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ACCENT MidAmerica Nazarene University

Building Bright Futures Plans unfold for the new Cunningham Student Center

Fall 2017


Intentional Generosity The Harvest Prayer sculpture, at the center of campus, is a constant reminder of a God who provides for the needs of his people. Depicting the planting of seed and the anticipation of a harvest, the farmer recognizes his total dependence upon God who causes the seed to grow. His effort and investment prepared the way, but his unshakable faith in God is the substance of his hope and anticipation of things to come. From time to time we all make impulsive decisions and experience what is called “buyer’s remorse.” Usually these small choices do not significantly impact us, but in the major decisions of life, Scripture calls us to be discerning and intentional stewards of God’s gifts. The Greek word proaireomai means to “choose deliberately” or “make up one’s own mind.” William Barkley wrote that the overflow of the heart “wakens a desire that cannot be stilled.” Intentional generosity is not impulsive, but is an awakening that comes from the overflow of a God-inspired heart. God calls us to prepare the way, plant seeds of faith and anticipate the harvest to come. Last year we honored 50 years of pioneer heroes who prayed earnestly, sacrificed greatly and deliberately invested in the vision of this college on the prairie. Because they planted seeds of faith along the way, generations of lives have been transformed in this special place. Bright Futures, the Campaign for MNU, is a new dream for the future. Intentional gifts given from the heart will support endowments, academic programs, technology upgrades and the beautiful new Cunningham Student Center. We are grateful for those who have already captured the vision and invite others to join in the amazing journey of faith called MidAmerica Nazarene University. Will you join them by investing in MNU’s Christ-centered mission to educate with excellence, transform lives and serve both the church and the world with passion and purpose?

Dr. David J. Spittal President

Volume 41, Number 1 MANAGING MANAGING EDITOR EDITOR Carol (Knight '81, Carol (Knight '81, MAMA '08)'08) BestBest CONTRIBUTING CONTRIBUTING EDITOR EDITOR Kim (Suderman '05) Campbell Kim (Suderman '05) Campbell

CONTRIBUTORS April (Loomis '96) Hansen Rachel Phelps ('09)


ART AND DESIGN CONTRIBUTORS Josh Chad Jenkins Klekamp ('10) Kelly('18) Lawler ('11) Wyatt Stark

by MidAmerica ART AND DESIGN Accent is published PHOTOGRAPHERS

Nazarene University and mailed free to Daniel Hawkins ('06, MSM '16) Daniel Hawkins ('06, MSM '16) alumni, friends andVidetich supporters of MNU. It Matt Smith ('18) Dan Kristen (Perry '06) Johnson is produced forLindsay University Advancement by Willmer PHOTOGRAPHERS the MNU Marketing and Communications Addie Limmex ('16) Jen Christenson ('07) Office. Postage is Smith paid at Olathe, Kan., and Jim Josh Klekamp ('10) additional mailing offices.

Josh McCullock

News or comments:


04 The MNU Experience

Husband, father, student and athlete successfully balances school, work and life on his journey to a bright future.

08 Former President’s Homegoing Dr. Ed Robinson Remembered.



11 Learning Lab: The MNU Apiary

A gift from Barkman Honey results in real-world learning for science students.

12 Bright Futures Campaign In Action

One couple’s comprehensive giving benefits campaign, students and more.

18 Welcome Week in Photos

From New Student Orientation to Root Beer Fest, students experience the first week of school.

20 Celebrating Homecoming



Accent is published by MidAmerica Nazarene University and mailed free to alumni, friends and supporters of MNU. It is produced for University Advancement by the MNU Marketing and Communications Office. Postage is paid at Olathe, Kan., and additional mailing offices. News or comments:

Check out all the fun in photos of the weekend.

24 Football Comes Home

Celebrating MNU football’s 40th anniversary, the Pioneers come back to campus for homecoming.

26 Season Recap

Catch up with Pioneer fall sports.

28 Father & Son MBA Duo

Read about alums Greg and Michael Hephner who completed MNU’s online MBA together.

» Sign up for Accent’s digital edition at: HELPFUL LINKS

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President’s Message Campus News Faculty News Athletics Advancing MNU Alumni News

ARTICLES 04 The MNU Experience 10 Why I Teach 14 Commencement 17 On The Student Cover Profile 18 the campaign With Purpose Visit website at


Senior Balances Family, Football, School and Work By Wyatt Stark ('18)

The course of a typical college semester is filled with completing assignments, studying for tests, and developing and maintaining relationships. For many students, finding the right balance among all these activities is a challenge. Senior Eric Shaw (’17), a graphic design major at MNU, credits the support he receives both at home and at school for helping him handle it all. “My wife and I have been married for three years now,” Eric says. “We met our sophomore year of high school and she’s just been there through everything. I’m incredibly blessed.” A 2015 transfer from Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota, Eric made the move with his wife and newborn son, Eric Jr. Although he had a football scholarship, Eric had to find work to support his family and did so in the electronics department at Walmart. Eric noticed that MNU was special right away. He knew he had chosen a place where people would be willing to walk alongside him as he balanced family, work and school.


“Everything feels like a family at MNU,” Eric says. “The professors aren’t just putting a grade in the gradebook every week. They actually want to get to know each and every student.” Eric says Head Football Coach Brian Willmer has made a major impact on him. “Coach Willmer says that football is great, but he wants us to think about life after football,” Eric says, “He wants us to become men that will lead from the front.” Eric credits Coach Willmer for being very understanding and willing to work with him to meet his other obligations. “Communication is key,” Eric said. “If I’m going to be late getting to practice from work, I just let him know and he understands. There’s no way I could make it all work without Coach Willmer.”

