A Royal Crowning
King and Queen Unmasked
YC's 21st President
Rooms with a View
Getting Through a Pandemic
Children of the Corn: The Smith family quickly embraced everything about their new home after moving to the Cornhusker State this past summer. (l-r) Boden, Brooklynn, Sam, and Bear with Lisa "mom" taking the picture. On the Cover: High school sweethearts Pierce Mederios and Elizabeth Ryan crowned Homecoming King and Queen. See pg. 12 6
INSIDE 3 6 7 8 12 13 14 16 20 22 24 26 28 29 30
Profile in Excellence Enrollment Record Alumni Join Board of Trustees President Smith - In His Own Words Homecoming Alumni Awards Rooms with a View Making the Most of a Pandemic Alumni News and Notes Hulitt Hall - A New Chapter Panther Athletics Room for Improvement STEM Talks Campus Spotlight Memorials
Heritage — Fall 2020 Vol. 24, No. 1 Heritage is a semi-annual publication for alumni and friends of York College. The magazine is available online at www.york.edu/alumni. Heritage Staff
“So, what is your story?” When visiting with faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and friends of York College, I love to ask this question. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and I get excited hearing people share their YC experiences. Some are quick to respond and are immediately taken back in time to their days at York College where God used this community to literally transform their lives. Devotionals in front of McGehee, spiritual giants who served as their professors, singing in chapel, and late-night shenanigans are often the sparks of their reminiscing. Others have mile markers in their spiritual journey, and York College is one of those playing a pivotal role in their spiritual growth. One alum told me recently, “I owe my relationship with God to York College.” There are others who have never even set foot on our campus but instead were deeply impacted by one of our students, faculty, or staff at some point in their lives. I am blessed in hearing these incredible stories. If York College were a story at this moment in time, it might be similar to the movie Braveheart. We are a small, faith-based college campus in rural Nebraska in the middle of a pandemic, which means we are constantly in an uphill battle. Instead of wearing blue and white face paint like the Scottish warriors in Braveheart, we wear face coverings and our war cry is something like, “The pandemic can take our normalcy, but it can’t take away the YC experience!” We are committed 100 percent to ensuring our students have the opportunity to be transformed by a Christ-centered education at York College. As we continue the fight, we are constantly looking for heroes who are willing to join us in this important work. I want to ask you to prayerfully consider donating to York College, praying for York College, telling friends and family with high-school-aged students about York College, or connecting us with prospective partners who could be interested in joining and continuing our story at YC. Are you willing to be a hero for York College?
Steddon Sikes ’84 Director of Publications 402-363-5668 email@example.com
Eryn Conyers ’16 Communication Officer 402-363-5607 firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Lutz ’14 Alumni Relations Officer 402-363-5657 email@example.com
Heritage Contributors Elias Dallmann ’23 Dr. Gayle (Savage ’75) Davidson Bob DeHart ’95 Brent Magner ’79
Steve Shaner ’75 Brenda Sikes Lisa Smith Dr. Stacie Turnbull
In Him, Sam Smith President
Profile Excellence in
native of Lake Elsinore, Calif., Courtney (Lovelace ’17) Horton came nearly 1,500 miles to York for a college tour during the fall of her senior year. Attending school in Nebraska wasn’t on her bucket list. In fact, she had never heard of York College before YC’s softball coach reached out to her. At the end of the campus visit and with a scholarship offer on the table, she knew it was worth the gamble. “I spent much of the summer before my freshman year talking with my future roommate, Morgan Moore, but we didn’t get to meet until move-in day,” Courtney said. That long distance friendship and some vague familiarity with other YC softball recruits was all she had to work with when she stepped back on campus as a student. Of course that is quickly remedied at a place like York, and before long, Courtney was making friends at every turn. The 115 lb., 5’4” framed freshman was anxious to expand her comfort zone and take advantage of the college experience. She jumped into a social club her freshman year and as a sophomore added cheerleading to her growing list. Then, she decided to volunteer as a greeter at church. “I thought it made such a difference having a warm welcome
Courtney and Molly Reyes, a fellow softball recruit from California, help paint a house as part of a freshman service project their first few days on campus.
when you walked in so I wanted to contribute to that,” she said. That summer she went on a Let’s Start Talking (LST) summer mission trip to Croatia. Her junior year, she was asked if she would intern with York Campus Ministries. She said, “Yes,” and then did it again her senior year. She was part of the Psych Club, a church youth intern, and the spiritual life coordinator for Theta Psi… all while playing four years of collegiate softball. At this point in the story one might think that Dr. Seuss with a twinkle in his eye could interject his famous line from Horton Hears a Who! — “Don’t give up! I believe in you all. A person’s a person, no matter how small!” Four years later, the unknown freshman from the west coast was voted by students as part of Homecoming Court, named an NAIA Scholar Athlete, honored by faculty and staff as Ms. York College, and graduated summa cum laude with a double major in psychology and criminal justice. Not surprising…not really. That an incoming student with zero midwest ties, unknown to everyone on campus, and starting from scratch with her identity could be the one voted as most representative of her graduating class? Yep, it’s been going on for decades. We call it 'The York Experience.’ Expanding your horizons and trying something new is promoted from day one. In fact, the admissions office uses the phrase Be More at YC when they’re talking to recruits about the unique opportunities they will have. Even now, visit the website york.edu/admissions and you’ll see this statement, “At York, we are intentionally small to create an environment where every student can thrive.” And before a student’s first week on campus is over, they’ll hear more than once, “You choose who you want to be.” Courtney chose wisely. She did what was expected, giving a hundred percent to her studies and her sport. But she also gave her time to transformative adventures and God-centered people who reciprocally invested in her, and it brought something totally new into Courtney’s life—she discovered God was pursuing her. ...continued next page FALL 2020 |
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photo courtesy Beasley Allen Law Firm
Courtney began working at Beasley Allen Law Firm during law school in September 2018 as a law clerk in their consumer fraud section. She is currently an attorney in the same section working on attorney general litigation and pharmacy cases.
"Prior to going to York, I never knew God,” she said in a recent interview. “YC brought me to Jesus— through Him I have learned who I am and what He wants for my life." In those opening college days, Courtney was invited by YC professors Dr. Billy and Christi Lones to be a part of their adopted family. Sitting down for a delicious family meal and having a place to hang out and do laundry was in a word, home. Even the Lones’ kids Cooper and Calleigh treated Courtney like she was their older sister. Courtney remembers not being prepared for the Nebraska winters and receiving strong encouragement from Christi to help at the East Hill Church of Christ fall clothing exchange. “Mrs. Lones knew I didn’t have any winter clothes yet and essentially bullied me into coming and getting a coat,” Courtney smiled. “I volunteered for
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that any year I was available.” Billy and Christi also studied the Bible with her and brought the stories she was hearing on campus to life. Courtney was baptized by Dr. Lones one week into her second semester. Three years later as a Ms. YC candidate, she was asked to reflect
"YC brought me to Jesus—through Him I have learned who I am and what He wants for my life." on her time as a student. “First and foremost I am now a Christian and I was not before York. I think the way I handle situations now has drastically changed as I have grown. I think I am a more gracious person, at least I aim to
be. I just want to show Christ in all that I do. He is still working on me though.” Through the encouragement and some prodding by Dr. Lones, Courtney applied and was accepted into his alma mater, the Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Ala. This past summer, she graduated and sat for the bar exam. Late September, she learned that she had passed and is now a member of the Alabama State Bar and an attorney at Beasley Allen Law Firm in their consumer fraud section. When word reached the Lones’ household, Christi posted on Facebook: “I could not be any more proud of this girl if I tried. She got word that she passed the bar exam and now she is "official" at one of the biggest and most prestigious firms in Alabama. Courtney — I love, respect, and admire you. You are amazing!”
photo by Stan Foster, Faulkner Law
In August, Courtney was presented the Carter Award for the highest grade point average in her graduating class.
Courtney poses with her trial teammates from the spring semester's school competitions.
