DWU Freshman Food Drive introduces new students to university’s core values

Sunday, August 23, 2015



One canned good at a time, the Mitchell Area Food Pantry’s shelves were filled Sunday by student volunteers from Dakota Wesleyan University.


The Annual DWU Freshman Food Drive brought in 4,000 pounds of food from the Mitchell community, all delivered to the food pantry housed in the Mitchell Salvation Army.


This year’s class of freshmen, along with upper-classman leaders, conducted the food drive from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23. The students canvased the city as part of an annual tradition at the university going back as long as anyone can remember.


“We don’t have stats dating the food drive but staff members know it’s been at least two decades, probably longer,” said Campus Pastor Eric Van Meter. “It’s incredible when you think of the partnership DWU has with the Mitchell community on this. I mean, it might be students going door to door collecting it, but there would be no food drive if it weren’t for the generosity of the city of Mitchell. The community helps give our students this great experience in servant leadership and this is exactly the kind of experience we want our newest students to have right at the beginning of their Dakota Wesleyan journey.”


The Freshman Food Drive is a large component of the New Student Orientation weekend at Dakota Wesleyan and an activity that is structured to help new students acclimate to their new community, as well as introduce freshmen to the university’s core values – learning, leadership, faith and service – and the university motto, “Sacrifice or Service.”


“DWU is in the news for our amazing academic programs – from our students’ science research to internships to experiential learning through our entrepreneurial partnerships, but we’re proudest still that when people think of DWU they think about our service work – the food drive, our annual Service Day, all the outreach our clubs and athletic teams do – this is part of the experience that will mold our students’ lives in college and how they will live those lives after graduating.”


The Mitchell Food Pantry accepts donations of non-perishable items and is open from noon to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Professor writes children’s poem ‘The Memory Thief’ to help explain Alzheimer’s Disease, promote discussion

Thursday, August 20, 2015



By DWU Marketing and Communications Department


Alzheimer’s Disease indiscriminately affects millions of Americans — stealing their memories, changing their behavior and making families strangers to one another.


This is a difficult enough concept for adults to comprehend, but how do you explain it to children?


Kyle Herges, assistant communications professor and head of the digital media and design department at Dakota Wesleyan University, has written a children’s book to help facilitate those difficult conversations. “The Memory Thief” is for sale now at the DWU Campus Bookstore, Amazon, and through Herges’s website – listed below. Part of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association, which gave the book its approval and permission to use its site’s statistics.


Herges will co-host a book signing at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10, in Java City in the McGovern Library on campus. This will be in conjunction with Dr. Barbara Duffey’s poetry book, “I Might Be Mistaken,” which was also recently published.


Herges watched two generations of his family battle the disease; his grandfather died of Alzheimer’s when Herges was in college and his mother, Peg, is currently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.


He watched his steadfast grandfather become almost a stranger to him while his mother was helpless to stop the disease; now it is his mother who is becoming the stranger while he gropes for the words to explain it to his own children. The book came about as a way of coping as well as a way to begin a tough conversation with his three small children.


“It’s my way of being able to talk about this with my kids,” he said. “I want them to ask me questions so I can answer them honestly … to spawn conversations.”


The book explains what is happening from the perspective of someone with Alzheimer’s. Each page is illustrated with word-images like butterflies, a cross and clouds. Coming from a graphic design background, he approached the process of explaining to his own children how grandma is feeling using these visuals, accompanied by a poem easy enough for a child to read.


After the book came out a week ago, local newspaper, The Daily Republic, published a feature on Herges’s book and the journey to its completion. Since then, he has been engaged in many positive conversations with people going through similar circumstances.


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans – 16,000 of whom are South Dakotans – are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.


“Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia affect millions of people, so the likelihood that you know someone with it, or know someone who has a close family member with it, is pretty high. Since the story came out Saturday (Aug. 15), I’ve had people come up to me and say that they read the article and they can relate to it,” he said.


In Herges’s case, he realizes that his situation with his mother is the same situation his mother was in with her own father — watching this person they love struggle with their own minds – trying to find the words, trying to place the faces.


“This is the way I feel, but I know this is the way my mom felt when her dad was going through it too. The way I wrote it in the book and poem is exactly how it happened. I know she knows what she wants to say but she can’t find the words.”


“The Memory Thief,” in its own way, allows her to explain and to say goodbye.


