Contact Magazine - Spring/Summer 2023

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Semester 202? | CONTACT | 1
Spring 2023
KWU continues improvements on campus
Student Kevia Jackson and J.D. Koons, director of the Albert Nelson Student Success Center, talk in the newly renovated first floor of Memorial Library.


Kansas Wesleyan University

Spring 2023

Contact is the official magazine of Kansas Wesleyan University and is published by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Managing Editor:

Brad Salois

Design: Jean Kozubowski

Writing Assistance:

Bob Davidson

Dan Froehlich

Paula Hermann (CRH pages)

Jean Kozubowski

Skylar Nelson ’21

Brad Salois

Photo Credits:

Ashley Bissell ’24

Karen Bonar

Tanner Colvin ’11

Jean Kozubowski

Skylar Nelson ’21

Editorial Assistance:

Kris Heck ’20

Executive Vice President for Advancement and University


Ken Oliver Send

A message from President Matt Thompson

A season of growth and progress

Often in this space, I like to point out the successes on campus — and there are many! However, I’d like to begin this issue with a bit of reflection.

It is hard to believe that it has been nearly a decade since I set foot on campus to begin my tenure as your president. I joked at the time that I was a Florida boy, excited for the possibility of snow, and that still holds true today. The beauty of campus during early morning walks, the moments of quiet, of peace, transposed with the noise of a football game, a music concert or one of our many community events — that dichotomy is only possible at a place like Kansas Wesleyan, and it is truly unique. I am grateful to be a small part of the history of a place that will, without question, continue to grow and prosper in the years to come.

I am honored by the support of so many, from board members to friends to members of the President’s Council and to those who have passed on. That support has extended not only to me but to the institution as a whole. That is why we have made so much progress in building the future of KWU, and it’s that progress you’ll read about in this issue.

Our student success staff, led by J.D. Koons, has done a tremendous job in building a program to mentor, guide and support students throughout the academic process. Each of our students works one-on-one with a student success coach, who helps direct them through academic services unique to their journey. That program is housed in Memorial Library, which saw its first floor completely renovated early in the spring.

Of course, the renovations and constructions have not just been in the library. Coyote Village, our new student housing, is expected to be open in early 2024, and the Music Department’s renovation work is well underway. I encourage you to visit to view the latest photos from around campus, including the construction work being done.

Often when our alumni go out into their chosen professions, they foster growth and progress there, as well. That certainly holds true for people like Sandy Beverly ’98 and Pam Kraus ’81. Our faculty, and the lessons they impart, are drivers of that progress, and there is perhaps no better example of that than the retiring Dr. Paul Hedlund.

It is my belief that growth is not made up just of individual moments or mountaintop experiences. Rather, it is a culture, a mindset, of continuous improvement that fosters true long-term development. This university, and the connections and friendships I have made here, has fostered that culture — true growth — in me as a person. I know the same is true for many of you.

Thank you for your support, and go Yotes!

All the best,

address changes to: Advancement Office 100 E. Claflin Ave. Salina, KS 67401 785-833-4392
The Contact Magazine is printed by Consolidated Printing. Contact Consolidated for all your printing needs! P.O. Box 1217 • Salina, KS • 800.432.0266 •
KWU prepares to step into a new era! Scan the QR code to view the latest photos from campus, or visit

Bon Appétit!

KWU opens with no dining hall

The history of food at Kansas Wesleyan University

Preparation continues for the construction of Bieber Dining Hall (bon appétit), as mentioned in the Fall 2022 Contact. It marks KWU’s first primary dining hall change since 1963 and just the fourth-such facility in school history. The project went to bid in June, and KWU expects work to start in the coming months. Below is a brief history of food service at KWU.

1886 – KWU opens. The only structure on campus is the Administration Building, and there are no residence halls or dining rooms on campus. Students, male and female, were expected to reside in the Salina community at home or pay room and board at a local dining facility.

1904 — KWU builds its second building, Schuyler Hall, as a women’s dormitory. The university’s first dining room, Kemble Hall, is in the Schuyler Hall basement. According to KWU’s first yearbook, published in 1905, Kemble Hall accommodated 300 people. That year’s university catalog notes the hall is 38x50 feet with an annex of 16x50 feet and that the annex “makes for a very beautiful dining room.”

The KWU Business College operates on the corner of Santa Fe and Walnut. According to the 1905-06 college catalogue, “the college dining hall on the first floor of the building will furnish a good quality of board at $1.85 per week in advance.”

The Business College builds an annex to the Roach Building for the College Inn. Annex becomes the People’s Cafeteria.

During this time, men eat off-campus, whether at their residence or elsewhere. There is no on-campus facility available to them.

KWU opens a new dining room, named Stewart Dining Hall.

Kemble Hall is in the Schuyler Hall basement.

1907 — The Business College builds an annex to the T. W. Roach Building for the College Inn. During World War I, the annex is leased and in 1919 becomes the People’s Cafeteria.

1946 – The Den opens in the basement of Pioneer Hall. This alternative dining room offers snacks and various beverages. The Den is “self-regulated,” meaning that students are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. It relocates to Wilson Hall in 1961 but would be back in Pioneer Hall in the McAdams Student Center — the current KWU Music lounge — several years later. The current Den, in the Student Activities Center, opens in 2005

KWU opens a self-regulated alternative dining room, The Den.

– Pfeiffer Hall

is constructed as a women’s residence hall. When it opens, it includes the new dining room, named Stewart Dining Hall.

The Den relocates to Wilson Hall.

1963 – Stewart Dining Hall is renamed Shriwise Dining Hall upon Pfeiffer Hall’s renovation. It is christened in honor of Christine Shriwise, a generous supporter of KWU and other UMC liberal arts institutions. Shriwise gifted KWU various funds, totaling about $94,000.

Stewart Dining Hall is renamed Shriwise Dining Hall.

2021 – During portions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university temporarily opens a grab-and-go option in the KWU Music lounge to ease crowding in Shriwise Dining Hall.

A grab-and-go option temporarily opens in the KWU Music lounge.

KWU opens current Den in the Student Activities center.

2022 – KWU announces the pending construction of Bieber Dining Hall.

If you have additional memories or recollections surrounding the dining experience at KWU, send them to campus historian Kris Heck at

4 CONTACT | Spring 2023
1886 • • • • • • 1904 • • • • • • 1905-07 • • • • • • 1912 • • • • • • 1919 • • • • • • 1946 • • • • • • 1950 • • • • • • 1961 • • • • • • 1963 • • • • • • 2005 • • • • • • 2021 • • • • • • 2022 KWU announces construction of Bieber Dining Hall.
Schuyler Hall preceptress Ida Bohannon insists on manners at meals.

UMC invests in future with interns

“What are we missing?” wondered Nick Talbott, Kansas Wesleyan University campus pastor.

“Why do we have students who go to church all the way through high school and then they move away and never touch it again?” he asked himself and Eric Meyer, lead pastor of Trinity United Methodist, on a hike in November.

Talbott is based at University United Methodist Church, across the street from Kansas Wesleyan. He, Meyer and Chelsea Shrack joined forces in November to co-pastor both churches. Shrack is based at Trinity.

“What we came up with is an opportunity for them (students) to do something that changes the world,” Talbott said. “What would it look like to give internship opportunities, practical training to college students here at Kansas Wesleyan? This generation of college students, that’s their currency: How can I make this world a better place? They’re doers rather than attenders.”

They took their idea to an incubator service at the UMC Great Plains Conference. The incubator, which was started by the late Rev. Nathan Stanton ’91, tries out new, innovative ministries.

Their idea was approved for $30,000 this year and next and $40,000 the third year. The interns earn $15 an hour, paid through the churches

and applied to a $1,000 scholarship at Kansas Wesleyan.

The internship program itself is not new. For 2021-22, KWU Campus Ministry had four or five interns, all unpaid volunteers.

In the fall of 2022, its first semester, the program had 17 paid interns and 19 in the spring semester. More than 90 students applied, Talbott said.

“We have interns working in our youth and children’s departments,” he said. “We have them in our worship tech department, they run our soundboards, they run our full-time media. We have interns in hospitality, greetings and ushering, making cookies for church on Sunday.”

Talbott eventually would like to fund 40 or 50 paid positions in every aspect of ministry, from visitation to congregational care to teach teams to video editing.

“We’re giving these students a behind-thescenes peek at what it takes to make churches run, churches happen,” Talbott said. “We don’t just show up on Sunday and work one hour a week.”

Future leaders of the UMC

He wants this program also to strengthen the future of the UMC, with these interns moving into leadership positions at the churches they attend wherever they go after they graduate.

“Our goal with this program is, when college students leave Kansas Wesleyan, they’ll have

something to put on their resumé, they’ll have on-the-job training, and they’ll have four years of discipleship and faith-building during their time here,” Talbott said. “Our hope is to build the new generation of pastors, church leaders, board members, trustees, of all those things that come with making a church run. We are training the next generation of church leaders not for Salina but for the world, is how we’ve sold that to the congregations and got them behind it.”

The two churches offer four Sunday services, from strictly traditional to contemporary, so interns have experience with the whole range.

“Between the three of us (pastors), two churches and the college, you’re looking at close to 2,000 to 2,500 people, with all parties involved,” Talbott said.

Talbott clarified that this does not replace the KWU Campus Ministry program directed by Scott Jagodzinske, campus minister. Campus Ministry is program-driven, “as it should be,” he said.

“This is a dramatic investment by two churches in college students, and we don’t see that much any more,” Talbott said. “We’ve had two churches that have added campus to their mission statement because we believe it is part of our role as disciplemakers to be actively involved in that role for the next generation.”

Students get head start on med school

Kansas Wesleyan University and Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (KansasCOM) have joined forces with an admissions partnership agreement, with the goal of addressing Kansas’ physician shortage.

The agreement allows qualified, selected KWU students to enter KansasCOM during their senior year and earn a bachelor’s degree with the ensuing work, thereby completing both undergraduate work and a medical degree in seven years.

Initial selections for the program began this spring.

“Kansas Wesleyan is committed to improving our local communities,” said Dr. Matt Thompson, KWU president. “This agreement will do so by helping to address the physician shortage in Kansas, and it will add to the KWU student experience by providing a path to a medical degree on an expedited timeline. We’re excited to be a part of this partnership!”

“We know that primary care physicians tend

to practice where they grew up, attended medical school or completed their residency. We also know that of the state’s 105 counties, 92 are considered partially or wholly underserved,” said Tiffany

Masson, Psy.D., president of KansasCOM. “KansasCOM is committed to addressing the severe physician shortage across Kansas, and our partnership with Kansas Wesleyan University is one way to help achieve this. We’re excited about the potential impact this will have on the health of Kansans.”

To be eligible for the program, students must complete designated KWU coursework — both particular courses and total number of hours — and maintain GPA requirements. The student must be selected by a KWU committee after completion of their second semester on campus. They will then go to KansasCOM, where they will participate in on-campus interviews, and selections will be made.

Students selected for the program will enter KansasCOM as full-time, first-year students after what would traditionally be their junior year. After completing their first year at KansasCOM, they will receive their bachelor’s degree from KWU.

Spring 2023 | CONTACT | 5
Dr. Tiffany Masson, president of KansasCOM, and Dr. Matt Thompson, president of Kansas Wesleyan, sign an agreement in November giving KWU students a head start on becoming physicians. Nick Talbott


For Jake Montoya ’05, returning to KWU gets him back to his roots

Jake Montoya is coming home. Montoya ’05 has accepted the position of director of athletic and jazz bands at Kansas Wesleyan. Montoya will take a leadership role in the Music Department’s recruiting process and will have a role in alumni engagement, as well, starting this summer.

“Coming back to KWU, for me, is coming home,” he said. “I built roots here and hope to do that for numerous students in the years to come. My goal is to build a program that our students and staff can grow in, to cultivate a family-like atmosphere and create opportunities for everyone to be successful, not only musically but in whatever paths they choose.”

Award-winning teaching

Montoya’s resumé is one of patience and hard work. He brings a plethora of experiences to his new role, as he joins KWU after 10 years as the instrumental music director in Salina public schools. There, he was the director of bands and jazz bands for Lakewood Middle School and assisted with the Salina Central High School band. For his efforts, he was tabbed Secondary Teacher of the Year by the district in 2017-18.

Before his decade at USD 305, he spent eight years at USD 393 in Solomon, where he worked with numerous ensembles and exponentially increased the overall size of the band program. He also was the athletic and activities director for two years, which included overseeing all coaching staff and sponsorships for the district.