Courtney looks back on the last few who I am," said Courtney. “The last from who I am in Christ and not what years that brought her to this new and three years have been very challenging, my accomplishments are. It sounds easy exciting phase in her life and shakes her testing me spiritually, mentally, and in theory, but with law school being head in almost disbelief. In August of sometimes physically! Truthfully, I don’t such a competitive environment, it was 2013, she was headed to a easy to feel more or small college in Nebraska, "I am first and foremost a child of God. I less worthy based on not knowing Jesus, and you were doing learned that my identity needs to come how with no idea of what was in academically. store for her future. Seven from who I am in Christ and not what my “Not only should years later and now more I see myself made in accomplishments are." than two thousand miles his likeness, but at YC away from Lake Elsinore, Calif., this know how I would have gotten through I learned that I need to see everyone I newly licensed attorney volunteers in it without knowing Jesus. My time at encounter as made in the image of God the church nursery and serves on the YC taught me that above all else— as well. When you see people with that greeting committee with her husband. above what my GPA is or how well I filter, you’re more willing to go and Not surprising… not really. am doing in extracurricular activities— fight for them when they are unable to "YC prepared me for law school I am first and foremost a child of God. I fight for themselves." n by giving me a stronger foundation for learned that my identity needs to come by Steddon Sikes ’84 (below: l-r) Courtney was welcomed into Theta Psi with an all-out paintwar.
With time on her hands, Courtney joined the cheer and pom squad her sophomore year.
2017 Mr. and Ms. York College — Cameron Coleman and Courtney Lovelace.
Sliding face first, Courtney scores a run during a home softball game.
The LST trip to Croatia with Bre Goben and the Madoles was a life-changing adventure.
Ready to take on the world, criminal justice graduates pose with Dr. Billy Lones.
Enrollment Record Set YC enjoying the highest enrollment in history
photos by Steddon Sikes
ork College set a record enrollment with 640 students registered for the fall semester. This marks the second straight semester for the college to hit a new high number despite earlier concerns that the Coronavirus Pandemic could cause a decrease in numbers. In response to the news, President Sam Smith stated, “Along with celebrating a new record, we are recognizing the untiring efforts on campus that made it possible. Since I arrived in July, it has been apparent that York College has a team in place who are committed to the success of every student who enrolls. People appreciate and respond to that level of attention.” The fall enrollment total of 640 surpasses the previous record by more than 120 students. The record-setting increase is driven by the growth of York College Online, both undergraduate and graduate-level programs. An all-time high of 187 graduate students are enrolled this semester, but on-campus enrollment also increased to 437, including a marked increase in students living in campus housing. In addition to a record enrollment, 22 high school students are participating in York College’s dual enrollment program. “Our enrollment success is due to multiple partners doing outstanding work—admissions office, coaches, business office, and student development—understanding and responding admirably to this critical moment in the history of higher education,” said Jared Stark, vice president of enrollment and athletics. “I believe that our model was successful for fall 2020, but more importantly, I believe it is sustainable into the future.” The increase has provided its own set of challenges for residence life staff in meeting the needs of the college’s traditional on-campus student, but also in holding space open for students who may need to self-quarantine or self-isolate. “We are grateful to be in a position of needing to figure out the puzzle of housing with additional students on campus this fall,” said vice president for student development, Catherine Seufferlein. “It is tremendously encouraging to see how God continues to bless us in the midst of a pandemic.” The feeling expressed many times over as the student body arrived in August was how excited they were to actually be on campus, face coverings and all. Despite the daily temperature checks, mask etiquette, and managing the new social distance norms, the overall attitude is upbeat. Dr. Shane Mountjoy, YC provost, attributes the optimism on campus in large part to how faculty are dedicated to a quality student experience and giving the personal touch, one-on-one, whenever possible. “York College faculty pride themselves on the experiences they provide students inside and outside the classroom.
Greeley, Colo., freshman Ethan Harkless (far left) takes a tour of downtown York with YC orientation leaders Maci Witte, Sebastian Barreto, and Breanna Bembenek.
Academics is important, but so is a student's emotional, social, and spiritual development. It's next to impossible for a student to attend here for four years never having been in the home of a faculty member,” Mountjoy said. An obvious challenge to this year’s record enrollment and safety protocols is meeting together in large numbers. While daily chapel had to be split this fall, with students choosing which days to attend, opening chapel took place at Levitt Stadium in an effort to gather at least once as a full community. “Even though our chapel routines will be different, our aim is still to honor our daily rhythm where the campus stops at 10:00 a.m. each morning to pray together, hear from scripture together, and hear from various members of the York College community,” said Dr. Sam Garner, vice president for spiritual development. “The college’s deep commitment on campus for faith development attracts students to the YC experience. Not even a pandemic is going to change who we are at our very core.” The day before classes began, President Smith shared with the YC faculty and staff, “We don’t know what students will experience on campus this year, but we know the One who does. We don’t know the unseen hurdles in front of us, but we know the One who does. We don’t know the victories we will celebrate this year, but we know the One who does.” Dr. Smith went on to say, “We can face this year with boldness because the same amazing God who spoke the universe into existence is actively at work in and through us at York College. We will all work together because we know the One who is working through us at YC. I am proud to be serving shoulder to shoulder with you in the trenches here at York College!” n
"It is tremendously encouraging to see how God continues to bless us in the midst of a pandemic."
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Leadership Transitions Dr. Steve Eckman was named chancellor by the York College trustees effective July 2020. Eckman stepped down this summer after serving since 2009 as the College’s 20th president in its 129year history. Managing Hulitt Hall renovations will be a primary focus for Eckman and one that is close to his heart. When asked about the next phase of his life, Eckman Eckman stated, “I have spent most of my career in Christian education and look forward to having more time to interact with students and work on renovations to Hulitt Hall.”
Alumni Agree to Serve as Trustees ree new members have joined the York College board of Th trustees, according to board chair Dr. R. Wayne White ’63. YC alumni, Dr. C. Shawn Bengtson ’80 of Bellevue, Neb., Dr. Scott Abraham ’99 of Kansas City, Kan., and Dr. Aaron Fletcher ’02 of Woodland Park, Colo., became the college’s newest trustees this summer. “Each of these three has demonstrated their loyalty for the college and its mission,” White said. “They are vocal about good memories of their personal York experiences; they have been consistently generous in their financial support, and they all represent the college in an exemplary way professionally and spiritually. I am thankful for the talents and experiences these three alumni bring to the board.”
Dr. C. Shawn Bengtson ’80 Bengtson is vice president, investment with Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society. She holds a Ph.D. in business with an interdepartmental focus in finance, investments and banking from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She has worked in the insurance industry since 1982 and has also served in faculty and administrative roles in higher Bengtson education with Creighton University, College of Saint Mary and Bellevue University, all in the Omaha area. Bengtson was one of the original members of the York College President’s Council when it began in 2009 and served as council chair from 2015-2019. Bengtson was a member of the acappella chorus and East Hill Minstrels during her student days at York College.
After serving as chancellor for more than a decade, Dr. R. Wayne Baker has been named chancellor emeritus by the York College trustees. Baker served as president from 1996 to 2009, accepting the role of chancellor at his retirement. Regarding the transitions Dr. R. Wayne White ’63, YC board chair, said, “We wanted to acknowledge Dr. Eckman's contributions to York College, and we are Baker grateful for his willingness to continue using his considerable talents for the College in the years ahead.” White added, “Dr. Baker led the college during much of our transition to a four-year college in the 1990s, and we are pleased to recognize his legacy and love with emeritus status.”
Dr. Scott Abraham ’99 Abraham, who resides with his wife Beth, two sons and a daughter in Bucyrus, Kan., is an orthopedic surgeon with Apex Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in the Overland Park area. He was among the first students to receive a bachelor’s degree in the sciences from York College when four-year programs were added in the 1990s. He earned his medical degree from the University Abraham of Kansas-Wichita and completed his residency at the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic in Memphis. While a YC student, Abraham played four years of varsity Panther basketball.
Dr. Aaron Fletcher ’02 Fletcher serves as managing director of Bios Partners, a life sciences venture firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the founder and president of Bios Research, a financial services firm that provides healthcare industry research focused on the biotech and med-tech sub-sectors. Fletcher is also a visiting professor at Dallas Baptist University. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Colorado Fletcher State University after he completed his bachelor’s degree at York College. Fletcher was a distance runner for the track and cross country teams throughout his undergraduate years. Aaron and his wife, Holly (’03), have two daughters. “These new members strengthen our board and its position to support York College on so many levels,” White added. “We are indeed fortunate to have the degrees of expertise and varied perspectives that they bring to the table. I am excited about what their additions mean to the future of York College.” FALL 2020 |
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In His Own Words...
photo by Bob Dehart '95
Dr. Sam Smith accepted the role of president of York College earlier this year and took office on July 6. He moved from Nashville with Lisa, his wife of 19 years, and their three children, Brooklyn (16), Bear (12), and Boden (9). Four months into his new role, President Smith sat down for a visit about his move here, what he has found since he arrived, and what he dreams for the future of York College. What is your dream for York College? My dream for York College is very simple: To reflect what God wants for York College. I truly believe that the mission of this institution is what drove my family to be back here at York College. My dream is to make sure that we are living out what God wants with our faculty, our staff, and our administration, making sure that Christ is always at the center of what we’re doing. I can talk about dreams of having new buildings or a certain number of students, but at the end of the day if Jesus isn’t at the center of it, it doesn’t mean anything.
