Category: News

Professional Excellence Award Winners Named at DWU

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Dr. Bethany Melroe Lehrman and René Cardona are the winners of the Professional Excellence Awards for the fall term at Dakota Wesleyan University.

 Melroe Lehrman, assistant professor of chemistry, is the faculty winner, while Cardona, talent adviser and assistant baseball coach, is the staff winner.

 Melroe Lehrman’s nomination letter described her as a professor and colleague who is always willing to help and work with others, as well as brings enthusiasm and humor into every situation. She is also known for building lasting relationships with her students.

 “She is a professor in the sciences who has taken DWU’s motto of Sacrifice or Service outside the classroom to include local elementary students,” her nomination letter read.  “Bethany wrote a grant that is currently funding a bi-weekly science class for L.B. Williams fifth-graders, taught by DWU science students from the CHAOS Club. The students receive no course credit, but choose to teach on a voluntary basis because they see the value in outreach. This mindset is exactly what Dakota Wesleyan has tried to foster in its graduates since the very beginning – use your talents to make an impact and with no thought of personal gain; which coming full circle, this is exactly what Bethany is doing.”

 Cardona was described as the “guy who is everywhere.” Whether he is teaching in the classroom, gathering graduate data, providing student support services, visiting with prospective students, or advising academically struggling student, Cardona has made an impact on nearly every student’s DWU experience.

 “René is continually meeting with someone – students, faculty, coaches – with the end goal to help students succeed,” stated his nomination. “He has an understanding of students, an empathy that he employs daily to connect with those students who need just a little more support. He never says ‘no’ to a challenge, and he is a strong example of professional excellence in action.”

 The Professional Excellence Award is given throughout the year to faculty and staff members. Winners are given campus recognition and a gift certificate. The award recognizes employees for “outstanding service, for exemplary commitment to the university and for making a difference in the lives of students.” The DWU Employee Recognition Committee selects the winners from nominations submitted by faculty, staff members and students.


Christmas at Dakota Wesleyan: DWU plans Christmas concerts

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University invites the community to celebrate this Christmas season through music.

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music presents “Bethlehem: City of Wonder,” at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, and 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Sherman Center. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online here. The music department will also present “An Advent Service of Lessons and Carols” at 7 p.m., on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the First United Methodist Church. This concert is free and open to the public.

“Our theme (for the first two concerts) is ‘Bethlehem: City of Wonder’ so many of the songs reflect on the majesty and wonder of the coming of the Christ Child and the events that lead up to his birth,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, director of choral activities.

The Wesleyan Choir, Wesleyan Band, LyricWood strings ensemble, and the Mitchell Area Children’s Choir will perform for “Bethlehem: City of Wonder.”

“The Christmas concert will be a festive concert of both sacred and secular Christmas carols,” Desmond said. “Each ensemble will present its own pieces and we will have many combined choral and orchestral works along with audience participation of well-known carols."

“An Advent Service of Lessons and Carols,” a free concert set for the First United Methodist Church in Mitchell, will be a more traditional concert featuring the DWU Highlanders, the Singing Scotchmen, DWU’s Women’s Chamber Choir and the Wesleyan Bells, as well as nine community members to be readers for the service.

“This will follow in the great tradition of King’s College Cambridge, complete with nine readings, prayers, and appropriate musical responses,” Desmond said. 


South Dakota director of Homeland Security to speak at DWU

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Dakota Wesleyan Criminal Justice Department and its terrorism course has invited to campus South Dakota’s director of Homeland Security, Steve Pluta.

The presentation will take place, with a Q&A session to follow, at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in Java City within the McGovern Library.  The event is free and open to the public.

The director will discuss homeland security and emergency management in this state and region, such as what agencies are involved and the kinds of work they do, key issues in South Dakota, how South Dakota fits into the bigger picture, and other topics of concern to students and the community.  


DWU announces Thanksgiving break

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University will observe the Thanksgiving holiday with a full week of vacation from classes.

DWU classes will be closed Monday through Friday, Nov. 23-27, and offices will be closed Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 25-28.

The McGovern Library will be closed Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21-22, and Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 25-28. The library will be open 8 to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23-24; and will reopen after the break at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 29.

