Page 1

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 9:56 AM Page 1

A magazine for alumni, parents and friends of Midland University

Alumni Accolades 5

Midland Today

Midland Tomorrow 14


Student Spotlights 30

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 9:59 AM Page 2


Board of Directors Steve Pribnow, Chair Randall Eikmeier, Vice Chair Jennifer Peterson, Secretary Jody Horner, University President Patrick Booth Daniel Currell Mark Fahleson Michael Herre Michael Jacobson Bishop Brian Maas Kari Ridder Ryan Taliaferro Leadership Team Jody Horner, President Jodi Benjamin, Vice President for Finance and Administration Eliza Ferzely, Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment Management David Gillespie, Athletic Director Jessica Janssen, Vice President for Development Dr. Susan Kruml, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Our Mission

Merritt Nelson, Vice President for Student Affairs

Midland University inspires people to learn and lead in the world with purpose.

Sharon Robson, Vice President for Human Resources

Midland University

Core Values Midland University is a liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We hold the following core values to be the foundation of our identity as a community: Faith, Quality, Respect, Stewardship and Learning.

Midland is an affirmative action, Title IX, equal opportunity institution.


Midland University Office of Development 900 N Clarkson Fremont, NE 68025

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:02 AM Page 3

Table of Contents 4

Letter from the President

Alumni 5 6 8 10 12

Alumni Website Alumni Spotlight William King, Jr. Alumni Spotlight Marija Fine Alumni Weds Class Notes Alumni Spotlight Kyle Peacock


Midland Today


14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28

Eikmeier Commons Omaha Campus Campus Ministries Mentor Collective Interterm Travel Guatemala Interterm Travel Europe Reformation What Does This Mean Community Partnerships Fuel the Arts

Student Spotlights 30 32 34

Danny Aldaba KC Heimann Alex Starkel

36 39


Scholarships New Programs

May 2017

Midland Tomorrow



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:02 AM Page 4

From everyone to

whom much has been given,

much will be required; and

from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. — Luke 12:48 (NRSV)

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting with a group of Midland undergraduate students who had just returned from a university-sponsored mission trip to Guatemala. They shared stories of what they saw, what they learned, and how they felt visiting a new country. The students spoke of things, both big and small, that touched them like building stoves for families who lived in meager conditions, giving out toothbrushes to people who had never owned one and conducting health check-ups on children who had walked for hours to reach the clinic. It struck me as I was listening, that the students left campus with the hope of changing others’ lives for the better, but they returned to campus having had their own lives changed. They not only expanded their external view of the world, ironically making it smaller, but their internal perspective changed as well and became much bigger. It was clear from their stories that they had given much but received even more in return.


from the


This speaks directly to Midland’s mission “to inspire people to learn and lead in the world with purpose.” Being in the world with purpose is a weighty calling, one that many never answer; however, as these students so exquisitely exemplified with their stories, pictures and tears, when one is in the world with purpose, the results are life changing.

Letter from the President

One of my favorite scriptures comes from Luke 12:48. “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.“ As students, parents, employees, alumni and friends of Midland we have been given much. What is required of us all is that we give back generously and live in our world, especially during these turbulent times, with purpose. As our traveling students demonstrated, our external view of the world changes when we do this as does our internal perspective, both for the better.


As we work together to achieve our mission, my hope is for each Midland student to expand their view and understanding of the world around them while deepening their own internal perspective and sense of vocation. Students are with us only a short time on campus, but we do everything we can to ensure their time spent at Midland will be life changing. Please enjoy this issue of the Midland Magazine and the stories that illustrate all that we have been entrusted with and demand we deliver our best each and every day. Warm Regards, Follow President Horner on


2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:02 AM Page 5

Midland University recently launched a new alumni website as a resource to help connect you — alumni, parents, students, friends and fans — from around the world.


Visit the Midland alumni website at

Read the latest news about alumni on the class notes page.

The site features large homepage photos which highlight Midland’s beautiful campus and stories about alumni and students. While you are on the homepage, browse headlines for recent news stories, see upcoming events, and read class notes.

Browse for the news and stories about our alumni and students.

“We are thrilled to now have this website available,” said Jessica Janssen, VP for Development. “We feel the new site will provide a better online experience for Midland alumni and friends and will help them to stay connected to the University and each other.”

View a list of upcoming events and add them to your calendar.

May 2017

The site was designed to be easy to navigate and the responsive design makes it accessible on any type of device. Take a moment to share your story, explore the photo galleries, or even make an investment in the future of Midland.



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:02 AM Page 6


William King, Jr. ’87: An Outstanding Alumnus Draws on Experience to Inspire a Community Nearing the end of the 1983 fall semester, a reluctant William King, Jr. (’87) stood in the doorway of professor Pat Trautrimas’ office. An 18-year-old facing his first semester away from home, King was still learning to balance being a student and the pressures of being a dynamic two-sport collegiate athlete. His grades were slipping and he was in danger of missing out on the next season’s eligibility. Even more horrifying to King, as a first-generation college student raised in a disciplined, hardworking family just a few generations removed from slavery, he was risking going home for the semester and disappointing his mother.

For King, this habit of service began as a student at Midland. Initially drawn to the university’s culturally-inclusive nature, King spent much of his Midland experience bringing people and groups closer.

“I come from a family where my mom couldn’t read. So, I used to read for my mom all the time,” said King. “I knew I couldn’t go home and tell her I had bad grades.”

“I remember going to parties my freshman year where there was only rock music being played,” said King. “By my sophomore year we started playing other music we liked, and we found a balance. So, one of my greatest accomplishments was being able to bridge gaps between these different cultures.”

William King Jr. ’87

King came to Professor Trautrimas to ask for an opportunity. After explaining his situation, he asked his teacher for one-on-one help and a chance to work toward raising his grade the two points needed to avoid ineligibility. Even decades later, after championing a range of life-changing advocacy programs, helping to install far-reaching institutions like the Omaha Democratic Black Caucus, building a prominent Omaha radio station from the ground up, and meeting the likes of President Obama, King views that fateful meeting with Mrs. Trautrimas as a major turning point in his life.


“When I was at Midland, I was able to bridge gaps,” said King. “I was able to build bridges.” King says he took advantage of Midland’s intimate setting by connecting with colleagues one-on-one, breaking down cultural and racial barriers. He recalls attending parties where he was able to spread harmony through an act as simple as introducing new music.

Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Midland in 1987, he carried this momentum into the broader community. In addition to spending seven years as a probation officer, he soon started Positive Havoc, a non-profit organization designed to open up new opportunities for young athletes. The program helped local youth access scholarships and discover avenues to play collegiate basketball.

“I told her that if she gave me an opportunity to work to raise my grade, she would never have another problem with my grades,” said King. “She gave me that opportunity, and I never had another problem with my grades after my freshman year.”

Driven by the want to positively impact the North Omaha community even more, King went on to develop a television program on Channel 22 that promoted dialogue about community affairs. Still, he continued to seek ways to broaden his message of inclusiveness, and he soon became even more involved in civic advocacy through politics. After being hired by then-Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, King became a chief architect for the Omaha Democratic Black Caucus.

There are people in life who take opportunities like King’s at face value, nodding a bit of thanks and moving on. Others may pass those opportunities on to a neighbor, but those most exceptional will spend a lifetime opening doors for the community and beyond. With essentially every job he’s taken since college centering around aiding others, King is most certainly of the latter.

Despite his accomplishments, King’s ambitious nature kept him hungry for change. When a local colleague came to King with a simple comment – “you’re doing a lot for the community, but you aren’t reaching your full potential” – the two-sport Midland Athletics Hall of Famer viewed the comment as a positive challenge.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:03 AM Page 7

William King & Congressman Don Bacon discuss Wi-Fi deployment on Capitol Hill


William King & then Senator Barack Obama on the campaign trail at Omaha Salem Church

the community of North Omaha and supports Omaha’s local youth.

“I took it as constructive criticism,” said King. “Coach McGill and Coach McMahon always gave me constructive criticism. So, I was used to it.”

When he looks back at the hurdles he faced during the licensing process, and his ability to overcome them, he points to the skills he developed decades prior.

King says he prayed that night for God to help him find a way to “teach the community how to fish.” His answer came in an idea to broadcast a “voice for the voiceless” through an FM station. In the months that followed, King began researching the logistics behind creating such a station. When he discovered there was budding legislation meant to expand funding potential for low-power FM stations, he once again tapped into his background in academics and self-discipline.

“Midland taught me great skills about making good decisions, and planning ahead,” said King. “We used to go to the library to make sure we had footnotes for research papers we had to write … and we had to have the discipline to research. All those skills that I used from 18 to 21, 22, I still use today.”

“When people ask me how much it costs to start your own radio station, I tell them it cost me the ability to read, write, and count,” said King.

King’s ambitions have not stopped at giving a voice to the voiceless. For his next act, he hopes to provide tools to connect people on a global level. He is currently working on building his own Wi-Fi network in North Omaha, focusing on giving ownership to members of the community.

King was devout in his preparation for the bill to pass. Following the legislation from its earliest phases, King researched application processes and prepared the paperwork needed to obtain a license.

Regardless of the avenue, be it introducing new music in a college dorm, building political parties, or giving a say to the underserved, it is clear that King’s life since 18 has been a focused effort to bring new opportunities to others and, perhaps, encourage compassion in such a way that it’s reminiscent of an end-of-semester meeting in a humble corner office with a respected professor.