Montoya was an adjunct instructor at KWU for two years,

teaching primarily guitar, and has taught studio lessons in Salina for nearly 20 years.

Dr. Bill Backlin, academic dean and interim chair of the Music Department next year, is excited about Montoya officially coming home to Kansas Wesleyan.

“With Jake Montoya being on campus, he’s going to be a dynamo, a force to be reckoned with, a very positive force,” Backlin said. “I’m very grateful that he’s going to be on staff.”

Montoya will lead Music recruitment, teach, and direct the jazz band and The Howl of Kansas Wesleyan Pep Band.

While at Kansas Wesleyan studying Music Education, with a emphasis on saxophone and a second on guitar, Montoya held numerous roles associated with KWU bands, including student director of pep bands, student director of bands and band manager. He was named the outstanding musician in symphonic and jazz ensembles, as well as the outstanding jazz musician, during his time as a Coyote.

Working musician

His experience extends beyond the classroom, however. Montoya spent two years as the Salina Symphony’s Junior Symphony director and served as a musician at both Theatre Salina and the symphony for nearly five years.

In Salina, while also teaching, he played with the quintet Split Decision, a country/classic rock cover band.

He learned to play guitar at the age of 8 and drums at the age of 10. He joined his family band when he

was 13, so music has always been part of his life.

“Yes, Kansas Wesleyan is home, but so is this region,” said Montoya, who originally hails from Wyoming. “I have truly grown fond of Salina and the surrounding area, and there are many individuals here who helped me grow into the educator I am today. I’m excited about the opportunity to give back to them and to this wonderful community, and I look forward to building

relationships that open tremendous doors for our students.”

“It’s so important to have someone committed to the community in this role,” said Ken Oliver, executive vice president of advancement and university operations. “When you’re building a program, it takes both professional and community connections to create a culture that enhances the student experience.

6 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Continued on Page 7
Jake Montoya ’05 is returning to KWU this fall to teach and direct the athletic and jazz bands that he played in when he was a student.


Stein comes back to KWU to direct Wind Ensemble

Wendy Stein likes music, almost all kinds of music.

She played principal clarinet with the Salina Symphony from 1972, when she was a student at Marymount College, until 2005.

Her favorite composer is Maurice Ravel, but what instrument does she like to play?

“I love saxophone because I can play jazz and the sound of the saxophone is very versatile,” Stein said.

And she loves teaching.

That’s fortunate for Kansas Wesleyan because Stein has agreed to come back to teach woodwinds and direct the Wind Ensemble.

“My experiences performing in various wind ensembles have been some of my absolute favorite musical memories!” Stein said. “Wind ensemble is the perfect challenge, to help KWU musicians move from where they are now to where they need to go as members of an ensemble.”

When she taught at Kansas Wesleyan previously, the spring of 2017 through the fall of 2018, she directed the jazz band.

“It was really fun,” Stein said. “The kids had a good time and responded well to my teaching. It was a great experience and I enjoyed the kids. Retirement didn’t suit me, and I needed something creative to do.”

Musical creativity runs rampant through Stein’s family. Her late husband was Eric Stein, founder of the Salina Symphony and a major force in Salina’s music scene. Eric taught for years at Marymount College, moving to Kansas Wesleyan when Marymount closed in 1989.

Her children, Adele and Derek Stein, are both


From Page 6

"We see that idea, that philosophy, as an extension of The Power of AND. Few people better embody that philosophy than Jake Montoya.”

The Power of AND is important to Montoya, who plans to encourage

professional cellists and were the guest artists at Salina Strings Day in February.

Derek lives on the West Coast and celebrated his 10-year anniversary as cellist with the highly regarded Vitamin String Quartet. He recently backed up the Who at the Hollywood Bowl.

Adele lives in Chappaqua, N.Y., and plays in the pit for Broadway musicals, currently “& Juliet.” One recent high-profile gig was at the Met Gala on May 1.

Wendy Stein was the band director for 35 years at St. John’s Military School. She is, in fact, working on a musical based on her experiences at St. John’s.

Before St. John’s, Stein taught in the Solomon public schools for five years.

Stein said she’s “just really excited to join the

his students to “get involved, try things.” Maybe not all of them will become musicians, he said, but they can take something away from the experience.

He tells of a friend who had no use for art until he saw a clay bust of a horse. Could he learn to do that? the friend wondered. He tried and is now a sculptor. Montoya said he’d

team.” She knows the other faculty already. In a town the size of Salina, all the musicians know one another, she said. She attended Marymount with Dean Kranzler, percussion instructor.

“Gustavo (do Carmo) and Leo (Rosario) are super in their individual fields, no airs at all, and that makes it better for the kids,” she said.

Do Carmo is the collaborative pianist and Rosario the director of strings at Kansas Wesleyan.

While she hasn’t yet worked with Jake Montoya, newly hired director of the jazz and athletic bands, she knows him.

“Jake should be just perfect, with the bands and recruiting,” Stein said. “I’ve known Jake for a long time. It’ll be great working with him.

“I feel good about the direction the Music Department is going. I’m happy to be a little piece of the puzzle.”

The size of Kansas Wesleyan is ideal, Stein said.

“The college itself meets the needs of all the students because it’s a small school and gives them more a sense of home. I think that’s what Wesleyan is all about, giving them a sense of home and college, being not just a number. It gives students a chance to shine and puts the kids right at the forefront.”

In some ways, this will be a tough year to teach, with the renovations going in the music classrooms and practice rooms, Sams Chapel and Pioneer Hall.

Some of the performances will be back at the former Marymount College, in the Gov. Joan Finney Auditorium at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy.

But the inconvenience will be worth it.

“Remodeling where we perform, that’s going to be great,” she said. “We’ll just roll with the punches.”

Coming to KWU, “It feels like coming home, a little bit,” she said. “It’s nice to have a way to come back.”

encourage his students to have that same inquisitive attitude.

“This is a home-run hire for KWU’s Music program,” Oliver said. “We believe in community, we believe in the student experience, and we believe that Kansas Wesleyan is a special, unique place that offers something other small colleges do not. Jake Montoya not only

shares these feelings but is uniquely positioned to integrate them into this position.”

“To be selected for this role is truly a gift,” Montoya said. “I cannot wait to add to the greatness of the KWU experience, to build a sense of togetherness, and to foster pride in our campus and in who we are as Coyotes. It’s great to be home!”

Spring 2023 | CONTACT | 7
Wendy Stein will teach woodwinds and direct the Wind Ensemble at Kansas Wesleyan next year.

DECA takes on the world — and wins

For the second year, KWU team is one of the world's best

Kansas Wesleyan’s DECA team continues to make a case as one of the world’s best programs. KWU captured a pair of world championships and was the only school to have all of its competitors finish in the top 10 at this year’s International Career Development Conference, held in Orlando, Fla., April 15-18.

The conference was home to this year’s DECA international competition, where the Coyotes faced more than 100 schools and some 1,200 competitors.

“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication our team put into achieving this level of success,” said Dr. Trish Petak, who coaches the program. “Our students’ passion for business and commitment to DECA paid off, and it is an honor and blessing to work with a tremendously talented and driven

pack of Coyotes.”

Brian Nelson, Trey Duffey and Connor Waltz were the world championship winners, as Nelson won an individual title in Managerial Accounting and Duffey and Waltz teamed up to win Sports and

Entertainment Marketing. The wins give KWU three titles in the past two years, after Emily Monson ’22 and Ryann Kats ’22 captured a victory last season.

Other top-three finishers included Guthrie Burch and Grace Skelton,

who were runners-up in the Advertising Campaign (prepared events) category, and Courtney Beers and Heidi Jones, who finished third in International Marketing (team event).

“Although seven of our competitors graduate, they leave behind a lasting legacy,” said Petak. “They have set the bar extremely high and inspired and motivated future Coyote competitors to strive for excellence. I will miss these graduates more than words can express but am so thankful for the value they added to the team and the inspiration they provided to what is now one of the world’s most successful DECA programs.”

DECA is an organized business competition that provides students with problems and requires them to present solutions. Some disciplines require a report written beforehand, while others involve an exam taken prior to the competition. All involve presentations with varying amounts of time to prepare, sometimes as little as 30 minutes.

Arbor Day planting honors students

Flowers have a language all their own, but if you really want to thank someone, plant a tree.

Kansas Wesleyan University planted three trees on campus in an Arbor Day celebration Friday, April 28.

One was a Jane Magnolia in honor of the two students who were KWU Tree Advisory Committee members. The students, seniors Joseph Salvatierra and Samuel Overbey, had been on the committee for three years and chose the species of tree, said John Swagerty, KWU director of plant operations.

The Jane Magnolia, donated by Landscape Consultants, is a later-blooming magnolia that will announce spring on campus with its large, reddish-purple flowers.

Overbey and Salvatierra, with help from friend Noah Gonazales, planted the magnolia in front of Shriwise Cafeteria, where students will be able to admire it for years.

The other two trees were a Sterling Silver linden, purchased by KWU, and an Oklahoma redbud donated by City of Salina Parks and Forestry.

The Sterling Silver linden is an adaptable and pollinator-friendly shade tree planted near Pioneer Hall, the administrative building. The Oklahoma redbud is a tough and reliable small tree that blooms early and is also a great resource for

pollinators. It was planted near the wishing well on campus.

KWU students, faculty and staff and City of Salina Parks and Forestry assisted with the 2023 planting ceremony.

With the plantings, KWU earned recognition as a Tree Campus by Tree Campus Higher Education, part of the National Arbor Day Foundation, for the fifth year in a row.

Kansas Wesleyan takes its trees seriously, said K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Jason Graves, who also is a part of the KWU Tree Advisory Committee.

The committee, composed of students, community members and faculty, has been working over the past five years on a tree inventory to identify and tag more than 230 trees on campus. A project to create an online arboretum map will begin in late 2023.

Graves said that Arbor Day is a perfect time to promote tree planting and the benefits of trees in our city. Trees create biodiversity, provide countless ecosystem services, enhance property value, and improve quality of life and health, he said.

8 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Courtesy photo All 14 members of the Kansas Wesleyan DECA team finished in the top 10 at this year's International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla., in April. Team coach Dr. Trish Petak is at far left. Samuel Overbey, left, and Joseph Salvatierra, right, plant the Jane Magnolia donated in their honor in front of Shriwise Dining Hall. Friend Noah Gonzales helps.
2023 Commencement Weekend @goKWU | Kansas Wesleyan University | Kansas Wesleyan University Congratulations to all the students who graduated from KWU this past year!

Center of SuCCeSS

Memorial Library evolves from quiet place to study to resources for all students to succeed

The march of progress can be noisy. For example, seven small twostory houses for Coyote Village have already started going up.

Plans are being finalized for the construction of Bieber Dining Hall (bon appétit).

The Music suite in Pioneer Hall is being gutted as part of the renovation of Pioneer Hall and Sams Chapel.

But some progress is quieter, or, at least, a little bit quieter.

Memorial Library is still a place to study, but the first floor may not always be quiet.

“The ground floor is really a learning commons area for the students,” said Sarah Zehnder, director of library services. “It’s a space for students, like another home for them, you could say.”

Nobody is shushed, and even she has yelled, “Who’s trying to print?”

“The first floor is a more interactive space, not necessarily a quiet floor, nor is it meant to be,” said Dr. Damon Kraft, provost and executive vice president for student success. “It’s meant to be a work floor. Other spaces in the building are quiet.”

“It’s not like your quiet kind of library down here,” Zehnder said. “Libraries have to adjust to the people they serve.”

It’s that adjustment that has made the library the latest example of how KWU has changed during, and sometimes because of, its recent growth.

‘One-stop shop’

When the Career Services office moved to the library in the fall, Memorial Library became a “onestop shop” to access multiple student services, said J.D. Koons, director of the Albert Nelson Student Success Center.

“One of the biggest changes is the integration of resources for students,”

Kraft said. “We want Memorial Library to be a hub for student learning and the go-to location on campus for key aspects of student learning.”

Round tables are designed for group study, and students are encouraged to move them around and pull up chairs.

“You’ll see students studying stats here and over there, and they’ll get up

and study together,” Koons said. “Or you’ll hear them yell across the room, ‘Problem 16: What’d you get?’”

Some professors hold open hours in Memorial Library, and some teams do their study halls there, Zehnder said.

“With technology being more mobile, if they have their own laptops they don’t have to have their own table space,” Koons said.

Students can also get help with computer problems. A member of the Information Technology staff has office hours there in the evening.

