Fall Concert set on campus this weekend

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will put on a Fall Concert this Sunday on campus, introducing the university’s new jazz band.

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU will perform the Fall Concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Sherman Center on campus. The concert is free and open to the community.

The DWU Jazz Band, directed by Ryan Stahle, will perform three pieces, “Q.C. Shuffle,” “Funky Wheels,” and “Crunchy Frog.” The Highlanders, the campus’s premier choir, will sing “Is Any Afflicted?” “I Am in Need of Music,” “With a Voice of Singing,” and “Tanzen und Springen.”

The Wesleyan Bells, will eight pieces, including “With a Joyful Heart,” “Hedwig’s Theme” (from the movie, “Harry Potter”), “Eye of the Tiger,” and  “Old MacDonald.”


Mixed Blood Theatre’s ‘According to Coyote’ comes to Mitchell

Monday, October 20, 2014

A collection of American Indian legends and stories will be performed in November at Dakota Wesleyan University.


The Mixed Blood Theatre presents “According To Coyote” from 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6, in the East Main Dining Room, Rollins Campus Center, at DWU.  The performance is sponsored by the DWU Student Diversity Council, is free and open to the public, and is suitable for all ages.


 “A full-throttled anthology of tales featuring the legendary hero of American Indian lore, ‘According To Coyote’ (by John Kauffman) is also an unforgettable encounter with the richness, vitality and sensibilities of Native culture,” states a press release.


“According to Coyote” stars George Keller and is directed by Victor Toman, and is told in narration following Coyote the Creator, “the namer of animals and bringer of fire”; Coyote the Trickster, whose scheming usually backfires; and Coyote the Teacher, who departs his wisdom and teaches humility, according to its press release.


“According To Coyote” is one of five culturally-specific productions toured annually by Mixed Blood Theatre, a Minneapolis-based multicultural theatre company founded in 1976.


This is the first presentation through the Student Diversity Council of the year. The group focuses on educating students and the surrounding community about different cultures.


“I think it is important to provide cultural experiences like ‘According to Coyote’ because it opens people’s eyes to realities versus the common stereotype we tend to fall into when we think about other cultures,” said Katherine Varnado, a DWU junior. “It also broadens horizons because some students haven’t been anywhere outside of South Dakota and this is a chance to give people a taste of the different cultures and diversity that is beyond our (home states) and even our country.”


10th annual Mitchell Area Youth Night set for next week with Shane Claiborne

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University and campus ministry celebrates a decade of bringing youth together for one night of worship and contemplation this year with its 10th annual Mitchell Area Youth Night.


The 10th annual Mitchell Area Youth Night, with writer and activist Shane Claiborne, will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Sherman Center. This program, “Scandal of Grace,” is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and seating first-come, first-serve. Claiborne will also speak during regular campus worship at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, which is also open to the public.


“With new eyes can we look at people we don’t even like and see the One we love? Let’s imagine a revolution that is gentle and magnetic, a revolution big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free,” states his speaker’s release. “With hard stories from the streets of Philly and the warzone of Iraq, Shane will invite us to reflect on the scandal of God’s inclusive love – in a world that is starved for grace.”


Claiborne is the founder and a board member for The Simple Way, a faith community in inner-city Philadelphia. He also writes and travels the world, speaking about peacemaking, social justice and Jesus Christ. He has worked alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta, as well as for the mega-church Willow Creek in Chicago. He has traveled to Rwanda, the West Bank, Afghanistan and Iraq.


“People tend to rely on different forms of violence to address conflict — physical or military force, bullying, verbal intimidation, emotional abuse,” said Eric Van Meter, campus pastor. “We’re so used to it that it’s hard even for Christians to see an alternative way to relate to others. Shane is a person who has not only thought through the message of Jesus, but put it to work in areas of conflict across the globe. He has the credibility to show us something different than we’re used to.”


Claiborne co-founded the organization, Red Letter Christians, a movement of Christians who try to live their lives according to the words of Jesus – which in many Bibles, are highlighted in red.


A graduate of Eastern University, the school also bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate in 2010. He also did graduate work at Princeton Seminary.


His books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, include: “Jesus for President,” “Red Letter Revolution,” “Common Prayer,” “Follow Me to Freedom,” “Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream,” “Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers,” and “The Irresistible Revolution.” He has also been featured in the films “Another World is Possible,” and “Ordinary Radicals,” and he conducts more than 100 speaking engagements a year.


