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Auditions set for DWU, Mitchell ACT Christmas musical, ‘Scrooge’

Monday, September 8, 2014

The DWU Department of Theatre, the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU, and the Mitchell Area Community Theatre will combine forces this holiday season to bring “Scrooge, the Musical” to stage.


Auditions for the musical will be at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 22, and Tuesday, Sept. 23, at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre for the Performing Arts.


All those interested in auditioning should come prepared to sing at least 16 bars of a Broadway show tune; bring sheet music for the accompanist.


Production dates for “Scrooge,” will be 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4-6, and Dec. 11-13; and 2 p.m. on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre.


The cast calls for one lead actor and many supporting characters, singers and dancers. Rehearsals are created and based on cast availability.


For more information please contact Daniel L. Miller, director of theatre at Dakota Wesleyan, at daniel.miller@dwu.edu.


Forty-one organizations participate in Community Plunge

Friday, September 5, 2014

Forty-one local and area organizations came together Thursday for the annual Community Plunge at Dakota Wesleyan University in order to introduce themselves to the incoming freshmen.


The annual Community Plunge invites Mitchell area businesses, churches, nonprofits and organizations to campus every year to give them an opportunity to show DWU students what products and services are available, as well as volunteering and employment opportunities.


“This event began six years ago to help underclassmen feel more comfortable with their new community and work prospects, but now we are also seeing our upperclassmen coming back to the event,” said René Cardona, talent adviser for the Center for Talent Development at DWU. “We feel that there is a value added for our students and the participating organizations, which leads to a mutually beneficial situation.


This year, 18 businesses, three churches, 13 nonprofit organizations and seven student clubs set up booths for 216 students who registered at the door.


“DWU will continually seek to build our relationship with the surrounding community to foster a strong learning environment that exposes students to a wide array of experiences while helping to strengthen the Mitchell community,” Cardona said.

More photos are on the DWU Facebook page, click here.


Local couple make special gift to DWU’s music department

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University’s music department has a new name, thanks to benefactors Ron and Sheilah Gates, of Mitchell.


The university recognized the Gateses for their generous donation toward the music program Thursday during Opening Convocation and announced the naming of the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music.


“The generosity of Ron and Sheilah will allow DWU to strategically enhance the resources committed to music,” said DWU President Amy Novak. “We plan to hire another faculty member to support an instrumental music program. Additionally, the program will benefit from an endowment that will provide support for music at DWU for years to come.”


The local couple has been generous toward the college in numerous ways, including sponsorship of last year’s spring musical, “Les Miserablés.” The Gateses also made a donation to the Corrigan Health Sciences Center, naming the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing after Ron’s late wife.


“The generosity of Ron and Sheilah Gates has touched so many lives on this campus, and now we have this extraordinary opportunity to support our growing music program,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director for the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music. “Their support over the years is really more than philanthropy, it’s friendship, and we’ve felt that keenly here at DWU.”


Sheilah has lived in the Midwest her entire life and made her home in Le Mars and Orange City, Iowa.  Her love of music and the arts can be traced back to her grandmother who played piano for the silent movie theatre, organ for the church and conducted church choirs.  Sheilah was drum majorette for her high school marching band and clarinetist for concert band as well as the community band, and she was also active in drama and theatre.  She attended business college and worked at various places through the years as an administrative assistant. While she was a stay-at-home mother, she was a future director for the Mary Kay organization.  Sheilah volunteers for her church, and enjoyed volunteering for the Christian Women’s Club and at her children’s schools when they were young. Sheilah and Ron were married in 2012. Sheilah’s son, Curtis and his wife, Mary Puetz, live in Sioux Center, and her daughter, Crisinda and husband, Randy Tackett, live in Kettering, Ohio.


Ron, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, is a Navy veteran. He has been a part of the Mitchell community more than 50 years.  In 1969, he and his late wife, Arlene, purchased the Mitchell Retirement Nursing Center and assumed ownership of the Firesteel Healthcare Center in 1984.  An industry leader, Ron has been vice president of the board of directors of the South Dakota Healthcare Association and a member of the South Dakota State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators.  He is a member of the First United Methodist Church, where he has served on the Staff Parish Committee and has chaired the Administrative Board. He has also been involved in the Rotary Club and the Rotary Foundation and Exchange Program, and is a past member of the DWU Board of Trustees.  In 1990, Ron and Arlene Gates received the DWU Outstanding Citizens Award. Ron’s son, Ron Jr., and his wife, Rose, live in Mitchell; and his daughter, Laurie Robinson and husband, Mark, live in Colorado Springs, Colo.