All freshmen are assigned a success coach their first year, according to their interests, Koons said. Students who are exploring their major options work with Claudette Humphrey, director of Career Services.

“What is it they’re passionate about, what is it they want to do with their lives?” Humphrey said. “We give them those options and help them make those decisions.”

Zehnder, Koons and Humphrey all are student success coaches, as are some members of the faculty and staff. Jen Moran, another staffer, is a full-time student success coach. The center is hiring a second full-time coach, Koons said. These coaches keep students on track, helping with academic problems and making sure they meet their deadlines.

In their second year, students are either assigned an advisor in their major or they stay with Humphrey if they are still exploring or undecided. The resources of the Success Center are always available to them, no matter their year or major, Koons said.

The success of the center, however, hinges on not only this new space but collaboration across campus, Zehnder said. The buy-in from faculty, Student Development and others is critical to getting students off on the right foot.

“That is their (the success center’s) primary responsibility, to ease that transition, to help establish that foundation from which students are going to be successful,” Kraft said. “That’s a key piece, and with the library renovation, we literally took down walls.”

Continued on Page 11

10 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Jen Moran, full-time success coach at Memorial Library, shows student Kevia Jackson some resources on the computer. The library is evolving from a place to check out books to a student success center.


From Page 10

The first floor was renovated to accommodate the changes. New offices were created for Student Success and Career Services, but the space also was opened up. Pillars were wrapped with quotes illuminating the heart of a KWU education: character, communication, collaboration and citizenship. Kraft sees taking down the walls as symbolic of removing obstacles to learning.

“The library renovation on the first floor is exciting,” Kraft said. “Taking down the walls for aesthetic upgrades has been really important. So has getting our institutional outcomes up and clear on the pillars.”

“The quotes on the pillars reflect our core values as a university, so we really want to incorporate that into the space to make sure it’s at the forefront of our minds,” Koons said.

Upstairs the transformation is continuing.

“The second floor is a more

traditional library, where it’s quiet and there are some other study spaces,” Zehnder said.

Statistics say the use of physical books in the library is not very high, Kraft said.

Because there’s less of an emphasis on physical books and journals, Zehnder is “weeding” the stacks,

evaluating which books to keep, which to send to another library and which to donate.

“We’re going more toward electronic resources, and our subscriptions reflect that,” Zehnder said. “Our journals are going more electronic.”

Remote access is important: With

electronic resources, students don’t necessarily have to be in the library to use it.

“I know from our statistics that they’re accessing our databases,” Zehnder said.

With the space not needed by the stacks, she will set up additional (and different) study spaces to accommodate the different types of learners.

“We want Memorial Library to be a hub for student learning and the go-to location on campus for key aspects of student learning,” Kraft said, “whether that’s information literacy through the library, career development or some of the resources offered through the Student Success Center.

“What I’m so excited about is the alignment of resources. If there are some educational needs for our students, I want them to have a centralized location. That’s important to the student experience. It’s critical in ensuring that each and every student has the resources to be successful in the classroom, and that’s at the core of why we exist as a university.”

Let’s make some noise for the staff!

Sarah Zehnder

Sarah Zehnder began working as KWU’s director of library services in November. She is working on updating Memorial Library services and is striving to work closely with students and faculty to ensure all their needs are met, while making the library a home for all. Sarah is also a success coach for incoming Criminal Justice students. She has a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Dana College in Blair, Neb., and holds a master’s in Library Science from Emporia State University. She grew up and currently lives in Lindsborg with her two children and one fat cat. Off-hours, Sarah spends time with her children, enjoys needlepoint, and watches and researches true crime cases.

J.D. Koons

Koons, originally from Phoenix, began his professional career at the Flint Hills Job Corps Center, igniting a passion in him to help students set personal, educational and career goals. Stints as an administrator at two community colleges followed. His desire to work with students more directly drew him to become director of student success in Salina about a year ago. “What I love about this job is I get to work one-on-one with students and help them overcome barriers and realize their strengths,” he said. “I also like that I get to direct and lead the student success coaching program that will impact not only this year’s class, but next year’s class and many more to come.”

Jen Moran

Student Success Coach Jen Moran has bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology and English, but she also has additional interests that she is happy to indulge in while on the job. One of these interests is art, and in the year and a half Moran has been on staff, she has developed a stress-relief painting class that she teaches each month.

One of Moran’s favorite things to do as a full-time success coach is to proofread essays or to help students brainstorm for ideas. She finds that working one-on-one with students, no matter the topic or for whatever the reason, has allowed her to build relationships with students, which is an important focus for her in the success coaching field.

Claudette Humphrey ’99, G’01 is the new director of career services. She returns to KWU after working 24 years in the social services field, most recently, at Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas.

Humphrey provides resumé instruction, assistance with finding and securing internships, job shadows, and other learning opportunities. She is responsible for creating partnerships with local and regional businesses for on- and off-campus networking, and she assists students with the transition to their next step after graduation, whether it be graduate school or pursuing their career. In addition, Humphrey serves as success coach for all exploring (open option) students and also has teaching responsibilities.

Claudette Humphrey Students converse in a comfortable sitting area in a corner of the library. The pillars contain quotes that reflect the university's learning outcomes of character, communication, collaboration and citizenship.


Alumna helps teachers locally and worldwide use outer space as a teaching tool

Outer space has always been a subject of fascination for Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes.

The campus has had an observatory, off and on, since 1902. The current telescope is in Peters Science Hall.

Aviation pioneer Glenn Martin attended Kansas Wesleyan Business College, and so did Paul C. Fisher, inventor of the Space Pen that NASA used. Frank Hill ’54 worked on the Apollo missions. Dr. Stefanie Milam ’02 is a NASA scientist working on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Pam Kraus ’81 is dedicated to helping teachers know what’s out there — way out there.

As CTE (Career Technical Education) coordinator and STEM consultant at Smoky Hill Education Service Center, space exploration is one way Kraus interests students, particularly girls, in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Her territory covers school districts in 42 counties in north-central and northwest Kansas.

“The majority of my job is around career technical education, but I’m also the STEM consultant,” Kraus said. “One of the things I get to do now is I get to find ways to help other teachers become more aware of what they can do with using space in the classroom.”

For example, she worked with fifth-grade girls at Oakdale and Schilling elementary schools in Salina to build and launch a rocket.

She’s been to the Johnson Space Center and Cape Canaveral with some robotics coaches, which she also works with. She has her own spacesuits. She’s flown in a glider with a retired astronaut. She’s done elements of astronaut training.

“You’d think moving in one-sixth gravity would be easy because you touch something and lift off the

ground,” Kraus said, “but it takes a lot of muscle strength to control our movements.”

Kraus graduated summa cum laude from KWU in 1981 with a degree in chemistry and biology. She was also Miss Wesleyan on campus.

This summer she is NASA-bound for LiftOff 2023 Summer Institute at Johnson Space Center. She is one of the teachers selected to spend a week studying all aspects of asteroids at Planetary Defenders. The teachers will investigate what asteroids are made of, if one is likely to hit Earth, and whether we can deflect or control it.

LiftOff is a collaborative effort of University of Texas Center for Space Research, Texas Space Grant Consortium members and affiliates, NASA, and industry.

Before that workshop, Kraus will be one of the presenters at two sessions at Space Port Area Conference for Educators (SPACE) at the Center for Space Education at Kennedy Space Center.

This year, spring and summer will be relatively quiet for Kraus, compared with last year, when she had at least four workshops lined up, one in Germany.

A year ago, she was named to the USA Educator Advisory Board for One Giant Leap Australia

Foundation. She also attended the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., as a new Space Foundation International Teacher Liaison. The Space Symposium is an international meeting of industry, including the U.S. Space Force, government, military agencies, and international space agencies from countries such as Italy, Canada and Australia, Kraus said.

As one of about 300 teacher liaisons, she has access to professional development the Space Foundation will provide.

“We share our resources and our lessons with the other liaisons,” Kraus said. “The goal is that we come back and help other teachers become more aware of ways they can incorporate space into their classrooms.”

She spent a long weekend a year ago May traveling with Teachers in Space to Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., to participate in the integration of a satellite into a Firefly Alpha rocket.

She continued her work with Teachers in Space assisting at a space camp for teachers selected as Launch Learning Fellows at the Cosmosphere. During the week, they learned to use sensors on cubesats, those little satellites that can go up on a rocket or high-altitude weather balloon, Kraus said. They bring data

back that students can use.

She helped Teachers in Space connect with the Cosmosphere, the Hutchinson space museum, another place she loves.

“The Cosmosphere is like a hidden treasure,” she said. “Anyone who has an interest in space, they go there and they’re amazed at what we have.”

She learned about Teachers in Space from one of her colleagues when she was teaching chemistry and integrated science at St. John’s Military School. The colleague went to one, came back and told her, “You’ve got to do this.”

“I’d say my real interest as an educator and how space could be used was ignited going to that first Teachers in Space workshop (in 2012)," Kraus said. "That’s what got me started looking at what I could do in the classroom with space to create interest and increase student motivation. It just kind of mushroomed from there."

When St. John’s closed in 2019, Kraus took the job at Smoky Hill.

With the Hubble Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, the new U.S. Space Force, commercial space programs and the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Kraus has a wealth of new material. A university in Florida grew plants in regolith, a layer of rocky material, from the moon.

“That is a big, big plus — to grow food,” she said.

“I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities,” Kraus said, but she doesn’t chalk it all up to luck.

“Just because you’re from a little tiny town in Kansas doesn’t mean you don’t have opportunities,” the Beloit native said.

One of her passions is making teachers aware of these opportunities to continue to learn and improve their teaching.

“It doesn’t have to be space; you have opportunities. You just need to go out and take advantage and see what’s out there.”

12 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Courtesy photo Pam Kraus, on the right, experiences one-sixth gravity as she and a teammate simulate a repair mission on the moon. Pam Kraus

Hedlund moves on to other projects

After 40 years in education, Dr. Paul Hedlund officially retired from his 16-year-long tenure at Kansas Wesleyan University at the end of the Spring 2023 semester.

Hedlund, who came to KWU in 2006, served as professor of Business and Accounting and taught courses in marketing and business, both at the undergraduate and MBA level.

“My sister’s a teacher, my mom’s a teacher and both of my grandmas were teachers,” he said. “I was definitely brought up around teaching.”

Despite his family’s history in education, Hedlund didn’t realize he wanted to teach until his own experiences pulled him in that direction.

At the age of 19, Hedlund became a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I knocked on doors in Sweden for two years,” he said, referencing his family’s Swedish roots as his reason for choosing the country.

Through his missionary work, he became familiar with the idea of sales and marketing, but he also developed an interest in teaching others. He decided to attend Utah State University, where he studied marketing education.

With his degree in hand, he secured a job at McPherson High School for five years teaching DECA. Later, he achieved his MBA at Fort Hays State University, taught at Barton Community College for 10 years, started his own consulting business, and received his Doctor of Education degree from Kansas State University.

Connections to faculty at Kansas Wesleyan brought him to the university to teach.

“The first question I asked when I came here was, ‘This is a Methodist university; is there a problem with me being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?’ and they said, ‘No, no, we love that,’ and I’ve always felt very accepted here,” he said. “The second thing is that they’ve left me alone. They’ve let me do what I do well.”

An important part of Hedlund’s curriculum at KWU included class

projects, where his students ran focus groups, raised money, developed customer surveys and more. Often, these reports would be presented to President Matt Thompson and Provost Damon Kraft.

“I’m not the easiest professor. I require a lot,” he said. “I have clients who, I know what they want, so why on earth would I dummy down a curriculum so students wouldn’t be prepared?”

One money-raising venture that he remembers fondly is when his students put together a raffle in 2019, with all proceeds going to the Salina-area Y’s swimming pool in honor of Hedlund’s recently deceased father, who was passionate about serving the Y.

Hedlund believes Kansas Wesleyan University provides a set of experiences many students would otherwise miss.

“This is a very entrepreneurial school. There are so many things you can get involved with,” he said. “I’ve always found that students might go up against 4.0s from state schools, and they’re just that: 4.0s. Our students are leaders in their team, and they enjoy their sport and just all of these different things. It’s truly the Power of AND.”

Nissa Inzunza ’19, G’21 stands out as one of the many success stories to come out of the department.

“She learned a lot here. She just finished her stint with the Orlando Magic, and now she’s working in civil engineering,” he said. “And that just didn’t happen. We outwork, we out-think, we outperform people from other colleges because of the background and what we do while we’re here.”

Inzunza credits her professional success to what she learned from Hedlund as a student.