According to his website, his work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has appeared on Fox News, Al Jazeera, CNN and NPR. He has also given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Liberty, Duke, and Notre Dame University.


6 Reasons to Choose DWU’s Online M.A. in Education

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Now more than ever teachers and school administrators must have the skills, knowledge and expertise to deal with rapidly changing expectations for teaching and learning.

Through the Master of Arts in Education from Dakota Wesleyan University, students explore contemporary instructional practices that will help them take their careers to the next level.

So what is distinctive about DWU’s M.A. in Education?

1.    Experienced instructors: Our professors are veteran educators who bring a wealth of experience to you. They also bring fresh perspectives and ideas, a passion for education, and a clear vision for the future of the field. They know and understand the issues facing teachers, administrators, and schools—and they can help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to find solutions.

2.    Relevant coursework: Put your learning to work immediately in your own classroom—well before you complete your degree. You will gain practical knowledge and gain skills that can help your students—today.

3.    Specialized tracks: Choose the program that meets your goals:

a.    STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Instruction

b.    Secondary Certification

c.     Principal Certification

d.    Educational Policy and Administration

4.    Flexibility: Online courses allow you to fit your studies into your busy schedule.

5.    Community: Online learning is personal at DWU. Our students get to know one another and their instructors very well. They learn and grow together.

6.    Accredited: The DWU M.A. in Education is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Accreditation Association and is affirmed by the South Dakota Department of Education.

If you would like to further explore the M.A. in Education at DWU, please request more information.

Dr. Joe Gertsema

Director, Graduate Studies/Education



CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

DWU announces ‘Scrooge’ cast list, upcoming show dates

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ebenezer Scrooge, of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” will take the stage this Christmas season through the collaborative efforts of Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Theatre and the Mitchell Area Community Theatre in “Scrooge, the Musical.”


Seventy-four people auditioned for the MACT-DWU production of “Scrooge,” set for this December. Production times are 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4-6, and Dec. 11-13, and 2 p.m., Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts, Main Street, Mitchell. Tickets are $12 and $14 for general admission.


To purchase tickets, visit the Pepsi-Cola Theatre, or click here.


Ebenezer Scrooge will be played by James VanOort, of Mitchell, a face known by those who attended last spring’s DWU production of “Les Misérables,” where he played the weaseling pub owner, Thenardier.


“This is an unusual show in the fact that it truly only has one lead character, Scrooge,” Miller said. “Beyond Scrooge, we have a small list of what I would like to call the ‘supporting leads' – characters who have lines and songs, and who the audience will absolutely love and remember the most.”


Supporting leads include: Bob Cratchit: Kurt Schwarzenbart; Mrs. Ethel Cratchit: Lisa Stanley; Fred Holywell (Scrooge’s nephew): Ian Hyde; Tom Jenkins: Brett Farnham, Mrs. Holywell (Fred’s wife): Madi Miller; Ghost of Jacob Marley: James W. Hamilton; Ghost of Christmas Past: Jennifer Uthe; Ghost of Christmas Present: Nate Collins; Young Adult Scrooge: Kellan Willet; Isabel (Scrooge’s fiancé): Alaina Bertsch; Mr. Fezziwig: Dan Miller; and Mrs. Fezziwig: Melissa Miller.


The original musical production of “Scrooge” is three hours long, but this production is the abridged version which is about an hour and a half.


“There are so many versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that the difference between the abridged version and full-length probably won’t be noticed by most viewers,” Miller said. “We wanted to be sensitive to the time length because so many families are expected to be in the audience. It’s difficult for adults to sit for three hours, so we chose a version that would make things a little easier on our younger audience and get them to bed before 10 p.m.”


Full cast list:


