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Crown College’s Alumni Newsletter

Winter 2018



540 On campus 610 Online 200 PSEO (high school) 43 Church partnerships 70 Military veterans

TOP 10 MAJORS Business Communication Elementary Education Exercise Science Nursing Pastoral Leadership Psychology Sport Management Youth and Family Ministry Youth/Social Ministry

For more than 100 years, Crown College has stood firmly rooted in the work of preparing students for fields where Christ is preached. After all, it began with a farmer asking a pastor to teach him about the Word of God. That pastor, J.D. Williams, became the first president of Crown College, then called the Alliance Training Home. Since then thousands of students have received a Christ-centered education from Crown College.

Crown’s roots in preparing pastors and international workers are still strong. Today students are studying the Word with their professors and in conversations with each other, and they are learning how to be Christians in any field to which God calls them. While the educational mission has stayed the same, the way students receive their education continues to evolve. What began Continued on page 2









Crown College’s Church Partnerships in the United States

Salem Alliance Church Salem, OR

Crown College is partnering with churches in Washington, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Ohio, where students earn a Crown College degree by taking classes online, while working in ministry positions within the church. This hybrid program has 43 students and the college expects that number to continue growing.

at the St. Paul campus with only five students in 1916, has grown to a thriving student body of almost 1,400 today. While nearly 600 students take classes on campus, the majority of Crown’s students are earning their degrees online or on-location in a hybrid format. “Getting an education doesn’t have to mean ‘on campus’ anymore. Today’s digitally connected world allows for new opportunities to receive an education,” says Crown College President Dr. Joel Wiggins. Crown partners with several churches to provide a hybrid degree program. In this year-old venture, students take courses online through Crown, while also working in ministry positions at a church. Upon graduation, students receive their bachelor’s or master’s degree in a ministry field. One of our church partners is Christ Community Church in Omaha, Neb., and they partnered with Crown to provide a two-year residency program. The church enrolls 12 residents per year, provides them with ministry opportunities within the church, and covers the cost of their master’s degree program at Crown. Students then leave

Appleton Alliance Church

Appleton, WI

Christ Community Church Omaha, NE

Fairhaven Church Dayton, OH

the program with a master’s in ministry leadership from Crown College, real-world church ministry experience, and zero debt. “The hybrid model works because Crown and the churches train students for ministry while they do ministry,” says Wiggins. Executive Pastor of Arts, Discipleship, and Residency at Christ Community Church, Joe Jensen, says the program helps curb a problem that many new ministry professionals face. “It’s estimated that 85 percent of people who are called into full-time church ministry drop out in the first five years.” Jensen explains that the residency program gives students a real picture of ministry. This will help them anticipate the kinds of struggles they will face in full-time ministry, making them more effective leaders and less apt to quit.

“The hybrid model works because Crown and the churches train students for ministry while they do ministry.” - Wiggins



“Christ Community Church leadership has been dreaming of a program that could equip young leaders called to work in church ministry with tools and training they need to be successful in that calling,” says Jensen. “Through God’s grace

and provision this program has become a reality.” Other churches partnering with Crown on this venture have adopted their own unique models. Salem (Oregon) Alliance Church has 25 students earning undergraduate degrees in international and local church ministries in a program they call Reach Training Institute. Fairhaven Church in Dayton, Ohio, has six residency students who are beginning the master’s program this spring. Appleton (Wisconsin) Alliance Church will begin a similar master’s residency program in the fall. “Many churches offer mentorships or internships, but what differentiates these churches is they offer an accredited degree,” says Wiggins. “And because of the work the residents do for the church, the church covers their tuition so they leave debt free and ready to serve in the Alliance.” Although the churches and Crown find unique ways to serve each student and each location, the high-quality, Christ-centered education with Crown remains consistent. Wiggins has big dreams for the new program. “With our C&MA connections globally, I see us building a large network of churches that Crown will partner with. I think we’re only beginning to see the potential of this program.”

