Page 1

The Magazine of Northwestern College

Moments that define—and refine …our leaders …our students …our campus …our lives

Fa l l/ Wint e r 2 012

Moments that define—and refine …our leaders …our students …our campus …our lives

F a l l/ W i n t e r 2 0 1 2

Articles also available online at President Alan Cureton meets with student government president Max Rymer ’13. (Photo by Amy Ritter)

3003 Snelling Avenue North St. Paul, MN 55113-1598 651-631-5100

Letters and comments can be sent to:

p ilot s ta ff Managing Editor Marita Meinerts, M.A. Editors Jenny Collins ’05; Nancy Zugschwert Graphic Designer Justin Redman ’09 Contributing Graphic Designer Tess O’Connor Production Managers Colleen Bemis F’05; Tammy Worrell F’04 ONLINE PRODUCTION Eric Olson; Amy Ritter; Lauren Wineinger ’13 Production Assistant Joan Ayotte Student AssistantS Lexi Oldenburger ’14; Ari Woeste ’13

Co n t r ib u to r s Shelly Barsuhn Ben Bradbury ’09

Nina Engen Greg Johnson ’05

N o r t h w e s t er n Co l l eg e A d m in i s t r at i o n President Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D. Sr. V.P. for Academic Affairs Janet B. Sommers, Ph.D. Sr. V.P. for Media Paul H. Virts, Ph.D. V.P. for Institutional Advancement Amy Bragg Carey, M.A. V.P. for Student Life & Athletics Matt Hill ’89, Ed.D. V.P. for Business/CFO Douglas R. Schroeder, CPA Director of Human Resources Timothy A. Rich, PHR

N o r t h w e s t er n m ed i a FM 98.5/AM 900 KTIS Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

FM 102.5/AM 1190 WNWC Madison, WI

FM 101.9/AM 1090 KNWS Waterloo, IA

FM 97.3 KDNW/FM 90.5 KDNI Duluth, MN

FM 97.9/AM 1200 KFNW Fargo, ND

FM 107.1/FM 96.1 KNWI Des Moines, IA

FM 96.5/AM 1270 KNWC Sioux Falls, SD

Northwestern College does not discriminate with regard to national origin, race, color, age, sex or disability.

Justin Redman

Pilot is published by the Northwestern College Office of Marketing & communications

A defining moment for Northwestern’s treasured Golden Eagle came through major upheaval in the financial industry. Read more on page 25 about the story of its 1987 “landing” at NWC.

What Moments Matter to You?


hink for a minute about the times in your life that have defined you. They might be events—graduation, landing a dream job, starting a new career, transitioning to the mission field or coming home again; they might involve people—finding your best friend, meeting your spouse, having children; or they may be circumstances—a health challenge, a personal or global tragedy, losing a loved one. Things that define us may also be more subtle, but equally powerful—a moment in prayer, a timely conversation with a dear friend or mentor, a pastor’s message, a teacher’s encouragement or a whisper from the Lord. Whatever the events, people or circumstances, we all have points in our lives that define us. And in God’s hands, these become a series of refining moments that influence our character, shape our purpose and mature our identity in Him. In our own lives and in the life of an organization, anniversaries and milestones give us opportunities to pause and to consider how we have grown. For Northwestern, the year 2012 marked three major milestones: – the college’s 110th anniversary since its founding in Minneapolis (October) – the 40th anniversary of its reopening as the “New Northwestern” in St. Paul (September) – the 10th anniversary of Dr. Alan Cureton’s presidency (January) In this Pilot you will read about some of the defining moments in the lives of those in the Northwestern community and the campus itself, and perhaps reflect on the moments in your own life that have refined you into the person you are today. Jenny Collins ’05 Nancy Cawley Zugschwert Pilot Editors

T o be a dded t o or r e mov ed from t he PILO T m a il i ng l is t, pl e a se e - m a il pil o t@n wc . edu.

In This Issue Northwestern News

04 09 10 12

Nursing Comes to NWC Perspectives on (Dis)ability Making the Case for Criminal Justice Adopting a “Like” Friendship

Moments that define & refine

14 18 26 28

Dr. Cureton: Following a Leader Northwestern’s 40 in 40 And the Rest Is History Refined by Tragedy and Trust

Alumni News

30 31 33 34

110 Years: Then and Now Through the Years Fast Forward Changed by Grace



orthwestern welcomed the first enrollees in the new Dual Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program in August. Aimed at helping students prepare for pastoral ministry, the five-year time frame to earn two degrees shaves at least two years off the typical process for undergraduate and seminary studies, according to B.A./M.Div. Program Director Randy Nelson, Ph.D. The program itself was fast-tracked last spring through a grant from the Kern Foundation, which seeks to encourage institutions to find a way to help young pastors begin their careers with less financial burden. Entering the ministry younger doesn’t mean graduates will be less prepared. “The program includes an embedded ministry element to provide mentorship opportunities with local pastors,” said Rick


Dual B.A./M.Div. Paves Path for Prospective Pastors Thoman, Ph.D., chair of the Christian Ministries department. “So even though most students will be younger than the average seminary grad, they will be well prepared for what church ministry entails.” Nick Froiland ’16 is thrilled to be part of the pioneer B.A./M.Div. cohort. “The program is intended to surround you with ministry and engulf you with ministry experience,” Froiland said. “All of the classes in the dual degree program are rigorous and perfectly designed to challenge you.” Creating a strong cohort learning environment to help students enter pastoral ministry with a well-grounded peer group is one of the goals of the new Dual B.A./M.Div. program. Several B.A./M.Div. students gathered for pizza and bowling at a get-acquainted event Oct. 5. Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


NEWS preparing to launch a nursing program. On campus, Larson met with Associate Professor of Biology Bruce Simat, Ph.D., whose specialty for the past 18 years has been preparing NWC students for careers in the health sciences. Simat took quick action to help her reenroll. Although it was a few weeks into the semester, they were able to map out her courses and within two hours, she was registered for online courses and sitting in Dr. Lisanne Winslow’s anatomy class. After class, Larson dropped her community college courses and she is now on track to enter NWC’s first nursing class, projected to begin in May 2013.

Why nursing? Why now?

Finding a Pulse for Nursing at Northwestern By Jenny Collins ’05


indsay Larson ’14 began as an early childhood education major in 2011. But after one semester, she decided to pursue nursing—a decision that forced her to join the ranks of many other students who had transferred to other schools for nursing. “I was really upset I had to leave [Northwestern],” said Larson, who enrolled in nursing at a local community college. “I loved the campus and the people.” But taking anatomy at a secular college didn’t sit well with Larson, who was uncomfortable with her instructor’s beliefs. She dropped the anatomy course, unsure of what to do. At the Minnesota State Fair this year, Larson and her mother stopped by the NWC booth and found out that the college is

“We can meet the physical and spiritual needs of our community Justin Redman

and provide service and ministry


throughout the world.” - Ginger Wolgemuth

N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

It is with the same gusto that Northwestern is launching its proposed Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, which offers an accelerated 16-month program for qualified students. Over the last decade, the national call for more nurses saw an expanding need for nursing education. After offering pre-nursing courses for years, Simat is elated to see a nursing program finally get legs, saying, “It’s a good fit now.” Another excellent fit is Ginger Wolgemuth, Ph.D., R.N., who began as the chair of the Department of Nursing in May. Wolgemuth comes with 25 years of experience in nursing education in Christian schools, most recently at Indiana Wesleyan University. “The thing that drives me ultimately is the mission of the college,” Wolgemuth said. “We can meet the physical and spiritual needs of our community and provide service and ministry throughout the world.” Northwestern also has a rich history of combining spiritual care with health care. In the 1950s, the school had a missionary medicine program (led by the father of Professor of History Charles Aling), to train missionaries in basic nursing skills. Construction for nursing labs and classrooms began in September in the Northwestern Office Center located south of campus, which offered the only existing space that met state board requirements for zoning and incurred the least amount of renovation costs. For details visit or contact or 651-631-5110.

Nursing in a nutshell The proposed nursing (BSN) program offers: • A blended learning format—students will enjoy both faceto-face and online learning • A Christ-centered approach to service and care— combining faith with a nursing career • Inter-professional collaboration—regular interaction with health care professionals • Clinical immersions—students will gain focused experience with cross-cultural and population-based learning opportunities

Alum Produces Film on Trafficking



Kim Aaron, M.S. (World Languages) gave a presentation in April at the 4th Annual Cultural Studies Graduate Student Conference and Workshop at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

new film exposing one of today’s darkest global atrocities is lighting movie theaters and minds across the country. Laurie (LeGree ’89) Bolthouse and her husband William recently produced Trade of Innocents, a feature-length film set in the dark underworld of modern slavery—human trafficking. The film leads with a clear message: Justice needs a hero. Be one. Trade of Innocents follows investigator Alex Becker (Dermot Mulroney) and his wife Claire (Mia Sorvino) into a small Southeast Asian tourist town where they fight an impervious local sex trade. “We are marketing [the film] to all people,” said Laurie. “Our desire is to see people’s knowledge about trafficking heightened from unaware to aware, and for those in the know to be moved toward more deliberate action.” To promote the film, the Bolthouses ran a collegiate marketing contest to generate student engagement. A team from Northwestern—Hannah Rivard ’12, Anna Carey ’13, Kimberly Mills ’13, Ross Fleming ’12, Josh Svendsen ’12 and Lauren Wineinger ’13—created the winning campaign, “Join the Justice Generation,” winning a $12,000 scholarship to share equally. When the film premiered in September, the students’ creativity was evident in, an online advocacy center connecting viewers with international organizations and resources. Watch the trailer and see where the film is playing at

Luke Aleckson, MFA (Art & Design) was granted a solo exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts that ran from July through September. Heather Bren, MFA (Art & Design) curated a ceramic exhibition and was a contributing essayist (spring 2012) for the resulting catalogue, Functional Redesign, produced by Northern Clay Center.

Josh Stokes

Award-winning Bricks

Daryl Aaron, Ph.D. (Biblical & Theological Studies) published a book titled Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day through Bethany House Publishers.

Ardel Caneday, Ph.D. (Biblical & Theological Studies) published the fifth installment of his continuing series “The New Testament’s Use of the Old Testament” for Credo Blog and completed a review on The Faith That Saves: The Nature of Faith in the New Testament by Fred Chay and John P. Correia. The review will be published in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.


he Billy Graham Community Life Commons earned status as a Silver Winner in the educational category of the 2012 Brick in Architecture Awards, a national competition sponsored by the Brick Industry Association. The Graham Commons is featured in the November issues of Brick in Architecture and Architect magazine and online ( We share congratulations with our architects at Perkins+Will and our builders at Adolfson & Peterson Construction. Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


Paul Chara, Ph.D. (Psychology) is coauthor of the book Understanding Life Span Psychology: A Topical Approach (2012) by BVT Publishing. Chara and Bill Eppright (Mathematics) had an article accepted for publication in Psychological Reports: Human Resources & Marketing, 111(1), 219-227.

