Past Events and Activities

Past Pruitt Center Events and Activities


Rhonda Magee: Mindfulness as a Support for Healing Conversations and Actions Toward Social Justice and Equity

Tuesday, November 15 4:30 – 6 p.m. CST

Presenter Bio:

Magee is a professor of law at the University of San Francisco and an internationally recognized thought and practice leader. A prolific author, she provides inspiration for changing how we think, act and live better together in a rapidly changing world. She teaches mindfulness-based interventions, awareness, and compassion practices from a range of traditions.

Presentation Description:

Rhonda Magee will discuss her research-based work to center the inner dimension of social justice work as a means of engaging in trauma-sensitive reckoning with racism, and building commitment to antiracist engagement grounded in the values of empathy, compassion and more just communities.

Rick Hanson: Positive Neuroplasticity: The Science of Changing Your Brain for the Better

Tuesday, October 25 4:30 – 6 p.m. CST

Presenter Bio:

Hanson is a psychologist, Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and New York Times best-selling author. He’s lectured at NASA, Google, Oxford and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. Hanson’s work has been featured on CBS, NPR, the BBC and other major media.

Presentation Description:

To meet the challenges of life with love and happiness along the way, we need psychological resources such as resilience, gratitude, and compassion. In this fast-paced, sometimes experiential, and very practical presentation, Rick Hanson, Ph.D. will present evidence-based methods for heightening the internalization of inner strengths through how to engage our experiences of them.


Kelly McGonigal: The Joy of Movement

November 16, 2021, 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. CST

Join the Pruitt Center as they host best-selling author and TED speaker Kelly McGonigal, PhD, for a presentation on how to harness the power of movement to increase happiness, resilience, and social well-being.

People who are physically active are not only physically healthier; they also have a stronger sense of purpose and experience more gratitude, love, and hope. They handle stress more effectively and feel more capable of facing the challenges in their lives. They feel more connected to their communities and are less likely to suffer from loneliness or become depressed. These benefits are seen throughout the lifespan and around the world.

In this presentation, learn how and why physical activity promotes resilience, belonging, and even meaning in life. From the biological, including how exercise remodels the brain to make you more receptive to joy and social connection; to the psychological, such as how movement is intertwined with identity, self-expression, and self-efficacy.

Kelly McGonigal will also give practical guidelines for maximizing these benefits, and how to make movement part of your psychological self-care. The session will also include Q&A and fun, accessible opportunities to try out the joy of movement wherever you are.

About Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who specializes in understanding the mind-body connection. As a pioneer in the field of “science-help,” her mission is to translate insights from psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies that support personal well-being and strengthen communities.

She is the best-selling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress.

Through the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism, she helped create Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training, a program now taught around the world that helps individuals strengthen their empathy, compassion, and self-compassion.

You might know her from her TED talk, How to Make Stress Your Friend, which is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, with over 25 million views.

Her new book, The Joy of Movement, explores why physical exercise is a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

George Mumford: Mindfulness & Performance

October 19, 2021, 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. CDT

This is an interactive community event, featuring George Mumford, the former mindfulness coach to the championship-winning LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and other top-performers. George will focus on how everyone can improve concentration and performance – both in athletics as well as in life – through mindfulness.

Mumford’s deeply moving personal story is unforgettable. A basketball player at the University of Massachusetts (where he roomed with Dr. J, Julius Erving), injuries forced Mumford out of the game he loved. The meds that relieved the pain of his injuries also numbed him to the emptiness he felt without the game and eventually led him to heroin. After years as a functioning addict, Mumford enrolled in Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, and made meditation, on and off the cushion, the center of his life. He kicked drugs, earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology and began teaching meditation to inmates (a collaboration undertaken with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn) and others.

About George Mumford

George Mumford is a globally recognized speaker, teacher, and coach. Since 1989, he’s been honing his gentle, but groundbreaking mindfulness techniques with people from locker rooms to board rooms, Yale to jail. 