What challenges does YC face? Maintaining our identity as York College is one major challenge. The world is constantly trying to push culture away from anything faith-based, and we are putting our heels in the ground and saying, “We’re not moving away from that.” We are excited about that. We believe it is one of the things that makes us unique. Even though it is a challenge culturally, it is something that helps us strive on our campus as we introduce students to Jesus. (above) Twenty-five years from when he was a student at York College, President Smith stands on Kiplinger Avenue with his past residence – Thomas hall in the background.
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CHAPEL Another challenge of the 2020s, and we’re in it right now, relates to questions about the relevance of higher education. Why do I need to go to college? Why do I need to spend so much money when I can go to a trade school or I can start working at a local industry? We need to make the case for the relevance of a liberal arts faith-based institution where students become wellrounded because of the experience they have at York College. Maybe the biggest challenge that will affect all institutions is the forecasted decline in the number of college-eligible students by the end of this decade. In recent years, there has been somewhat of a bubble, with more students nationwide, but now that number is on the decline. A lot of institutions are going after the same students, and the competition is increasing. So we have to be competitive, we have to have a competitor’s mindset, and we have to keep a competitive price.
US News & World Report gave York College a top10 ranking in its new social mobility category for its annual college ratings – in both 2019 and 2020. What is this new category about, and what does that ranking mean for YC? The social mobility ranking highlights schools who have shown a lot of success helping students from an economically disadvantaged background finish their degree. These back-to-back top-10 rankings in the Midwest Region reflect our intentionality to come alongside students who may be facing challenges, maybe lacking resources or a thorough college preparation. Simply put: We help them win. York has always been a place of second chances and new beginnings, so this ranking fits perfectly with who we are and what we want to be.
A recent example of YC’s history of new beginnings is the Second Chance Program at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women. How did that program come about, and what does it do? Dr. Terry Seufferlein, in our Bible department, saw an opportunity to teach inmates at the women’s correctional facility here in York. It took a lot of coordination between our academic office and the prison. But Terry persisted, recruited lots of faculty who were ready to volunteer, and launched the program back in 2016. The three-year program earning an associate’s degree was designed to help participants receive an education and redefine themselves. Or maybe more accurately, for God to redefine them. While individuals are being touched, it also serves to begin changing the culture at NCCW. Programs may not be able to do that. God can. The first cohort finished more than a year ago, and the second cohort is now almost halfway through. Everything about it matches our mission.
Another development in the last decade is York College Online. Its presence is growing with more than 200 students enrolled in one of YC’s virtual options. How does that further the college’s mission?
Our traditional mission is to shape the lives of students through education and specifically through Christ-centered education. We wouldn’t want people to believe that since we are online we’re losing our focus. Fulfilling our mission is always the priority. Making sure that happens starts with our provost, Dr. Shane Mountjoy, as he’s looking for teachers and professors for our online program. It is just like we are interviewing for any other position on campus. We want to make sure they are engaged in introducing students to Jesus through their programs and through their classes.
How is York preparing students to live and work in a world where they will be called to adapt to changing needs, evolving technologies, and more? York always has prepared students to be adaptable. It is part of the traditional residential student experience where you can be involved in athletic activities, a social club, or a performing arts group. Students are stretched and challenged to try new things – getting way out of their comfort zone. Students have always been called to make changes on the fly for their team or their club – to do what’s best for others or for the institution as a whole. You also see this in the classroom when teachers present challenging material. I don’t believe that adaptability is new for students; in fact, it’s the norm for students now. What we have to do is provide them with opportunities to do that, and York College does a great job of making that happen.
How does York College compare to other schools where price is concerned? One of the advantages that we have at York College is that when students compare us to other schools in the region, they will find the cost of tuition at York College is dramatically lower than other schools. This is intentional because we want to make sure that price is not a barrier for students getting the York College experience.
York has enjoyed a decade of stability that has included all but one year in the black and a tripling of the college’s endowment. What’s the next step? For starters, we have to continue to focus on endowment growth. It has got to be front and center for the coming years. Beyond that though, we have to build on the stability and ramp up every aspect of how we compete for students and how we prepare them for life during their four years with us. We have no choice but to excel if we want to be seen as a viable option in the year 2030.
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photo by Bob Dehart '95
There are some big projects on campus right now with the renovations in Levitt Library and Hulitt Hall. What will those changes do for the campus, and more importantly, what will they do for our students? With a nearly $6 million total price tag, major renovations are underway in Hulitt Hall and Levitt Library. Hulitt, the oldest building on campus, is being renovated to create a space that takes care of all the business needs for our students – a one-stop shop. Levitt Library is being reinvented as the Academic Resource Center at Levitt, a hub for academic support services. Students are going to find one-on-one mentoring, academic coaching, technology support, a research and writing center, and more. York College is at its best and students’ lives are changed in those personal, hands-on moments. Everything about this redesign is focused on creating that context.
What else do you see as a priority as far as the campus and facilities are concerned? In order for us to compete with other schools we need facilities that will make prospective students say, “Hey, that’s a place I want to go, a place I want to attend.” We especially have to improve our residence halls. We have to create spaces on campus that are inviting for students that will get them here and provide a great home once they arrive.
For those who are already giving to York College or for others who may consider a gift, why should they invest their money in York? Why here instead of somewhere else? For anybody who is serious about faith development of students, this is a prime place to give. We take very seriously the mission of transforming lives through Christ-centered education, and because we do that, it will push away some who have the means to give. But for those who choose to invest here, this is a place where every dollar is stretched to its maximum in an effort to impact students and the Kingdom.
What was it like moving back to York? The move has been nothing less than a God-moment for our family. From the time we arrived, faculty and staff were at the apartment where we were going to live ready to unload our U-Haul and our truck. By the time my wife and I signed the paperwork and came out, all of our stuff was already unloaded. There was already a meal in our refrigerator and a calendar of events for us to go to people’s houses. People wanted to spend time with us and love on us. People made appointments to pray for me and support me. This is a place that has been very encouraging to me.
Any word for classmates or teachers who knew you way back when? For those teachers and for those students who were at York College when I attended, I would just echo what they would say to me, which would be, “Thank goodness we were in a place where we could be transformed by this institution, because we certainly weren’t finished products.” There were a lot of people that were instrumental in my development, a lot of my peers that were instrumental, and I’m glad that they didn’t give up on me.
Who has been influential for your family, faith, and career? There is no way that I have enough time to run through an exhaustive list of all the amazing people who have either impacted me or my family. I can share with you a few who quickly come to mind. Family: The Heronimus family (Lebanon, TN), the Jacobs family (Dickson, TN), the Mathur family (Nashville, TN), the Gilbert family (Chattanooga, TN), the Watson family (Brentwood, TN), the Crow family (Nashville, TN), and the Dugan family (Green Hills, TN) have been God-sends for my family. These families have poured out an abundance of goodness, kindness, wisdom and hospitality on my family throughout various seasons and have encouraged us to be a blessing to other families on our journey. Without their help through the years, my family would not have been prepared to serve in this role at York College. Faith: Scott McDowell, Dave Clayton, Sam Parnell, Caleb Heronimus, Michael Guillen, Boothe Farley, Paulette Cathey, and Frank Scott are all spiritual giants in my book. Each of these people have influenced my life in ways that they will likely never fully understand. My faith is built on Jesus, but I’m certain that God used these spiritual giants as scaffolding in my own spiritual development. Career: Sharon Waldbillig, Danny Taylor, Brian Eubanks, Randy Lowry, Jeff Wilson, Josh Roberts, and Kent Gallaher chiseled and shaped me through various positions in my career. They challenged me, taught me, and inspired me to use my gifts to bring glory to God. I observed all of these leaders in the trenches of their work, and I learned from their experiences in powerful ways that will help me be more effective for those I lead.