New bundle of joy? Legacy families abound at Crown College. We hear stories of students who go here whose parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents attended Crown. Help us celebrate the lives of the youngest, soon-to-be legacy children. Alumni, please email us at when you have a baby. Tell us your name, the name of your new bundle of joy, the date your baby was born, along with your address, and we’ll send your little one a special Future Crownie onesie.

Nick (’14) and Alyssa (’14) Gillette’s baby, Ava, is modeling the new Future Crownie onesie.


Letter from the President

This is an exciting time to be in Christian higher education. The challenges are great, for sure, but the opportunities are even greater.

stems from one core action: We say Yes before No. You can always get to No if you start with Yes, but you will never get to Yes if you start with No.

To meet these challenges, Crown values innovation. For example, Crown moved into online education more than 10 years ago. While just 14 percent of students nationally take all their education online, at Crown the percentage is 55. Without that one innovation, Crown College could not exist as we know it today.

So whenever we discuss creative ideas at Crown, we look for ways to say Yes first. This sets Crown apart from many college leadership teams.

Now we are extending our online platform to provide educational opportunities around the nation at course locations in C&MA churches. By doing so, we are able to offer more students the opportunity to experience a Crown College education. Innovation is putting a creative idea into practice. Our commitment to innovation

If you have a creative idea for Crown College, please share it with me at I can’t guarantee we can do it, but I can guarantee we will say Yes before we say No.

Joel Wiggins, Crown College President



How the Communication program is growing

Jonathan Vinson

Thomas Clapper

The Crown College Communication Department is in the midst of exciting new developments. A newly renovated space, new equipment, and new professors are bringing fresh energy and excitement to the program. Renovations are nearly complete in the four rooms surrounding Simpson Auditorium, an area dedicated to the Communication Department. The lobby will be a place for students to collaborate, complete with lounge spaces and workstations. It will also be used to hold classes.

To stay competitive, the department is investing in new technology including powerful editing computers, 4K cameras, state-of-the-art lighting, and new audio equipment. Their long-term investment goals include a TV for the editing suite, a stabilizer for the camera, and a new microphone. Dr. Jennifer Kellie Corti will join Crown College in Fall 2018.


Corti joins Professor Jonathan Vinson and Graduate Assistant Thomas Clapper in the Communication Department. “I am very excited for the energy Dr. Corti will bring to the communication program, as well as the strong connection I believe she will have with the students,” says Vinson.

Two additional rooms are joined by a large window. One of these rooms will be a recording studio for voice-over work, and worship arts students will use the room to record music. On the other side of the glass is the editing suite with a soundboard. The fourth room is set up as a film studio, equipped with backdrops and a space for people waiting to be filmed.

Corti earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in interpersonal and family communication from the University of Denver, her master’s in communication studies from the University of Kansas, and her Bachelor of Arts in speech communication from Baylor University. She is teaching online courses at Crown this semester.

A degree in communication prepares students to think creatively in fields such as advertising, graphic design, digital arts, and relational communication. Kellie Corti

Crown ranks 3rd highest in Minnesota U.S. News & World Report ranked Crown College on their annual Best Colleges list, ranking the college 53rd in the Midwest, and third in Minnesota. The rankings are based on graduation rates, retention rates, and academic reputation. “Crown College is honored to be ranked in the top tier of all regional colleges in the 12-state Midwest area,” said Dr. Joel Wiggins, President of Crown College. “With

many great public and private colleges in our region, this achievement indicates the quality of our students and faculty, while giving us room to improve even more in the years ahead.” Crown has also been named in the top 25 percent of Best Colleges for Your Money in MONEY Magazine and in the Top 15 Best Online Graduate Schools by Christian Universities Online.

EXPANDS TO SEVERAL LOCATIONS! NEXT is a one-day training event designed to train adult volunteers who work with youth and kids, and high school students looking to discover their callings in ministry.

