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DWU Board of Trustees gains five new members

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University welcomes five new members to its Board of Trustees, two of whom have previously served.


Jacquelyn Johnson is a Mitchell native and financial adviser and stockholder for Dice Financial Services Group. This is her first term on the DWU Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of Mitchell High School and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Dakota in 2000 and a Master of Science degree from the University of Kansas in 2002.


Johnson has served as a member of or on the boards and committees for: Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Avera Health Board Pooled Investments, Mitchell Technical Institute Foundation, Mitchell Area Development Corporation, LifeQuest Foundation, Junior Achievement, South Dakota Development Corporation, USD Alumni Association, YWCA, Avera Queen of Peace Splash of Spirits fundraiser, National Association of Insurance and Financial Planners, and Dakota Discovery Museum.


Beth Kroger, of Louisville, Colo., was named to the board this fall. Kroger, a Mitchell native as well, graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1996 and obtained her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota in 2006.


She is currently the chief of operations of the JILA research institute at the University of Colorado-Boulder in partnership with the university and the National Institute of Science and Technology. The institute has generated three Nobel laureates in physics since 2001.


Some of her previous positions include vice president for administration and finance at Wayne State College, Wayne, Neb., vice president of business affairs at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, and vice president of business affairs at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pa.


She has also been involved in Rotary International and local organizations such as Attention Homes, Greenhouse Scholars, and Worlds of Wonder Museum.


Ron Martin, Tyler, Texas, is serving his second term with DWU as well. He previously served on the board from 2001-2013 and the board renewed his appointment last spring. Martin, a Wagner native, graduated from Wagner High School followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from DWU in 1974. Martin is currently principal/loan officer for Avenue Mortgage, LLC in Tyler. Previously he was the vice president and COO for Budford Television, Inc., vice president of operations for Classic Communications, both of Tyler; and a loan officer for Capital Mortgage, Whitehouse, Texas.


Roger Musick, of Mitchell, returned to the Board of Trustees last spring. Musick previously served on the board from 1995 to 2007. He is a graduate of Mitchell High School and South Dakota School of Mines with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He was a founder and partner at Martin and Associates from 1971 to 2000, when it was sold. In 1998, he founded and is the CEO of Innovative Systems, a telecommunications software development organization.


Musick has also served on the Chamber of Commerce board, MADC, Vision 2000, the Methodist Hospital Board, Methodist Health Care Association, Avera Queen of Peace board, Mitchell Technical Institute advisory board, South Dakota State University advisory board, DSU CS advisory board, and South Dakota REACH committee.


Leon Washington, of Bethlehem, Pa., joined the board this fall. Washington is the vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Lehigh University, Bethlehem. He was born in Miami and graduated high school in Hampton, S.C. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Dakota Wesleyan in 1972, and obtained a Master of Arts degree in anthropology from California State University, Hayward, in 2002.


He previously served as the assistant vice chancellor for enrollment and student academic support at the University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif., as well as two director and one associate vice president positions in enrollment, outreach and recruitment at California State University. He also worked in admissions at Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., and Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn., as well as several other universities. He is fluent in Portuguese and worked in human resources at Olin International in Lages, Brazil, from 1972-1978, developing a technical training manual for international employees and translating technical documents.


Community service includes Bethlehem Township City Council, Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, Lehigh Valley Council for Equity and Community, and Church of the Sacred Heart.


DWU choral concert, ‘Festival of Sacred Song’ set

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University’s choral program will put on A Festival of Sacred Song Sunday at the First United Methodist Church.


The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU will perform the concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5, at the FUMC on the corner of Rowley Street and Third Avenue in Mitchell. The concert is free and open to the community.


The groups performing include the Highlanders, Women’s Chamber Ensemble, Singing Scotchmen, Wesleyan Bells, Dakota Wesleyan Choir, and Mitchell Area Children’s Choir.


This is a concert of all sacred music,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director at DWU. “The audience will be treated to a variety of sacred repertoire from motets and Sacred Harp tunes, to psalms and spirituals, and excerpts from the ‘Messiah.’ It should be a diverse concert.”


5 Ways to Embrace Change and Pursue Your Online Degree at DWU

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


For some of us, the very idea of change is terrifying. But is fear of change keeping you stuck? Specifically, is the unknown keeping you from pursuing the degree you need to get the career you want?

