Month: February, 2014

Bishop Leadership Awards given for Dakota Wesleyan University

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University has announced four winners of the Bishop Leadership Award to the university.


Samuel Britt, Katarina Godfrey, Lillian Jones and Hali Strom were all awarded the Bishop Leadership Award, a prestigious scholarship at DWU for students affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The Bishop Leadership Award is a $14,000 per year award available to a United Methodist student who demonstrates strong commitment to youth leadership in his or her local church and pledges to be active in student ministry at DWU. The award is renewable for four years.


Britt, of Rapid City, is the son of John and Kristen Britt, and a senior at Stevens High School, Rapid City. Britt is a member of the Rapid City First United Methodist Church.


Godfrey, of Norfolk, Neb., is the daughter of Rodney and Jill Godfrey, and a senior at Norfolk High School. She is a member of Norfolk First United Methodist Church.


Jones, of Omaha, Neb., is the daughter of Matt and Brenda Jones, and a senior at North High School, Omaha. She is a member of Olive Crest United Methodist Church.


Strom, of Crofton, Neb., is the daughter of Todd and Jill Strom, and a senior at Crofton High School. Strom is a member of Yankton First United Methodist Church.


DWU is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church and offers majors and minors in more than 40 liberal arts and professional fields. 


For more information about DWU, contact the enrollment services office at (605) 995-2650, 1-800-333-8506 or click here.


Dakota Wesleyan to present ‘Les Misérables’

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The people will sing, they will dream, they will build castles in the sky – and they are hoping for a large crowd.

Dakota Wesleyan University presents “Les Misérables” in late March on campus with a cast of 70 students, staff, faculty, community members and children. It’s a 150-year-old story of love and redemption with war as its backdrop, and now it will come to Mitchell through the DWU music and theatre departments, sponsored by Ron and Sheilah Gates and Wayne and Mary Puetz, all of Mitchell.

“Les Misérables” will be performed at the Sherman Center, on the Dakota Wesleyan campus, at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 21-22, and March 28-29, with matinee performances at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 23, and March 30. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now at County Fair Food Store, as well as online here.

“Les Misérables,” the novel written by Victor Hugo in 1862, was transformed into the world’s longest-running musical in 1985 and an award-winning musical film adaptation in 2012.

“I am excited for this production for many reasons,” said Dan Miller, theatre director at DWU. “The first reason is that this musical is such a beautiful piece of art that it absolutely gets my creative juices going. Secondly, we are so lucky to have Clint Desmond in the lead of Jean Valjean, a character who needs to be played by someone as talented as Clint. Third, this is a huge production. Bigger than anything we have done at DWU in many, many years and I want to share all of these with our audiences.”

The leading characters include: Dr. Clinton Desmond, DWU choral director, as Jean Valjean; Jason Zehr, of Mitchell, as Javert, Valjean’s counterpoint and antagonist; Lacey Reimnitz, DWU senior of Corsica, as Fantine, the part made famous by Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-winning performance in the film adaptation; Kira Stammer, a junior from Mitchell, as Cosette, Fantine’s grown child; Madi Miller, DWU sophomore of Mitchell, as Eponine; Mark Puetz, of Mitchell, as Marius; James Van Oort, of Mitchell, as Thenardier, with Lisa Stanley, a DWU freshman from Loveland, Colo., as his wife, Madame Thenardier; Ryan Antaya, of Plankinton, as Enjolras; Chris Foster, of Mitchell, as the Bishop; Cameron Gueger, of Mitchell, as Gavroche; and area children Kiauna Hargens and Reese Reichert as young Cosette and young Eponine.

Madi Miller, 19, who has been in smaller roles in DWU musicals “Xanadu” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” will play the part of the tragic Eponine, who goes from being the spoiled child of the miserable Thenardiers to living half on the streets with them thieving their way through life. She eventually falls in love with Marius, who never truly “sees” her, leading to one of many heartbreaking scores, “On My Own.”

I want to bring a certain amount of lovability to Eponine,” Miller said. “In a lot of the productions of ‘Les Mis’ I have seen, the actress playing Eponine gives her a sassy edge and makes her hard to get attached to. I want the audience to be heartbroken about Eponine’s situation; feel the emotion she is feeling along with her.”