Where to find it:

The DWU Campus Bookstore


Herges’s website

Follow “The Memory Thief” on Facebook


Duffey releases new book of poetry, ‘I Might Be Mistaken’

Thursday, August 20, 2015

No stranger to metaphor, Dr. Barbara Duffey’s previously released poems used machinery to describe emotions like inadequacy, fear, joy, maternity — her most recent collection uses the sciences.


“These poems look to science, particularly to zoology, biology and atomic physics, for their subject matter and to find a discourse that is similarly self-questioning as the speaker of these poems,” Duffey said.


“ ‘I Might Be Mistaken’ questions the traditional love lyric — many of the poems in this book begin as love poems but then move to places of doubt, or begin in a place of doubt and move toward a relationship while keeping in mind that any relationship is contingent.”


Duffey will co-host a book signing at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10, in Java City in the McGovern Library on campus. This will be in conjunction with Kyle Herges’s book, “The Memory Thief” — a poem in book-form explaining Alzheimer’s Disease to children. Herges is the head of the digital media and design department on campus.


Both of their books are available on Amazon, as well as at the DWU Campus Bookstore. Duffey’s book is also available for order through and


Duffey is an assistant professor of English at Dakota Wesleyan University. She received her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California.


DWU Freshman Food Drive set for Sunday

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The Dakota Wesleyan University annual Freshman Food Drive is set for Sunday and students will go door-to-door asking for donations.


Every fall, freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to take part in orientation weekend, which is filled with activities to help new students acclimate to the campus, the community and meet new friends. One of those activities is the annual DWU Freshman Food Drive for the Mitchell Area Food Pantry. Freshmen and new students will canvass the city for donations. This year’s drive will be from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23, and residents will know the students by their DWU orientation T-shirts.


“The food drive gets our students out in the community as soon as they arrive on campus,” said Eric Van Meter, campus pastor. “It helps them see DWU as part of the wider community, and it makes a statement to them that part of their education is to serve their neighbors.”


And a little competition never hurts. The students split into groups and compete to see which group brings in the most food. Last year’s food drive brought in a record 4,629 pounds.


For those wishing to donate directly to the food pantry but will not be home during the DWU Freshman Food Drive, donations may be made at the Mitchell Food Pantry, located within the Mitchell Salvation Army on Sanborn Boulevard, during regular hours Monday through Friday. The Mitchell Food Pantry is open to clients from noon to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday.


DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  For more information about Dakota Wesleyan University and other service learning projects, go to


Annual Community Plunge invites registration

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



The annual Community Plunge invites Mitchell area businesses and organizations to register for this year’s event.


Community Plunge began at Dakota Wesleyan University seven years ago as an opportunity for businesses and organizations to look for employees and volunteers and for DWU students to get to know their new community better. In years past, churches, service clubs and businesses have all participated, as well as student organizations. Last year, more than 41 booths were set up and more than 216 students participated.


The seventh annual Community Plunge will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 3, in the Sherman Center at DWU.


To register, contact the DWU Center for Talent Development by email at OR follow this link to register online. All registrations must be received by Aug. 24.


Hobbs named 2014-15 Presidential Award for Outstanding Service

Monday, August 17, 2015




Kyle Hobbs, head strength and conditioning coach at Dakota Wesleyan University, recently received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Service for 2014-15.


Hobbs has been working with student-athletes at DWU since fall 2013, and his position is supported by Avera Queen of Peace in partnership with DWU’s athletics program. He was nominated for the award by his peers and chosen by President Amy Novak. This award is given annually and acknowledges an employee who has demonstrated exemplary service to the DWU community. 


“Kyle’s efforts consistently made a significant impact on the performance and preparedness of our student-athletes. Injuries are significantly down and overall performance of our athletic teams has greatly improved,” Novak said. “Coaches also commend Kyle for his exceptional work ethic, his ability to tailor regimens to every athlete and his willingness to consistently go above and beyond.”


Novak also pointed out that during one-on-one conversations with graduating seniors, Hobbs’s name was mentioned often as a staff member who had a positive impact on their overall experience.


“Kyle’s dedication to DWU is also evident in his efforts to motivate and inspire our athletes. Far more than just developing a training regimen, he considers how to best motivate athletes and the entire team. We deeply appreciate Kyle’s commitment to DWU, to our students, and his overall commitment to excellence. He is a model of our university commitment to selfless service and embodies the spirit of DWU in every interaction he has with coaches, students, families and our community.”