Java City will close at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, and reopen at regular hours on Monday, Nov. 30.


Bread for the World volunteer receives McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Cathy Brechtelsbauer, of Sioux Falls, was the recipient of the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award for her work as a longtime volunteer for Bread for the World.

 Brechtelsbauer received the award Thursday during the McGovern Hunger Summit at Dakota Wesleyan University. She has been serving as the South Dakota coordinator for Bread for the World for more than 40 years. Her primary efforts revolve around policy reform to aid those with the fewest resources.

 “Cathy has done most of her work on behalf of hunger, poverty, equity and peace at her own expense. She is a well-known and well-respected champion of the causes George McGovern worked all his life for,” stated one nomination.

 “Cathy has been the guiding light of Bread for the World in South Dakota for many years …,” stated a second nomination.

 This is the second award that the McGovern Center has given.

 “The McGovern Hunger Ambassador Award was created to recognize South Dakotans who exemplify the same passion for ending hunger as George McGovern showed in his life’s work both home and abroad,” said Dr. Alisha Vincent, director of the McGovern Center. “What the center hopes is that this award finds a home with someone who devotes him or herself selflessly to ending hunger – whether that be on a small scale or large – we want to honor those who act in the service of others.”

 The McGovern Hunger Summit brought special speakers Bob Reiners, South Dakota apiarist (bee keeper), to campus to discuss the interconnection of bee keeping and food production within South Dakota, and Matt Gassen, executive director for Feeding South Dakota, to discuss the program, how people may become involved and also positive changes people can make in how they view the food-insecure within the state. The summit also hosted students from South Dakota State University during a discussion panel, as well as DWU students during a second panel. The event is annual and is organized largely by students in the Universities Fighting World Hunger chapter at DWU called Third Freedom, and the program coordinator for the center, Dan Churchwell.


DWU forms partnership with GreatLIFE for new wellness facility

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University has announced it will partner with GreatLIFE Malaska Golf & Fitness Club for management of the Donna and Paul Christen Community Health and Fitness Center within the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex, set to open after the new year.

 Officials broke ground on the sports and wellness complex a year ago and will celebrate its grand opening with a dedication ceremony planned for Feb. 4. GreatLIFE will manage the 4,000-square-foot community health and fitness center within the complex by handling all staffing needs, and personal training services, as well as marketing and membership sales.

“We are excited by this new partnership with GreatLIFE and the level of excellence they will bring to our wellness facility,” said Dr. Amy Novak, DWU president. “Partnerships are exactly how this new wellness complex came to fruition, and it is how we will ensure its success.”

GreatLIFE will lease the wellness space from the university. Community members will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of different membership levels. GreatLIFE members receive unlimited access to its fitness centers and golf courses, based on membership level, and it currently manages and/or partners with 11 fitness centers and 21 golf courses at 19 locations within three states. Twelve of these locations are within Eastern South Dakota.

“We are excited and honored to be partnering with such a quality program as DWU in providing world-class fitness equipment, programs, personal training and golf, with Wild Oak Golf Course, in fulfilling our GreatLIFE mission to enrich the lives of families and individuals through golf, fitness and healthy lifestyles,” said Tom Walsh Sr., GreatLIFE’s chairman/CEO.

Wild Oak Golf Course in Mitchell, and the Avera Queen of Peace Wellness Center are both currently affiliated with GreatLIFE.  

“Our fitness center at Avera Queen of Peace has been the local GreatLife partner since June of 2014,” said Tom Clark, regional president and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. “Avera is excited that the GreatLIFE presence in Mitchell will continue and now grow as part of the new DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex.” 

The new DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex is an 85,000-square foot, one-story facility. The building includes:

·      Three indoor multipurpose sport courts

·      A 200-meter track

·      A wrestling room

·      The Donna and Paul Christen Community Health and Fitness Center

·      The Glenda and Fitz Corrigan Fieldhouse and Athletic Institute

·      Locker rooms for students and for community members



Opperman Lecturer to speak on campus next week

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Speaking from his experiences holding executive positions for several major corporations, Jeff Jervik will return to Dakota Wesleyan to share his story.


