THE MAGA ZINE OF MOUNT MERCY UNIVERSIT Y | CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH Faculty and staff take to heart the importance of experiential learning opportunities for studentsâ€”and for themselves.
Amir Hadzic ’05, ’10 MBA has led MMU’s men’s soccer team for 23 seasons and is the program’s all-time leader in coaching victories, ranking him 18th nationally among current coaches with 202 wins. Twenty-three of Hadzic’s MMU players have become head coaches throughout the country, including eight in the Corridor.
Amir Hadzic ’05, ’10 MBA Head Men’s Soccer Coach Director of International Recruitment
Welcome to his office. MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
Hadzic played professional soccer in Bosnia until war erupted in the early 1990s. He fled Sarajevo in 1994 and temporarily stayed at a refugee camp in Croatia before coming to the United States. While visiting his (now) wife’s family in Iowa City, he successfully applied for the MMU coaching position using his scrapbook as a resume. Outside of MMU, Hadzic is the head boys’ soccer coach at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, where he has led the team to four state championships. He has contributed greatly to the growth of soccer in Eastern Iowa through the support and development of several programs, and in 2015 he was inducted into the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The mini fridge Hadzic received while living in McAuley Hall for the first few months after arriving at MMU. Students noticed he used his window sill as a refrigerator and decided to chip in to buy him a mini fridge.
A scrapbook with detailed notes of every soccer game Hadzic played during his career—plus many newspaper and magazine articles. When fleeing Bosnia, he was only allowed to take two bags of personal belongings, and this scrapbook ultimately landed him the job at MMU, serving as his resume.
A Sunshine Coast photo from two former students who now enjoy this view from their Australian beach home. To Hadzic, it represents how MMU unites people from all over the world.
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
The state championship banner his Xavier High School team earned in 2010. The team also won championships in 2011, 2013, and 2015.
A gift from international student-athlete Robert (Bobby) MacGillivray ’15 from Scotland, whose mother hand wove “Thank you, Amir” in the Gaelic language.
Flags representing past and present international students—a reminder of how many students from different countries find a home at MMU.
CONTENTS 08 | PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH Academic excellence and compassionate service are the hallmarks of a Mount Mercy education. Faculty and staff take to heart the importance of experiential learning opportunities for students—and for themselves.
14 | A WOMAN OF MANY HATS, SAM WHALEN ’19 Sam juggled collegiate athletics, extracurriculars, and an internship during her time at Mount Mercy. Ultimately, her confidence in her work experience turned an internship into a full-time gig.
18 | HELPING STUDENTS SUCCEED Through accommodations and the Academic Center for Excellence, Mount Mercy empowers students with the resources and support they need to succeed—in academics and in life.
20 | HAPPENINGS ON THE HILL From partnerships with a Corridor business to raising over $32,000 for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Mount Mercy encompasses an environment built around service, knowledge, and compassion.
32 | CLASS NOTES Check in with fellow classmates and other members of the Mount Mercy alumni community as they celebrate personal and professional accomplishments.
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
Mount Mercy Magazine is published two times each year by Mount Mercy’s Office of Marketing & Communications.
Jamie Jones | Director of Marketing & Communications Amanda Mayotte ’15 | Marketing Content Manager Morgan Ortmann ’17 | Assistant Director for Alumni Relations Kristy Raine | Director of Library Services Krystal Schatzle | Senior Graphic Designer Joe Sheller | Associate Professor of Communication Maximilian Rieger ’20 Madelyn Orton ’20 Matthew Trueblood ’20 Caroline Groesbeck ’21
OFFICERS OF THE INSTITUTION
Laurie Hamen | President Sister Linda Bechen ’74 | Vice President for Mission & Ministry Terri Snyders Crumley | Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing Anne Gillespie | Vice President for Business & Finance Brenda Haefner ’96 | Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations Nate Klein ’07 | Vice President for Student Success Tim Laurent | Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles Rohde | Chair, Board of Trustees
Mount Mercy University | 1330 Elmhurst Drive NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 319-363-8213 | mtmercy.edu | firstname.lastname@example.org
LIFELONG LEARNING As members of the Mount Mercy community—grounded in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy and our Catholic identity—we’re committed to lifelong learning and education of the whole person. In this issue, you’ll find inspiring stories of faculty and staff who are doing just that. These professionals take to heart the importance of experiential learning—whether it’s serving as a staff nurse, human resources consultant, or guest conductor. Their experiences, in turn, make a major impact inside the classroom, providing our students with a practical view of what’s happening in their field of study. And, you’ll hear firsthand how our telehealth delivery system and lab upgrades are influencing students’ nursing careers. The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) is also at the forefront of our accessibility initiatives and academic support services on campus. You’ll read more about how Ellen Warrington and Barb Miller are shaping our inclusive environment through each of their roles. In addition to these stories and more (including an alumna who’s a Sherlockian— see page 30!), we’re excited to share more on the Rinderknecht Athletic Center grand opening, new Martin-Herold College of Nursing & Health dean and leadership team, and our very meaningful partnership with the Catherine McAuley Center. We have much to celebrate on the Hill! With gratitude and an invitation to come and visit!
Laurie Hamen, JD President
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH
PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH Academic excellence and compassionate service are the hallmarks of a Mount Mercy education. Faculty and staff take to heart the importance of experiential learning opportunities for studentsâ€”and for themselves. Some are practicing staff nurses and consultants, while others are authors and volunteers. What they experience outside the classroom makes them better teachers to MMU students.
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
Director of Social Work Program Associate Professor of Social Work Linn County Community Services Board Linn County Juvenile Detention & Diversion Services Board Iowa Board of Certification
WHEN WAS YOUR PASSION FOR MMU: SOCIAL WORK BORN?
HOW DOES YOUR COMMUNITY WORK MMU: IMPACT YOUR TEACHING AT MMU?
JH: My initial passion for social work developed during my
junior year in college as I gained more knowledge about the profession’s leadership in family therapy. I was volunteering at a domestic violence/sexual assault crisis center when the director highly recommended that I pursue my master’s degree in social work. Once in the University of Iowa’s MSW program, I had an epiphany while taking my first social work courses. Although my interest in working with families continued, I discovered I felt the most connected to social work practice that takes place at the community and policy levels. This is when I changed my degree concentration from therapy to macro-level intervention.
Most of the courses I teach at MMU relate to policy and organizational/community change processes. By serving as a board member for human service organizations and associations, I’ve remained engaged in community development initiatives and oversight. For example, I’ve learned so much by observing the Linn County Community Services executive director work with county supervisors and other human service leaders to develop a Linn County Mental Health Access Center. Likewise, activities such as helping the detention center director write a grant to expand trauma-informed yoga with youth in detention—and facilitating staff focus groups—keep my skills in these areas up to date.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTRIGUING IDEA YOU’VE MMU: LEARNED FROM RECENT WORK?
HOW DOES ALL OF THIS CONNECT TO THE MMU: CRITICAL CONCERNS?