Brian Diddle ('79) and Eric Shaw ('17) at work at Precision Printing.

Eric also credits Graphic Design Professor Brian Merriman as an important figure in his education. “He’s been really influential by showing us some of his own work from the past and teaching us [professional] graphic design skills before we get out in the real world,” Eric says. It was Professor Merriman who told him about an opportunity at Precision Printing, a local company owned by MNU alumnus Brian Diddle (’79). “One day in class, Professor Merriman came up to me and was like, ‘How would you feel about leaving Walmart?’” Eric said. “And I was like, ‘I would love to!” Two weeks later Eric had an interview. Brian says that Professor Merriman spoke so highly of Eric that even before the two met, Brian thought Eric was going to be a good fit. A meeting confirmed it. “As soon as Eric and I met, I sensed he had a great working personality,” Brian says. “I knew he would fit in great with the Precision family.” After 35 years of operation, Brian has learned what works best for his company. He emphasizes the importance of building a strong rapport with clients in order to stand out in the market.

“Our goal is to be the most responsive, relational and resourceful print provider to our clients,” Brian says. “A key element over the years has been staffing—keeping just the right amount of people, not too few or too many. At Precision Printing, we have multiple people that can fill multiple positions.” Eric began working part time at Precision Printing and continued through the remainder of the spring 2017 semester. At the conclusion of the semester, the position turned into a full-time internship. Some might have found that such a fastpaced environment and looming deadlines would have added even more stress to a full schedule, but Brian says Eric seems to thrive. “He proved in the first week he was the right choice for the job,” Brian recalls. “We spent a lot of time together, so to have somebody that blends right into the Precision family like Eric has is a real plus.” Looking ahead to graduation in December, Eric says that he continues to place a heavy emphasis on the needs of his family. “My wife has thought about going to school herself,” Eric says. “I ultimately want to support my family. That’s the main goal for me. I’m just taking it a day at a time.”



MNU Becomes Partner with KCU Providing Early Admission to Med School Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) and MidAmerica Nazarene University have agreed to a partnership allowing qualifying MNU students early admission to KCU-COM. The Partners Program will provide significant benefits to MNU students who are accepted. Not only will the dual-enrolled students save time and cost on their journey to become physicians, but also, they will bypass the usual process of medical school admission. The new program allows students to apply for a coveted spot at KCU-COM during their sophomore year at MNU. Based on several factors, including a minimum ACT score of 28 and an overall GPA of 3.5 in science courses at

MNU, the students chosen will become first-year medical students at KCU during their senior year at MNU. “Because KCU-COM will hold a certain number of spots for MNU each year, our applicants know they have a higher chance of being accepted,” says Dr. Rion Taylor, MNU professor of biology, and member of the pre-med committee. “It will allow students to jumpstart their lives of service through medicine.”

will be inspired to accelerate their development toward a more certain goal of studying medicine,” McIntire says. Students who are considering a medical career should contact their MNU academic advisor as early as the beginning of their freshman year.

Joplin physician Larry McIntire, DO, chairman of MNU’s board of trustees, has been integral to the development of the partnership. “This opens new and exciting opportunities to MNU students who

Dr. Larry McIntire with MNU President David Spittal.

Campus Upgrades, Updates This summer the porch and decking on Ramsey Apartments was replaced to alleviate water drainage issues. The new structure is gleaming and attractive. The lobby between Stockton and Rice dorms was refreshed with paint, the lobby bathroom was remodeled and the first-ever kitchen was installed for residents. Uphaus Hall received new flooring and paint with an updated feel. The work goes a long way toward making a great first impression of a quality living space for potential students and bringing greater comfort to current students. “These aren’t just residence halls,” says project manager Jon Spence, director of facilities operations. “It’s the students’ home. Our staff is focusing on creating a quality environment for all of our students.”



New Worship Arts Emphasis MNU’s Department of Fine & Performing Arts has launched a new emphasis area in worship arts within the Bachelor of Arts in Music. The new worship arts emphasis prepares students to lead worship in a variety of settings. The worship arts emphasis combines music and theology coursework, ministry experience, performance skills and technical experience. A semester-long internship will give students real-world experience with a music ministry. “Leading God’s people in worship is a calling that requires technical and musical skill, leadership and spiritual understanding,” says Dr. Christopher Smith, assistant professor of music. “This emphasis prepares our students for excellence in the task of using song to lead people in the worship of God.” For information on the new worship arts program, visit

High School Students Explore The Call at MNU

Natasha Arnold had what she calls a once-in-a-lifetime experience at MNU’s first ministry leadership institute. Natasha was one of 87 high school juniors and seniors who attended The Call, a weeklong event in June, which included worship, corporate prayer, workshops, recreation and small group experiences led by professors, ministers and youth leaders. The goal was to help young people explore a call to ministry. And that’s exactly what the institute did for Natasha, who says she now has a better understanding of what vocational ministry entails. “The Call helped me understand the importance of community and how we need one another,” says Natasha, now a freshman ministry major at MNU.

“Everyone was very open and passionate for God. While none of us had similar stories, our differences truly made an impact on how we learned.”

come out to their church and intern with them,” he says. “The Call is definitely a perfect place to build friendships and connections with others.”

Nick Sprague, also a freshman ministry major, says he is continually challenged to implement what he learned at The Call.

And, Nick adds, attendees won’t leave the same as they arrived.