Fredel Thomas has embraced change—professionally and personally. The executive director of the Dakota Wesleyan University’s Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship—and the mother of three young girls—is also an August 2014 graduate of DWU, receiving one of the university’s first M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership degrees.Fredel Thomas Family

Recently, Thomas led a webinar entitled, “Models of Change: Change Isn’t Easy, but It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard.” While the presentation was geared toward business and organization leaders, these five tips from Thomas’ webinar can help you negotiate your resistance to change and successfully move you forward with online learning at DWU:

1.    Education and Communication: The fear and anxiety you have about returning to school may simply come from not having enough information. Whether you plan to pursue an RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing, M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, or a Master of Arts in Education, educate yourself about your future program. Spend time on our website. Request more information. Or email Amber Turner, our online admissions counselor, directly. By communicating with DWU, and getting answers to your questions, you will feel empowered to pursue new opportunities in online education.  

2.    Participation: Returning to school impacts your life for sure. But it also impacts the lives of those around you—especially your family and your employer. Tell family, friends and employers you are considering a return to the classroom. Listen to their questions, comments and concerns so that you are not making this decision alone.

3.    Building support and commitment: To build on Tip #2, having the support of those closest to you will make all the difference in your success at DWU. Let them know you are serious about pursuing your degree, and ask for their support once you commit to your goal.

4.    Developing positive online relationships: Online learning is not about interacting only with your computer. You will be joining a community of learners, led by engaging faculty members who want to see all of you succeed. Do your part to build positive relationships with the other students and with your instructors.

5.    Implementing changes fairly. Keep an eye on your key stakeholders—chiefly your family members. Yes, it will be a balancing act to find time for your family while you find time for your studies, but it is possible. For example, when Thomas was working on her studies, she did not shut out her family during study time. Her children joined her at the kitchen table; coloring while she did her coursework during the year it took to complete her M.B.A. Remember your change is a change for your team, too. By including your team in your learning adventure, your success becomes an inspiration to them, too.  

Visit with DWU about strategies for change that can help you earn an online degree.

If you would like to further explore online learning at DWU, please request more information.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

‘A better Wesleyan awaits’ Avera, donors back DWU facility

Friday, September 19, 2014

By Marcus Traxler

The Daily Republic

Sept. 18, 2014


The ceremony had cheers, flags and fanfare, all of which were fitting for the groundbreaking of a campus-changing project at Dakota Wesleyan University.


DWU officially broke ground Thursday on its 85,000 square-foot, $10.5 million health and wellness center at the site of the future facility on the south side of campus, revealing its name and the project’s lead donors.


The facility will be named the Dakota Wesleyan University and Avera Sports and Wellness Complex. Inside the building will be the Donna and Paul Christen Community Health and Fitness Center and the Glenda and Fritz Corrigan Fieldhouse and Athletic Institute.

Click here for a photo gallery of event.


The Christen and Corrigan families donated $2.75 million each to the project, according to DWU President Amy Novak. Avera Health will commit $2.5 million to the university over the next five years.


Including Avera and the Christen and Corrigan commitments, the school had a total of eight “cornerstone” donors who committed $250,000 or more to the project. The commitment of the community and alumni to make the facility happen is unmatched in DWU history, Novak said.


“It is tremendously exciting,” she said. “It points to the momentum that we have going on this campus, and I think it really positions Dakota Wesleyan as a premier university in this region.”


The new health and wellness center is expected to open in either December 2015 or January 2016. It will include a 200-meter indoor track surrounding three multipurpose courts, 7,000 square feet of space for exercise equipment and fitness training, a wrestling room, locker rooms, additional space for strength and conditioning and classrooms for seminars and leadership training.


“On this project, no was never an option,” Novak said to a crowd of a couple hundred assembled donors, alumni and current students on hand for the celebration. “I never wanted to face the students behind you and tell them that we weren’t going to get this done.”


The Corrigans, of Edina, Minn., and the Christens, of Huron, are not strangers to donating to the university. Each family gave $5 million to DWU in 2011 to help fund the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center.


“DWU is a university that has momentum. I think you all can feel it,” Paul Christen said. “The contributions of this institution to the state and to the region pay enormous benefits and dividends to the future. The students will come forward and make this a better place to live.”


Christen said community commitment is proof that Mitchell has a vested interest in seeing the university succeed. He said that as someone who lives in Huron, a city that lost a university, he knows how important having a college is for a community.