Field Goal Wins Free Tuition By Greg Johnson ’05

Jonathan Den Hartog, Ph.D. (History) presented a paper at the Organization of American Historians’ annual meeting and was elected to membership in the Philadelphia Society. During his current Visiting Fellowship at Princeton University, he has received two additional research grants for use during his sabbatical. Dave Erickson, Ph.D. (Business) received a grant from the Hillsdale College Foundation to attend the Free Market Forum on the topic “Markets, Government, and the Common Good” in Houston, Texas.


he first field goal ever attempted by Matt Frost ’14 proved to be very valuable on Sept. 22 as the junior won free tuition for a year at Football Frenzy, an annual event hosted by Northwestern’s admissions and athletics departments, in conjunction with an Eagle football game. On the sunny September Saturday afternoon, Frost, a former soccer player and Savage, Minn., native who has never worn a helmet or pads, passed, punted and kicked his way to free tuition valued at $26,740. His pass went 37 yards, followed by a 40-yard punt that landed sweetly toward the center of the field. Then, with a 10-mile-per-hour breeze in his face, Frost stared down his line and drilled the 33-yard field goal, drawing the ball in from the right to fit inside the right goal post. A Business-Entrepreneurship major, Frost hopes to work in the car racing industry upon graduation. Frost is the second person to win free tuition at Football Frenzy since the event began in 2002. Peter Miller was the first in 2009. Matt Frost ’14 (left) receives his certificate for free tuition from Micah Stelter ’09, assistant director of admissions for campus events. See video of the winning field goal at

David Fenrick, Ph.D. (C-GRACE) was appointed to the editorial team of Missiology: An International Review, and to the Board of Publications for the American Society of Missiology and reelected SecretaryTreasurer for the Association of Professors of Mission. Courtney Friesen, M.Div. (Biblical & Theological Studies) won two awards for presentations in May 2012: one at the North American Patristics Society and another at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies’ annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario. 6

N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e



featuring keynote speakers and authors Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs

Friday & Saturday,

MARCH 8 & 9, 2013 Northwestern college St. Paul, Minnesota SPONSORS





Cureton Named to NCAA Presidents Council


resident Alan Cureton, Ph.D., has been appointed to the NCAA Division III Presidents Council. Previously Cureton served on the NCAA Nomination Committee and the Presidents Advisory Group. Matt Hill ’89, Ed.D., vice president for Student Life & Athletics, noted, “This is a great opportunity for Dr. Cureton to serve the over 450 NCAA Division III institutions in the United States. The Presidents Council is considered the top committee in the organization as they deal with many legislative issues, studentathlete well-being issues and encourage the co-curricular participation of over 100,000 student-athletes. His appointment is a great representation for Northwestern College and the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.” The Presidents Council meets on a quarterly basis at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, Ind., and at the NCAA Convention in January.

NWC Named Top Workplace


orthwestern College was named to the Star Tribune Top Workplaces list for 2012, ranking 18th among the 30 large organizations in Minnesota that made the top 100 list. The rankings came from high-scoring results on a comprehensive employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics. In survey results, Northwestern employees ranked high in personal engagement and sense of purpose in their work, also rating their managers above national benchmarks for employee care and concern for well-being. With 83 percent employee participation, Northwestern surpassed the 66 percent state average. Tim Rich, director of human resources, noted that this was Northwestern’s second appearance on this list. “Our employees have an incredible passion for the mission of our organization,” Rich said. “In serving students and listeners, they create a workplace culture that glorifies God by valuing people and relationships—the heartbeat and ‘DNA’ of what we’re all about.” Results were reported in the June 17 issue of the Star Tribune, and the full list of results and rankings is available at

Mary Kay Geston, D.M.A. (Music) was named Minnesota’s 2012 Choral Director of the Year by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. Geston served as visiting associate professor of choral studies at University of Colorado (Boulder) for 2011–12. W. Edward Glenny, Ph.D. (Biblical & Theological Studies) published an article, “The Septuagint and Apostolic Hermeneutics: Amos 9 in Acts 15,” in Bulletin for Biblical Research 22.1 (2012) 1–26. In July, Glenny also presented a paper at the International Society of Biblical Literature meeting at the University of Amsterdam. Teresa Gonske, Ph.D. (Mathematics) presented a paper and a workshop at the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual spring conference in May. Feng-Ling Margaret Johnson, Ph.D. (World Languages) completed training and qualification processes for scoring national portfolios of Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA). Keith Jones, Ph.D. (English & Literature) presented a paper at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Boston. Matt Miller, Ph.D. (History) traveled to Moscow, Russia, for two months to serve as an advisor for SPAN, an interdisciplinary research program. He also presented a lecture at the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Russia Abroad Library in Moscow.

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T



Garry Morgan, D.Miss. (Christian Ministries) published Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day through Bethany House Publishers. Amy Nelson, Ed.D. successfully defended her dissertation for her Doctor of Education in Leadership from St. Mary’s University (Minn.). Jim Raymo, D.Min. (Biblical & Theological Studies) spoke at the National Short-Term Mission Leaders’ Conference coordinated by STEM and Bethany College of Missions. Timothy Sawyer, M.M. (Music) returned to Ukraine, touring as a performing member of Evangelion Chorale, leading a male chorus festival and laying groundwork for a 2014 tour with the NWC Choir. Walter Schultz, Ph.D. (Biblical & Theological Studies) received a contract to contribute to the Worldview Study Bible with an article on “A Biblical View of Economics.”

Meet the Board:

Mike Miller Rick Busch

Jessica Nelson Moore, M.L.I.S. (Library) presented “Introduction to Copyright and Fair Use for eLearning” at the MN eLearning Summit in July.

Connection to NWC Northwestern College board member Mike Miller, D.Min., Chief Business Officer of The Navigators and President of NavPress, said that the connection between The Navigators and Northwestern College goes back to a relationship between his organization’s founder, Dawson Trotman, and then-Northwestern president Billy Graham. “A number of the earliest field staff of The Navigators were Northwestern grads,” Miller noted, highlighting a “really deep connection” between the organizations that made it natural to say yes when fellow board member Lauren Libby recommended Miller for service on NWC’s board.

Education and career A former Baptist minister, Miller served in a number of pastoral and director roles, as well as executive of LifeWay and as one of the founders of GodTube, the Christian alternative to YouTube. He is a published author and holds a B.A. from Oklahoma Baptist University, M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, D. Min. from Talbot Theological Seminary and an MBA from Dallas Baptist University.

Family and interests Miller and his wife, Pat, have been married for 35 years. They have two grown children, Mary and Matthew (married to Erin), and one grandson. Mike explained that in addition to family time, “Pat and I love the outdoors. We’re hikers, climbers, mountain people. I’ve ridden motorcycles all my life. Pat and I have ridden in 49 states—including Hawaii.”

NWC opportunities Miller sees great opportunities ahead for Northwestern and for ways The Navigators and NWC can build on their connections. “The Navigators’ mission of ‘resourcing and equipping disciples and disciple-makers for a worldwide discipleship revolution’ offers many opportunities for collaboration and support of Northwestern’s mission,” Miller said. Expanding Northwestern beyond its historically regional footprint is something Miller is very excited about. “Northwestern can have a worldwide educational ministry impact,” he suggested. “With online learning and the [expanding] diversity of programs, Northwestern can have a much broader influence in God’s Kingdom work.”

Guiding principles MIChael Wilder, M.a., Tanya Grosz, Ph.D. (Undergraduate Online Learning), and Ying Wang, Ph.D. (Education) presented at the annual Educause Learning Initiative annual meeting in Austin, Texas, in February. 8

N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

As Miller’s career and opportunities have expanded, he has seen God equip him each step of the way for the next thing. “God will surprise you if you’re obedient and listen to His call,” he reflected. “He can take you from this small thing you think you’re supposed to be and over time introduce you to this enormous Kingdom reality that you never could have dreamt. Kingdom calling isn’t about what you do, it’s about commitment to follow the Lord in His work.”

Freshman ‘voices’ fresh perspective on (dis)ability By Jenny Collins ’05


many ways, Alex Bauer ’16 is a typical college freshman. He likes socializing and having fun, and when he’s not studying, he enjoys movies, sci-fi and video games. But Bauer is anything but ordinary. He was born with a type of muscular dystrophy called Myotubular Myopathy (MTM), which affects muscle development. “That’s why I have the strength of an infant, if that,” he explained. His younger brother Levi also has MTM, making them the only two living brothers in the world with the condition. Bauer’s room in Knutson Hall is part college dorm, part medical supplies stockroom. His “If I didn’t have my disability Avengers poster brings color and animation to an otherwise clinical environment, with I wouldn’t have my faith I 24/7 medical care. The imagery of the poster is fitting for Bauer, whose perseverance and have now.” positivity is akin to a super hero feat. To survive, Bauer uses a feeding tube to eat and requires a ventilator to breathe, due to a surgical error. During scoliosis surgery four years ago, his right lung was damaged and he had a tracheal diversion, which means he has no larynx (voice box) and “absolutely no connection” between his mouth, nose and airway. To communicate, he primarily uses sign language and for the last three years, a tool that allows him to use a mouse and type out his words one letter at a time on a screen. “It may look cool, but it is slower than a snail on a bicycle,” Bauer quipped, through typing.

Aspiring author A creative writing major with a sharp wit and a gift for words, Bauer has a precision with English language and grammar unmatched by most people, especially those with his (dis)ability and inability to speak verbally. His poetry reveals his sense of humor, imagination and a romantic heart. He’s also halfway through writing a fiction book­—his first in a series of four—hoping to become the next J.R.R. Tolkien. While his physical body is confined to a power wheelchair to get around, his imagination and intellect are boundless. Bauer is an articulate communicator who also wrote for his high school newspaper.

Real source of strength Professor of Bible Daryl Aaron, who has Bauer in his Old Testament class, admires Bauer’s “determination to deal with his life circumstances in dependence upon God. His challenges are significant, but he perseveres with an amazing attitude.” Bauer’s faith gives him perspective. “Even though I’m not physically capable of doing some stuff,” he said, “if I didn’t have my disability I wouldn’t have my faith I have now. In my mind, that’s more important,” he concluded.

Amy Ritter

Michael Wise, Ph.D. (Biblical & Theological Studies) successfully defended his dissertation and earned his second Ph.D., in Classics, from the University of Minnesota. Terry Wise, Ph.D. joined NWC as Senior Dean for Graduate & Continuing Education in September. Wise served most recently as Vice President and Dean for Adult and Graduate Studies at Tabor College and as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Argosy University.

2011–12 Faculty and Staff Awards Excellence in Teaching Award Boyd Seevers, Ph.D., professor of Old Testament studies. He has taught at NWC for 12 years. Faculty Excellence in Scholarship Award Jonathan Den Hartog, Ph.D., associate professor of history. He has been at NWC since 2006. Faculty Outstanding Service Award Garry Morgan, D.Miss., professor of intercultural studies and interim department chair, Christian Ministries. He has taught at NWC for 13 years. Quality Service Award Roger Peterson, facilities services/mechanic. He has been on staff for 25 years. Leadership Award Winner Brian Humphries, associate vice president for facilities operations and planning. He joined NWC in 2006.

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


Making the Case for Criminal Justice By Le xi Oldenburger ’14

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we’re here today to present the overwhelming evidence demonstrating that Northwestern’s Criminal Justice program is guilty of providing a comprehensive, effective and Christ-centered education. We will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the students, alumni and faculty are making a mark on the criminal justice system and providing a ray of hope in a dark profession. 10

Northwester n Co lle g e

On the scene with Ghlee Hanson


assionate about the field and yielding years of experience, Ghlee Hanson, M.S.S.W. (pictured at right), instructor and coordinator of the Criminal Justice program, has worked as a probation officer/ therapist, national convention workshop leader, consultant and licensed clinical social worker. With the help of many at Northwestern, including Psychology Chair Melissa Mork, Ph.D., and Director of Alumni & Parent Relations (and former police officer) Jim Bender F’00, Hanson is committed to sending students out into the world and guiding them to become the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. “We are all full-time Christian ministers,” Hanson asserted. “We all have that responsibility, no matter our job.” Hanson unrolled the caution tape around a big misconception surrounding criminal justice: equating criminal justice exclusively

` ` Judge Deborah Hedlund teaches the

with law enforcement. She explained that the scope of criminal justice extends far beyond police work, including courts, corrections, advisory roles, agencies, counseling, law practice and much more.