JH: Currently, I’m very interested in two community
JH: To me, the Sisters’ Critical Concerns are about justice
interventions: the county’s work to develop a mental health access center and the state’s continued efforts to develop quality peer support.
and service. They instruct us on the importance of living a life that promotes dignity for everyone. It’s not surprising social work was one of the initial three areas of study at MMU since our values of service, justice, and dignity overlap with Mercy values.
PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH
MMU: WHAT INTERESTED YOU IN NURSING? KB:
The first time I thought about becoming a nurse was when I was in sixth grade. My grandma died when I was 12; she had heart disease and died from a stroke after open heart surgery. I remember one of the last times I visited her in her hospital room before she died. She asked me if I had thought about becoming a nurse because I was so caring and compassionate. That experience planted the seed, and becoming a nurse was on my mind from that point on. MADE YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE MMU: INWHAT CARDIAC CARE?
DR. KIM BRO ’90
Chair, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Assistant Professor of Nursing Martin-Herold College of Nursing & Health Staff Nurse, Heart Holding, UnityPoint–St. Luke’s Volunteer, Community Health Free Clinic
While I was in nursing school, I applied for a patient care tech position at UnityPoint Health–St. Luke’s in the cardiac care unit. The unit took care of critically ill cardiac patients. I thought the nurses were so smart because they took such good care of the patients and their families. The nurses modeled the same things (professionalism, caring, compassion) I was learning at Mount Mercy in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. After I graduated I was so excited to begin my nursing career on that cardiac unit.
HOW DID YOU TRANSITION INTO TEACHING?
I became an adjunct clinical instructor for Mount Mercy after getting my BSN and came to the realization that I loved teaching. I honestly never thought about furthering my education after I graduated with my BSN. It took me 14 years to go back to school. Once I began my Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) I realized very quickly how well Mount Mercy prepared me for more. I then began my PhD in nursing education two years after graduating with my MSN–Nurse Educator.
HOW DO YOUR COMMUNITY EXPERIENCES INFLUENCE YOUR TEACHING?
I incorporate what I learn at UnityPoint and the Community Health Free Clinic every day. Nursing practice is continuously changing, and I think it’s important for Mount Mercy graduates to know what’s happening at the bedside. When they graduate, I want them to have a realistic view of what’s happening within the nursing profession. New graduates will be taking care of more patients due to the nursing shortage, and the patients they care for will be sicker due to chronic illnesses. I also love telling stories. When I learn about a new procedure, protocol, or piece of equipment, I share it with our simulation director and we implement the new information in the simulation lab with students. There’s a known gap between nursing education and practice, and I believe by working I am helping to narrow that gap.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED DURING YOUR CAREER?
The best advice I received after my BSN was to go back to school. If no one said that to me I wouldn’t be where I am today. MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
WHAT SPARKED YOUR PASSION FOR BUSINESS?
MV: I think I’ve always been interested in business. We used to sell sweet corn for 35 cents a dozen on the farm where I grew up. It was a lot of work for little money, but I got to meet a lot of interesting people and learned the value of hard work.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN HUMAN RESOURCES?
I was working as a teller at a bank. I was not great at balancing my money drawer but was really good with customers and training new tellers. An opening came up in the HR department, and I was encouraged to apply. I did, and that was the start. It seemed like a good fit for me by allowing me to help effectively balance the needs of the company with the needs of the employees. It was rewarding to hire employees—to help them develop and watch them move up in the organization. I enjoyed watching people have the “aha” moment and realize that they could do many things. I still enjoy watching that. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO BE INVOLVED WITH HR MMU: DEVELOPMENT CONSULTING?
By getting out into the community and providing training, I get the opportunity to spend time with organizations to understand their values, performance gaps, and how they’re investing in their employees. I discover the things that are challenges for organizations, bring those things back to MMU, and if possible, incorporate them into the curriculum. I consistently hear that employees need soft skills, including collaboration, teamwork, written and oral communication, etc. We’ve started to emphasize more soft skills in our curriculum by having students do oral presentations and write research papers, marketing plans, executive summaries, persuasive emails, and so on. These are things they’ll need to do in the business world.
WHAT INTRIGUES YOU ABOUT THE BUSINESS WORLD?
MV: I’m still wrapping my head around a few things that are happening in the business world. The first is unlimited paid time off. There’s an organization in the Corridor that started this with their employees a few years ago. It’s based around the concept that when you get the work done, it’s time to rest. The second concept centers around performance management. We used to do yearly reviews, and that seemed to work for employees. Now, employees want more than yearly feedback. When warranted, they want to know immediately that someone noticed their contribution.
MARCIE VAN NOTE
MBA Director, Graduate Programs Human Resource Development Consultant
Another idea that I am intrigued by is the concept of the skills shortage. Hearing about the things organizations are doing to combat this is interesting, and they’re coming up with some creative solutions. Some of those ideas include teaching English an hour each day and hiring people who need a second chance. MMU:
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED DURING YOUR CAREER?
That’s an easy question. Never, ever stop learning.
PRACTICING WHAT THEY TEACH
DR. MARY VERMILLION
Professor of English Author
WHEN WAS YOUR PASSION FOR ENGLISH AND LITERATURE BORN?
MV: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love literature! It’s where I’ve
always turned for inspiration. Good books have sustained me through difficult times and helped me make important decisions. Literature helps us understand and appreciate difference, yet, in the words of Maya Angelou, it also teaches us that “we are more alike…than we are unalike.”
YOU’RE WRITING NOVEL NUMBER FOUR. HOW’S IT GOING?
MV: Not as fast as I want it to! But that’s always the case when I’m writing. I love my characters. I’ve given them huge challenges, and I can’t wait to see how they handle them! Most days, I feel hopeful and excited, but on harder days, I try to let other writers inspire me. I recently saw this quote from novelist John Irving: “If you don't feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then probably what you are doing isn't very vital.”
WHY ARE OPPORTUNITIES LIKE THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR WORK?
MV: I strive to take intellectual and creative risks. I push myself to try new
research and writing strategies, to ask difficult questions. I encourage my students to engage with texts that grapple with oppression, so I read a lot of such texts myself. And in my own writing, I try to give voice to people at the margins of society. Sabbaticals give me the time and freedom to do all that. So, I hope I’m doing what I teach my students: developing my strengths while flexing new creative muscles.
HOW DO STUDENTS BENEFIT?
MV: Professors who are active researchers/writers have a clearer
understanding of the challenges facing their students because they themselves face similar challenges. For instance, when I required my students in EN210 to revise an essay, I told them I understood how overwhelming feedback can feel at first. I showed them an essay that Carol Tyx and I were publishing about our service-learning project at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. Our margins were filled with suggestions from our editors. I told my students that Carol and I could hardly stand to read those comments at first, but then in a day or two, we reread them, saw that most were sound, and went to work strengthening our essay. The students were surprised—and heartened—to see that a piece already accepted for publication required so much revision. I believe they truly saw that revision is a natural part of the writing process; it’s what you do when your draft has good potential, when your writing matters. Their own revisions turned out to be substantive and brilliant! Students learn so much when faculty can share their own real experience writing and researching. And, of course, students benefit from the connections and contacts we make. And, maybe most important of all, they see us as lifelong learners.