Michael Jordan credits George with transforming his on-court leadership, helping the Bulls to six NBA championships. Mumford also worked with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and countless other NBA players, Olympians, executives, and artists.

Mumford’s book The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance is both memoir and instruction guide. He believes everyone has a masterpiece within, which he can show you how to access.
While at the University of Massachusetts – where he roomed with future Hall-of-Famer Julius Erving – injuries forced Mumford out of basketball and eventually into an addiction to pain medication and drugs. With the help of meditation and mindfulness, he got clean and made it his mission to teach and work with others.

Tal Ben-Shahar: Happier No Matter What

September 21, 2021, 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. CDT

Even when everything is going wrong, the science of happiness can help you! Pioneering positive psychologist and New York Times–bestselling author Tal Ben-Shahar shows us how in Happier, No Matter What.

Ben-Shahar busts the all-too-common ideas that success brings happiness and that we can seek happiness itself. When hard times thwart our success and steal our joy, these ideas actually invite despair by leaving us with nothing to do.

But we can do something: We can climb the SPIRE – Ben-Shahar’s five-step staircase to hope and purpose.

Spiritual: I am experiencing meaning.
Physical: My body’s needs are met.
Intellectual: I am learning.
Relational: My friends support me.
Emotional: I am allowed to feel.

By truly living these five elements of well-being, we build the resilience to carry us through anything – from a personal loss to a global pandemic. Ben-Shahar’s all-new SPIRE method shows us the way to becoming “whole again” – and when we’re whole, we invite happiness in.

About Tal Ben-Shahar
Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., is an author and lecturer who taught the most popular course at Harvard University on “Positive Psychology,” and the university’s third most popular course on “The Psychology of Leadership” – with a total of more than 1,400 students.

Ben-Shahar consults and lectures around the world to executives in multi-national corporations, the general public, and at-risk populations. Topics include leadership, ethics, happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness. His latest book is Short Cuts to Happiness: Life-Changing Lessons from My Barber. He is also the author of The Joy of Leadership: How Positive Psychology Can Maximize Your Impact (and Make You Happier) in a Challenging World, The New York Times bestseller Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, and others.

Mindfully Navigating the Post-Pandemic Landscape (POSTPONED)

August 17, 2021, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT (POSTPONED)

A one-day silent retreat in collaboration with ASU’s Center for Mindfulness, Compassion, and Resilience

“In a rush to return to normal, take this time to consider what parts are worth rushing back to”
– Dave Hollis.

Experience the joy of honoring who you are, where you have been, and where you want to go post-pandemic based on your personal experiences, strengths, and your desire to live every day on purpose. Give yourself the gift of silence and reflection through this virtual retreat led by the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience at Arizona State University and the Pruitt Center for Mindfulness & Well-Being at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Spend the day unplugged, immersed in silent mindful meditation, connected to a virtual community, and incorporating written reflections. This powerful combination connects your mind, your heart and your body to gain clarity on how you can use the lessons learned in the last year to anchor your life in what matters most to you.

The Mindful Athlete Book Club, Summer 2021

The Pruitt Center is partnered with UW-Superior Yellowjacket Athletics in preparation for George Mumford’s virtual presentation as part of our 2021 Virtual Fall Speaker Series. We read Mumford’s book The Mindful Athlete and discussing it, along with how mindfulness can be incorporated by coaches and their student athletes in practices, athletic events, and life.

Thriving in a Global Pandemic and Beyond Book Club, Summer 2021

Saundra Schrock, the CEO and co-founder of Levelhead, recently wrote a book called Thriving in a Global Pandemic and Beyond, which was our summer book club read for interested faculty and staff. Saundra is meeting with us three times: first to discuss why she wrote the book and then to lead discussions with our faculty and staff about how we can incorporate these practices of mindfulness and well-being in our personal and professional lives.

