Month: August, 2014

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


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 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, 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:

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.
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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