Director of Bands
Concert, Jazz & Marching Band Clinician Guest Conductor
WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE TEACHING WAS SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO PURSUE LONG-TERM?
When I entered college as a freshman music major, all I knew for sure was that I loved playing the trumpet and wanted to keep that in my life. What changed everything for me was when I spent a summer as a camp counselor in Colorado, where I was responsible for a cabin of eight 12-year-old boys. The first week I experienced a lot of self-centered behaviors and attitudes that you might expect from that age group, which caused me to consider if I had made the right decision to be there. Then, over the course of the five weeks, I was amazed at the transformation I had witnessed in these boys. It was very rewarding, and I realized that through the power of music I could create an environment where students could thrive by learning to work together, supporting one other, and resolving their differences in a respectful manner. From that point, I knew I wanted to have a positive impact on our world as a teacher!
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED DURING YOUR CAREER?
SS: Seek the advice and expertise of successful professionals in your field, and never stop working to become better at your craft. Throughout my career, I’ve benefited tremendously from the advice and guidance of former teachers, mentors, and fellow band colleagues. The tools I’ve developed through their support have allowed me to ignite a love and appreciation for music and the arts for many of my former students and parents. It may be a small ripple in this big world of ours, but I love helping directors and their students become better teachers and musicians—and perhaps adding a few more ripples.
DO YOU FIND YOURSELF PASSING THIS ADVICE ONTO YOUR STUDENTS?
SS: Yes, all the time when I’m out doing clinics with young
directors. Other advice I’ve shared many times is that we tend to make life more complicated than it needs to be. Simply be on time, do your best, do it with a good attitude, take responsibility for your actions, and learn from your mistakes.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND MOST FULFILLING IN YOUR CAREER?
We often never know the impact we as teachers might have on our students’ lives—how one little gesture can totally change a person’s life. For me, the “aha” moment happened when the mother of a former student reminded me of a story.
It was early in my career when I was teaching both high school and elementary band. I started this mother’s daughter on flute and gave her lessons for two years. When she went to junior high, her band director needed an oboe, and since he had plenty of flutes and she was doing well, he asked her to make the switch. She did, and she was good at it. When it came time to register for freshman high school classes, I didn’t see her name on our band registration, so I called her. It turned out that she never really liked the oboe and had decided to quit band. I told her that I didn’t care what she played, but I just wanted her in band and asked if she’d like to go back to playing the flute. From that simple phone call, she ended up returning to flute, playing in high school band, going on to major in flute performance, and is now the professor of flute at Auburn University.
SAM WHALEN ’19 BBA | ACCOUNTING
There’s no doubt Sam Whalen ’19 made the most of her time at Mount Mercy. She was a defensive specialist on the volleyball team, an ambassador in the admissions office, and an intern with United Life Insurance. Before graduation, Sam’s internship turned into a full-time job offer. She believes work experience before graduating is the key to finding a fulfilling career.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY TO MOUNT MERCY. HOW DID YOU KNOW MMU WAS THE RIGHT FIT?
Looking back now, it’s so hard to even think I looked at other schools. There are so many times I told people how lucky I am to have found MMU and the many things I’ve experienced. I truly thought I was outgoing before I came to MMU, but now I’ve stepped so far out of my comfort zone and can’t imagine ever going back. The first time I walked on campus, there was a doormat at the entrance that said, “Welcome Home.”
SW: As much as my mom wanted me to follow my own path,
I look up to her more than any person in my life. She is an accountant—a very successful accountant—and I truly hope to be at her level one day. However, I have to put my own twist on it. My dream is to work for the FBI as a forensic accountant, digging into the deepest cases and solving things others gave up on.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GET INVOLVED OUTSIDE OF CLASS?
Initially, I chose Mount Mercy for volleyball and the bond I instantly built with my coach. We immediately began conversations I would have with someone I have known for years. I wanted nothing more than to be a college athlete my whole life, and I finally got to experience it. I also got involved with Student Ambassadors because I love meeting new people and talking about things I am passionate about. Being able to show prospective students around campus and show my excitement was one of the best things I could have done—even better seeing many of those faces on campus today.
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
YOU’RE AN ACCOUNTING MAJOR—WHAT INTERESTED YOU IN THAT FIELD?
YOU EARNED AN INTERNSHIP WITH UNITED LIFE INSURANCE. WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
My internship was the best thing that could have happened, when it happened. It was the end of my junior year—until that point, I put off applying for every internship that came my way. I thought I would be waiting tables all summer (though there’s nothing wrong with waiting tables)! I applied for this internship the week before finals, accepted the job the following week, and started right after Memorial Day. There is a rhyme and a reason for everything you do. I believe in timing, and this internship has shown me that. The people I work with make me laugh and help me grow in my learning, and I have created life-long friendships. I think it helped solidify why I want to be an accountant.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND AN INTERNSHIP TO OTHER STUDENTS?
SW: Yes. One million times—yes. There are so many people who accept a job with no experience in the field or knowledge of the criteria. Do I want to work in life insurance forever? Probably not. But, I will feel so much more comfortable switching careers knowing I tried this field and gave it all I had. So, yes, I think it is important to have at least one internship to see what it is you truly want to do.
THAT INTERNSHIP TURNED INTO A FULL-TIME JOB OFFER! THAT’S EXCITING, ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU HADN’T GRADUATED YET. WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU WERE OFFERED THE JOB?
SW: I was sitting at my desk finishing up a task, and my boss
asked to speak with me. We walked right past her desk and into HR, and I think my eyeballs probably bounced off her window because I was so nervous. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, but everyone sees you when you get called to the teacher’s desk. When I sat down, she quickly assured me I wasn’t in trouble. When she offered the job, my insides were screaming “I did it!” The adult part of me asked for a day to think about it, to scream on the phone to my parents that I made it, and see if I wanted to really do this. A full-time job placed in my hands!
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST IN YOUR CAREER?
Being able to walk into a full-time job has opened my eyes to my future. I am looking forward to more success and experiencing new things. My career is going to be hard work, but I am also looking forward to traveling the world and getting to enjoy my 20s. If Mount Mercy has taught me anything, it is to get out there and experience all I can.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS WHEN LOOKING FOR AN INTERNSHIP?
Be patient. Do not freak out and think you will never find anything. Obviously, be on top of things. I would not recommend applying for internships you are not interested in. If you want more information, send the company a quick e-mail and ask for additional information—this might even help you in the future. Being an intern, you have to be invested in what you are doing, regardless of the task.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
SW: Try your very best not to leave Mount Mercy having
the slightest of regrets. Be honest in all you do, and put the extra work in on the group project. No one can determine your future—except you.