Mindfulness & Well-Being for Older Adults (Spring)

April 6 – April 27, 2022

0.6 CEUS

UW-Superior’s Pruitt Center for Mindfulness & Well-Being will bring a four-part series, geared toward older adults, this spring 2022. Join us on the UW-Superior campus for an opportunity to learn, connect, and engage in mindfulness and well-being activities as we move through the second half of life!

  • 4/6/2022 | 2:30 – 4 p.m. | In-person
  • 4/13/2022 | 2:30 – 4 p.m. | In-person
  • 4/20/2022 | 2:30 – 4 p.m. | In-person
  • 4/27/2022 | 2:30 – 4 p.m. | In-person

Registration is through the Center for Continuing Educatio

Tai Chi

Offered during that academic year

The Pruitt Center, in collaboration with Richard Tosseland, offers FREE tai chi classes to students, faculty, staff and the greater community.

Tai Chi improves strength, flexibility and balance, and can help people become more centered, calm and focused. Tai Chi can also greatly reduce a person’s reactions to stress. The ultimate goal of Tai Chi is to enhance the flow of Chi (energy) throughout the body, mind and spirit.

Richard Tosseland is a licensed acupuncturist with a deep interest in Tai Chi. He has been practicing and teaching this ancient health exercise since 1983.


Dare to Lead Book Club, Spring 2021

For ten weeks in spring, 2021, the Pruitt Center worked virtually with UW-Superior Women’s Soccer Coach Allison DeGroot, preparing for and implementing a deep-dive into Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead with the women’s soccer team.

The weekly team meetings were every Monday evening throughout the spring, which was tricky because during COVID they also played their season in the spring! There were large and small-group breakout discussions about empathy, vulnerability, leadership, and communication.

Max Stossel: How We’re Sneaking into Your Brain, March 30, 2021

If you’ve seen the Netflix film, The Social Dilemma, then Max Stossel’s presentation “How we’re sneaking into your brains” presented by the Pruitt Center for Mindfulness & Well-Being may be right up your alley.

Here are some of the resources Max mentioned in his talk, or that we found and thought you might be interested in. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and we hope you find them useful.

Center for Humane Technology

Other Useful Links

Mindfulness Movement Movie Screening and Discussion, February 11, 2021

The Pruitt Center, in collaboration with UW-Superior Department of Student Involvement, hosted a screening of the movie the Mindfulness Movement.

This 90-minute documentary was released at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020 (in fact, their launches were all cancelled because of the pandemic). Director/Producer Rob Beemer joined us for a short question and answer period following the screening, where he discussed how mindfulness became a part of his life, why he wanted to make the movie, why mindfulness matters, and who can practice it.

Mindful of Race Book Club, Winter, 2021

Given the racial unrest of this past year, the Pruitt Center and the UW-Superior Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion partnered to offer a book club to the UW-Superior faculty and staff around Ruth King’s book Mindful of Race. Nearly 50 faculty and staff participated in this three-part series, discussing two topics that can be difficult for people to grasp on their own – mindfulness and race – along with how mindfulness not only can be used in overcoming the challenges of race relationships but is essential.

Robert Emmons: Gratitude Works! November 17, 2020

UW-Superior students heard Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., present “What is Good Gratitude? Lessons Learned from the Science of Gratefulness.” Gratefulness is affirming the good and recognizing the sources of this good. This way of being in the world encircles much of what we do and who we are. The power of gratitude derives from a need that is deeply entrenched in the human condition – the need to give thanks.

UW-Superior faculty and staff also heard Emmons present “Gratitude Works! How Gratitude Heals, Energizes, and Transforms Lives.” Gratitude is the ultimate performance enhancing substance. Health, wholeness, wellness and fullness result from a grateful heart and a grateful mind. We will explore how we can cultivate gratefulness by structuring our lives, our minds, and our words in such a way as to facilitate a deeper awareness of gratitude-inducing experiences and living in a vital awareness of the good that has been done for us, day in and day out.

