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. 


DWU beanie king, queen ‘crowned’

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, has announced its 2014 beanie king and queen. This is a title bestowed on two freshmen – winners were “crowned” Tuesday night during Wesleyan’s Got Talent.


This year’s beanie king is Scott Van Winkle, Tyndall, and queen is Lindsey Calhoon, Winner. Van Winkle is the son of Randy and Lisa Weier, Tyndall, and Calhoon is the daughter of John and Jodi Calhoon, Winner.


Beanie king candidates also included: Jonathan Blain, Odessa, Texas; Austin Buysse, Minneota, Minn.; Dillon DeJong, Kennebec; Jaden Denison, Lake Preston; Sam Hazen, Burke; and Mitch Heisinger, Parkston.


Beanie queen candidates also included: Grayson Gruenhagen, DeSmet; Jazmyn Hinker, White Lake; Jacey Jira, Hartford; Rachael Kriz, Geddes; Samantha Moody, Wessington Springs; and Hali Strom, Crofton, Neb.


Traditionally the beanie king and queen wear their beanies to all homecoming events.


The 2014 homecoming king and queen, Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon, and Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn., were crowned Sunday during Coronation services on campus. DWU’s 2014 Blue & White Days will be Sept. 18-20 and the theme for this year is “Rise of a Roaring Empire.”


For a complete listing of homecoming events, visit here.

DWU showcase, Menagé à Musique, set for homecoming

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University will provide a free concert Friday during Blue & White Days.

Menagé à Musique,” a showcase for the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music, will begin at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, in the East Main Dining Room on campus. This concert is free and open to the public.

It will be the first concert for the DWU music program and will celebrate the department’s new patrons, Ron and Sheilah Gates, of Mitchell.

Groups performing include the Highlanders, the Wesleyan Bells, the Singing Scotchmen, and the Women’s Chamber Ensemble. A strings ensemble will also perform a piece.

Individuals performing are Abby Carpenter, Canton; Lacey Reimnitz, Corsica; Kurt Schwarzenbart, Salem; Nate Collins, Belle Fouche; and Lisa Stanley, Box Elder.


DWU’s Bergh Wins National Award

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Trae Bergh, a member of the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team, is the 2014 recipient of the Emil S. Liston Award, it was announced Monday.

The honor is given annually to student athletes in their junior year has been presented each year since 1950 to one men’s and one women’s NAIA basketball player. The award, which is presented by Daktronics, recognizes academic and athletic excellence and includes a $1,000 scholarship to each winner. The award is named in honor of the NAIA’s first executive secretary and a prime mover behind the NAIA men’s basketball tournament. The 2014 women’s winner is Dana Heegemann from Stephens College (Mo.)

“I am extremely proud of Trae for this achievement,” DWU men’s basketball coach Matt Wilber said. “We are lucky to have him in our program and at our school. He represents DWU in the highest manner and is a tremendous teammate in all aspects. Trae is very deserving of this award, but it will not change anything about him. He will continue to put forth the same effort in the classroom, in our community, and on the court as he has always done.”

On the court for the Tigers in the 2013-14 season, Bergh provided stability from the outside. He tied the DWU school record for 3-pointers in a game with 10 in a 43-point performance in the season opener for the Tigers. He finished his sophomore season third in the NAIA in 3-pointers with 3.48 per game, while averaging 16.6 from his shooting guard position and earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference Second Team honors.

In the classroom, Bergh holds a 4.0 grade point average and is studying athletic training. He has been assisting with the DWU women’s soccer training staff in 2014.

“It’s nice to receive an award like this because it’s not about just basketball,” Bergh said. “Something my parents preached since I was a foot tall, is when you live in a small town you are not just seen on the basketball court and it’s important to work hard and set an example in the community. It’s great to get noticed for all the hard work.”

Bergh is from Crooks, S.D. and attended Tri-Valley High School prior to coming to DWU. He is the son of Troy and Cyndi Bergh.


Constitution Day to be recognized at DWU

Monday, September 15, 2014

In celebration of the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Dakota Wesleyan University will host a special public viewing of “Created Equal,” the third installment of the PBS series “Constitution USA” from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Java City in the McGovern Library.

This approximately one-hour documentary explores the constitutional dimensions of contemporary civil rights issues.  This event is free and open to the public.


DWU crowns homecoming king, queen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University crowned its 2014 homecoming king and queen Sunday during coronation.