The first performance of the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music will be the Choral Hymn Festival on Oct. 5 at Mitchell First United Methodist Church. For a complete schedule, visit www.dwu.edu.


Labor Day hours at DWU

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University offices will close Monday, Sept. 1, in observance of the Labor Day holiday and there will be no class.

The McGovern Library will also observe holiday hours this weekend. The library will be open Saturday, Aug. 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Sunday, Aug. 31; and open from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 1.

Offices and the library return to regular hours on Tuesday. 


DWU’s homecoming theme announced, parade entries encouraged

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This year’s Blue & White Days parade will be filled with togas, gladiators, laurel wreaths and chariots of fire.

Well, no actual fire, please.

Dakota Wesleyan University will celebrate its Blue & White Days Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 18-20, with the annual parade at 10 a.m., Saturday. The theme this year is “The Rise of the Roaring Empire,” and the DWU student life department is looking for willing participants to join in the fun.

To enter a float, vehicle or group to the Blue & White Days parade, please visit www.dwu.edu and click on the Blue & White Days banner. Registration links are listed within the schedule.

Interested parties may also contact Jeff Holstein, student activities coordinator, at jeholste@dwu.edu, or 995-2943.

Parade entrants are encouraged to embrace the Roman theme – which can be anything from togas to chariots to Julius Caesar to Roman gods.


DWU Annual Freshman Food Drive sets new all-time record

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The tallies came in Sunday, and the DWU Freshman Food Drive set a new record with 4,629 pounds of food donated by the Mitchell community.

This year’s class of freshmen, along with current DWU students, conducted the food drive from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 24. Donations were brought to the Mitchell Food Pantry where DWU and food pantry volunteers sorted and shelved the food.

The previous record was in 2012 with 4,350 pounds of food collected.

“We’re so grateful to the Mitchell community for opening their hearts and cupboards to the Mitchell Food Pantry, and for giving our students this opportunity to provide a service to their community – something we encourage in and out of the classroom,” said the Rev. Eric Van Meter, DWU campus pastor. “I think a lot of us are humbled by Mitchell’s generosity.”

The summer months generally leave the Mitchell Food Pantry depleted. The pantry reported that through the months of May through July, it gave out 3,799 bags of groceries.

The Freshman Food Drive is a large component of the New Student Orientation weekend at Dakota Wesleyan and an activity that is structured to help new students acclimate to their new community, as well as the university’s motto of “Sacrifice or Service.”

The Mitchell Food Pantry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, and donations may be dropped off during that time or from 3 to 6 p.m. at the thrift store.

For those wishing to donate, but who might not be home during the DWU Freshman Food Drive, donations may be made at the Mitchell Food Pantry, located within the Mitchell Salvation Army on Sanborn Boulevard, during regular hours Monday through Friday. The Mitchell Food Pantry is open to clients from noon to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday.

More photos can be found on the DWU Facebook page: www.facebook.com/dwublue

Above, One of the boxes donated was too large for either scale, so a student held it and weighed himself. The box came in at 140 pounds!

DWU Freshman Food Drive set for Sunday

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Dakota Wesleyan University annual Freshman Food Drive is set for Sunday and students will go door-to-door asking for donations.


Every fall, freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to take part in orientation weekend, which is filled with activities to help new students acclimate to the campus, the community and meet new friends. One of those activities is the annual DWU Freshman Food Drive for the Mitchell Area Food Pantry. Freshmen and new students will canvass the city for donations. This year’s drive will be from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 24, and residents will know the students by their DWU orientation T-shirts.


“We want our students to be more than just classroom consumers,” said the Rev. Eric VanMeter, DWU’s campus minister. “The college experience is about growing as a person, and a big part of that is students learning to see the world around them. The food drive gets them out into the community right away, and hopefully helps them understand more about where they live while at DWU.”


Last year’s food drive brought in 4,230 pounds, and students are hoping to top that this year.


The summer months generally leave the Mitchell Food Pantry depleted. The pantry reported that through the months of May-July, it gave out 3,799 bags of groceries, and the pantry is currently in need of the following: canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, Hamburger Helper, canned tuna, beans of any kind, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, soup, peanut butter, pasta, boxed potatoes, snack items (cookies, Jell-O, cupcakes, cheese and crackers) and cereal.