About Robert A. Emmons

Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at University of California, Davis, is the author of over 200 original publications in peer-reviewed journals or chapters and has written or edited eight books. His research focuses on the psychology of gratitude and joy as they relate to human flourishing and well-being. A leader in the positive psychology movement, Emmons is founding editor and editor-in-chief of “The Journal of Positive Psychology.”

Marc Brackett: Emotional Intelligence, October 20, 2020

UW-Superior students heard Marc Bracket, Ph.D. present “Permission To Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Achieve Optimum Well-being and Success.” Emotions matter. What we do with our emotions is especially important. The goal of this presentation is to; inspire a new mindset around the power of emotions to transform our lives, describe the five key underlying skills of emotional intelligence, known as the “RULER” skills and provide innovative strategies and tools for developing emotional intelligence so that our emotions help.

UW-Superior faculty and staff also heard Bracket present on “Emotional Intelligence: From Theory to Practice at Work.” Emotions can either hurt or help us. In this presentation, Marc described how people can harness the wisdom of emotions to enhance decision making, leadership skills, relationships, well-being, workplace creativity, and organizational performance. Marc also taught skills that have been shown to help people achieve personal and professional success.

About Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Marc Brackett, Ph.D., is Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor of the Yale Child Study Center. He the author of Permission To Feel. His grant-funded research focuses on the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationship quality, and mental health; the measurement of emotional intelligence; and the influence of emotional intelligence training on children’s and adults’ health, performance, and workplace performance and climate. 

Maria Sirois: Resilience: A Positive Psychology Approach to Difficult Moments, September 22, 2020

Psychologist and International Consultant Maria Sirois, Psy.D. presented “Resilience: A Positive Psychology Approach to Difficult Moments.” The life well-lived is periodically a life of tumult, unexpected pain or loss. Yet the keys exist to unlock the doors of our own resiliency and those we care for. Attendees left with pragmatic and easily applied tools that enable us to increase a sense of inner capacity and to build that capacity within ourselves, schools, and work teams.

About Maria Sirois, Psy.D.

As a positive psychologist, author and inspirational speaker, Maria focuses on the resilience of the human spirit when under pressure or during significant transition. Known for her wisdom, authenticity and rampant humor, she brings a depth of experience in leadership development and stress management for students and professionals alike.


Mark Umbreit: Peacebuilding Through Mindfulness Practice, February 27, 2020

Mark S. Umbreit, Ph.D. presented “Peacebuilding Through Mindfulness Practice.” True peacebuilding requires human encounter through face-to-face dialogue among people in conflict, not simply the actions of court systems or politicians. This approach is different from conventional courses or training seminars on peacebuilding and dialogue, which are highly cognitive, problem-solving oriented, and focused on increased intellectual understanding of the complexity of the presenting issues.

About Mark S. Umbreit, Ph.D.

Mark S. Umbreit, Ph.D. is Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice 
& Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work. He serves on the faculty of the Center for Spirituality & Healing in the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota teaching courses on Peacebuilding Through Mindfulness Practice, and Forgiveness & Healing. Umbreit also serves as a visiting professor at the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee teaching a course on Peacemaking and Spirituality. He has provided technical assistance and training in support of restorative justice initiatives and victim offender mediation/conferencing programs in hundreds of communities in the U.S. and many countries. Umbreit’s multi-site and multi-national research has contributed significantly to restorative justice policy development in the U.S. and other countries, as well as providing resource materials and guidance to practitioners.

John Kriesel: Still Standing. Still Smiling. November 12, 2019

Presented by The Pruitt Center in collaboration with the UW-Superior Veterans and Non-Traditional Student Center.

John Kriesel may have lost his legs and three close buddies in Iraq, but he came home with a powerful message of hope and living testimony to the value of a positive attitude to overcome any challenge. 

John served as a NATO peacekeeper in Kosovo in 2004 before volunteering for deployment to Iraq. On December 2, 2006, his team struck an improvised explosive device and he was not expected to survive. He did three times in the operating room, but 35 surgeries and nine months later he walked out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retired as staff sargant following ten years in the Army National Guard, receiving the Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart, Bronze Star and other awards. In 2010, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives but decided not to seek reelection when his family said they wanted to spend more time with him. 

