Hamline News

Spring 2015 Happenings on Hewitt


Alumnus Gets Glimpse Into North Korea

When Nils Weisensee ’04 tells people he’s traveled to North Korea three times, “the first reaction is often disbelief, then curiosity, then excitement,” he says.

Weisensee, who recently opened a coffee shop in Shanghai, China, with his wife, Lindsay Messenger ’07, conducts entrepreneurial training workshops in North Korea as a volunteer with the nonprofit organization Choson Exchange.

“It’s difficult not to be fascinated by the people I have met and things I’ve seen—stuff that’s usually not shown on CNN, unfortunately,” Weisensee says in an email interview. “There’s a lot happening on the ground, and Choson Exchange aims to support those who have the ambition and talent to make a difference.”

“Some people think what I do is dangerous,” he adds. “But it’s actually very safe as long as we understand and adhere to North Korean law.”

Weisensee, who is originally from Germany, and Messenger moved to China in 2007. Weisensee is general manager of their coffee shop, Café de Volcán, and Messenger, who works at a public relations firm, also serves as marketing manager for their business.

View photos and videos from Weisensee’s travels to North Korea.


Hamline Names New President

Fayneese Miller has been named Hamline University’s 20th president. She will be the first African American president and the second female president in the university’s history when she assumes office on July 1.

Miller is currently dean of the College of Education and Social Services and professor of leadership and development sciences at the University of Vermont, where she has worked for 10 years. Prior to that, she was coordinator of education studies and the founding chairman of ethnic studies at Brown University, where she served on the faculty for 20 years.

“Dr. Miller is a dynamic and inclusive leader with a strong commitment to diversity and deep experience in academic program development, fiscal management, and fundraising,” said Bob Klas Jr., chair of the Hamline University Board of Trustees. “She is a champion of collaborative governance and values voices of students, faculty, and staff. We feel she will be an exceptional president for our campus community.”

At the University of Vermont, Miller is responsible for all aspects of both the graduate and undergraduate curriculum, professional development of faculty, budget management and new net revenue generation, fund development, and international collaborations for the college, among other responsibilities. The graduate education program in her college has improved its U.S. News & World Report ranking by more than 75 places under her leadership.

Miller is a social psychologist and author who specializes in the psychosocial development of adolescents. She holds a doctoral degree and master’s degree in experimental psychology from Texas Christian University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hampton University. She completed her post-doctoral work in applied social psychology at Yale University.

The fall issue of Hamline magazine will include a feature story about Miller. Read more about Miller here.


Men’s Hockey Team Wins MIAC Championship

It was one of the most remarkable stories of the 2014–2015 athletics season. Under first-year head coach Cory Laylin, Hamline’s men’s hockey team rose from a 2-22-1 record the year before to a 14-11-4 overall mark and a berth in the NCAA D-III quarterfinals. The Pipers won three away games in a nine-day span to win the MIAC postseason title.

Forward Charlie Adams, who tied for the league lead in goals with 19, was named to the second team West All-America squad—only the sixth Piper in the university’s history to be so honored.

—Dave Wright


Hamline Recognized for 75,000 Hours of Student Service

Hamline University has once again been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

Hamline received this national honor in recognition of students’ extraordinary volunteer efforts in local communities, for the university’s dynamic programs that connect scholarship to service, and for achieving meaningful outcomes in the community. It was the only institution in Minnesota that received recognition in all four of the honor roll’s categories: education, economic opportunity, interfaith community service, and general community service.

Last year, Hamline students volunteered more than 75,000 hours to service projects coordinated by the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice, including spring break service trips, service-learning courses, pro-bono law services, tutoring, mentoring, and more.

—Jack Bryan ’17


Sophomore Named World Kickboxing Champ

Dressed in black athletic pants and a green hoodie, Zack Koppa ’17 might look like your typical college sophomore. His Facebook friends know all about his silly sense of humor, love of cars, and penchant for procrastination.

But make no mistake: Koppa is far from ordinary. He’s a world kickboxing champion.

