News from Alums
Update: Alan Shepard '83 has been appointed the next president of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.
Concordia University is pleased to announce that its Board of Governors has approved the appointment of Alan Shepard as president and vice-chancellor. He will begin a five-year term on August 1, 2012.
Shepard will come to Concordia from Ryerson University, where he has served as provost and vice-president academic, and chief operating officer since 2007. During his tenure there, Ryerson has built new strengths in experiential learning and innovation, and has undertaken a host of reforms, including changes to its academic structure, undergraduate curriculum and research environment.
“Alan Shepard has left his mark on the academic and administrative leadership at Ryerson, where I know he will be missed,” says Peter Kruyt, chair of Concordia’s Board of Governors. “We were impressed by his strong commitment to building and sustaining academic excellence, and leading initiatives to improve student services, support research and forge partnerships with other institutions.”
Shepard says he is looking forward to connecting with the Concordia community and immersing himself and his family in Quebec’s thriving culture.
“Concordia is a strong institution now, and it has extraordinary opportunities to become a national and international leader in higher education, to refashion the intellectual and physical geography of learning. Truly, I want us to make our own path, to work together to create the best experience we can for students and researchers, to build a great university for learning, teaching, research and creative activity while connecting with the larger community that supports us,” says Shepard.
“Concordia has many opportunities to lead — in urban renewal, in research innovation, in diversity and accessibility, in student engagement with society, and in providing opportunities for entrepreneurial graduates who may want to join the economy on their own terms. Students are central to all our initiatives.”
Shepard will succeed Frederick Lowy, president from 1995 to 2005, who returned in that role in February 2011 at the university’s request.
“We are grateful to Dr. Lowy, who has guided our university so effectively through this transition to Alan Shepard,” says Kruyt. “Dr. Lowy has been a unifying force at Concordia and has always had the best interests of our students, faculty, staff and alumni at heart and Concordia is in great shape as a result.
“I also thank the members of our advisory search committee, which was chaired by Chancellor L. Jacques Ménard and had representation from across our university community, for their diligence throughout the process that led to the selection of our new president.”
Shepard has earned an undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He was also a visiting undergraduate at Cambridge University. In 1990, he received a PhD in English from the University of Virginia. He has held fellowships at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. and the University of Toronto.
Shepard has published a number of books, essays and technical reports, won awards for teaching, and received grants to support his research, publications and professional practice. He was editor-in-chief for five years of the bilingual, multidisciplinary journal Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme. He speaks regularly on contemporary issues facing universities.
His other administrative experience includes terms as a department chair and school director in the United States and Canada, and as associate vice-president, academic, of the University of Guelph. He is currently chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice Presidents and a public member of the strategic planning group of Public Health Ontario.
Alan Shepard '83 reappointed as Provost and Vice President Academic of Ryerson University
June 1, 2011
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Alan Shepard to a second term as Provost and Vice President Academic of Ryerson University. On Monday, May 30 the executive committee of the Board of Governors approved the appointment, to June 30, 2017.
In his role as chief academic officer and chief operating officer Alan has had a tremendously positive impact on the university since joining Ryerson in 2007. With the invaluable input and advice of Senate, his strategic planning initiatives, most notably the Academic Plan, Shaping our Future, have positioned the university for growth and transformation. The goals and objectives of the plan have been the impetus for a wide range of initiatives completed and underway that are serving to greatly enhance the university's agenda of learning, teaching and research. ONe of the most prominent of these is the report of the Provost's Commission on the Academic Structure of Ryerson University, which is the first of its scope at Ryerson in many decades.
Alan has worked with students, faculty, chairs, deans and staff to improve teaching and learning outcomes, enhance student engagement and the student experience, build public-private partnerships to support the academic mission and strengthen our research culture and research output. All fo the efforts of the provost have truly made a difference in the day-to-day life of our community and contributed significantly to the growing profile and reputation of Ryerson as a key centre of career-focused education; innovation; and scholarly, research and creative activity.
The provost is responsible for the university's budget and thanks to Alan's leadership, the work of everyone in the community and the support and direction of the Board of Governors, Ryerson's financial position remains positive despite challenging economic times. With Alan's guidance the university has consistently delivered balanced budgets that provide opportunities for institutional development based on academic priorities.
Alan brings to the provost's role his background as an outstanding scholar, teacher and researcher. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Virginia, and has published three scholarly books in addition to a wide range of scholarly papers, book chapters and technical reports. His research fields include English literary culture before 1800, the cultural relationship of early modern literature and science, the teaching of writing and the academic and administrative challenges facing the contemporary university.
I look forward to continuing to work with Alan as a key member of our outstanding executive team, and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the members of the search committee (listed below) for their commitment and work in this vitally important mission.