Local poet wins Washington Prize, will see works published

Monday, August 17, 2015

When mechanics fail, poetry finds a way – this was the approach of Dr. Barbara Duffey in her soon-to-be published work, “Simple Machines.”


“Simple Machines” recently won the Washington Prize from the D.C.-based literary nonprofit The Word Works. The award includes publication and a $1,500 cash prize. Duffey’s compilation of poems will be released in late March 2016.


This book is a revised version of Duffey’s dissertation which explores mechanical metaphors for the human body.


“I use the machine metaphors as a way to highlight my frustrations at my infertility diagnosis, that my body didn’t work as mechanically as I had expected,” Duffey described in an earlier interview. “I focus on machines named after people, such as the Diesel engine, the Archimedes screw, and the Ferris wheel, because those personal names make the machines feel almost like the children of their inventors.”


Her poem “Coffey Still” will appear in the online journal Blackbird in November, and “And No Machine Can Have New Ideas” was published in the January issue of Midway Journal – both poems appear in “Simple Machines.”


Duffey is an assistant professor of English at Dakota Wesleyan University. She received her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California.


DWU announces institutional logo/Daily Republic

Monday, August 3, 2015

By Candy DenOuden



Don’t just get a degree. Discover your strength.


Long the mindset of Dakota Wesleyan University, the faith-based college decided to weave that concept into its new institutional logo. The revamped institutional logo and athletic logos both were unveiled today at the school’s campus.


DWU Vice President of Marketing and Communications Lori Essig said school officials have discussed changing the logo for several years, seeking to replace the “wavy ‘W.’” She said that image doesn’t stand alone very well, because it is a single initial.


“We just felt that image was dated,” Essig said. “We really wanted something that has all of our institutional initials on it.”


There was no event to mark the announcement, which was carried out primarily through campus-wide communication and social media. Essig said the decision for a redesign started last year as DWU launched a new strategic planning process — how to increase institutional visibility, etc.


“We thought before we embarked on those efforts, we needed to take a look at our visual identity,” she said.


She pointed to big brands like Target, Starbucks or Apple — all of which have instantly recognizable icons.


“You’ve got to have that visual image that resonates quickly,” Essig said. “This is such a visual world, many times people will see a visual image, and it will have an impact or a recognition point much more rapidly than words.”


The institutional logo was designed by Credo, a North Carolina-based higher education consulting firm serving private colleges and universities, which Essig said DWU is working with on its strategic planning process. The new institutional and athletic logos and new athletics website were announced today, through what Essig described as a “soft unveiling.”


What the new look means

Each of the new elements has a meaning or purpose, Essig said, and embraces the history of the college, its heritage through Methodist church and development of the Dakota Territory.


The prominent, center “W” is a nod to the commitment of John Wesley, the Anglican minister who co-founded Methodism — the denomination with which Dakota Wesleyan is affiliated. The “D” pays tribute to Methodist generations braved the Dakota Territory and founded the university, which is represented by the “U.”


In addition to the initials, the three serifs of the “W” — a serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol — signify three of the university’s four core values: learning, leadership and service.


A scroll, a traditional symbol for academia, wraps around part of the “U,” forming a cross shape. Not only is the cross a widely recognized Christian symbol, the university says it also represents its fourth core value: faith.


The new logo adds an accent color to DWU’s traditional school colors of blue and white. The scroll is a bright orange, and trimmed with lighter orange ends. The trim, according to DWU, is symbolic of the flame of the Holy Spirit and meant to evoke the image of the cross and flame, a symbol of united Methodism.


“Dakota Wesleyan University embraces its Methodist mission, and proudly incorporates the Cross and Flame as sign of our commitment to develop bold, spirit-filled leaders to transform our world,” said DWU President Amy Novak, in a written statement. “The new DWU logo embraces our purpose, future vision, and a recognition of the past generations who have ‘built a Greater Wesleyan’ with love, prayer, intellect, service, imagination and generosity.”


Essig said the symbolism and imagery were important to Novak, and school officials worked to craft a new logo that not only captures those elements of the school’s heritage, but also looks more professional than the previous logo.


“It has a much more academic feel to it than what it has in the past,” Essig said.

She also emphasized that, while the new logo incorporates orange, that’s just an accent color. The school’s official colors are still blue and white — and will remain so.


“I don’t think that we will ever say our colors are blue and orange,” she said. “We felt the orange just brought a vibrancy to our imagery.”


