A Year Worth Celebrating: 2012-2013 Year In Review

In this year of Nebraska Wesleyan University’s 125th anniversary, we had much to celebrate.

The anniversary gave us special opportunities to reconnect with friends, honor our past, and look ahead to our future.

The 2012-2013 academic year gave us many reasons to celebrate. Here are some highlights:

The women’s basketball team and their coaches boarded a plane on August 15 and flew to Estonia — the first international experience for a NWU women’s athletic team. While in Estonia the Prairie Wolves played three games against club teams including two teams from Tallinn and one from the University of Tartu.

Newly renovated Johnson Hall opened in August. The $1.9 million renovation included remodeling of all interior spaces, expansion of restrooms, new roof and windows, new furniture, handicap accessibility, elevator access to all four floors, and perhaps the biggest change — air conditioning.

New programs were added to Wesleyan Advantage, the university’s adult program. Thanks to a new partnership with Iowa Western Community College (IWCC), a bachelor of science in nursing is offered at IWCC’s Council Bluffs campus and Clarinda site. A bachelor of science degree in social work was also added to NWU’s Omaha site.

Nebraska Wesleyan University has named Elizabeth MacLeod Walls as the new Dean of University College. She is responsible for overseeing the university’s graduate programs, Wesleyan Advantage,  and Wesleyan Honors Academy.

Fire sprinklers were installed in the remaining Greek houses. NWU is among only a few colleges and universities to have fire sprinklers installed in all campus housing.

In honor of the 125th anniversary, the university kicked off the 12,500 Hour Service Challenge in August with the annual Lend-A-Hand to Lincoln. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the university logged service activities throughout the year with the goal to reach 12,500 hours by September 2013. The goal was reached in just eight months.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Nebraska Wesleyan University among the top 150 liberal arts colleges in the country.

NWU’s tradition of philanthropy, Lend-A-Hand to Lincoln, spread to Omaha. In September, NWU alumni, University College students, parents, and university staff volunteered 90 hours of service to two Omaha non-profit organizations.

In honor of the 125th Anniversary, the university’s annual Visions & Ventures Symposium, which brings to campus experts who discuss and debate issues of global significance, featured NWU alumni who made significant contributions to the areas of social responsibility, human health, hunger, and education. The theme of the symposium was “Our Story Continues”.

The 125th anniversary officially kicked off on September 19 with an Old Main Cornerstone where an honorary degree was bestowed on Dr. David Mickey. The celebration continued with a campus picnic and the Visions & Ventures Symposium.

Members of Global Service Learning broke ground on a community garden, located across from Abel Stadium on Huntington Ave. The garden will be a source for food and community service.

The university announced its Graduation Commitment, which ensures students who satisfy the requirements will graduate in four years. If a student meets the requirements but does not graduate in four years, the University will pay for the cost of completing their degree.

Kristie Pfabe, professor of mathematics and computer science, was awarded the Exemplary Teaching Award by the Division of Higher Education of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Kelsey Reynoldson of Eagle and Joe Menousek of Gretna were crowned homecoming queen and king. Other homecoming activities included the Legends & Legacies Alumni Award Dinner, Hall of Fame induction, and an all-class reunion.

Rita Lester, professor of religion, was named the 2012 Nebraska Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Panhellenic Council was recognized nationally for its highest level of excellence in programming and council management.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Arbor Day Foundation named Nebraska Wesleyan University a Tree Campus USA.

Brooke Schipporeit was one of three students in the nation to receive the National Phi Alpha Honorary Scholarship in the field of social work.

Four students were awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship including Samantha Wessels, an elementary and special education major from Weeping Water, and Michael Pirnie, a political science and global studies major from Omaha. Both will teach English in Taiwan. Tom Schroeder, a senior political science and Spanish major from Lincoln, will teach English and American culture in Turkey. Megan Meyerson, a Spanish major from Lincoln, will teach English in Brazil. English Professor James Shea was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Hong Kong during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Matt Schmitt was selected as a Fulbright Summer Institute participant. The honor will send him to the United Kingdom where he will study for four weeks.