Ebenezer Scrooge

James C. VanOort

Fred Holywell, Scrooges nephew

Ian Hyde

Mrs. Holywell, Fred’s wife

Madi Miller

Ghost of Jacob Marley

James W. Hamilton

Ghost of Christmas Past

Jennifer Uthe

Ghost of Christmas Present

Nate Collins

Boarding School Teacher

Kim Bruguier

Boarding School Student 1

Maddie Bruguier

Boarding School Student 2

Mia Bruguier

Boarding School Student 3

Kali Ann Milekovich

Young Scrooge

Thadan Miliken-Auch

Teenage Scrooge

Jonathon Freeman

Teenage Fan

Joanna Schleich

Young Adult Scrooge

Kellan Willet

Isabel,Scrooge’s fiancé

Alaina Bertsch

Bob Cratchit

Kurt Schwarzenbart

Mrs. Ethel Cratchit

Lisa Stanley

Martha Cratchit

Rachelle Steiner

Belinda Cratchit

Kelsey Joramo

Peter Cratchit

Cameron Gauger

Alberta Cratchit

Kiauna Hargens

Kathy Cratchit

Reese Reichert

Tiny Tim Cratchit

Caleb Joramo

Mr. Fezziwig

Dan Miller

Mrs. Fezziwig

Melissa Miller

Henry Dawkins

Chris Gollnick

Simon Smyth

Josh LaBarbera

Patty Pettigrew

Kara Kvanli

Tom Jenkins

Brett Farnham

Dotty Dwerryhouse

Megan Davis

Heddy Huddleston

Ann Thury

Fiona Strudwick

Lily Jones

Father Christmas

Brent Matter

First Gentleman

Mike Catalano

Second Gentleman

Mike Farney

First Urchin

Brittney Kaufmann

Second Urchin

Tessa Yeo

Third Urchin

Madison Miller

Fourth Urchin

Owen Miller

Fifth Urchin

Aidan Miller

Sixth Urchin

Madeline M. DeBeer

Seventh Urchin

Victoria Colwell

Eighth Urchin

Sarah Twibell

First Imp


Second Imp


Chorus / Dance Woman 1

Dyrani Clark

Chorus / Dance Woman 2

Hannah Harbour

Chorus / Dance Woman 3

Abby Carpenter

Chorus / Dance Woman 4

Marian Ragels

Chorus / Dance Woman 5

Ashton Diede

Chorus / Dance Woman 6

Autumn Schmidt

Chorus / Dance Woman 7

Hali Strom

Chorus / Dance Man 1

Isaiah Munsen

Chorus / Dance Man 2

Kellan Willet

Chorus / Dance Man 3

Sam Britt

Chorus / Dance Man 4

Jon Kleinschmit

Chorus / Dance Man 5

Alex Barringer



DWU Board of Trustees gains five new members

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University welcomes five new members to its Board of Trustees, two of whom have previously served.


Jacquelyn Johnson is a Mitchell native and financial adviser and stockholder for Dice Financial Services Group. This is her first term on the DWU Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of Mitchell High School and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Dakota in 2000 and a Master of Science degree from the University of Kansas in 2002.


Johnson has served as a member of or on the boards and committees for: Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Avera Health Board Pooled Investments, Mitchell Technical Institute Foundation, Mitchell Area Development Corporation, LifeQuest Foundation, Junior Achievement, South Dakota Development Corporation, USD Alumni Association, YWCA, Avera Queen of Peace Splash of Spirits fundraiser, National Association of Insurance and Financial Planners, and Dakota Discovery Museum.


Beth Kroger, of Louisville, Colo., was named to the board this fall. Kroger, a Mitchell native as well, graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1996 and obtained her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Dakota in 2006.


She is currently the chief of operations of the JILA research institute at the University of Colorado-Boulder in partnership with the university and the National Institute of Science and Technology. The institute has generated three Nobel laureates in physics since 2001.


Some of her previous positions include vice president for administration and finance at Wayne State College, Wayne, Neb., vice president of business affairs at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, and vice president of business affairs at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pa.


She has also been involved in Rotary International and local organizations such as Attention Homes, Greenhouse Scholars, and Worlds of Wonder Museum.


Ron Martin, Tyler, Texas, is serving his second term with DWU as well. He previously served on the board from 2001-2013 and the board renewed his appointment last spring. Martin, a Wagner native, graduated from Wagner High School followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from DWU in 1974. Martin is currently principal/loan officer for Avenue Mortgage, LLC in Tyler. Previously he was the vice president and COO for Budford Television, Inc., vice president of operations for Classic Communications, both of Tyler; and a loan officer for Capital Mortgage, Whitehouse, Texas.


Roger Musick, of Mitchell, returned to the Board of Trustees last spring. Musick previously served on the board from 1995 to 2007. He is a graduate of Mitchell High School and South Dakota School of Mines with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He was a founder and partner at Martin and Associates from 1971 to 2000, when it was sold. In 1998, he founded and is the CEO of Innovative Systems, a telecommunications software development organization.


Musick has also served on the Chamber of Commerce board, MADC, Vision 2000, the Methodist Hospital Board, Methodist Health Care Association, Avera Queen of Peace board, Mitchell Technical Institute advisory board, South Dakota State University advisory board, DSU CS advisory board, and South Dakota REACH committee.