Criminal Law night class outside her duties on the bench in Hennepin County courts.

` ` Barry Marchant, a public defender

The Suspec ts

in Hennepin County, teaches the Minnesota Criminal and Traffic Code class.

Criminal Justice major Caleb Davis ’13 survived the interrogation room, adding endless amounts of praise for the program. “It’s phenomenal,” Davis said. “From the students to the professors, it is simply a fantastic atmosphere. It has been both challenging and rewarding. I would not trade the experiences of things I learned in this program for anything.” Faculty experience is offered as irrefutable evidence of program quality. NWC’s Criminal Justice faculty either have been or currently are practitioners in the field. Hannah Tutt ’11, a corrections officer for the South Dakota Department of Corrections, pointed out, “There is not a member of the department lacking in real world experiences, and they were each more than willing to use those experiences and connections to enhance our education.” Hanson provided the warrant needed for the background checks of the following faculty members:

` ` Lyle Larson focuses on prison ministry by bringing in former inmates to speak to his classes.

` ` Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom F’92 is a law enforcement expert.

` ` Jim Caauwe ’77 recently retired after 24 years of police work.

` ` Thom Olson is director of a reentry program for adult males; he teaches the Juvenile Delinquency course. Their stories all cleared; no need for further investigation.


E ye witne sse s Practical application and preparation is where the Criminal Justice program distinguishes itself. “Our professors utilize their previous occupations to bring in great speakers or to bring us into their workplaces for educational field trips,” noted Davis. Students learn from individuals in child protective services, area sheriff and police departments and local prison inmates. They also have opportunities to tour places like the Hennepin County Jail, Shakopee women’s prison or attend felony and juvenile court sessions. “It was truly helpful to get to see the insides of those facilities and experience court instead of just discussing them in class,” said Tutt. “We hold [the students] to high standards,” Hanson explained. “We teach them to be salt and light to whomever they come into contact with, telling them, ‘Judges and attorneys need ministers as well as clients. You are a witness by how you treat people in difficult situations.’” Davis added, “This field is a dark one, and

it needs Christians. It needs light brought into the many dark places, and Northwestern enables all students to do just that.”

Post-Grad Stakeouts Local police departments and other justice communities take in Northwestern interns year after year, knowing that NWC yields qualified individuals. Students representing purple and gold are sprinkled among police departments in Plymouth, Roseville and Maplewood, and throughout probation and consulting offices in Bloomington, Waseca and Houston County. They’ve also put their studies to the test working with federal postal inspectors, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Cornerstone, a local women’s shelter. An APB for graduates of the program finds them all over the map. One North Dakota highway patrol officer was named Officer of the Year in 2011. In October two recent alums were among 54 selected from 1,500 applicants to serve as state troopers with the Minnesota Highway Patrol. Others have found themselves successful as corrections officers, counselors in group homes, private security officers, probation officers, attorneys and social workers.

Corrobor ating E vidence Criminal Justice became an official major at Northwestern in 2006. And on April 26, 2012, the program was provisionally certified under the Minnesota Board of Police Officer Standards and Training for one year. “This certification completely changes the marketing for students and for the program itself,” Hanson shared passionately. “To say that they’ve had PPOE [Professional Police Officer Education] skyrockets credibility, and graduating from a state-certified program gives graduates a standard of integrity that not all can claim.” The final verdict in the case of excellence in criminal justice education? Guilty as charged. Court is adjourned. Northwestern’s FOCUS Degree Completion program ( also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Criminal Justice emphasis. Fa l l /Winte r 2012 PILOT


that initial shock.” Kristen was equally shocked. She literally got off Facebook and exclaimed to her mother, “You won’t believe what just happened!”

Jessica Hegland

Instant amigas

Adopting a “Like” Friendship How a Facebook group connected the lives of two freshmen By Jenny Collins ’05

hoever says Facebook takes the place of real friendship has never experienced its ability to turn strangers into friends. Over the summer on a Facebook group for Northwestern’s incoming Class of 2016, Kristen Roth ’16 was excited—and surprised—to see that Arianna Momsen ’16, another Northwestern-bound student, had posted that she was born in Colombia. “Me too!” Kristen replied on Facebook. “When you see someone is from the same country as you, you can’t pass that by,” she said. Discovering a shared culture, Arianna and Kristen immediately connected. Through Facebook chats and texts, they quickly discovered their bond went much deeper. When Arianna asked Kristen how she came to be in the U.S., an avalanche of similarities appeared. They found out that not only were they both adopted from Colombia by families in Minnesota, but they were also born in the same Bogotá hospital just six months and six days apart and adopted from the same orphanage, Ayudame (“help me” in Spanish). “I was crying when I found out,” admitted Arianna. “It was just



N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

The two became fast friends over the summer, talking, texting and Skyping each other. They created a countdown to college and since they both lived in the Twin Cities, they met in August at IKEA for some lastminute college shopping. They connected again at Northwestern’s Multicultural Orientation, which welcomes international and multicultural students and celebrates the diversity represented on campus. Both Arianna and Kristen’s parents raised them to celebrate their Latin American culture and immersed them as much as possible. In fact, their paths crossed unknowingly during their childhoods, attending La Semana, a Latin American cultural camp (where Kristen’s older sister was in the same group as Arianna). Each has been back to her birthplace in Colombia once before and their parents were part of the Parents of Latin American Children group.

Celebrating their culture Though technically still teenagers, Arianna and Kristen possess a wisdom gained from having a global perspective. “Some people take it for granted that they look like their siblings,” shared Kristen. “Being adopted, I look nothing like my sister and nothing like my parents. It kind of redefines what family is. That helps my faith. Because my family of God doesn’t look like each other at all.” Arianna agreed. “We are all built differently. Sometimes people ask my parents if we are just a group because we look so different. That’s not offensive to me.” What they do find offensive are ignorant and inappropriate comments about their birth country. “I’ve been called the granddaughter of a drug lord before,” admitted Arianna. “I was ready to smack that boy silly.” Kristen has heard the same. “People make jokes about Colombia being a huge drug country and the drug lords. It’s very hurtful,”

Arianna Born in Bogotá, Colombia, South America August 13, 1993 (adopted in Nov.)

Grew up in Mounds View, MN

Birth order Oldest of four (younger sister and brother from Guatemala and younger brother from Colombia) NWC Major Social Studies Education with Special Ed and Voice minors

she said. “I even had an adult come up to me last year and ask me if I was from the area that made the drugs. I was very shocked a grown adult asked me this. It’s just very ignorant.”

Kristen Born in Bogotá, Colombia, South America February 19, 1994 (adopted in May)

G GRew up in Burnsville, MN

Ambassadors for cultural education But they also feel empowered to do something about it. “I want to raise awareness about all these stereotypes,” said Kristen. “Every country is beautiful in its own way. Colombia is gorgeous and has all these pretty mountains. People don’t know about it because they just think about the negative. But that isn’t what defines a country.” Arianna, who wants to teach South American and Central American history, agreed. “People think it’s unsafe. But I still want to go back.” Instead of rejecting a country for its unsavory attributes, Kristen and Arianna embrace their Colombian heritage. “It’s fun to have an ethnicity to be proud of,” shared Kristen. “I love that I can tan easily, and people say we have the most beautiful hair! My friends back in high school never knew what they were. They were like, ‘I’m white.’ ‘Well what does that mean? Are you German? Are you Swedish?’ They wouldn’t know.” Arianna summarized, “Everybody has a culture, but not everybody knows it.”

Opportunities for a future

BBirth order Youngest of two (older sister from Colombia)

NNWC Major Communication with Spanish minor

Kristen describes what it means to appreciate her Colombian heritage and be grateful for the opportunities she has in the U.S. “I love that I can celebrate a culture that I know about, but I can be in Minnesota celebrating it rather than anywhere else. We have the best of both worlds being at college, getting a higher education that we might not have gotten if we were back in Colombia.” Arianna added, “The opportunities [in Colombia] are much narrower than they are here. You look at what those children have, and some of them have absolutely nothing. Here we get a chance to grow.” Though only a few months into their

college education, they have dreams that involve their culture and each other. “I foresee mission trips and study abroad trips for both of us, maybe, hopefully together,” said Arianna. Kristen, who studied abroad in Costa Rica in high school and stays in close contact with her host family, has a goal to return to that country and help the community. “I would love to go help out there and also Colombia, to make a difference in my birth country,” she said. “I want to help out with the orphanages. I’m hoping to do that through Spanish and whatever else I end up doing in my career.” For now, Arianna and Kristen are adjusting to college life and thankful for the support of each other’s friendship. “It’s just a great thing knowing that there’s someone else that knows what it’s like,” said Kristen. “I know that there’s someone that can relate.” “I am so happy that I came to know [Kristen], and I am so glad that we connected,” said Arianna. “I really don’t think that I would have opened up as much if I didn’t have her here. By God’s grace it came to be.”

Arianna and Kristen aren’t the first students to make a global personal connection at Northwestern. At Multicultural Orientation three years ago, Bernice Fernandes ’13 and Miriam Navamanie ’13 found out they were born in the same hospital in Kenya.

Why we give to the Northwestern Fund “In the staff, programs and students at NWC, we sense and have experienced a genuine and effective love for the Lord and concern for our student—and for us as parents.” – Dave and Cathy Nyce Parents of Amanda Nyce ’14 Your gift to the Northwestern Fund helps every student. Together we can send more students out to be world-changers and Kingdom-builders for Christ. Learn more or give online at

Ordinary gifts. Extraordinary impact. | 800-692-4020

Following a


By Shelly Barsuhn


2001 when Northwestern President Alan Cureton, Ph.D., visited campus to explore the possibility of the presidential role, he remembers being “impressed and overwhelmed with the overall quality of the college! There was a huge spirit of graciousness and humility.” His direction confirmed, Cureton left his position as vice president of university advancement at John Brown University in Arkansas and began his new role at NWC in January 2002, Northwestern’s centennial year. Under his leadership, Northwestern College and Northwestern Media have experienced dramatic change. Enrollment has increased, programs were added, and Media stations have grown in their listenership and community engagement. Construction of the Mel Johnson Media Center (2003) and the Billy Graham Community Life Commons (2011) were completed. The academic reputation of the institution was heightened. His contributions to Northwestern’s success come, he says, through the grace of God and the support of board, cabinet, faculty, staff and family, especially his wife, Gayle. “I surround myself with people who are gifted.” He cites his executive assistant Rachel (Roen ’79) Morgan and board executive secretary Mona Grellson for providing crucial attention to detail, and the good and gifted members of his cabinet who complement his weaknesses. Talented faculty “have sacrificed to be here, have come to work here because of the mission, and we have benefited greatly.” After more than 10 years on this journey, Cureton says, “The complexity of this job is surprising, and the demands are extensive. I tell people I’ve never worked so hard in my life or enjoyed my work so much.” 14

N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

What’s it like to be the president of Northwestern College? It’s a lifestyle, not a job.