This year’s king and queen are Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn., and Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon.


Cassie Landgaard, Worthington, Minn., is double-majoring in athletic training and biology. She is the president of CHAOS (science) Club, president of the Athletic Training Club, serves on the student leadership council for the Mid-America Athletic Training Association, and is a DWU student ambassador. Following graduation, she plans to work with an athletic trainer and/or an EMT before applying for physician’s assistant school. She is the daughter of John and Jodi Landgaard and a graduate of Worthington High School.


Kyle Gerlach, Mount Vernon, is majoring in business administration and minoring in coaching. He is a member of DWU wrestling, the campus worship team, and is a resident assistant. He is the son of Jeff and Donna Gerlach and a graduate of Mount Vernon High School.


Additional homecoming queen candidates were: Celeste Beck, Sioux Falls; Abigail Fossum, Canton; Lexy Timm, Yale; and Katie Uttecht, Norfolk, Neb.


Additional homecoming king candidates were: Luke Bamberg, Corsica; Andrew DeVaney, Sioux Falls; Stephen Lee, Viborg; and Jared Stearns, Canton.

Blue & White Days will kick off Thursday with the Opperman Lecture at 11 a.m. in the Sherman Center; the groundbreaking for the Sports and Wellness Complex at 5 p.m. on site, across the football practice fields on the south side of Norway Avenue; and the annual Legacy Banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Sherman Center. The Blue & White Days parade is set for 10 a.m., Saturday, on Main Street, followed by the Outkasts Car Show. The theme for this year’s homecoming parade is “Rise of the Roaring Empire.” For more information about this week’s events, visit www.dwu.edu.

 From left to right, back row: Jared Stearns, Andrew DeVaney, Stephen Lee, Luke Bamberg, and Kyle Gerlach. Front row: Abby Fossum, Lexy Timm, Katie Uttecht, Celeste Beck, and Cassie Landgaard.


DWU to award Distinguished Alumni awards, recognize donors

Thursday, September 11, 2014

This year’s Legacy Banquet at Dakota Wesleyan University will celebrate all college supporters, as well as bestow special awards to alumni.


The Legacy Banquet will be 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, in the Sherman Center. This will follow the 5 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony for the Sports and Wellness Complex the same day.


Awards and recognition will be given to alumni, donors and supporters, including three distinguished alumni awards. Receiving distinguished alumni awards this year are Jon Kreamelmeyer, from the College of Leadership and Public Service; Karen Erickson Lantz, from the College of Arts and Humanities; and Gale Kleven, from the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.


Karen Erickson Lantz ’65 will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Humanities.


Lantz has been a music teacher, businesswoman and family advocate in Africa.


Lantz, originally of Reliance, is a 1965 Dakota Wesleyan University graduate with a major in music and minors in Spanish and education.  Music was an integral part of her formative years, and she and her sisters were blessed with perfect pitch, thus catching the attention of Dr. William Kugel, Dakota Wesleyan’s professor of music, who later visited their humble farmhouse to recruit all three sisters to attend DWU and sing in the choir.


She began her career teaching music lessons in Reliance, Presho and New Underwood, and she later took classes at Black Hills State University and pursued a successful career in business.


Lantz began her business ventures as an owner and broker at Flack-Hoffman Realtors Inc. from 1978 to 1987.  She organized stock market investment clubs with 50 friends in 1995 and 1999, and has been the president and CEO of United Methodist First Choice Federal Credit Union, serving United Methodists in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota since 1987.  She also became a commercial loan officer in order to transact church real estate loans for the credit union.


Lantz began the nonprofit Help Orphans and Widows (HOW) in 2006 with the help of two friends after she travelled to Uganda, Africa, to visit her son who is a missionary for the Independent Baptist Church in Uganda.


“I observed the dire poverty of widows and their children,” she said.  “I thought I might be able to do something for these women, and if I turned my back on them, it would be a sin of omission.”


Through HOW, 105 widowed families have received Anglo-Nubian dairy goats.  The goats offer a source of milk and economic stability to these families because tradition in Uganda dictates that when a husband dies, his wife is not allowed to inherit his property, leaving widows and children in dire straits.  Through HOW, widows have proven entrepreneurial; some of them have raised several goats per year, selling one for the equivalent of a year’s income.  Others have used them to pay hospital bills, buy larger livestock, like cows, or even for a son’s bride price for marriage.  Two women purchased their own land.  HOW has also secured the services of a veterinarian to check on the animals and train the widows.


