News

Program News - December 2nd, 2022

December 1, 2022
Dear Colleagues,
Holiday Greetings to you all from the Program of Mortuary Science. It has been an incredibly
busy semester for us here at the U, and I am very excited to share with you the following news
and updates:
Enrollment: As many of you know, we began admitting a spring semester cohort a few years
ago, so that incoming students might have more flexibility as to when they matriculate into the
program. This past January, nine new students joined the spring cohort, and later in September
29 new students enrolled in the fall cohort. Overall enrollment for this calendar year, inclusive
of May 2022 graduates, is 98 students. We received a robust pool of applicants for spring
admission 2023 and are waiting now on our newly admitted students to confirm their
acceptance into the January cohort.
Professional Networking Events: As part of New Student Orientation this past September, we
held an on-campus networking event at Coffman Memorial Union. We had 25 funeral service
practitioners sign up for this event, and everyone said they enjoyed both the new format and
venue. We are planning to host another in-person on-campus event in early January
(tentatively set for the afternoon of Friday, January 13). Details will be emailed out soon, but
in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our office (mortsci@umn.edu) with any
questions you may have.
Out and About: Our instructors have been “out and about” participating in various events here
in Minnesota, and across the country. In August, I participated in the annual National Funeral
Directors and Morticians Association convention. Funeral practice instructor Carrie Rowell
participated in CANA’s Fall Green Funeral Conference, and Kelley Romanowski, who teaches
Restorative Art attended one of Vernie Fountain’s reconstructive surgery seminars. Closer to
home, and with the help of local funeral directors, I participated in High School career events in
Worthington and Marshall. At these regional events we were able to discuss our profession
with nearly 2000 high school students! It was a pleasure to travel across Minnesota in the fall
and give program updates at each of the MFDA District Meetings.
New Faces: We have welcomed new colleagues this semester as we continue to expand our
teaching efforts. Tim Koch has been helping us by teaching students about the FTC / Funeral
Rule, and MN 149a; Dr. Bruce Martin, biochemist associate with the Medical Laboratory
Sciences Program, is teaching chemistry. Martha Thayer is teaching our online microbiology
and pathology course, a class which Kelley Romanowski will be taking over in January.
Mortician and business professional Janet McGee is joining us to teach accounting. Other new
instructor appointments are being finalized, to be announced shortly.
Program Expansion: As we work to expand our program offerings, we are in discussions with
leadership at our Crookston Campus for the goal of developing an articulation agreement to

facilitate new student enrollment opportunities. As some of you may know, Crookston offers
many online courses. I had the pleasure of traveling to Crookston in September to meet with
the Chancellor and several faculty members. During our meetings, we discussed ways for
collaboration in support distance learning opportunities. We are also working to create a
flexible bachelor’s degree completion track for students who have earned their associates
degree in mortuary science.
Looking to the Future: As you can see, our program is continuing to thrive! We are proactively
working to embrace change and create new opportunities for growth. We likewise remain
steadfast in our commitment to graduate students who are prepared to enter the workforce
and serve their communities in a manner that is proficient, dignified, and caring.
As always, I welcome your messages and inquiries. Please do not hesitate to reach out at any
time – I look forward to hearing from you!
With best wishes for a wonderful holiday season,
Michael LuBrant
Program Director
PS: If you did not receive my letter requesting support for our annual Scholarship Fund and
operating appeal, you can learn more about giving options here:
https://med.umn.edu/mortuaryscience/give This past year, we were able to award over
$80,000 in program scholarships to our students, thanks to your generosity. Please consider a
making a gift of support as an investment in our students and the future of our program. Thank
you!