He is Director of Veterans Services for a county in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, a part-time personality on KFAN Radio, motivational speaker and co-author of the book Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel, republished in 2018 and winner of eight national book awards. 

Experience a Day of Mindfulness, November 2, 2019

Offered by The Pruitt Center in partnership with Essentia Health, this workshop was a day to explore teachings, stories, heart practices and silence together. Participants spent time steadying their hearts and calming their minds through meditation, yoga and group discussion. We also explored ways to dwell in kind awareness, cultivate the qualities of compassion and love for both ourselves and others, and enhance our natural capacity for care and connection.

Terry McGlasson: The Process of Becoming: Pursuing Purpose, Deriving Meaning and Seeking a Vision, October 3, 2019

Terry D. McGlasson, Ph.D. Professor of Counseling Central Michigan University, presented “The Process of Becoming: Pursuing Purpose, Deriving Meaning and Seeking a Vision.” Drawing on academic research, professional experiences and personal anecdotes, Dr. Terry McGlasson dares to address what are perhaps some of the biggest questions each of us can ask: 

  • Who am I?
  • What is my purpose?
  • How do I find meaning in my life?
  • Where do I go from here?

About Terry D. McGlasson, Ph.D.

A published author, a researcher, and a recognized public speaker, Terry D. McGlasson has addressed local, regional, national and international audiences on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights, volunteerism, immigration, poverty, mental health and spirituality. Dr. McGlasson holds a graduate degree in theology and was a licensed Protestant minister before transitioning into a career as a professional counselor, where he spent a decade and a half, caring for individuals, couples, families and groups.

Kristin Neff: The Power of Self-Compassion Workshop, August 26, 2019

Dr. Kristin Neff, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology University of Texas at Austin, presented “The Power of Self-Compassion.” Through discussion, meditation, and experiential exercises, participants gained practical skills to help bring self-compassion into your daily life. Participants learned how to stop being so hard on themselves; handle difficult emotions with greater ease; and motivate themselves with kindness rather than criticism. 

About Dr. Kristin Neff

Dr. Kristin Neff is a world-renowned self-compassion expert and pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first studies on self-compassion 15 years ago. She is author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. She and Dr. Chris Germer have also co-developed Mindful Self-Compassion, an empirically supported eight-week training program that is taught worldwide.


ASU’s Mindfulness Leadership Workshop, May 23, 2019

This full-day workshop was in collaboration with the ASU Center for Mindfulness, Compassion, and Resilience. The workshop presenters were Dr. Teri Pipe, Chief Well-Being Officer, Dr. Nika Gueci, Executive Director, University Engagement, and Tiara Cash, MS Program Manager.

This event brought participants together to have open space for healthfulness, personal balance, and resiliency conversations. Individuals learned how to incorporate mindfulness into their own lives as well as lead mindfulness efforts in their department, organization or family.  

Center for College Sleep, November 29, 2018

All three of the following workshops were presented by J. Roxanne Prichard, Ph.D., Scientific Director, and Birdie Cunningham, MA, Director of Operations and Programming at the Center for College Sleep at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • Sleep and Athletic Performance
  • Making the Connection between Sleep, Mental Health, Retention, and Academic Success
  • Sleep: The Secret to Success in College

Vicki Zakrzewski: The Science of a Meaningful Life Workshop, August 27, 2018

The Pruitt Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being celebrated its Grand Opening on August 27, 2018. This much-anticipated event was attended by many UW-Superior faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as community members and elected officials. It was a wonderful end to our tremendously successful all-day conference, “The Science of a Meaningful Life: Integrating Social-Emotional Learning, Mindfulness, and Character Education into Education,” that brought 150 dedicated educators from UW-Superior and local school districts for a day centered on social-emotional learning.