What do you do to unwind, unplug from everything? When I’m able to, that will mean me getting my waders on, climbing down into a river, and doing some trout fishing. I am always open to invitations if anybody needs a fishing buddy. n Listen to portions of this interview online at youtube. com/yorkcollegeneb. Search “Meet President Smith”
(left) The Smith Family: Sam, Lisa, and their three children, Brooklyn (16), Bear (12), and Boden (9). FALL 2020 |
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A Royal Celebration
omecoming weekend may not have taken place but that didn't stop us from honoring those among the student body who represent the YC family in royal fashion. The 2020 Homecoming Court was honored at halftime of the women's basketball home opener on October 29 with Pierce Mederios and Elizabeth Ryan crowned King and Queen. Mederios is a biology (pre-professional) major from Mountain Home, Idaho. He is a member of the PR Squad, Kyodai social club, and is on track to represent the men's wrestling team at Nationals for the third year in a row. 2020 Homecoming Court: (1st row) Grace Gaer, Mikayla Brant, Pierce Mederios, Elizabeth Ryan, Sebastian Barreto, Anthony Aragon; (2nd row) Bruce Johnson, Diego Korol, Taylor O'Brien, Hayden Brown, Logan Dye, Eric Lenear, Amber Jimenez, and McKenna Schroeder. (above) The Class of ’75 invited 1974–76 alumni to join them for their 45th reunion during what would have been Homecoming weekend. Even though their time on campus was limited due to restrictions, they found the sweet fellowship therapeutic and a great blessing. The reunion was organized by Terry "TA" Allen ’75 and Gayle (Savage ’75) Davidson. A special thanks to Lowell and Shannon (Scott ’76) Siebert ’75 for hosting the reunion dinner at their home. (right)
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Ryan, also from Mountain Home, Idaho, is a chemistry major with a minor in biology and math. She is a four year starter on the women’s soccer team, and involved in student government (treasurer), STEM Club, and Delta Chi Alpha social club. Senior candidates for queen were Taylor O'Brien, Logan Dye, and Amber Jimenez. King candidates were Diego Korol, Hayden Brown and Eric Lenear. Junior Attendants – Sebastian Barreto and Mikayla Brant, Sophomore Attendants – Bruce Johnson and Grace Gaer, Freshmen Attendants – Anthony Aragon and McKenna Schroeder.
2020 ALUMNI AWARDS
Servant Leader Award: Carladean Thompson ’75
arladean is an extraordinary York alumna who has spent over 30 years doing mission work in Kenya. After graduating from York College, she went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Education from Abilene Christian University in 1977. Since her youth, Carladean’s servant heart has been evident. In junior high school, she spent time helping others and spreading the Gospel. Prior to attending York College, she went on mission trips working in camps that ministered to underserved children. After college, she worked as an intern for two years in Cameroon. But Carladean found her lifelong calling in Kenya where she served from 1984 to 2006 and then again from 2018 to the present. During her time in the country, she was part of a church plant and was also deeply involved in forming and working with a youth group at another young church. In a fullcircle moment, the youth she worked with, now serve as leaders in that same congregation. Carladean also raised and taught street boys. Four of the eleven young men she raised have now graduated from college. Three are married and one lives in the USA where he is a school teacher. In the words of the classmate who nominated her, “Carladean has a servant's heart. She is so humble. In her own words, she feels like she is "the little toe of the body." The Lord made her a very special person, servant, mentor, teacher, and leader.” Carladean and Gayle were blessed by the classmates who were able to be there in person for the alumni awards. (left)
Alumna of the Year: Gayle (Savage) Davidson ’75
ayle completed her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing at Harding University in 1977, her Master's Degree at the University of Miami in 1979, and her Ph.D. in Theocentric Counseling in 2005. She is a Florida registered interpreter for the deaf, a member of the National Speakers Bureau, and has received the Presidential Award for Humanitarian Aid from the Honduran government. Dr. Davidson has spent the last 40 years working in mission efforts - international and domestic. She has participated in or organized medical mission trips to Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, and New Orleans and served as a group leader and coordinator with TORCH Missions. Gayle currently serves as the medical director and founder of Clinica De Esperanza, a free medical clinic in Santa Ana, Honduras. Since its doors opened in 2007, the clinic has treated over 40,000 patients. In 2016, Gayle moved to Honduras to serve the clinic and its patients in a full-time capacity. Together with her ministry partners at the InterAmerican Restoration Corporation, Gayle focuses on the overall health of patients. Regardless of if they’ve received food, water, or medical treatment, every single person who interacts with Gayle and the IRC has heard the Word of God. Gayle was also instrumental in organizing a reunion for the class of 1975 and the surrounding years. Despite obstacles presented by COVID-19, Gayle worked tirelessly reconnecting with classmates, tracking down others, and organizing a memorial service for those who have passed. Gayle has 3 children, Amber, Shayn, and Megan who often join her in the mission field and have made many personal sacrifices to promote and support her work. FALL 2020 |
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Rooms with a View
Research and best practices guide renovations Phase II renovations to the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Levitt were completed this fall, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). The five-year grant project is transforming the former Levitt Library, providing the YC community with improved information resources, academic assistance, formal instruction spaces, and zones for private and collaborative study. EDGE Academic Services, located in the Upper Level of the ARC at Levitt, is home to a powerful suite of supports, some new and some such as tutoring and disability services - that have been available at YC for several years. As part of YC’s SIP initiative, the staff has added writing and research consultations, embedded tutor study sessions, academic coaching, and specialized first-year student supports. These services are provided in an open concept environment where eye contact is easily made, and that provides numerous spaces in which students can study. Leanna Hawley, EDGE director, prioritized views that allow staff to maintain awareness of the entire Upper Level from many vantage points. “In creating a new floor plan, we were mindful of the need for students to be insulated, but not isolated, and to allow students an element of privacy while in public.” Hawley’s own office provides this for her, as well. “I can see and even participate with what happens on the Upper Level of Levitt, but I can also have a private conversation and focus when I need to.” Research has shown that the concept of studying alone, together is important for Gen Z students. Focusing on academic work in close proximity to other students who are also engaged in academics sets a synergistic environment that is ripe for great thinking. Grades improve, and students’ perceptions of their own intellectual capacity increase. “We knew sight lines were going to be important, and we were pleasantly surprised to uncover so many interesting ones,” said Brenda Sikes, director of the grant project. “Levitt’s many mid-century features were just waiting to be re-discovered. Original blueprints, hidden for years in the campus archives, provided inspiration as we considered a new layout.” The blueprints were enlarged and reprinted for use as a mural in the Lower Level.
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Leanna (Hood ’83) Hawley, Director, oversees all EDGE activities, and personally consults with students seeking research and writing assistance. Ms. Hawley’s guidance results in stronger documents, from term papers to medical school application essays. Tonya (Sievers ’94) Carr, Student Academic Support Services Coordinator, crafts accommodation plans for students with disabilities and special needs. Additionally, Ms. Carr provides administrative support to student tutors. Vivian (Stevens ’88) Mountjoy, Academic Mentoring Program (AMP) Coordinator, works with first-year York College students with conditional acceptance plans. Ms. Mountjoy provides developmental English instruction and coordinates freshman academic coaching. Bailey (Kinney ’15) Davis and Josh Nething ’05, Academic Coaches, provide oneon-one guidance for students seeking to improve their academic skills, habits, and performance.
(left) When new furniture arrived last fall, Brianna Florvilus and Kyle Wynn were quick to claim what would be their favorite spot to study in Levitt. (right) Tonya Carr and Leanna Hawley visit with Alyssa Shaw about her work study duties in the ARC at Levitt.
photo by Brenda Sikes
(below) Ben Falco, an embedded tutor for freshman Bible, goes over class notes with students during a Student Government Spark Session. (below center) Kitra Cody provides tutoring services for students who want help with business administration and accounting. (base) When not occupied for test taking, the booths in the Upper Level provide students their own soundproof space.
