PRESIDENT'S WINTER UPDATE
Monday, February 10, 2014
Posted by: Kari Lammer
It's cold...that's all I can say!
As I begin this update, I am looking out at an absolutely beautiful winter sky. The sun is out, the sky is very blue, and I anticipate that we'll be having another beautiful sunset to enjoy...from inside. As you have no doubt heard, this has been one of the most challenging winters in recent memory. In fact, it has been so cold, that I'm now beginning to pick up a tone of pride as we, daily it seems, compare notes about how far below zero the wind chill factor resides. Nevertheless, we keep plugging away. I am so grateful for the work of our grounds crew, particularly this time of year. The work that they do to keep walks clear and parking lots cleaned, all in this terrible cold, is really remarkable. So, if you are on campus, please join me in thanking them.
Since we are just beginning the spring semester, it is too early to have an exact number on our enrollment count. (That happens after the 10th complete day of the semester.) Nevertheless, all indications continue to be that we are on pace to continue with our record enrollments. We had 2024 students in all of accredited majors during the fall. We successfully launched LIFE (Learning Institute for Fulfillment and Engagement) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to complement our very successful LIFE program on campus. As an aside, our LIFE program in Cedar Rapids received stellar reviews from our accrediting agency, the HLC/NCA. As you know, this is an extremely busy and important time of year for our Admission teams. If you know of an individual who you believe would benefit from an undergraduate, graduate or theological degree, please feel free to plant a UD seed on our behalf!
We just completed another very successful J-Term at our college and seminary. We had students and members of our faculty/staff all across the country and all over the world. If my math is close to being accurate, we had over a dozen international trips to places like England and China, and wonderful immersion experiences in places like New York, NY, Columbus, Ohio, and a Native American reservation in Wisconsin. Learning has changed so much over the last twenty years, and I am so thankful for the members of our faculty/staff who take it upon themselves to provide our students with experiences that many of us could not have imagined years ago.
Closer to home, we continue to work on planning our new Physician Assistant Program. We are in the queue for an accreditation visit in September 2015 which means that we are planning to launch this program in June 2016. I am very excited about this new program, particularly in the many ways that the graduates of this program will go on to serve "...the church and the world" in rural communities, urban health clinics, and sophisticated health centers around the country. We are also launching a new outreach to Veterans, beginning this semester. As many of us know, Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are re-engaging civilian life in a variety of ways; one of the most common being through higher education. To that end, we are creating a special place on campus for Veterans to spend time together, study together, and support each other as they make this transition back into civilian life. It's one small way that we can say "thank you" for those who have served our country. Finally, we just said "good-bye" to our seminary Distance Education students who were here for two weeks in January. These students are from all across the country and even from some international locations. We extended a very warm Iowa welcome as students arrived to their first day of classes with a wind chill factor of -47. I'm really impressed, by the way, with our students from Florida!!
There have been two capital projects under construction this academic year. We just completed an indoor practice and recreation facility which will be named the "Veteran's Memorial Training Center." Students are already actively using the new Center. We will dedicate the new Center on Veteran's Day, which is November 11, 2014.
On the south end of campus, we are about halfway through construction of a new residence hall. This new hall is designed to accommodate a series of seven double rooms around a centralized gathering space including a kitchenette, comfortable chairs, and a common table around which residents can share a meal or work on a group project together. We will dedicate this new residence hall on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 during our Opening Convocation.
Finally, since Homecoming 2013, there have been a number of you who have asked about when we might be beginning an effort to fund a campaign for a pipe organ in John and Alice Butler Hall. I just had the privilege of sitting down with Mr. Lynn Dobson, President of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd., to begin dreaming about a pipe organ installation. Dobson Pipe Organ Builders is arguably the premier pipe organ builder in the world, and they're located in Lake City, Iowa of all places! Dobson just completed the installation of a new organ at the Merton College Chapel at Oxford, and is completing projects in New York City and at Vanderbilt University. If you'd like to take a look at their work, you can visit their website at: www.dobsonorgan.com. And, of course, if you have a philanthropic interest in learning more about this project, I would be honored to talk to you about the possibilities.
