Each year, a number of St. Thomas faculty and staff follow their personal and professional interests well beyond the classroom and publish books. That, in turn, enriches their teaching, as well as their community.
In April 2002, for example, Dr. Mark Neuzil, chair of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department, won a Minnesota Book Award for his Views of the Mississippi: The Photographs of Henry Peter Bosse. Neuzil’s research about Bosse’s 19th-century landscapes was featured in the spring 1999 issue of the St. Thomas magazine. The book, published by the University of Minnesota Press, won in the history and biography category.
Here are four books published by faculty in 2002. They cover topics as varied as the Saint Paul Seminary, motorcycle rallies in Sturgis, poetry as art and American manufacturing.
“A lot of people know what to do to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. Unfortunately, even more people are posed to prevent it. They don’t like traffic. They can’t stand power plants, even when they voice their objections from their air-conditioned offices. They resist taking more demanding subjects in school. They don’t study as hard as their counterparts in emerging countries and wonder why it is that living standards are declining in some communities,” said Dr. Fred Zimmerman, a manufacturing systems engineering and international management professor at St. Thomas.
Zimmerman and Dave Beal, business columnist for the Pioneer Press newspaper of St. Paul, recently published Manufact-uring Works: The Vital Link between Production and Prosperity.
Zimmerman, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, has taught at St. Thomas since 1981. He has written numerous professional articles, a book, The Turnaround Experience: Real World Lessons in Revitalizing Corporations,
Behind Manufacturing Works is one simple premise: America’s manufacturing base drives its prosperity. “The industrial sector is special because of its size, ability to generate innovation and value, importance to national security, role in meeting people’s wants and needs, and the dignity of the work it provides for 17 million Americans,” the book states. The combined problems of a worsening U.S. trade balance, mounting layoffs, and uncertainties in financial markets heighten the need to strengthen the U.S. industrial base.
“Worry about the future prompted me to become involved in the book,” Zimmerman said. “Although our research uncovered countless examples of how world-class American manufacturing is providing good jobs and strengthening communities, we also found instances where the decline of manufacturing brought with it poverty, despair, huge governmental financial problems, rising crime rates and the rise of a cynical population.
“I hope our book will spread a more responsible and a more upbeat tone. We can be successful in world markets when we are willing to prepare ourselves.”
Excerpt from:Manufacturing Works,Dearborn Press (Washington Post) From Chapter 19: “Raising the Odds for a Better Tomorrow”
American manufacturing is rich with material for both optimists and pessimists. If you want good news, you can find it. If you’re looking for bad news, there’s plenty of that, too. In scores of interviews and reams of reports and data, we found reason for reassurance as well as concern. The country’s manufacturing sector has been imperiled in so many ways, in so many places. Yet it has also developed almost stealthily in some locales, and occasionally in industries where more established companies have failed. …
Part of the problem has been a get-rich-now culture that all but took over the stock market and spurred a long run of mergers. The merger wave eased considerably when the market turned bearish. Critics say it was driven as much by big fees on Wall Street and investors’ desires for large capital gains as by good fits that promised better performance. First and foremost, the markets should act as capital-raising mechanisms for sound, steady economic growth. That function seemed to recede in the late-1990s, as the imperatives for quarterly earnings gains or presence in Internet-related sectors prevailed.
We found shortcomings of leadership. In certain cases, managements and shareholders failed to invest in equipment and innovation. Sometimes, top executives became too focused on lucrative pay and benefits. In a few instances, they joined forces with the media to stress their own importance above that of their companies on magazine covers and in TV interviews.
It became clear to us that in many quarters, manufacturing has fallen out of fashion. NIMBY-like opposition has curbed expansion of factories, power plants and other industrially related projects. Engineering and related curriculums have fallen out of favor on college campuses; thus, fewer graduates are heading for the manufacturing sector. This has compounded a generational issue for manufacturing, aging management. A sense that manufacturing is declining has raised recruiting concerns at many companies. Susan Maine, managing director of the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Advanced Manufacturing Network, has noted a “serious public misperception about the role of manufacturing in our economy.”
Can poetry behave like a painting, asks Dr. Leslie Miller, associate professor of English at St. Thomas. “In my new book, Eat Quite Everything You See, I had a very specific project: poetry about visual works of art and primarily descriptive in nature,” she explained.
Miller’s previous collections of poetry include Yesterday Had a Man in It, Ungodlinessand> Staying Up for Love.She has won a number of prizes and awards, including the Loft McKnight Award of Distinction and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Holder of a Ph.D. from the University of Houston, Miller has taught at St. Thomas since 1991.
