.

The observance is sponsored by the university American Indian Advisory Committee, American Indian Student Services, Dean of Students and Equity and Inclusion Council. For more information, contact Mai Her, mai.her@metrostate.edu.

First students in Nagasaki University exchange welcomed to Saint Paul

President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur greeted Nagasaki University students Ayano Tsuchihashi and Yoshiki Ohgi who arrived from Japan to attend Metropolitan State in an inaugural exchange between the universities.

The students were welcomed at an event June 3, at Como Park hosted by the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee, with assistance from the Japan America Society of Minnesota, AnimeTwinCities, and many volunteers. Saint Paul and Nagasaki became Sister Cities in December 1955.

In February 2017, the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Metropolitan State and Nagasaki University opened opportunities for a cultural exchange of students. The memorandum allows students from Metropolitan State to study in Japan for long and short term sessions. As part of the exchange, Metropolitan State will host an equal number of Nagasaki University students. Metropolitan State students will leave in August 2017 to attend Nagasaki University.

19th Annual President’s Leadership Awards

The 19th Annual President’s Leadership Awards presentation recognizes the student organizations and leaders that have made great effort to bring quality programming and events to Metropolitan State University.

The event for the university community was hosted by Interim Director of Student Development and Programming Philip Fuehrer and Student Life Leadership Development Coordinator Alysia Lajune on May 24 in Metropolitan State University’s Great Hall, New Main, Saint Paul Campus.

In a welcome address, President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur talked about the importance of an event such as this that highlights the hard work of outstanding individuals. She was especially honored to carry on the tradition passed on to her by her predecessors.

Dean of Students Herbert King echoed Arthur’s message honoring the members of the university community who lead by impressive example.

Student Senate President Dhibo Hussein mentioned some of the accomplishments of the senate in the past year, saying she was particularly proud of the Student Senate’s achievement to getting the Dean’s List added to Metropolitan State University. This award will be put into effect fall 2017.

The list of award winners is as follows:

  • Outstanding Student Organization Advisor: Linda Martinez
  • Program of the Year: Understanding and Responding to Mass Incarceration (Alcohol and Drug Counseling Student Association)
  • Perseverance Award: Richard Downs, Jr.
  • SLLD Wow Factor Awards: Troy Mathias
  • Male Student Leader of the Year: Guyo Kotile
  • Female Student Leader of the Year: Tina Martinez
  • Student Organization of the Year: Nursing Student Organization