MEETING COMMUNITY NEEDS Mount Mercyâ€™s telehealth delivery system and lab upgrades have had a direct impact on our nursing students thanks to a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. The main campus telehealth room connects to a provider telehealth room at the CRST International Graduate Center, allowing students the opportunity to simulate the nurse role at a distance.
Now that you’ve had exposure to telehealth concepts and equipment, how do you think telehealth will influence your nursing career?
Telehealth is undoubtedly becoming the future of health care, and we are just now scratching the surface with all the potential opportunities. By integrating telehealth into my practice, I will have the ability to provide care in remote locations where care likely did not exist before. By lessening this disparity, I, along with other health care providers, can generate a healthier Iowa!”
Carson Burgart ’21 MSN University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics I envision telehealth becoming part of my practice in the near future, especially with my current urgent care practice. I am already in discussions with administration about getting a telehealth clinic in the Waterloo market! I believe once telehealth hits the market, it will take off as patients will still be able to receive high-quality care with a provider, but the access to this high-quality care will be so much easier for them with telehealth.”
Kimberly Glasgow ’22 DNP UnityPoint Clinic–Waterloo I think that having exposure to the telehealth equipment—as well as the additional instruction and training—will prepare us to be adopters and advocates for the technology early in our careers. The advancements in telehealth technology are exciting and have the potential to improve access to care for underserved populations.”
Nathan Gross ’21 DNP Traekos Workforce Medicine The possibilities are endless. Telehealth can be incorporated into anything from medication management to primary care provider visits to seeing specialists all around the world from the comfort of your town or even home. Technology will never replace the nurse or nursing profession, but it can certainly enhance everything we do and help make us better nurses.”
Traci Ridgway ’21 MSN Mercy Medical Center
HELPING STUDENTS SUCCEED
Ellen Warrington, professor of education and disability services coordinator, and Barb Miller, director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), help shape Mount Mercy’s inclusive environment. In accordance with MMU values, student success is at the forefront of their roles in accessibility and academic excellence. Through accommodations and ACE, students are given the support and resources to excel in all aspects on the Hill.
WHY IS ACCESSIBILITY MMU: IMPORTANT?
EW: Accessibility is important not simply because it’s required
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but because it’s necessary for students to succeed in their goal of achieving a degree from Mount Mercy. If a student is unable to get to class because there’s obstruction in their physical path to be in that class, it interferes with that student’s goal. If a student does not have access to his/her accommodations, they will be less successful or not successful at all in that course. Again, this leads to failure to achieve their goal.
WHAT CAN WE ALL DO TO HELP?
One thing that everyone can do is be open to the fact that there are people on campus who may need help accessing a building, floor, room, etc. We cannot always see a person’s disability, so being open to the needs of others and realizing these are not advantages, but necessities—and a means to create equal access and opportunity for all.
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
WE KNOW ACE ALSO PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN SUPPORTING STUDENT SUCCESS AND OPPORTUNITY.
EW: ACE is Mount Mercy's learning and academic resource
center for students. We provide academic support services to help students learn how to learn, grow as critical thinkers, excel in their classes, and succeed by reaching their academic goals. Simply put, students who utilize the ACE resources are students who want to do better.
HOW ARE ACCESSIBILITY AND ACE CONNECTED?
BJM: Ellen is available in ACE to assist students and faculty with information and support for a successful educational experience. Decisions about appropriate accommodations and guidance to students and faculty are among her important roles. Alternative testing, environmental accommodations, or Kurzweil/Dragon Naturally Speaking software access are among the possibilities.
BARB J. MILLER
Director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)
Professor of Education & Disability Services Coordinator
JOEL SARGENT ’20
WHAT MAKES ACE UNIQUE?
We’re embedded within the academic mission of the university, and ACE is truly a one-stop service/location for students. Oftentimes these resources and services are scattered around an institution, but here a student might meet with a peer academic coach, attend a group tutoring session, and then receive writing support—all at one location.
WHAT MIGHT PEOPLE NOT REALIZE ABOUT ACE?
About 75 percent of our time revolves around the academic confidence or self-efficacy of our students. When we believe in them, they believe in themselves. Recent research tells us that 84 percent of students who persist in college and graduate utilized academic peer support resources. We know this to be true, as Mount Mercy has experienced a similar outcome.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Watching and seeing students grow and develop as learners, leaders, and people—and when students come back after a semester, year, or several years later and say that ACE made a difference in their lives.
BBA | Criminal Justice
The start of my freshman year was difficult, and I had tough decisions to make. Do I drop out or try again? What if I try to find someone who can help me? After talking with friends, I was assigned a fantastic peer academic coach through ACE. With ACE, I’ve been able to make
and achieve many of my academic goals and have made friendships with individuals who like to work hard and strive to see others succeed—like I did.”
HAPPENINGS ON THE HILL
COMMUNITY CELEBRATES RINDERKNECHT ATHLETIC CENTER WITH GRAND OPENING Just across the street from the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex sits the new Rinderknecht Athletic Center—Mount Mercy’s state-of-the-art wellness and athletic performance center. The dynamic training facility and recreational fitness resource serves Mount Mercy’s 500+ student-athletes and 2,100+ students, faculty, and staff. Located at 939 17th Street NE, the transformed warehouse houses batting cages, golf hitting and putting greens, a sprint track, an athletic training room, fitness/cardio/weight equipment, and a dynamic movement area. Renovations to the space included a new HVAC system and new flooring, roof, siding, and windows that look onto the athletic complex. The neighboring building, the Rinderknecht Athletic Center administrative office, houses coaches’ offices.
The purchase of the property and renovation were made possible through a substantial gift from John Rinderknecht, Mount Mercy trustee and president of Ram Development Company. Members and leaders of the university and Cedar Rapids communities celebrated a grand opening in early June. The Rinderknecht Athletic Center is truly a
game-changer at Mount Mercy and will make a tremendous impact,” said Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Brenda Haefner ’96. “We are so grateful to John Rinderknecht for his decades of service to Mount Mercy and his investment in this incredible new facility for our community!”