This year, NEXT is expanding to six cities to make it more accessible and more affordable. Conferences will be held in: - Orlando, FL - Crown College - Toledo, OH - Lancaster, PA - Dover, OH - New York City (tentative)

February 24 March 3 March 17 November 3 November 10 November 17

In 2016 and 2017, the NEXT Conference reached more than 2,000 participants. This year, the C&MA estimates that the conference will train 2,500 people between these six locations.

Register online at


GIVING OPPORTUNITIES Giving a financial gift to Crown College helps make it possible for more students to have a Crown College experience. Your contributions help fund student scholarships and campus improvement projects. To make a gift, please donate online at, send a check to the college, or call Vice President of External Relations, Jill Osborn, at (952) 446-4342.


A gift of $1,000 or more per year qualifies you as Cornerstone Member. Imagine what a gift of this size can do for the college and Crown students, the majority of whom rely on scholarships to help them meet their financial requirements. As a special thank you for this level of giving, Crown provides these donors with a unique Christmas event: an elegant dinner is held in the Fireside Room before the Christmas at Crown concert, and members receive priority seating for the concert. If you would like to be part of this special group, visit


With an annual gift of $120 (that’s $10 a month) you can be part of the Coffee Club. Members receive a custom-fired Crown College mug, handcrafted by Deneen Pottery of St. Paul. As an added bonus, when you bring your mug back to campus, you will be treated to a free cup of coffee to say, “Welcome home.”


A gift scholarship can be made in your name to create a student scholarship for a set number of years. You may define the criteria used in selecting a recipient or contribute to an existing scholarship.


A donation of $25,000 or more can start an endowed scholarship, a permanent fund for Crown students. The earnings made on your donation will be used to provide scholarships to students. Endowed scholarships are awarded year after year.


Crown students are encouraged to learn about and experience a variety of cultures. That’s why there are several international and national mission trips. Students must raise their own funds for Destination:Serve trips. You are invited to donate to a specific student or simply to the program’s general fund.


If you would like to include Crown College in your will, it may be as simple as asking your attorney to add this wording to your will: I give Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, the sum of $___ or ___ percent of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate for its general purposes.




Women’s Basketball

This season to date marks the most successful season in Crown women’s basketball history since joining the NCAA, with five wins in the first two months of the season, along with the team’s first win over MIAC as they beat Hamline on opening night. Barring injury, senior Desiree Davis reached 1,000 points this season.

The football team had a tough season, but battled with UM-Morris and Iowa Wesleyan. Isaiah Zepeda was voted first-team AllUMAC, and Cody Bedlion was selected to the second team. Sophomore receiver David McIntosh ended third in the conference in receptions, fifth in receiving yards, and fourth in receiving touchdowns. First-year back Derek Chilcoate had two weeks of more than 100 rushing yards against both Iowa Wesleyan and St. Scholastica.

Men’s Basketball

Crown is led by sophomore Tim Wendel (the 2016 UMAC Freshman of the Year). Highs this season include Crown’s first ever NCAAera win over Northwestern and blowout wins over Iowa Wesleyan and Cornell College. Senior Austin VanDerHeyden passed Truman Shetler for the second most points in program history and looks to pass James Brown for the most points all-time by the end of the year.

Women’s Soccer Cross Country

Sophomore Mackenzie Nelson was selected first-team All-UMAC after finishing fourth in the UMAC Championship, her second All-UMAC selection in two years running. The women placed sixth in the UMAC Championship, beating Northwestern, North Central, and Northland.

First-year goalkeeper Michaela Cowman came on the scene with a stellar season in goal and ended the season top three in the entire NCAA in saves and saves per game. She had her first shutout of the season in a win over Maranatha Baptist, where fellow first-year Lottie Ellis scored her first two collegiate goals.

Men’s Soccer Baseball

Ryan Doheny has been named Crown’s new baseball coach.