English Alum Matthew Nienow '05 Wins NEA Fellowship
From books to boats
By Mara Fink '11
December 14, 2010
Matthew Nienow '05 recently added the role of award-winning poet to a resume that already includes wilderness tour guide, boat-building student, musician, husband, and father.
The National Endowment for the Arts recently selected Nienow from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants to receive a creative writing fellowship worth $25,000. The Ole, now residing in Port Townsend, Washington, is the author of two chapbooks, attends the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, and led his most recent wilderness trip through Northwest Territories and Nunavat in Canada. He also maintains a poet's blog entitled It Goes Without Saying.
Nienow took a few minutes from building his first skiff to share what draws him to boats and poetry, how he finds balance in his life, and why the money isn't the best part of his NEA award.
You're the author of two chapbooks. What, exactly, is a chapbook?
A chapbook is a short collection of work (poetry in my case) that is usually printed in a limited edition press run of 300 or fewer copies. For poetry, its main defining character is that it is less than 48 pages, which is what constitutes a full-length book. Chapbooks have been around in various forms since the 16th century and seem to be making a strong comeback in the last several years.
Are you going to spend the $25,000 you received all in one place?
At this point it is hard to say what exactly the money will go toward. And when it really comes down to it, the money is the small sinde of this fellowship. While it's immensely appreciated, it will only go so far. What feels like the biggest capital is the faith the NEA and the panelists have placed on me to continue to do good work in the world through my words. I still can't believe I was selected to receive support, but as this year's youngest recipient I feel endowed with a great sense that I do belong to something larger than myself and my immediate interests as a writer. This is a gift of confidence that will carry me through my career.
You've been a high school teacher, a musician, a wilderness guide, and now you're opening a wooden boat shop. It looks like you really tood your liberal arts education to heart...
St. Olaf surely nurtured my curiosities. From my time in Cuba studying the revolution to my creative writing workshops, I always felt I had room to grow into a different version of myself. My time on the Hill gave me the drive to pursue the elements of the world I was most interested in and, when I was ready, to make something happen. I know for a fact that if it wasn't for former professor Eliiot Khalil Wilson and current professor Diane LeBlanc, I would not be writing now, and I certainly would not be on the list of NEA recipients. St. Olaf offered the kind os learning environment that allowed me to be friends with my professors, which is another way of saying that my learning did not happen in a box. It was always connected to the larger world off the Hill and years away.
What draws you to building boats?
I love making things, which is why i love poems, too. At its root the Greek poetes means "maker." With poems and boats I am able to take a raw piece of the world -- whether that's wood or a powerful experience -- and shape something. It's constantly challenging work, but something I feel called to do. With poems, the work happens through me in a physical way, but it's not the same as shaping a piece of wood with planes and chisels. The two kinds of work seem to feed each other and establish a balance I have not found elsewhere.
What kind of boats do you build?
I built my first cedar-strip canoe during my first year at Olaf. While I was still figuring out college life on the Hill, I was also interested in other kinds of learning. So I looked around and found the Northwest Canoe Company in St. Paul. They were offering a 10-week class for almost nothing, so I signed on. I was also working with guys 30 years older than me, which meant that I learned a bit more than how to build a boat. That was 10 years ago. Since then, I have built three other canoes, twice with students of mine. I recently began building my first skiff, and throughout the year I'll built several rowboats and sailboats of various designs and construction methods. I find the work deeply satisfying.
How do you balance being a dad, husband, poet, and all of your other hobbies?
Balance is always the trick. It's the thing that looms beyond me -- something I will never reach, but will always be working toward. I'm grateful that my wife, Elie, is so supportive of my work as a writer (even before it paid) and my ever-widening interests in different forms of making. And, of course, I'm grateful for the little boy -- my son, River -- who gives me another reason to work hard every day. It seems that the elements of life beyond my own desires allow me to do more than I otherwise could. For these gifts I am most grateful.
Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Is Fauchald a foodie?
By David Gonnerman '90
November 12, 2010The November issue of Food & Wine includes a “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under” section that notes, at No. 8, the accomplishments of Nick Fauchald '01, editor in chief of the trend- and artisan-scouting e-newsletter Tasting Table. The publication is distributed to nearly 500,000 subscribers. We asked him a few questions . . .
So what’s it like being No. 8? I can understand losing out to some White House guy, but really — a yogurt maker was No. 2!
Did you see his hair? I can't compete with that.
How big a staff is behind Tasting Table?
We've gone from two employees (including me) to 22 in two years. That's some pretty rapid growth, and it's meant I've had to learn quickly how to manage a staff. Because a lot of our editors are scattered throughout the country, the biggest challenge has been keeping everyone feeling like they're part of a team. I make sure I have frequent one-on-one check-ins with each editor. I've grown comfortable with Skype video chats.