Four soundproof privacy booths were installed to provide distractionfree environments for accommodated testing. When not in use for testing, any student is welcome to use them, and they are popular for a variety of reasons. Tonya Carr, student academic support service coordinator, shared, “Students are using our booths to do homework, study, write papers, and make videos. They provide great space for students to video chat with friends and family. They’ve become a popular stop on campus tours, with prospective students and parents frequently stepping in to experience the silent environment.” “The five-year project timeline allows us to prototype furnishings and expand upon things that work. Having seen the benefits of our privacy booths firsthand, we anticipate adding similar equipment elsewhere in the ARC,” Sikes noted. A glass garage door on the north side of the new classroom in the Upper Level provides a sound barrier when class is in session. In the evenings, the raised door provides a free-flow environment in which students come and go, studying in groups or alone. The oversized windows in the northwest conference room are also a draw for students. “This is one of my favorite spots on campus,” said Ben Falco, a sophomore Biblical studies major from Poteau, Okla. “The sunlight and the beautiful view provide a great atmosphere that helps me stay focused.” Elijah Levitt, whose contributions led to the construction of Levitt Library in 1969, immigrated to the United States from Russia as a runaway. As a young man he hungered for knowledge, often hiding in his father’s cold barn to read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. His love of great books and lively discussion fueled his decision to provide academic resources for YC. The Board of Trustees, guided by President Sam Smith, formalized the name change from Levitt Library to Academic Resource Center at Levitt during their October meeting. Smith noted, “The ARC at Levitt maintains the legacy established by the Levitt family. The new name better identifies the space and the way it will be used by students. I am confident they will be energetic about visiting the facility and utilizing the fabulous resources we are providing to help them be successful in their education.” n
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A year like no other
Making the Most of a Pandemic
o one knew what the coming weeks would hold. Colleges and universities across the country were opening their doors for the first time since March, crossing their fingers that they could remain open to Thanksgiving and then complete the semester
online. COVID guidelines were sent out well in advance to students, parents, faculty, and staff. Get use to your mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, restrict your travel... you know the drill. For the majority of the YC student body, coming back to campus was about the most anticipated homecoming they could remember. They hadn't left for spring break thinking, "This is it." Cancellation of campus living as they knew it came about so suddenly, they didn't even have the opportunity to pack. No Songfest, no spring sports, no commencement, no goodbyes. Now it's August; 171 days have passed since the campus teemed with life and laughter. A team of wild horses couldn't keep returning students from seeing their friends again, but a pandemic could. What if questions still plagued the horizon. What if an incoming student has the virus? What if stricter travel restrictions are put in place? What if there is an outbreak on campus?
(above) Temperature checks have become common place now that the awkward stage has past.
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(left) President Sam Smith and his son Boden get their free shaved ice during the welcome back block party.
(above and right) Dr. Sam Smith addresses the York College family for the first time. Opening chapel was held at Levitt Stadium so the entire student body, faculty, and staff could attend.
What if the college administration isn’t willing to take the risk? Tough questions that can stretch anyone and everyone to the point of exhaustion—or better yet—giving those anxious thoughts and fears to the One who can actually do something about them. And that’s what the York College administrative leadership team did. They prayed. And that’s what the YC faculty and staff did. They prayed. And that’s what (above) It's the first day of classes and second generation incoming students and their parents did. Yorkies Liz Logan, Hannah DeHart, and Sadie Carr cross their fingers that the year will be a good one. They prayed. Students came by the hundreds and they stayed. Thank you God! The End. …well, not quite. As you can imagine, this is a semester like none other. Recognizing a person for their eyes and hair has become the norm. Activities are scrutinized through the lens of social distancing. Chapel doesn’t look the same with half of the student body attending Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday. Teaching all day through a face shield can be exhausting. Choir practices are masked and abbreviated. Crowds at athletic events are restricted. Theatre performances have to be live-streamed. Homecoming was cancelled. Restrictions and modifications that have been necessary but a brain drain none the less. We’ve had our scares and self-isolations and we’ve had to remind students more than once to make good decisions about not putting others at risk. There have been times when entire athletic teams have had to quarantine. Getting notified that your next 14 days are to be in solitude, no practices, no cafeteria, online classes only, etc., is a real bummer.
“While we will take precautions to protect our campus and our neighbors, our future has always been in God’s hands. It still is and that is very good news.” — Dr. Sam Smith
(above) Dr. Steven Hardy gives his first lecture on the YC campus. A professor of English, Hardy was at Ohio Valley University for 22 years before moving to York this summer.
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(above) In order for the 2020 Residence Life staff to get a group picture without masks, they stand socially distant in the footprint of Hulitt Hall's new addition the morning freshmen arrive on campus.
(left) Three thousand masks such as these worn by the Resident Life staff were donated to York College by Dr. Aaron and Holly (Eckstein ’03) Fletcher ’02 as part of the #YCAlumniLove project.
There’s also the enormous amount of toil and strain that those situations put on others. Quarantining involves every member of the faculty adapting their classroom lectures to include online delivery as well. It requires the mobilization of food services with volunteers and staff transporting three meals a day to the various isolation sites. Coaches have to reschedule the already rescheduled games and matches. At times, daily COVID tests have had to be administered and the samples dropped off in Lincoln for processing. Testing. Counseling. Remote tutoring. Shopping. Ministering. Lots of moving parts. But we made it! God’s plan for this place was beyond our shortcomings and our fears. The remote was in His hands from day one. And while we haven’t exactly fast forwarded to the finish line, we’re in a better place because of our daily reliance on the Maker of heaven and earth, all while trying to be light to a dark world.
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Mid-way through the semester, President Sam Smith wanted the YC family to know just how much he appreciated the extra mile efforts they were making. “The pace and quantity of work required to prepare for and manage a successful fall semester has been unmatched,” he wrote. “There is not a single area on campus who has refused to lean head first into this semester by serving our students in unique ways. That is the YC spirit that makes this campus so special.” What does the spring semester look like? The verdict is still out on that one. But I’d like to think we will continue to follow the counsel President Smith gave the YC family his first month in office. “God was in control of the world before the coronavirus pandemic," Smith said. "He is in control now. He will be in control moving forward. He is God. We are not. Our plan is designed to respond in faith, not fear.” n by Steddon Sikes ’84
photos by Taylor Kinney and Brooke Barker
The Concert Choir moved their full rehearsals onto the Bartholomew Performing Arts Center stage to allow more distance.
RAs like Aubrey Winkler and Corey Parsons have been among the many volunteers who work diligently to take care of students in quarantine.
The fall production of The Complete History of Theatre (abridged) was performed each night to a live audience of fifteen and live-streamed Friday and Saturday night of what would have been Homecoming. A message from a parent about check-in day:
"I was so impressed with every single staff member and student we met today!! It makes me feel good to know my son is in such good hands!! I must have looked stressed today because several people said don’t worry Mom we will take good care of him. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. We live in Nevada and it’s scary leaving him so far away but the staff and students made saying goodbye easier. Thank you for all you do!
As we all know, things are far from normal at the moment. COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we go about our everyday lives. However, there is one thing that has not and will not ever change here at York College, and that is the love and care that is provided to the students. I am currently in isolation. I tested positive for the nasty virus which means I will be stuck in my room for a minimum of 10 days. Luckily, I do not have severe symptoms. However, I’m not allowed to leave my room for any reason, other than using the restroom. If I need anything, I have to ask one of my two roommates to get it for me. They’ve been super good to me and they’ve taken care of me during my time of need. But, it makes me feel like a pain in the neck when I have to ask for every little thing. That’s why I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from the rest of the YC community. York College Admissions sent me a care package on my first day of isolation. It was a YC drawstring bag full of some of my favorite things. Jolene Herzog, director of student activities, had sent me an email asking what some of my favorite foods were, and the admissions team delivered! The bag was full of peaches, two bottles of strawberry melon Brisk, some Reese’s candies, cheddar jalapeño Cheetos, and a DVD. I was super grateful to have access to some of my favorites, and I didn’t even have to bother my roommates to get them! A day or two later I received another gift. This time, Student Government sent me a personal pizza from Pizza Hut and a small goodie bag with some candy and Gatorade. It was so nice to know that some of my friends at YC were thinking about me enough to send me gifts, and help me get through the isolation process! Plus, I knew I wasn’t the only one that was receiving these things. York College was providing for those in need. Lastly, it cannot go unnoticed that the Residence Life team has been tirelessly working to provide all meals to those in quarantine or isolation. With the help of some volunteer faculty and staff members, all meals are delivered to the students’ rooms. As I am also a resident assistant, I’ve had to deliver some of the meals myself, in the past. Let me tell you, it is not easy work! There are a lot of meals that need to be delivered and Residence Life makes it happen! This just goes to show that York College is continuing to care for their students throughout this pandemic. They put in the extra time and effort to make us comfortable, and they check on us constantly throughout our time in quarantine and isolation. I just wanted all of those who have been working so hard to know that it does NOT go unnoticed. Thank you for your love and care during these hard times! We are all so grateful! by Pierce Mederios ’21 PR Squad 11/11/20 Follow on Twitter @YCpierce (above) Student Government VP Brooke Barker delivers activity bags to quarantined students.