Wednesday, September 5 Cabinet meeting…fly to New York to visit advisory member of Northwestern Foundation… Steamy Minnesota summer is still in the air as Cureton arrives on campus with his usual coffee. It’s 6:30 a.m. The halls are quiet. In a dark suit, he has the formidable stature of a football player as he strides through Riley Hall. He was, in fact, an offensive lineman during his high school and college years—an identity that, in many ways, still fits. He is driven, focused and committed to the team. He enters his office, a room that gives clues to his passions. The top bookcase shelf is covered with family photos and the other shelves are packed with books: Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters The Innovative University In the corner, an Eagles athletics shirt hangs on a hook on a coat tree. Cureton sits down at his desk and turns on his computer. With the early start, he has a couple of hours of—perhaps—uninterrupted work before his weekly cabinet meeting at 8:30 a.m. At 1:30 he’ll fly to New York to visit with an advisory member of the Northwestern Foundation. Building relationships with people who believe in the mission of Northwestern College is just one focus of his job.

Justin REdman

A month in the life of a college president

Meeting with consultant…High School Senior Kick-off Day...

The Blue Room of Nazareth Hall is surprisingly quiet, filled with 118 students from three Christian high schools for a campus visit event. Cureton waits for his cue from admission counselor Micah Stelter ’09. At the microphone, Stelter recalls meeting Cureton for the first time as a student and being shocked when the president called him by name the next time he saw him: “Well, hey, Micah.” He has what people around him have called an incredible memory for names and faces. Cureton steps to the podium, looking out at the students who may be part of the Northwestern community next year or the next. He prays a blessing as they “go where God leads.” They don’t know it, but everything he does is aimed at making Northwestern the college they will want to attend. …prep for Academic Affairs board agenda item…NW Foundation board meeting…fly to Denver…dinner with new trustee in Colorado…

Justin Redman

Monday, September 10

“Creative pathways…cost efficient methods…‘Degree in Three’…” A couple of Eagle athletes in their team shirts walk by the window, lost in conversation. Cureton speaks of a strategic vision for the future—10,000 students enrolled, online and on campus, by 2021. In the meantime, Northwestern must stay ahead of trends…increase enrollment…reach media users through new technologies. “It is critical that we differentiate ourselves,” he says. “But our mission remains compelling in this changing and challenging context.” …host appreciation event at home for Admissions staff and their families (40–50 people)…

Friday, September 14 (Ohio) Fly to Detroit…give public lecture on Christian higher education at the John H. Russel Center for Educational Leadership (University of Toledo)…sit on panel for final dissertation defense…

Tuesday, September 18 (Indiana) NCAA Nominating Committee… Cureton attends a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) meeting in Indianapolis. (On October 8 he received official notification that he has been approved as a member of the NCAA Division III Presidents Council—a high honor. See page 7.)

Tuesday, September 11 (Colorado)

Wednesday, September 12 Early morning Bible study with the former chair of the NWC board and other business leaders…meet with consultant on strategic planning… cabinet meeting… It’s one of the first cool autumn days of the new school year. In a conference room off the president’s office, Cureton meets with his cabinet to review an important upcoming presentation for the board. They are developing “an intentional plan for sustaining and extending the mission of Northwestern College and Northwestern Media in increasingly competitive and commoditized environments.” Cureton takes the members through the PowerPoint in progress, seeking input. “Utilizing technology as a key asset…online learning growth… enrollment trends…” A student wearing a blue hoodie walks slowly past the Riley Hall conference room’s glass wall, carrying a backpack and staring at her phone.

Thursday, September 20 Coffee with former faculty member…chapel…donor update meeting…MN Campus Compact board meeting…meeting with student government president and vice president…

Amy ritter

Visit The Navigators’ headquarters…lunch with The Navigators national leadership team members, including several who lost homes in Colorado Springs wildfires—an opportunity for encouragement…return to Denver airport…arrive in Minneapolis…

Cureton welcomes Student Government President Max Rymer ’13 and Vice President Dan Plack ’14 to the round table in his office. The atmosphere is informal and friendly as Cureton peers at the meeting agenda through reading glasses pulled to the end of his nose. Although much of his work is from the vantage point of 30,000 feet, this is definitely ground-level engagement. They whisk through several agenda items, talking through things such as student surveys, technology issues and student government heading up an effort to let students know they can vote in the city where they attend college. The discussion becomes more thoughtful as they discuss matters of social/moral conscience and institutional engagement in public policy issues. The exchange is respectful and reflective. Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


Plack later commented, “Dr. Cureton comes to our level and talks to us about the issues we face, whether it’s related to student life, new sports teams, or providing students with amenities so that the college can remain competitive.” “He has our back,” added Rymer. “We don’t have to feel that our president naturally opposes us or resents us. Instead, he trusts us and extends grace. That means the world to us. When he supports student government, we have the freedom to lead effectively.”

Monday, September 24 Final prep for President’s report to the board…attend chapel…Student Life committee meeting…

Saturday, September 22 Football Frenzy!…

Wednesday, September 26 Bible study…Cabinet meeting…“4th Floor on a Stick” (Nazareth Hall open house)…

Thursday, September 27 Prep for board meeting…attend chapel…stop by board committee meetings (Academic Affairs, Finance, Media, Advancement)…alumni honoree dinner with families and Board of Trustees in Blue Room…

Twists in the Road Moments that define and refine the heart of a leader

Sterling College

By Shelly Barsuhn

In his senior year of high school, in the middle of a Friday night football game while thousands of people cheered for the home team, Alan Cureton sat alone on the team bench and rededicated his life to serving Jesus. “Until that moment,” he said, “I had completely focused on becoming a football star.” At the start of his senior season the coaches had slotted him to be on the field for every play. But on the first defensive play of the first game of the year, he was blocked below the knee and injured. With a severe high ankle sprain, he sat out a long week of practice. On the very first defensive play of the next game—his first chance to be back out onto the field—the same thing happened to his other ankle.

Detours and new destinations His injuries caused him to see that he had placed his hopes and dreams on the vanity of playing football. “Due to my injuries and inability to play,” he recalled, “my coach changed the lineup and replaced me as a starter. God used that to recapture my heart.” God brought “an overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit” into Cureton’s life. Although he eventually continued to play as an offensive lineman during college, he decided that “the goal of bigtime athletics was a thing of the past for me.” 16

N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

It was time to focus on ascertaining his calling in life. It was time to think about college. Although his high school guidance counselor discouraged his college dreams, Cureton pushed forward at the urging of his pastor and enrolled at Sterling College in Kansas, where he found professors who supported and invested in him. “They said, ‘You have a brain, you have a mind. Use it.’ I studied a variety of courses, like Greek and British Literature, and thought, ‘Oh wow, this is fun.’” He had intended to be a pastor but after a church internship he was surprised that he didn’t find his calling being fulfilled through work in the local church. “I thought, ‘Okay, Lord, now what?’” Several of his friends suggested a career in Christian higher education. When he graduated with a degree in Bible and Christian education, the seed was planted. The dream would follow him through his first jobs (lumberjack, carpenter, restaurant manager), into graduate school and into a variety of college and university roles. Cureton was first contacted by Northwestern College while serving as vice president of university advancement at John Brown University (Arkansas). The interview was “delightful” but when first offered the position, he turned it down. Life was comfortable. The family was settled. The university was experiencing growth and success. Why leave? When other colleges began contacting him about their presidential vacancies, he and Gayle continued to pray for understanding and sensed God saying to them, “How can I lead you if you’re not open?” Contacted again by representatives of Northwestern, the Curetons

Amy Ritter

It’s a literal long shot. During the annual Football Frenzy “punt, pass and kick” contest, President Cureton watches in amazement as Matt Frost ’14 of Savage, Minn., kicks a 33-yard field goal and wins an entire year of free tuition at Northwestern. The business major had never kicked a field goal in his life. “It had to be a God thing,” Cureton comments. “He had never put on a helmet or pads and he was kicking into the wind!”

At Reynolds Field, the stands are filled, the sun is optimistically bright, and there’s the atmosphere of a carnival in the air. The barbeque is in full swing and across the field, children’s inflatable bounce houses wobble. The weather is perfect, with Technicolor leaves still clinging to the trees and temperatures in the 80s. At the 50-yard line, President Cureton prays, his voice carried by the stadium sound system. He asks for protection for the players as they exercise their gifts and concludes with a desire that everything on the field would “glorify and delight [the Lord].” Kick off. Whistles squeal, fans yell, and someone with a cowbell adds to the joyful ruckus. Cureton watches from the sidelines, chatting

agreed to further conversations and later accepted an invitation to an on-campus interview. “We were overwhelmed by the entire interview process and the quality of the organization,” said Cureton. “After dinner in the president’s conference room with members of student government, each student laid hands on us and prayed for us.” This time when the offer came, both he and Gayle said; “Yes.” While it has been exciting to help Northwestern mature into a solid, comprehensive academic institution with a growing media ministry, change can be uncomfortable, creating strong emotions and some opposition to moving away from the intimacy of a small college. So “leadership can sometimes be lonely,” he acknowledged. Today he isn’t too far afield of his original plan of becoming a pastor. “In many respects what I do is pastoral,” he said. “I lead an organization that has physical requirements but also spiritual requirements. I try to relate to people on the deepest level and to reflect—maybe not always successfully—the fruit of the Spirit. I’m accountable.”

Family foundation Cureton shares his life with Gayle, his college sweetheart, and they make a balanced team. He is extroverted; she is introverted. He loves to travel; she prefers home. He likes activity; she loves to read and reflect. But they agree on their love for Northwestern College. The two greet arriving families at orientation and regularly attend Northwestern College theatrical, musical and athletic events. They

Rick Busch

Homecoming…tailgating lunch …football game...

Guy Magno

Saturday, September 29

with coaches and players. He looks official in khaki pants and navy blazer, but completely at ease on the edge of a football field, once his home away from home. In some ways he’s still the offensive lineman—not the star, but in the trenches getting the job done. Times have changed and so has the role leaders must play. “College presidents can’t be everything,” said Senior Academic Dean Barb Lindman. “When [Dr. Cureton] came to his first faculty meeting, he said, ‘I know how to raise money.’ His focus was going to be on expanding. Look at all the things that have happened since he’s been here. The financial picture of the institution is dramatically different since he came. But of course he also had a Bible degree, so the element of maintaining the mission was strong.” Today, NWC leaders are transitioning from pure strategic implementation to future vision, a typical progression for successful, mature institutions. The skill set required to lead in 2012 is different from what was needed in 2002. There is pressure on Cureton to continually learn and re-engineer himself. “I either adapt or get out of the way,” is how he puts it. But one of his crucial gifts is a keen, visionary eye. He sees and understands the college’s historical context and can picture where the institution needs to be. Proactive rather than reactive, he works with others, moving Northwestern along the path to its destination. In that focused and patient endeavor, he says, mission is sacred. The how changes but the why never does.

host student dinners and donor gatherings and are very much the face of Northwestern to a variety of constituents. “We’re in this together,” said Cureton. The Curetons have three children, Luke, Rachel and Michael, now grown and married. Grandchildren—toddler Jack Alan and baby Isabelle Rose—have added an extra layer of joy to their lives. But there has been difficulty, too. Last March, their son-in-law and daughter, who was 36 weeks’ pregnant with their first child, experienced the stillbirth of their daughter Anna Kay. The family has had to face the challenge of trusting God even in blinding sorrow, when there were no answers to their questions. Cureton has sought to accept refining moments, such as this, in his life. “When I look back I see God’s hands. I see how He molded and shaped me for this life. It hasn’t been all praise songs, but I’m glad God has deepened my walk with Him, even through trials and adversity.” Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T



in 40 40 Defining Moments in the Last 40 Years By Jenny Collins ’05


N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

he year: 1972. The Godfather dominated on the big screen. M*A*S*H made its first TV splash. And Atari launched Pong®. Many people started out the year singing “American Pie” and “Lean on Me,” and ended it with dirges for Jackie Robinson and Harry Truman. And while U.S. troops were withdrawing from Vietnam, CAT scans, digital watches and e-mail were just starting to arrive back home. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Northwestern College, “A Christian College of Bible, Arts, Sciences & Vocational Training,” marshaled its resources under the visionary leadership of President Bill Berntsen to prepare for a grand reopening on its new suburban St. Paul campus. They called it the “New Northwestern.” Looking back through the lens of biblical 20/20 hindsight, one could view the six years the college was closed as a time God allowed the land to go fallow, so that He could cultivate new soil on which an even greater harvest would come. Forty years later, the harvest continues. The tapestry of people, events and experiences that have shaped Northwestern over the last 40 years include innumerable defining moments—from the personal to the practical to the global. These significant yet swift highlights reveal a fraction of moments that have refined, defined— and redefined—the New Northwestern.