Have you always been a “foodie”?
I think "foodie" is to food and cooking as "Trekkie" is to Star Trek. It's a word that describes a VERY serious relationship with food. I don't think I was ever a foodie. I see myself more like our readers: Someone who is serious about food but doesn't take it too seriously.
That said, I spent much of my childhood in the kitchen with my mom, either watching her or getting in the way. And I've been a
Julia Child fan for as long as I can remember.
As an English major, did you write all of your papers about food?
Almost none, actually. I had no idea I'd end up cooking or writing about food professionally. However, for Interim my senior year I did an independent study on critical writing with Professor of English Diana Postlethwaite. I owe her a huge thanks for that; she taught me a lot and planted a seed for writing restaurant reviews later on.
When did you first decide on a culinary-related career?
After graduation I took a job as an editor at Minnesota Monthly. They needed someone to run the food section, so I waved my arms until they gave me a shot.
What elements of your St. Olaf education best prepared you for your career?
My semester abroad, actually. I did a semester at Lancaster University my junior year, and lived next door to an Italian guy who made me cook lunch and dinner with him every day. I really got the cooking bug after that.
Did you have a favorite dish from Bon Appétit’s kitchens while you were at Olaf?
The grilled cheese at the Cage. Whoever created that sandwich is a wizard.
I’m guessing you eat plenty of good food. But what makes a meal truly memorable for you?
Unless I've taken careful notes for a story, I actually have a pretty bad memory for food. So the meals that I can actually remember are the most special. Why do they stick around? Usually it has to do with eating something new or unexpected — and sharing it with someone special.
What’s the “hot” Thanksgiving trend this year?
There's no such thing. "Thanksgiving trends" are just a way for food publications to fill space. I love Thanksgiving because it's inherently so anti-trend.
Do you visit favorite restaurants when you’re back in Minnesota?
Not as much as I'd like to; I'm usually cooking for friends or family or enjoying my mom's food. I mostly miss the iconic Minnesota food: Juicy Lucys, fried walleye, and all that.
Are you better at cooking or writing?
Neither? I find cooking to be more enjoyable, though. It's the most relaxing thing in the world for me.
Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or email@example.com.
Amanda Visconti '07 received a master's degree from the University of Michigan School of Information and will begin at the University of Maryland's English Ph.D. Program this fall.
Peter Moench '09 has accepted an offer from the University of Washington's MFA Program.
Stephanie Soucheray-Grell '07 has been awarded the Roy H. Park Fellowship at the University of North Carolina. The fellowship will enable her to pursue an MA in medical journalism at the University.
Chad Goodroad '09 is living in Baltimore and will be teaching in the Teach For America program this year. [2009-10]
Ben Staniforth '08 is beginning a PH.D. program in literature at Iowa this fall. 
Kelin Loe '08 will begin an MFA program in poetry at the University of Massachusetts. 
Lindsey Beal '05 I was reading what I had planned to do in 2005 and realized what I had said I wanted to do, I did! I did indeed move to Portland, Oregon for a few years to work and figure out life and have been pursuing a career in fine art photography. In 2007, I moved to Iowa City and am currently pursuing my MFA in photography at the University of Iowa. I graduated from Olaf with a major in English and Studio Arts and a minor in Women's Studies and rely on all of these past studies everyday in my artwork.
Matthew Nienow's '05 second chapbook, The Smallest Working Pieces has just been released from Toadlily Press included in By Way Of. His poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cincinnati Review, Columbia, New Orleans Review, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner and Best New Poets 2007.
Todd Boss '91 first book of poems, Yellowrocket (Norton, 2008) has been named the Midwest Booksellers' Honor Book for Poetry. To read more about what Todd is up to, click on his website:
Ben Staniforth ' 08 is beginning the PhD program in literature at the University of Iowa this fall ('09), and Kelin Loe begins the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts.
Chad Goodroad '09 has been accepted in Teach for America program and assigned a teaching position in Baltimore, MD.
David Henke, '08
Reporter for the Northfield News, has been given the New Journalist of the Year award among weekly newspapers in Minnesota. Noting his equally adroit handling of light and heavy stories, judges also commended his "clear, organized, and insightful" writing.
Brett DeFries, '08
Two poems by Brett have been accepted for publication: "The Gospel According to Jack Gilbert" will be published by the New Orleans Review, and "Storm" by West Branch.
Kristen Rau '06 has been awarded a Rotary grant for a year of study at the University of Dar es Salaam.
Matt Nienow '05 recently won the Copperdome Chapbook Contest.
David Pisa, '99 is Executive Director of Walking Shadow Theatre Company in Minneapolis/St. Paul, which Minnesota Monthly praised last fall: "Though only in its second season, Walking Shadow Theatre received rave reviews its first year as an inventive group.... It's this season's troupe to watch." The 2008-09 season includes Amazons and their Men, inspired by the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, and Albert Camus' Caligula.