Cosette is the character most identifiable with the musical because the child’s face is used for almost all promotional materials. The young version of Cosette sing’s “Castle on a Cloud,” and later grows into the young woman who steals Marius’s heart and fuels Valjean’s desire to be a better man.

Kira Stammer, 20, has only performed in one other DWU musical, last year’s “Xanadu,” where she played the evil sidekick Calliope and stole a lot of laughs from the audience. This part will be far more serious for her.

“My mom has been a fan of this musical for 25 years, and when she heard they were making it into a film she begged me to go with,” Stammer said. “To me, Cosette is the beacon of hope in the show, and I want to make sure the audience understands that. I hope to play the part in a way that does justice to the character.”

“It will truly be an extraordinary show,” Miller added. “I think audiences can expect an emotional roller coaster. They will definitely laugh and cry while attending this production. It'll be nothing like DWU has seen before.”

Senior Lacey Reimnitz, 21, of Corsica, is a criminal justice, human services and music triple major. This is the first musical she has participated in for DWU and won the coveted part of Fantine, a part made famous by Anne Hathaway’s 2012 film performance.

“I was expecting an ‘extra’ role, but was lucky enough to get a call back for a couple of lead characters,” Reimnitz said. “After they offered me the role of Fantine, I couldn’t turn it down. As a rather inexperienced actress, I have struggled to give the character true emotion and meaning; however, I am brushing up on my skill set and hope to portray her in a way that reaches out and touches the audience.

“I think the expectations for this show will be extremely high. Many people are familiar with it and will be excited to join us in the experience. The stage crew and cast are working extremely hard to make sure that this is the best performance that it can be. I believe that we can create something that the Mitchell community will never forget.”

DWU is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church and offers majors and minors in more than 40 liberal arts and professional fields. 

For more information about the music and theatre departments at DWU, contact the enrollment services office at (605) 995-2650, or 1-800-333-8506


DWU’s Dr. Seuss Carnival Returns with High Attendance Expected

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Dakota Wesleyan University Future Teachers’ Organization will host its 16th annual Dr. Seuss Carnival from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 22, in the L.B. Williams Commons Area.


Children ages preschool through sixth grade are all invited to participate in the event, which is free. Children can participate in reading and games in order to earn tickets to redeem for various prizes. Each child who joins in the festivities will receive a free book just for attending. Adults must accompany children at the carnival.


“The Dr. Seuss Carnival is a way for the future teachers in our education department to help the community celebrate the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel and the astonishing impact he has had on generations of young children,” said Justin Zajic, assistant professor of education at DWU. “The works of Dr. Seuss inspire young children to read and grow their imagination through stories, rhymes, and wacky illustrations.”


“Our volunteers are busy ordering books, prizes, and creating games for our guests. Last year we had over 400 children at the carnival and we hope to get at least that many this year,” Zajic said.


McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service awards first ever McGovern Legacy Scholarship in honor of late George McGovern

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University’s McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service has named its first ever McGovern Legacy Scholar.

Amy Zeller, of Elk Point, was named the 2013-14 McGovern Legacy Scholar during DWU’s Randall Scholarship Day earlier in the month. The McGovern Legacy Scholarship is a new scholarship offered at the university in tribute to Sen. George McGovern who passed away in 2012. Zeller is a senior at Elk Point-Jefferson High School and the daughter of Tim and Tama Zeller.

The McGovern Legacy Scholarship is currently the largest scholarship of this kind offered at DWU and covers tuition up to 16 credits for each semester in the 2013-14 academic year and is renewable for up to four years of continued enrollment at DWU with maintenance of academic requirements and involvement with the McGovern Center. This scholarship was created to honor McGovern and the 1972 campaign volunteers, while educating and inspiring future generations of student activists to volunteerism, public service and to work for a just society.

“DWU feels honored to have the opportunity to prepare Ms. Zellar for a life of leadership and service to others during her tenure as a McGovern Legacy Scholar,” said Dr. Alisha Vincent, director of the McGovern Center. “We believe she has the potential to make a significant impact on our communities in a way that would honor both George and Eleanor McGovern, as well as those who established this scholarship to honor him.”