Lantz will return to Uganda in October to give 20 more goats to those in need.


When not volunteering for HOW, Lantz serves as church choir director and musician for several churches, currently the Rapid City UMC.  She has composed sacred choral music with 24 registered copyrights, and she authored and composed a full-length Christmas musical.  She has also mentored a handicapped adult since 2013.


She has two adult married sons and seven grandchildren.


Jon Kreamelmeyer’ 70 will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Leadership and Public Service.


Kreamelmeyer’s passion for skiing took him from the slopes of Colorado to guiding a visually impaired skier who won a bronze medal in the Paralympics in Norway.


He grew up skiing in Colorado but came to Dakota Wesleyan University as a wrestler, graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, education and psychology.


After graduation, he turned to coaching – coaching in life and coaching in sports.  Kreamelmeyer was a life coach before the term was coined; he spent three decades coaching, teaching and working with at-risk youth in Colorado’s Summit County High School, retiring in 1999.


He took the job as the U.S. Ski Team’s disabled cross-country skiing head coach in 1999, although he had been part of the staff since the early ’90s, serving as a guide for blind athletes.


He originally joined the U.S. Disabled Ski Team as a guide for Michele Drolet, the first American woman to earn a Paralympic cross-country ski medal (bronze, ’94 in Lillehammer, Norway).  As acting head coach at the 1998 Paralympics, he saw U.S. skiers collect two bronze medals.  At the 2000 World Championships, the team came home with a USA-record eight medals.  At Soldier Hollow in 2002, U.S. skiers earned five Paralympic medals, including the first relay medal for U.S. athletes.  The team earned three more podiums in Torino in 2006.  Kreamelmeyer shifted positions in 2009 to cross-country development coach in order to help produce future athletes for the sport.  He retired from the U.S. Ski Team in 2011 but continues to serve as a technical classifier for the International Paralympic Committee.


During his tenure with the U.S. Paralympic team, he was selected as Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2000, and in 2014 he was inducted into the Visa International Paralympic Hall of Fame during the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.


In addition to teaching and coaching, he served from 1996 to 2003 on the Frisco, Colo., town council.  He was elected to the Summit School District Board of Education in 2003 and served until 2011.  He also had appointments of vice president and president.


Presently, he continues to teach skiing and is a volunteer coach with the local youth ski club.


He and his wife, Claudia, have three adult children: Gabriel, Joshua and Ali.


Gale Kleven ’98 will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.


Kleven has spent the past decade pushing the boundaries in the fields of neuroscience and neurobehavioral development.  The result has been a successful career in research and teaching.


She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Dakota Wesleyan University in 1998, where she also received the Bonnie J. Messer Award for outstanding work in psychology and the Earl A. Roadman Medal in sociology, among other awards.


In 2005, she received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, after study in UI’s Laboratory of Comparative Ethogenesis.  Published work from her dissertation, “Patterns of Early Behavioral Development After Exposure to a Prototypical Neurotoxin Methylazoxymethanol (MAM),” was the first experimental demonstration of the sensitivity of behavioral measures to detect low-dose toxin exposure in the developing fetus.


She received her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Perinatal Neurobiology and Behavior at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., from 2005 to 2009.  In her postdoctoral work, Kleven developed innovative imaging techniques, including behavioral observation of the mouse fetus using high-resolution ultrasound and MRI spectroscopy quantification of brain metabolites in juvenile and adult mice.  She received a prestigious Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research for her current work studying the bio-behavioral pathways in the fetal basis of adult disease.


She became an assistant professor at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, in the behavioral neuroscience area of the psychology department in 2009, where she is currently involved in an active program of research and teaching.


Her research focuses on the prenatal origins, assessment and diagnosis of developmental disabilities as well as the behavioral pathways implicated in the fetal basis of adult disease.  Kleven is currently on the advisory board of the NIH GRAD-PREP program in the Boonshoft School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, serves as treasurer for the International Society of Developmental Psychobiology, and is a reviewer for several research journals.


She has presented at 10 national and international conferences, and 10 institutional and regional research symposiums.  She has also won numerous awards, authored and co-authored nine published pieces in scientific journals and has several in review.  She won two dissertation awards, two research awards and five NIH conference travel awards.


Kleven has four children: Gabe, Ben, Steve and Donna.


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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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