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T



Reopening the “New Northwestern”

NWC Archives


econd only to the school’s founding in 1902 by Dr. William Bell Riley, the process of reopening Northwestern College in 1972 on the Nazareth Hall campus in Roseville/Arden Hills is the key defining moment of the last 40 years. In 1966, Northwestern was on the verge of becoming history when it closed its Minneapolis Loring Park campus, keeping alive only a handful of evening classes. Enrollment had plunged from a height of more than 1,100 in 1950 (largely due to President Billy Graham) down to around 206 in 1965. According to Northwestern’s Self-Study Report for accreditation in 1977, enrollment declined after a major reorganization in 1957, in which the “Northwestern Schools” discontinued its separate seminary, Bible College, Bible School, and Conservatory. The report noted, “This fundamental change in the philosophy and mission of the College….created the conditions for deterioration.” The ensuing lack of students and financial support led to a fiscal crisis and prompted the closing. But Dr. William B. Berntsen, then chair of the music conservatory, was determined to see Northwestern reborn and agreed to accept the presidency of an institution on life support. Berntsen’s wife, Beryl, often shared that her husband was deeply inspired by the legacy of martyr Roger Youderian ’50, whom he had known. Pointing to Youderian’s photo, he emotionally declared, “That’s the reason Northwestern is not going to die.” The Northwestern campus, circa 1972, with Nazareth Hall (top) and Riley Hall (bottom).

40 Years of Moving Mountains

Submitted; NWC Archives



N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

nly one person on campus today has been an eyewitness to the last 40 years. Barb Lindman, Ph.D., now senior academic dean, was one of the original 11 faculty members when the college reopened in 1972. As a young graduate of Bethel College and the University of Minnesota with degrees in psychology and physical education, Lindman’s path to NWC was purely practical. “After I graduated, I realized I needed a job of some kind.” Through a friend, she heard about two teaching positions—a part-time physical

education position at Northwestern and another at Minnehaha Academy. “The only thing I really knew about Northwestern was its association with Billy Graham,” she said. Preferring to teach older students, she chose Northwestern. (Interestingly, Lindman’s sister, Mary Carlson, took the Minnehaha position and both have stayed with their respective organizations for 40 years.) Lindman also picked up another part-time gig in the records office. She recalls through laughter the humble beginnings of that first fall on campus. “School was going to start in a few weeks. I walked into the records office and they hadn’t even thought about how students might register or how that would work.” She had no plans to stay at Northwestern long. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll stay here until I

Plymouth? No, St. Paul!



ccreditation had been the goal of administration and faculty for years, since it was the academic stamp of approval and credibility needed to open doors for Northwestern and its students. After two decades of moving toward accreditation, Northwestern was accepted as an official candidate in 1973, just one year after reopening in Roseville. In 1978, the North Central Association granted full accreditation to Northwestern College. Upon receiving the news, President Berntsen wrote the following in a celebratory letter to friends and supporters: Apart from the historic beginning of the New Northwestern College on its beautiful new campus in Roseville in September of 1972, there was never a greater, more exciting, more fulfilling moment in all of our history than now. But…is accreditation an end? No, it is the launching pad from which we embark upon an exciting, progressive, challenging future, never compromising for anything less than God’s best for the education of our young people…

ith common references to the “Old Northwestern” and “New Northwestern,” the story of the college almost reads like the biblical canon—with “old” (1902 to 1966) and “new” (1972 to today) sections. And then there are those “quiet” years, an intertestamental period of sorts, in which a lot happened, but few people know. During the search for a home in the late 1960s, Northwestern almost constructed a new campus in Plymouth. Through a series of serendipitous connections, the Board of Trustees signed an agreement on June 3, 1968, to purchase 117 acres of land in Plymouth Village, whose city officials had openly welcomed the prospect of a college campus on the empty property. Architects drafted plans and all roads seemed to point to a new home. The next step was raising money. While the Plymouth plans were under way, President Berntsen received a letter that would ultimately point the way to the college’s future. In his letter, former trustee William Murk ’26 included a P.S., saying: I understand that a Roman Catholic Seminary on North Snelling Avenue may be closed. I know nothing about specifics… but it occurs to me you should investigate the property to determine whether Northwestern could indeed make use of it and, if so, make contact with their officials.

When God closes a door…He opens a campus Berntsen mentally noted the tip and later drove through the Nazareth Hall property over Christmas in 1969, but he considered it insignificant until June 22, 1970, when Plymouth officials abruptly had a change of heart and shut the door on Northwestern’s plan to build there. The next day at 8 a.m., Northwestern leaders and the trustees of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis entered into negotiations for the purchase of Nazareth Hall. Exactly five months later, Northwestern had a new campus to call home. A dedicated group of the college faithful spent two years and $1.4 million converting the Nazareth Hall campus to prepare for a new generation of students.

find a real job,’” she said with dry wit and her signature laugh.

From Alaska to athletics to academic builder Raised in the mountains of Alaska by a pastor and church planter, Lindman has scaled several mountainous projects through her roles during four decades at Northwestern, including faculty member (where she created the physical education major), women’s athletics coach, education department chair, dean of instructional programs, associate provost, interim provost, Higher Learning Commission (HLC) liaison, and more. “Her value to Northwestern College is difficult to determine simply because it is so great,” said Janet Sommers, Ph.D., senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “Dr.

Lindman not only knows our institution, in many ways she helped build it.” According to Sommers, Lindman continues to provide “the administrative infrastructure necessary for academic excellence to thrive.” And added, “Her no-nonsense, yet gracious approach to issues has proven successful as she steered through the muddy waters of assessment planning, Core Curriculum revisions, academic calendar reviews, capital budgets, and HLC ten-year accreditation processes, to name a few.” Sommers continued, “She has approached each responsibility with a high level of competence, determination, and perseverance, matched only by an effervescent sense of humor which makes even the dullest or most challenging tasks more manageable.”


Those same qualities helped Lindman overcome a personal mountain in 2006 when she was diagnosed with cancer. “You know intuitively in the community of faith that we support each other. But until you experience that—you see how people show Christ to you. Everyone was praying for me.” Northwestern’s Christ-centered community and its mission won over Lindman’s heart—and her entire career, which she affirms isn’t over yet. “I can see myself associated with Northwestern College in some capacity for many years to come.”

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


Growth & Expansion

Why They Came

“People came strictly because God was leading them here,” Barb Lindman said frankly, citing the survey from 1974, reporting why students came to Northwestern: 52% – Because of God’s leading 18% – A Christian approach to education 30% – Faculty members, programs, etc.

Josh Stokes

Director of Financial Aid Rick Blatchley ’79 enrolled at Northwestern in 1973:

Pivotal Court Decision

When NWC reopened, the City of Arden Hills imposed an enrollment restriction of 1,250 students and ruled that the college could continue to operate, but not expand. But God seemed to have different plans as enrollment continued to climb. So in 1977 the college entered into a lawsuit against the City of Arden Hills that went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Court granted Northwestern permission to expand, opening the door for new facilities. Every new building redefines the life, landscape and interaction of the campus community. Since 1972, Northwestern has constructed or acquired 12 buildings.

1972 – Moyer Hall The first residence hall built by Northwestern to house new students.


N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

Pizza Money Builds Building Frozen pizza pioneer Rose Totino sold her business to Pillsbury in 1975 for $20 million, which propelled her into philanthropy. After dedicating her life to the Lord through the ministry of KTIS radio, she connected with Northwestern and President Berntsen. The story goes that after attending an acoustically appalling music performance in the Riley Gym in the 1970s, Mrs. Totino was moved to do something about it—writing a check for $1,000 and eventually donating nearly $4 million to build the Fine Arts Center that bears her name.

1982 – Totino Fine Arts Center Music students made an even more joyful noise to the Lord when band practices moved out of the Powerhouse and concerts relocated from the Riley Gym to the 1,400seat Maranatha Hall.

“In my junior year [of high school], Dr. Bill Berntsen and Dr. J. Edwin Hartill visited our church in Chicago. They told us of the plans to reopen [Northwestern] and encouraged us to come for a visit. That summer our family went to Minnesota and Dr. Berntsen gave us the tour of the campus. In my senior year I was planning to go to Moody, but because they were full, I went to Northwestern.”

1980 – Knutson/Hartill Residences and Robertson Student Center The college strategically built these residence halls as efficiency apartments, equipped with a personal bathroom and kitchenette, to accommodate summer guests and short-term lodgers and provide an additional revenue stream.

1992 – Berntsen Resource Center When it opened, students, staff and faculty formed a book brigade to move the library contents from 4th floor of Nazareth Hall to the new library.

1996 – Ericksen Health & Physical Education Center The completion of this much-needed venue for athletics and physical education paved the way for renovation and academic use of the old Riley Gym.

Academics and Enrollment

In 1972, the college started with 216 students, mostly freshman—the largest incoming class since 1951. By 1989, enrollment topped 1,000 for the first time since 1950. Today, enrollment totals 3,246.

From 2 majors to 70+ In 1972, students had two majors to choose from: Ministry and Music. Ministry later expanded to include an emphasis in another area of study. Today, there are 15 academic departments, 72 bachelor degree programs and 90+ areas of study across all programs.

Fulbright Scholars In 2004, Katrina Custer ’04 became NWC’s first recipient of a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Since then, two faculty and six more students have received Fulbright scholarships.

2003 – Mel Johnson Media Center The MJMC extended the campus footprint across Lydia Avenue and brought stateof-the-art facilities for the Department of Communication, Northwestern Media and KTIS radio headquarters.

2011 – Billy Graham Community Life Commons A defining point for the Graham Commons was receiving a $750,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.

The Purchase of “Paul’s Place” In 1992, Northwestern acquired Paul’s Place and Rib Joint, which consisted of a motel, restaurant and meeting center on what is now the area where South Residence, Mel Johnson Media Center, the Child Development Center, EagleCrest and the Country Inn & Suites now stand. The property had become an eyesore in the neighborhood, but President Don

FOCUS Degree Completion In 1990, the college introduced the “FOCUS 15” (now FOCUS Degree Completion) program, a nontraditional approach for adult learners to finish their bachelor’s degrees in a flexible format.

Online Learning/Distance Education What is now Undergraduate Online Learning began as the Center for Distance Education in 1994 with 10 students taking NWC classes from home. Today, including PSEO, more than 1,000 students are taking classes online.

Center for Graduate Studies In 2005, the college re-entered graduate education with the launch of the Center for Graduate Studies (CGS), offering a Master of Organizational Leadership degree. Today, CGS also offers a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Human Services.

Ericksen built a relationship with its owner, whose family did not want him to sell the property to NWC. Yet one week before his death, the owner contacted Ericksen and transacted the sale of Paul’s Place, giving Northwestern the opportunity to redeem the property—in more ways than one.