For those wishing to donate, but who might not be home during the DWU Freshman Food Drive, donations may be made at the Mitchell Food Pantry, located within the Mitchell Salvation Army on Sanborn Boulevard, during regular hours Monday through Friday. The Mitchell Food Pantry is open to clients from noon to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday.

'God Found Me in Africa'

Monday, July 28, 2014

DWU group returns from service trip to two African countries

Beauty and hardship. Atrocities and forgiveness. Poverty and rebirth.

East Africa is a paradox best understood by breaking bread with the people who live there.

Members of a Dakota Wesleyan University team recently spent two weeks in Uganda and Rwanda, volunteering, gifting livestock, and providing other services like agricultural advising and workshops for teachers. They talked to locals about their needs and built a church. Several members stayed on an additional three weeks to take those services one step further.

Dr. Alisha Vincent, director of the McGovern Center at DWU, led a group of 13 people, including DWU students: Thara Ali Said, Muscat, Oman; Andrew DeVaney, Sioux Falls; Amanda Hart, Alexandria; Ana Morel, Gilbert, Ariz.;  Kyle Gerlach, Stickney; Michael Stier, Onida; Kelli Swenson, Chamberlain; and Kayla Vanden Hoek, Corsica; as well as, Sandra Vanden Hoek (Kayla’s mother); Tonya Anderberg, Mitchell; Vincent’s daughter, Esperance; and Lacey Aderhold, a student at Mitchell Technical Institute.

Anderberg, wife of DWU’s former associate director of young adult ministry Brian Anderberg, who passed away last October, came in part to help dedicate a church in her husband’s memory, Revival Tabernacle Church, in Namayemba, Uganda. The church was funded in partnership with Mitchell Fusion and DWU.

Fusion and the university also partnered to create a library for a school that has 600 children. Some of the students also taught volleyball and soccer skills and offered a teacher training workshop. While in Uganda, students visited the source of the Nile River and assisted with a water improvement project, and a women’s conference at which 200 women receive education and assistance related to personal and maternal care.

“Being home … I am seeing that the things that have stuck with me were the relationships I made, were the people I encountered, and the love I was shown,” DeVaney said. “The projects that could be done are endless, the support needed is insurmountable; however, there is something you cannot take away from putting people first. That is what Brian Anderberg taught me … ministry and missions are about people and they’re about relationships. They’re about serving in the moments that seem insignificant, wearing Jesus wherever you are, and more than anything, remembering that Jesus cared about the person and the soul within them.”

In Rwanda, the group volunteered at the Crimson Academy, a primary school for grades K-5, and researched the feasibility of starting a school lunch program at the school. DeVaney, an education major, also conducted teaching workshops for adults and raised enough funds to donate five iPads and teach educators how to use them. Hart, a 2014 graduate and former standout on the women’s basketball team, conducted a basketball camp for sixth- through 10th-graders. Gerlach, a junior, visited farms and advised locals on an agricultural research project, a service so appreciated he was gifted a chicken, which is one of the highest honors.

The group saw firsthand how the people of Rwanda are trying to rebuild their lives and relationships following the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when nearly a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by extremist Hutus.

“After learning about this history, students were amazed at the ways in which Rwanda has reconciled this tragedy and they themselves took part in projects where victims worked side-by-side with perpetrators of the atrocity,” Vincent said. “Through this, they realized that forgiveness is a powerful weapon against evil and people can recover even after the most horrific atrocity imaginable.”

“It is hard to put into words the sense of commitment people in Rwanda have to rebuild their beautiful country after the 1994 genocide,” Swenson said. “Hearing first-hand accounts of the horrors and atrocities that many people faced in the country during 100 of the world's darkest days, I came to realize that the people in Rwanda are some of the strongest, committed dedicated, hard-working people I've ever met. Their ability to look at a seemingly insurmountable amount of obstacles in their path with a sense of unwavering bravery is unbelievable and absolutely remarkable to me. I am still working to wrap my head around the amazing beauty that arose from the ashes, from the atrocities that happened a mere 20 years ago. A true beauty and sense of reconciliation that could have only come from God.”

DWU’s team also donated 40 goats and a dairy cow through the McGovern Center’s Livestock for Life program, having raised funds to pay for the animals. The goats were gifted through a program designed by the local school’s headmaster and Parent-Teacher Organization, in which the poorest families in the school receive the animal, care for it until it produces offspring, and then gives the primary goat back to the school for redistribution.

The dairy cow was given to help support nearly 200 children at Crimson Academy primary school to provide milk for the children. DWU students also offered advice and assistance on animal care.