“It’s been a great day, let’s enjoy it. And a greater Wesleyan is coming,” said Christen in closing his speech.


“Sports are a great way to experientially learn about persistence and perseverance and hard work, personal responsibility and teamwork,” Fritz Corrigan said. “This not only will be the facility where you can practice your sports skills, but also where you can learn to work together effectively and enter your working career.”


Avera Queen of Peace CEO Tom Clark said the partnership with Dakota Wesleyan University is a natural fit and perfect timing for the health care provider. Avera broke ground on its new Grassland Health Campus earlier this summer on the south side of Interstate 90.


“Collectively, we have the opportunity to create a health and wellness corridor that becomes the envy of other communities and enhances Mitchell’s quality of life,” Clark said. He noted Avera’s commitment of more than $20 million to the area over the next 18 months and that the money spent on the Grassland and DWU projects comes from the Avera system-wide budget.


Bryan Hisel, the executive director of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation, said it was important for the community to be involved to illustrate its investment in DWU and in the community. The development corporation helped sell a quarter-section of land south of Mitchell for $1.2 million and gifted the proceeds to DWU and Mitchell Technical Institute to help both schools expand.


“This is workforce development,” Hisel said. “The investment here can’t be stressed enough, and the community of Mitchell has to embrace the university as being an integral part of our city and our region’s future.”


Novak acknowledged the potential partnership that the university could have with the city of Mitchell regarding an indoor pool. Many details regarding the pool and its location are still being worked out.


Curt Hart, the school’s athletic director, told the crowd he used to envision the wellness center project as being the final piece needed for the school’s campus completion. But he said that’s no longer the case.


“This is not the final step,” he said. “This is not an ending. This is the beginning of taking this university to an entirely new level.”



Collection for Snack Pack Program to be taken during DWU parade

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It’s the “Rise of a Roaring Empire” and students seek snack foods. 


Dakota Wesleyan clubs, Universities Fighting World Hunger and Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization will team up to collect donations for the Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program during Saturday’s Blue & White Days Roman-themed parade on Main Street. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and anyone who wishes to bring nonperishables, such as granola bars or microwave popcorn, can hand them to DWU students as they stroll by with their “Chariot of Food.” 


The Weekend Snack Pack Program provides one bag of easy-to-prepare meals per qualifying child each weekend. The nonprofit is located on the DWU campus inside Hughes Hall. There is a donation bin outside the building for anyone who wishes to donate nonperishable items. 


DWU beanie king, queen ‘crowned’

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, has announced its 2014 beanie king and queen. This is a title bestowed on two freshmen – winners were “crowned” Tuesday night during Wesleyan’s Got Talent.


This year’s beanie king is Scott Van Winkle, Tyndall, and queen is Lindsey Calhoon, Winner. Van Winkle is the son of Randy and Lisa Weier, Tyndall, and Calhoon is the daughter of John and Jodi Calhoon, Winner.


Beanie king candidates also included: Jonathan Blain, Odessa, Texas; Austin Buysse, Minneota, Minn.; Dillon DeJong, Kennebec; Jaden Denison, Lake Preston; Sam Hazen, Burke; and Mitch Heisinger, Parkston.


Beanie queen candidates also included: Grayson Gruenhagen, DeSmet; Jazmyn Hinker, White Lake; Jacey Jira, Hartford; Rachael Kriz, Geddes; Samantha Moody, Wessington Springs; and Hali Strom, Crofton, Neb.


Traditionally the beanie king and queen wear their beanies to all homecoming events.


The 2014 homecoming king and queen, Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon, and Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn., were crowned Sunday during Coronation services on campus. DWU’s 2014 Blue & White Days will be Sept. 18-20 and the theme for this year is “Rise of a Roaring Empire.”


For a complete listing of homecoming events, visit here.

DWU showcase, Menagé à Musique, set for homecoming

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will provide a free concert Friday during Blue & White Days.

Menagé à Musique,” a showcase for the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music, will begin at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, in the East Main Dining Room on campus. This concert is free and open to the public.

It will be the first concert for the DWU music program and will celebrate the department’s new patrons, Ron and Sheilah Gates, of Mitchell.

Groups performing include the Highlanders, the Wesleyan Bells, the Singing Scotchmen, and the Women’s Chamber Ensemble. A strings ensemble will also perform a piece.

Individuals performing are Abby Carpenter, Canton; Lacey Reimnitz, Corsica; Kurt Schwarzenbart, Salem; Nate Collins, Belle Fouche; and Lisa Stanley, Box Elder.


