Category: News

DWU Department of Theatre returns from regional festival; theatre director wins award

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Theatre students participated in the weeklong Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) and came home with new experiences, skills and awards – including one for DWU director Dan Miller.

 The students were competing for awards and recognition for various productions from the spring 2015 to fall 2015 seasons. Junior Ann Thury, of Parkston, was awarded Achievement in Scenic Design for both “Bedroom Farce” and “Spiders in the Night”; Jake Habermann, who graduated in May 2015, was awarded Achievement in Set Construction for “Bedroom Farce”; and senior Ian Hyde, Irvine, Calif., was awarded Achievement in Directing for “Spiders in the Night.”

“Spiders in the Night” was an original play by DWU alum James Van Oort, of Mitchell.

Alaina Bertsch, a junior from Mitchell, and Madison Miller, a senior from Mitchell, both competed for the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, and for the first time in DWU history a student advanced to the second round. Miller was one of 64 students chosen out of 334 auditions to advance.

“Regrettably, she did not make it to into the final round of 16 nominations, but I am extremely proud of the amazing work these students did and felt they represented DWU theatre very well,” said Dan Miller, who is also Madison’s father.

Dan Miller was also recognized last week – receiving Best Director of a Musical from for the production of “Spamalot” at the Sioux Empire Community Theatre in Sioux Falls last summer. Dan Miller took the directing position under the condition that he could bring some of his own crew, which consisted of Thury, Habermann, Morgan Schoenfelder, a former DWU student, and Brittney Kaufmann, who graduated in 2015, and Madison Miller, who was also presented the Best Choreographer award for her work.

DWU, belonging to Region 5 of the KCACTF, attends the regional festival in each January along with North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Minnesota. The region showcases its best productions, as well as offers activities, workshops, symposiums and the regional-level award program. The program involves 20,000 students from 700 academic institutions throughout the country.

There are also auditions for national scholarships and auditions for summer stock theatre and professional theatre jobs nationwide. Madison Miller, Alaina Bertsch, of Mitchell, and Chris Gollnick, a sophomore from Bradley, auditioned for professional theatres and Miller and Gollnick both received callbacks.

“It was, as always, a very productive week,” Dan Miller said. “This is such an important week for our department as it truly showcases the talent we have here at DWU, and it allows students to get feedback from others on their work, gives them an opportunity to network, to see what other universities are doing and to appreciate the art that is theatre.”


Three DWU band members chosen for Intercollegiate Band

Friday, January 22, 2016

Three Dakota Wesleyan band members have been selected to the 2016 South Dakota Intercollegiate Band.  Senior trumpet player Abby Roseland, Canton, senior clarinet player Heidi Willett, Canton, and sophomore flute player Rheanna Pheifer, Platte, were selected to the band during a meeting of the South Dakota Collegiate Band Directors on Dec. 12.  

“Students were selected based on their musical abilities and nominations from their director,” said DWU band director Bethany Amundson. “The South Dakota Intercollegiate Band is comprised of the top college band musicians from South Dakota's colleges and universities.”

The Intercollegiate Band will rehearse March 30-31 at Watertown High School and will perform a concert at 11:20 a.m., Friday, April 1, during the South Dakota All-State Band weekend. The concert is open to the public. The Intercollegiate Band program will consist of “Folk Dances,” by Dmitri Shostakovich, “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst, “Danzon No. 2,” by Arturo Marquez, and “More Cowbell,” by Scott McAllister. The band will be conducted by Dr. John Locke, director of bands at University of North Carolina Greensboro.


Dakota Wesleyan to celebrate dedication of DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex

Friday, January 22, 2016
Dakota Wesleyan will dedicate the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex on Feb. 4.

DWU to host Custer Battlefield Highway Academic Festival

Monday, January 18, 2016

Students from 10 area high schools will compete in the 21st annual Custer Battlefield Highway Academic Festival at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Students from Sanborn Central, Corsica, Ethan, Kimball, Mitchell Christian, Mount Vernon, Plankinton, Stickney, White Lake, and Woonsocket will attend the festival set for Wednesday, Feb. 17, in the Sherman Center.

The festival consists of students taking written tests covering 18 academic areas from 9 a.m. to noon.  Beginning at 1 p.m. the students will compete in a Quiz Bowl.  The Quiz Bowl is the only part of the competition that is open to the public. 

Each school can enter two students in each academic area tested.  Points are awarded to schools with students placing first through sixth in the competition. Four students from each school may enter the Quiz Bowl portion of the competition.  When students answer a question correctly, they receive points.  The school with the most points at the end of the competition wins. 

Scholarships to attend DWU will be awarded to winners who are juniors that rank first, second and third in qualifying competitions.  Students can earn a $1,000 award with a first-place win and $500 if they are second and $250 if they place third.