MARTINHEROLD COLLEGE OF NURSING & HEALTH
DEAN, LEADERSHIP TEAM ANNOUNCED Mount Mercy announced the newest member of the Martin-Herold College of Nursing & Health leadership team, Chandice Covington, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN. Covington joins as dean of the college and leads the nursing and health team. Covington is an advanced-practice registered nurse and board-certified primary care pediatric nurse practitioner. Her research interests include improving the health of women, children, and families in domestic and global settings. With 45 years of professional experience, Covington was most recently a professor of nursing at Linfield College School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon. Previously, she was a pediatric nurse practitioner at Fort Peck Reservation Tribal School Clinics in northeast Montana. Covington has two prior dean appointments, serving as dean and vice president of Purdue Global School of Nursing, and dean and professor at the University of North Dakota College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines. A fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, she earned her Doctor of Philosophy in clinical nursing research from the
University of Michigan, and her Master of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees from the University of Texas. Covington has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications funded by organizations such as the F. Marie Hall Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the National Cancer Institute. Most recently, she was an investigator on a project to develop an at-breast feeding device to prevent HIV transmission. Covington began July 1 and replaces Dr. Mary Tarbox ’74, who retired and was awarded professor emeritus status after 42 years with Mount Mercy’s nursing faculty. THE FULL NURSING AND HEALTH LEADERSHIP TEAM IS: • Chandice Covington | Dean, Martin-Herold College of Nursing & Health • Kim Bro ’90 | Chair, Bachelor of Science in Nursing • Candace Chihak ’11, ’13 MSN | Director, RN–ؘBSN • Sharon Guthrie | Director, Graduate Nursing Programs • Mary Ann Hindman Grobstich | Chair, Health Programs
HAPPENINGS ON THE HILL
MMU DANCE MARATHON Mount Mercy’s student-led Dance Marathon raised $32,780.67 during their second-annual event this spring. Considered a great success, Executive Co-Directors Ella Pannkuk ’19 and Taylor Wright ’20 said fundraising increased by 79 percent and registration increased by 46 percent. Dance Marathon raises money for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital while celebrating the lives of survivors and recognizing those lost. The event included family speakers, a fundraising jail, an inflatable obstacle course, adult tricycle races, karaoke, and a '90s hour.
NEW ORGANIZATION: STUDENTS FOR ANTI-VIOLENCE SOLUTIONS (SAVS) Students for Anti-Violence Solutions, or SAVS, has emerged as one of Mount Mercy’s newest student organizations. The club’s purpose is to inform and raise awareness about issues surrounding violence—such as human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Advised by Deb Brydon, associate professor of criminal justice, the club is partnering with local organizations to make a difference across the state.
SAVS has been doing our best to get events going since our start in fall 2018,” said Alexis Costello ’19, former club president. “Recently, we partnered with the Cedar Rapids chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women) to have a public movie event about sexual assault in the Congo.”
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
Other projects include a trip to Des Moines to speak with representatives about the current mandatory reporter law and an anti-human trafficking sticker project that spans Iowa. The club also made fleece blankets to donate to Waypoint, a local social service agency that offers proactive services and resources, including homeless and housing services, domestic violence victim services, and affordable child care. Costello said SAVS will continue its work through additional movie nights and panels on violence-related topics.
LOCAL KIDS FILL HENNESSEY REC CENTER FOR JUMPSTART KICKOFF Nearly 50 kids filled Hennessey Recreation Center for each of MMU's JumpStart kickoff events this spring. They worked on fundamental basketball and volleyball skills like layups, shooting, dribbling, passing, setting, and serving. The participants were assisted by 14 Mount Mercy students who doubled as JumpStart coaches. The coaches led instruction, mentored, assisted, and played basketball dribbling games, dribble tag, volleyball games, and even pickle ball with the kids.
The kickoff was a huge success,” said Jason Pershing ’04, Mount Mercy’s assistant athletic director and JumpStart director. “This was a great way to introduce the young participants to the Mount Mercy community.” The kickoff events were a precursor to the summer JumpStart program, which ran June 12–July 27 at the Plaster Athletic Complex. From 5–8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, third- through seventh-grade students participated in leadership and growth opportunities, including interacting with guest speakers, participating in themed core concept discussions, and enjoying activities focused on reading, writing, and sportsmanship. The same 14 JumpStart coaches organized and coordinated speakers and built curriculum for the activities. The goal is to build life-long relationships between young students and Mount Mercy. Pershing said JumpStart is also a great opportunity for MMU students. “These JumpStart coaches have the chance to mentor, build relationships, and serve our community.”
HAPPENINGS ON THE HILL
ENACTUS TEAM RALLIES TO HELP MARKET AT THE MOUNT SOAP VENDOR Soap maker Jeanne White was unsure of her options when she had a serious medical emergency the day of Mount Mercy University’s Market at the Mount. She called a friend—who was also a vendor at the market—to help take down her product table, fearing people might make assumptions about her absence. That call set off a chain of events that would earn White more than $500 in sales and give students an authentic lesson in business. “Our team told vendors they could start arriving at 7:30 a.m. to setup, but we knew that many would show up even earlier,” said Enactus Co-President Annie Ertz ’19. “Usually among those to arrive early was Jeanne. However, I noticed she wasn’t there yet.” They soon learned White was in the hospital. Concerned, the team—along with Enactus volunteer Patti Seda and fine woodworker Alice McCabe (also a vendor at the Market)—sprang into action and asked themselves what they could do to help. “I was devastated when I heard Jeanne was unable to come because of health issues,” said Enactus team member Peyton Staab ’21. “She had been a staple at our market pretty much since we started.” Seda left for the hospital and had an idea while visiting: Why not sell White’s product for her? White agreed and handed over her keys. Seda and Staab made the 14-mile trek to White’s rural home.
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“All of her stuff to sell was neatly packed and ready to go in her car, so we moved everything into our car and headed off to the market,” Staab said. When they arrived on campus, car brimming with lovelysmelling soaps and other handmade products, the team set up the table. White’s friend Sharon Poplawski managed the table and gave Staab and Ertz an impromptu crash course in sales. The trio had a successful day, earning more than $500 in under three hours.
When 1 p.m. rolled around, vendors were instructed to estimate their total dollars sold and Jeanne’s friend counted over $500,” said Ertz. “I felt pretty good about it, but Jeanne’s friend was very excited. As a vendor herself, she informed me that most vendors aim to sell about $100 per each hour.” White is thankful for the help she received from the MMU students. “That’s friendship,” she said. “That’s community.” Staab echoes that gratitude. “Looking back, I think it probably helped me more than it helped her because it allowed me to see the impact a helping hand can have on someone in need,” she said. This is what Enactus and Mount Mercy University are all about—having mercy and compassion and helping our neighbors when they need us.”
VISITING SPEAKERS: SUSTAINABILITY
Trespassing Across America
Adam Hammes | Sustainable Business in Iowa
Ken Ilgunas | Trespassing Across America
Adam Hammes, author of Sustainable Business in Iowa, visited campus to discuss how leading companies profit from environmental and social responsibility. He provided a simple framework to understand the complex topic of sustainability and implement change. Hammes is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, where he teaches CSR & Sustainability for evening MBA students. He spent five years as a strategic sustainability consultant, was the first manager of sustainability for Kum & Go convenience stores, and launched the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum where he serves as executive director.
Author, journalist, and backcountry ranger Ken Ilgunas walked 1,700 miles across North America, following the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline—from Hardisty, Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas. He encountered stampedes of cows, charging moose, and climate change deniers. Ilgunas spoke with campus and community members about his journey, during which he trespassed over one of the most ignored, yet beautiful, regions of our continent—the Great Plains. Ilgunas is author of Walden on Wheels, Trespassing Across America, and This Land is Our Land.