“I am not to be someone other than who God created me to be,” he says. “I am the ‘beloved child of God.’ That keeps me focused on who I really am and who I am called to be.” Nick also stays in touch with friends and connections he made at the institute who will be helpful throughout his college career. “I met speakers that have asked me to

“If you go with your heart and mind open, the experience would change you forever,” he says. “I was struggling with my calling to ministry and after The Call, I have not looked back.” High school students from across the country can apply in January for the 2018 institute to be held June 4-8 at MNU. To view a 2017 highlight video, visit The Call is supported by a Lilly Endowment’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative. 07 ACCENT MAGAZINE / FALL 2017

Beloved Fourth President’s Homegoing By Kim (Suderman '05) Campbell Dr. Edwin H. Robinson, fourth president of MidAmerica Nazarene University, went home to be with the Lord May 27, 2017. He was 65. Dr. Ed, as he was known by the Pioneer community, was loved and held in high regard by thousands of students, faculty, pastors and leaders. During his service at MNU, Dr. Robinson encouraged the faith of many students. His was a steadfast and gracious example: He listened, shared meals, opened his home, talked baseball with students and sang boisterously in chapel. Each relationship he invested in was, from his perspective, an investment in the Kingdom. From 2005 to 2011, he led the launch of multiple new programs, and the construction and dedication of Spindle Residence Hall and Bell Cultural Events Center. He was an active presence across campus, enjoying athletic events, choir and band performances and frequently eating lunch with students. 08 ACCENT MAGAZINE / FALL 2017

"Dr. Robinson faithfully served his Lord and, as president of MidAmerica Nazarene University, led with a passion to serve others, fierce courage and a deeply committed purpose,” said MNU President David Spittal. “I was honored to know him as a colleague and friend and his legacy will continue to be remembered for years to come.” Dr. Robinson’s career included leadership positions at both Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and at churches in California and Kansas. Holding degrees from NNU, NTS, and a doctorate in educational studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dr. Robinson was a gifted writer who published numerous articles and authored three books. He lectured in numerous venues around the world and consulted for a variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Dr. Robinson leaves behind his wife, Nancy, and two daughters: Kimberly Lovitt and Kelly Robinson.

Students gather on the campus mall at MNU during the opening week of school.

Largest Freshman Class Since 2010 This year’s class of new students is the largest since 2010. This represents a 26.7 percent increase over 2016. Transfer students are also up. The total incoming class is 313 this year compared to 260 in 2016. Derry Ebert, associate vice president and dean for traditional enrollment, attributes the increase to several initiatives. Among them, admissions counselors worked diligently to increase the number of students who visited the campus in order to share the MNU story and its pioneering spirit. “We redesigned our campus visit programs, so students could experience MNU and get to know who we are and the values

we hold,” Ebert says. “We didn’t just look for any students, but rather students who would find our community a good fit.” Ebert also says the whole campus effort to bring in this class included faculty, facilities staff, coaches, resident educators, current students and the president. “We all worked together to let prospective students and their families know that their life could be forever changed and transformed, academically and spiritually at MNU,” he says. For more information about admissions at MNU visit

Honor Society Wins Award Delta Mu Delta, the international honor society in business, has awarded MNU’s Epsilon Theta Chapter, its STAR award for exceeding the standards the Society has for managing the chapter and its activities. MNU is among 22 other chapters receiving the award this year. It is the fifth time MNU has achieved this designation. Adam Swearengin, a senior accounting major from Kansas City, Kansas, was selected for a Regional Award for outstanding student of business from the Society. He received a $500 scholarship from DMD. Delta Mu Delta’s faculty advisor is Dr. Lisa Wallentine, professor of business.



MidAmerica Nazarene University is a community that values people, ideas and faith. Here,


professors are mentors, classmates are friends and friends are family. We serve our neighbors, our city and our world. Thinkers. Creators. Believers. Intentional.

QUESTIONS? 913.971.3380


Bailey Fimreite, a junior in Taylor’s microbiology class, assists Taylor with bee management. This includes checking the hive for disease, parasites and pests, treating it for mites and beetles and distributing sugar water as needed.

Gift of Bee Colony Provides Hands-On Learning Without bees, the world would be a very different place. World Wildlife Fund Scientist Jon Hoekstra says food production would fall off dramatically, farmers would lose income and there would be a shortage of fruit, vegetables and nuts. The planet’s ecology would change and that’s just the beginning. Enter the MNU Apiary, a pioneering opportunity for students to learn from honey bees. The brainchild of Dr. Rion Taylor, professor of biology, two honey bee colonies have a home at MNU thanks to a donation of 120,000 honey bees from Brent (FS ’85) and Lynette (Hight, FS ’84) Barkman of Barkman Honey and support from the Title III Department of Education Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant.

The honey bees arrived in late May and by August 1, Taylor and Assistant Professor Dr. Nick Troendle, were able to harvest 125 pounds of honey. MNU’s Science Club is selling the honey, and the learning opportunities are spreading to other departments. The corporate identity class, composed of marketing and graphic arts students, has taken on MNU honey as its marketing project. Marketers and designers will work with Taylor to create a brand along with promotional plans to market the honey.

Four key ways the apiary can help MNU students include: • Supporting applied learning projects demonstrating the connection between biological principles and real-life phenomena. • Providing learning opportunities for students pursuing animal science, microbiology or ecology careers. • Supporting learning on colony management, potentially contributing to the understanding of bee colony decline. • Supporting MNU Science Club activities through the sale of honey and beeswax. In the first week of class this semester, students in Taylor’s parasitology class tested the bees and found Varroa mites, which are common and can be devastating to the hive. This is just one of seven science courses and one business course that will use the bees in experiential learning.