photo by Corey Parsons
YC Love During a Pandemic
1962 Lucille Huber has updated her address: 315 South Ken Ave, Springfield, MO 65802 1967 Jill (Beaty) Amundson caught a typo in her email in a previous publication. Jill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 1978 Ron and Lola (Huber ’78) Maxwell recently updated their address: 612 NW 186 Street, Edmond, OK 73012 1982 Mitch and Ginny (Chen ’82) Buller have updated their address: 11589 Kalispell St, Commerce City, Colorado 80022 1983 Vickie (Flory) South retired in 2018 and is loving it! Jody (McDonald) Dacus moved south to be closer to her kids after the sudden passing of her husband, Drew, in July 2019. Her new address is 14025 N Eastern Ave, Apt 512, Edmond, OK 73013 2001 Lisa (Dunham) Shoup submitted a recent update: “I am happily married to Lonnie Shoup and we have 2 wonderful boys, Conner and Tyler. Conner graduated in 2020 and has made the choice to serve our country in the National Guard doing Chinook helicopter maintenance. We are so proud of him! I accepted a position running the Scandinavian Mutual Insurance Company of Polk County. Nebraska. I am happy with the change that allows me to be there more for my family, friends, church and community.” Holly Sobetski has updated her mailing address: 17391 Durrance Rd, North Fort Myers, FL 33917 2003 Kimmie (Beitler) Vogt began a new job this fall as a 5th grade teacher at Johnson Brock Schools. Her husband, Dr. Spencer Vogt ’05, is an assistant professor of education at Peru State College.
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2006 Amanda (Bennett) McGill recently welcomed a new addition to the family. Clara Saige McGill was born July 14, 2020. 2007 Shannon (Sukraw) Leinen has returned to YC as the Dean of Online Learning and Academic Initiatives. Jared (’08) continues to work as the Registrar. They recently opened The LockBox Escape Room & Events in the city of York. They have 3 children, Graham (5), Sidney (3) and Maisy (1). 2008 Mary Leigh Reynolds has accepted a new position as the ELL (English Language Learners) Coordinator at LEAD Neely’s Bend Middle School in Nashville, TN. 2009 Stephen and Maegan (Simpson ’13) Detlefs recently welcomed their first child, Fox David, on August 29th. After the end of the pandemic, Fox looks forward to spending time with great grandparents Roger ’58 and Betty (Williams ’58) Lessly and Dave and Pat (Stockburger ’72) Simpson, grandparents, Scott ’85 and Sheryl (Lessly ’85) Simpson, and aunt Laurel Simpson ’16 and soon to be uncle Alex Boss ’18. 2010 Brent and Kayde (Kemp ’10) Johnson recently welcomed a new bundle of joy. Ezekiel Kenlee Johnson was born on August 4, 2020. Mason and Kelci (Scott ’11) Lee have moved from Princeton, NJ, to Abilene, TX. Mason now serves as the Director of Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at the Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology. Kelci is teaching first grade at Jackson Elementary in Abilene. Their new address is 766 Grove St, Abilene, TX 79605
2014 Amanda Carlini-Saldivar was recently married. She is the store manager of a Starbucks store in Austin, TX. It’s the second store she has opened in her sixyear career with the company. email@example.com Ryne and Stephanie (Studebaker ’13) Smith have settled in Lincoln, NE. Stephanie is teaching in Elmwood-Murdock Public Schools and Ryne is working as an analyst at Nelnet. 1325 W Carnoustie Ct, Lincoln, NE 68521 Evan Stanger recently graduated from the police academy and has accepted a job in the Milwaukee area. He is praising God for seeing him through the trials and to starting a new career. 2016 Aileen Edmonds updated her address: 3501 N Campus Dr Apt C203, Garden City, KS 67846 Laurel Simpson and Alex Boss ’18 were recently engaged. They look forward to celebrating with their families after the end of the pandemic. 2017 Hannah Sue (Boucher) and David Gay welcomed a baby girl, Elizabeth Marie, on June 22, 2020. 2705 Ella St, Beatrice, NE 68310 Bethany (Ford) and Logan Glewen were married on August 12, 2020 in Little Rock, AR. Bethany is currently attending Harding University in Searcy, AR pursing a B.S. in Family & Consumer Science. She will graduate in May 2021. Courtney (Lovelace) Horton graduated from Jones School of Law at Faulkner University, passed the
bar exam, and is an attorney in the consumer fraud section of Beasley Allen Law Firm in Montgomery, AL. She works on attorney general litigation and pharmacy cases. Her husband Josh is an admissions counselor at Faulkner University. firstname.lastname@example.org 2018 Grady and Delaney (Woods ’17) Johnson recently moved to Big Sky country. Delaney teaches middle school English at Canyon Creek School, and Grady is a Clinical Program Therapist at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch. 215 Miles Ave, Billings, MT 59101
photo courtesy Steve Shaner ’75
2018 Melissa J. Strong recently began a new job as an investment assistant at Cornerstone Bank. PO Box 324, Giltner, NE 68841
Class of 1975 and friends' 45th Reunion — October 23-25, 2020 (1st row) Deb (Richardson) Tinius, Gayle (Savage) Davidson, Rebecca (Engel) Legg, Dwayne Vance, David (Linda) Coakley, David Yarbrough, Doug Manchester; (2nd row) Steve Shaner, Carladean Thompson, Rolene (Imhoff) Bryan, Dan Ford; (3rd row) Tina (Wright) Peacock, Troy Burr, Paul Broadus, Ann (Arterburn) Morrill, Michelle (Elliott) Ford, Beth (Forney) Ward; (back rows) James Morrill, Molly (Burns) Endsley, Terry "T.A." Allen, Sheila (Dalton) Yarbrough, Paul Wade, Shirley (Schwiethale) Morrill, and Karen (King) Andrews – not pictured David Crider, Wendy Moomey, Lowell and Shannon (Scott) Siebert... see also pg. 12
2020 Christian Eggar is moving to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he has accepted a position at the Dalton Gardens Church of Christ as a Youth and Worship Minister. He is excited to see how he can grow in his ministry in the north and in teaching others the message of Jesus. Christian shared, “I have a passion for youth and raising up the next generation of the church! Thank you to everyone who has prayed and believed in me all my life! — 1 Timothy 4:12.” email@example.com FALL 2020 |
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HULITT HALL — A NEW CHAPTER The community of York was barely 30 years old and the new college in the East Hill section of town had just celebrated its first decade, when York College President William Schell sent out an appeal. The college needed housing for students and a home for its music program. Unlikely as it might seem looking back, John Hulitt of Ohio, who never set foot in Nebraska, responded with a donation. Hulitt Conservatory was dedicated in 1903. During its 117 years, it has served as a conservatory, dormitory, post office, bookstore, home to faculty and staff offices, classrooms, and storage room. Unofficial legends have even tried to locate a ghost inside the building. Along the way, the name changed to Hulitt Hall, and the three-story, red brick building became an iconic symbol of York College. A dormitory for future doctors, businessmen, preachers, teachers, farmers, missionaries, and, at least, one college president. It is the photo opportunity on the corner of 8th and Kiplinger and a quintessential alumni memory. Nearly 120 years after Hulitt responded with his naming gift for a new building, Hulitt Hall is getting a new lease on life. Renovations are long overdue; the makeover is extreme. And it needs to be. A revitalized Hulitt Hall will become a campus hub, focused on providing exceptional service to every customer (student, prospective student, parent, alumni, or other guest) who walks through the door. To recruit students in an increasingly competitive market, the changes are imperative. Superior customer service is attainable in light of the personal attention York College can give each student, but the longtime lack of a single, central facility focused on student service is a roadblock. Students crisscross campus to take care of the ‘business’ of going to college, and the lack of synergy and cross-training between the staff members who serve them hampers the College’s ability to excel in an area where it wants to be better than the competition. Proximity and design matter. A competitive edge begins with the first campus welcome as students and their families work through financial details with the
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business office and (at York College) when they stop by to meet the president. It continues with providing students with superior service as they make financial arrangements to meet their financial obligations, pick up work-study checks, figure out specifics on their degree plans, or arrange class schedules with the registrar. Excellent customer service improves the student experience. York College’s goal is to make the student experience at York College life-changing, but to get those students here, keep them here, and build for the future, the College is ready to go beyond all previous standards for service, and a renovated Hulitt Hall is a major stepping stone to get us there. An anonymous $3 million gift will provide needed renovations. An additional $500,000 will assure that the finish and the furnishings make Hulitt Hall an attractive, outstanding campus focal point.