HAPPENINGS ON THE HILL
PARTNERSHIP WITH CATHERINE MCAULEY CENTER PLACES REFUGEES IN MMU'S POSITIONS REGINA | DR Congo 1 year, 8 months
ELIAS | Burundi 1 year, 6 months STEPHANIA | Burundi 1 year, 7 months
MOSES | Sierra Leone 1 year, 1 month
NAMBANGUKA | DR Congo 11 months
JEAN | DR Congo 1 year
SANTORA | Burundi 10 months
AIMERANCE | DR Congo 11 months
PENINA | Burundi 1 year
A call from University President Laurie Hamen to Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) Executive Director Paula Land sparked a partnership that places immigrants and refugees in Mount Mercy’s open employment positions. “The connection was too obvious,” said Dave Dennis, Mount Mercy’s director of facilities. “This partnership meets our mission statement, and we’re supporting truly amazing people—hardworking, dependable, long-term employees.” In effect since November 2017, CMC quickly became a direct hiring source for facilities and, more recently, food service departments. The partnership has supported individuals from Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. Any refugee or immigrant seeking employment through CMC is eligible, given they meet the position qualifications at MMU. CMC works to match employment goals and language ability of the individual before making a recommendation for employment, and some consideration is given to the family’s interest in accessing educational opportunities through MMU.
It’s wonderful to see this unique group of people take full advantage of the opportunities in front of them,” Dennis said. Currently, two employees or family members of employees are “It’s not just a job to enrolled at MMU. them. It’s a community.” “Mount Mercy’s educational opportunities for the employees or their children are a huge incentive,” Land said. MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
MMU, CCR TEAM UP TO BUILD WEB PRESENCE FOR AUTHOR DAVE MITCHELL Business speaker and author Dave Mitchell was on campus this spring, but not to give a typical lecture. Mount Mercy and Cedar Rapids-based Circle Computing Resources teamed up to create a web presence for Mitchell’s book, The Power of Understanding People. Mitchell visited campus for the culmination of the project. Much like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and True Colors evaluation, Mitchell’s book is used as a tool for understanding communication styles. It also provides detailed advice on how to adjust to diverse styles, develop a unifying language for an organization, and better match motivation techniques to team member. Students in three teams—front-end, back-end, and mobile— spent the semester developing online and app-based versions of the book’s assessment to augment the physical assessment provided in the books. A graphic design student was also involved to provide custom graphics and encourage continuity of look and feel across web and mobile platforms. “Students are rewarded with the opportunity to practice concepts taught in prior courses to overcome real-world challenges,” said management information systems professor Tony Rose. “These challenges can be technical in nature, such as designing databases and coding intricate APIs, but also include project management
challenges, such as gathering customer requirements and managing conflict under the pressure of deadlines.” During the process, CCR representatives Heidi Hromidko and Lynette Bordignon provided feedback based on the project’s requirements. CCR CEO Shea Kelly joined Mitchell and the class for final feedback. This project allowed us to see how teams function, how to deal with limitations, and how to collaborate to become a stronger team,” said student Ryan Kelley. “The personal skills that are needed to complete a project like this mimic what goes on in a working environment, so it gives the student a free pass to learn without jeopardizing a potential career.” Mitchell was pleased with the outcome and said he was impressed by the students’ level of skill and professionalism.
MMU and CCR made me aware of needs I didn’t know I had,” Mitchell said. “These are people who are learning, and the skills they’re learning have already elevated their knowledge to a point where they can provide a seasoned client with solutions and ideas the client would have never thought of. I think that’s a tremendous testament to the quality of education and students at Mount Mercy.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. WHAT LED YOU TO TEACHING?
As a kid, I hated school. I never thought I’d end up working in schools as an adult. I was a Title I kid, and reading was something I always struggled with, but I loved to write. As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in journalism, I stumbled on a book series that made me fall in love with reading, and I wanted to be a part of this process with kids. From that point on, literacy education became a passion for me.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET YOUR MAED?
MY: Honestly, I was first motivated by the pay bump teachers get when they have a master’s degree. However, I didn’t want to enroll in just any program. I wanted to learn something. Some colleagues had mentioned the MMU program, so I looked into it. I loved the focus on literacy. I also enjoyed the flexibility of scheduling around work and the opportunity to pursue my degree while continuing to teach.
YOUR MAED LED TO YOUR PHD. TELL US ABOUT YOUR DOCTORAL STUDIES.
While at MMU, I took a course in language, literacy, and culture. This was an important course in helping me find an area to pursue in my doctoral studies. Since beginning this journey, my studies have included sociocultural and post-structural research into writing development, teacher agency and identity, leadership literacies, school change and standardization, language, power, and discourse. My dissertation research focuses on the narratives elementary teachers construct in coming to know their students as readers and writers. Through qualitative data analysis, I’m looking at the effects of school standardization efforts in limiting and orienting the work of teachers in elementary literacy classrooms.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM YOUR EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY?
The MAEd program opened doors for me. Since graduating from the program, I’m nearly finished with a PhD and have moved onto leadership positions. The thinking I engaged in at MMU really opened up these opportunities to expand my influence on the educational opportunities for all students.
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MICHAEL YOUNG ’14 MAED Curriculum Consultant, Grant Wood Area Education Agency
Michael Young ’14 MAEd left the elementary classroom just a year after earning his graduate degree at Mount Mercy. He was ready to work with other educators more directly in co-constructing opportunities for advancing teacher practices. Through his research at MMU, he studied the curricular resources used in the elementary classroom. This started him on a journey that now involves a focus on promoting accessibility for all learners and advocating for equitable practices and structures in classrooms and schools.
While at MMU, I decided to participate in another program that other graduate students didn’t do: a spring break abroad experience in England that I’ll never forget. I was with mostly undergraduate students but got the opportunity to visit schools and work with educators in England. I loved it! I made long-lasting connections with people I’m still close to.” Michael Young '14 MAEd
MONICA M. SCHMIDT ’03 LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR, MEADOWLARK PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES Monica M. Schmidt ’03 is a licensed mental health counselor with an unusual hobby—she’s a Sherlockian. A Sherlockian is someone who reads and studies the original 60 Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle (often referred to as “The Canon”). Recently, Schmidt became the 685th invested member of The Baker Street Irregulars, an exclusive literary society founded in 1934 dedicated to the continued scholarship of all things related to Sherlock Holmes.
EVERYONE HAS A STORY ABOUT HOW THEY MMU: CAME TO MOUNT MERCY. WHAT’S YOURS?
I was raised on Lake Sinissippi, just outside of Hustisford, Wisconsin—a small rural town in the southeastern part of the state. I had a graduating class of 43 and was in school with many of my classmates since kindergarten. When I was searching for colleges, I was looking for a school that would give me a quality education and the personal attention to which I was accustomed. Mount Mercy gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse: a Presidential Scholarship and an opportunity to play soccer while receiving a quality education in a small-school environment. Once I was officially accepted to Mount Mercy, I stopped my search because I knew it was the right fit.