When the honey bees were delivered in June, they began building the honeycomb. The amount of honey produced over the next two months was remarkable. Taylor (left with Brent Barkman) says honey production varies based on rainfall and which plants are in bloom. 11 ACCENT MAGAZINE / FALL 2017

What If Everyone Helped Just One? Allen and Madeline Tollefson’s passion to give is all about changing lives: the lives of those they serve in missions work, the lives of young people they encounter and the lives of those they have met traveling to 70 countries during the last 40 years. The owners of AG Tollefson & Co. Inc, a Lecompton, Kansas, company that constructs pre-fabricated buildings, say they have been blessed with business success. That success has allowed them to assist many. From small churches, here and abroad, to missions work around the world, to students at MNU.

that now includes a comprehensive gift for the university’s Bright Futures campaign. The gift supports several areas of need at the university.

"We love to give," Allen says. "The business was a vehicle to help us share our heart for missions."

It was at one of those committee meetings that Allen learned of a need certain students have.

It was on a mission trip to Haiti that Madeline says the couple’s calling to serve others was solidified.

“Once I learned how frustrating it is for students who have worked so hard to attend college but still have a financial gap between what they’ve saved, what they can borrow and the cost of college,” Allen says, “I thought, if we can’t help them, it would be pathetic.”

“We went on a trip to Haiti, and we were broken," she recalls. In particular, the couple feels called to expose young people to missions, and for the last 30 years, that focus has transformed young lives by expanding their worldview. This effort, of 14 MNU mission trips to 11 countries, has linked Allen and Madeline to the university in a growing relationship

“Allen and Madeline have been giving to MNU for a long time,” says Jon North, vice president for university advancement and a friend of the Tollefsons. “In fact, I met them as a student on a mission trip when I was in college. Now they serve on our campaign executive committee and they’ve committed a significant gift to Bright Futures.”

Right away, the couple decided to add to the gift they already made to Bright Futures and designated the increase for scholarships to help retain those students.

Our Campaign PROGRESS Total Raised

$32.9 Million


Campaign Goal

$61.3 Million

new student center, which will contain spaces for dining, congregating, studying and relaxing. The couple believes that the facility, meant to be a hub for student activity and resources, should be top quality.

Quickly, Allen turns the conversation back to transforming lives. He tells a story of a young man on one of their mission trips who stayed up late one night talking to Allen about his future. Confused about changing majors and perhaps disappointing his family, this student, now an alum, is doing emergency response and missionary work all over the world. And his parents couldn’t be happier. Another student they met on a mission trip told Allen she was feeling pressure from others to marry. A discussion about waiting for God’s best, rather than succumbing to outside pressures, ended up being more important than Allen thought at the time. “Years later she got in touch with us and told us she’d waited, then married a pastor, and they were serving the Lord. I didn’t think I was doing anything important [talking to her] at the time,” Allen recalls. While the Tollefsons love to work with students on mission trips, they also have a heart for the students back on campus. A major portion of their campaign gift is going toward the


“These kids are away from home,” Madeline says. “Maybe their classes are difficult and maybe they get discouraged. They need a light, airy place to have a cup of coffee, study, meet their friends. A happy, encouraging environment can actually help.” Allen is reminded that MNU is competing against universities with newer facilities. “Having a nice facility has an impact. It keeps MNU in the decision-making mix.” Remembering another mission trip, Madeline mentions attorney and MNU Board of Trustees member Chad Cook (’96), who recently assisted the couple with yet another gift to MNU. Desiring to direct where their assets would go after their lives, Allen and Madeline made estate plans that included MNU. Continued on next page.

The Tollefsons have been friends of the university for nearly 30 years, as parents of an alum, Cary (’89), and as steadfast supporters.


“Ecclesiastes deals with that, and Solomon says you can work and work and have no control over where your estate goes when you die,” Allen adds. “If you take care of that before you die, you have some say in where it ends up. After all, it’s God’s money.” While some might wonder if every gift matters, Allen encourages others to think about it this way. “Even if a gift is small, if it could help one student, who knows the ripple effect that one student will have? What if everyone helped just one?”

The Tollefsons are hosting an event for MNU at their home this spring where they hope to share their vision for helping students at MNU with friends and family.

To learn how you can get involved with the Bright Futures campaign visit

“If you help even one, who knows how God will use that.” - Madeline Tollefson


Renderings provided by

Renderings of the proposed student center from all four directions.







Commencement 2017 MNU’s 46th annual commencement was held May 6 with 693 graduates. The status of professor emeritus was awarded to Dr. Mike Gough who retired from full-time teaching, but is teaching part time for the School of Business.












HOMECOMING CELEBRATION 2017 1. Homecoming Chapel with music directed by Dr. Chris Smith, assistant professor of music.

5. Rev. Wintley Phipps wows the crowd at the Grand Celebration dinner, backed up by Heritage Choir.

2. Alumni Award Winners, Rev. Chris Gilmore (’07), Kansas Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman (’94), Jeannie (Deisher ’96) Williams, DO and Dr. Mike Gough, professor emeritus of business, Carry the Torch award.

6. Lauren (Gilmore ’09) Buchanan and her father Gary Gilmore (’82) help Olivia and Aubree catch pancakes. 7. First Student Body President Allen Brown (’74) and current Associate Student Government President Jonny Melton (’18) were present for the burying of a time capsule to be opened in 50 years at the 100th anniversary of MNU.