“I wanted to explore the relations of poetry and painting, and so I devoted a lot of poems and reading time to exploring seeing versus saying, the relations between text and image,” Miller explained. “I was fortunate enough to be granted a sabbatical from my teaching position at St. Thomas, and with the help of a Minnesota Arts Council Grant, I was able to spend an entire year living in a small artists’ colony in the South of France. Most of the other residents were visual artists, so I had practicing painters with whom to discuss my readings of theory and with whom to debate the opportunities and limits of seeing versus saying.
“I wanted to see if I could make a kind of poetry that behaved like a painting, a poem that one could actually look at the way one looked at a painting for color, line, shape in the language, spatial relationships.”
Excerpt from:Eat Quite Everything You See,Graywolf Press
“Sundays When Their Laps Were Full of Light”
What is this familiar yellow stuff at the glass again but Sunday’s wide gold loops made by two parents, two children, driving in a blue Buick away from church to the meal the children always choose:
a baked chicken leg, yams in syrup, milky pudding, then the long afternoon of the small town. Laps fullof sunlight, they drive past the courthouse, the banks,the closed Woolworth’s. They cross the river on a steel bridge.
For the mother, they drive by every house for sale in the rims of town, long low houses hugging lazy sun-blond lawns. The father later drives them past what he likes, fields where glowing sheaves lean on the light. One of the girls
in the backseat collects the way it falls in her lap, breaks, falls and breaks again: phone poles go shadow, shadow, shadow, and trees go shadow, then shadow, shadow, light light light. They ride in what the parents surely think is pleasure.
The mother wants other houses. Bigger, prettier houses. Further out. The father would like to hear his music now, Beethoven which is at home in a stack of plastic 45s, but this is the middle of the century and of the country
where even on Sunday there is no Beethoven on the radio. There is a word, once applied to an herb, but now obsolete, that some would like restored to the language: anacampserote … that which brings back departed love.
Of the two girls in the backseat, only one, in thirty years, will wonder: Did we lose the word because we failed to believe, or did we fail to believe because we lost the word? The other will not
wonder such a thing but have a child and a house in Kansas that the mother, now grandmother, wanders with sighs of approval. Carpets thick as grass, a rumpus room that always gets the morning light.
That which never arrives cannot be lost, is what the mother would say to the other girl. She would say, without ever having read Alain, Desire is far inferior to love, and maybe, does not even point the way to it
The father, after Beethoven, would not say that, but neither does he know what to do for his other girl, the one he suspects of never having loved at all. This is the light, she thinks, that promised
everything in shadows dropped into our laps, lavish light that mingles what we hope for with what we think we’ve lost.
Take one part award-winning academic author and university professor. Add one-part leather-clad motorcycle enthusiast. Mix well with wind in your face and bake thoroughly under a hot South Dakota sun.
That’s the recipe for Sturgis Stories: Celebrating the People of the World’s Largest Motorcycle Rally,authored by Dr. Thomas Endres of St. Thomas.
“This is a unique slice of Americana,” Endres explained. “There are other motorcycle rallies, but this is the granddaddy of them all; nothing on the planet compares to it.”
The rally began in 1938 with a couple hundred motorcycle enthusiasts. Last year about 400,000 motorcyclists paid a visit to Sturgis, S.D., population 7,000.
While motorcycles are the focus of the annual Sturgis gathering, the people who ride them are the focus of Endres’ book. With the help of a St. Thomas faculty research grant, he traveled to the rally in 2001 where, perched on his classic Harley Sportster XLH 1000, he interviewed and photographed more than two dozen people whose stories are featured in his just-published book. “Sturgis has a new demographic flavor; older and wealthier individuals have taken up motorcycling. People are from all walks of life and, for one incredible week, they all get along.
“It was a study of a different culture,” Endres said. “I went there and documented it through photos and narrative as we do in communication studies.”
Endres, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and chairs the Departments of Communication Studies and Modern and Classical Languages, is the author of numerous articles and book chapters and was named Outstanding Professor by the National Speakers Association. An ardent motorcycle enthusiast, he is a member of several clubs including H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) and the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
“Why do we ride motorcycles?” Endres asks in his introduction. “The answer is as simple as it is profound. It’s freedom. That is the essence of Sturgis Stories– the freedom that comes with acceptance. Sturgis is a unique slice of Americana.”
Excerpt from: Sturgis Stories: Celebrating the People of the World’s Largest Motorcycle Rally,Kirk House Publishers, see www.sturgisstories.com
From “Keydude & Kim”
Last time Ken “Keydude” Putnam, age 48, was at the Sturgis rally was in 1975. Back then he was here to party; to use and abuse. This time he has returned with his 40-year-old wife Kim – her first trip to Sturgis – with a very different mission. A mission from God. “We’re up here with the Christian Motorcyclists Association to minister.”
