DWU senior takes third at Innovation Expo’s Student Idea Competition

Friday, October 16, 2015

Earlier this month, Dakota Wesleyan University senior Matt Hockert won third place and a $150 award in the statewide Student Idea Competition held at the 2015 Innovation Expo in Sioux Falls.


Hockert, a biology major from Reiles Acres, N.D., was one of five students to present during semi-finals on Oct. 1. His idea was an app for a smart phone that would give directions on how to conduct CPR.


“Although this is a business-idea competition, a biology major from DWU took home one of the top spots,” said Dr. Ryan Van Zee, executive director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship at DWU. “This prize highlights our interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship and reflects the cooperation between academic departments.”


A total of 89 ideas were submitted for this year’s competition.


The Student Idea Competition was held at the 12th Annual Innovation Expo and is open to all South Dakota-based higher education students and allows them to submit an innovative idea for a product or service to be judged for commercial potential. The contest is sponsored by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Governor’s Giant Vision Business Plan Competition.



Haunted House is back – DWU theatre club plans spooktacular event

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The oh-so popular Dakota Wesleyan Theatre Club Haunted House is back this Halloween.


The DWU Haunted House will be at 415 North Main Street, downtown Mitchell. DWU students, along with other volunteers, will guide gaggles of would-be ghouls through the maze of horror – the best theatre students can design.


Hours will be 6:30 to 11 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 22-24, and Oct. 29-31. There will be a less intense, lights-on kids’ hour from 6 to 7 p.m. each night – same fun, half the scare. Entrance fee is $5 per person.


This is the third year that the Theatre Club has put on a haunted house downtown and the club has raised money for various charities in the past. This year’s proceeds will actually be used as a theatre fundraiser toward projects, future shows and the annual conference at which students compete.



Area Youth Night to bring comedian to campus; all youth are welcome

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Comedian Daren Streblow will be on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan this month for the annual Area Youth Night.


DWU’s Campus Ministry Council is welcoming all Mitchell and area youth to campus for this fun night of worship, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the Sherman Center on campus. The entertainment, provided by comedian Daren Streblow and the Campus Ministry worship band, is free and open to all youth – and their parents and church leaders.


Streblow has been performing family-friendly comedy around the world for 20 years.


“We see the Area Youth Night as an opportunity to get young people together, worshiping and having fun; showing them that sharing their faith can be spiritual but also just a really a good time,” said Campus Pastor Eric Van Meter.

DWU announces 2015-16 Student Senate Leaders

Thursday, October 8, 2015


The Dakota Wesleyan student body has voted for this year’s leaders for the 2015-16 Student Association Senate.


The following students will serve on the executive team:



Chase McBrayer, of Ethan, is a senior accounting major. This is his second year in Student Senate. He has been a student ambassador for three years, as well as on the Student Activities Board, for which he now serves as president. After graduation he would like to enter the business world and eventually become a CFO of a business.


Vice President

Morgan Straub, of Deadwood, is a junior nursing major with a minor in non-profit administration. This is her third year on Student Senate and, recently serving as an at-large representative and as Senate secretary. Straub is involved with the Third Freedom (UFWH) organization where she serves as the chairperson of the leadership team for the McGovern Hunger Summit. She is also a member of the DWU track and field team.



Ann Thury, of Parkston, is a junior majoring in theatre and graphic design. She is also involved in Theatre Club, the Student Activities Board (SAB), and the admissions office Student Ambassadors program.



Ariana Arampatzis, of Aberdeen, is a junior majoring in Christian leadership and nonprofit administration. She served as the sophomore and freshman class presidents the last two years. Arampatzis is the Third Freedom president, a Student Ministry leader, resident assistant, and a member the Wesleyan Choir and DWU track and field team.


Other officers selected include:


Freshman class president: Cassidy Hendricks, Buffalo, Minn.

Sophomore class president: Amy Zeller, Elk Point

Junior class president: McKenzie Weidenbach, Parkston

Senior class president: Dylan Lynde, Canistota

At-large representative: Maria Koenen, Rock Valley, Iowa

At-large representative: Natasha Letcher, Bridgewater

Athletic representative: Lauren Fitts, Brookings

Athletic representative: Cierra Schneider, Sioux Falls


100 year anniversary of Mark Payne’s world’s record drop kick

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Oct. 9, 1915, history was made at Dakota Wesleyan. The following is taken from “Dakota Wesleyan University Memory Book: 1885-2010,” By Dr. James D. McLaird:


Dakota Wesleyan University had an outstanding football season in 1915, defeating teams from Madison, Aberdeen, Spearfish, Sioux Falls and Huron, as well as highly touted Morningside College. Its only losses were to Vermillion and Brookings. However, in later years, what was most remembered was Mark Payne’s drop kick in the second game of the season (Oct. 9, 1915).