DWU’s Bergh Wins National Award

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trae Bergh, a member of the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team, is the 2014 recipient of the Emil S. Liston Award, it was announced Monday.

The honor is given annually to student athletes in their junior year has been presented each year since 1950 to one men’s and one women’s NAIA basketball player. The award, which is presented by Daktronics, recognizes academic and athletic excellence and includes a $1,000 scholarship to each winner. The award is named in honor of the NAIA’s first executive secretary and a prime mover behind the NAIA men’s basketball tournament. The 2014 women’s winner is Dana Heegemann from Stephens College (Mo.)

“I am extremely proud of Trae for this achievement,” DWU men’s basketball coach Matt Wilber said. “We are lucky to have him in our program and at our school. He represents DWU in the highest manner and is a tremendous teammate in all aspects. Trae is very deserving of this award, but it will not change anything about him. He will continue to put forth the same effort in the classroom, in our community, and on the court as he has always done.”

On the court for the Tigers in the 2013-14 season, Bergh provided stability from the outside. He tied the DWU school record for 3-pointers in a game with 10 in a 43-point performance in the season opener for the Tigers. He finished his sophomore season third in the NAIA in 3-pointers with 3.48 per game, while averaging 16.6 from his shooting guard position and earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference Second Team honors.

In the classroom, Bergh holds a 4.0 grade point average and is studying athletic training. He has been assisting with the DWU women’s soccer training staff in 2014.

“It’s nice to receive an award like this because it’s not about just basketball,” Bergh said. “Something my parents preached since I was a foot tall, is when you live in a small town you are not just seen on the basketball court and it’s important to work hard and set an example in the community. It’s great to get noticed for all the hard work.”

Bergh is from Crooks, S.D. and attended Tri-Valley High School prior to coming to DWU. He is the son of Troy and Cyndi Bergh.


Constitution Day to be recognized at DWU

Monday, September 15, 2014

In celebration of the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Dakota Wesleyan University will host a special public viewing of “Created Equal,” the third installment of the PBS series “Constitution USA” from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Java City in the McGovern Library.

This approximately one-hour documentary explores the constitutional dimensions of contemporary civil rights issues.  This event is free and open to the public.


DWU crowns homecoming king, queen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University crowned its 2014 homecoming king and queen Sunday during coronation.


This year’s king and queen are Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn., and Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon.


Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn., is double-majoring in athletic training and biology. She is the president of CHAOS (science) Club, president of the Athletic Training Club, serves on the student leadership council for the Mid-America Athletic Training Association, and is a DWU student ambassador. Following graduation, she plans to work with an athletic trainer and/or an EMT before applying for physician’s assistant school. She is the daughter of John and Jodi Landgaard and a graduate of Worthington High School.


Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon, is majoring in business administration and minoring in coaching. He is a member of DWU wrestling, the campus worship team, and is a resident assistant. He is the son of Jeff and Donna Gerlach and a graduate of Mount Vernon High School.


Additional homecoming queen candidates were: Celeste Beck, Sioux Falls; Abigail Fossum, Canton; Lexy Timm, Yale; and Katie Uttecht, Norfolk, Neb.


Additional homecoming king candidates were: Luke Bamberg, Corsica; Andrew DeVaney, Sioux Falls; Stephen Lee, Viborg; and Jared Stearns, Canton.

Blue & White Days will kick off Thursday with the Opperman Lecture at 11 a.m. in the Sherman Center; the groundbreaking for the Sports and Wellness Complex at 5 p.m. on site, across the football practice fields on the south side of Norway Avenue; and the annual Legacy Banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Sherman Center. The Blue & White Days parade is set for 10 a.m., Saturday, on Main Street, followed by the Outkasts Car Show. The theme for this year’s homecoming parade is “Rise of the Roaring Empire.” For more information about this week’s events, visit www.dwu.edu.

 From left to right, back row: Jared Stearns, Andrew DeVaney, Stephen Lee, Luke Bamberg, and Kyle Gerlach. Front row: Abby Fossum, Lexy Timm, Katie Uttecht, Celeste Beck, and Cassie Landgaard.


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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
The Chronicle of Higher Education named Dakota Wesleyan University one of the “Great Colleges to Work For®” for 2014-2015. DWU won honors in three categories: facilities, workspace and security, and supervisor/department chair relationship.
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