Acquisition of existing buildings To accommodate student housing and office needs, Northwestern has purchased neighboring buildings to alleviate space on campus. These properties include South, Southeast, Snelling Terrace, Antioch and the Northwestern Office Center.

Presidents of the ‘New Northwestern’ 1966–1984 Dr. William Berntsen Berntsen joined the college as a music professor in the 1940s and devoted the rest of his life and career to building, and rebuilding, Northwestern. “He’s the reason that we’re here,” said Barb Lindman. “His vision is the one we’re still following.”

1985–1997 Dr. Donald Ericksen Ericksen joined in 1977 as Dean of Students. A former football coach, Ericksen and his wife Bonita were avid supporters of student life, attending concerts and athletic events regularly. Under Ericksen, the campus expanded greatly.

1997–2000 Dr. Wesley Willis Though his tenure was short, it was under Willis that the college’s current mission statement was developed. Also, Northwestern’s academic calendar switched from the quarter system to the semester system, a complex process that required every course to be rewritten and rescheduled.

2000–2001 Dr. David Erickson (interim) David Erickson, professor of business, stepped in to bridge the gap. Erickson served as interim president for over a year.

2002–present Dr. Alan Cureton See feature on pages 14–17.

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T



B i g Ev e n t s

30 Credits of Bible “That was one of the things that made the New Northwestern really unique.” –Barb Lindman Requiring 30 credits of Bible within its academic program was one of the hallmarks of the New Northwestern. Bachelor’s degree programs were initially five-year programs until the credits were later woven into the core curriculum, fully integrating the liberal arts and biblical worldview education—a distinctive that continues to set Northwestern apart today.

Billy Graham helps NWC celebrate 75 years In October 1978, Northwestern marked its 75th anniversary with the Diamond Jubilee celebration on campus. Over 3,000 people attended to hear keynote speaker Billy Graham, who returned to see the new campus, congratulate those who made it happen and praise God for His faithfulness.

Josh Stokes

Performance in the Capitol

Daily Chapel “This feature alone made a Northwestern College education special.” –Rick Blatchley ’79 Requiring daily chapel from day one was a key decision that created opportunities for many defining moments in the lives of students. Some of the chapel favorites through the last 40 years include Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Corrie ten Boom, Francis Schaeffer, Ravi Zacharias, Charles Price, Tony Campolo, Evelyn Christenson, Chuck Swindoll, Child Development Center Christmas pageant, Richard Allen Farmer, Becky Tirabassi, praise chapels and more.

On January 21, 1981, after 444 days under Iranian captivity in Tehran, the 52 U.S. hostages were released. That same day, Northwestern’s Rhapsody in Praise music ensemble, under the direction of President Berntsen, performed in Washington, D.C., at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. The students’ performance of Rejoice, Rejoice, My Son is Coming Home brought the 4,000 delegates to a standing ovation.

September 11, 2001 On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, students, like the rest of the world, started out the day as normal and quickly experienced events unlike any other. Jackie Sommers ’04, a sophomore at the time, wrote a recent blog post about that day, commemorating the 11th anniversary of the tragedy: Everyone was transfixed. …In chapel, they had a live news feed playing.... The student body watched, cried, prayed. …It was incredible to grieve with a community that both loved and trusted God’s sovereignty in spite of the destruction and sadness.

100 years old! The centennial year in 2002 brought a year of celebrations, beginning with the inauguration of eighth president Alan Cureton.


N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

Athle tics

Brian Tanning


Doubleheader, double win! In 2005, Head Coach Kirk Talley and the Eagles football team made college sports history by playing—and winning—two games in one day. The Eagles played Trinity Bible College at home in the morning and Macalester College on their turf in the afternoon. ESPN and other national and local media covered the historic event.

Identity Golden Eagle moves to campus

Prior to the 2008–09 academic year, Northwestern officially joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III after a four-year provisional membership. The integrity and spirit of NWC athletics quickly stood out in the NCAA. In 2010, the NCAA awarded the NWC women’s volleyball team the StudentAthlete Sportsmanship Award for female athletes, in part for making their now signature “honor calls.”

Declaration of Christian Community In 2007, Northwestern adopted its new community covenant, the Declaration of Christian Community (DCC). A formal statement of individual commitment and shared faith and purpose, the DCC replaced the 25-year-old Lifestyle Statement.

“Landing the Golden Eagle on the Northwestern campus required the boldness of a lion, persistence of a bulldog and the quixotism of a good public relations man (Peter Buckles ’80). For 29 years the gilded Eagle sat atop the downtown Saint Paul office of Minnesota Savings and Loan Association, which in time changed hands, names and logo. After a year of communication...the winning arguments cited the Eagle’s mascot status with the College [and] the Eagle’s symbolism for Christian character.... The unveiling takes place May 21, 1987.” – Cloud of Witnesses

Your Defining Moments...

Visit us at NWC.EDU

“Every person has left their mark.” – Monica Groves ’85

According to Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine, officially came online in September 1996. From humble beginnings with a page of text and a few links, the website has evolved many times, becoming the single most important place for prospective students and their parents to learn more about Northwestern.

New logo conveys brand and identity In 2008, Northwestern presented an updated logo that reflects the college’s brand and identity as an academically excellent and wholeheartedly Christian institution. The college’s Marketing & Communications office developed the logo with Capsule, a Minneapolis agency.

Whether you are an alum, a student, a faculty member, an employee, a retiree, a parent, a donor or friend of the college—you have influenced Northwestern and its people with your presence, participation and investment of your time and resources. So what would you add to the list? What were your defining moments? Join the conversation on Twitter. @NorthwesternMN with hashtags #definingmoment #Pilot

Sources: Cloud of Witnesses, Northwestern College Archives, Institutional Analysis Report of Northwestern College for the North Central Association (July 1974), 1977 Self-Study Report, The Maestro and the Miracle: The Story of the New Northwestern by Beryl Berntsen. Northwestern Pilot magazines, Scroll yearbooks,, and several interviews with Northwestern employees.

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


By Jenny Collins ’05


it weren’t for a pesky liberal arts requirement in college, the man who created Northwestern’s history major in the late 1980s might have missed his calling. Charles Aling, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History and professor since 1985, was raised in a family of medical doctors and pharmacists. Aling’s father, A. Charles Aling, M.D., was chair of Northwestern’s missionary medicine department in the early 1950s and had served in Europe as head surgeon in an evacuation hospital during WWII. Using logic and legacy as his rationale, a young Aling enrolled in the pre-med track at the University of Minnesota.

A major change During his sophomore year, an advisor told him he was required to take a non-science, non-English liberal arts course. Curious about history, Aling picked up the thick history course catalog and paged through. “I figured, why start in the middle?” he recalled. “Why not start at the beginning [of history]?” He enrolled in the intro course for the ancient history major. “I knew within two weeks that this is what I was going to do,” Aling said, and he immediately switched his major to ancient history. Aling recalled that his father took the news surprisingly well, but his mother did not. “My mother saw three paths: medicine, law or ministry. She saw anything outside of that as illegitimate—it wasn’t practical.” That is, until the family matriarch—Aling’s grandmother— said the words that made it all OK. Aling recalled that after his grandmother heard about his new endeavors, she excitedly said


N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

that her physician husband had loved ancient Egypt and would have been so proud to know his grandson was now studying it.

Royal history comes to life Choosing to major in ancient history was just the beginning of defining points in his career. While at the University of Minnesota for graduate work, Aling met Professor Otto Schaden, an American Egyptologist who came to teach the ancient Egyptian language. The esteemed professor taught at the U of M just long enough for Aling to study Egyptian hieroglyphics under him for six years. It was also with Schaden that Aling went to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings for an archaeological dig and found a royal tomb. The excavation story gave rise to a nickname: “Indiana Aling.” Aling’s exciting tales and ability to make the past come alive in the present have endeared him to the thousands of students who praise his lectures on western civilization, ancient history and hieroglyphics. “I really like his insight. His stories add to the class and make it a lot more interesting than most history classes that I’ve previously taken [at other schools],” said Jacob Coil ’16 of his western civilization class. Aling, whose wife Dr. Helen Aling is chair of NWC’s Department of English, is quick to point out with a twinkling eye that in an age of multimedia, he and his colleagues in history “are on the forefront and have proven that lecturing can still be exciting.”

Left: Professor of History Charles Aling (on right) participated on an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt with his Egyptology professor Otto Schaden in 1972. Middle: Aling at Karnak Temple in Egypt. Right: Aling has taught history at NWC for 27 years.

Left to right: Submitted, Submitted, Josh Stokes

And the Rest is History

Pre serving the Name of a Neighb or Prof pursued doctorate to defend pastor’s reputation By Ben Bradbury ’09


here are times throughout life when circumstances and conviction lead to paths one could never have anticipated. Such was the journey for Ian Hewitson ’85, Ph.D. Born to missionaries in Jos, Nigeria, Hewitson spent his formative years in the United Kingdom, which has left him with an accent enjoyed by those who hear him speak. He arrived at NWC in the winter of 1979 to study commercial art and design and now teaches in the Department of Biblical & Theological Studies at NWC.

Finding Northwestern and the Word While studying art and Bible at NWC, Hewitson fell in love with God’s Word. “Towards my senior year, I became increasingly interested in the Scriptures,” he recalled, “realizing that the Scriptures were going to be the discriminating factor in my life.” Hewitson’s growing love for the Bible was also fostered by Rev. Norman Shepherd, his church pastor during college. So, without having any inclination to be a pastor or teacher, Hewitson attended Westminster Theological Seminary (Penn.), earned an M.A. in Pastoral Counseling and began work as a pastoral counselor at Pastor Shepherd’s church. “It was really a work of God’s doing,” he said. “There was a compelling need—not necessarily in ministry—but there was a compelling obligation for me to tell [others about the Scriptures].”

Turning point Hewitson’s work as a pastor continued for nearly two decades, serving as a pastoral counselor and eventually as a senior minister in Minnetonka (Minn.). Throughout this time, however, Hewitson became concerned about the reputation of his longtime mentor, Shepherd. As a graduate student at Westminster, Hewitson learned that Shepherd had taught there for 17 years. Seven of those years were controversial, but it is a little-known fact that during that time Shepherd was exonerated five times of all allegations by the faculty and board, as well as by his presbytery. At the end of the seven years, Shepherd resigned his teaching position at the seminary because he had lost confidence in the institution’s ability to resolve the controversy. But the controversy continues up to the present day. This perplexed Hewitson, as he believed Shepherd was orthodox in his teaching. Hewitson’s concern reached a pinnacle when he attended a conference with Shepherd in 2001 and saw a book that referenced this controversy once again—more than two decades after it occurred. Hewitson asked Shepherd if he could write on the controversy. Hewitson recalled that Shepherd didn’t respond immediately, but some time later called him and asked him if he was still willing to do this. “I couldn’t say no to him,” Hewitson explained. “He was my pastor; he was my I said yes.”