“Dr. Hedlund always wanted to prepare his students for life after college and ensure they had the tools to achieve private and public victories,” she said. “I find Dr. Hedlund’s teachings — synchronicity, DiSC, The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey — in my professional career all the time, and it never fails to impress my employer when I tell them I know about these topics.

“His teachings and mentorship helped shape my present and lay the foundation I want to build on in the future.”

Understanding and hardworking administrations have made his work easier.

When Hedlund’s son was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2007, right in the middle of grading finals, no one hesitated to tell him to go to his son’s side in Los Angeles, and all continued to offer their support for

the five years it took for him to get better.

As Hedlund faced his own health problems last year, which required open heart surgery in Cleveland, Ohio, the university continued to extend its support.

“They were very open to helping me get better,” he said. “From HR to upper administration. That meant a great deal to me.”

Now recovered from his surgery, Hedlund is closing his chapter on full-time teaching, but he doesn’t plan on becoming idle.

“I’m not a very good not-worker,” he said.

He’ll continue running his consulting business, which he’s maintained for 25 years, teach some courses in Newman University’s Doctor of Business Administration program in Wichita and even hopes to pick up a few MBA courses to teach at KWU now and then.

“I like being a Coyote,” he said. “When I first came, I came because of the stability of the organization, but over the years I’ve become a Coyote. I’m very proud to work here. With the resources we have, we do a superb job.

“I think that as we practice working together and do the strategic plan, we’ll end up going the right direction. I don’t see a betterrun university.”

Spring 2023 CONTACT 13
Dr. Paul Hedlund teaches one of his last classes in Peters Science Hall in April. Hedlund is retiring and moving on to other projects.
“I like being a Coyote. When I first came, I came because of the stability of the organization, but over the years I’ve become a Coyote. … I don't see a better-run university.”
— Dr. Paul Hedlund, retiring professor of Business and Accounting

Grad melds business, theatre majors

When Madeline (Norrell) Goans ’23 walked across the stage to accept her KWU degrees in May, she was the only graduate earning both a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre.

Her goal? To take what she learned as a theatre and business major and motivate the students coming behind her.

“I want to inspire kids to go far,” Goans said. “I come from a small town. I wasn’t really inspired in high school to go out and do what I want to do. I want to be that inspiration for college kids and let them know, ‘Hey, you didn’t have that background but here are your possibilities for your future.’”

Originally from Chandler, Okla., Goans grew up on the stage, honing her skills as an actress starting as early as kindergarten.

Many roles would follow throughout her youth, allowing her to become a member of the Thespian Society. That led to her attending a thespian festival as a sophomore in high school, where she met Karen Babcock Brassea, KWU’s associate professor of Theatre Arts, director and choreographer.

“Madeline and I met at the Oklahoma Thespians Conference, and we simply hit it off,” Brassea said. “My memories of her participation in the acting workshop I offered at the conference are that of an inventive and energetic, yet focused, young actress, who was ready to go places. Those first impressions of her have not changed.”

Goans and Brassea connected again at the same festival the following year, only now Brassea was there to offer her the scholarship to come to Kansas Wesleyan.

“She had seen the work I had done,” Goans said. “I didn’t know anyone coming to Kansas Wesleyan, but having that connection (with Brassea), that loving, already accepting connection, I knew a small school was the way to go.”

Once on campus, Goans was working toward her business degree with just a minor in Theatre, but it was her advisor, Dr. Daniel Botz, KWU professor of Business and Accounting, who convinced her that, although it would take a lot of time and work on her part, double majoring was possible and she should take on the task.

Taking 20 hours a semester (she is also minoring in Communications), Goans became a mainstay on stage and backstage both at KWU and Theatre Salina. She was cast in numerous shows as an actress, dancer and stage manager.

She was also the cross-country team manager for a year. And in the Philharmonic Choir. And

Save the Date

on the Debate and Forensics team, where she excelled despite having no previous experience in the medium.

“Madeline is a busy woman with well-honed organizational skills and healthy boundaries. She has had to develop these attributes to be successful as a double-major in Theatre Arts and Business Management. In other words, she knows her limits,” Brassea said. “She communicates well with her instructors and those in authority in any activity in which she has consented to participate and is always all in when she says ‘yes’ to a project.”

After Goans accepts her diploma from KWU, she will be off (virtually) to the University of Idaho, having been accepted into the MFA program for Theatre Pedagogy.

“Not a lot of people know about the business side of theatre,” Goans said. “There is publicity, advertising, playbill writing, box office — there’s a lot of things that go into the business side.

“Now that I’m graduating with these two degrees, I have every opportunity to do stuff that a businessperson would do, and I have every opportunity to do stuff that a theatre person would do,” Goans continued. “The opportunities that I am going to have after Kansas Wesleyan and after grad school are going to be pretty big.”

“Madeline pursues her goals with a ferocious focus,” Brassea said. “She sees where she wants to go and takes calculated and enthusiastic steps to get there. I can’t wait to see where she is in 10 years.”

14 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Madeline Goans played both Anabella Schmidt and Pamela Edwards in KWU's Fall 2022 production of The 39 Steps Presented by Mahaska, the Gala's title Sponsor Saturday, april 20, 2024 | Kansas Wesleyan University’s Student activities Center Premier Sponsors: Advantage Trust Company, Bennington State Bank, BE Wealth, Sunflower Bank, UMB Bank hosted by Kansas Wesleyan University and the KWU Foundation

Beverly ’98 leads social justice parade

Alumna named Drum Major for Justice for social justice work

A drum major prepares others to pass the torch on, Ramona Malone said, and the Drum Major for Justice award from the Salina MLK Jr. ad hoc committee is a way to recognize and honor those individuals.

That’s why she nominated Sandra Beverly ’98 for the award given in January for her past and present commitment to social justice.

Beverly was not expecting it.

“It never occurred to me,” Beverly said. “I was really, really surprised. I really was. I don’t do things because I’m expecting anything. I do it just because it feels like something I have to do.”

January’s honor is the latest in a long line for Beverly, who has also received the Cordia Wesson Award for those who contribute the most service to the Salina NAACP and the Women of Achievement Award from the Girl Scouts for social justice.

“I just feel I’m on the right path,” Beverly said of her unexpected awards. “It means something to me. I want everybody to have the right to feel OK with their beliefs and their religion without somebody telling them that that’s wrong. Even if I don’t agree with them.”

Starting young

Beverly’s path of multiculturalism began in Okinawa, Japan, where she went to grade school when her stepfather was stationed there in the military. That introduced her to a wider world than she would have known had she stayed in the States, she said.

After returning to Salina, she learned to wrap a sari as a teen in the summer of 1970 at a Kansas Wesleyan culture camp, studying Southeast Asia for a week.

Beverly’s husband shared her path.

“We sought out people at Kansas Wesleyan from different cultures and adopted them into our family,” Beverly said. “We wanted our kids to know that they just didn’t live in

a microcosm; there was a world out there and they needed to know how to navigate it.

“Of course, being United Methodist, we had a strong connection with Kansas Wesleyan, anyway.”

In October 1990, the path took her to KWU as the university’s multicultural assistant and advisor to the Multicultural Council. At the time, she had four children, ages 17 years to 23 months. Her husband had died 18 months earlier.

She enrolled at KWU in 1997 to finish the degree she’d started at Brown Mackie. Her major was Sociology, her minor Theatre. She worked as Dr. Don Olsen’s class assistant.

“I have really good memories of the people on campus,” Beverly said.

She sang in the school choir, and she and Jernard Burks ’90 starred in the first licensed Midwest production of August Wilson’s play Fences on campus.

Beverly took a job as a case manager for Headstart.

“That job almost killed me,” she said. “It was a really rewarding job, but it sucked the life out of me.”

In 2001, she took a job as an investigator with the Salina Human

Relations Commission. She was already familiar with the commission because she’d been on the citizen board for five years.

“It wasn’t just her profession, it was her calling,” Malone said. Beverly retired from the city in 2017.

Dana Adams 1893 Project

The path took a new turn when she learned of an old death.

Her friend Rev. Delores “Dee” Williamston had raised money to mark the grave of Dana Adams, the 19-year-old Black man lynched on April 20, 1893. It is the only reported lynching in Salina.

Williamston is now a United Methodist bishop serving the Louisiana Conference and a former trustee of Kansas Wesleyan.

“I’m saddened by the fact that this happened in Salina and Saline County, but I’m glad by the fact that we have the history,” Beverly said. “I graduated from high school here and I never heard that story.”

The marker was placed in 2009 in Gypsum Hill Cemetery, with help from the Salina Juneteenth Celebration Committee, and additional memorials exist in Salina’s Caldwell Plaza, as well as near

— Sandy Beverly, about being recognized for her social justice work

Adams’ grave in Gypsum Hill.

The Dana Adams 1893 Project is continuing as part of the Equal Justice Initiative, trying to locate and place markers on the graves of other Black people in Gypsum Hill, including Dana Adams’ father, Wade.

Beverly also serves as a Kansas Supreme Court-appointed mediator working with SIRJ, Salina Initiative for Restorative Justice. She works with first-time juvenile offenders and their victims, if both parties agree to come to an agreement about restitution and accountability.

Beverly held every office in the Salina NAACP, though she’s given them up now. She is still vice president of the North Salina Community Development Board.

“There’s so many layers to Sandy it’s impossible to encapsulate how awesome she is,” said Malone, chair of the MLK ad hoc committee that spearheads the MLK Jr. Day celebrations. “She’s been at the forefront of addressing inequities, not just for African-Americans but injustice for everyone.”

Spring 2023 CONTACT 15
Courtesy photo Sandy Beverly ’98, left, and Rev. Dee Williamston, former KWU trustee, are two of the leaders working with the Equal Justice Initiative on the Dana Adams community remembrance project in Salina.
“I just feel I’m on the right path. It means something to me. I want everybody to have the right to feel OK with their beliefs and their religion without somebody telling them that that’s wrong. Even if I don’t agree with them.”

Situated in the heart of America’s breadbasket, Kansas Wesleyan University is launching an exciting new initiative that will convene local and global agricultural experts, community-based organizations, local and state government leaders, and individual change agents to find solutions for a more stable, secure and equitable ecosystem.

The Community Resilience Hub (CRH), which has been in development for two years, is beginning to take shape and turn heads. With three main strategic focal points –education, action and advocacy – the CRH is an innovative space for conversation,

collaboration and research, as well as a handson learning laboratory and training center.

“The CRH is multi-faceted,” said Sabrina do Rosario, KWU campus coordinator for the CRH. “It is a place to learn, as well as a place where people can bring ideas, find common ground and tackle some of the most critical issues affecting our society and ecosystem. We want to provide opportunities to empower change and create sustainable solutions for individuals and communities.”

The hub is initially focused on initiatives centered on regenerative organic agriculture

as a strategy to address both food insecurity and Kansas’ reliance on other states to supply residents with fresh produce.

While Kansas produces onefifth of the country’s wheat, 90 percent of the food Kansans consume is produced outside of the state’s border. Rosario said that a better understanding of the challenges, specific to land in the central Plains, will enable the CRH and its partners to develop innovative solutions for sustainable food systems and address inequity in food access, particularly in rural areas.

“We are located in the heart of the country, surrounded by people who have a special

connection to this beautiful land—farmers,” said Rosario. “We have big dreams for Kansas Wesleyan and for Kansas, starting with food security and regenerative organic agriculture and eventually focusing on energy and water usage.”

Key partnerships and collaborations have created energy and momentum as the hub has begun to transition into operations in 2023. Hands-on learning and research will take place at Quail Creek Family Farms, a 1,000-acre farm that is being developed and certified as a regenerative organic farm, including engaging animals in the regenerative system. JRI

It all starts with the soil.

Soil is a precious yet vulnerable natural resource. Both the positive contributors and the damaging disrupters of soil health have ripple effects across nearly every industry, most particularly agriculture and health care. They affect the supply chain and the economy. By learning to work with nature, rather than against it, every human being will benefit.


• Train the next generation of regenerative farmers

• Prepare a workforce supporting farmers and food system security

• Increase student opportunities for practical, applied fieldwork


• Move toward more sustainable, regenerative farming practices by:

– Championing capacity-building initiatives to assist with farming transitions

– Leading data-driven research

• Develop and lead food security initiatives to expand food access


• Increase farmer and community awareness of healthy soil practices and sustainable methods to manage our natural assets and secure the state’s food system

• Increase overall understanding of resiliency and how to achieve it

Hospitality and Ingermanson

Family Farms have allocated 600 acres of Quail Creek Family Farms to regenerative organic farming practices and have committed to providing continued support for those participating in CRH programs. This expands the university’s partnership with Jason Ingermanson, whose support has created significant impacts on the campus through other endeavors.