Leon Washington, of Bethlehem, Pa., joined the board this fall. Washington is the vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Lehigh University, Bethlehem. He was born in Miami and graduated high school in Hampton, S.C. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Dakota Wesleyan in 1972, and obtained a Master of Arts degree in anthropology from California State University, Hayward, in 2002.


He previously served as the assistant vice chancellor for enrollment and student academic support at the University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif., as well as two director and one associate vice president positions in enrollment, outreach and recruitment at California State University. He also worked in admissions at Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., and Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn., as well as several other universities. He is fluent in Portuguese and worked in human resources at Olin International in Lages, Brazil, from 1972-1978, developing a technical training manual for international employees and translating technical documents.


Community service includes Bethlehem Township City Council, Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, Lehigh Valley Council for Equity and Community, and Church of the Sacred Heart.


DWU choral concert, ‘Festival of Sacred Song’ set

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University’s choral program will put on A Festival of Sacred Song Sunday at the First United Methodist Church.


The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU will perform the concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5, at the FUMC on the corner of Rowley Street and Third Avenue in Mitchell. The concert is free and open to the community.


The groups performing include the Highlanders, Women’s Chamber Ensemble, Singing Scotchmen, Wesleyan Bells, Dakota Wesleyan Choir, and Mitchell Area Children’s Choir.


This is a concert of all sacred music,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director at DWU. “The audience will be treated to a variety of sacred repertoire from motets and Sacred Harp tunes, to psalms and spirituals, and excerpts from the ‘Messiah.’ It should be a diverse concert.”


5 Ways to Embrace Change and Pursue Your Online Degree at DWU

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


For some of us, the very idea of change is terrifying. But is fear of change keeping you stuck? Specifically, is the unknown keeping you from pursuing the degree you need to get the career you want?

Fredel Thomas has embraced change—professionally and personally. The executive director of the Dakota Wesleyan University’s Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship—and the mother of three young girls—is also an August 2014 graduate of DWU, receiving one of the university’s first M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership degrees.Fredel Thomas Family

Recently, Thomas led a webinar entitled, “Models of Change: Change Isn’t Easy, but It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard.” While the presentation was geared toward business and organization leaders, these five tips from Thomas’ webinar can help you negotiate your resistance to change and successfully move you forward with online learning at DWU:

1.    Education and Communication: The fear and anxiety you have about returning to school may simply come from not having enough information. Whether you plan to pursue an RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing, M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership, or a Master of Arts in Education, educate yourself about your future program. Spend time on our website. Request more information. Or email Amber Turner, our online admissions counselor, directly. By communicating with DWU, and getting answers to your questions, you will feel empowered to pursue new opportunities in online education.  

2.    Participation: Returning to school impacts your life for sure. But it also impacts the lives of those around you—especially your family and your employer. Tell family, friends and employers you are considering a return to the classroom. Listen to their questions, comments and concerns so that you are not making this decision alone.

3.    Building support and commitment: To build on Tip #2, having the support of those closest to you will make all the difference in your success at DWU. Let them know you are serious about pursuing your degree, and ask for their support once you commit to your goal.

4.    Developing positive online relationships: Online learning is not about interacting only with your computer. You will be joining a community of learners, led by engaging faculty members who want to see all of you succeed. Do your part to build positive relationships with the other students and with your instructors.

5.    Implementing changes fairly. Keep an eye on your key stakeholders—chiefly your family members. Yes, it will be a balancing act to find time for your family while you find time for your studies, but it is possible. For example, when Thomas was working on her studies, she did not shut out her family during study time. Her children joined her at the kitchen table; coloring while she did her coursework during the year it took to complete her M.B.A. Remember your change is a change for your team, too. By including your team in your learning adventure, your success becomes an inspiration to them, too.  

Visit with DWU about strategies for change that can help you earn an online degree.

If you would like to further explore online learning at DWU, please request more information.

CategoriesBlog: Online Degrees @ DWU, News,

‘A better Wesleyan awaits’ Avera, donors back DWU facility

Friday, September 19, 2014

By Marcus Traxler

The Daily Republic

Sept. 18, 2014


The ceremony had cheers, flags and fanfare, all of which were fitting for the groundbreaking of a campus-changing project at Dakota Wesleyan University.


DWU officially broke ground Thursday on its 85,000 square-foot, $10.5 million health and wellness center at the site of the future facility on the south side of campus, revealing its name and the project’s lead donors.