May 2017

“Once the legislation passed, I was already prepared,” said King. In 2014, King was awarded a low-power FM radio license. He used it to develop Omaha’s 95.7 FM (The Boss), Omaha’s first black radio station in more than a decade. He dubbed the station, “A Voice for the Voiceless.” His aim was, and still is, to provide content that serves



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:03 AM Page 8


Marija Fine ’65:

Fine’s commissioning photo at Messiah Lutheran Church, Denver, CO, 1965, prior to serving as an M-3 in Ipoh, Malaysia as an English tutor for the Board of World Missions (with parents, The Rev. John F. and Selma Futchs).

Uncovering the Mysteries of a WWII Past after 70 Years In 1964 when Nancy Peterson-Vase (’65) asked Marija (Platace-Futchs) Fine (’65) if Fine could dig up a story about her past for The Midland student newspaper, the request was almost laughable; Fine knew much less about her past than most—only that she was a World War II orphan, her name, her probable birth date, and a possible birth region. The details were murky at best, and Fine met the request with skepticism. Certainly, she had no idea Peterson-Vase’s request would spark a journey of discovery for Fine that would span decades, uncover the mysteries of her past, and result in the publication of her book, Wide Eyes: A War Orphan Unlocks the Mystery of Her Latvian Roots after Seventy Years.

Marija Fine ’65

“While I was at Midland, people were interested in my past,” said Fine. “[Peterson-Vase] was writing for The Midland and said, ‘Hey, I want to write a story; can you try to find out about your past?’… I didn’t know where to start.”


Fine started with the little she did know. As a refugee who came to the U.S. at age six, she knew the area of the European orphanage where she

once lived, so she began there: Hahnenklee, Germany. But the language barrier posed problems for her search. She turned to her German language professor at Midland for help. “I was taking German with Maria ‘Rosy’ Rosenblatt,” said Fine. “I asked her to help me write a letter, in German, to the mayor of this little town in Germany.” The student-professor collaboration paid off the next summer when Fine received a response from a woman with loose connections to the orphanage. However, the news was disappointing. The woman claimed Fine’s mother had died in child birth and her father had likely died fighting against the Soviet Communists in the war. It was here that Fine thought her story ended, with her parents’ story lost in the mists of time. And so she told this stilted account of her history for nearly 50 years. By all accounts, it initially appeared this is where the story ended, but for the Midland history graduate and lifelong learner, there was always a need to look deeper.

Fine (back) with her Aunt Leonora and brother Andris in Jaunpils, Latvia, August 2014

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:03 AM Page 9

long after the war, each living out an intriguing post-war saga. The story of Fine’s family grew deeper with each meeting with Aunt Leonora, and Fine knew she needed to put it into writing.

Fine’s picture in The Fremont Tribune article, April 1, 1965, describing her missionary assignment in Malaysia

Once the facts were available, Fine’s education in history came into play.

In May 2014, she planned a return to Latvia, the country of her birth. Her main purpose was to explore the country where she was born, but prior to departing she decided to ask the Latvian Embassy for any clues about her past; her expectations were low. She left her information with the embassy’s secretary, and although officials were also skeptical about tracking down details from 70 years prior, they agreed to look. To Fine’s surprise, the embassy called two days later with several important details, including her parents’ names and the family name: Platacs, which means “wide eyes.” The new facts brought life to Fine’s search once again.

“I wanted to find anything I could about my parents now that I had their names and dates of birth,” said Fine. After tracking down the names of 50 possible relatives, Fine hired a detective. He soon revealed a living link to Fine’s past: her aunt, Leonora. She had found someone who had been close to her biological parents, lived amongst her family, and even baby sat her as an infant. For Fine, it was a moment of jubilation.

“I just went through the roof,” said Fine. “I was just excited as all get out.”

As she pieced the story together, Fine drew on what she had learned as a student at Midland, recalling one especially intimate, impactful class: “My history major at Midland clearly had an influence [on my writing],” said Fine. “Of course, the course Historiography, which Dr. Zabel taught, was very important. There were like six of us in the class, and we all had to learn about different types of writing … By the end of the course, we really learned elements of writing and checking sources.” In 2016, Fine used her skills as a historian and writer to document the full story of her family’s riveting WWII experience, as well as her own path to self-discovery in her book. In the time since publishing the book, Fine says the story has taken her farther than she could have imagined. In addition to carrying her to book signings and events in places like Germany, Latvia, and all over the U.S., the publication has helped Fine piece together a life and relationships that would have otherwise been left undiscovered.

“The best part of having written this book is that I really found that, by going to book signings and Latvian organizations, I would find people from my past who I didn’t know and had contact with me,” said Fine. Today, when she isn’t doing book tours, Fine serves as a Board member for several organizations, including the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Developing Families Center in Washington, D.C. More about her book and story can be found on her website:

May 2017

Aunt Leonora unveiled a story very different from Fine’s original tale. In truth, Fine’s parents had not simply died at her birth, as she had initially been told. Rather, as war crept into the region in the early 1940s, her father was pressured to choose between fighting for Nazi Germany or the Russian Communists. Contrary to Fine’s original belief, he chose to fight as a partisan on the side of the Communists. Fine discovered that, as the war progressed, a family member betrayed the family, giving them up to the Nazis. As a result, her mother was taken to a Nazi concentration camp, where Fine was torn from her mother’s care and placed in an orphanage. It was soon revealed that her parents survived

“Now, because I was a history major at Midland and my field of study in graduate school was international studies, I put to use my historiology approach,” said Fine. “I thought, ‘I need to nail down the history and put as many of these personal accounts into the wartime setting as possible.’”


The Midland article by staff writer, Nancy Peterson, February 1, 1963, the springboard for Fine’s 2014 Latvian heritage research



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:03 AM Page 10

ALUMNI MEMORY Here are a few stories from Midland alums that graduated with both a degree and a lifetime partner. To read more stories from our “Alumniweds,” please visit our website at

Alumni Memory

Sherolyn House Bishop ‘69 + Vaughn Bishop ‘69 Love Story: I had attended Midland from September 1962 through May 1964. I then put in a couple of years in the Navy and returned to Midland in January 1967 and met Sherry House in the fall of 1967. Our first date was Homecoming that fall. We continued to date and we became engaged in North Platte, NE on July 25, 1968, Sherry’s birthday. We were married January 4, 1969, in North Platte during our semester break and during one of the snowiest winters ever. We didn’t think many of our attendants and guests would be able to make it but somehow almost all made it to our wedding, even my uncle’s family from Kansas City, KS.


Mary Sharp Hamblen ‘74 + David Hamblen ‘72 Love Story: David and I met in November 1971. As I was going to my Psychology 101 class in Swanson Hall, David approached me and asked whether I would be interested in having a cup of coffee. So that was the beginning of our romantic relationship. David graduated from Midland with a BA in History in May 1972. He returned to his hometown Boston, MA; and I finished my education at Midland in German and Secondary Education. I taught school for a total of four years at Mullen and Scotia Public Schools in Nebraska. We married May 26, 1979. We have been in love ever since and are currently enjoying retirement in Florida.

Kara Danforth Kopke ‘08 + John Danforth ‘08 Love Story: We met on Kara’s first day at Midland. We started dating about three weeks later and have been together ever since. We married at Sinai Lutheran Church. It has been over 11 years since we first met and started dating and we are happier than ever. We now have a darling family. Jennifer Rosales Gegzna ‘15 + Jared Gegzna ‘15 Love Story: Jennifer and Jared met at Midland University at their New Student Registration Day as incoming freshmen. They began dating during Warrior Welcome Days and were together all throughout their time at Midland. Jennifer was very involved at Midland including being a member of the Dance Team, Phi Beta Lambda business organization, President of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, Historian of Cardinal Key National Honor Society, 2014 Homecoming Queen, and being a Resident Advisor. She also is a graduate of the Midland University MBA program. Jared was an Athletic Training major and also played football for Midland. Jennifer and Jared now both are employed by and live at the University. Jennifer is the Career & Alumni Relations Coordinator and Jared is a Residence Hall Director. They were engaged the summer after graduation on the 4th of July and married October 15, 2016 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fremont, NE.

Becky Hansen Poppe ‘84 + Dave Poppe ‘84 Love Story: Is there any better place to meet someone than calculus class as freshmen? We joke that if Becky and her friend wouldn’t have needed a study group, Dave wouldn’t have had as good of grades. After a couple years of just being friends, sorority and fraternity functions gave us opportunity to date. We got engaged our senior year in March and married that November. We both graduated with degrees in Math/Computer Science and still call Fremont home. We have two children. Our son is married with one son in Houston and our daughter is working on her PhD at UNL. We still enjoy any chance to get together with our alumni friends!

