Are you looking for something FREE, interesting, and fun to do in downtown Rochester, MN on a Tuesday night? Following a specific theme each month, the UMR CONNECTS professional speaker series will connect you to speakers, authors, panels, and more! Events take place every Tuesday night at 7:00 pm. During June, July, and August you can enjoy the presentations or performances outside on the Peace Plaza (click for directions), and the rest of the year (or inclement weather) we head inside to University Square room 417 (Click for directions to campus). No pre-registration is required, and we hope you will join us!

Please check the Google Calendar for up-to-date cancellation or location-change information, and contact Nick Anderson at 507-258-8053 or with any other questions.

Did you know?

You can sign up to receive a monthly email with the list of upcoming speakers here!

You can easily add the UMR CONNECTS events you're interested in to your own Google calendar here!

This page lists only UMR CONNECTS events. Please check the Event Calendar for other events taking place at the University of Minnesota Rochester.

UMR CONNECTS Schedule of Events

(Schedule is subject to change. * Denotes tentative information, with final details still to come)

- All Events will be held indoors in room 417, 4th floor of University Square, except for the Summer Series on the Peace Plaza (June, July, August) -

April - The Great Unknowns

April 21 - Oneota Archaeology in the Lower St. Croix Valley: Current Research at the Sheffield Site

Ed Fleming, Curator of Archaeology at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Clusters of massive Oneota farming villages once dominated the river valleys and prairie landscapes of southern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa (AD 1100 – 1500). The Sheffield site is an anomaly as the only Oneota village currently known within the woodlands of the St. Croix valley, and differs from its southern cousins in a number of ways.  This lecture will discuss current archaeological studies of this and other sites in the St. Croix valley by the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Dr. Ed Fleming is Curator and Program Director for Archaeology at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Dr. Fleming has been involved in archaeological research projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Ireland, and Belize.  His primary research focuses on the archaeology and material culture of North America, specifically the Upper Midwest during Late Pre-Contact times (ca. 1000 - 1400 A.D.), but the diverse collections at the Science Museum of Minnesota has instilled broad interests.  As curator, Dr. Fleming is responsible for building, caring for, researching, and interpreting the museum’s archaeological collection, so he works at the intersection of field research, collections care, and interpretation.  In addition, he contributes content research and interpretive direction for SMM-developed archaeological exhibitions, such as The Dead Sea Scrolls: Word that Changed the World and Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

April 28 - Hittin' the Road with a Ghost Hunter

Nancy Horvath

Join Rochester's premier ghost hunter as she takes you on the road to some of the many places she has investigated with her team, After Hours Paranormal Investigations.  Nancy, or as her friends call her, "Hawk", has investigated throughout the United States and as far away as Ireland.  She will share stories along with actual audio and video evidence of her investigations.

Dr. Nancy J (Hawk) Horvath, has been ghost hunting since 2007. She is an inter-spiritual mentor, inspirational speaker, writer, paranormal investigator, psychic and medium, whose gifts include her ability to see and hear other dimensions as well as communicating with those who have died physical deaths. As the CEO and Lead Investigator of After Hours Paranormal Investigations, she uses her gifts, but is ultimately in search of evidence. Read more about her on her team website

May 5 - Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at UMR! 

UMR Spanish IV students

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that is celebrated in the United States and Mexico on May 5. Join us for this special UMR CONNECTS event as UMR students from the Spanish 4 class entertain and educate us on on traditional food and dance in Mexico, play a fun game of BINGO, and much more!

May - Conspiracy or Critical Connection?

May 12 - Media Representation of Female Athletes: An Oft Unrecognized Inequality in Society

Sarah Wolter, Visiting Assistant Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College

Scholarly research shows that on average female athletes represent about 40% of all athletes yet only receive 2-4% of media coverage, regardless of level of play or mass medium. Join Sarah Wolter as she uses a critical cultural perspective to analyze why representation is so low, integrating aspects of identity such as gender, race, and sexuality as well as the way the U.S. media system is organized to complicate depictions. Sarah will present case studies of athletes and women’s athletic teams to show how broader themes related to gender and the institution of sport are manifest in media content.

May 19 - The Cities Divided – How History Impacts the Shape and Character of Minneapolis-St Paul

Geoff Maas, Program Coordinator, Metropolitan Council

Modern cities are the process of many years of economic activity as well as successive waves of social, demographic and political change. In this talk, we will explore how housing practices, transportation projects and public policy have shaped—and continue to shape—the concentration of minority populations in Minneapolis–St. Paul. We will explore the cities' development and response to interstate highways and light rail transit through the lens of urban planning and environmental justice.

May 26 - Who Really Killed President Lincoln?

Dean Urdahl, Minnesota State Representative

Several conspiracy plots have been advanced regarding the murder of Abraham Lincoln.  While others are worth discussing, I will focus on two plots that can be historically traced leading to Lincoln's death.  I will also discuss the secret of April 14 that, if revealed then, could have brought down the Union government.

UMR CONNECTS (on the Peace Plaza)

Summer Series Schedule

- All Events will be held on the Peace Plaza (June, July, August), except during inclement weather -

(Schedule is subject to change. * Denotes tentative information, with final details still to come)

Would you like to easily add the UMR CONNECTS events you're interested in to your own Google calendar? Click here!

June - Performing Live! (on the Peace Plaza)

June 2 - TBD

Great River Shakespeare Festival Professional Troupe

June 9 - Choral Arts Ensemble ~ Community Sing!

Choral Arts Ensemble with Artistic Director Rick Kvam

Choral Arts Ensemble singers will lead a sing-a-long of familiar favorites, including standards from the "American Songbook," classics from musical theater, plus American folksongs, rounds, and patriotic songs. All are welcome and encouraged to join their voices with us for an evening of fun communal singing! Word sheets will be provided.

June 16 Magna Carta 800th Anniversary

June 23 - Elvis on Stage ~ Featuring Todd "Elvis" Anderson

Todd (Elvis) Anderson

Todd Anderson as Elvis is a delightfully entertaining show for all ages! Todd's voice, costumes and moves are an exciting depiction of an actual Elvis concert.

As the show begins to the music of "Space Odyssey: 2001" Todd struts onstage delivering the powerful ballads and tender love songs that Elvis made famous. Listen as Todd presents historical and interesting facts about the famous life of the "King of Rock & Roll"

Todd's friendly interaction with his audience is quite remarkable as he connects to them with humorous stage bits and a short break for a public question and answer session for the curious observers.

Todd's performances are always colorful, but never off-color.

June 30 - TBD

July - Inspirational Stories (on the Peace Plaza)

July 7
July 14
July 21
July 28

August - U.S. Celebrations (on the Peace Plaza)

August 4
August 11
August 18
August 25

The University of Minnesota Rochester strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that embodies the values of academic freedom, responsibility, integrity, and cooperation. UMR CONNECTS is committed to supporting the University's overall mission of public engagement and outreach by fostering connections between the University, its students, and those who live in or visit our community. In support of this, UMR launched a weekly professional speaker series for the Rochester community and visitors in 2011, entitled "UMR CONNECTS," which has now reached well over 10,000 attendees!