Decision, dramatic action Hewitson believed that to defend Shepherd’s reputation, he needed to write a book to illuminate the full situation. “The ninth commandment tells me that we are not to bear false witness against our neighbor,” he said. For him that also meant preserving the name of the neighbor, if falsely accused. “So, when I heard all that was taking place over these past 25 years against Shepherd, I was obligated to [do something].” However, he knew that in order to be taken seriously, he would have to conduct thorough research and present it in an objective, academic manner. “To have it

“He was my pastor; he was my I said yes.” scrutinized academically, I needed a Ph.D.,” Hewitson said. Thus, at 47 years old, Hewitson, his wife and two young boys moved to Scotland so he could pursue a doctorate. “I figured I couldn’t do it in the U.S., just because of the prominence of [Shepherd’s] name,” he said. Hewitson’s dissertation delved heavily into the administrative angle of this controversy, evaluating the last of seven Commissions that assessed and approved Shepherd’s doctrinal beliefs. This work was published in his book entitled Trust and Obey: Norman Shepherd & the Justification Controversy at Westminster Theological Seminary [2011]. Hewitson bears no illusion that the writing of his book puts an end to the issue, but he is optimistic that it will in time make a difference. “Although [the book] might not bear fruit in my lifetime,” he reflected, “if it’s out there and if it’s in the libraries, history—and I believe the Scriptures—will be on [Shepherd’s] side.”

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


Todd James

Redefined by Tragedy and Trust By Nanc y C awley Zugschwert

“The officer said, ‘We’re sorry to inform you that Matthew and Justin were killed in a crash near Farmington this evening. There was another boy with them; do you know who that would be?’ ‘That would be my son Jacob.’ The officers looked at each other, then back to me and said, ‘Jacob is in surgery. He is in critical condition.’” —Connie Backstrom, (The Story) The lives of the Backstrom family changed dramatically when a car crash claimed the lives of their three older sons in October 2004. The family is pictured here in a 2002 photo (L to R: Matthew, Justin, Ryan, Charles, Nathan, Connie, Jacob).


Northwester n Co lle g e


ight years ago, on October 10, 2004, Backstrom brothers Matthew, 20, Jacob, 17, and Justin, 16, were killed after the car Matthew was driving was hit head-on by another vehicle. Matthew and Justin died at the scene. Jacob died the next day. The intoxicated driver who hit them was talking on his phone and reaching for a DVD. He survived the crash. The brothers left behind parents, Nathan and Connie, and younger brothers, Ryan, 12, and Charles, 8—a family redefined by the actions of a stranger. Nathan still vividly remembers when he heard about the crash. “When Connie called me with that news, I laid down my phone and said, ‘Dear Jesus help me.’ Four simple words calling on the God of the universe. I’ve used that prayer many times since.” Ryan Backstrom, now 20 and a freshman at Northwestern, recalled, “It took quite awhile to come out of that. I was numb for years.” Not exactly your typical childhood. The Backstrom family’s response to this

tragedy was atypical, too. Ryan remembers, “My parents took immediate action with news reporters the first day. Right away they were sharing Christ through this; they took what could have destroyed us and turned it into something that could spread the Gospel.”

Not ‘why?’ but ‘what?’ At their hobby-farm home in Hampton, Minn., where large photos of Matthew, Jacob and Justin prominently adorn the refrigerator, 23-year homeschooling veteran Connie explained the perspective that governed her initial response to the crash. “You can’t fix what happened,” she reflected. “That was a huge thing, trusting that God was in control, that He’s sovereign. “Not all things are good,” Connie continued. “I like the NIV of Romans 8:28: ‘God works in all things.’ Most translations have ‘all things work together for good.’ That’s not true. God works in all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It’s not the things that are working. To me, that’s a huge difference.” Connie continued with deep conviction, “If we trust that He’s sovereign, rather than asking, ‘Why did this happen?’ I can say, ‘What? What am I supposed to do with what you’ve given me?’”

Going public The day after what the family refers to as “the crash,” Connie and Nathan stood before reporters outside their home at a news conference. It wasn’t exactly a natural role for Nathan, a commercial airline pilot. His first instinct had been to keep the press at bay. “I had little or no sleep and so I came inside to talk to Connie and I said, ‘Here’s what they want to do, what do you think?’” he recounted. “She said without hesitation, ‘I think we should do it.’” Nathan told the reporters, “You can interview us under one condition: you will not edit this statement.” He was surprised that all said yes but one, who said, “I’ll do the best I can.” Sleep deprived but bold, Nathan turned to the dissenting reporter and said, “Sir, that’s not good enough.” The reporters honored that request to a

large degree and this statement was on the front of the newspaper and on multiple local television stations: Justin, Jacob and Matthew each had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and they are now in the presence of their Lord and Savior. Our prayer is because of this, lives will be changed and our God will be glorified. “Who would have thought?” Nathan pondered. “But I guess I wanted to make a statement loud and clear of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the incredible tragedy.”

God’s fingerprints Calling them “God’s fingerprints,” Connie recounted numerous examples of unusual conversations in the days and weeks preceding the crash—even clear assurance of her sons’ salvation. “A week and a half before [the crash] those three were sitting on the couch and we were doing morning Bible study,” Connie explained. “I stopped in the middle and told them that God had set them apart for something special. I don’t know what, but I know it’s big.” Continuing, she said to the boys, “I know you accepted Christ when you were little, but did you do it for Mom and Dad or did you do it for you? No one can choose Christ for you except you. “They kind of looked at me like, ‘Okay, Mom’s losing it,’ but they said, ‘Yeah, we chose Christ for ourselves.’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘Why did I ask them that?’ But a week and a half later I knew it wasn’t for them; it was for me.”

Still trusting Ultimately, telling God’s story has been the constant in the last eight years. Nathan and Connie have spoken at hundreds of events, often joined by Ryan and Charles, now 16. They speak at high schools, youth events and prisons about the consequences of drinking and driving and the hope they have because, as Nathan explains, “Matthew, Jacob and Justin each had a personal relationship with Christ and someday we will see them again.” The Backstroms have accepted their walk through the fire of tragedy and grief because they trust God the Refiner. Nathan

Growing Up in the Shadow of Loss Ryan Backstrom was just 12 when his older brothers were killed in a car crash. “That was the most difficult moment of my life,” Ryan recalled calmly. His memories of the drastic change in his home reflect a young boy’s perspective. “It was boring and empty,” he recounted. “Before, I was able to play games with at least four people.” Suddenly it was just two. But the impact went far beyond games. “I felt a responsibility to be the older brother,” Ryan said, “wanting to protect my family, even though I was really young.” He also dealt with fear when his parents went places and “felt terrified at the thought” of being in the same car as his brother because he didn’t want his parents to lose their last two sons. Ryan’s eight-year journey with grief has paralleled his path from preteen to adult. As he has grown physically and matured emotionally, his perspectives expanded. “[God has] taught me to rely more on Him rather than myself,” Ryan said. “I’m a big sci-fi buff,” the quiet freshman admitted. “I love spaceships and time travel. But even if I could make a time machine, I would not change the past. I’ve seen how many this has affected and how many people we’ve shared the Gospel with. I’d love to see my brothers again, but changing it would not help others.”

finds encouragement in a quote by Warren Wiersbe: “When you are in the furnace, your Father keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. He knows just how much we can take.” Connie added, “It’s easy to trust God when life is good. But when He pierces your soul and puts you through the fire—the refiner’s fire—will you still trust Him?” Pausing, reflecting, she added, “I don’t think we can answer that until we face the fire.” The Backstroms will share their story at chapel in February 2013.

Fa ll /Winte r 2012 PILOT


1902 to 2012: 110 years of change

Off-Campus Hang-Out Spots

by Le xi Oldenburger ’14

Nobody knows exactly what Northwestern students were up to in 1902 when the school opened, but after some digging, we’ve uncovered some clues. Hold onto your iPhones—we’re going back to see how much things have changed in the last 110 years!

Then: Crescent Bakery and Delicatessen, The Colonial Sandwich Shop, Brown’s Velvet Ice Cream

Now: Caribou, Starbucks, Applebee’s after 9 p.m. for half-price appetizers

Free Time Name Then:

Then: After supper and study time from 9:30–10 p.m. Now: Whenever and for however long students wish to put off their homework Now:

Car Rules Then: Now:

Location Then:

No freshmen or sophomores may “operate a motor vehicle” while attending Northwestern Freshmen, unless they appeal for work or other reasons, are not allowed to have cars on campus due to limited parking

Technology Now:

Then: Typewriter rentals were available on a semester basis Now: Most, if not all, students carry their own laptops and mobile devices

Jobs First Baptist Church, downtown Minneapolis

Roseville/Arden Hills on Lake Johanna

Enrollment Then: 7 [in 1902] Now: 3,246

Then: Now:

No students allowed to work over 33 hours a week and still carry a full school schedule Students juggle internships or off- and on-campus jobs— some working 50+ hours per week

Just for Fun



Chapel Then: Now:

Men and women gather separately every evening for fellowship, often with an outside speaker, and then together in Jackson Hall (seats 700) Required Monday–Friday mornings in Maranatha Hall (seats 1,400)


Swimming, skating, tobogganing, hiking, kittenball, volleyball and tennis

Basketball, volleyball, golf, football, track and field, broomball, softball, baseball, cross-country, cheer squad/dance team, canoeing and tennis

Then: Registration fees cost $12.50 per term or $25.00 per year Now: $26,740 tuition per year (before financial aid)

Study Time

Then: Scheduled twice daily from 3–5 p.m. and 7:30–9:30 p.m. Now: Squeezed between classes, intramural games, worship team practices, jobs and athletics 30

N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

Due to limited information preserved from 1902, specific details for “Then” came from Northwestern publications produced in the 1920s.

ALUMNI 2010s

1990s Jakely Jami to Chris ’95 and Kristin (Mertens ’95) Salvevold on June 28, 2012. She joins Linnea.


Sarah Howell ’11 is working full time as a theater professional, most recently working at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Bryan Ellison ’92 and his wife, Teri, graduated from the Salvation Army Officer Training School in Chicago on June 10, 2012. They were ordained and commissioned as lieutenants and are now officers at the Alton, IL corps.

Tim ’12 and Emily (Nelson ’12) Herset have moved back to Kalispell, MT. Tim has started working full time for Young Life, leading the ministry that God used to shape his life while he was in high school.

Through the Years

Kimberly Seehusen ’92 is enjoying her work and the unique opportunities that come from serving adults with disabilities in her job with Midway Training Services in St. Paul. Stephen George ’95 was appointed as the senior pastor at Eldon United Methodist Church in Eldon, MO on July 1, 2012.

2000s Kyle ’03 and Sarah (Moulton ’04) Spaeth were appointed on June 22, 2012, to work with SEND International in Lipetsk, Russia at the Transformation Christian Center. They currently live in Minnesota with their four children and anticipate a departure in 2014 for Russia. Elizabeth Shafto ’06 spent four and a half years working as a graphic designer and instructor in Japan at Aoyama Gakuin Shotobu, a private Christian elementary school in Tokyo. Now spending time with friends and family in the Wisconsin and Minnesota area, she hopes to return to Japan or Asia in the fall of 2013. Kristina (Bjorkman ’08) Eaton graduated from Singapore Bible College in May 2011 with a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies. Her husband, Scot Eaton ’06, served eight months with CRASH Japan, serving in nuclear evacuation relief efforts in Fukushima. Hannah Huffman ’08 is now working for the Wisconsin State Senate in Madison.

Paul Snider ’12 and his wife, Patricia, are missionaries in West Papua, Indonesia. They are working in the lowland swamps alongside the national Papua church to see churches planted in each village. Many tribes still have no access to the Gospel and no workers to fill this position. They would love to see more people join their efforts there.

Weddings 2000s Sarah Jacobson ’01 and Jonathon Prior on October 8, 2011. Kristina Bjorkman ’08 and Scot Eaton ’06 on June 2, 2012.

Leighton Allan to Larry and Beth (Johnson ’97) Benshoof on July 28, 2011. He joins Nolan and Brennan. Jaden Lee to Greg ’97 and Sarah (Larson ’97) Schwitters on January 12, 2012. He joins Kyle and Alyssa.