Hulitt Hall Naming Opportunities Many naming opportunities are available to honor family, teachers, classmates, and others whose lives and service have had an impact on alumni, parents, friends and others. Sponsorships include: u
Third Floor Conference Center
Third Floor Board Rooms
Rooms may be sponsored with gifts ranging from $2,500 up to $300,000. Other opportunities to honor classmates, roommates, faculty and staff, or loved ones are available. (above) Construction and renovations on Hulitt Hall began this past summer after work crews gutted each of the floors.
(above and below) Artist rendering and current construction is from 8th Street looking northwest at the new addition.
Lower Level Storage
Office Conference Center
HULITT HALL FLOOR PLANS
(above and below) Artist rendering and construction is from 8th Street & Kiplinger Avenue looking northeast.
Corridor Conference Room Office
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Athletics photo by Steddon Sikes ’84
eSports Coming to YC
York College hosted an eSports Association Summer Tournament in 2019 for area teams.
YC announces addition of competitive gaming
eSports is coming to York College beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, according to Jared Stark, vice president for athletics and enrollment management. “We are excited to join the world of eSports, which is a growing trend in higher education, and we are ready to seize this moment and launch a program for this coming fall,” stated Stark. “eSports is yet another route where students can find their way and place in the York College community and be exposed to our Christcentered mission." Stark eSports (also known as electronic sports) describes the world of competitive, organized video gaming. It continues to grow in popularity and has even found its way to ESPN with
game developers actively designing and funding tournaments. The Panthers will compete in the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE). NACE member schools are dedicated to legitimizing collegiate eSports and providing college students the opportunities to live their passion for competitive gaming while pursuing a quality education. The Panthers plan to field their first team in the fall of 2021. n
Pushing the Limits Cross country runner Maria Geesaman (JR/Greeley, CO) ran the best race of her career by over 15 seconds as she finished fourth overall at the Midstates Classic on October 24. Her time of 18:53 also put her further atop the York College record book for the fastest time in school history. "Maria continues to push the limits and becomes better day in and day out," Geesaman said head coach Justin Carver. "She has been working on her mental toughness and it pushed her past the envelope this weekend. I'm really proud of her for having the determination to continually push that mental barrier and it shows in her finish today." Geesaman helped her team to a seventh-place finish overall.
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photo by Bob DeHart ’95
Geesaman sets school record at Midstates meet
Maria Geesaman (far right) led the Panthers to a fifth-place finish at the KCAC Cross Country Championships in November. Her individual finish of eighth also qualifies her for the NAIA Championships in the spring.
Men's Wrestling made heads turn
In the opening match of the dual with Concordia University, Harley Williamson wasted no time in getting the pin and six points for his team.
Freshman standout Jarvis Echols gave his team and fans something to cheer about as he pinned his opponent for the Panther win.
with the first NAIA wrestling competition of the year as the Panthers dominated the reigning Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) champions Concordia University 30-19. Six of the ten matches were decided by fall. Four of those went York's way. Harley Williamson (JR/ Euless, TX) led things off when Williamson he pinned Carter Willis for the quick 6-0 York advantage. The 133 lb. match was the most anticipated match of the night as it boasted two NAIA National Qualifiers from the year before. The match did not disappoint as Mederios Pierce Mederios (SR/Mountain Home, ID) beat Mario Ybarra 4-3 in sudden victory. Fox The Panthers' other returning national qualifier, John Fox (SO/Gilroy, CA), took care of his opponent via fall as well. York's Brayden Smith (FR/ Kearney, NE) followed up with a pin of his own in his collegiate debut. Kenny Marzola (FR/ Smith Henderson, NV) won a highscoring affair over Issiah Burks 15-13. That put the Panthers up Marzola 24-0 halfway through the night. The Bulldogs made it interesting as they won four of the final five matches. However, it was Jarvis Echols (FR/ Milwaukee, WI) who won his match over Oscar Ramirez-Garcia that sealed the victory for the Panthers. His win via pin put the match out of reach for the Bulldogs and had the Freeman Center Echols shaking with excitement. York College is currently ranked 19th in the NAIA Coaches' Poll.
YC Golf is under familiar management as
Led by three seniors, the women's golf team won their dual against Doane College, took third at the Kansas Wesleyan Invite, and beat Tabor College and Oklahoma Wesleyan in the KCAC Fall Match Play Tournament.
Tim Lewis '84 is back in the head coaching position of both the men's and women's programs after taking a 13-year hiatus. Lewis was the head coach from the fall of 2004 until the spring of 2007. During his three-year tenure, he was named the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year twice. Lewis also helped the men's program to backLewis to-back MCAC Champions in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 the team was runner-up. Lewis said "I am excited to be back with the York College athletic department and the Panther golf program. Our coaching staff considers it a great privilege to work with our current group of young men and women that have been doing so many great things on the golf course and in the classroom." FALL 2020 |
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Room for Improvement
In his 22nd year at York College, Chad Karcher is as steady as they come in the Panther Athletic Department. A certified athletic trainer and instructor, Karcher has seen YC athletics grow from around 150 student-athletes in 1999 to more than 350 in 2020. The wrestling programs alone have added 60+ athletes, all of whom at one time or another will more than likely require the services of the Panther athletic training staff. Karcher has wrapped hundreds of knees, taped even more ankles, and has had ample share of caring for, treating, and rehabilitating a vast variety of other athletic injuries and ailments. When asked to estimate how many rolls of tape he has gone through at YC, he laughed and said, "I get that question often, and can never really give a clear-cut answer." However, being a guru for organization, and with his known diligence for record keeping and attention to detail, he added, "Let me get back to you on that in a day or two and I should be able to give you a number that's pretty close." The world of athletic training goes far beyond what meets the eye. Recognizing and evaluating athletic injuries is an art and science in and of itself. Ensuring a proper diagnosis or including appropriate further medical referral when necessary, is an integral aspect of the business that can have long-term implications. Educating and being that liaison to the athletes, coaches, parents, faculty/administration, and medical community are also necessity. "We as a department have built a great working relationship with the York General Hospital Physical Therapy Dept., York Medical Clinic, and the orthopods of the Lincoln Orthopedic Center who serve their specialty clinic," Karcher commented, "This has been paramount in assuring quality medical attention for the athletes of YC." For Karcher, sharing this invaluable expertise surpasses the “9-5” job description. “Chad's service here extends beyond student-athletes,” said Jared Stark, vice-president for enrollment and athletics. “Alumni still contact him today looking for his thoughts on an injury. He has been more than willing to treat anyone from campus even faculty and staff. He responds to anyone at York College who has a question, and he is happy to do it.” Jordan (Veness ’12) Irsik, an adjunct chemistry instructor at YC and head women's soccer coach at College of Saint Mary, was an athlete and student trainer under Karcher. "Chad is one of the best athletic trainers I’ve ever gotten to work with," said Irsik. "He gives student-athletes a top level experience with Irsik
(above) Tapings such as the one above on Susie Traver's ankle are recorded on YouTube to help instruct the athletic training staff. To view, go to ycpanthers.com/Athletic_Training and click on Karch's Taping Techniques.
Chad Karcher in his 22nd year as the Panther’s certified athletic trainer and instructor. He has a MEd. in Curriculum & Instruction through Doane College and earned his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education/Health and Athletic Training from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He obtained his certification as a physical therapy assistant in Kansas in 1993 and gained instructor certification status in CPR/First Aid in 2000. Chad also currently coordinates and administers an athletic training outreach program in conjunction with York General Hospital and Fillmore County Hospital, serving five area high schools. He is responsible for creating the athletic training minor and has had several students go on to become certified athletic trainers after completing a masters program. Prior to coming to York College, Chad spent 7 years working in physical therapy through both the Fillmore County Hospital, Geneva, Neb., and York Physical Therapy in rehabilitation and as the coordinator for a local high school outreach program serving 14 area high schools on an athletic training consultation basis. He and his wife Joni, a special education teacher and assistant track coach at Fillmore Central Public Schools, Geneva, Neb., have three boys: (l-r) Kyle, Kurt, and Kole.