Some iterations of the logo, including some of the banners and signs waving across campus, also bear a new tagline, “Discover Your Strength.” That replaces the former tagline, “Learn Strong.” Essig said it is a natural progression from 2008, when the college began market research meant to pin down DWU’s distinctions as an institution.


Officials discovered a recurring theme from DWU’s alumni, young and old, that the school’s graduates received much more than an education at DWU.


“When people went through their educational process at Dakota Wesleyan, they really found it was almost a transformative experience in that they really discovered who they were and what they were best at,” Essig said.


That stemmed from the personal attention DWU students receive from faculty and staff, and the “opportunities they had to grow as individuals,” she said. Essig said that was a theme even for the alumni who graduated before the university began using the Gallup StrengthsFinder, an assessment tool meant to help people identify their talents. Through that discovery, DWU developed its Learn Strong program. The new tagline, Discover Your Strength, is just a further evolution of that, Essig said — the point being that DWU wants to help its students, faculty and staff play to their strengths, not just manage their weaknesses.


Tiger logo

In addition to the new institutional logo, the Tigers are sporting a new logo of their own.


DWU said the new Tiger logo will be implemented immediately by the athletic department. The new set of logos includes, for the first time, a full-body tiger, drawn in blue, white and gray. There is also an updated tiger head, “with a cleaner and fiercer look,” according to DWU’s athletic department. The new tiger logos were designed by Mongoose Graphics, based in Colorado.


DWU also announced a new athletics website, which is scheduled to go live today. The URL remains the same, Schedules and results from many sports dating back four years have been transferred, along with all news from the last year, according to DWU.


“With our recent additions, improvements and accomplishments on campus there is no better time to reveal a new logo and website,” DWU Associate Athletic Director Jon Hart said in a written statement. “Our logo and website have been a topic of discussion for several years now. The positive transformation in these areas gives our students, staff, alumni and fans even more to be proud of.”


While some of the work to replace logos around campus is routine maintenance — like new letterhead and business cards — this year’s process is more intense, Essig admits. The university also has to update its marketing pieces, website, social media and campus signage.


Some of the timing worked in the college’s favor, she said — the street light banners that hang around campus were scheduled to be replaced this year, anyway.


“It’s a big undertaking,” Essig said. “Every place we look on campus, and even in the community, we see the wavy ‘W.’ “


She said it will be a process to get all of the university’s logos updated, but the goal is to have the transition completed in about three years.


“It’s expensive and kind of unwieldy to do everything in one fell swoop,” she said, but declined to disclose how much DWU has spent on its efforts thus far.



DWU introduces new logo: The meaning behind the image

Monday, August 3, 2015



Dakota Wesleyan University’s new logo infuses the past, the present and the future in its design.


In 1885, while still the Dakota Territory, Methodist pioneers inspired by John Wesley’s passion for education, founded a Christian university on the prairie.  Wesley believed that education fostered a dialogue between faith and reason that encouraged service to God and humanity.  Dakota Wesleyan University’s new logo embraces this history.


  • The prominent, centered “W” focuses on Wesley’s commitment, as passed from Methodist generation to generation, that brought together the Dakota Territory, represented by the integrated “D,” with the founding of the university, represented in the similarly integrated “U.”

  • The three serifs of the “W” signify three of the university’s four core values:  learning, leadership and service.

  • A scroll, a traditional symbol for academic learning, bisects the stem of the “U” creating a cross, the sign of our hope and redemption in Jesus Christ, and representing our fourth core value: faith.  The unrolling scroll, evoking the dynamic character of learning and the obligation to share knowledge, confirms our United Methodist belief that as educated citizens we must use our knowledge to improve our communities, workplaces and world.

  • Finally, the scroll is trimmed with lighter orange ends, symbolic of the flame of the Holy Spirit and reminiscent of the Cross and Flame, a universally recognized symbol of United Methodism.


“Dakota Wesleyan University embraces its Methodist mission, and proudly incorporates the Cross and Flame as sign of our commitment to develop bold, spirit-filled leaders to transform our world,” said Dr. Amy Novak, president of Dakota Wesleyan University.


“The new DWU logo embraces our purpose, future vision, and a recognition of the past generations who have ‘built a Greater Wesleyan’ with love, prayer, intellect, service, imagination and generosity.”


Dakota Wesleyan University introduces new institutional and athletics logos; new athletics website

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University is rolling out a fresh, new look this fall with its new institutional and athletics logos, slogan and athletics website.


Both the institutional logo – the former “Wavy W” – and the athletics logo – which was a DWU “swish” – as well as the campus’s former slogan, “Learn Strong,” have been replaced with evolutions of their former selves.