Mark, a 160-pound halfback from Lake Andes, had shown speed and strength in his first year at Wesleyan. However, it was Mark’s punting that was most impressive. His high spirals sailed, giving the ends time to get under them.


By 1915, Mark was becoming well known for his long drop kicks. In the game against Northern Normal and Industrial School of Aberdeen, Wesleyan led 17-0 at halftime, thanks to a field goal by mark and two touchdowns by his teammates. Toward the end of the second half, Mark kicked once again, this time for 63 yards. That was one yard longer than the 1898 record set by Pat O’Dea of the University of Wisconsin. It is likely to stand permanently in the record books since the drop kick has been abandoned. Mark later recalled that when he kicked he didn’t know there was a Pat O’Dea and did not realize that his name “now would take his place in the record books.”


Over the years, stories about Mark’s memorable kick improved with each telling, or, in his words, “the distance seems to get longer with each passing year.” In one published account, the score was tied 14-14 and the clock was winding down. Then Mark sent the ball sailing 63 yards, and Wesleyan won the game.


Mark later became an executive in the purchasing department of the American Petroleum Company in Los Angeles. He returned to Wesleyan several times, and in 1945 was the featured speaker at the Blue & White Days banquet.


Speakers announced for DWU’s McGovern Hunger Summit

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University’s second McGovern Hunger Summit will bring speakers to campus to discuss food security within the state, as well as ways to support it.


The McGovern Hunger Summit is set for Thursday, Nov. 12, in the Sherman Center at Dakota Wesleyan University. The conference begins at 9 a.m. and is free and open to the public, though registration is encouraged. Register at www.dwu.edu/hungersummit.


 In addition to the speakers, the summit will also include an Empty Bowls luncheon, sponsored by the Mitchell High School art students. For a suggested $10 donation, participants will receive a bowl of soup, bread, and a handmade pottery bowl – register online.


 This will also be the day the McGovern Center announces the second McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award. The McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award will be given to a South Dakotan who goes above and beyond to provide food security to the people of South Dakota – a nomination form is online.


In addition to a dialogue session with members of South Dakota State University, the summit includes two speakers.


“We are looking forward to bringing these two speakers to DWU to share awareness concerning food-related issues in our state,” said Dan Churchwell, program coordinator for the McGovern Center. “I think many people are passionate about helping to solve hunger insecurity and this is a great opportunity to bring those people together to discuss the issues, ideas and to network.


“We at the McGovern Center are equally excited to partner with the Mitchell High School students again for Empty Bowls and add a new partner this year with SDSU’s nutrition program students. This free event brings people together from all walks of life, including age groups, it’s going to be a great day full of exchanging ideas.”


Keynote speaker Matt Gassen has served as the executive director of Feeding South Dakota since 1999. With the hard work of a dedicated staff, they distribute more than 12 million pounds of food annually to 250 member agencies and reach tens of thousands of South Dakotans in need of food assistance. In 2004, he successfully coordinated the merger of South Dakota’s two affiliate food banks in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, creating a single, statewide organization. In May of 2010, he facilitated the addition of a third food bank location in Pierre to meet the hunger needs in central South Dakota, while at the same time overseeing a highly successful organizational rebranding process. 


Prior to becoming a food bank director, Gassen spent 23 years in the U.S. Air Force. During this time, he spent 15 years in aircraft maintenance and culminated his career as a First Sergeant, providing discipline, direction and support to hundreds enlisted personnel.


He currently serves as a board member for South Dakota’s Partners Against Hunger, Destiny Family Medical Clinic and his church Sioux Falls First. He is also a member of the Downtown Rotary in Sioux Falls. Matt has been married to his wife Charlene for 42 years and they have three grown sons and 10 grandchildren.


The second speaker for the day, Bob Reiners, will give the talk “The Importance of Bees in the 21st Century.” Reiners is an agriculture program specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.  At the Department of Agriculture, Reiners serves as the State Apiarist where he oversees the apiary registration and inspection program.  He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and has worked with the department since 1984. Since Reiners enjoys working with his own bees, he shares that passion with other beekeepers. His other hobbies include gardening, woodworking, auto mechanics and bicycling. He and his wife Collette have two children.


The McGovern Hunger Summit is organized by the McGovern Center and The Third Freedom – the DWU student chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger. Partners for the event include the DWU McGovern Center and South Dakota State University Nutrition program. A full itinerary is available at www.dwu.edu/hungersummit.