For more information on the festival, contact either Dr. Michael Catalano at (605) 995-2669 or at, or Jody Strand at (605) 995-2182 or at


DWU announces 2015 fall dean’s list

Monday, January 18, 2016

The 2015 fall semester dean’s list at Dakota Wesleyan University includes 276 students.

To qualify for the dean’s list, a student must have a semester grade point average of at least 3.5 on a four-point scale. They also have to complete at least 12 hours of academic work during the semester. The following students have been named to the dean’s list.

South Dakota:

Aberdeen — Thomas Hogg

Alexandria — Michael Bartlett, Ralph Helmuth, Timothy Leach, Kassie Marek, Kelsey VandenHoek, Jerrod Zens

Armour — Lydia Ymker

Baltic — Nathan Stadem

Belle Fourche — Shelbie Budmayr

Blunt — Macey Chambers

Bowdle — Elizabeth Anderson

Box Elder — Amy Aldren, MacKayla Nohr

Britton — Jade Hoisington

Brookings — Lauren Fitts, Katelynn Runge

Bruce — Jace Goodfellow

Burke — Jay Determan, Shailhyn Schweigert, Turner Serr

Canistota — Dylan Lynde, Trevor Schroeder

Canova — Lynze Wobig

Canton — Jessica Fossum, Anna Schutte, Heather Willett

Cavour — Sierra Crater

Chamberlain — Makenna Hancock

Colome — Cohl Ratermann, Michael Rohde

Corsica — Cassie Bamberg, Nicole Bamberg, Hope Menning, Kayla Vanden Hoek

Crooks — Trae Bergh, Tyler Bergh, Kamberlyn Lamer

Dallas — Skylar Forgey

De Smet — Rylie Osthus, Sharleen Wipf

Dell Rapids — Hannah Hammer, Tanner Munk, Trevor Peter

Elk Point — Amy Zeller

Emery — Jill Tietze

Estelline — Daniel Mitchell

Ethan — Chase McBrayer

Faith — Shanna Selby

Fedora — Cal Wiese

Fulton — Mitch Johnson

Garretson — Dustin Steckler, Patrick Whethan

Geddes — Rachael Kriz, Maddison Slaba

Gregory — Taylor Anshutz, Mason Juracek

Harrisburg — Bailey Schriever

Hartford — Caleb Heiberger, Jacey Jira, Madison Kuehl

Howard — Kaleb Haas, Kassidy Maznio, Andrew Schwader, Maria Schwader

Huron — Caleb Carr, Lucas Carr, Ashley Gaddis, Amanda Halsey, Terrell Newton

Irene — Dustin Livingston

Iroquois — Erik Wehlander

Kimball — Russell Pick, Jesse Taylor

Lake Andes — DiMera Dvorak, Nichole Dvorak, Kelsey Kniffen

Lake Preston — Cole Casper

Letcher — Nadine Cota, Lacey VanLaecken

Madison — Cody Warns, Kelsey Warns, Heith Williams

Martin — Brady Hicks

Mitchell — Tyson Allen, Stephanie Bravo, Tatyana Brown, Kylee Burdick, Mason Cahoy, Brittney Eichacker, Matthew Fouberg, Kayla Geraets-Majercik, Tori Houwman, Krista Huber, Emma Kelly, Chandra Koch, Morgan Larson, Katherine Lazenby, Serina Lesnar, Brooke Louwagie, Tate Martin, Mareisha Marvin, Madison-Ainsley Miller, Melinda Miller, Molly Neugebauer, Parth Patel, Marian Ragels, Rachel Reichel, Alyssa Roy, Katie Sanderson, Mellissa Spitzer, Jerry Stravia, Anna Thompson, Josy Thompson

Mount Vernon — Jesse Olsen, Delayna Paulson

Onida — Ryan Yackley

Parkston — Tessa Meyer, Ann Thury, McKenzie Weidenbach

Philip — Rachel Parsons

Pierre — Matthew Bader, Maranda Ehrenfried, Michael Hardwick, Alexander McGuigan, Travis Moodie, Tyson Moodie, Jared Neilan

Plankinton — Kimberly Smith

Platte — Kathleen Holter, Nicole Nelson, Rheanna Pheifer

Presho — Stetsen Eriksen

Pukwana — Anna Pazour

Rapid City — Tucker Berg, Bryce Blank, Samuel Britt, Leslie Carsrud, Andrea Elmellouki, Jarrick Jensen, Alisha Lascelles, Kristle Russell, Alexandra Sterling

Salem — Ashley Lindgren, Kurt Schwarzenbart

Scotland — Aisha Abbink, Jaymie Barrett, Haley Brunke, Chelsea Raker, Lindsay Raker