This summer, CRH will host its second civil discourse training session for the campus and community. It has also begun work on a sustainability plan with the goal of moving the campus toward carbon neutrality. Curriculum is being developed for a minor in agro-ecology that will give students in a wide range of majors the opportunity to enhance their marketability in environmental career fields.

In April, KWU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Rodale Institute, a global

leader in the regenerative organic farming movement for more than 75 years. KWU working with the Rodale Institute will bring groundbreaking science, direct farmer support programming, and decades of agriculture research experience to Salina and Kansas. Their partnership will help build a pipeline of farmers skilled in regenerative organic agricultural practices and establish a hub for education and innovation in Kansas.

“We are honored to work alongside Rodale and thrilled to embark on a new and deeper relationship with JRI Hospitality. It is exciting to imagine what our three organizations can do to harness the health and safety of our land, food systems and community,” said Dr. Matt Thompson, president and CEO of Kansas Wesleyan.

The CRH has also partnered with the Kansas Rural Center, Common Ground Producers and Growers, and St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church to execute a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant that will address supporting healthy food cultivation and food insecurity along the Interstate 135 corridor between Wichita and Salina. The CRH will manage the Salina operations, supporting the creation of a farmer-led food hub in the region, improving access to local foods in communities with low access to fresh,

nutritious food. This project embeds a holistic vision of the food system and will simultaneously help farmers in the region who have production geared toward local markets access new market channels and increase access to fresh, local food for consumers across the region, with a special attention toward areas that currently have limited access.

For more information, visit

Kansas produces one-fifth of the country’s wheat, yet 90% of the food Kansans consume is produced outside of the state’s border.

Celebrating the Thompson Era

Dr. Matt Thompson began serving as KWU’s 19th president on April 13, 2013, and was officially inaugurated on Sept. 27, 2013.

Dr. Matt Thompson, the 19th president of Kansas Wesleyan, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of his inauguration this fall. His tenure has been marked by new programs, new buildings and new relationships, but more than that, it has been marked by surety. Indeed, Thompson’s leadership has positioned KWU on its firmest footing ever. A dramatic increase in student scholarships, an increased placement rate, a 22% jump in enrollment (2019 – present) and multiple new on-campus buildings are just some of the factors that portend a bright future for Kansas Wesleyan University.

Through the years ...

Since Thompson’s inauguration:

• KWU embarked upon its largest building effort in school history! Projects have included:

w Graves Family Sports Complex

w Nursing Education Center

w Coyote Village (new student housing)

w Sams Chapel/Music project

w Bieber Dining Hall

w Multiple Athletic Facilities

w Residence Hall Renovations

w Peters Science Hall Renovations

w Pioneer Hall Improvements

Spring 2023 CONTACT 19
President Thompson presents an award to Emily Monson ’22 at the 2022 Commencement ceremony. Dr. Thompson speaks at the announcement ceremony for Coyote Village at Homecoming 2022. With trustees Kent Lambert ’72, Randy St. Clair ’66 and former President Dr. Marshall Stanton, Dr. Thompson stands alongside Gene Bissell at the October 2015 dedication of Gene Bissell Field.
2013 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2022-23 2021
Inaugurated on Sept. 27, 2013 Nursing Education Center opens for classes President Thompson opens up the Kirwin House for students to enjoy snacks and play some card games.
The Graves Family Sports Complex opens KWU Athletics wins its first KCAC Commissioner’s Cup KWU launches its first online degree programs KWU begins work on Coyote Village and Music renovation KWU’s relationship with The Washington Center begins Bieber Biology Lab dedicated as part of a run of several science lab renovations KWU earns Tree Campus Higher Education recognition for the first time University launches bachelor’s degree in Social Work

More than a game

Volleyball coach fosters a culture of friendship and winning — on and off the court

Playing for a competitive volleyball program was understandably important to Cortney Hanna as she pondered which college she would attend in the fall of 2019.

Wins and losses, though, weren’t the only criteria. She sought a place that also would be enriching academically and socially as well as athletically.

Her quest led her to Kansas Wesleyan and firstyear coach Jessica Biegert.

“The competitiveness was there but also the fact that they liked each other off the court,” said Hanna, a setter who signed with KWU out of Lawrence High School. “I think you can have really competitive teams and really skilled teams but don’t get along off the court and don’t try to get along. This team really wanted to do both.”

Hanna was part of a large freshman class that during the past four years helped mold KWU into a model program on and off the court. The Coyotes are 84-47 overall (43-17 in the Kansas Conference) on the court since 2019, reaching their pinnacle in November, when they won the conference tournament title — KWU’s first since 2014.

They were also champions in the classroom, in the community and on campus. Ten Coyotes, including Hanna — a biomedical chemistry major who graduated in December ’22 — were named NAIA Scholar-Athletes in December.

Culture is key

Hanna and Biegert point to culture as the key.

“I think culture is something that unites us all, something that is a common standard that everyone buys into,” Hanna said. “Jess always preaches being a well-rounded person. She has a triangle of values that we go through that’s God, family and school volleyball, just prioritizing that and making sure you’re well-rounded in all those aspects, that you can be involved in more than volleyball.”

“Team culture is a group of people working together for the betterment in the big picture of the program, striving for a certain standard, or both,” Biegert said. “I always preach that volleyball is not the most important thing in life. It’s a community to get you through a sensitive time.”

It doesn’t occur overnight. The process begins the previous spring semester with team members selecting the values they will emphasize for the upcoming year.

“This year was ‘chasing diamonds,’ physically getting a (championship) ring, but there are things beyond that,” Hanna said. “The qualities of the diamonds that we decided on were authenticity, strength and brilliance. Being authentic with your teammates, with your professors, with anything like that. The strength is pushing through any adversity. The brilliance is shining where you can, shine when you’re needed. Just emulating those in volleyball and in life.”

Biegert made the process tangible.

“We bought silicone purple rings that said ‘chasing diamonds’ on them,” she said. “They were committed to those values, and the silicone rings would be replaced with real ones. They had reminders throughout the day that when things aren’t going your way the (ring) is what we’re about.

“They choose the values and decide what we’re going to be about. I have to buy into it, too.”

Hanna said the ring was a reminder that she was essential individually and as part of something bigger.

“Just coming in every day with the same mindset, even if it’s a bad day,” she said, “dropping that all at the door and competing every day. That teaches other people that she’s putting in 100 percent, I need to put in 100 percent, and it

“Statistically, we lost in every category, but we won because they love each other and refused to lose for each other. That's when you see culture come out, and it was special to watch, for sure.”

makes the whole team better.”

Proof? Biegert points to the team’s resilience during the KCAC Tournament in Hutchinson. KWU was on the brink of elimination, trailing Saint Mary 10-6 in the decisive fifth set of the championship match. Undaunted, the Coyotes rallied for an improbable 15-12 victory.

“Statistically we lost in every category, but we won because they loved each other and refused to lose for each other,” Biegert said. “That’s when you see culture come out, and it was special to watch, for sure.

20 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Continued, Page 21
The KWU volleyball team celebrates winning the KCAC championship title on Nov. 12.

Graduate set for role reversal

Utz will do more of what she's done but from the other side of the desk

The roles will be reversed when Alexis Utz walks into school in August.

After 16 years as a student and member of an athletic team, she’ll be the person standing in front of the class and on the sidelines coaching the team.

It will be a stark contrast to what she’s been accustomed to, but Utz says she’s ready after three hectic and memorable years as a student-athlete and earning a degree summa cum laude in History Education from Kansas Wesleyan.

Utz also received the Exemplary Student Teacher Award and Outstanding History Graduate.

Utz will return to the Kansas City area for a job teaching sixthgrade social studies at Platte County Middle School in Platte City, Mo, in the fall. She’ll also work with the Platte County High School volleyball program as head C Team coach and as an assistant for the varsity squad.

“I’m really excited — I think it’s going to be a fun transition to still be part of a team, just in a different role,” said Utz, who graduated in May. “I’m excited to take on that challenge and grow into it.”

Utz was a middle blocker at KWU all three years, helping the Coyotes post a 69-29 overall record, 35-13 in the Kansas Conference. They won the 2022 KCAC Tournament title and competed in the NAIA National


From Page 20

Championship opening round.

Utz also was a member of Wesleyan’s highly successful DECA team for two years and was a top-10 finisher in Event Planning with partner Maddy Beckett in the organization’s international competition both seasons. DECA is an organized business competition that provides students with problems and asks them to present solutions. Some disciplines require a report written beforehand, while others involve an exam taken before the competition. All involve presentations with varying amounts of time to prepare, sometimes as little as 30 minutes.

Utz found DECA and volleyball to be compatible endeavors.

“You wouldn’t think academic and sport would correlate, but they

overlap in so many different ways,” she said. “Problem-solving when you’re stuck in a situation and feel like there’s no way we’re going to beat this team or no way we’re going to be able to solve this case. Just thinking critically, having a positive attitude and knowing that we can accomplish it. Knowing we can solve the DECA case or we can win the volleyball game.”

Quick, split-second decision making is essential in both.

“Being able to go in front of a judge and speak confidently and with authority on the ideas that we came up with,” she said, “or in volleyball having to decide when you get set where you’re going to hit the ball – am I going to hit it deep, am I going to tip it? Thinking quickly what would be the best option to score at that time.”

Utz and Beckett placed second in event planning in the 2022 DECA International competition and were sixth in this year’s event in April in Orlando, Fla. They won each of their state competitions.

“Not only did she and (Beckett) accomplish high accolades, but she also made the team better due to her charismatic personality,” DECA coach Dr. Trish Petak said. “Her work ethic, natural drive to be her best, positive attitude, energy and love of education will make her an exceptional history/social studies teacher.

“She and her partner are the best duo I have ever coached or observed.”

and was highly successful in the classroom during 10 years.

Utz and Beckett are close friends in addition to teammates — Beckett a May graduate with a master’s degree in business administration.

“We’re super-good friends,” Utz said. “We hang out outside of volleyball, we hang out outside of classes. Just knowing her as a person and her knowing me has made a tremendous difference in DECA. I think that’s part of the reason why we’re able to be so successful and why we have a chemistry.”

Utz is also thankful for her friendship with KWU’s eight graduating senior volleyball athletes.

“Those are friends I’m going to have for the rest of my life, and that’s something you can’t pay for, something you can’t wish for,” she said. “The relationships with those girls are something that I’ll have for the rest of my life. I’m going to miss them.”

She also formed strong friendships as a resident assistant in the residence halls.

“The relationships with those girls are something that I’m eternally grateful for, to be able to spend time with people and get to know them on a personal level,” she said. “I’ve met so many incredible people at KWU, I think that’s one of the advantages of a small school. I talk to my friends who are at (Missouri) and KU and K-State and they don’t even know their professor’s first name.

“I’m so grateful for my time at Kansas Wesleyan.”

“Our values and having that culture are something that you can fall back on when the skill isn’t necessarily there or you’re competing against a team that is the exact same level as you,” Hanna said.

Biegert faced a challenge upon arriving at KWU. She replaced longtime coach Fred Aubuchon whose teams won 219 games, four KCAC regular season titles, two tournament titles

“Fred always had a very good culture, and I had always been at programs that I had to rebuild, so this was the first job where I had to recreate culture,” she said. “It’s harder to recreate culture because Fred had such a good one here.”

Enter Hanna and the 2019 recruiting class.

“With such a big class, it was freshmen and everyone else when we first got here,” she said. “Over time we were able to garner the respect of upperclassmen, and as we grew, the people coming in under us were able to earn the respect.

“We’re very straightforward about who we are with recruits because we want them to fit our system,” Biegert said.

Hanna said the Coyotes’ culture was something she’ll always cherish.

“When it came to the classroom, when it came to work ethic, we had a standard for our team and Jess had a standard for us,” she said. “It was all-around in every aspect of your life. And I think we’ll remain close friends after we leave.”

Spring 2023 CONTACT 21
Alexis Utz will start her job teaching social studies this summer in Platte City, Mo.