Arlene Johnson Wold ‘56 + Joe Wold ‘55 Love Story: We both graduated from high school in 1951. Joe in Albuquerque, NM and Arlene in Creighton, NE. That was the year the University of Nebraska offered full two year renewable scholarships to top students chosen by teachers in every high school in Nebraska. Arlene was top on the Creighton faculty list.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:03 AM Page 11

In March 1951, the phone rang at the Johnson farm. The English teacher was frantic. “Arlene where are you? Today is the scholarship test. The people from the University are here.” Arlene answered, “I’m sorry. It snowed more than a foot last night. We cannot even get out our lane, and the road is not plowed. They will just have to take the test without me.” They did. The two other students both won scholarships. Arlene had to teach two years in a one room rural school to earn enough to go to Midland. I was already a Junior at Midland. If she had known me in my freshman and sophomore years as cheerleader and campus clown, Arlene might never have gone on a date with me, but by the time she got there, I had studied Shakespeare and Western Civilization and my roommate Paul Scherer and I both worked in the kitchen (where Arlene also worked). We sometimes discussed subjects that made Arlene think I was smart. Paul was a debater. The National University Forensic Society was stressing female debate teams. Paul asked Dean Zimmerman if he could check the entrance test scores of the co-eds to ask the most capable women to join the debate squad. The dean agreed and Paul made a list of the Midland women with the highest rankings. Arlene was number one on that list. He asked Dr. Wolfarth to invite her. She joined the debate team and Midland had a female team. My roommate, Paul and Arlene had a few dates. When he started dating other girls on the list, I asked if I could date Arlene. Paul said, “Yes.” So I did. When we married, Paul was my best man. I am the only person I know who considers snow in March in Nebraska my personal miracle, but if it had not snowed that March day Arlene would never have attended Midland. We never would have met. (Of course being married to the captain of the debate squad, she is always right. In our marriage I have been right about nine times. But, hey, who wouldn’t want to be married to a person who is always right, but never keeps score?)

1963 Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Nelsen is currently serving as the Interim President at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA. He was asked to take on this assignment as a member of the Registry for College and University Presidents, an organization of former college and university presidents who are called to assume interim leadership roles in higher educational institutions. He is the first Registry member to serve as Interim President of a seminary and likely the first Lutheran to head an Episcopal Seminary.

2004 Jodi Kneisel, daughter of Doyle and Sandra Kneisel, recently graduated with honors from New York University with an Executive Masters in Public Administration. Kneisel lives in New York City and works as a charge nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at New York-Presbyterian Weil-Corneil Hospital in New York City. Kneisel graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.

1984 Ann Badgett retired from the Air Force Reserves after 24 years at the rank of Lt. Colonel. She currently works at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, AZ as Team Lead RN.

2008 Danielle Wooldrik from Wichita, KS completed family medicine residency in Lincoln, NE, and started a sports medicine fellowship in Wichita, KS.

1991 Robert Dorr and Joan (Hembd) Dorr, college sweethearts, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on August 10, 2016.

2014 & 2015 Desireé (Davis) Dawson ‘14 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Sociology, and a Minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her husband, Kyle Dawson ‘15, graduated with a degree in Psychology and a Minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. They were married in June 2015 and moved to Houston, TX in August 2015 to begin pursuing their Master’s Degrees in Behavior Analysis. They are heavily involved in the Autism community by conducting research and providing behavior analytic services to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities.

1997 Jennifer (Auten) Bixby was selected as President of Don Peterson & Associates Real Estate with offices in Fremont, West Point and Hartington, NE. 1997 Todd S. Roberts of Springfield, IL is Vice President and Chief Quality Officer for Memorial Health System of Springfield and Executive Director of the Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance, a partnership with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine created to foster healthy populations through innovative research, education, and practice. Under Roberts’s leadership, Memorial Medical Center was named the winner of the 2016 American Hospital Association McKesson Quest for Quality Prize.

May 2017

Read More Class Notes & Submit Your Own At

2005 Matt and Ashley Turner of Omaha, NE welcomed the birth of their third son Jaxon Dean on October 4, 2016.


Class Notes



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:03 AM Page 12

ALUMNISpotlight But it continued to reinforce the fact that 1) Everything happens for a reason, and 2) God works in mysterious ways. Midland was the perfect school for me and changed my life forever.

Q: What’s your favorite memory as a student at Midland? A: The time my teammates and I worked with Make A Wish Foundation at the Henry Doorly Zoo. It was an incredible opportunity and a very memorable moment.

Q: You and your fiancée, Stephanie, met at Midland. Tell us about that. A: Stephanie and I were both PR Communications majors, and our

Kyle Peacock As a student, Kyle Peacock found Midland University to be the perfect fit to complete his college education and play football. Now, he – and the entire team of Admission Counselors – helps students from around the world find their perfect collegiate home at Midland. A Northern California native, Kyle graduated from Midland in 2013 with a degree in Public Relations and Communications. In addition to his admissions work, he is an assistant football coach and will be marrying a fellow Midland grad this summer. Midland Magazine sat down with him to get the scoop on why he chose Midland, and why he’s chosen to stay.

Kyle Peacock

Q: As a native Californian, what made you choose Midland University? A: I actually had been offered a full ride scholarship to a different


professors put us together for group projects often. Stephanie is by far the more accomplished athlete out of the two of us, and was the captain of the Midland Dance team when they won their first three National Championships — something I’m reminded of daily as I look at the championship rings on the counter. We have a oneyear-old son, Grayson, and he is the biggest blessing we could have asked for. Luckily he has his mother’s looks and intelligence, so he will do big things in his life. He does however, have his father’s wicked awesome personality.

Q: What inspires you to be the best at your job? A: The families and students that I get to work with each and every day. I get to help students go to college and chase their dreams.

Q: What’s your proudest moment as an Admissions Counselor? A: A while back, I was working in the Western Nebraska and Colorado territory, including Paxton, NE. After meeting and talking with the Paxton Public School guidance counselor, I was asked to come back and speak to their whole school about my background. After sharing my story at the assembly, a large group of students stayed back to talk about how my story resonated with them and what they are also going through. It was a really cool moment for me because my parents both were motivational public speakers, so for me to sort of follow in their footsteps and make a difference in someone’s life the same way they did was special.

school my senior year. However, my father had just been diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to stay close to home to help my family out. I turned down the scholarship, but had the opportunity to play for a junior college close to home. After junior college, I took a chance and spoke to a former teammate that was playing football at Midland. He mentioned me to the Midland coaches, showed them my highlight film, and I received a call the very next day with an incredible scholarship opportunity.

Q: What is the best advice you can give to an incoming freshmen

It was scary to take a chance and move to Nebraska from California without ever visiting campus before. It was truly an “eye opener.”

our son “Grayson” because of Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Robin, Batman’s sidekick.

at Midland?

A: Don’t let bumps in the road become road blocks. Find out what you love. Get involved. Chase your dreams. If you do that every day, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about you? A: I am the world’s largest Batman fan. So much so that we named

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:04 AM Page 13

Junior Jumpstart A unique experience for sophomores and juniors to explore not only what Midland University offers, but also the journey of choosing the right college for them. Selecting a university is an exciting, yet tough, choice and we want to put our best Midland foot forward to help these students through the process. This day includes a thorough college prep timeline, helpful tips on Financial Aid and Scholarships, and an informative panel with current Midland students.

NSR Days Incoming students will join us for a New Student Registration Day on their journey to finally becoming a Warrior. We want our students to be 100% prepared through activities such as class registration and meeting their Student Success Advisor so they can enjoy the start of their first semester on a great note!



Take a fresh look at some of the highlighted events that the Midland Admissions team puts on!

Warrior Tailgates The Admissions team loves supporting our Athletic and Arts teams! We enjoy putting on tailgates for a variety of activities, such as a Midland football game at Heedum Field. Go Warriors!




May 2017




@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:06 AM Page 14

Eikmeier Commons

Coming Soon

Eikmeier Commons Enriching Our Community

Midland University approaches higher education with purpose and an unwavering commitment to student success. Living our mission, we are dedicated to providing opportunities for students to develop as the next generation of leaders.


By intentionally designing a campus that is studentcentered, we are committed to creating a home for students that supports personal development, provides a safe, engaging community, and improves students’ lives. Midland University’s unique residential setting inspires a community where students can interact, share and grow under the nurturing guidance of exceptional faculty and staff. The new Eikmeier Commons, which will commence construction in 2017, will provide Midland University students an engaging space to gather and connect while not on the field, court, stage, or in the

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:06 AM Page 15

classroom. This new commons space, located adjacent to the recently renovated Warrior Grille, has been designed with the modern student in mind, and is made possible by Randy and Shelly Eikmeier ('82, '83).

“Midland University has been a huge part of our lives and it is also vital to the Fremont community. When Midland approached Shelly and I regarding the opportunity to become engaged in this project, we were all in,” Randy said. “It has always amazed me that during family gatherings everyone ends up in the kitchen. This project has the potential to become Midland’s ‘kitchen’ and we have great hopes that it will become a favorite spot for our students.”

May 2017

The Eikmeier Commons is the final stage in our Dining Hall and Student Commons renovation project, which we featured in our 2016 Magazine. The Dining Hall will be completed in the fall of 2017. These projects would not be possible without the generous support of Ruth Dunklau, Randy and Shelly Eikmeier, the Fremont Area Community Foundation, Fresh Ideas, Jeff and Judy Greenwald, Inspro Insurance, and Dale and Fern Olson.



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:07 AM Page 16


Midland University has secured a dedicated space in west Omaha, growing its footprint in Omaha and opening opportunities for further program development. The rapid growth of Midland’s graduate programs contributed to this decision, as the MBA and M.Ed. programs have grown both their student bodies and offerings in the past few years. These two programs are the first to call the space home. Midland University’s Omaha campus is located at 11213 Davenport St., at the foot of TD Ameritrade World Headquarters. This location puts Midland in the heart of Omaha’s Old Mill business district, allowing professionals who work in the Omaha area easy access to our graduate offerings. Midland University’s Omaha campus offers more than 10,000 square feet of specially designed classroom space for continued growth of graduate and adult education programs. The Omaha campus also is able to serve as a meeting space for students outside of class time, with a board room, café, and smaller breakout rooms available.

Omaha Campus

The expansion to Omaha represents growth for the University, President Jody Horner said, not a reduction of the main campus in Fremont.