3. Zach Relf (’16) and Dr. Kelvin St. John, professor of practical theology, cheering for MNU soccer.

8. Homecoming Queen Jacque Huck (’18) and King Jonathan Koch (’18).

4. Through his signature object lessons, Dr. Mike Gough brings the Word at Chapel.


9. Making noise with Cheerleader Caitlin Hartline (’19).










10. Head Football Coach Brian Willmer, Jim Couchenour (’81) MNU’s first all American and Mike Redwine (’87) head football coach 1991-2001, with more than 60 football alumni escorting the Pioneers to the home field. 11. Women’s soccer shuts out Clarke University 3-0. 12. Joe Russell (’97) bestows a gift upon the head of Tommy Glenn (’99) while Richie Barker (’97) looks on. We’re assuming this is an old football ritual. 13. Men’s soccer also defeats Clarke University in a 7-0 shutout.


14. Hall of Fame Inductees Joel Dougherty (’00) track & field, Ben Alison (’12) baseball, Julie Beck Weeks (’07) women’s soccer and Juan Redmon (’12) football. 15. More than 1,200 fans enjoyed the home field as the football game was held on campus for the first time in five years. 16. Macy Smith (’21) and Hampton Condor (’21) enjoy the annual BBQ Cook Off. 17. Trailing 31-7 against Evangel University, the Pioneers made a huge comeback in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough as Evangel won a heartbreaker by 2. Final score MNU 29, Evangel 31.



Football Comes Home For

HOMECOMING MNU is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its football program this fall. As part of the efforts to highlight the Bright Futures campaign (which includes plans for a $6-million athletic complex) MNU Athletics brought football back on campus for Homecoming. Due to lack of facilities, football and track & field have been moved off campus for “home” competitions to the Olathe District Activity Center for several years. Director of Athletics Todd Garrett (’94) says fans and athletes alike have missed the fervor and atmosphere of true home games. “ODAC is a beautiful facility and we appreciate being able to use it,” Garrett says. “But everyone wants football to come home permanently. And that’s our mission!” Since this year marks 40 years of football at MNU, the Homecoming game was a perfect time to move back to campus, even if only for one week. Thanks to the donations of alumni, several sets of athletic stands were

trucked in for the fans. The mood was festive as fans and alumni entered the former stadium area. Football alumni gathered for a meet and greet, then watched the game as a group from the south end zone. Former coaches brought greetings to the group, including Gordon DeGraffenreid and Mike Redwine ('87), as well as former Athletic Director Ron Hill. More than 60 football alumni were in attendance.

Being back on campus was a reminder to everyone of how important it would be to build a new stadium and athletic complex.

Mike Birge (’97), who played defensive line at MNU, shared what Pioneer football has meant to him.

The plans include a 2,000-seat stadium, with press box, practice space and state-of-the-art fieldhouse. Additionally, track & field would gain practice space on a new competitionapproved track.

“MNU football has come a long way, not only in wins and losses but in how much of a family we are,” Mike says. “Coach D, Coaches Redwine, Cochran, Stugert, Quinn and Willmer all are God-loving men. Teaching young men how to grow and lead is the most important thing and I think MNU has done a great job. The coaches were great mentors and the players are my brothers, I know that anytime I need something they are still only a call away.”

“Having an on-campus facility would be life-changing for students,” Mike says. “It would mean you had a place to identify with as your home-turf. I believe it would drastically change the feel on campus!”

Pioneer Athletics belong to the NAIA, Division I and are members of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, First-ever win. No. 1 ranked archrival William Jewell succumbs to the Pioneers

Planning & Recruiting Begins




COACH Mike Redwine








H 1977


COACH Gordon DeGraffenreid






First-time Heart Champions







“We are excited for the possibilities that a new athletic complex brings to MNU.” Garrett says. “These improvements will absolutely help us recruit more students and allow our Pioneers to compete with confidence. We really cannot wait for the campus community to join together cheering on the Pioneers back at home.” Garrett also shared the impact of student athletes on university life. “With the reintroduction of track and field and cross country, student athletes now comprise nearly 30 percent of our student body. They contribute in the classroom, on the fields, courts and track and are part of a long tradition of excellence,” he said.

Renderings provided by

For the 16th year in a row, the NAIA has named MNU a Champions of Character ™ Five-Star Institution. “Without a doubt, Pioneer athletic programs are an important tool the Lord uses to do His work of transformation,” Garrett says. “We hope that many alums will support the work of the Bright Futures campaign.”

better known as The Heart.


( H - Heart Championship,

First-time Reached NAIA Playoffs



COACH Brian Willmer

COACH Jed Stugert


H 1999

- Reached NAIA Playoffs)


COACH Mike Cochran



H 2003






H 2009

COACH Jonathan Quinn




H 2011


Greg Gates (’15) breaks all-time MNU rushing record



Javon Taylor (’17) breaks Gates’ record


MNU ATHLETICS by Sports Information Director Chad Jenkins


Cross Country

MNU Volleyball enjoyed another successful season under first-year head coach Christina Ludwick. Boasting several wins over top-25 teams, the Pioneers are poised for another run in the conference tournament and a potential trip to Nationals. Check out to see the outcome.

The MNU Cross Country teams had great season. The women won the Heart Conference championship and qualified for Nationals. The men finished in sixth place with Carlos Guzman and Dakota Myers also qualifying. The group will travel to Vancouver, Washington for the NAIA National Championship with Head Coach Nate Wiens who was honored with Conference Women's Coach of the Year.