In Doheny’s first year coaching, he led senior Paulina Dejamco to her first UMAC Championship Medalist, given to the winner of the three-day UMAC Championship. The men placed sixth overall.


The season ended with nine seniors graduating. The team was led by senior Kelsey Roschen, who had her second straight season of 450+ assists as the team’s setter. She reached her 1,000th assist in a sweep over North Central, one of two times they swept the Rams this year.

Crown won a coveted game against Bethel University early in the season as they hoped to push for the playoffs once again. But with two of their main offensive players having season-ending injuries, those early season expectations weren’t met. Senior Eli Etzel had an incredible season in goal, and the team won an epic match in the rain against North Central late in the year, with sophomore Mason Shrewsbury scoring two goals in the last 10 minutes.



Alumnus embarks on World Race Crown alumnus Breier Sanders (’17) is embarking on an epic journey, traveling to 11 countries in 11 months! The World Race is a yearlong mission trip in which Breier will share the Gospel with others and grow his own faith along the way. “Our team will be sharing the freedom of God with street kids, orphans, and those caught in the sex trade,” he says. “There are many more unknown opportunities that our team will run into and we are putting complete faith in God that he will provide exactly what is needed.” Follow his journey and help support this mission by visiting his blog at

Alumni of the Year 2017 This year’s Crown College Alumni of the Year are Jerry and Shelly, whose last name is being withheld because of the sensitive mission work they do overseas. Jerry and Shelly celebrated their 25th Crown College reunion this year. They also have three children, all of whom are current Crown students.

“We encourage you, students, to keep on pursuing Christ and all that he has for you. He is good, he loves you, and you’ll never regret a life of following him.” - Jerry

They live in Germany and serve as the Regional Leadership Couple of the Europe and Middle East Region of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They have served in this role for more than six years and have been encouraged by what God is doing throughout the region.

Shelly and Jerry met at Crown and finished their college careers as married students. Shelly has a degree in Elementary Education, and Jerry has a degree in Missions (Intercultural Studies).


Crown had a profound impact on their lives and provided a place where their minds were challenged, their faith was stretched, and their commitment to Christ was strengthened. It was at Crown that their call to serve the Lord overseas was solidified. “Crown has been a big piece of our lives. We’re so thankful that Crown is continuing to stay Christcentered and centered on the Word of God,” said Shelly. “Thank you, Crown, for influencing our lives in a huge way, and now our children’s lives.”

In their remarks during the Homecoming chapel this fall, Jerry addressed the students, saying, “We encourage you, students, to keep on pursuing Christ and all that he has for you. He is good, he loves you, and you’ll never regret a life of following him.”

Homecoming 2017

Even though it was cold and blustery outside, alumni still enjoyed a fun homecoming at Crown. Alumni enjoyed catching up with old friends, live music, food trucks, a bouncy house, and soccer and football on campus. This year was especially colorful, as alumni and their children walked the halls with freshly

painted hair and faces (courtesy of the spirit booth) and those who ran the 5K were covered with colorful chalk.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS Next year’s event is slated for September 22, 2018.

Calling all golfers! Join us for the 2018 Alumni Golf Tournament The tournament will take place on June 18, 2018, at Pioneer Creek Golf Course, Maple Plain, Minnesota. This 18-hole championship golf event will include a boxed lunch, golf cart with holespecific GPS, and a variety of course events and opportunities to purchase on-course advantages, like putting strings, mulligans, and more.

REGISTER YOUR TEAM of four (or come alone and join a group that day) online at

OTHER WAYS TO PARTICIPATE - Local alumni can open their homes as a B&B for out-of-town Crown friends who want to participate. Contact one of the following committee leaders: Heidi Fitch (630) 881-3730 JoLee Bubna (612) 267-9743 Ryan Doheny (763) 242-6617 - Supporters can sponsor a hole: $500 sponsorship includes signage at a designated hole. $1000 sponsorship includes signage and slots for a foursome of your choice. - Donate time or financially toward this event.