Though Heritage Center is completed as a capital project, I would be remiss if I didn't share my enthusiasm about the transformational impact that this facility has had on our campus, and on our community. Educationally, Heritage Center fuses critical elements of our Mission: Art, Worship, and the fellowship inspired by genuine Community. Our Live at Heritage Center series has been outstanding, along with multiple performances by our music and drama departments. I was especially moved by the dedication service for Heritage Center which took place during Homecoming, 2013. Dr. Howard Wallace, who has been with the University in his capacity as a professor at our Seminary since 1959, preached an outstanding dedicatory sermon which was well-complemented by the music of our combined alumni and concert choir. I'll never forget that moment. If you'd like to learn more about the very busy schedule and offerings at Heritage Center, you can visit our website at: www.dbq.edu. I believe that there's also a video of that dedication service still available on the website as well. Or you can watch it by clicking here.
It has been an exciting winter for Spartan Nation! Our wrestling team is having a very competitive season and is currently ranked #28 in the country. Our basketball teams are also doing remarkably well. Our women are 12-7 on the year, and 5-3 in the Iowa Conference, and are currently in 3rd place. Our men are 18-1, and 7-1 in the Iowa Conference, and are currently in 1st place. Last week, the men cracked the top 25 in the National polls. Our indoor track is also successfully underway. The men and women are off to a fast start (pun intended). If you can't get to a game in person, you can enjoy watching all of events by going to our website (www.dbq.edu). Click on the Athletics button and look for the "Stretch" icon, where you'll be taken to the appropriate link. We also continue to be one of the attendance leaders across the nation for all of our events.
As we all know, it is a lot of fun to be competitive in our intercollegiate athletic program. We owe a lot to our coaches and to our Athletic Administration team which is led by our AD, Dan Runkle. The thing I'm most proud of, though, is the number of our student athletes who have received recognition as academic all-conference, all-region, or all-American. For example:
- Our football team has had more 1st team Academic All-Americans than any other DIII team in the country over the last three years with a total of 4, and we're tied with Johns Hopkins for the most 1-3rd team academic All-Americans with a total of 8.
- In all sports over the last ten years, we've had 519 Academic All-IIAC, 52 All-Region, 19 All-American, and 21 Coaches Association All-Academic recipients.
- And, finally, UD quarterback and alum, Wyatt Hanus received the 2013 Duane Schroeder IIAC Male Scholar-Athlete Award, in addition to being named as a semi-finalist for the National Football Foundation's Scholar Award, and the Gagliardi Award (DIII Heisman Trophy). Ashley Barwick, three-sport athlete, was a finalist in the Johanna Olson IIAC Scholar-Athlete Award. Both Ashley and Wyatt were accounting majors...ummm!
ENDOWMENT AND ANNUAL FUND
I have been very humbled this year by the number of alums and other supporters who have quietly made significant contributions to our endowment by executing irrevocable estate commitments. Nearly all of these commitments are in support of student scholarships for our college and seminary. In fact, one alum expedited his family's gift in a very unique way. He and his wife made an irrevocable pledge through their estate, but decided to get a head start on that commitment by funding what will be the draw rate while they are still living; in this case, that amounts to about $50,000 per year. I wish I could fully describe for all of you the joy that benefactors receive by knowing that their commitments improve both the lives and the prospects of young people...now. With this type of commitment, it won't be too long before our endowment crosses the $100 million dollar threshold. I am convinced that, once that Rubicon is crossed, some pretty amazing things will happen to our Mission.
I would be remiss if I didn't put in a good word to encourage support for our Annual Fund drive. Our goal this year is to reach $1 million. Importantly, nearly 100% of what we raise goes back to students in the form of scholarship support. What a lot of people don't realize is that the University awards nearly $15 million annually in scholarship support for students...that's $14 million on top of the $1 million we hope to raise for the Annual Fund. The Annual Fund, then, is one part of a larger, orchestrated effort to help provide needed support for students and families in their quest to finance their education.
As of the time I write this message, we have just learned that the Straatmeyer History Display at Heritage Center has just received a prestigious ADDY Award. I'm also pleased to report that our new University Website has won a Gold Award for Website Design, which is presented by the Collegiate Advertising Awards. The Lawler Group is now in the 9 month process of updating our seminary's website. Heritage Center is still receiving awards, for which we're all grateful. Its architects, Straka-Johnson, were recently recognized with the 2013 Design Excellence Award which is juried by the American Institute of Architects. Congratulations to Marty, Ken, and their entire team! What a well-deserved recognition! Heritage also received the 2013 Excellence in Concrete Award, and it won the People's Choice Award in the commercial category in competition with 47 other entries from worldwide locations.