“When we made the decision to move forward on a new logo for Dakota Wesleyan, we wanted it to stand on its own and represent all that we are – an institution dedicated to learning, leadership, faith and service,” said Dr. Amy Novak, president. “The larger ‘W’ emphasizes our Wesleyan heritage and an orange ribbon wrapped around the ‘U’ represents the cross and flame, honoring the institution’s 130-year affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It’s also indicative of a scroll or diploma, evoking the dynamic character of the learning process.”


The Wavy W on its own wasn’t indicative of Dakota Wesleyan University and typically had to be accompanied by the full name of the institution – something difficult to do in some situations. Also, there wasn’t an official “DWU” icon for campus but actually multiple variations, said Lori Essig, vice president of marketing and communications.


“This is an exciting phase in what has been an identity evolution for the university,” Essig said. “Dakota Wesleyan has undergone so many changes over the last several decades: our renewed commitment to strong academics which is resulting in great student success; the true transformation of our buildings and grounds, thanks to a generous and dedicated donor base; and athletic success, all built on our foundation of service and our United Methodist heritage.  We felt that it was time to undergo a campus-wide initiative that would better reflect who we are.”


“Dakota Wesleyan University – Discover Your Strength” is the answer.


This new slogan and the new logo icon came about through a year-long process of research, including polling current students, staff, faculty, alumni and employers. The university worked with designers to develop a logo that represents and honors the Wesleyan way. The school colors – blue and white – remain, but the orange accent is new.


“The accent color isn’t unusual for a university; it is a vibrant color and if gives more options for print and Web-based materials,” Essig said. “It is not taking the place of ‘Wesleyan Blue,’ though you will see more of it in various places. We still ‘bleed blue’ at Dakota Wesleyan.”


When Essig speaks of an “evolution” of the brand, she refers to the college’s rebranding imitative seven years ago when the school embarked on significant market research used to develop new marketing materials and create a brand for the college.


The results in 2008 included distinguishing three colleges to align programs of study, and the development of the Learn Strong initiatives which include a four-year plan that exposes all students to tools for self-discovery, their roles and responsibilities in their communities after college, as well as service-learning opportunities and networking with potential employers and service providers. The Learn Strong initiative also uses the Gallup StrengthsFinder as a foundational tool for all students; it is also used among faculty and staff at DWU.  Finally, from the Learn Strong initiative came the Center for Talent Development, a department that is dedicated to working with students as they develop their personal strengths and embark on life after college, whether that includes career or further education. 


“We find that when we speak with everyone from marketing consultants to parents of prospective students, they are impressed with what we are doing here at Dakota Wesleyan and how unique our Learn Strong classes and programs are,” Essig said. “There is great importance in what this small South Dakota institution is doing and the role we’re playing in our community and our world. We have no intention of leaving that behind – we are incorporating all that it encompasses and has grown into, and adopted ‘Discover Your Strength.’”


The institutional logo and slogan were officially made public today across campus, along with a new logo for the athletic department and a new mobile-friendly athletics website.



The athletics department logo, which incorporates a new official tiger, was designed to use fonts that are complementary to the institutional imagery.


“We are one school, one brand, but you will see a different version of ‘DWU’ when used with the new tiger,” Essig said. “The tiger is fresher, a little fiercer, and we now have two options – a profile tiger face, or the full body. The decision to refresh and revamp the athletics logo was a decision long-coming for athletics. We were struggling with the use multiple versions of the old athletics logo and we, as an institution, thought we deserved better for our teams.”


In addition to a new logo for athletics, there is also a new athletics website. The new site is mobile-friendly for Tiger fans to more easily access stats on the go or while at games.


“It was absolutely necessary to have an athletics site that was mobile-friendly,” Essig said. “Our fans and teams needed that accessibility without the extra steps and we’re excited to provide that for them starting now.”


The new athletics site is live today and can be viewed at


A few facts

The school is no stranger to changes. It was founded as Dakota University in 1885 but changed its name to Dakota Wesleyan University in 1904. The school’s athletes used the colors orange and black, but in 1889 students participating in the Intercollegiate Oratorical Contest in Sioux Falls felt chagrinned that they did not come with school colors and returned from the store with blue and white ribbons. The student body used both sets of colors interchangeably for almost 13 years until March 25, 1902, when a vote was cast and blue and white won.


By DWU Marketing and Communications 

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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.
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