WHERE HAS YOUR CAREER TAKEN YOU SINCE WALKING ACROSS THE STAGE?
I am a mental health counselor specializing in the treatment of addictions and am employed by Meadowlark Psychiatric Services. My choice to work in the field was influenced by both my personal humanist philosophy and the corporal works of mercy (which appear in stained glass at the chapel on campus). As a society, I believe we will be judged by how we treat the least of our people. Those who struggle with addictions are often misunderstood, stigmatized, and marginalized, and they deserve access to quality and ethical care, which I am happy to provide.
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TELL US ABOUT YOUR HOBBY AS A SHERLOCKIAN!
Anybody who reads and studies the original 60 Sherlock Holmes stories can call themselves a Sherlockian. There are thousands of Sherlockians belonging to hundreds of Sherlock Holmes societies in several dozen countries. I am involved in more than a dozen Sherlockian societies across the U.S. and Canada and am the current president of The Younger Stamfords of Iowa City. As of this past January, I am the 685th invested member of The Baker Street Irregulars. The membership of the BSI includes a number of venerable authors, publishers, journalists, and scholars; at this time, there are only about 300 living members. The path to membership in the BSI is by invitation and varies from person to person. I made a name for myself in the community by combining my passion for the literature with my profession; I've written articles for a number of publications and have given talks at several conferences on the subject of Holmes and mental health. When someone is inducted, that person is dubbed with an investiture name (a nickname taken from the stories). I will forever be known as “Julia Stoner” from the story The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
WILL YOU SHARE A FASCINATING FACT ABOUT SHERLOCK HOLMES?
Holmes is one of the top five characters most frequently portrayed in films and television. While there is only one Sherlock Holmes (he appears in the stories written by Doyle), there are hundreds of ‘parallel’ Holmes—adaptations and interpretations of the character. Despite being forever tied to the London fog of 1895, he has been invented and re-invented by authors and screenwriters by emphasizing specific traits to appropriately reflect the changing demographics of the readers and viewers, which is why this hero is evergreen and will remain relevant for generations to come. Additional trivia tidbits: Holmes never wore a deerstalker hat in the stories (it appeared in an illustration by Sidney Paget), and he never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson” (the phrase appeared in advertisements).
WHAT LIFE ADVICE HAVE YOU TAKEN FROM HOLMES THAT MIGHT HELP OTHERS?
Here’s a 125-year-old spoiler alert: In the story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, Holmes retrieves the stolen jewel—and he lets the criminal go free. Holmes recognizes that the jewel thief is unlikely to commit another crime, and it would be a shame to make him a jailbird for life. This idea of justice tempered with mercy appeals to me and has influenced how I view and engage with those around me, especially my justice-involved clientele.
During my junior year J-term, I took a class on the Holocaust. It was completely immersive; we explored a difficult subject for four hours per day, three days per week. During the darkest time of year, we explored some of the darkest aspects of human nature. It was very psychologically challenging, but incredibly rewarding, as it made me confront the nature of human evil and to seek out the moments of goodness in the face of that evil. It taught me much about the complicated nature of existence and gave me valuable insight into how otherwise good people could justify such terrible and horrific actions against their fellow human beings.”
STAY CONNECTED 1960s
Sister Maurita Soukup RN ’64, ’70
Pamela Schmitz Delagardelle ’84
received honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Creighton University.
won the 2019 Fulfilling the Vision of One Award presented by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.
Ann Clark Gibney ’86 retired from the Central Community School District after teaching for more than 30 years. She now works for the City of Elkader as the Chamber coordinator.
Sister Susan O'Connor ’72 joined
the Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees.
Julie Tappan Smith ’75 was named one
of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2019.
Susan O’Conner-Von ’76 received
the 2018–19 award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education from the University of Minnesota.
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The Mount Mercy Class of ’86 gathered from all over to attend a reunion in Texas! L to R: Nursing alums Bridgid (Freymann) Ruden, Ellen (Ritchie) Holm, Beverly (Langel) Koehler, Lee (Klaus) Patterson, Connie (Ries) Deutmeyer, Ann Peterson, Erin (Burke) Kaufmann, Brenda (Anstoetter) Ehlers, and Michele (Cahalan) Wolf.
Gina Thomas ’87 currently teaches English to international soldiers at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center in San Antonio, Texas. She is retired from the Army Reserves where she served for 22 years, including deployments to Kuwait and Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
THANK YOU ALUMNI!
We had an incredible time connecting with all of you that made your way back to the Hill during Alumni Reunion Weekend. The weekend was full of excitement as we inducted the 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame members, celebrated all class reunions, and honored the 2019 Alumni Award recipients. While back on the Hill, there was an opportunity to learn with some of our favorite professors at Return to the Classroom, cheer on the Mustangs at one of the many athletic events, enjoy time with the entire family at Party on the Plaza, and see in action all of the wonderful changes taking place on campus at one of the many tours that took place.
Check out the Mount Mercy Alumni social media channels to view some of the amazing new memories that were created during #MountMercyReunion 2019. Mount Mercy Alumni
THE 2019 MMU ROAD TOUR WAS A HIT! We loved connecting with each and every one of you at our alumni events in Kansas City, Omaha, Des Moines, and North Liberty, and truly appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedules to visit with us. Weâ€™re proud to share all the exciting things happening on the Hill and to learn all about how you are representing Mount Mercy in your community, career, and life.
Check out all of our Alumni Road Tour event photos on the Mount Mercy Alumni Facebook page.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Contact Morgan Ortmann â€™17, assistant director for alumni relations, at email@example.com or 319-368-6468.
THANKS TO THE DEDICATED MEMBERS OF OUR 2018–19 ALUMNI BOARD Peg Bruns Detweiler ’92 | President Kathy Ebel Harriott ’87 | Vice President Mary Daehn ’86 | Secretary Tony Dickinson ’02 | Past President Transamerica Travis Albertson ’10, ’18 Patty Barnes ’79, ’11 MBA Joan Kress McFarland ’92, ’16 MSN April Hageman ’08 Tricia Hoffman-Simanek ’98 Karen Woodhouse Jahlas ’84 Sara Kendall ’90 Marcel Kielkucki ’02 Earlier this year, Mount Mercy hosted its inaugural Katie Kielkucki ’06 CoMMUnity Coffee at several Corridor businesses. Tammy Clemenson Koolbeck ’86 MMU alumni and accelerated, graduate, and online Kellie J. Lala ’89 students were invited to join our faculty and staff for Ron Maxa Jr. ’06, ’11 MBA coffee and breakfast at GreatAmerica, Transamerica, Dr. Susan O’Conner-Von ’76 Mercy Medical Center, UnityPoint Health–St. Luke’s Amber Vranek O’Connor ’97 Hospital, and Frontier Co-op. Lisa Lindmeier Roughley ’90 Do you want Mount Mercy to visit you at your workplace? Andy Small ’79 We’d love to connect with you! Let us know by emailing Janet Teahen ’17 firstname.lastname@example.org. Nick Timm ’14 Jenny Valliere ’13
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SEND US YOUR NEWS! Have a wedding, birth, promotion, anniversary, award, or retirement? Submit your major life events online at mtmercy.edu/update or write us at Alumni Relations, Mount Mercy University, 1330 Elmhurst Drive NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402.
mountmercyalumni @MountMercyAlum mountmercyalumni
Information in the Class Notes section of Mount Mercy Magazine was submitted for publication. The university tries to verify the accuracy of the information; however, it cannot be responsible for incorrect information herein.