The facility will be named the Dakota Wesleyan University and Avera Sports and Wellness Complex. Inside the building will be the Donna and Paul Christen Community Health and Fitness Center and the Glenda and Fritz Corrigan Fieldhouse and Athletic Institute.

Click here for a photo gallery of event.


The Christen and Corrigan families donated $2.75 million each to the project, according to DWU President Amy Novak. Avera Health will commit $2.5 million to the university over the next five years.


Including Avera and the Christen and Corrigan commitments, the school had a total of eight “cornerstone” donors who committed $250,000 or more to the project. The commitment of the community and alumni to make the facility happen is unmatched in DWU history, Novak said.


“It is tremendously exciting,” she said. “It points to the momentum that we have going on this campus, and I think it really positions Dakota Wesleyan as a premier university in this region.”


The new health and wellness center is expected to open in either December 2015 or January 2016. It will include a 200-meter indoor track surrounding three multipurpose courts, 7,000 square feet of space for exercise equipment and fitness training, a wrestling room, locker rooms, additional space for strength and conditioning and classrooms for seminars and leadership training.


“On this project, no was never an option,” Novak said to a crowd of a couple hundred assembled donors, alumni and current students on hand for the celebration. “I never wanted to face the students behind you and tell them that we weren’t going to get this done.”


The Corrigans, of Edina, Minn., and the Christens, of Huron, are not strangers to donating to the university. Each family gave $5 million to DWU in 2011 to help fund the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center.


“DWU is a university that has momentum. I think you all can feel it,” Paul Christen said. “The contributions of this institution to the state and to the region pay enormous benefits and dividends to the future. The students will come forward and make this a better place to live.”


Christen said community commitment is proof that Mitchell has a vested interest in seeing the university succeed. He said that as someone who lives in Huron, a city that lost a university, he knows how important having a college is for a community.


“It’s been a great day, let’s enjoy it. And a greater Wesleyan is coming,” said Christen in closing his speech.


“Sports are a great way to experientially learn about persistence and perseverance and hard work, personal responsibility and teamwork,” Fritz Corrigan said. “This not only will be the facility where you can practice your sports skills, but also where you can learn to work together effectively and enter your working career.”


Avera Queen of Peace CEO Tom Clark said the partnership with Dakota Wesleyan University is a natural fit and perfect timing for the health care provider. Avera broke ground on its new Grassland Health Campus earlier this summer on the south side of Interstate 90.


“Collectively, we have the opportunity to create a health and wellness corridor that becomes the envy of other communities and enhances Mitchell’s quality of life,” Clark said. He noted Avera’s commitment of more than $20 million to the area over the next 18 months and that the money spent on the Grassland and DWU projects comes from the Avera system-wide budget.


Bryan Hisel, the executive director of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation, said it was important for the community to be involved to illustrate its investment in DWU and in the community. The development corporation helped sell a quarter-section of land south of Mitchell for $1.2 million and gifted the proceeds to DWU and Mitchell Technical Institute to help both schools expand.


“This is workforce development,” Hisel said. “The investment here can’t be stressed enough, and the community of Mitchell has to embrace the university as being an integral part of our city and our region’s future.”


Novak acknowledged the potential partnership that the university could have with the city of Mitchell regarding an indoor pool. Many details regarding the pool and its location are still being worked out.


Curt Hart, the school’s athletic director, told the crowd he used to envision the wellness center project as being the final piece needed for the school’s campus completion. But he said that’s no longer the case.


“This is not the final step,” he said. “This is not an ending. This is the beginning of taking this university to an entirely new level.”



Collection for Snack Pack Program to be taken during DWU parade

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It’s the “Rise of a Roaring Empire” and students seek snack foods. 


Dakota Wesleyan clubs, Universities Fighting World Hunger and Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization will team up to collect donations for the Mitchell Weekend Snack Pack Program during Saturday’s Blue & White Days Roman-themed parade on Main Street. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and anyone who wishes to bring nonperishables, such as granola bars or microwave popcorn, can hand them to DWU students as they stroll by with their “Chariot of Food.” 


The Weekend Snack Pack Program provides one bag of easy-to-prepare meals per qualifying child each weekend. The nonprofit is located on the DWU campus inside Hughes Hall. There is a donation bin outside the building for anyone who wishes to donate nonperishable items. 


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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.
The Chronicle of Higher Education named Dakota Wesleyan University one of the “Great Colleges to Work For®” for 2014-2015. DWU won honors in three categories: facilities, workspace and security, and supervisor/department chair relationship.
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