The Friends of the McGovern ’72 Campaign Scholarship fund was established in 2012 through the Leonard and Sophie Davis Foundation in remembrance of the 40th anniversary of the presidential campaign to honor McGovern and the 1972 McGovern Presidential Campaign volunteers. Thousands of 1972 campaign volunteers’ lives have been positively impacted by their volunteerism and by the life and legacy of Sen. McGovern, according to Vincent.

DWU is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church and offers majors and minors in more than 40 liberal arts and professional fields. 

For more information about DWU, contact the enrollment services office at (605) 995-2650, 1-800-333-8506 or click here.


DWU announces Randall Scholarship Day award recipients

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More than 40 high school students were awarded the highest academic scholarships that Dakota Wesleyan University has to offer earlier this month during Randall Scholarship Day.

Nine students were named Randall Scholars, the university’s highest academic honor. The following students were named DWU Randall Scholars: Elizabeth Anderson, of Bowdle; Allison Cimpl, of Wagner; Deric Denning, of Mount Vernon; Miranda Goldammer, of Mitchell; Brooklynn Oehlerking, of Sioux Falls; Lexi Olinger, of Wessington Springs; Mallori Rabenberg, of Britton; Joshua Reider, of Crooks; and Emily Richey, of Wewela.

Forty-two students with outstanding academic records, leadership potential and a commitment to service were invited to campus Feb. 7 to meet with faculty, staff and students, learn about the Learn Strong initiative and further investigate the opportunities DWU has to offer them academically and cocurricularly. The students were all competing for a Randall Scholarship, the university’s highest academic honor which amounts to a minimum of $15,000 a year. To be considered, each student had a minimum of a 3.5 GPA and 24 ACT or 1090 SAT.

The following is a complete list of those who participated in the Randall Scholarship Day and the scholarship they received:

John Wesley Academic/Athletic Scholarship
Baltic – Nathan Stadem
Burke – Turner Serr
DeSmet – Grayson Gruenhagen
Lake Preston – Cole Casper
Philip – Kaci Olivier
Pierre – Rebecca Ehrenfried
Springfield – Chesney Nagel
Winner – Lindsey Calhoon; Sara Husher

John Wesley Scholarship
Gettysburg – Allison Lake

Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship
Pipe Creek, Texas – Ishmael MacNeil

Trustee Academic/Athletic Scholarship
Belle Fourche – Elizabeth Day
Canistota – Chloe Nielsen
Pukwana – Anna Pazour
Sioux Falls – Megan Peltier
Tabor – Dakota Bodden
Tyndall – Tyra Patzlaff
White Lake – Jazmyn Hinker

Forest Lake – Samantha Forslund
Jackson – Jon Harmening

Kenesaw – Lane Tibbs
Sidney – Caitlynn Peetz

Merritt, British Columbia – Ben McNiven
Calgary, Alberta – Matthys Van Staalduinen

Trustee Scholarship
DeSmet – Brittney Eichacker
Ethan – Travis Huber
Hartford – Jacey Jira
Mount Vernon – Hannah Parsons
New Underwood – Courtney Albers
Utica – Taylor Ahrens

DWU is affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church and offers majors and minors in more than 40 liberal arts and professional fields. 

For more information about DWU, contact the enrollment services office at (605) 995-2650, 1-800-333-8506 or click here.


Benefits of Online Learning

Monday, February 17, 2014
As a recent graduate or a professional seeking advancement, Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) knows you manage many responsibilities each day. That is why the online M.B.A. and RN-B.S. programs at DWU were designed to blend into your existing schedule.
CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU

DWU choir, bells to set off for three-state tour out West

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell is bringing its best to four cities out West.

Four DWU choirs and the Wesleyan Bells will embark on a spring tour the end of February, making stops in Scottsbluff, Neb., Guernsey, Wyo., and Longmont and Brighton, Colo. The tour will conclude with a concert at the First United Methodist Church of Mitchell, S.D. These concerts are all free and open to the public.