Want to learn more? Visit

Women's Soccer Head Women’s Coach Bobby Reiss's first season was strong despite an 0-3 start. The Pioneer Women's Soccer team finished 9-7-2 and qualified for the conference tournament. Savannah Moxley and Steffi Krohn led the team in points while Jessica Longhurst and Anesa Curic anchored the defense. Three players were recognized with All-Conference honors: Steffi Krohn (1st team), Savannah Moxley (2nd team) and Jessica Longhurst (3rd team).



Men's Soccer Coach Kevin Wardlaw and the MNU Men's Soccer team enjoyed another nationally ranked season while battling in the toughest conference in the NAIA. The Pioneers ended the regular season 12-4-3 overall and received an atlarge bid to the NAIA national tournament. Raimundo Cabello, Felipe Abreu, and Dominic Harrington had standout seasons as the top scorers while Johannes Keisers and Juan Pablo Riesco anchored the defense.

Football Though ranked in the top-25 early in the season, the MNU Football team finished below .500 in the Heart of America conference. Linebacker Dominic Swillum earned National Player of the Week after recording 26 tackles in one game. More than 1,200 fans were pumped to see the Pioneers play on campus for Homecoming to celebrate football’s 40th anniversary.


Father and Son Complete MBA Together By Kristen (Perry ‘06) Johnson Greg (’86, MBA ’17) and Michael (’10, MBA ’17) Hephner are taking father-son activities to a whole new level. Not only are the two in business together at their multigenerational Hephner TV & Electronics store in Wichita, Kansas, but they also recently completed MNU’s online Master of Business Administration program—together. Greg and Michael had always looked forward to a time when MNU would offer an online MBA program, so when it began in 2015, Greg (who is also a member of the Board of Trustees) and his son jumped at the opportunity to do it. “After being out of college for 30 years, it was good to go back and learn the latest trends and work through the new management and organization leadership courses,” Greg says. “Business has come a long way!” The two small-business owners found the content in the “well-planned and well-structured” courses to be extremely beneficial and applicable. “We could finish a project and immediately start implementing what we had learned,” Michael explains.

Not only did the online program offer convenience and flexibility, it played to Greg’s strengths as a visual learner. Videos and lectures were always available if he needed to go back and review something. Besides the quality content and good pacing, the program boasts something that MNU has always been known for: professors who care. The two found the professors very engaged and easily accessible. They were also knowledgeable of their subject matter and taught in a variety of styles. Another strength of the program is that the business content was wrapped in Christian ethics. Most of the professors spoke about servant leadership. And the program, which is open to anyone regardless of faith, is centered on Christ and doing business according to biblical principles. These Christ-centered business practices are exactly the kind of strategies the Hephners are looking forward to implementing in their electronics store, which has been open since 1950. This father and son are pleased to take their new knowledge and grow their business for the next generation. For information on the program visit

Alumni & Friends’ West Coast Adventure This summer Pioneer Adventures visited alumni and friends in California. Making the swing through Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Diego, 42 alumni enjoyed the camaraderie of being together once again as Pioneers.

Alumni and friends gather for dinner at Costera in San Diego, July 3


MNU friends, Brett and Erin Spross and their daughters, enjoyed Imperial Beach, California.

“It is a rare privilege to be in business with your son,” Greg Hephner says. “Rarer still to be able to complete our MBA together. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.” L to R: Greg and Michael Hephner.

For information on upcoming Pioneer Adventures and other Alumni & UPCOMING Friends events, visit


Legacy Family Luncheon - Aug. 21

For new students and their alumni parents For Info-913.971.3413


ANNIVERSARY 1966 - 2016

October 20-23, 2016


2016 SEP 9

MNU Night at Sporting KC Kansas City, Kansas At the home of Allen and Saralyn Brown D E C E MBE R 1 - 3 , 2 0 1 6 DEC Pioneer Adventures: Branson Branson, in Missouri Yorba Linda, CA 1-3('74) CARIBBEAN CRUISE

Enjoying the Padres game at Petco Park

2017 JAN 20-21

MNU Family Weekend at Great Wolf Lodge

MAR 11-18

Pioneer Adventures: Caribbean Cruise

Kansas City, Kansas

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas

MA RC H 1 1 - 1 8 , 2 0 1 7 Register for these adventures at A one-day leadership development event hosted at MidAmerica Nazarene University


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JAN 16 JAN 19-20 FEB 9-10 MAR 10-14

New Theatre Restaurant: Funny Money Overland Park, Kansas

Great Wolf Lodge Kansas City, Kansas

Southmoreland on the Plaza Kansas City, Missouri

Colorado Missions Trip: Golden Bell Camp Divide, Colorado




New Theatre Restaurant: Sister Act

Olathe, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas

MAY 24-26

Pioneer Adventures: Chicago

JUN 10-17

Pioneer Adventures: Mediterranean Cruise

AUG 2-4

Chicago, Illinois

Barcelona, Spain

Pioneer Adventures: Durango Durango, Colorado

For more event details and to register, visit


ALUMNI NEWS Dr. Dean Flemming (’75), MNU professor of New Testament, reports the release of the Korean edition of his book, Why Mission? (Abingdon Press), published by Daiseo Press, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Dr. Randall Stephens (’95) has accepted a position as associate professor of British and American studies at the University of Oslo. Kim (Kugler ’82) Cook is an RN home nurse visitor with Nurse Family Partnership serving first-time moms and babies in Montrose County, Colorado. Jeanine McDaniel (’82) accepted a job at Madison Regional Healthcare systems as the assistant laboratory supervisor. Capt. Tammie Jo (Bonnell ’83) Shults is one of the first female fighter pilots for the U.S. Navy and is currently a pilot for Southwest Airlines. Pastor Buddy Cook (’85) graduated with a Master of Organizational Leadership from Colorado Christian University. Gail (Whaley ’86) Anderson was awarded Teacher of the Year by Henderson Elementary in St. Charles, Missouri.