“My parents were right.” That was the first thought that went through Koppa’s mind after he won gold at the World Karate and Kickboxing Commission World Championships competition in Dublin, Ireland, last October. “They believed in me and told me that I was going to bring home that medal when I was riddled with doubts,” he says.

Koppa beat a competitor from Northern Ireland to take first place in the under-60-kilogram 18+ division for Team USA.

A third-degree black belt, Koppa trains six to seven days a week at The Edge Martial Arts and Fitness studio in Stillwater, where he is also the director and head instructor.

Now 20, Koppa began studying martial arts at the age of 13. To become the best in the world, he has had to make some sacrifices, but he doesn’t regret any of the “sweat, fatigue, bruised ribs, black eyes, scarred skin, and soreness,” he says.

“It’s an almost constant struggle with feeling battered and busted, but all that just motivates me to keep going and become even faster, stronger, and smarter than I already am.”

Academically, Koppa pushes himself as well. He’s on schedule to graduate early with a major in psychology and minor in philosophy. Post-graduation, he plans to compete for more titles and “cultivate some champion students” of his own.


Alum’s Charity Golf Tournament Raises $40,000 for Cancer Foundation

Cole Scattarelli ’11 (also ’16 MBA) never imagined a small lump in his throat discovered during a routine physical examination would turn out to be thyroid cancer.

Now in complete remission and working on his MBA at Hamline, Scattarelli has embarked on a mission to help others in the fight against cancer.

“I realize how lucky I am to be able to say I’m cancer-free,” he tells a fellow MBA student. “It’s my time to start giving back.”

In 2013, Scattarelli organized a charity golf tournament called Swing Back at Cancer. To date, the annual event has raised more than $40,000 for the Minneapolis-based Angel Foundation’s teen outreach program, which organizes social events like camp, rock climbing trips, and art projects for children of cancer patients.

With plans to eventually start his own nonprofit organization or foundation, Scattarelli knew he would need to increase his business acumen and knowledge. Returning to Hamline for his MBA was a “no-brainer,” he says.

All the support and encouragement Scattarelli has received has him dreaming big. At first, he says, “all I wanted to do was raise a little money. But it’s turned into so much more. … I think the options are endless.”

—Katie Drews MBA ’16


Rwandan Student Gets Full Scholarship to Hamline

When a group of Hamline students visited Linda Umwali’s school during a study abroad trip to Rwanda in 2013, Umwali never imagined she would be a Hamline student herself one day.

“I talked about it with my parents, and because of the cost, it was out of the question,” she said.

But the students at Gashora Girls Academy had made such a strong impression on trip organizers Professor Melissa Embser-Herbert and Kari Richtsmeier, director of off-campus and international programs, that, upon returning to Hamline, they immediately began working to create a full-tuition scholarship for a graduate of the school, and Umwali is the first recipient.

Now a first-year student at Hamline with her first Minnesota winter behind her, Umwali says she’s doing well in her classes and is enjoying college life.

“I love the welcoming spirit of Hamline,” she said with a smile. “People on campus are so friendly and helpful. The professors are really great because they don’t just look at you as a number; they know you as a person. They are amazing.”

One lesson this experience of a lifetime has taught Umwali is to dream big. “Eventually, my goal is to become the minister of finance and economic planning for Rwanda,” she said. “I know that it will be a long journey, but I want to continue the great work others have already done and continue to do for Rwanda. Progress has already been made by great people, and I want to walk in their footsteps.”

Read a 2013 Hamline magazine article about the Rwanda study abroad trip, as well as a more in-depth story about Umwali, and listen to a Minnesota Public Radio interview with her.

—Micah Terpstra


Power of One Day

Donors contributed more than $100,000 to support Hamline University during Power of One Day November 12, 2014. Donations to the new annual campaign support initiatives that drive student development through education, leadership, and community involvement. They also make it possible for students of all backgrounds to attend Hamline. You can make a gift to Hamline any time by visiting hamline.edu/giving or calling 1-800-767-5585. Thank you for your support!


How Are You Making Your Mark?

Tell us how your Hamline education prepared you to make your mark on the world, and you might be featured on Hamline’s website! Learn more at the Make Your Mark webpage.