“We love taking our show on the road and this will be an excellent way for the Dakota Wesleyan music department to reach out to other communities,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director at DWU. “We have several excited alumni who have helped us with tour planning and are inviting us into their churches and homes. Opportunities like this help DWU stay connected, and also allow us a chance to show people how much our program has grown.”

The schedule for the tour is as follows:
*Thursday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church of Scottsbluff, Neb.
*Friday, Feb. 28, 9 a.m., Guernsey High School, Guernsey, Wyo.; 7 p.m., Hover Manor Independent Living, Longmont, Colo.
*Saturday, March 1, 7 p.m., Brighton United Methodist Church, Brighton, Colo.
*Sunday, March 2, 9:15 a.m., Brighton United Methodist Church
*Monday, March 3, 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Mitchell

The program will take approximately 90 minutes and consists of multiple pieces performed by the Wesleyan Choir, the Singing Scotchmen, the Women’s Chamber Choir, the Highlanders and the Wesleyan Bells.

Some of the pieces by the choir include: “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal,” “With a Lily in Your Hand,” “What Wondrous Love Is This,” and a Hebrew love song, “Erev Shel Shoshanim.” The Bells will perform six pieces, including “Eye of the Tiger” and a “Super Mario Brothers” medley.

The Singing Scotchmen is Dakota Wesleyan’s new men’s choir, which will perform “The Morning Trumpet,” “Steal Away,” and “Free Fallin’.”

The Highlanders is the premier ensemble at DWU featuring students from many majors, selected by audition. They will perform selections from their recent performance at the winter convention of the South Dakota Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Assocation. These selections include “Soldier Boy,” by John Rutter; “La Bataglia Taliana,” by Matthias Werrecore,” and “Three Songs for Chorus a Cappella,” by Philip Glass.

The Women’s Choir will perform a cappella arrangements based on three recent pop hits, “Titanium,” “Landslide,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

The DWU music and theatre departments are joining forces this March for the spring musical – “Les Miserables” will be performed at the end of the month on campus. For ticket information, please visit


DWU invites community to African American religious music presentation

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Music transcends languages and represents cultures in unique ways, which is why during Black History Month, Dakota Wesleyan University in partnership with the South Dakota Humanities Council will present “Lift Every Voice and Sing!”

The lecture will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Wagner Chapel at DWU. For those interested in learning more about African American religious music, this event is free and open to the public.

Joyce Jefferson and Jerry Wilske have researched the history of African American religious music from the time it was brought to the Americas to today. During the presentation, they explain the results of their research and conclude with the song brothers James Weldon and J. Rosamond Johnson wrote in 1900, “Lift Every Voice and Sing!”

“This song is still sung today with the same hope and fervor as it was four years after the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision, which ushered in ‘separate-but-equal’ Jim Crowism,” stated a release. “They share the evolution of music, race relations and the hope for today as expressed in the lyrics of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing!’”

This program is sponsored by DWU Multicultural Committee in honor of Black History Month and made possible by the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographies provided by the South Dakota Humanities Council:

Joyce Jefferson has pursued sharing South Dakota African American history, legacy and experience since 1998. She and a group called “It's About Time! The African American Experience,” launched the pictorial exhibition “Corporals, Cooks and Cowboys: African American Pioneers in the Black Hills,” with the Journey Museum.  Jefferson has researched and shared the stories of African Americans who lived in and around Dakota Territory and South Dakota primarily in Chautauqua style to enhance the learning experience.

Jerry Wilske, former executive director of the Oscar Micheaux Center in Gregory and long-time organizer of the annual Oscar Micheaux Book and Film Festival, promotes African American history and culture. Wilske has spoken throughout the Midwest and Canada on Oscar Micheaux and his works. He is currently a board member of the South Dakota African American History Museum. An accomplished musician and former music professor, Wilske, joins Jefferson to present “Lift Every Voice and Sing: the Evolution of Spirituals.”


This is What Online Learning Looks Like at DWU

Monday, February 3, 2014
As you consider pursuing your online degree at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU), you might be wondering, quite literally, “What does online learning look like at DWU? Let me walk you through what you can expect.
CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU
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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