Brad Campbell (’88) founded Bear Claw Construction Management, LLC. The company was named to Ingram's (Kansas City’s business magazine) 2017 Fastest-Growing Companies in Kansas City. Chip Milhuff, DO (’88) was selected as director of Medical Services at Family Service & Guidance Center in Topeka, Kansas. He leads the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Department. He has been a member of FSGC’s child and adolescent psychiatry staff 18 years and has 25 years of medical experience. Board certified from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in General Psychiatry, as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Chip is a nationally known expert in early childhood psychiatric treatment.

Mark Haffey (’93) was elected vice president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Jeff Jaekley (’94) has accepted a new position as pastor of Grace Community United Methodist Church in Buffalo, Missouri. He and his wife, Lynn, have two daughters, Bailey and Kristin.

Wes Jordan (’97) former police chief and assistant city administrator of Prairie Village, Kansas, has been appointed city administrator.

Trudie Mielke (’14) reports how her MNU education directly benefitted her. Hired at Taylor Forge Engineered Systems in 2012, Trudie headed the human resources function there, but was not considered executive staff. Deciding her goal was to become the first female executive there, she enrolled at MNU to complete her bachelor’s degree in the Applied Organizational Leadership (AOL) program. She’s happy to say she was promoted in 2016 to executive level.

“It has been challenging, exciting, and a lot of work, but I never would have reached this goal without my MNU education,” Trudie says.



Nickolas Gosnell (’01) accepted a position at WIBW in Topeka, Kan., as a radio announcer. Jared Menard (’10) is now the youth pastor at Hesston Mennonite Brethren Church in Hesston, Kansas. Chris Hagedorn (’14), a social studies instructor at Spring Hill (Kansas) High School, has been selected as the school’s Secondary Horizon Award Winner. The award is for a first-year teacher who performed in a way that distinguishes him or her from other novice teachers. He will go on to compete at the state level for an award to be announced in Feb. 2018.

L to R: Tina (Summers ’08) Kraemer of Tucson, Arizona, runs a successful photography business; Melody Suos ('09) of Minnesota, works as a lead behaviorist having earned her Master of Arts in Human Services from University of Northwestern; Ashley (Taylor ’10) Ruegsegger is a pediatric nurse practitioner in Kansas City; Raman (Kaur ’09) Haus is a nurse practitioner in Kansas City; Christina Suos (’08) is a bi-vocational pastor in Minnesota; and Miranda (Barnes ’09) Edwards completed her internal medicine-pediatrics residency and works with a private practice in Grand Junction, Colorado.


Deann Mitchell (’16) ran for Olathe City Council, At-Large.

Want to share births, marriages, new jobs and accomplishments with Accent? Please send to or connect with us on social media. It doesn't matter how you connect with us, we just want to hear from you!

Jordan Eckley (’16) recently became a manager at Apollo Insurance Group. The company was named to Ingram’s (Kansas City’s business magazine) 2017 Fastest-Growing Companies in Kansas City.

Connect Online

Nick Stumbaugh (’17) is a geometry teacher at Olathe North High School.

A little planning can make a big difference A well-designed estate plan addresses the needs of your family, eliminates unnecessary taxes, and enables you to ensure support for generations of students to come. To learn more about the Cornerstone Society and how you can include MNU in your estate plan, contact us today.

877.496.8668 33 ACCENT MAGAZINE / FALL 2017


Help us welcome our newest PIONEERS

→ BIRTHS 1) Ethan (’13) and Erica (Moore ’12) Alexander, a daughter: Aimes Wilson, Aug. 13, 2017. 2) Trey and Michelle (Vogt ’11) Avins, a daughter: Brayleigh Elizabeth, Aug. 17, 2017. 3) Caleb (’14) and Lauren (Jenner ’14) Barnum, a son: Easton David, July 5, 2017. 4) Brad (’14) and Jessica Baur, a son: Brecken Quinn, July 7, 2017. 5) Matthew (’07) and Lauren (Gilmore ’09) Buchanan, a daughter: Addison Virginia, April 4, 2017. 6) Josiah (’14) and Amanda (Nigus ’13) Crandall, a daughter: Emma Lia, Oct. 5, 2017.



7) Stuart and Britini (Stoltzfus ’07) Girk, a daughter: Hensley Jae, April 19, 2017. 8) David (’09) and Kimberly (Nigh ’09) Gonzalez, a daughter: Catalina Rose, Aug. 13, 2017. 9) Josh and Lacey (Letsinger ’12) Griffith, a son: Joshua Kale, April 10, 2017. 10) Chris (’14) and Rebecca Hagedorn, a daughter: Selah Grace, Jan. 6, 2017.



11) Daniel (’09) and Lauren Hawkins, a daughter: Jaesa Maryanne, Aug. 1, 2017. 12) Justin (’05) and Elly Heckel, a son: Judah Phoenix, March 31, 2017. 13) Ryne (’11) and Anna (Newman ’11) Huff, a daughter: Charlee Rose, Sept. 7, 2017. 14) Stephen (’10) and Ashley Kiburz, a daughter: Kylee Sue, Feb. 4, 2017. 15) Brett (’12) and Marlena Knox, a daughter: Josephine Grace, Sept. 9, 2017.