Soccer, bowling programs will start year with new leadership

Palmbaum comes to men’s team with years of coaching experience and pro playing

Bruce Palmbaum, an experienced leader with some 35 years of coaching experience, is the new skipper for KWU men’s soccer. He joined the Coyotes after a two-year stint as soccer coach at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., where he worked alongside current KWU Director of Athletics Miguel Paredes. His 2022 squad finished fifth in the ultracompetitive American Midwest Conference, as the Stars recorded five shutouts in conference play and a sixth against William Woods in the AMC Tournament. He coached five All-AMC selections in 2022, including a pair of first-team selections. Eight were named Academic All-AMC. Palmbaum was the only coach in Stephens history to lead the soccer program to back-to-back conference tournament appearances, in 2021 and 2022.

Palmbaum said his relationship with Paredes was key in making the decision.

“Working with Miguel at Stephens, I have come to respect him,” he said. “We worked well together and I look forward to continuing that here.”

Palmbaum said he expects his student-athletes to experience a high level of growth while a part of the program — in many different ways.

He also spent time as an assistant coach at Northern Michigan, a head coach at the University of Tulsa and was a U19 coach in Sacramento, Calif., for 25 years.

Palmbaum played collegiately at the University of Oregon and UCLA before moving up to the professional level, where he played for the Los Angeles Lazers (MISL), Fulham FC (Great Britain), AZ Alkmsaar (Netherlands) and SV Hoofddorp (Netherlands).

Schwartz to coach KWU women after successful record at Southwestern

Joe Schwartz comes to Kansas Wesleyan after spending the past two seasons as head coach at Southwestern College in Winfield.

Schwartz compiled a 24-106 overall record and 16-4-4 record in KCAC play during the past two seasons. His teams twice advanced to the KCAC championship, and he coached 12 All-KCAC honorees and 23 KCAC Scholar-Athletes during his two years at Southwestern.

Schwartz has more than eight years of coaching experience across several

levels of the game, including serving as the head coach of Arkansas City High School’s girls team for five years. He is a founding member of a local youth soccer club in the Winfield area, as well as of Ascension Soccer Development, a company that provides individual and small group training to dedicated individuals.

Schwartz, a native of Arkansas City, played soccer at Southwestern College while completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in 2014. He is working towards completion of his Master of Leadership degree, also from Southwestern.

Halinski to lead KWU bowling

Herb Halinski is the new coach of KWU bowling, and comes to KWU after coaching the boys and girls teams at McPherson High School for 17 years. He was the Kansas High School Bowling Coach of the Year in 2014 and has been a member of the Kansas Bowling Coaches Association and a United States Bowling Association Silver Level Coach since 2009.

Halinski also has served as manager of the McPherson Bowling Association since 2012 and was inducted into the McPherson Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2014.

Paredes reflects on first semester as AD

Kansas Wesleyan wins Commissioner’s Cup once again

It’s been quite the first semester on campus for Miguel Paredes, who joined Kansas Wesleyan as its director of athletics in January. KWU wrapped up its third KCAC Commissioner’s Cup, the award given to the top performing department in the conference, in the past four years in May.

“This department is filled with dedicated student-athletes, coaches and staff and has a storied tradition and great expectations,” said Paredes

at the time of his hiring. “There is tremendous pride in the purple and gold, and we will work extremely hard to make our alumni, donors, community and university even more proud.”

The department has done just that in Paredes’ first few months as a Coyote. KWU has seen numerous successes, including baseball’s KCAC title (the first since 2011), men’s bowling making its second straight

trip to nationals and the best season in women’s flag football’s young history. Men’s basketball also made its second straight trip to the NAIA Tournament and won a playoff game for the second consecutive season, while men’s indoor track completed its best year ever, posting four national qualifiers and earning a runner-up KCAC finish.

Five KWU coaches won KCAC Coach of the Year honors, while track assistant Shaquelle Lewis earned a litany of honors, including USTFCCCA South-Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

“It’s been a great spring for our department,” said Paredes. “I’m

excited to see what’s in store this fall, with new leadership on the pitch and a tremendous roster returning on the gridiron. Our programs are in good hands, and I’m thankful to see the results of the leadership and hard work throughout the department.”

Paredes has hired six new staff members, including three head coaches: Herb Halinski (bowling), Joe Schwartz (women’s soccer) and Bruce Palmbaum (men’s soccer).

Parades followed Richard Speas, who served as the interim athletic director for the fall semester and remains on staff as director of athletic recruiting and fundraising.

22 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Bruce Palmbaum Joe Schwartz Miguel Paredes Herb Halinski

Baseball Leads Spring Sports’ Tremendous Success!

Baseball was led by KCAC Player of the Year Jarrett Gable (pictured near right) who ranked fifth in the NAIA in RBI and set a new school record for home runs. As a team, the Coyotes ranked second in the country in home runs, hit .327 overall and posted a new school record for victories. KWU was also strong on the mound, led by Jarrett Brannan (pictured far right) and his NAIA-leading 14 wins. It was the team’s first regular season conference title since 2011. Head Coach Bill Neale was named KCAC Coach of the Year, while Gable and six other Coyotes earned First Team AllKCAC honors. The program wrapped up its season with two wins in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship.

Women’s flag football posted the most wins in program history and earned a KCAC runner-up finish. Perhaps the highlight of the year, however, was contesting the championship game at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. Men’s bowling, meanwhile, qualified for the NAIA National Championship for the second time in three years!

Spring 2023 CONTACT 23 Follow KWU Athletics: @goKWU | kwucoyotes | Kansas Wesleyan University
It was a great spring for KWU athletics, including great results for baseball, women’s flag football and men’s bowling.

Men’s Basketball continues to Build championship culture!

It was an incredible year for KWU’s men’s basketball program, one of the best ever!

KWU returns all five of its starters in 2023-24. The team’s schedule will be announced early in the fall semester.

24 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Head Coach Anthony Monson earned KCAC Coach of the Year honors. The Coyotes advanced to the national tournament for the second straight year, a program first, and set a school record for conference wins in a season. Alex Littlejohn earned Third Team All-American honors.

The men’s track and field team enjoyed one of its best seasons on record!

The indoor team finished second – its best conference result ever!

2023 KWU Men’s Indoor TracK and FIeld TeaM

Four Coyotes qualified individually for the NAIA National Championships and both Head Coach Kyle Hiser (KCAC Coach of the Year) and Assistant Coach Shaquelle Lewis (KCAC Assistant Coach of the Year, USTFCCCA Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year, South Central Region) earned honors as well.

The outdoor season was ongoing at press time, but early meet results included the KWU Distance Carnival, the Coyotes’ first regular season home meet ever contested at Graves Family Sports Complex.

Spring 2023 CONTACT 25
Kyle Hiser captured KCAC Coach of the Year honors! KCAC shot put champion Cole Parker.
Follow KWU Athletics: @goKWU | kwucoyotes | Kansas Wesleyan University
Athletes compete at the KWU Distance Carnival in April.


$25,000 AND ABOVE

Roy and Donice Applequist

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C & R Schauf Foundation

Elden V. Miller Family

David and Patricia Fancher

Al and Kathy Franzen

Greater Salina Community Foundation

Great Plains Annual Conference of the United

Methodist Church

Barbara Hauptli

Jason and Lisa Ingermanson

John and Mary H. Hart Foundation

JRI Investments


Jerry and Margaret Norton

Salina Regional Health Foundation

Schmidt Foundation

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Smoot Charitable Foundation

Mac Steele

Zimmerman Family Foundation, Inc.


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Ada United Methodist Church

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation

Dennis Berndt

Bennington State Bank

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Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation

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Sage Products, Inc.

Salina Regional Health Center

Salina Wholesale Liquor

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Strategic America

The Schraeder Family Living Trust

Guy Walker


$1,886 - $2,499

John Betterson

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26 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Pioneer Society members gather at Kirwin House on Oct. 22, 2022, for the Pioneer Society Social during Homecoming. Pictured left to right: David Branda ’76, former KWU President Dr. Marshall Stanton, Barry Weis ’10 and Lisa Weis.

Martin and Wanda Brotherton

Judy Calcote

Wayne Chauncey

Kent and Adrienne Cox

Marshall and Sandra Crowther

Annie Grevas

Gordon and Joyce Gorton

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Gayle and Jane McMillen

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Crown Distributors

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Pioneer Society members provide annual support for the university in the amount of $1,000 or more ($500 for faculty and staff or alumni who graduated within the past 10 years).

If you are interested in joining the Pioneer Society, please contact Ken Oliver, executive vice president of advancement and university operations, at 785-833-4342.

Earl Montgomery

Richard and Sarah Morrison

Morrison Foundation Trust

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Ken and Michelle Oliver

Dustin and Kylie Pestinger

Nicholas and Regina Petron

Michale and Susan Ramage

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Spring 2023 CONTACT 27
Joyce Gorton ’67 and Gordon Gorton ’67 visit with Janet DuBois ’64 at the Pioneer Society Social on Oct. 22, 2022, during Homecoming. Joyce Gorton has been named the Alumni Service Award-winner for 2023 (see page 31). Stan Razak ’73, Stan Smith ’74 and Bryan Meall ’65 chat at the Pioneer Society Social at Homecoming in October.

Diehl ’72 anticipates 101st birthday

Longtime teacher practices what she taught — eating right, physical exercise

On Ethel Diehl’s 100th birthday, Aug. 4, 2022, a neighbor pulled into her farm yard, with his camera. He told her, “I knew Ethel would be out working, wouldn’t be Ethel if she wasn’t out working.”

She was, mowing the lawn on a riding mower, and he took the photograph. Diehl ’72 has always mowed her own lawn.

From at least high school on, she has made a habit of regular exercise, healthy eating, hard work and a positive attitude.

She still has her letter from the Kansas GAA — Girls Athletic Association — in high school.

“If you pitched so many horseshoes, if you ran so many miles, if you rode a bike, you got awards,” Diehl said about GAA. “Each year, I would complete the list of things to do, to keep healthy and exercise.”

Her favorite activities were riding horses and pitching horseshoes.

The diploma and letter are in one of Diehl’s many scrapbooks, stuffed with photos of people and places, documents, biographies and teaching contracts. She saved all 200 birthday cards from her 100th birthday.

Besides living to be almost 101 — so far — Diehl is an expert on rural elementary education, having taught more than 40 years, from oneroom rural schools in Gypsum and Brookville to third and fourth grades in Brookville Elementary School, which was consolidated into Ell-Saline USD 307 in 1996.

Ethel Laas was born Aug. 4, 1922, the middle of seven children. Her parents, both German immigrants, had a dairy farm between Bavaria and Brookville.

Determined to go to school

When she was 4, she would follow her older sister to school every day. A neighbor would bring her back home until the teacher said to let her stay. She walked or rode a horse about 3 miles to a one-room grade school, yes, even during a blizzard. They should have called off school, Diehl said, but that almost never happened in those days. The drifts were so deep, the horses foundered after about 2 miles, and the teacher sent the junior high boys to help the Laas children the rest of the way.

When they got there, the “naughty old teacher” rubbed her face and feet with even more snow, which made her really mad and cry. Diehl knows now that the teacher was just treating her for


Had the farm been on the other side of the road, she would have attended Brookville High School, but she graduated from Bavaria High School in 1939, at the age of 16.

Athletics was still important when she attended Kansas Wesleyan from 1939-41. She joined the WAA, Women’s Athletic Association. Elizabeth Howe was the Physical Education teacher and WAA sponsor.

“Mrs. Howe chose me and about 10 students,” Diehl said. “We’d spend the day at another college, kind of like a track meet. We’d shoot bows and arrows, a diversity of different activities.”

Weekly events included archery, swimming, biking, and playing basketball, volleyball, softball and tennis. They hosted freshmen girls at a “vegetable dinner” and high school students at a playdate in May.

She was also a Wesley-Ann, a member of the campus pep organization. They ushered at games and distributed schedules at football games, among other duties. She also played in the marching band.

As active as she was, though, most weekends she went home, often inviting classmates from Wyoming to go and ride horses with her.

First teaching job in Gypsum

In 1941, she had her teaching certificate and left Kansas Wesleyan to take a job teaching all grades in Gypsum, for the munificent sum of $480 a year, according to the contract she saved. She lived

in Gypsum but often took some of her students home with her for the weekend.

Ethel Laas married Eli Diehl in 1944 and moved to the farmhouse his parents had built and he’d lived in his whole life. Instead of working on her parents’ dairy farm, she now worked on a beef ranch. They also grew corn, milo, sorghum, wheat and hay.

“You were always busy,” she said. “Never, ever a dull moment.”

Diehl’s done almost all the work needed to be done on a farm, discing, throwing hay, working the cattle. The sale barn in Salina threw her a birthday party on Aug. 18, when she went in to sell some cattle, they knew her so well there.

She put her foot down on vaccinating, though. Her job was dropping the gate in the cattle chute, but she never liked needles.