“We’re proud to be able to offer our graduate students this new opportunity,” Horner said. “Our expansion into Omaha adds great value for them and the Midland community as a whole.”

Interest in graduate programs at Midland has grown rapidly over the past several years.

“All of our graduates are career-centric, working professionals, nearly half of whom have children,” said Dr. Susan Kruml, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Midland. “The ability to offer a curriculum designed to meet their specific needs in a brand new, centrally located space is a real advantage for us.” As these programs have grown, the need for a dedicated space has become clear. Both the MBA and the M.Ed. programs launched in borrowed space: the MBA at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and the M.Ed. at various locations within the Omaha Public School district. The rapid growth of these graduate offerings was due in part to this hospitality, and the necessity of a new space is a further testament to these past hosts.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:07 AM Page 17

Midland’s Omaha campus offers more than 10,000 square feet of specially designed classroom space for continued growth of graduate and adult education programs.

The opening of the Omaha Campus also reaffirms the University’s efforts to best serve area businesses. The Midland MBA program already connects students to the business community by pulling from the ranks of professionals in the business world for faculty. To date, these professionals come from companies around the country, including First National Bank, Walmart Corporate Headquarters, Valmont Industries, and Cargill. Additionally, the MBA program has worked with companies like Kiewit and Union Pacific in the Global Consulting Capstone, connecting students with major Omaha employers and those employers with talented help to analyze real-world business opportunities. By moving into a more permanent home in Omaha, Midland is able to show these business partners, faculty, and students the University’s commitment to the region. This new location is also an important statement of Midland’s commitment to meeting the needs of its graduate students. The typical Midland graduate student lives in the Omaha area, has a family, and works a full-time job, so being near their workplace and home allows them to maximize the time spent learning while minimizing time away.

For more information on Midland University’s Omaha campus or continuing your education with a graduate degree, email or call 402.941.6503.

May 2017

The first classes were held at the Omaha campus at the end of January, but construction on the space was officially completed in mid-February. The space is designed for adult learners and contains state of the art technology that today’s business and education leaders need to understand to be successful. By starting with an open space, Midland was able to customize the layout and features of each room to meet the unique needs of these programs and build for continued growth.

The Grand Opening of Midland University’s Omaha campus was held on March 8, 2017. Hundreds of new neighbors, students, faculty, and donors attended the event, celebrating Midland’s growth over the past years and excitement for the years to come.



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:07 AM Page 18


Growing in Christ, Growing on Campus As you walk into his office, the aroma of coffee permeates the air, books surround you like a warm winter jacket, Bibles or maps of Israel cover his desk, and in the middle of it all, you will find Brandon Van Marel talking to students. Conversations will range from favorite movies to struggles and hurts in life, to the depth of the gospel message. Van Marel, who for almost two years has served as the Director of Campus Ministries at Midland University, enjoys meeting with students and asking challenging questions that cause them to reflect on who they are and who God is. Mostly though, he loves getting the opportunity to help students grow in their relationship with Christ.

“Having Brandon here has been amazing for this campus,” says Midland student Weston Shepard. “He creates a place where students can come and talk about life and learn about our amazing God. Brandon is always a joy to see around campus and you can usually guarantee a smile and maybe even a good joke if you get lucky!”

Campus Ministries

Conversations of faith happen across campus, sometimes students asking a professor, or through a class, but as Director of Campus Ministries, Van Marel has a unique opportunity to focus on the faith life of the Midland students. Van Marel spends most his time talking to students about their faith lives and witnessing the spiritual growth in students. Over the past two years, campus ministries has grown steadily. Van Marel is quick to say the growth and passion seen on campus is not because of his work, but it is the work of God in the hearts of students.


“There are so many great student leaders that have come along side of me to help make campus ministries what it is today,” he says. “I am grateful for the men and women who are passionate about getting people involved and loving their peers.” To accommodate as many students as possible, Campus Ministries offers something for students almost every day of the week. “I love how flexible Campus Ministries is,” says student Alicia Dale. “There seems to be a group or time that almost always fits into my

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:07 AM Page 19

At 11 a.m. each Tuesday students gather in Clemmons Hall for chapel to affirm their faith, to be encouraged in the Christian life, to focus their attention on God’s agenda, to pray for themselves and the world, and to offer praise and thanksgiving to God. The Chapel program is interdenominational in nature, which is a direct reflection of the Midland University student body. Guest speakers are known for their Christian leadership and message to the church and culture. A variety of worship forms, traditions and music enriches the educational and experiential dimension of the chapel program. On Tuesday evenings and Thursday lunch, Van Marel and other student leaders meet in small groups to dive deep into scripture in Bible studies. In the fall, they studied the Truths of Life, based on the fundamental and critical elements of the Christian life. In those studies, students learned the central message of the Christian faith, how to study the Bible, and how to apply the Bible to their lives. In the spring, they studied the book of Colossians. Six students began these studies in the fall of 2015, and by fall 2016, it had grown to almost 40 students.

“My spiritual walk with Christ has been most impacted through the Bible studies,” says student Tyler Ripperger. “As someone who loves to analyze writing from a historical and contextual standpoint, Bible study has helped me tremendously in understanding the meaning of many biblical passages and the concept at which the writing is directed. The studies also allow you to progress in a group setting, where learning is done alongside people who have many of the same questions as yourself.” On Fridays over lunch, Van Marel takes the opportunity to sit with only the men involved in Campus Ministries as they discuss their own faith journeys, unique struggles and how they can grow and become the men that God wants them to be.

One of most exciting pieces of Campus Ministries is a spring break trip. Van Marel and a group of servant-hearted students spend the week at a Christian organization. In 2016, a group of seven went to St. Louis, MO, to serve with an organization called City Light as they helped widows and low-income families through cleaning projects, building projects, and by participating in the ministry of presence by purposely listening to their stories. “It was a life-changing experience for the students. Many of them had never been on a mission trip before, nor had they ever experienced first-hand poverty and racial segregation,” Van Marel says. This year, a group of 17 students headed to New Orleans, LA, to work for Urban Impact, which is an organization that seeks to share the Gospel through relationships and programs. They embrace the responsibility to shepherd the next generation through the joys and pain of growing up in New Orleans. It is Van Marel’s vision to make service opportunities a major component of Campus Ministries. The goal for spring break 2018 is two trips, eventually building to five to seven led by various students along with a faculty and staff member. Locally, students have served throughout the school year at The Hope Center, Open Door Mission, and Care Corps. At Christmas, they collected 91 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. God continues to move in the hearts of students at Midland. Many students have a deeper understanding of their own faith journey, many for the first time. As students grow deeper in their faith, those involved in campus ministries are becoming laborers for Christ as they serve and mentor others in their journey with Christ.


schedule so I can always have the opportunity to get into the word and fellowship with others.” On Monday nights, there is a Fellowship of Christian Athlete huddle group on campus to help Christian athletes who are striving to honor God with their athleticism both on and off the field.

“I really like that we have a full time Campus Ministries person on campus,” says student Michelle Benda. “It is nice knowing there is someone there all week and that he is willing to talk to you. Also, it is nice because he is continuing to grow and improve Campus Ministries. He is always asking students what he can do for us and for the school.”



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:08 AM Page 20


Mentor/Mentee Match Spotlight Briana Laymon ‘16, Alumna Region Event Specialist at American Red Cross


Mentorship Prog

This past academic school year, Midland University launched a pilot mentorship program to assist incoming freshmen with the transition to college. Forty-nine Midland University upperclassmen and thirty-one young alumni volunteered to mentor a cross-section of 159 randomly chosen freshman students. The goal of the pilot program was to provide freshmen students with an additional level of academic and social support to help foster growth, confidence, and adjustment to college life, student services, and the community.

Mentor Collective

To do so, Midland University partnered with Shearwater’s Mentor Collective, a national mentorship network that helps facilitate mentor/mentee relationships. Incoming Midland freshmen were matched with a mentor based on common hobbies, life challenges, and academic interests. Once matched, mentors and students met via video chat and/or in person throughout the academic year to discuss all aspects of life as a first year student at Midland, from sports and dorm life to personal finance and career exploration. Early results indicated that student participants benefited from their mentor relationships, increasing their likelihood of staying in school, decreasing academic probation and bolstering their use of valuable student services.


What influenced you to become a mentor? I was influenced to become a mentor out of my love for Midland. I wanted to make sure that whoever I was paired up with was enjoying their time at Midland and navigating any issues they were having to make the most out of the experience. I was hesitant to become a mentor at first because I felt like I wasn’t really qualified, but after my first video chat with the Mentorship Collective group, I felt much more comfortable. What surprised you most about being a mentor? I think what surprised me the most about being a mentor was how excited I would get to meet with my mentee. The Mentorship Collective had modules for me to review before meetings with my mentee and activities to work through during our conversations. It was nice to have some structured time together while still having time to just check in with my mentee and see how classes were going or how she was performing at her golf meets. What do you hope to share as a mentor? I hope to share with my mentee what I had learned during my time at Midland. I wanted to share with my mentee how many wonderful opportunities there are to branch out on campus and grow as a person. I encouraged her to participate in all sorts of activities like intramurals, the arts, or Greek Life on campus in order to meet all kinds of people and create lasting memories. Everyone says college is the best time of your life and I wanted to make sure my mentee was not only studying hard but also growing as a person and truly enjoying her time at Midland.

Tiffany Scheele, Student Major: Elementary Education with Early Childhood Education Endorsement

Midland University hopes to launch this program with all incoming freshmen and are currently seeking additional young alumni interested in making an impact on the lives of current students by serving as alumni mentors, beginning in fall 2017.