STAY CONNECTED 1990s Lorna Walther Kertesz ’90
is a member of The Phoenix Symphony Chorus.
Stephanie Hall Isaac ’92
was named KHAK’s Teacher of the Week on March 29, 2019.
Ronald Dirks ’93
was named one of the 2019 Heroes awarded by the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival.
Mercy Medical Center
Michael Barnhart ’97
was named CEO of Horizons Family Services.
HAVE MERCY GIVE MERCY The second annual #HaveMercyGiveMercy, a day of spirit and support on May 1, 2019, was a great success because of alumni, donors, students, faculty, and staff. For 24 hours, we invited Mustangs to show their MMU spirit loud and proud—reinforcing just how much we all have and give Mercy! Our goal was 501 total donors (on 5-01) and once we hit that goal, a $25,000 challenge gift from our Board of Trustees would be donated to MMU. Not only did we meet the goal (and get the extra $25,000), but we had over 550 donors and over $88,000 to support the Mount Mercy Fund.
Together, we celebrated Mount Mercy at seven events, gathered for photos with Mustang Sally at 11 businesses, and filled social media with MMU pride. May 1 was an extraordinary day for our coMMUnity—thanks to you!
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SAVE THE DATE | MAY 1, 2020 #HAVEMERCYGIVEMERCY
2016 MOST DONORS
STAY CONNECTED Jason Pershing ’04 is the assistant athletic director and JumpStart program director at Mount Mercy University.
Catherine Metz ’00 married Greg O’Connell on October 27, 2018.
Heather Collum Wilkinson ’08 and Matthew had a girl, Evangeline, born June 20, 2017.
Dr. Melanie Giesler-Spellman ’01
joined the Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees.
John Foster ’02 was hired as the solid waste administrator for Black Hawk County.
Tony Dickinson ’02 was promoted to Chief Operating Officer at NCMIC Group, Inc.
Michele Switzer Squires ’02 accepted a
new position as project director for the federal grant program called SMART: Systematic Medication and Recovery Treatment, which offers free treatment to underserved populations in Memphis, Tennessee.
Nicole Peterson Smith ’05 was
deployed to Kuwait as the battalion surgeon with the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division Headquarters & HQ Battalion in support of Task Force Spartan and Operation Spartan Shield.
Keith Fitzpatrick ’09 is currently working at Highway Equipment Company as an HR generalist.
Peter Messerli ’06 is the new head boys’ basketball coach at Marion High School.
Katie Sellers Stevens ’06 and Joe had a girl, Hope, born July 7, 2018. Mariah Towe Obiedzinski ’06 was named director of content services at Stamats Communications in December 2018.
RaeAnn Rueber Gordon ’09 graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Master of Social Work in May 2018 and was recently inducted into the Rotary Club of Cedar Rapids–Downtown Rotary. She also married Jarod Gordon on January 27, 2018. April Albrecht Golwitzer ’09 was named
one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2019.
Alicia Gerber ’03 opened her own private practice, Guiding Light Christian Counseling Center, in August 2018.
Missy Gerlach Janssen ’08 and Bryan had a girl, Brenna Anne, born November 25, 2018. Andrea Delagardelle Watkinson ’08
was named one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2019.
Phil Hartgrave ’03 and Cassie had a boy, Stanley, born October 5, 2018.
Stephanie Klein Van Hemert ’09
and Ben had a girl, Charlotte Beth, born January 17, 2019.
STAY CONNECTED 2010s Larissa Wilden ’13 married Martin Resner in June 2017.
Khalid Almasloukh ’16 MSN is now a
doctoral student at Binghamton University and has partnered with GAIT to help study the effects of equine therapy on cancer survivors.
Elli Slouha ’17 has been named the new park manager at Bellevue State Park.
Kortney Kluesner ’10 married Dan
Amy Bowman ’17 MSN was named one of
Glickert on December 15, 2018.
Tara Burke Seberger ’10 and Andy had a
Zach Frost ’15 married Emily Roder ’14
girl, Briley Rae, born August 7, 2018.
on June 16, 2018.
Nicole Miller Pruchno ’10 is a nurse
Alison Meloy ’14, ’19 married Anthony Kurt on October 5, 2018.
practitioner at Care Initiatives Hospice–Waterloo.
the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2019.
Nancy Schmitz Shade ’14 was named one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2019. Gabriella Perez ’17 joined the University of Iowa as a research technology compliance specialist.
Carrie Weber Clouse ’11 and Dan ’11 had a girl, Gwendolyn Olivia, born June 8, 2018. Dennis Kann ’12 was KCRG’s A for Education winner in March 2019.
Sara Sprouse ’16 MSN works as a human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness and received the Professional and Scientific New Professional Award at Iowa State University on September 14, 2018. Kayleigh Gauger ’16 obtained her CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor), works as a substance abuse counselor at the Area Substance Abuse Council in Cedar Rapids, and recently bought a home.
Scott Thornton ’13 married Andrea Norris ’16 on September 15, 2018.
MOUNT MERCY MAGAZINE
IN MEMORIAM 1940S
Barbara Wright Graichen AC ’42 Dorothy Funkey Lyman CM ’43 Nadine Weland Miller RN ’44 Leah Cira RN ’47 Jean Scanlan Kelzenberg JC ’47, ’71 Rose Mary Jennings Miner JC ’48 Dorothy Svoboda Hagerty AC ’49 Mary Huber Richmond JC ’49
1950S Mildred Yuska Wright AC ’50 Anne Finnegan Doran AC ’52 Rosemarie Eiben Nurre AC ’58, RN ’61
Miriam McKone Corkery ’72 Lisa Langenfeld Knapp ’76 Carla May Knutson ’78 Robert Chiafos ’79
Michael Birmingham ’80 Ann Cole Conner ’80 Lois Nickel Batson ’81 Denise Hein Smith ’82 Ann Trcka Ollinger ’86
1990S Mary Berns Engeltjes ’92 Janice DeBenedetti ’98
AC = Academy CM = Commercial School JC = Junior College RN = Mercy Hospital School of Nursing
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FROM THE ARCHIVES 1952 Mount Mercy Academy composite photo, which includes Sodality Prefect Sister Mary Lou Podzimek AC ’52, ’66
Mount Mercy Magazine is published two times each year by Mount Mercy's Office of Marketing & Communications