Jason DeRose, '97 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I just moved from Chicago to Santa Monica, California to become an editor on the NPR mid-day program Day to Day. For my job, I write much of what you hear spoken by the hosts of the program --Alex Chadwick and Madeleine Brand. My days in the English Department come in quite handy, as do my nights at the late, great WCAL. Drop me a line if you're visiting Southern California. Not enough Oles live here.
Todd Boss, '91
Todd is the Director of External Affairs at The Playwrights' Center and has poems published in Poetry, The New Yorker, and many other prestigious journals. His first collection of poetry, Yellowrocket, will be published in 2008 by W.W. Norton and Company.
Matt Nienow, '05
I just received word that my poem, "Six Ways of Looking at the Moon," was selected by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Natasha Trethewey, for inclusion in the Best New Poets 2007 anthology. The book should be in stores late October. You can find more info at these sites: (http://www.bestnewpoets.org/) and (http://www.upress.virginia.edu/books/bnp07.HTM).
Charlie Braman, '05
After graduating in 2005, I spent a year traveling and working in South America. I backpacked through Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. In Montevideo, Uruguay, I interviewed for an English language instructor position, got the job, found an apartment, and decided to live for about 8 months after backpacking. In Montevideo, I taught private English classes to high-profile Uruguayans such as the director of the Uruguayan Federal Bank. Currently, I am working as a teacher's assistant in the Saint Paul Public Schools special education program. In June, I will relocate to NYC to begin a 2-year stint as a secondary English teacher with Teach For America in the NYC Public Schools.
Lauretta Dawolo, '04
Lauretta is writing for Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the oldest African American newspaper still in print in the Twin Cities (72 years).
Elizabeth Holmes, '02
I am a reporter at the Wall Street Journal in New York. I joined the paper in 2006 and currently write about retail and fashion. Previously, I was a Washington-based campaign trail reporter covering the 2008 presidential election for the Wall Street Journal. My journalism career has also included a stint as an on-air television reporter in rural Michigan and a newspaper reporter in Gary, Indiana. I graduated with honors from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2004.
David Pisa, '99
David has founded the Walking Shadow Theatre company in the Twin Cities, dedicated to, among other things, "examining local culture in a global context."
Daniel Fahl, '05
Daniel has been accepted into Rutgers University in New Jersey to study Library Science.
Jeff Neidt, '05
My name is Jeff Neidt and I am an '05 graduate of St. Olaf. I doubled majored in English and Political Science while at St. Olaf.
I just found out that one of my essays, entitled Slouching Toward Gomorrah, will be excerpted in an upcoming national book from the Traveler's Tales series, called What Color is Your Jockstrap? Funny Men and Women Write From the Road.
Steven Dickens, '98
Presently, I am teaching at the American Cooperative School in Paramaribo, Suriname (located in South America, formerly Dutch Guiana). Our school is an international school; we have students from Suriname, China, Indonesia, India, Africa, Holland, Canada, the USA, Japan, Mexico, and other countries. Most of our students are missionary kids (all the teachers, including me, are considered missionaries and are paid a missionary salary of $450 per month). Some of our students have parents that run local businesses; others have parents who work in Embassies. I teach: 7/8th grade English, 6th grade English, 7th grade math, and 7th grade Bible. Most recently I got back from teaching at an international school in Kunming, China. More information is available on my website. http://sdickens.tripod.com
Nancy Shaw, '80, email@example.com
I'm working at a professional regional theatre in the suburbs of Philadelphia called The People's Light & Theatre Company. My work is Coordinator of Education Programs.
Megan Ryan, '95, firstname.lastname@example.org
I work in Pacing Communications at Medtronic in Minneapolis. My group works on product literature for all pacemaker product launches.
Kristine Martens, '97, email@example.com
I teach English as a Second Language in the Chaska-Chanhassen School District. I work with 6th and 7th grade students from 17 different countries and 7 different languages. This winter, I finished my master's degree in education from the University of St. Thomas.
Holly Welch, '91, firstname.lastname@example.org
Somehow my journalism master's degree led me to a job in theater: I am the graphic designer at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The highlight of my last year was being chosen to paint a Snoopy sculpture as part of the Peanuts on Parade tribute
Karla Hult, '95, email@example.com
I started as a reporter for newspapers in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Alaska. I then picked up a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. I'm now reporting for KEYC-TV in Mankato.
Jeanne Landkamer, '79, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a freelance writer in Minneapolis, working mostly for government agencies doing media relations, annual reports, brochures, etc., though I have also written curricula. I also work part-time for the YMCA, leading groups through an outdoor adventure learning "ropes" course.