2000s Adoption of Tyshawn and Juan to Derrick and Jeannine (Ulasich ’00) Eubanks on December 6, 2011. They join Alyssa, Sage, and Jayna. Cameron and Sara (Gardner ’00) Smart adopted twins, Jayden Matthew and Jillian Mackenzie, on June 4, 2012. Caleb Andrew to Ryan and Rebecca (Silrum ’00) Van Arkel on March 17, 2011. Rebekah Jean to Josiah and Samantha (Ferrozzo ’04) Cree on June 13, 2012. Milena Eleonora to Guillermo and Jacquie (Books ’05) Urquia on May 31, 2012.

Kelsey Larsen and Michael Engel ’11.

LilyKate Elizabeth to Timothy ’04 and Katie (Helmbrecht ’05) Wiertzema on July 30, 2011.

Heidi Jusczak ’12 and Zachary Schlottman ’10 on March 25, 2012.

Owen to Joshua and April (Dahl ’05) Ebb on March 6, 2012.

Amanda Arfsten ’12 and Chase Ballard on August 4, 2012.

Mackenzie Faith to Andrew ’06 and Rachel (Isaacson ’06) Voelker on June 13, 2012. She joins Benjamin and Maxwell.


Additions 1980s Kent ’85 and Laurie (Johnson ’85) Schmidt adopted their son William Henry from Shaanxi Province, China, in June 2011.

Garret Elijah to Jason and Melissa (Ruud ’07) Sims on January 6, 2012. Ezra Michael to Heath and Hannah (Morrison ’08) Paddock on April 29, 2012. Jude Thomas to Micah ’09 and Lizzie (Davis ’09) Stelter on July 19, 2012.

Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


In Memory



Rev. John R. Olson ’50 on May 9, 2012.

Northwestern College offers condolences to the families of the following Northwestern alumni and friends who have passed away.

Jake Barnett, friend and donor of 50+ works of art, on July 19, 2012.

Wayne Benedict ’55 on February 24, 2012. Lloyd Brandt, Trustee Emeritus, on September 8, 2012.

Harvey Hodgson ’56 on September 8, 2012.

1930s Luverne Gustavson ’39 in July 2012.

1940s Margaret (Allen ’42) Hanson on April 19, 2012.

Charles “Bud” Johnson ’58 on May 28, 2012. Shirley (Gardner ’58) Magnuson in September 2012. David McCarthy ’59 in July 2012.

Melva Spooner ’44 on May 29, 2012. Thelma (Berglund ’48) Bromander on May 17, 2012.

1980s Jan Michael Cowles ’80 on September 15, 2012. Christopher Tjornhom ’84 on May 29, 2012.

Bob Glockner ’49 on September 21, 2012.

Alumni Authors Kim Ketola F ’08

Elmer Towns ’54

Cradle My Heart – Finding God’s Love After Abortion

Walking with Giants: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

Writing from her own experience, Kim Ketola sheds light on one of the darkest and most neglected personal issues of our time: the need for healing and spiritual recovery after abortion. “After abortion brought the worst trouble into my life I had ever known,” writes Ketola, “I just couldn’t see my way free to believe in God’s love.” With a compassionate heart, Ketola offers 10 true stories of healing promises from the Bible to help women answer the most common spiritual torments they face: Is abortion a sin? Does God hate me? Where can I turn in my shame and distress? How could I ever tell anyone the truth?* Cradle My Heart – Finding God’s Love After Abortion (Kregel Publications) was awarded First Place in the Sonfire Media contest at the 2010 Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference. It features a foreword from Ruth Graham and has won an endorsement by Rebecca St. James, Wess Stafford and others. Ketola hosts a new live program on Northwestern Media’s Faith Radio Network and other stations to help those hurt by abortion. Cradle My Heart airs Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. CST.


N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

Elmer Towns is known around the world as cofounder of Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian university, and as author of more than 175 popular books on prayer, spirituality and the Church. He is also known as a motivator par excellence of men and women who long to be exceptional for the cause of Christ. But not many people know that a long “desert experience” lies behind Towns’s extraordinary success, an experience that taught him how to be, in the words of the apostle Paul, “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). In Walking with Giants (Regal), Towns shares his fascinating life story, drawing out principles that can be applied by anyone seeking to become great in God’s Kingdom. Leaders and students alike will be challenged to greater faithfulness and encouraged to seek God more deeply.* In 2000, Towns was honored as Northwestern’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. *Source:

What will be your legacy?

MAJOR: Broadcasting & Bible

Paul ’55 and Grace Ramseyer



“The college and the media outlets make such a difference in the lives of ordinary people and local churches. We consider giving to Northwestern an eternal investment, training people to be ambassadors in the world.”

CAREER: Law Enforcement HOME: Farmington, Minn.

Leaving a Legacy –

FAMILY: Wife, Laura; 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren

Fast Learner Jim Caauwe’s Northwestern experience provided him with lessons that have lasted a lifetime. He began with a goal of going into Christian radio, but he ended up leaving before achieving his degree. “I didn’t know what direction to go,” Caauwe said. But when he joined the audio department of a Minneapolis church led by a Minneapolis cop, he caught a direction for his life. “I kind of got bit by the bug,” he explained, noting criminal justice as something that just drew him in. With his newfound clear direction he went to another school for criminal justice and pursued a career in law enforcement. Caauwe spent 10 years in Carrollton, Texas, and 17 years with the Bloomington (Minn.) Police Department. Caauwe observed that it was his broadcasting training at Northwestern that led to his role as public information officer for the department. “For 12 years when I worked for Bloomington I did their weekly television show,” Caauwe said, also noting that in Carrollton he worked on a syndicated 24-hour police channel. Now retired from the Bloomington force, Caauwe works as a civilian for the Savage (Minn.) Police Department doing media programs; he also serves as adjunct criminal justice faculty for NWC and two other colleges. Caauwe has fond memories of his time as a student at NWC. His favorite teacher was Bible professor J. Edwin Hartill. “We used to joke that if you were taking notes in [his] class and dropped your pencil, by the time you picked it up you were three pages behind. “We had top-notch instructors that would apply the Bible to our culture and to our current worldviews, which then made witnessing and talking to people about Jesus much easier because you could make the Bible real to them.” Caauwe’s Northwestern sojourn was short but efficient. He reflected, “I’ve learned that no matter where your path leads you, you will be able to use the skills and resources that you have gained.”

Planning Your Gifts to Bless Generations.

Office of Planned Giving

651-631-5139 800-692-4020, ext. 5139


Brick Pavers Located on the campus green side of the Billy Graham Community Life Commons, brick pavers are available for $1,000 or a two-year monthly commitment of $42. Visit, or call 651-631-5139 to reserve your brick.

Honor a loved one Celebrate a wedding Engrave God’s Word into our community

Submitted; Amy Ritter

At church, Choua and her siblings realized they were different. “Kids would make fun of our clothes because we wore the same ones every Sunday,” Choua recalled. “And the adults always felt really sorry for us…which made us feel really awkward.” The family met a new test in acclimating to American culture. Ignorance about ordinary things, like hot dish and underwear, built up an overwhelming embarrassment and shame.

Trading animism for salvation

Hmong American by Birth. Christ Follower by Grace. By Amy Rit ter


or many Hmong people in Laos after the Vietnam War, the future was death or near-impossible escape, and it is here where Choua (Vang ’08) LeMay’s story began. Choua’s mother, Chia Cha, fled Laos with her six-monthold, Zar, while Choua’s father Cha Vang was studying medicine in Thailand. After nearly losing Zar in the Mekong River, husband and wife miraculously found each other in a Thai refugee camp, where three more Vangs were born. Through an American colleague, Cha Vang got a sponsorship and by 1979 the family had emigrated to St. Paul, where five more children were born, including Choua.

Public housing and hot dish

The Vangs loved their new abode in St. Paul public housing. “We thought it was so big and my parents felt fortunate,” Choua said, “because in Thailand they had a one-room mud house and no electricity, no heating, no water—so this was like an upgrade!” With limited play space inside, Choua remembers running outside a lot. One morning they watched a school bus pull up and an older couple, Mary and Tom Stimac, got off the bus and offered to take the Vang kids to church every Sunday. Without a pause, Choua’s parents said, “Sure!”


N o rt h w est e r n C o l l e g e

By junior high, they had stopped going to church, but Choua’s spiritual experiences intensified. “Hmong culture is really wrapped around animism, which is our interaction with and respect for the spirit world,” she explained. “I was always afraid. I didn’t have the freedom to live life because I was so afraid.” Curiosity about the supernatural led Choua, her sisters and some neighbor girls to make a Ouija board and they began using it daily. Demonic spirits would tell them their birthdays and innocent details, but one morning they encountered an aggressive spirit that screamed, “I’m going to kill you all.” “I remember that was a pivotal point in God speaking to me and saying, ‘These things are real and you need to walk away,’” Choua said. Her fear heightened and she cried out to God. At school, her best friend gave her a pamphlet about salvation. As Choua read every word, church memories from her childhood began to make sense, moving her to tears. She went home and shared the pamphlet with her sisters, who wept with her. The sisters called the Stimacs, who were overjoyed, saying they had been praying for the girls every day. Throughout high school, Choua had been torn between strict parents and rebellious friends, but she decided to follow Jesus when she was 19. “Ultimately God used everything in my life to protect me,” she concluded.

New life at Northwestern

At age 22, Choua was ready to go to college, and her only contact was a Northwestern admission counselor, T.K., an Asian American woman whom she had met at a college fair. Choua saw in Northwestern a faith community she wanted desperately. “I just hungered for those relationships with other brothers and sisters in my stage of life,” she said. “Northwestern was where I met a lot of them.” At NWC, Choua also met her husband Kendall LeMay ’07, and they have one daughter, River. Choua now works in Admissions in the position once held by the counselor who brought her to Northwestern. Looking back over her life, Choua now offers one simple explanation: “It was God’s grace.”

WeLCome Home 1902

September 28–29, 2012

2012 110 yeAr S

It all adds up! + + + + + + + + +

1 fabulous Showcase concert Wickham and The Royal Royal 1 amazing night of worship with Phil 1 big win over the U of M Morris 2 alumni athletic contests 4 fun class/department reunions 5 special honorees recognized 50+ military Eagles standing to be -painted kids 100s of giggles from bouncing, face s served at tailgating picnic 1,000s of delicious burgers and dog infinite sunny September skies

to = 2012 Homecoming memories

Guy Magno, Josh Stokes

u r!

HomeCominG 2012

last…at least until 2013!

Congratulations to the 2012 Homecoming Honorees Read more about our 2012 honorees at alumni Distinguished Alumnus

Buckles-Hanna Service Award

Athletic Hall of Fame

Athletic Hall of Fame

Music Hall of Recognition

Christian “C.J.” Lingenfelder ’94 Lt. Colonel in U.S. Air Force

Barb Lindman, Ph.D. Senior Academic Dean

Kelsie Carlson ’04 Track & Field

Mark Muska ’76, Ed.D. Baseball

Rod Loeffler Former Chair, Department of Music Fa l l/ W i n t e r 2 012 P ILO T


Non Profit U.S. Postage


Twin Cities MN Northwestern College

change service requested

“You touch it!” “No, you touch it!” On a sunny October day, student teams in Joel Light’s Environmental Science Lab collect and examine organisms found in the stream behind Ericksen Center.

Josh Stokes


Fall 2012 Pilot  
Fall 2012 Pilot  

Semi-annual college magazine