ALUMNI NEWS Continued We love to share about alumni, so please email us with updates about marriage, babies, new jobs, recent awards and accolades, or other recent news you would like to share. Send your updates to Please include your full name, your graduation year, and the information you would like us to include.


Harry J. Owczarek (’51) passed away October 18, 2017. Harry’s family has a long list of Crown graduates, including his daughter-in-law, Cheryl, who currently works as the Crown receptionist, and his grandson, Brandon Schmidt, who works in the Information Technology Department.


Clyde (’65) and Earlyne Leimberer relocated to Burnsville to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Clyde officially retired from police chaplaincy and is now leading Bible studies. • Marv (’68) and Joyce Parker have retired from full-time ministry. Marv continues to serve part-time on the North Central District office staff.


SAVE THE DATES A Putt in the Dark March 1 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. in the Storm Café

This glow-in-the-dark mini golf course is open to students, alumni and their families, parents, faculty, and staff. More details will be coming on Facebook and on

Commencement May 12 Alumni Golf Tournament June 18 Scholarship Luncheon September 21 Homecoming September 22 50th Class Reunion, Class of 1968 September 22

Contact Marv Parker at or (952) 836-6891 for more information or to RSVP.

Doug (’83) and Helen (Gibbons, ’83) White are moving to Guadalajara, Mexico, in January 2018 to work with Marriage Encounter Ministries.

Grubbs served as the ninth president of Crown College from 1972 to 1980. He is remembered for bringing precision and organization to the campus, as his administration was characterized by the largest enrollment growth the college has ever experienced. This enrollment spike is largely attributed to the college’s move from its St. Paul campus to its current home in St. Bonifacius. During his presidency, enrollment rose from approximately 420 students to 560.


Emi Aizaki (’94) began teaching at an international school in Israel in 2016. In 2017, she visited 15 countries on five continents and saw five oceans. • Marie Schussman (’98) is living in Somaliland, teaching Community Development at a university.


Stephen Rose (’04) died after being struck by a vehicle while helping another motorist. He leaves behind his wife, Angela, and two young sons. • Lucas (’06) and Megan (Dellos, ’07) Hall welcomed daughter Jovie Noelle on March 12, 2017. She joins brothers Avery (5) and Jaxon (4). • Andrea Cline (’06) passed away November 20, 2017.


Dr. Francis Grubbs remembered Former Crown College President Dr. Francis W. Grubbs passed away at the age of 85 on December 12, 2017. Grubbs was married to Peggy Kauffman, and they had four children (Shari, Kent, Eric, and Tamara), eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

Joe Tewinkel and Bill Bedford wrote in The Victor’s Crown: A history of Crown College, 1916-2016 that to cope with the growth “Grubbs initiated a concern for greater administrative efficiency and detail…St. Paul had formerly been a small college, where details of this sort could be worked out personally between people who knew each other well and worked closely together.”


Thank you to all the alumni who gave generously to Crown College in 2017. Contributions from alumni totaled more than $200,000, which will primarily go toward student scholarships. Alumni who gave $5,000 or more Gary and Betty Benedict Richard and Ellen Gilleland Gordon and Helen Jensen Jim and Peggy Johnson Ron and Kimberly Ludwigson Paul and Donna Mertens Ruth Miller Andrew and Wendy Palileo Dale and Susan Teal Lee and Mali Thompson Joel and Kathy Wiggins

Alumni who gave $1,000 to $4,999 Randy and Debbie Burg Richard and Louise Colenso Carroll and Grace Galvin Bill Gear Merwin Gordon Don and Joy Hardy Arnie and Linda Hustad Nestor and Edith Korpi Kathryn McFadden Toshiko and Kozo Nakagami Daniel Payne Timothy and Janet Preble Joseph and RaeAnn Tewinkle Don and Linda Wiggins