Jervik’s lecture, “My Journey from Dakota Wesleyan University to Corporate America,” will be given at 1 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, in Java City within the McGovern Library. This event is free and open to the public.


Jervik received a bachelor’s degree in education from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1984. He then went on to climb the corporate ladders at WellBiz Brands Inc., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., PepsiCo Inc., and Papa John’s Pizza.


Jervik currently serves as president and chief executive officer of WellBiz Brands Inc. where he leads the overall strategic direction of one of the largest and fastest growing health and wellness companies in the United States. Under WellBiz Brands Inc. there are currently three franchise organizations and his responsibilities include growing and supporting each of the Fitness Together®, Elements Massage™ and FIT36® brands. Jervik joined the organization in 2008, succeeding Rick Sikorski, the company’s founder.


Among the three franchise organizations, WellBiz supports nearly 400 independently owned and operated studios in the health and wellness industry under Jervik’s leadership.


With more than three decades of franchise experience, Jervik previously served as executive vice president of operations for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. There he was responsible for the operations of 114 company-owned and 292 franchised locations with system-wide sales of $800 million.


Prior to that, Jervik’s career included 14 years in the PepsiCo organization where he held several positions culminating with his title as national vice president of operations for Pizza Hut Inc., which was a subsidiary of PepsiCo from 1977-1997. As national vice president of operations, he directed more than 22,000 employees and franchise associates.


Jervik also served as operating partner for Papa John’s in Hawaii where he grew the market to 17 locations and hundreds of employees.


The Opperman Lecture series began 19 years ago with an endowment by Dwight Opperman, who attended DWU in 1947-48. He funded the lecture to bring distinguished alumni back to DWU to share their experiences with students.


Dakota Wesleyan president to take part in panel on female leadership

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University’s president, Dr. Amy Novak, will be a panelist Wednesday at the Women in Leadership Institute in Greenville, N.C.


The institute, which will run Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 10-12, is for female presidents of colleges and universities and will examine what it takes to be an effective leader in higher education, as well as what opportunities women in positions of power and influence face.


Novak will be part of a presidential panel called “Driving Culture Change: Case Studies on Women Leaders and Institutional Self-Esteem.” 


Novak is DWU’s 20th president. Since her inauguration in 2013, she has implemented a new campus-wide strategic planning effort, raised funds for the new DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex, and commissioned new institutional and athletic logo identities.


Special speaker to come to DWU campus for Native American Month

Friday, November 6, 2015

In recognition of Native American Month, Dakota Wesleyan University’s Student Diversity Council invites the public to listen to a special speaker on campus.


Dr. Jason Murray, vice president of education and the director of the Indian University of North America® with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, will be on campus to discuss “Understanding Dakota: Highlighting the Complex and Layered Intersections of Higher Education and Poverty” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the Corrigan Health Sciences Center, Room 108. This talk is free and open to the public.


Murray is a University of South Dakota alumnus and a Chickasaw who is originally from Oklahoma. Murray was the first in his extended family to graduate from high school and a first-generation college student.


The following is an abstract of the speech, provided by the speaker: “Students who pursue a college degree and are raised in poverty face specific social, educational and developmental challenges. All too often, these challenges, both external and internal, prove overwhelming, resulting in students withdrawing, giving up on dreams of a higher education, and becoming trapped by a generational effect. This session draws upon some of the most current research available, as well as upon the speaker’s personal experiences, and the experiences of several of the students who the speaker has had the opportunity to mentor over the years.  Ultimately, this session seeks to highlight some of the complex layers at work in the convergence of higher education and poverty, a concept that to this day remains too often grossly over simplified and misunderstood.”


‘Spiders in the Night’ to take stage next week

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Dakota Wesleyan University theatre department will perform an original play by Mitchell’s James Van Oort Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 11-15, in the Patten-Wing Theatre on campus.


Tickets are $7 for general admission and can be purchased at the door. Times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.


This intense drama deals with the dysfunctional relationship between a father and his estranged, adult daughters years after the death of their mother. What secret does he have and can he repair the damage caused by years of cruelty before his own time on earth comes to an end?

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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.
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