“Ceremonies are a significant part of East African Culture and the students were privileged to be the guests at seven different ceremonies during their stay in Uganda and Rwanda,” Vincent said. “These ceremonies were a way to acknowledge accomplishments of the community, celebrate with song and dance, proclaim goals and vision for the future, and more.”

During most ceremonies DWU students also provided music, speeches and gifts. They also received gifts that included handmade art and sometimes even a chicken or two.

“Kyle Gerlach was one of the students who received a chicken as a gift for his help in agricultural education,” Vincent said. “This gift is traditionally given as a form of highest honor from community leaders.”

Students also found ways to communicate using more than just words.

“Soccer is like another language,” said Al Said, who came to the DWU women’s soccer team from the country of Oman. “Although my Lugandan went as far as ‘thank you’ and my Swahili was broken, it turned out that we communicated through our love for soccer. On the second day of our service projects when we did soccer instead of volleyball, I conducted some simple drills and then we played a game. When I joined in on one of the teams it was as if a barrier was broken between our two backgrounds. It didn’t matter now that I was from another country or that we spoke different languages. Taking me on and ‘humiliating’ me in terms of skills, I was quickly treated as one of them.”

Vincent, along with Swenson, DeVaney and Morel, stayed in Africa another three weeks to continue work through the Esperance Education Institute, a U.S.-Rwanda NGO begun by Vincent. The EEI’s mission is to provide short-term education opportunities to underserved adults and Swenson gave workshops on interview skills and resume building. DeVaney and Morel also helped as classroom assistants at Crimson Academy, DeVaney focusing on teacher education and Morel joining another group from the U.S. to do outreach projects at orphanages and local hospitals.

“God found me in Africa. I saw Him on my visits to the hospital in Kigali (Rwanda); in the eyes of a little girl who asked me to pray for her,” Morel said. “I saw Him while holding a new born child who had just lost his mother. I felt Him as I held the hand of an elderly lady who would not stop smiling as I attempted to communicate with her.

“I found that all I had to do was be there. All I had to do was what we all do at home on a regular basis and that is to share life with one another, build relationships, demonstrate love. God would do the rest.”

By Mari Olson
University Relations


Kitty Allen named vice president for institutional advancement at DWU

Friday, July 25, 2014

Amy Novak, president of Dakota Wesleyan University, has named Kitty Allen vice president for institutional advancement at the university.


Kitty AllenAllen has served as a development officer in the department since 2011.  She has been responsible for developing donor relationships and implementing an ongoing strategy for planned giving at the university.  She has also been a key contact for DWU’s United Methodist constituency.


“Kitty has proven herself to be an important part of the DWU advancement team,” said Novak.  “Kitty deeply values Christian higher education.  She recognizes the important role education plays in building the future church.  Her track record in building relationships, as well as her outstanding organizational ability, make her a logical choice to lead the institutional advancement team.”


Before coming to Mitchell, Allen served as the director of the Appalachian Local Pastors School in Barbourville, Ken., for nine years, and she worked in advancement at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ken., for several years prior.


Allen earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Crown College in St. Bonifacious, Minn.


She is married to the Rev. Joel Allen, assistant professor of religion at DWU.  They have two daughters, Johanna and Emma.


Dakota Wesleyan University named a ‘2014 Great College to Work For®’ by Chronicle of Higher Education

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dakota Wesleyan University is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.


The results, released today in The Chronicle’s seventh annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 43,000 employees at 278 colleges and universities.


In all, only 92 of the 278 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For®” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with DWU included among the small universities with 2,999 students or fewer – DWU’s enrollment for 2013-14 was 883.


DWU won honors in three categories this year, including facilities, workspace and security, and supervisor/department chair relationship.


“Being recognized by The Chronicle in this way affirms our belief that Dakota Wesleyan is a special and unique place to both learn and work,” said Amy Novak, DWU president. “DWU has been educating students for almost 130 years and our institution is known for its graduates’ success stories, but this shows the community another side to how we implement our values of learning, leadership, faith and service. We practice what we preach and strive to not only make DWU an exceptional university for our students, but also an exceptional place to work.”


The Chronicle for Higher Education is a nationwide publication for news about and for colleges and universities.


“The institutions that the Great Colleges program recognizes provide innovative educational experiences – while also offering their employees outstanding workplace experiences – and we are eager to help readers  learn more about them,” said Liz McMillen, The Chronicle’s editor.


The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.


To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.


Great Colleges to Work For® is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.

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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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