Besides the beef and the crops, there were chickens, lots of chickens, in at least two chicken coops, a big garden, produce to put up and two children, Henry and Jolene, to raise, and 4-H. They also had cows to milk by hand.

She was a member of the Rebekah Lodge for 78 years.

Diehl gave up teaching when Eli came back from World War II, but after the war, teachers were in short supply, so she was asked to go back into the classroom.

Diehl taught third and fourth grades in Brookville, retiring in 1987.

Continued on Page 29

28 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Ethel Diehl ’72 poses with members of the KWU softball team at Homecoming and Family Weekend in October, a few months after turning 100 years old.

DeWalt ’23 sets her priorities

New alumna looked for balance in classes, activities, field work and social life

A Social Work and Sociology double-major, Avery DeWalt received her degree from Kansas Wesleyan University in May after just three years, all while balancing two seasons on the volleyball team, her role as secretary for the Student Government Association, as well as her membership in numerous on-campus clubs.

“I’ve learned to become really good at prioritizing,” she said.

She admits that she struggled at times to balance her social life with the demands of her academics, which being part of the volleyball team eased.

“Coming in and being thrown into a team and having to figure it out — that was probably the biggest factor that allowed me to be successful with my social life because we were together all the time and we became friends naturally,” she said.

Her involvement in other clubs and student groups, such as the Student Government Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Stigma-Free Committee, also provided her with social outlets, while simultaneously diversifying her point of view.

“I’ve learned a lot from my peers about how they view the world,” she said. In particular, she learned more about how religion and mental health affect fellow college students.

She used her final year on campus to continue to find balance, which was necessary as she added her 400-hour field education course to her already


From Page 28

It was still legal for her to teach elementary students with just a teaching certificate, but high school teachers needed college degrees, and she decided to return to Kansas Wesleyan for hers in the early ’70s.

So on top of the family, crops, cattle and other livestock, garden, and mowing her own lawn, she took classes in the fall and summer.

“It was always a challenge to get that done,” Diehl said.

For a KWU class demonstration once, the grandmother, then almost 50, impressed her fellow students with a lesson on health habits –touching the floor, eating right and exercising.

Diehl retired from teaching in 1987, and Eli

busy schedule.

To complete her hours, DeWalt worked with Salina’s Child Advocacy and Protection Services in four of its departments: parent education, the child advocacy center, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and family mentoring. In addition, she had a few teenage clients whom she mentored about problems they were facing. Her time there helped her complete her degree.

“Eventually, I want to work with children and families in a therapeutic role, so Social Work

provided me the best avenue to get there,” she said. “Although this isn’t the exact work I want to do, I’m going to be able to take these experiences and have that as a baseline.

Social Work really just combined all my interests with advocacy, mental health and social justice.”

Dr. Andrew Bedrous, associate professor of Sociology, provided mentorship as her advisor while DeWalt pursued her degree.

“I just think he is one of the most openminded and inviting people that I’ve met,” she said. “He really encourages people to talk about their experiences, and he does a good job of incorporating those experiences into lectures. I know I’ll be able to ask him for mentorship and guidance after I graduate.”

Even with her goals set, she knew doublemajoring could provide a safety net.

“With sociology, I knew it would be a good back-up plan if I didn’t like the clinical side of social work. I can set myself up for the future if something doesn’t work out.”

As for the more immediate future, DeWalt will be pursuing her master’s in clinical social work at Boston College School of Social Work in Massachusetts starting in January 2024. She will attend on a Dean’s Fellowship, which is awarded to students shown to be promising in their field.

At Commencement, DeWalt received the Donald Olsen Sociology award and the University Medallion as a 2023 student with the highest academic record.

died six months later. Thirty-five years later, she still misses him.

“I never had a luckier day than the day I married him,” she said.

She kept up the farm and ranch after Eli’s passing and still runs about 100 head of cattle. She makes lunch every day for the three men working for her.

Her granddaughter, Tammy Johnson, Jolene’s daughter, moved in upstairs about three years ago, not as a care-giver but just to be there in case Diehl falls, because Diehl admits her balance is bad.

They had to give up the garden, but Diehl still cooks meals, rakes leaves, cleans house, mows and works in the yard, Johnson said.

“I’m not the housekeeper my grandmother is,” Johnson admitted, and Diehl’s living space is, indeed, immaculate, neat and orderly.

Most of Diehl’s nieces and nephews live within 40 miles of her. Her son, Henry, lives down the road, but Jolene died in 2015. Ethel and Eli both had six siblings, so there are numerous cousins, all of whom consider the farm the family home and are welcome any time.

Most of them, even the few from out of state, attended her official 100th birthday party at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Salina, her home church.

The relatives and longtime neighbors who “feel like family” check in with her often, Diehl said, because she does live out in the country and she is 100 years old.

They keep pushing her, she said, to turn 101 because they want another party.

“I thank the Lord for my having such a good life,” Diehl said.

Spring 2023 CONTACT 29
Avery DeWalt ’23 enjoys the graduation picnic after the Baccalaureate service on May 12, 2023. DeWalt gave the benediction at Baccalaureate and won a University Medallion for the student with the highest GPA at Commencement.


& Hall of Fame Induction

The Alumni Service Award winner is Joyce (Hoffman) Gorton ’67


Gorton, a Kanopolis native, harbors a lifelong love for music and her faith. She studied piano through high school, where she helped accompany her school choir. After graduating as valedictorian from her class, she attended KWU from 1963-67. During her time at KWU, she maintained the strong connection she’d developed in her youth to the Methodist Church; she was part of the Methodist Student Movement, served as student secretary to campus minister Bill Salmon and took part in a mission trip to Georgia in 1966. After graduating cum laude from the university, she taught home economics at Wilson High School and Hays High School for eight years. She then spent 30 years as accounting manager and secretary-treasurer of Grain Belt Supply Co. In 2004, she met her now-husband, Gordon Gorton ’67, online. The two happened to have graduated from KWU the same year. Today, she continues her piano studies with Dr. Gustavo do Carmo at KWU, serves as choir accompanist and pianist at First United Methodist Church in Salina and is the treasurer for KWU’s Women’s Auxiliary.

This year’s Young Alumnus Award goes to Sean Grove ’14

Upon receiving his bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and History from KWU, Grove attended Texas A&M University School of Law, where he graduated as one of the top 20 students in his class and earned the Distinction of Excellence in Criminal Law, Justice and Policy. During his final year of law school, Grove was part of the residency program in public policy, where he worked in the office of Greg Abbott. Following his graduation, he worked in private practice as a representative of government entities before joining the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Currently, he serves as the department’s deputy executive director and oversees the operations of the residential facilities, Juvenile Justice Training Academy, and the medical, internal monitoring and inspections divisions, as well as other aspects of the department. Grove is a recent graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program through the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. While at KWU, he was a four-year player on the football team and a member of Debate and Forensics. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Rebecca (Lyne) Grove ’14.

The Alumni Achievement Award recipient is Jacquelyn Kasper ’65

Born in Salina, Kasper graduated cum laude from KWU in 1965, received her Master of Library Science from the University of Southern California in 1966 and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona in 1988. She worked as a reference librarian at the TucsonPima Public Library (16 years), State Library at the Capitol and the University of Arizona Law Library (19 years). At UA Law, she conducted research for faculty, taught legal research to students, provided subject expertise in the Arizona Collections and Special Collections, and served as librarian for the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program before she retired in 2009. She authored the Arizona chapters in Prestatehood Legal Materials and State Practice Materials and edited the Intellectual Freedom Manual for Arizona Libraries. Kasper has a biography of Arizona’s pioneering woman lawyer, Sarah Herring Sorin, forthcoming. Other honors include: University of Arizona Women’s Plaza of Honor and Arizona Library Association President’s Award.

The Alumni by Choice Award winner is McDowell (Mac) Steele

Steele is a lifelong Salina resident and philanthropist, known for his investment in the Salina community and its betterment. In recent years, he provided KWU with a $150,000 donation, which went toward the renovation of the Nursing Education Center. Another donation of $1 million led to the creation of the Mac Steele Scholarship, which is awarded to junior and senior nursing students and will continue to help students for the next three decades. Some of Steele’s other contributions to the community include an endowment to Salina Regional Health Center and a donation to the rebuilding project for the original Stiefel Theatre tower. Steele is a graduate of St. John’s Military Academy in Salina.

Scan here to get your tickets for the Saturday, Oct. 21 event!


2023 Jerry Jones Athletic Hall of Fame Induction and Alumni Awards

For the first time, alumni award winners and Jones Athletic Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the same event! For more information, visit or call 785-833-4512.

2001 KWU Baseball Team

Tim Bellew ’87, G’02 Baseball Coach

Bellew took the reins in 1995 after two years as an assistant coach and quickly showed it was a worthwhile promotion. He earned Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1996, and in 1997 he led KWU to a National Small-College Athletics Association National Championship. In the process, he was named NSCAA National Coach of the Year.

KWU repeated as NSCAA national champions in 1999, and Bellew was again named NSCAA National Coach of the Year. He piloted KWU to a berth in the NAIA Region IV Tournament, and in 2001 he directed KWU to its first KCAC championship in 27 years. In 10 seasons at KWU, Bellew coached 38 First-Team All-KCAC honorees, seven NAIA All-Americans and 11 NSCAA All-Americans. He also had one player drafted and two signed as free-agent acquisitions. At the time of his departure, Bellew was the all-time wins leader at KWU with 225 wins.

After leaving Kansas Wesleyan, Bellew took his coaching talents to Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minn., where he spent 16 seasons leading the Beavers, finishing his career ranked second in school history in career wins, games and seasons coached.

Bellew, an Arizona native, began his collegiate playing career at Central Arizona Junior College in 1980. He played second base and shortstop for the Vaqueros until 1982. He transferred to Kansas Wesleyan in 1985, where he earned the President’s Leadership Award one year later. In 1987, Bellew was named Second-Team All KCAC as a middle infielder when he helped lead KWU to an NAIA playoff berth.

Bellew graduated from Kansas Wesleyan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health in 1987 and received a Master of Business Administration degree from KWU in June 2002.

The 2001 KWU baseball team won the program’s first KCAC championship since 1975, winning the conference with a 21-3 KCAC record. The 21 conference wins was a then-program record, not broken until 2021, and the Coyotes won 14 straight conference games at one point during the season. KWU did not play in the KCAC tournament that season, having won the regular season title, and would face Bellevue and Hastings in the NAIA Midwest Regional.

Max Bethge was the KCAC Co-Player of the Year and a First Team All-KCAC selection. Sean Sloan, Dale Schattenberg, Ricardo Garcia and Royce Carnley were also first-team selections. Greg Kmet, Cody Brassfield and Sammy Mendoza were named to the second team and JJ Reynado was a third-team selection.

LaTishia Renee’ Wheaton ’94 Track, Volleyball, Basketball

Wheaton was an outstanding three-sport athlete, who set the then-KCAC record in the 100-and 200-meter dashes as a track standout. She was a 100-meter national qualifier as a freshman, when she won the KCAC in both that and the 200. She was the NAIA District 10 runner-up in those events that year, and still holds the school record in the 100-meters at 12.13 seconds.

As a senior, Wheaton was an honorable mention all-conference honoree in one of her other sports, volleyball. She also played basketball for four seasons and set what was, at the time, a record for single-game field goal percentage with an 82.3 percent effort against Colorado College in 1994.

Dimita Jones Track and Cross Country

Jones was a tremendous track and field athlete, accumulating numerous honors during two years at KWU. She was the 1983 District 10 cross-country champion, second at the 1983 KCAC cross-country meet, a 1984 NAIA Indoor All-American at 1,000 yards and a 1984 NAIA Outdoor All-American in the 800-meters. Finally, she won the 1984 KCAC cross-country title before transferring to Kansas State after the 1984-85 year.

John Brooks ’84 Football

Brooks was a standout receiver on KWU teams in the early ’80s, when he was named honorable mention all-conference as a wideout in 1981 and Second Team All-KCAC as a tight end the following year. He was a part of the 1982 KCAC co-champions.


Spring Alumni, Family & Community Weekend

This year’s Spring Alumni, Family & Community Weekend (April 21-23) was filled with great events! KWU served its community by hosting a food drive for the Salina Emergency Aid/Food Bank before enjoying the annual spring football game, a financial-health lecture series and more!

To download photos from the event, please scan the QR code at right.