The evangelist couple hails from Kaufman, Texas, about fifty miles east of Dallas. Keydude, well nicknamed since he is a locksmith, rode his 1989 Harley-Davidson FLHS, while Kim, an accounting clerk, trailered her 1980 Harley-Davidson FLH Shovelhead. They have belonged to the CMA for about four years. “We belong to the prison team ministry,” Keydude explains, but mentions they may be shifting their pastoral focus. “I’m going to join the mechanical team,” he says, and Kim, in her soft Southern drawl, adds that she may become part of the Servant team.
Keydude reflects on the changes in his life since his last visit to the rally in the mid-70’s. “When I was here before, I was a secular individual, not religious. It was an entirely different experience. My opinion then of a good time was very different. Last time I was here I was strung out on drugs. I drank. I partied. The whole nine. I still got a motorcycle, I still love to ride, but now my high is the Lord. He provides what I need. I don’t need the other party. I don’t condemn those that do, but to each their own. You can’t condemn them for what they do, unless you expect them to condemn you for what you do.”
In 1895, James J. Hill provided financial backing for the construction of the Saint Paul Seminary as a tribute to his wife, Mary Mehegan Hill. More than a century later, the first woman to be named a full professor there, Sister Mary Christine Athans, B.V.M, has published the definitive history of the seminary, “To Work for the Whole People”: John Ireland’s Seminary in St. Paul.
Athans, who holds a doctorate in historical theology from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, presents the seminary’s story against a backdrop of national, international and church history.
The book is peppered with anecdotes. The seminary was founded in 1894 by Archbishop John Ireland, once described as “the consecrated blizzard of the Northwest,” with the financial backing of Methodist millionaire James Hill, president of the Great Northern Railroad and husband of the Irish-Catholic Mary Theresa Mehegan Hill.
Since its founding, more than 3,000 priests have been educated at the seminary. It was the first seminary of any denomination to be accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It educated the nation’s first African-American diocesan priest, and later the first Hmong priest ordained in the United States.
Athans found four areas in which the seminary has left a significant legacy: social justice; liturgy and sacred music; rural ministry and catechetics; and preaching and teaching the Gospel. One of this country’s most famous preachers, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, completed his studies for the priesthood at the seminary from 1917 to 1919.
Athans was the first woman to be honored as a professor emerita when she retired in 2002 after 18 years as professor of church history.
Excerpt from:‘To Work for the Whole People’ John Ireland’s Seminary in St. Paul, Paulist Press
From Chapter 4: “If It Hadn’t Been for a Woman…”
“For nearly thirty years I have lived in a Roman Catholic household, and daily have had before me and around me the earnest devotion, watchful care, and Christian example of a Roman Catholic wife, of whom it may be said, ‘Blessed are the pure of heart for they have seen God,’ and on whose behalf tonight I desire to present and turn over to the illustrious Archbishop of this diocese the seminary and its endowment as provided in the deeds and articles of trust covering the same.”
James J. Hill, Speech at Dedication of The Saint Paul Seminary, Sept. 4, 1895
That Catholic woman was Mary Theresa Mehegan Hill, wife of the Methodist millionaire and “empire builder” James Jerome Hill. Hill’s statement at the dedication ceremony of the Saint Paul Seminary on Sept. 4, 1895, was prefaced by the forthright comment: “Some of you may wonder why I, who am not a member of your church, should have undertaken the building and endowment of a Roman Catholic theological seminary.” He was very clear that the role of his wife was pivotal in his decision to make such an extraordinary contribution to a church that was not his own.
Who was the wife of this entrepreneur? Mary Theresa Mehegan was the daughter of Irish natives … part of the stream of Irish immigrants threatened by economic conditions in Ireland, which culminated in the potato famine in the 1840s.
The young Mehegans arrived in St. Paul on May 21, 1850. They bought a house at Minnesota and Bench Streets where their neighbors included pioneer priest Father Augustin Ravoux, and, eventually, the Ireland family, some of whom would become lifelong friends. … Upon graduation from St. Joseph Academy in the waning days of the Civil War, Mary Theresa was employed as a waitress at the Merchants Hotel in St. Paul. It was there that she met James J. Hill, who frequented the dining room with his bachelor business friends. Mary was an attractive and proper young woman, described by one biographer as “a sensible, high-principled girl.” The enterprising Jim Hill was impressed with Mary, particularly “her grave, dignified bearing … her fresh colleen beauty and fierce devotion to the strict precepts of the Roman Catholic upbringing which … made her one the most attractive young women in St. Paul.”