16) Caleb and Heather (Mahon ’14) Kopta, a daughter: Harper Shea, May 4, 2017.


17) Blake (’09) and Amanda (Wilson ’11) Leoni, a son: Elan Matthew, Sept. 18, 2017.

28) John (’06) and Naomi (Sigler ’06) Pickens, a daughter: Sutton Grace, April 4, 2017.

38) Clint (’06) and Keri Snyder, a daughter: Marlee Brookelynn, April 18, 2017.

18) Kevin (’12) and Ashley (Mackey ’12) Liddle, a son: Hudson Wesley, April 25, 2017.

29) Clayton (’07) and Morgan Pritchard, a daughter: Calli Mae, April 29, 2017.

39) Jeff (’13) and Jourdan (McGuire ’12) Suos, a son: Emmett Sokurt, April 18, 2017.

19) Joshua and Jennifer (Campbell ’09) Limback, a son: Caleb Russell, April 16, 2017.

30) Matthew (’11) and Jessica (Cunningham ’12) Regier, a daughter: Emmalyn Josephine, March 10, 2017.

40) Eli (’10) and Ashley (Kyle ’11) Stewart, a son: Berkley, Aug. 8, 2017.

20) Olive (’14) Palu and Dana Lynn, a daughter: Leilani Dana, July 2, 2017. 21) Trevor (’16) and Jennifer (Christenson ’06) Lytle, a daughter: Adelae Mae, Sept. 9, 2017.

31) Jacob and Alyssa (Gilmore ’18) Rhoades, a son: Clayton Alan, Sept. 7, 2017. 32) Adam (’11) and Chelsea (Tally ’09) Riggers, a son: Austin Brian, April 13, 2017.

22) Jay (’99) and Courtney (White ’04) Main, a daughter: Jaelyne Jessie, March 28, 2017.

33) Joseph and Alisha (Pluff ’04) Roberts, a daughter: Emmabelle Willene, April 30, 2017.

23) Hunter and Meghan (Dennis ’09) Matt, a son: Victor John, March 21, 2017.

34) Galen (’13) and Justean (Covert ’14) Ryman, a daughter: Lillian Lauraine, July 21, 2017.

24) Derek (’13) and Becky (Wieczorek ’13) McGowen, a daughter: Eleanor Fern, July 17, 2017.

35) Brandon (’12) and Tara (Welsh ’13) Smith, a son: Kaius Alonzo, March 9, 2017.

25) Jeremy (’09) and Lauren (Ammons ’10) Moser, a daughter: Maya Noelle, March 11, 2017.

36) Nate (’07) and Laura (Williams ’08) Snider, a daughter: Hannah, Sept. 10, 2017.

26) Gabe (’17) and Sara Nehrbass, a daughter: Raeann, July 13, 2017.

37) Craig and Gail (Burney ’01) Snowbarger, a daughter: Caris Anne, and a son: Cavet Anders, Oct. 11, 2017.

27) Nicolas (’06) and Jenny (Gampher ’06) Nelson, a daughter: Lillian, March 11, 2017.

41) Seth (’02) and Heather (Sinning ’04) Stimson, a daughter: Remedee Jane, Feb. 3, 2017. 42) Benjamin (’10) and Jenna (Matson ’08) Swinger, a daughter: Maryn Marie, March 1, 2017. 43) Rev. Brady (’08) and Karalie (Hale ’07) Thelander, a son: Brigham Ezra, April 25, 2017. 44) Josh (’08) and Adrienne (Black ’10) Warren, a son: Bruce Wayne, March 29, 2017.

→ MARRIAGES Trevor (’08) and Kaylee Dahl, Jan. 20, 2017. Justin (’09) and Jess Horstick, July 15, 2017. Matthew and Hayley (Pankratz ’15) Reynolds, Aug. 17, 2017.

→ CONDOLENCES Rev. William F. “Bill” Branson (’75), June 15, 2016.

Jeffrey P. Lane (’80) May 25, 2017.

Sharleen (Ketterling ’73) Archer March 13, 2017.

Sandra (Dunne ’85) Brown Aug. 1, 2017.

Carol (Franklin ’76) Caughron Feb. 28, 2017.

Victoria (Taprine ’01) Moats Sept. 24, 2017.

Vinica (Saville ’76) Medlin Sept. 19, 2017.

Darlene Lyon (’11) March 22, 2017.

Stephen Ketner (’78) Sept. 2, 2017.

Former MNU President Edwin H. Robinson, May 27, 2017. See article, page 08.

Russell W. Wright (’78) Feb. 14, 2017.


University Advancement 2030 E. College Way Olathe KS 66062-1899 Change Service Requested If you receive more than one Accent Magazine at your home, or if you are the parent of an alum and you are also receiving their copy, please call 877-496-8668 or email

Friday, April 13, 2018 MNU Cook Center

Join us for an inspiring evening of exquisite food, live and silent auctions, and special entertainment. This signature event has raised over $3 million with all proceeds benefiting student scholarships at MNU. Plan now to be part of the 2018 President’s Honors, a night to celebrate God’s faithfulness and donor generosity. Be sure to reserve your tickets early!


Accent Magazine - Fall 2017  
Accent Magazine - Fall 2017  

Building Bright futures at MNU