Songs of ‘Saints and Sinners': Fall choral concert set

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at Dakota Wesleyan University announces its first choral concert of the semester with “Songs for Saints and Sinners” at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 11, at the First United Methodist Church, Mitchell. This concert is free and open to the public.


The Wesleyan choir, Highlanders, Singing Scotchmen and Women’s Chamber Choir will also be joined by the Wesleyan Bells. The Wesleyan Choir is 40-strong, which is the largest the DWU choir has been in 20 years.


The concert will be in five parts with pieces performed by all groups; some of those pieces include “Amazing Grace,” “Ave Maria,” “come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Daemon irrepit callidus.”


“This will be a very interesting program,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director. “We have programmed a very eclectic mix of music from Gregorian Chant to vocal jazz that will take audiences through a full range of emotions. Our ‘Tragedy of King David’ section features music that will tug on the audience's heartstrings, while the ‘Devil’ section is very creative, energetic, and will leave audiences humming and tapping their feet.”


Johnson named to S.D. Advisory Panel for Children with Disabilities

Monday, October 5, 2015

Donna Johnson, an assistant professor at Dakota Wesleyan University in the department of special and elementary education, has recently been appointed to serve on the South Dakota Advisory Panel for Children with Disabilities. The board meets four times a year.


Johnson’s role will be as a representative of institutions of higher education who prepares special education teachers.


“I welcome any opportunity to serve children with disabilities and to encourage my students to do so,” she said about the appointment. “Last year (DWU) connected with South Dakota Special Olympics on the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign; DWU students in special education courses distributed literature and collected signatures on campus.”


Johnson has also tutored elementary students who struggle with reading, and serves on a regional board of the International Dyslexia Association.


“Serving on this state level advisory panel is an opportunity to work with parents, special education directors, and others from across South Dakota to help students with disabilities,” she said about the South Dakota advisory panel. “It will also make me more aware of special education issues so that I can better prepare my students for their future jobs.”


McGovern Center is seeking nominations for the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award

Friday, October 2, 2015

The McGovern Center at Dakota Wesleyan University is seeking nominations for the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award, which will be announced at the McGovern Hunger Summit on Nov. 12.


Nominations will be accepted up to Oct. 29. An online nomination form is available here.


The McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award will be given to a South Dakotan who goes above and beyond to provide food security to the people of South Dakota.


Last year, John Lushbough of Vermillion, was named the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award.


Lushbough is the founder and coordinator of Vermillion Welcome Table, a free weekly meal for underprivileged, and the head of the Vermillion Weekend Backpack Program, a program that provides easy-to-prepare meals for area youth. He has been serving his community for 25 years.

Homecoming king, queen announced for DWU Blue & White Days

Friday, September 25, 2015



Dakota Wesleyan University crowned its homecoming royalty Friday night during the Blue & White Days pep rally and coronation. Trae Bergh and Kelsey Newman are this year’s king and queen.


Trae Bergh, of Crooks, was crowned homecoming king. Bergh is majoring in athletic training at DWU. He is a member of the DWU men’s basketball team and Athletic Training Club. He has served as the AT Club president, Phi Kappa Phi vice president, men’s basketball captain, and is an Emil S. Liston Award winner. Following graduation, he plans to attend physician’s assistant school. He is a Tri-Valley High School graduate and the son of Troy and Cyndi Bergh, Crooks.


Kelsey Newman, of Columbus, Neb., was crowned queen. She is majoring in athletic training and minoring in psychology. She is a member of the Athletic Training Club, is a student ambassador and the athletics’ student representative in Student Senate. She has also helped with Children’s Miracle Network, and played on the DWU softball team for two years. Following graduation, she plans to work as a professional athletic trainer in a college setting before applying for physician’s assistant school. She is a Scotus Central Catholic School graduate and the daughter of Amy and Jordan Newman, Columbus.


The following were also candidates for homecoming queen: Sammy Fluck, Becker, Minn.; Mallory Jark, of Warner; Hailey Unger, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; and Sarah Zaiser, Dawson, Minn. The following were also candidates for homecoming king: Stetsen Eriksen, Presho; Sawyer Gibson, Jasper, Minn.; Sterling Hubbard, Jamestown, N.D.; and Jonah Johnson, Kerkhoven, Minn.


Blue & White Days continues Saturday, Sept. 26, with the homecoming parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street, followed by tailgating at 11:30 a.m. and the football game at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field. The women’s and men’s soccer teams will also play at home at 3 and 5:30 p.m. at the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, and the DWU volleyball team plays at 5 p.m. at the Christen Family Athletic Center. The DWU production of “Always … Patsy Cline” also opened this weekend and times and tickets can be found online here. For a full list of Blue & White Days events, click here.



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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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