Selby — Kayla Olson

Sioux Falls — Kristy Albers, Katlyn Arneson, April Carlson, John Dosch, Sarah Dreyer, Rebecca Ford, Brittany Forsman, Brooke Forsman, Melinda Hulit-Stock, Becky MacManus-Hexum, Ian McClanahan, Brooklynn Oehlerking, Megan Peltier, Joy Roth, Cierra Schneider, Zachary Schneider, Maggie Stehly, Patrick Verley, Andrea Wickersham

South Shore — Jordan Buchholz

Springfield — Chesney Nagel

Stickney — Adam Bormann

Summit — Jake Steinocker

Tabor — Dakota Bodden

Tea — Andrew Becker, Tasha Perry

Tripp — Michelle Nuss, Jessica Sandau, Morgan Ziegler

Tyndall — Travis McDonald, Tyra Patzlaff

Vermillion — Josie Huber

Viborg — Matthew Jensen

Volga — Tyson DeGroot, Danielle Van Kooten

Wagner — Allison Cimpl, Jasmine Kreeger

Warner — Mallory Jark

Watertown — Emily Pengilly

Webster — Tyler Wagner

Wessington Springs — Vanessa Thompson

White Lake — Jazmyn Hinker

Winner — Kelsey Bertram, Austin Calhoon, Anthony Husher, Sara Husher, Austin Schroeder, Tyler Vavra

Yankton — Derek Brenner, Andriana Sprakel


Other states:



Bullhead City — Katherine Holt



Chula Vista — Alexandra Davis

Dublin — Kelly Taylor

Mission Viejo — Kelsie King

Monterey Park — Vanessa Mendez

Palmdale — Joey Garba

San Diego — Meghan Bovee

Turlock — Savannah Ahumada

Yuba City — Austin Van Poole



Highlands Ranch — Colton Harguth

Loveland — Dyrani Clark



Wailuku — Katelyne Dougherty



Little Rock — Madeline DeBeer

Rock Valley — Maria Koenen, Shaybrielle Van Schepen



Driggs — Sean Riley

Kellogg — Keagen Hadley

Nampa — Michael Claar

Tetonia — Braiden Jorgensen



Chicago — Jelonda Singleton

Rock Island — Holly Lunde

Villa Park — Hayden Adams



Lewiston — Nicole Court-Menendez



Adams — Paul Apenhorst

Buffalo — Cassidy Hendricks

Chaska — Peter Wartenberg

Dawson — Sarah Zaiser

Finlayson — Susan Behrens

Jackson — Sydney Eddy, Nolan Luhmann

Kerkhoven — Jonah Johnson

Lonsdale — Thomas Dienst

Minneota — Meghan Travis

Pipestone — Lisa Nolan

Ramsey — Amber Bray, Ashley Bray

South Haven — Jenna Loch

Wilmont — Nathan Burkard

Worthington — Joseph Kinley



Corvallis — Jake Capko

Missoula — Alecia VanTassel

Roundup — Marissa Soderberg


North Carolina

Fayetteville — Christine Patterson


North Dakota

Fargo — Matthew Hockert

Jamestown — Sterling Hubbard



Blair — Adam Jahnel

Columbus Kelsey Newman

Greenwood — Dillon Campbell

Juniata — Ciera Eisele

Norfolk — Cassandra Fink, Zachary Uttecht

Omaha — Lillian Jones

Plainview — Dylan Moore

Rising City — Nathan Dahl



Henderson — Amelia Mutchelknaus


New York

Sound Beach — William Lutjen



Schertz — Taylor Spence



Superior — Thanael Certa-Werner



Casper — John Fabrizius

Cheyenne — Damon Macleary

Douglas — Jamie Geho

Gillette — Nicholas Aten, Tyler Fortuna, Alexis Wilde

Sheridan — Erin Deibele



Other countries:


British Columbia

Merritt — Benjamin McNiven


Ajax — Steven Somerville

Windsor — Nicholas Garofalo


Winnipeg — Lorissa Loeppky, Hailey Unger


Shaunavon — Claudia Nixon




Cuernavaca — Gilmar Kogiso



Lanus Buenos Aires — Daniel Clas



Sodertalje — Gabriella Frykbo


DWU Tigers invite community to Snack Pack the Palace

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


It’s time to Snack Pack the Palace.

The CEO Club at Dakota Wesleyan University will be conducting a 50/50 drawing, as well as a raffle for a $100 gift certificate, during the Tiger basketball game verses Briar Cliff University on Wednesday, Jan. 20, to benefit the Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program.

The Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program gives ready-made snacks and meals to local elementary students. DWU students will sell raffle tickets, one for $1 or six for $5, for a 50/50 drawing during halftime of the men’s basketball game. Fifty percent of the raffle goes to the winner and the other half will be donated to the Snack Pack Program. In addition, Tiger fans who bring a jar of peanut butter to donate to the program will also have their names put into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the DWU Campus Bookstore.

The women’s game begins at 6 p.m. and the men’s game begins at 8 p.m. at the Corn Palace.

If interested in donating food items – non-perishables only – to the Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program, there is a donation bin outside of Hughes Hall on DWU’s campus. For information about the program, or to volunteer, please visit the program’s website at


DWU’s online bachelor’s program ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Dakota Wesleyan University’s online bachelor’s program has been named as one of the best by U.S. News & World Report.

DWU announces newest members of Board of Trustees

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dakota Wesleyan University has invited several new members to its board of trustees over the course of the last year. The university is proud to announce the following as new members.

Phillip Becker, of Mitchell, is an anesthesiologist with Mitchell Anesthesia, PC. He has served as the chief of staff at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, and served on the board of directors at the hospital, as well as the foundation board. He currently serves on the Avera Health board of consultors; on the regional marketing committee for the Mitchell Chamber of Commerce; and serves on the lead team and finance committee for Mitchell Fusion.

Becker graduated from Floyd Valley High School in Alton, Iowa, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Dakota and his Doctor of Medicine from Creighton University.


Joseph Beran, of Wentworth, is retired following a career in telecommunications.  He worked for the Redwood County Telephone Co. as manager, director and secretary from 1981 to 2010.

Beran is a graduate of Redwood Falls High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from St. Cloud State University.



Carey Miller, of Sioux Falls, is an attorney at Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C., in Sioux Falls.

She is involved with the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation Board, Eide Bailly Advisory Board, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, and South Dakota Bar Association Business Law Committee.

She is a graduate of Plankinton Public High School and obtained her bachelor’s degrees from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and her Juris Doctorate from Drake University Law School.


Terry Nebelsick, of Huron, is the superintendent of schools for Huron Public School District No. 2-2.  He was previously the high school principal for McCook Central, Lead and Huron, teaching and coaching before that for Gregory High School and Artesian High School. He also spent two years as a sportscaster for KWYR radio in Winner.

Nebelsick earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dakota Wesleyan and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree and educational specialist degree from the University of South Dakota.

Nebelsick is active in the Huron First United Methodist Church; Kiwanis Club; the Huron Chamber of Commerce and Greater Huron Development Corporation.  He is a past board member and chairman of South Dakota High School Activities Association; past board member and chairman of School Administrators of South Dakota; and has served on committees for three South Dakota governors.

Nebelsick hails from a family with great ties to Dakota Wesleyan. His father, Earl, graduated in 1959, his mother, Rowena, graduated from the Methodist School of Nursing in 1955, his brothers Larry and Gary graduated in ’79 and ’81, his sisters Lori and Linda in ’79 and ’86, and his sister-in-law, Barb, in 1983.

Jeff Nelson, of Sioux Falls, has been involved in real estate sales since 1977 and is a realtor with Keller Williams Realty.

He is the regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors and the liaison for Region 8, which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Nelson served on the NAR Board of Directors from 2000-03 and 2010-11, and also served on the Executive, Public Policy Coordinating, RPAC and Federal Housing Policy committees, in addition to multiple other committees and boards and positions. He also received the Omega Tau Rho Medallion of Service Award in 1994.

Nelson is the president of the Sioux Empire Housing Partnership and serves on the Sioux Falls Homeless Advisory Board.  He is also on the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Board, fundraising boards for Bishop Dudley Hospitality House and Feeding South Dakota, and is the meet president of the Howard Wood Dakota Relays.

Nelson is a graduate of Canton High School and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota.


DWU announces Christmas break hours

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University offices will be closed Thursday, Dec. 24, through Friday, Jan. 1, for Christmas break. Offices will reopen at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 4.

The McGovern Library will be closed Saturday, Dec. 19-20, and again Thursday, Dec. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 3.

Dakota Discovery Museum on DWU’s campus will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 3.


DWU to produce ‘Godspell’ in spring, auditions set for January

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University’s Department of Theatre has announced “Godspell” as it spring musical and auditions are set for mid-January.

Auditions for the musical will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 13-14, in Patten-Wing Theatre, Hughes Hall. The musical calls for a cast of 10 adult characters.

All those interested in auditioning should come prepared to dance and share at least 16 bars of their favorite Broadway show tune; bring sheet music in the correct key for the accompanist.

DWU will perform “Godspell” April 8-10, and April 15-17, in the DWU Sherman Center.

Rehearsals are created and based on cast availability. For more information, contact DWU theatre director Daniel L. Miller at

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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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