What is the best thing about having a mentor? The best thing about having a mentor to me is that you can contact them whenever you need to if you are struggling and they will help you get through your hard times. More than likely they have experienced something similar so they have that first hand connection.

Why: Help new students feel at home on campus What: Online mentorship (you can be anywhere in the world) How: Meet over video chat one time a month Why: Make a big difference in a new student’s experience and share your support of Midland University

What have you learned from your mentor? I have learned from Briana that there will always be hardships in your life but if you set your mind to something, you can accomplish it. Support from others can help you overcome a lot.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer or if you have additional questions, please contact

What has been a benefit from being in the program? One benefit to having a mentor is that I would always have someone to talk to who was willing to be open and honest with me. Even when it wasn’t the best news, I appreciated the feedback. It always got me thinking.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:08 AM Page 21

In Thanks “The best use of life is to invest it in something which will outlast life” — William James, American Philosopher

For more than a century, Midland University has been providing students with the tools and opportunities to reach their full potential and emerge as leaders of the future. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and support of our Alumni and Friends who have chosen to pay a lasting and proud tribute to their family’s legacy at Midland through an estate gift. On behalf of the faculty, staff and countless students who will be impacted by these gifts, we would like to remember and thank those who have remembered us in 2016-2017. Mr. and Mrs. Shelby and Marcie Bailey Mrs. Leatrice Bennett Mr. Rupert Dunklau Mr. Rodney Farmer Ms. Anna Furst Mrs. Hazel James

Ms. Lois Johnson Mr. Jim McMahon Mrs. Mary Monson Mrs. Juliet Moris Rev. Carl Nelson Ms. Aletha Pflueger Mr. Delaine Richards

Ms. Helen Roeske Mr. and Mrs. Dean and Della Sandahl Mrs. Bernetta Schroeder Mr. Donald Sjogren Mr. Dale Thuman Mrs. Elinor Wolff

This list reflects planned and memorial gifts realized from June 1, 2015-March 1, 2017. While every effort is made to recognize the generosity of our supporters, if a name has been inadvertently missed please contact Brad Eberspacher at or 402-941-6053 so we can be sure to recognize and thank the donor or family for their generosity.

International Travel Donors

Thank You Midland University and our students would like to extend a special thank you to donors who financially supported student trips abroad in 2017.


Mrs. Joyce Madsen Drs. Thomas and Evelyn McKnight Fremont Area Community Foundation Mr. and Mrs. Jim Mintken Omaha Community Foundation Oral Maxillo-Facial Surgeons, Inc. Pediatric Partners, LLC Mrs. Anna E. Poh Col. James and Deborah Reineke Mrs. Merne Rohlfs

@Midland University

@Midland University

Mrs. Irma Rosberg Mr. and Mrs. Randy Schuchardt Mrs. Nessa Vyhlidal Ms. Rachel Wachter The Lester Walker Trust Dr. and Mrs. Steve Wendt Platte Valley Bank Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wolf

May 2017

Rev. Dean Bard Ms. Judith Beveridge Mrs. Mary Jo Deets Mr. Stephen Deets Mrs. Jamie Folkers 1st Lt. Alisa Gregory Dr. and Mrs. Gregory Haskins Mr. Leo Kirchhoff Mrs. Doris Krueger Mr. and Mrs. Richard Langhammer


2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:08 AM Page 22


Midland Nursing Students Learn Many Lessons In Guatemala Lexie Dooley still sheds tears when she talks about her most memorable moment of her trip to Guatemala. The Midland University student from Missouri Valley, IA, was one of ten nursing students who traveled to the Central American country for two weeks in January to install safe cooking stoves and conduct health checks at a Guatemalan school. While other members of the group worked to install a stove, Dooley and a couple other students did health assessments with family members. That’s when she met the family’s 5-year-old boy.


“He came up to me and I tried to say, ‘Hola,’” Dooley said. “I tried talking to him, but the parents told me, ‘He can’t speak. He can’t talk.’ I thought that was a little weird. But he came up to me and he, seriously for five minutes, would rub on my face, touch my neck, give me the biggest smile in the world, give me a hug. Later we found out he is autistic and he’s going to get the help he needs.”


The work of the Midland School of Nursing students was part of Guatemala Esperanza, an initiative of Nursing Heart Inc. to create sustainable health care partnerships in the rural indigenous

communities of Guatemala. Nursing Heart Inc. was founded by Ron Noecker, who served 18 years as a priest in the Archdiocese of Omaha before becoming a nurse. Guatemala Esperanza is all about getting nurses introduced to international nursing, explained Becky Hotovy, Assistant Professor of Nursing, who led the trip. Joining Dooley on the trip were Jessica Ford of Missouri Valley, IA; Kaylene Hoyt of Pleasantville, IA; Shayla Koory of Omaha, NE; Rachael Lehr of Lincoln, NE; Molly Milbrandt of Omaha, NE; Holly Nutter of Lincoln, NE; Britta Olson of Sioux Falls, SD; Jenny Preucil of Council Bluffs, IA; and Nicole Sodusta of Elkhorn, NE. Director of Academic Services Eric Maczka accompanied Hotovy and the students on the trip.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:09 AM Page 23

To help, they spent a day conducting 55 health assessments at a primary school. The nursing students recorded heights and weights, listened to hearts and lungs, and provided fluoride treatments for the young Guatemalans. Of the students they saw, 32 were referred for dental follow ups, five for medical follow ups, and one for psychological evaluation. Suggesting a 14-year-old girl receive a psychological evaluation had an impact on Ford.

Students learned many families cook over open fires inside their homes. Ceilings and walls were covered in soot, the students said, and that could lead to health issues. The World Health Organization reported the emissions from the smoke could be toxic and can contribute to low birth weights, pneumonia in young children, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, along with other issues. To help out, the Midland students raised funds through Thrivent Financial and private donations to purchase eight Chapina Stoves. The stoves were developed to be safer and more energy efficient, venting smoke out of the home and using less wood.

“My favorite part (of the trip) was when we were building the Chapina Stove,” Hoyt said. “There was one family that was getting two stoves, and the younger woman had a 9-month-old baby. She was just the happiest person in the world to be receiving this stove that was going to make a difference not only for her, but for her children.” “You could see in the houses that they had soot on the ceilings and on the walls,” added Sodusta. “The wives just looked so happy and excited to get this.”

Delivering toothbrushes to the youth also had an impact. “The thing that hit me the most happened while we were giving these little kids a toothbrush,” Koory said. “Some of them were 7 and 8, and they were just learning to brush their teeth. We start brushing our teeth at 2-3 years old, and we get a new toothbrush every six months. It was just awesome to see these kids light up when they got their first toothbrush.” Midland students had plenty of toothbrushes for the Guatemalan youth. They took 288 – a whole suitcase full. One obstacle the Midland nursing students faced was finding ways to communicate with the youth they were assessing. They learned a few phrases in Spanish, but they soon learned other ways to communicate. “My favorite part was when we were wearing stickers on our face (during the health assessments),” Nutter said. “When you gave them a sticker after a fluoride treatment, they would stick it on their face and smile back at you … Even though we didn’t speak the same language, it was like I could do the same thing.” “When we were at the clinic, we were able to listen to hearts and lungs,” Lehr said. “But when there was a little down time, Britta (Olson) and I went and played soccer with some of the children. That was a cool experience. Even though we can’t verbally communicate, we can communicate through that common sport.”

May 2017

Midland students also learned health care is vastly different in Guatemala, especially in the rural areas. Many believe in home remedies and spiritual healing, they said. For those who do seek out medical care, access can be hampered by great distances.

“She had cuts up and down her wrists. Some were old; some were new,” Ford said. “… For me, it showed despite all these other problems that they have, the kids still need the love and compassion so they can continue to grow older and be able to be strong and not have to harm themselves.”



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:09 AM Page 24


Europe From the majestic beauty of the Sistine Chapel in Rome to the towering splendor of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, several Midland University students explored two centers of Christian thought and more during January. Professor Henry Krusiewicz led the interterm class through parts of Europe, where 14 students toured Rome, Berlin, Florence, Munich, Erfurt, Wittenberg, Prague, Leipzig and Dresden along with other historical sites. “I loved going into the churches, specifically the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica,” said student Haley Devney from Blair, NE. “Not only were they beautiful, they also have so much history. It gives a person a very peaceful feeling walking into those places. Michelangelo’s artwork is so amazing, and there is so much to look at in the Sistine Chapel that I could’ve stayed in there for hours.”

“I learned so much about Martin Luther on this trip,” Devney added. “It was amazing to learn about everything he did to help reform the church.” For many students, seeing Michelangelo’s works was one of the most impressive parts of the nearly three-week trip.


“Seeing with my own eyes the breathtaking artwork of Michelangelo in Vatican City as well as Rome was a very moving experience I will remember for the rest of my life,” said student Alicia Dale of Burlington, WI. “The Last Judgement,’ the famous painting in the Sistine Chapel was more impressive in person for me in telling the heart-wrenching story of the coming judgements of all the people of the world at the return of Jesus Christ.”


A key component of the class was visiting key centers of Christianity. As home of the Catholic Church, Rome provided a backdrop for the beginning of the trip. Several German cities along the Luther Trail, which celebrates the life of Martin Luther and the areas where he lived, also were visited. One such stop was a monastery in Erfurt.