Alumni who gave $100 to $999 Iona Amspaugh Bernie and Carrole Badtke Roy and Laura Beck Don and Melody Bouchard Wes and Beverly Berghuis Robert and Teresa Brannon Dan and Darlene Carpenter Fred and Pixie Coleman June Cunningham Stephen DeFor Bonnie Dennis Randy and Deborah Discher Carl and Peg Eckdahl David and Lynette Eckdahl Robert and Lois Eddy Dean and Janice Erickson Tim and Cheryl Fisk Paul and Marcia Gedden George and Linda Gianoulis Dennis and Jeannine Gordon LaVonne Gingerich-Gorsh Jesse and Gina Godding Dennis and Jeannine Gordon

Ruby Greenberg Dennis and Julie Hall Mike and Denise Hammer Susan Hanaford Craig and Marilyn Hanscome Alan and Danielle Hall Adam and Courtnie Hayes Vern and Gloria Heidner Marilyn Helfinstine Mark and Karen Hovelson Melanie Hubin Jeff Johnson William and Karen Johnson Timothy and Marie Kiel Julie Krahn Bill and Ginger Kuhn Mary Kyle Kimberely LaQuay David and Kate Leever Joy Levins David and Sandy Link Derek and Jenny Mansker Leigh Ann Martin Randall and Denise Martin Quenton and Bethany Marty Vernon and Marilyn Maxa Gary and Rosemarie Meradith William and Estella Merkel Janet Merrill Dean Morin Robert and Joannie Morton Topher and Tina Murphy Wendell and Jill Nelson Ryan and Sarah Olson Kevin and Cheryl Owczarek Sandra Pacha Gregg and Patty Pitts Joshua and Stephanie Prokosch Daniel and Annetta Puumala Peter Roeth Dorothy Ronzheimer Phil and Mary Ellen Ronzheimer Timon Sahlstrom Lindsey Schmitt Rick and Ann Schwichtenberg Curtis and Geraldine Selen Bernie and Karen Shambour Timothy Spokes Roger and Paula Stenlund Annie Stoesz Kristen Stombaugh John and Joanna Stumbo David and Marilyn Sundeen Marlin and Sandra Sundeen

David and Maureen Tarrant Gary and Pat Thompson Hannah Trosen Rich and Melissa Uselman Donna Voth Dan and Holly Waite Rebecca Warpala Marilyn Weldin Dwight Williams Richard and Edna Williams Megan Zook Drew Zoromski

Alumni who gave $10 to $99 Virgil and Bonnie Adams Bernard Badtke John Barkman Kevin and Bethany Bendel Jim and Pam Blask Michael and Darlene Bortel Marilyn Tonstad Bryan Don and Ione Christensen Paul and Joann Collins Gary and Sally Conner Mark and Rachel Derowitsch Leah Freichels Garry and Ilene Gardner Herb and Kathy Garland Will and Carol Gerdes Pat and Kim Geurts Ladene Glanzer Dolores Hogan Tim and LaRita Johnson John and Cleo Jones Ralph and Bonnie Koglin Richard and Florence Keller Jerry and Shelly Kragt Aaron Krienke Megan Kunde Ruth Lintelmann Tim and Jean Miller Dave and Carol Osterhus Josh Ottoson Dennis and Sandy Parker Larry and Ruth Richter Gordon and Megan Schmidt Rose Schrader Tim and Debbie Sly Daryl and Joan Spilde Norman and Susan Stanton Joel and Mia Steinkamp Jonathan and Tina Vinson Jennifer Wohlgemuth


8700 College View Drive St. Bonifacius, MN 55375


Christmas at Crown featured a brand new choir, directed by our new choir director Alessio Tranchell. As the music program evolves at Crown, be watching for performances in churches featuring the choir and praise teams. The next Christmas at Crown concert will be held November 30 and December 1, 2018.


Crown College Bridge Newsletter Winter 2018  
Crown College Bridge Newsletter Winter 2018