Among our own faculty and staff, I am very pleased to share that Professor Gary Hansen, Associate Professor of Church History at our seminary, was awarded the CRT Devotional Book of the Year Award for his book, Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers. Mike Schmidt, Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Football Coach for the Spartans, was recognized with the American Football Coaches Association Division III Award for being the outstanding Assistant coach in our division throughout the country. Mayor Roy Buol, '92, Director of Grounds and Landscaping at UD, recently received the 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award which is jointly conferred by Americans for the Arts and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Gary, Mike, and Roy...congratulations! We're extremely proud of each one of you.
Many of you are aware that one of the ways information is shared today is through the internet medium known as Blogs. There are millions of blogs or bloggers across the world sharing their thoughts, opinions, perceptions, poems, reflections, information, neurosis, and ideas. I am admittedly very new to this world; in fact, until recently, I haven't paid much attention to it. I also have teenagers and am thus aware of the fact that we live in a new era, and there are blogs that can be useful and constructive. With that though in mind, I have invited our faculty and staff to send me their blog links so that, on occasion, I can feature blogs that I think our readers may enjoy. I am surrounded by many pretty amazing people every day on this campus, and it's fun for me to share their insights with all of you. In a sense, they are trying to extend the classroom beyond the walls of the University. I have four suggestions in this issue of the Update:
- Professor Gary Hansen has a blog titled: Christianity as a Second Language. In this blog, Gary attempts to "...mine the past seeking wisdom for today and tomorrow." His recent post "Get Out of Debt God's Way" is quite thought-provoking. You can follow Gary at: www.garynealhansen.com.
- John Stewart, retired Dean of the College, has a blog which focuses on interpersonal communication and that discipline's impact in helping to facilitate healthy relationships. His recent post: "Surviving Family Friends and Family Enemies" is an essential "how to" guide for any large family gathering. You can follow John at: www.johnstewart.org.
- Roger Ebertz, Professor of Philosophy, has a blog titled Walking on Grace Street which focuses on "Faith, Doubt and Following Jesus." His recent post "Faith Explorers Welcome" is another thought-provoking reflection about, well...faith! You can follow Roger at: www.walkingongracestreet.wordpress.com.
- Finally, after months of thinking about it, I've begun a blog titled Leadership Matters for a Changing World which attempts to reflect about a peculiar kind of leadership while featuring unexpected leaders along the way. You might enjoy learning about UDTS alum, Edwin Lacy's "Wild Goose Christian Community" in a recent post. You can follow this blog at: www.jeffbullock.com.
Since I began with a remark about the cold weather, reflecting on the cold may well be a way to end this update. Many years ago, I remember reading a poem, the author of which I have long since forgotten. One line in that poem remains stuck in my memory. The line is: "Blow, blow thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as our ingratitude." As you've heard me say before, gratitude is an important ingredient in the recipe that makes the University of Dubuque work. That gratitude, of course, is grounded in the fact that we have been called to this wonderful Mission through the grace of God. We are aware of the fact that we have been richly blessed by young minds, significant opportunities to impact lives, caring spirits, meaningful work to do, and the most amazing, generous, and philanthropic supporters of any school I know. In this way, the work that we do as the University of Dubuque is, at its very best, a thank-offering to God. It is a way for us to give back, to say "thank you" for the opportunity to enrich the Kingdom through this Mission. Gratitude is a palpable feeling. If we're true to our Mission, that sense of gratitude will be evident in all that we do. It will be evident in the quality of our relationships. It will be visible in the way that we see students come into their own and claim their vocations. It will be present in our language as we say "please" and "thank-you," and it will be clear when we gather together to worship where we even more formally give thanks. Ingratitude, on the other hand, is even more cold and bitter than the winter wind that we have come to know so well this year. Because of it, all of the joy, love, and beauty of life are minimized...are frozen out of our daily experience.
Friends, it looks as if the winter wind will keep blowing for at least another month in this part of the country. But the good news is, there's a pretty neat place located in northeastern Iowa that provides a respite from the cold and sometimes harsh elements of this life. You will meet students who will inspire you with their enthusiasm and zest for life. You'll find faculty members who are some of the most interesting people in the world. You'll encounter members of our staff who'll gladly give you directions, or help you with your needs. I invite you to come in from the cold, whatever it may be for you, and share the joy that is ours in this very warm place known as the University of Dubuque.