“Having the opportunity of going to the Augustinian Monastery where Luther took his vows really struck me. To think that I was standing and walking around the same town that Martin Luther had impressed me,” said student Reba Kingsley of Waverly, IA. “We had the opportunity to attend a service at the Augustinian Monastery,” said student Sarah Rowe of Columbus, WI. “I was raised Lutheran and was pleasantly surprised to recognize the order of service as well as every single hymn that was sung, even though everything was in German … Overall, it was a wonderful experience and being able to worship in the same place that Luther did nearly 500 years ago is something I will never be able to forget.” “The church does not have heat,” added Kingsley. “The chill of winter filled the small chapel room. The service warmed me. The Lutheran church service was very similar to mine back home such as doing the sharing of peace. At the church something that I really enjoyed was observing communion where the whole congregation got together in a circle and the pastor went around with the bread and wine. The members of the church were all inviting and seemed happy to have us join them. Even though we did not speak German, a simple smile of communication was enough to show they were happy to have us join them.” Other students took advantage of the opportunity to attend Mass while in Erfurt.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:09 AM Page 25

“I am Catholic so receiving the opportunity to attend Mass while on this trip was very important to me,” said student Gabby Knobbe of West Point, NE. “A few other Catholic classmates and I attended Mass in the Cathedral in Erfurt. The church was beautiful … I had never been to a Mass spoken in German so that was a new experience. I love that I get to go home and tell my parents and family about all these unique experiences and adventures I had on the trip that weren't even put on the agenda to start with.” Another stop along the Luther Trail was Wartburg Castle, where Luther stayed from May 1521 to March 1522 and translated the New Testament from Ancient Greek into German in just ten weeks. “Visiting Wartburg Castle, I couldn't imagine that armies used to take over such fortresses,” said student Brennen Devney of Blair, NE. “Looking from the outside, it seemed as though a small force inside could fight off armies of thousands. The walls looked impenetrable. Walking inside the castle, I was again amazed by the artwork. The inside of the castle was lined with stunning paintings and incredibly designed furniture and windows. They really took pride in the buildings they lived in. It is incredible to think that people of that time period could create such magnificent structures without the technology that we possess today.” Students had opportunities to explore beyond religious aspects of Europe. Some toured the ancient ruins of Pompeii while others took in traditional tourist sites like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and a variety of museums along the way. All got a taste of the traditional foods of Germany and Italy, including gelato, crepes and Nutella.

Jenny Bair of Braddyville, IA, and Tessa Hardin of Gordon, NE, enjoyed the opportunity to listen to a boys’ choir in Leipzig, Germany.

“The history behind the music really made you feel like you were back in time,” Bair said. “The young boys singing the work of art were incredible with their level of talent and the way they incorporated historical faith in modern day.” “Although there was a barrier between us due to differences in languages, the beauty and the complexity of the songs that they sang is something that I will never forget,” Hardin added. Others who participated in the three-week study abroad opportunity were Mckenzi Bay of Elkhorn, NE; James Bakunus of Omaha, NE; Nathaniel Harnden of Bothell, WA; Patty Lahrs of Papillion, NE; and Sara Skalberg of Essex, IA. For all students, it was a trip that won’t be forgotten.

“This was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I am grateful for it, and I am also very delighted to share it with others,” Dale said, summing up the thoughts of all the students. May 2017 25

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:09 AM Page 26


What Does This Mean? by: Rev. John Eggen, Major Gifts Officer

This year the world commemorates an event that would forever alter the religious, educational, and sociopolitical landscape of our world – The Reformation.

What Does This Mean?

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther began what he believed to be a conversation by posting the 95-Theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. The posting was intended to be a disputation on the power and efficacy of the practice of indulgences after Luther’s own spiritual awakening and transformation. Perhaps the greatest outcomes of the reformation process were not found in the 95-Theses, or even the volumes of work that Luther completed during his lifetime but his repeatedly used phase in the Small Catechism, “What does this mean?” In reflecting upon the meaning of practices, such as indulgences, Luther began to reframe the religious conversation of the day, religious authority, government, and education.


To begin with, some brief history may be in order. Unlike the modern world, the world of Luther was primarily subject to religious authority. Religious and governmental authority were interwoven together. Bishops and Royalty worked hand-in-hand to oversee an orderly society. Science was largely subservient to religion and theology. Even years after the Reformation began, Galileo would be convicted of heresy for promoting the belief that Earth moved around the Sun. Clergy were well educated and higher education was largely for the development of Clergy. Clergy had a calling to serve God, a calling that was seen over and above all other work along with an unquestionable authority directly connected with the Papacy. Within this religious economy even the rich and poor had their proper place. The rich were justified by giving alms to the poor, the poor justified by providing purpose for this giving. Justification itself was an uncertain outcome. Purgatory, a time and place between this life and the next, was commonly understood as a part of the afterlife. Depending upon one’s quality of life the amount of time spent in Purgatory may be years, decades or even centuries. Fortunately for the commoner indulgences allowed for the reduction

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:09 AM Page 27

of the amount of time spent in Purgatory. Technically speaking an indulgence was the remission of a temporal punishment of sin which had already been forgiven. Indulgences were received through prayer, acts, pilgrimages, and even gifts to the church. Luther found himself constantly questioning his own state of salvation, never feeling certain of salvation, or knowing when enough was enough. A key text in Luther’s own spiritual awakening was Romans 1:17, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” — New Revised Standard Version What does this mean? For Luther, it means that we live by faith and are saved purely through the grace of God and no doing of our own. The question would not stop there though. “What does this mean?” would be asked about questions of work, poverty, giving of alms, the role of the church in the world and even education itself. If clergy is God’s work but other work is not, what does that mean? For Luther, it meant that everything we do in service to God and for others is God’s work. The theme of vocation results in understanding that all callings are God’s callings – banking, baking, farming, cleaning, medicine, teaching, preaching. There is no hierarchy in vocation, only the question of discerning God’s calling in life and living lives of service to God and to the neighbor. The religious landscape began to drastically transform through the Reformation, Counter Reformation and through the work of the “four reformers” Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, and Zwingli. Luther would translate scripture into the common language of the day, German. The development of the printing press would accelerate the Reformation by producing Bibles, tracts, and writings to distribute to the masses.

Five hundred years later this tradition continues at Midland University. In many ways, Midland continues to ask the underlying question, “What does this mean?” Midland believes that the investment we make together in our students will continue to help students grow, learn, and serve our society. Midland believes in vocation – that all students, faculty, and staff live to serve God and to our neighbors. We seek to help students discover their own gifts and callings through vital interactions with their professors, with one another, and with the resources and advice of our Personal and Career Development Center. Midland continues to live out the calling of a religiously based liberal arts education, which is to equip students to answer questions in their lives of “What does this mean?” not only through knowledge, but through religious, economic, social, and relational lenses. We believe in providing an education that is more than the transmission of knowledge by providing opportunities for students to explore life’s questions, callings, and discover a deeper meaning about how to use their gifts for the sake of the world. What does this mean? While the religious, economic and sociopolitical landscape continues to evolve, we continue to ask the same question Luther called us to ask ourselves five hundred years ago. We equip our students to ask this same question in the world so that they may play an active role in serving their world. We invite you to ask this same question to yourself of your gifts and calling as we commemorate the Reformation. God has given you your own set of gifts, resources and challenges to serve God and serve the world. What does this mean?

May 2017

The Reformation impacted church, politics, and education. Luther’s vision of education was that education provided an opportunity for one to serve God and the world better. Someone who had an opportunity was simply better equipped to serve others. Education was expensive, but it was believed to be something extremely useful

for society. Luther wrote, “My dear sirs, if we have to spend such large sums every year on guns, roads, bridges, dams, and countless similar items to insure the temporal peace and prosperity of a city, why should not much more be devoted to the poor neglected youth-at least enough to engage one or two competent men to teach school?” — Luther’s Works, 45:349


Luther posting his 95-Theses in 1517. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights. Painting by Ferdinand Willem Pauwels, Guglielmus Ferdinandus Pauwels in 1872.



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:09 AM Page 28


Community Partnerships Fuel



Braeden Willnerd isn’t a Midland University student, but he played a key role in this past winter’s production of “The Music Man.” As Winthrop Paroo, Braeden continued one of the strong partnerships Midland has with the Fremont performing arts community. “Fremont Middle School has celebrated a wonderful relationship with Midland University since my start here four years ago,” said Jennifer Baumann-Grenier, music teacher at Fremont Middle School. “At our annual vocal music clinic each October, the Midland arts staff has graciously donated their time and talents to do workshops with the students free of charge.”

Midland ARTS

For “The Music Man,” several Fremont youth helped complete the cast as River City kids.


“The students that were able to fit the show into their schedules absolutely loved the experience,” BaumannGrenier said. “They felt so welcomed by the Midland students and appreciated being treated like young adults. They were sad to have the experience end.”

In addition to “The Music Man,” Baumann-Grenier said her vocal students have performed at Midland’s annual Festival of the Arts event and alongside the Midland University Choir at the Gospel Honors Choir event. Having the young thespians on the Kimmel Theatre stage is just one way Midland’s performing arts department engages with the community.

“We’ve taken our shows to different elementary schools in the area. When we do Mission Day, we usually take performing groups to assisted living homes,” said Dan Hays, Director of Theater Activities. In the fall of 2016, Midland’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” toured schools throughout the region. This past spring’s chorus tour saw Midland vocal music groups singing at high schools across Nebraska and Iowa. Midland’s partnerships with the community go beyond its outreach to youth.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:10 AM Page 29


One of the longest – and strongest – partnerships is with the Fremont-Midland Entertainment Series (FMES). The non-profit organization exists to bring musicians and other high-quality entertainers to Fremont. During any given season, entertainers range from classical musicians to comedians to dancers. “The arts program at Midland is a wonderful asset to Midland and the Fremont community and FMES members can’t wait to hear what will be on next season,” said Emily Wageman, a former president of the organization. “The partnership we have with Midland is something no other community in the area can say they have.” Wageman said the relationship between the two entities has been strengthened with the addition of Hays to the FMES board.