Four students were awarded the prestigious Gilman Scholarship, which assists students with study abroad expenses. The scholarship sent Stephen Boakye to Morocco, Madelyn Deabill to France, Maria Niechwiadowicz to India, and Carrie Wiese to Ghana for the spring semester. Eric Jackson won a Gilman Scholarship that sent him to the country of Georgia for the summer.

Michael Sutherland won a prestigious Critical Language Scholarship to China where he will study Mandarin.

Paul Snyder was selected for the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET).

Twelve student athletes were named Academic All-Americans, bringing the total to 140 NWU student athletes to receive the honor. NWUn ranks eighth among all schools at all levels.

Two student athletes received NCAA Postgraduate scholarships: Taylor Tacha and Johnny Rutford.

Nebraska Wesleyan University’s fifth annual Bowls for Backpacks Empty Bowls event was another success, raising over $9,000 for the Food Bank of Lincoln.

Students enrolled in the psychology course “Basic Learning Principles” spent the fall semester training rats for one of the university’s most popular academic events, the Xtreme Rat Challenge. This year’s competition marked the 38th consecutive year for the event.

The Touch of Class jazz choir performed a regional premier of “Mass In Blue”, a six-piece movement of vocals and piano in an upbeat style of the Latin Mass. The ensemble performed it during their spring break tour.

Theatre students spent their spring break in New York where they performed in a theatre showcase and networked with others in show business. Other NWU students traveled to New York for the Urban Cultural Immersion Trip and to Washington, D.C. for a study on politics and faith.

The university hosted the 5th annual Business Summit, which brings to campus presidents and CEOs of companies and businesses across the country. The summit provides a day of networking for NWU students.

Kimberly Johnson, associate principal for Hardwick Day, was named the new vice president for enrollment management.

Biology professor Garry Duncan was named this year’s Prouty Award Winner. Duncan was nominated for the award by students and colleagues.

History professor Megan Winchell was awarded the White Award for Internationalization.

The NWU faculty approved the Archways Curriculum, which will replace the 16-year-old “Preparing for Global Citizenship” curriculum. The curriculum — which goes into effect fall 2014 — will approach global issues through more intentional, integrated experiences throughout students’ entire college career.

President Fred Ohles awarded degrees to approximately 500 undergraduate and graduate students during the university’s 124th annual commencement held Saturday, May 18. Honorary degrees were presented to The Honorable John M. Gerrard and Robert B. Harris.

The university bid farewell to Muriel Skoug, professor of mathematics, who retired after 33 years; Jan Vermeer, professor of political science, who retired after 39 years; and Patty Karthauser, vice president for external relations, who retired after 10 years.

Nebraska Wesleyan University announced in June that it will add men’s and women’s swimming as a sport in 2014.

Members of Global Service Learning traveled to Guatemala for a service learning experience with Constru Casa and built two homes. Other summer learning experiences sent students and faculty to Ireland, Thailand, Italy and Spain.

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The anniversary year kicked off with a cornerstone ceremony and honorary degree to Dr. David Mickey.
The NWU community gathered for a campus photo taken in the same location as the original 1887 photo.
Students enjoy a campus picnic kicking off the 125th anniversary.
Kelsey Reynoldson and Joe Menousek were crowned 2012 homecoming queen and king.
The ribbon is cut to the doors of the newly renovated Johnson Hall.
For the 38th year, psychology students trained rats for the Xtreme Rat Challenge.
Religion professor Rita Lester was named the 2012 Nebraska Professor of the Year.
President Fred Ohles welcomes students, alumni, and business leaders to the 5th annual Business Summit.
NWU students traveled to New York City over spring break to assist with Super Storm Sandy cleanup.
Tom Schroeder (left) was one of four students to win a Fulbright Scholarship.
Students learn about the sport of hurling while on a faculty-led experience to Ireland.
Nearly 500 degrees were presented to undergraduate and graduate students on May 18.