Thursday, Oct. 19

7 p.m. | Radium Girls Theatre Production Fitzpatrick Auditorium

Friday, Oct. 20

9 – 11 a.m. | Alumni, Faculty and Staff Coffee and Conversation Brown Mezzanine

10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Homecoming

Headquarters Student Activities Center

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Art Gallery Display

The Gallery, Sams Hall of Fine Arts

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Alumni College Several faculty members are opening their doors for alumni to sit in on a class

11 - 11:45 a.m. | Veterans Recognition

Ceremony Bevan Green

11 a.m. – Noon | Campus Tours

Check out what’s new and exciting since you graduated! Steps of Pioneer Hall

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Coyote Cookout/Kickoff

Luncheon and Pep Rally with The Howl of KWU Pep Band; Lunch cost: $10/$5 for ages 3-8

Bevan Green

1 – 2 p.m. | 7x7x7 Lecture Series Seven speakers, each for seven minutes and seven different topics, Q&A after the seventh speaker Peters Science Hall 201

1 p.m. | Coyote Golf Outing Play nine holes of golf with your classmates, friends, or KWU

faculty/staff Salina Country Club

2 p.m. | KWU Men’s and Women’s Basketball Scrimmage Mabee Arena

3 – 5 p.m. | Athletics Practices and Fine Arts Rehearsals

5 – 7 p.m. | All Alumni Social & Recognition for Golden W (50 years) 1973 and Purple W (25 years) 1998 Kirwin House

7 p.m. | Radium Girls Theatre Production Fitzpatrick Auditorium

8 p.m. | KWU Alumni and Friends Outdoor Social Reminisce and network with fellow Coyotes from all decades. Drinks on your own. The Library Sports Bar & Grill

Class Reunions: 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018, 2023

Saturday, Oct. 21

8:30 a.m. | Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Alumni Association Awards Buy tickets at Muir Gym

9 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Homecoming Headquarters Student Activities Center

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Art Gallery Display The Gallery, Sams Hall of Fine Arts

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Campus Tours

Check out what’s new and exciting since you graduated! Steps of Pioneer Hall

10:30 a.m. | Alumni Photos Muir Gym

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Esports Showcase Peters Science Hall 108

11 a.m. | Women’s Varsity Volleyball vs. Friends University Mabee Arena

11 a.m. – Noon | KWU Keeps Singing (Alumni Choir rehearsal) Meet with fellow choir alumni to prepare for singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to the football game! Location TBD

11 a.m. – Noon | KWU Alumni Band

Meet with fellow alumni musicians to prepare to play at the 7 p.m. football game Location TBD

11 a.m. | Baseball Alumni Game East Crawford Recreation Area

11 a.m. | Softball Alumni Game Bill Burke Recreation Area

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Luncheon Cost: $10/$5 for ages 3-8 Bevan Green

Noon | Alumni Flag Football Laha Practice Field

1 p.m. | Music Department Concert Student Activities Center

1 p.m. | Women’s JV Volleyball vs. Friends Mabee Arena

3 p.m. | Men’s Volleyball Scrimmage Mabee Arena

3:30 – 4:45 p.m. | Pioneer Society Social (members only) Kirwin House Tent

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Multicultural Alumni, Community and Student Gathering East of SAC tent

4 – 5:30 p.m. | Parent and Family Association Gathering and KWU Coyote Tailgate Cost for tailgate: $8/$5 for ages 3-8 East of SAC

5 p.m. | KWU Football vs. Saint Mary Alumni Choir sings “The Star-Spangled Banner”; Hall of Fame Induction, Alumni Awards to occur at halftime; moment of silence for veterans and first responders JRI Stadium at Graves Family Sports Complex

8 p.m. | Alumni and Friends Outdoor Social Reminisce and network with fellow Coyotes from all decades. Drinks on your own. The Library Sports Bar & Grill.

Sunday, Oct. 22

11 a.m. | Worship on the Lawn Front of Pioneer Hall

1:30 p.m. | JV Football Purple and Gold Scrimmage JRI Stadium and Graves Family Sports Complex

2 p.m. | Radium Girls Theatre Production Fitzpatrick Auditorium

Scan this code to reserve your spot at various events (not required for most events)!

Spring 2023 CONTACT 33
Join us Homecoming Weekend October 19-22! 2023 For more information, visit FOLLOW US: @goKWU | Kansas Wesleyan University | Kansas Wesleyan University

Alumna living her Broadway dreams

“I am having such a blast in the moment that I don't quite realize it,” said Morgan Parker ’20. “It doesn't really hit me that I am living my dreams, aspirations and goals in the moment, but it's quite breathtaking to think how much has happened even in just the past few months.”

Drummer, percussionist, actor, stage manager, instructor, she’s been busy.

“Never feels like work, and it never feels like the work is done,” she said.

To start, there’s Broadway. She had been preparing for her Broadway debut since fifth grade.

Parker, who grew up in the Salina area, made that debut Dec. 18 as a substitute in the percussion chair in the orchestra pit for MJ the Musical at the Neil Simon Theatre. She has since become the regularly called sub for that show.

She was also subbing full time for Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish throughout December until the show closed in early January.

Technically, Fiddler was offBroadway, being one seat short of what is considered a Broadway theatre.

“Being a sub, especially a drummer/percussionist, is probably one of the hardest jobs out there,” Parker said. “I am not involved in any of the rehearsals after the show starts performing. I am allowed to go in and watch in the pit a couple of times, and I was able to obtain a recording of the show from the pit’s perspective. Basically my job is to practice ungodly amounts of hours with that singular recording and the book that the percussionist has given me. That way I can practice as reallife as possible, because I go in and play it cold.”

The pressure was on, having been given less than three weeks notice that she would be subbing for the matinee show Nov. 30.

“It’s one of those, ‘It’s no big deal but you really need to nail everything,’” Parker said with a laugh. “You can’t blink. But with the amount of prep I had going in, I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t anxious. I could hear the music happening just by looking at the page. It was that

ingrained in my body, in my muscles and in my ears that I knew exactly where I was going.”

While she was subbing for MJ, Parker picked up an acting role in the short film Solo Act. In addition to having a speaking role, she was the featured drummer for the inhouse band and played the tracks on screen. Some of her other recent work includes:

• In early March, she played the drum/percussion book for the American Theater Group's limited run production of Parade by Jason Robert Brown.

• On National Women’s Day, she was the percussionist in the allfemale band for Shaindy Plotzker. And right after that, she finished the Broken Open Tour with another band, The Heartstrings Project.

• Then she performed at Broadway for Self Help, a benefit for the organization, that features 18 major performers from Broadway.

• Off-Broadway, she performed

with Metropolitan Opera actor Jayson Kerr for his solo cabaret show, Indecisively Yours.

• Along with all the performing, Parker also has picked up being a substitute professor for Valerie Naranjo at New York University for her African Gyil Percussion Ensemble, while Naranjo was in residency this spring.

• As one of the New York Pops stage managers, she helped the orchestra celebrate it’s 40th birthday with a Gala celebrating the music of Barry Manilow. Manilow himself was one of the 19 performers.

“I am so blessed, humbled, and overjoyed to have been a part of all of these amazing performances and monumental moments in New York,” Parker said.

That was just late winter and spring activities, a warm-up to summer.

“There are some great things ahead for the hotter months of the year,” she said.

Her versatility is her SOP — Standard Operating Performance.

A look at her resumé lists more than 35 shows in which she has sat either drums or percussion or both. From V. Williams: Symphony No. 9 with the New York Repertory Orchestra to In the Heights at Theatre Salina, her range is wide and has given her a solid baseline on which to prepare herself for when the call comes.

Playing for In the Heights her college freshman year was intense but convinced her to set her aim on Broadway.

“I just remember that work convincing me that I wanted to put all my effort into pursing music and, specifically, Broadway studies,” Parker said in 2019.

She graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University in 2020 with degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Education, with a minor in Secondary Education. In May 2022, she earned a Master of Music in Percussion Performance at New York University. Parker is a two-time DownBeat Student Music Award winner for Asynchronous Blues/Pop/ Rock Group — Graduate College with NYU’s Pop/Rock Ensemble.

Parker began studying under Dean Kranzler, KWU’s director of percussion ensemble, in fifth grade and remained with him throughout high school and into college.

“It is a true joy to see Morgan realizing her dream to play on Broadway,” Kranzler said. “She did things the right way; now it is paying off. I’m so very proud of her and I wish her the very best!”

To read an earlier profile of Morgan, see news/feature-parker-marches-to-thebeat-of-her-own-drum/.

34 CONTACT | Spring 2023
Courtesy photo Morgan Parker ’20 is finding steady work on Broadway and the New York City music scene as a drummer and percussionist. She made her Broadway debut in the pit of MJ the Musical. To follow Parker’s journey on Broadway, visit her website by scanning this QR code.

If you have updates for class notes, please contact the Advancement Office at 785-833-4341 or

Class Notes 2000s

David Toelle ’01, ’08 was promoted to associate athletic director for athletic communications. Toelle is a member of the Jones Athletic Hall of Fame and two-time KCAC SID of the Year.


Francisco Cantero ’14 has been chosen as Pasadena City College (California) men's soccer head coach for the 2023 season.

Erica Chapel ’14 was promoted to assistant vice president, trust operations officer at Bennington State Bank in Salina, Kan.


Matthew Whitsitt ’21 was promoted to assistant vice president, credit analysis at Bennington State Bank in Salina, Kan.

Marisela Hernandez-Castro ’22 is working as a Nurse 1 at Sonoma Specialty Hospital in Sebastopol, Calif.

In Memoriam

The Honorable John Weckel ’50, Salina, Kan., passed away Dec. 29, 2022.

Keith V. Muirhead ’51, Dresden, Kan., passed away on Feb. 12, 2023.

Don Hough ’52, Salina, Kan., passed away Nov. 22, 2022.

Col. Robert G. Hertel ’52, Leesburg, Va., passed away Sept. 12, 2022.

Joan E. Doering ’55, Eugene Ore., passed away Dec. 12, 2022.

Louise (Briney) Hanable ’58, Glendale, Calif., passed away March 14, 2023.

Harold R. Morrison ’59, Salina, Kan., passed away Sept. 2, 2022. He was a member of the 1956 and 1957 championship football teams.

Charles “Chuck” Levin ’59, Salina Kan., passed away Jan. 24, 2022.

Thomas G. Fox ’61, Madison, Ala., passed away March 20, 2022.

Karen (Graham) Cox ’62, Solomon, Kan., passed away Feb. 10, 2023.

Richard Grinage ’62, Clay Center, Kan., passed away Jan. 4, 2023.

Rev. John W. Jones ’63, Wichita, Kan., passed away Dec. 29, 2022.

Charlene Costaris ’66, Barnegat, N.J., passed away Oct. 14, 2022.

Kenneth L. Hanson Sr. ’66, Randolph, Kan., passed away Aug. 6, 2022.

Robert Loyd ’68, Davenport, Iowa, passed away Jan. 30, 2023. He served as a member of KWU’s Board of Trustees. He made many notable gifts in support of KWU's Emergency Management program, including the lead gift for the university's Emergency Operations Center.

Carol Sue Sanborn ’70, Aurora, Colo., passed away Feb. 18, 2023.

Garry L. Leichliter ’73, New Lothrop, Miss., passed away Dec. 23, 2022.

Margaret Ann (Tinkler) Peck ’74, Assaria, Kan., passed away Dec. 17, 2022.

Michael F. Renk ’76, Salina, Kan., passed away Feb. 15, 2023.

James (Jim) Jarvis ’79, Salina, Kan., passed away Oct. 5, 2022.

William A. Furst ’79, Vero Beach, Fla., passed away on Jan. 30, 2023.

William D. Walker ’90, Brookville, Kan., passed away Feb. 3, 2023.

Patricia “Pat” Reimer ’12, McPherson, Kan., passed away on April 28, 2023.

Connor J. Steinman ’14, Spring, Texas, passed away Jan. 8, 2023.

Quinterious D. Sullivan, Uniontown, Ala., passed away May 6, 2023. He would have been the class of 2025.

Your support helps create moments like these, where students achieve their dreams and begin their journeys. We couldn’t build and foster the Kansas Wesleyan culture without you!

If you’d like to learn more about giving to KWU, please scan this QR code.

Spring 2023 35
100 E. Claflin Ave. Salina, KS 67401-6196 Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit 122 Salina, KS 67401 Looking for a way to give back? Consider referring a student! If you refer a student who attends KWU for four years, it’s as if you made a $60,000 donation to the university! To refer a student, contact or visit Please note that referrals should be given only with permission from the student and parent or guardian. Refer a Student!
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