“FMES has longed to connect on a deeper level with the students and staff of Midland and Dan Hays has been fantastic in getting the information out and including FMES in the arts opening retreat,” Wageman said. FMES memberships are offered to students, adults and families alike. Some of the concerts and events during each season are held in Kimmel Theatre, bringing professional artists close to the student body. An added perk of being a FMES member is free admittance to a performance of a pre-selected production each year. This year, it was “The Music Man.” Midland and FMES enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. Many FMES members have become dedicated supporters of Midland’s growing performing arts programs, often regularly attending events and performances throughout the season.

The Pathfinder Chorus is a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and is made up of more than 100 men from a 20,000 squaremile area around Fremont. In addition to being the top-ranked barbershop chorus in Nebraska, the chorus has been ranked in the top 20 internationally over the past decade. In recent years, the Pathfinder Chorus has accepted the invitation to be a part of The Colors of Christmas, Midland University’s annual Christmas concert. The chorus performs its own pieces and accompanies various student groups during the show. “I would say we have a great relationship with the community,” Hays said. That’s beneficial for the more than 200 students who perform in the various concerts and productions throughout the year. This year, there were more than 15 opportunities for students to take the stage. And most of that would not be possible without the strong support of and partnerships with, the Fremont community.

Another consistent community partner is the internationally acclaimed Pathfinder Chorus, which is based in Fremont.

For more information about Midland ARTS, contact Kathy Hays at

May 2017

Back Row: Keithen Cudly, Peyton Harman, Rachel Grenier, McKenna Olson, Sofia Smith, Mallory Lackey, Grace Burns, Maddie Everitt, Zachary Dein Front Row: Gillian Semrad, Braeden Willnerd, Josie Bell, Natalie Stinemates, Madison Martinez


@Midland University

@Midland University


2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:11 AM Page 30


Danny Aldaba

Danny Albada

It had been a decade since the last time Midland University hosted the Great Plains Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships – the first time in ten years that the Warriors had the opportunity to compete in front of their home crowd.


The May 2017 event allowed a crop of local talent – including seven former Fremont High School Tigers turned Warriors – to compete for the Fremont community. None more notable than Midland sensation Danny Aldaba.

A Fremont native, Aldaba has spent the past three years rewriting the Midland cross country and track record books. He currently holds four program records. Aldaba owns all-time indoor records in the 3,000 meter and 5,000 meter races as well as outdoor marks in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. He placed third at the 2016 NAIA Indoor Championships in the 3,000 meter race to earn All-American status. Aldaba netted his first All-American honors during the 2016 cross country season by finishing 19th in the 8k race.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:12 AM Page 31

His journey to stardom, as many do, had at least one detour along the way. After his standout career at Fremont High, Aldaba opted to attend Oklahoma University. He spent his first semester on the cross country team before deciding it wasn’t the right fit for his athletic and academic careers. Midland University head track and field coach Mark Kostek pounced on the opportunity to bring Danny back home. “We knew we were facing an uphill battle in trying to convince Danny that Midland was the right move for him after starting out as a NCAA Division I talent,” Kostek recalled. “However, we were able to capitalize on his close relationships with our cross country coach, Erich Whitemore, and his Fremont coach, Sean McMahon. “I was new to Midland at the time as well, so it was important that Danny understood the vision we had for the program and his vital fit into our future. We were fortunate it all fell into place.”

“Fremont High possesses a rich track and field tradition,” Kostek said. “I was very aware of this during my hiring process and have since made it a priority to recruit talented local student-athletes. Danny’s presence, and successes, on our team have helped tremendously in that goal. His academic and athletic achievements at Midland reflect that this institution is a great place for local talent to pursue their degrees while continuing their athletic careers.”


Aldaba is also a four-time GPAC Champion in his Warrior track career.

When Aldaba stepped on the track at Heedum Field in Fremont for the GPAC Outdoor Championships, he was running in front of his hometown crowd for the first time in four years. At Fremont High he set five individual records, one which still stands today in the 1,600 meter race. He was an eight-time state medalist in track and state champion in the 3,200 meter run. He was also a three-time state medalist in cross country and the 2011 state runner-up.

Kostek noted Aldaba’s impact extends well beyond the track.

“Danny’s leadership and experience on the national stage is such a valuable asset for his teammates,” Kostek said. “He isn’t the most vocal leader, but his training and competitiveness rubs off on his younger teammates and gives them a shining example of what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level.”

“My desire is to continue nurturing the relationship Danny has helped foster in the community,” Kostek said, “and to entice many more local student-athletes to our institution as we continue to grow our cross country and track programs to championship levels.” And the 2017 GPAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships were the perfect opportunity for Aldaba and his teammates to showcase their talents to the Fremont community and future Warriors.

May 2017

Kostek also has high praise for Aldaba’s positive influence in recruiting fellow Fremont Tigers to continue their cross country and track careers at Midland University.

Aldaba helped guide his Tiger teammates to a combined 11 conference, district and state championships.



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:13 AM Page 32


KC Heimann

Over the past four years, only four teams across the country in NAIA volleyball have won more matches than the Midland University Lady Warriors. Of those institutions, only one has an enrollment smaller than Midland.

were two things that stood out most about her though – her competitiveness and dynamic athletic ability.”

To say the Lady Warriors are an underdog year in and year out on paper at the national level might even be understating the obvious. However, for one undersized outside hitter, Midland was the perfect size and fit to assemble an All-American career.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that KC’s athleticism was a big reason for the excitement at our home matches,” Giesselmann gushed. “People would come just to see her jump and attack the ball. Our student section would go crazy for her kills because it just looked and sounded that much different from anybody else.”

“The players on the team made me feel right at home upon my first campus visit,” KC Heimann recalls. “I could tell the focus was on building the program, and I was excited to be a part of that. The biggest takeaway for me though was it was more than just volleyball. The coaching staff stressed academics and I knew instantly it was all about family.”

KC Heimann

Heimann’s first decision revolved around what sport she wanted to continue for her collegiate career. She was recruited not only for volleyball, but basketball, track and rodeo.


“I can honestly say, not many coaches were coming to see a rodeo to recruit me for volleyball, but that’s exactly what Coach Giesselmann did,” she remembers fondly. “KC is the prototypical small town multisport high school athlete that I love to recruit,” said Midland head coach Paul Giesselmann. “There

Despite her relatively small frame at the outside hitter position, Heimann, who stands at a wiry 5-foot 9-inches, had the ability to turn heads every time she left her feet.

Heimann, an admittedly reserved personality, described playing in front of more than a thousand people every match on Midland’s home court as a “humbling” experience. “Early in my career, I was one of those student-athletes who walked to class with my head down and kept to myself a lot,” she recalls. “But the great thing about Midland is how well respected the volleyball team is on campus. I’d have professors, sometimes not even my own, and classmates approach me to talk about the team and our successes, and that is the type of support I will never forget.” “I even had a fellow student-athlete make me a sign my freshman year and he would bring it in the stands at all of our home matches,” she remembers fondly of the infamous ‘Heimann Hammer’ poster.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:13 AM Page 33

“KC led by example and was highly respected by her teammates and our opponents,” Giesselmann said. “Her competitive drive is off the charts. She hates to lose, which is something I think her mom, Kim, who was a high school coach, instilled in her.” Heimann’s competitiveness and ability to overcome adversity were put to the test on a number of occasions throughout her career when faced with several debilitating injuries. She tore both hip flexors midway through her sophomore campaign, but withstood the pain to only miss a few games without requiring surgery. That issue lingered, though, and led to sporadic back spasms for the remainder of her career and forced her to miss matches on occasion.

“I can’t thank Tom Reilly, Tarrah Bisch and our entire training staff enough for helping me through the injuries in my career,” Heimann said. “I was very fortunate to have such a great training staff at Midland. They got me ready on certain nights I thought I might have to sit out.” A four-year starter for the Warriors, Heimann burst onto the scene as a freshman for a career-best 465 kills in 2013, which ranked fifth in the conference. Those nagging injuries slowed her though over the next two seasons, and while she was productive, it was unclear if she’d ever be able to reach her ceiling again.

“It was overwhelming,” she recalled of those injuryplagued seasons. “I couldn’t be the explosive player I knew I had the ability to be, and that was tough to cope with at times with my competitive side.”

The 2016 season culminated with Midland reaching the NAIA National Championship Final Four for the first time in program

“It was like a dream come true when I found out I was an All-American,” she said. “It’s a very special honor to have my name mentioned alongside some of the best players in the country. And, for that, I have my teammates and coaches to thank.” Among her countless career accolades, which include being a four-time All-GPAC selection, Coach Giesselmann was most proud of Heimann being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American. She is only the second player in program history to receive such an honor. “That award simply validates KC’s greatness both on and off the court,” he boasted. “KC embodies everything we want in a Midland University volleyball player. She is extremely humble and never wanted individual accomplishments to overshadow team success. I can’t overstate how proud I am of her to be recognized as an All-American both on and off the court.” Coach Giesselmann added, “KC’s mother did an amazing job of raising her, and I think those awards to close out her career are something special they should both relish in.” Midland compiled a 125-24 record during Heimann’s career, advancing to the NAIA Elite Eight in 2013 and 2015 and to the Final Four in 2016. The Warriors twice won the GPAC postseason championship, and for the first time in program history won a share of the GPAC regular season title in 2016. Heimann certainly built a team-first legacy at Midland.

May 2017

Those moments of frustration, and at times doubt, didn’t prevent her from putting in the work to rehab and regain her form. Her dedication paid off, not only on a personal level (becoming Midland’s all-time kills leader – 1,607), but also for her teammates as the Lady Warriors penned a storybook finish to Heimann’s career that included the program’s first ever No. 1-ranking.

history. Heimann was named to the National Championship AllTournament Team and ultimately was named an NAIA Second Team All-American; one of just eight All-Americans in Midland Volleyball history.


Heimann’s quiet demeanor in no way prevented her from being a leader for her teammates.



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:14 AM Page 34


Alex Starkel

There are more than 15 basketball players in the Midland University Warrior Athletic Hall of Fame. But, Alex Starkel’s resume includes a unique difference from those all-time greats. The Norfolk, NE native has the distinct honor of leading the Warriors to three appearances in the NAIA DII Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament.

Alex Starkel

“There’s nothing like the feeling of playing at the national tournament,” Starkel said. “I was fortunate to make three trips in my career, and had a lot of great teammates who helped make that possible.”


“That was the fondest basketball memory of my career,” he said. “The atmosphere at the tournament, the support we received back home on campus, everything about it was unforgettable. It’s something that I’ll always share with my teammates and nobody can ever take away from us.” Starkel was careful though not to take it for granted. He followed that season up with an All-American campaign in 2014-15, helping Midland claim the GPAC tournament championship and a return trip to nationals.

It didn’t take him long to get his feet wet on the national stage as the Warriors made their second straight trip to the tournament in 2014. Starkel, a red-shirt freshman that season, averaged over 12 points per game at nationals and helped guide Midland to the program’s first-ever “Fab Four.”

“I love competing, and there’s no better place to do that than at nationals,” the Second Team All-American said. “It’s an honor to represent Midland University and compete for a national championship. That was our ultimate goal every season.”

Thrust into the national spotlight, the Warriors made a statement with a dominant 100-61 victory and punched their ticket to the national championship game. Midland ultimately lost in the championship game, finishing as the 2014 NAIA DII Runner-Up, but it was an experience that will remain with Starkel for a lifetime.

Starkel soon learned that success does not come without adversity. Midland was upset in its 2015 national championship appearance on a buzzer-beater and failed to make the tournament in 2016. It was the first time in Starkel’s Warrior career that he didn’t finish his season at nationals which served as motivation.

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:14 AM Page 35

[McKinley], just to name a few, and we really meshed well. It felt like we were all pulling together for one goal this season.”

Starkel got his wish in 2017 as the Warriors once again punched their ticket to nationals.

“Alex is a great competitor,” said head coach Oliver Drake. “Anytime your best players are your hardest workers you have a chance to become really good as a team. That has been my experience with Alex.” Ultimately, the Warriors had a disappointing climax to their 2016-17 season, being eliminated in the opening round of the national tournament. But that doesn’t take away from the special year Starkel and his teammates had. “We were playing some of our best basketball over the final month of the season, save for two games, and unfortunately one of those came in a single-elimination format,” Starkel said. “At the end of the day only one team is going to end their season the way they truly want to. I’m just happy I got to experience the excitement of nationals one more time with my teammates.” “Alex is an outstanding teammate,” Drake noted. “Our coaching staff came in two years ago and implemented our style of play, and Alex immediately bought into that. We were able to surround him with some really good players this season and they thrived off one another. Alex continued to be a great scorer, and was unselfish as a facilitator as well.”

Midland concluded the season with a record of 21-10, rounding out Starkel’s career on the court with a 93-38 mark. Starkel concludes his Warrior career with 1,892 points which ranks third all-time in program history. He was named First Team AllGPAC three times in his career and once to the Second Team. Starkel is one of only six All-Americans in program history.


“Heading into my senior season, all I could think about was finishing my career at nationals,” he said. “You realize that nothing is given to you and you have to work for everything. I just wanted a chance. One more opportunity to chase a championship.”

Off the court, Starkel will graduate with his degree in business administration and hopes to pursue a career in sales or corporate management. He is a member of Kappi Phi Fraternity at Midland University where he served two terms as president and was the social chair.

“Midland exceeded my expectations both on and off the court – it was a great fit for me,” he said. “I was able to continue my basketball career at a high level and received tremendous support on campus from teachers and administrators.” And while his time at Midland is coming to a close, it’s possible one day he’ll return to campus to join those basketball greats in the Warrior Athletic Hall of Fame.

The 2015-16 season served as a building block to Midland’s return to nationals in the 2016-17 season, and Starkel credits his teammates and coaches in that process.

May 2017

“It was definitely a transition in the first year under coach Drake, but it all paid off,” Starkel said. “This year we added some really talented pieces in Damon [Overton] and Diamontae



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:15 AM Page 36


Student Appreciation

Scholarships Together We Create New Futures Through the generosity and vision of alumni, parents, and friends of Midland University, more than 200 scholarships have been established in recognition of honored loved ones, treasured faculty, beloved organizations, programs, and schools. Midland has a diverse student population, and many students are the first generation to attend a four-year school or have unique family circumstances. For many students financial aid and scholarships are the difference between attending Midland and having to choose another school. Scholarships change the lives of students and at the same time, strengthen our institution. FINANCIAL NEED OF MIDLAND STUDENTS

“With your scholarship support, I am able to graduate with my degree three semesters ahead of schedule.” – Brittany Korth ‘18 “The scholarship you provided me with has allowed me to accomplish my goal of completing my degree.” – James Bakunas ‘20 “Thank you so much for making this scholarship possible. Without supporters like you, my education would not be achievable.” – BaiLeigh Leach ‘18 “Due to this scholarship, I was able to afford attending Midland and have the experience of my life.” – David Ray ‘19

Very High




Very Low

Are you ready to consider joining the Midland team through a scholarship gift? Our student scholarship process is simple and is a powerful way to honor a family member, friend, or group and support programs that are important to you. By establishing a scholarship fund, you are creating a legacy that will last a lifetime.

“The scholarship you have provided me has allowed me to get through all four years here at Midland.” – Desirae Sindelar ‘17

Establish a Scholarship at Midland in Three Simple Steps









• Endowed or Perpetual • Area(s) of Interest • Meet with Development Team

• Living Gifts • Legacy Gifts • Collaborative Giving

• Student Scholarships • Scholarship Days • Scholarship Reports

For more information about scholarships, contact Jessica Janssen, VP for Development • 402.941.6523 • John Eggen, Major Gifts Officer • 402.512.0090 •

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:15 AM Page 37

– Melissa Godoy ‘19


Any scholarship amount is always a huge help, and I cannot express how grateful my family and I are!

May 2017 37

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:15 AM Page 38

LutherFest 2017

Giving back has been a hallmark trait of Thrivent Financial and its members for generations. Through the Thrivent Choice® program, eligible members recommend where Thrivent distributes some of its charitable grant funds each year by directing Choice Dollars®. Since the establishment of Thrivent Choice in 2010, Thrivent has distributed more than $300 million to help congregations, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, like Midland University. If you are a Thrivent member with Choice Dollars available to direct, please consider directing to Midland University. It’s quick and easy! Just visit or call 800-847-4836 and state “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt.

Thank you for your continued support of Midland University students!


LutherFest is the biennial gathering of the alumni of Luther College and Academy in Wahoo, Nebraska. This year LutherFest will be held June 9-11, 2017.

For more information, visit:

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:15 AM Page 39

Innovative New Programs to Enhance Career Skills While the student population at Midland continues to grow, so do our program offerings! Starting in Summer 2017, Midland will be offering three new programs:

Para-to-Teacher Program With the largest and most diverse population of students in the state of Nebraska, the Omaha Public School District has the important goal of placing teachers who mirror the diversity of the students in classrooms. Midland University aims to meet these goals. The two year Para-to-Teacher Program aims to prepare para-educators for earning a teaching degree with a field endorsement in Elementary Education K-8 and either a supplemental endorsement in Early Childhood Education or English Language Learners. For more information, contact: Dr. Kerry Williams at or 402.941.6333

Master of Athletic Training (MAT) Midland now offers a traditional, two-year Master of Athletic Training degree designed for students with an earned baccalaureate degree. With 31 varsity sports on campus, students will get a wide range of clinical opportunities and injury exposures. Additionally, students will participate in immersive clinical experiences over the summers with opportunities to work in different settings outside of Midland University. Students can apply for the program and begin courses in June of each year. For more information, contact: Mark Snow at or 402.941.6394

Master of Education: Principal Endorsement & National Board Certification Preparation May 2017

This program provides classroom teachers and prospective principals with the increased knowledge, improved life skills, and enhanced dispositions for leadership in the classroom and in the school. With the choice of two concentrations--Principal Endorsement or National Board Certification Program, graduates will be set for leadership roles in their schools, districts and even nation. For more information, contact: or 402.941.6503



@Midland University

@Midland University

2017_MidlandMag.qxp_Layout 1 5/9/17 10:15 AM Page 40

900 North Clarkson • Fremont, Nebraska 68025

Save The Date

Homecoming September 15-17, 2017


@Midland University

@Midland University

2017 Midland Magazine  

A magazine for alumni, parents, and friends of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you