(top) With men's head wrestling coach Chad Mattox and assistant athletic trainer Melissa Ewing looking on, Karcher stops a nose bleed for senior wrestler Pierce Mederios during a recent home match.
limited resources and space, and I often find myself reaching out to him. He has impacted my life immensely and has done so for so many others.” The demands are high, but Karcher loves the challenge… to a point. "Athletic training extends further than that of just directly managing injuries," said Karcher. "We take great pride in giving our students who are interested in the profession the opportunity to get a quality base-line knowledge and experience as student athletic trainers to potentially pursue their goals further in a graduate program of their choice. "I will say, that due to the increased professional marketability for athletic trainers, interest in the profession has increased. Getting one or two student trainers, my assistant and I, and 4-6 (to maybe 8 or 10) student-athletes at a time into a functional capacity space of about 375 sq. feet has realistically become a logistical obstacle for us as a department. “We really need more room and equipment to meet the needs of our increased student-athletes,” added Karcher. "Twenty years ago, the space allocated in the Freeman Center was adequate, and we made do by utilizing every square foot available and stretching every dollar spent." Then he added with a wry grin, “It’s really not acceptable moving forward. As we grow our athletic programs, we must provide the best care possible for every athlete.” That sentiment captured the attention of the York College trustees in a recent meeting on campus. Touring the athletic training facilities and seeing firsthand the needs of the program led them to begin discussions on expansion and combining that need with the wrestling program’s dream of a dedicated practice room. An early estimate puts a $750,000 price tag on a Freeman Center expansion that would address the two long-overdue needs of an athletic training room and wrestling practice room. For Karcher, it would be a huge step in the right direction and would validate what he has been building for 22 years. “Getting my mind around this is almost surreal,” said Karcher. “It’s been a dream of mine for a long time and can’t happen soon enough.” n
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Highlighting careers within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) was the goal of the day during the STEM Career Talks. Earlier this fall, sixteen professionals met virtually in Sack Hall with York College students to showcase their careers. "Students often come into college knowing they like math or science, without really understanding the breadth of the career options," said Dr. Stacie Turnbull, assistant professor of agribusiness and STEM club advisor. "We wanted to help students gain an understanding of what careers are out there, as well as gain valuable advice from those in the field." Students were given the opportunity to listen and speak to professionals from across the nation in the areas of agriscience, biotechnology, medicine, engineering, STEM education, and psychology. Among the presenters were several York College graduates. Dr. Aaron Fletcher (’02), president of Bios Research and managing director of Bios Partners, a venture firm focusing on life sciences, participated in the biotechnology STEM session. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from York College, Fletcher went on to get his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Colorado State University. When asked about cancer research, Fletcher advised his audience to get involved in a clinical trial if at all possible so they could have an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.
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He also emphasized the importance of getting good grades in the foundational sciences. “C’s aren’t good enough,” he said. “You need to be pulling B’s or better.” Ja-Waun Moore, a junior biology major from Omaha, was the STEM moderator for the biotechnology session. “I got a lot out of it and I’m really looking forward to meeting Dr. Fletcher in person,” said Moore. Fletcher, who recently joined the YC Board of Trustees, invited participants to meet with him when he visits campus in the future. “Shadow as many people as you can to decide if that career is something you would want to do,” advised YC alumni Dr. Kim (Hooten '02) Williams, a family medicine specialist in Salina, Kans. Then adding even better counsel, “Pray for God’s will and guidance to direct your career field.” “I enjoyed meeting the medical professionals via Zoom and getting a better understanding of what their jobs are truly like,” said Brooke Winquist, a junior biology major with a minor in psychology from Long Beach, Calif. “I appreciated what Dr. Williams said about shadowing and mentorship as well as going on a medicalrelated mission trip — that they all helped her be sure that she was choosing the right profession. I also gained insight and advice on how to be successful through the education and job application process.” STEM Career Talks presenters were Dr. Silvano Ocheya — Bayer Crop Science, Mr. Dan Leininger — Upper Big Blue NRD, Dr. Jagdeep Kaur — Bayer Crop Science, Dr. Aaron Fletcher — Bios Research, Mr. Matt Boley — Biotech Connector, Dr. Kim Williams — Salina Regional Health Center, Ms. Leah Lonsdale — York General Hospital, Dr. Ryan Koch — York Animal Clinic, Mr. Alex Heide — Central Valley Ag, Mr. Steve Tippery — Realm Five, Ms. Catherine Jones — Collins Aerospace, Ms. Kate Nainiger — Nutrients for Life, Ms. Liz Renner, Mr. Ben Hackett — Cross County School, Katherine Higgins and Katie Bell — Epworth Village. "I was really pleased with how well the event went and excited about the future of the Professional STEM Club,” said Emily Eggar, co-President of the Professional STEM Club and YC junior from Wolf Point, Mont. “I'm excited to see fellow students eager to find their passion in the STEM area." n (left) Brooke Winquist listens to Dr. Kim (Hooten ’02) Williams and other medical professionals in Zoom discussions.
Campus Spotlight – Kendra Mamea by Eryn Conyers ’16
(above) Kendra stepped out of her comfort zone and spoke at a breakout chapel last year on the topic "Stay Solid, Never Fold." (inset) Always willing to lend a hand, Kendra shovels snow from her apartment entrance. Follow her on twitter @YCKendraM. (right) Kenny, Roni, Peyton, and Aubrey Miller stood in for her family on volleyball's Senior Day.
But that’s not all, during her sophomore year after a few shoulder injuries, Mamea decided that maybe it was time to give up volleyball. Yet she didn’t want to lose the family that she had found in her team. “I didn’t want to leave the team and step away from a program that had offered me so much.” It was then that she asked Coach Nething if she could continue as a manager and specifically YCVB’s social media manager. “When Kendra took over our social media, people noticed. Everyone was asking who’s running volleyball’s Instagram?” shared volleyball Head Coach Crystal Nething. Here’s the real kicker, Mamea, the girl who once wanted to lay low and keep to herself, threw her name into the ring this fall and was elected by her peers as the Student Government president. She hopes to inspire continued growth on campus. “My main goal this year is to help make our campus a more inclusive place for all students. This year, we have an incredibly diverse student government. Our members not only reflect ethnic diversity but they also come from various sports teams, performing arts groups, and other groups on campus.” When looking back at the last three and a half years at YC, Mamea says she sees the importance of taking opportunities. “Transformation is possible when you buy into the experience.” She is extremely grateful to the people who relentlessly encouraged her to step out. She wants future students to know that when people in the YC community ask the question “How are you?” they really do care and they do want to know. Mamea will be student teaching next fall and is looking into earning her master’s degree through York College’s graduate assistant program. n
photo by Emily Lutz ’14
“Do you want to go to devo?” asked her teammate — the same teammate who had been begging her to go to student activities all year without any success. But this time Kendra said “yes,” and that one “yes” is all it took. Kendra Mamea came to York College from Orange County, Calif., where family came before anything else and minding your own business was the number one rule. It was Mamea’s mother who encouraged her to seek college opportunities outside of California. “I had planned on playing volleyball at a local juco [junior college] but my mom didn’t want me to settle,” said Mamea. “We visited York twice, and on the first visit my mom was sold.” It took a second visit for Mamea to be sure. Mamea was recruited to play for the Panther volleyball team. When she got to YC her freshman year, she planned to play ball and get an education...and mind her own business. “I was raised to do what you gotta do, and my purpose was to get an education and leave,” admitted Mamea. “I didn’t feel the need to make friends. I didn’t understand why people kept asking me how I was doing; I thought it was weird.” It was people like her teammate, Taylor O’Brien, and adopted family, softball coaches Roni and Kenny Miller who showed her that YC truly does care and helped break her out of her comfort zone. “At first, it was really annoying, but she never gave up and finally I said okay. It’s funny now because at the time I just did it because we were teammates, but now we are like best friends.” After that first devo, Mamea began to wonder what else she might be missing out on. Since then she has played one year of softball, been a successful member of the PR Squad, participated in a one-act play, and helped plan chapels in York Campus Ministries, led the education club as president as well as served as student government secretary.
In Memory of ... Ryan Abrams Mr. & Mrs. Ryan Roseke Rita Albright Elton Albright James (Jim) Busch Jason Busch Mr. & Mrs. Jason Embray Mr. & Mrs. Charles Morris Colis Campbell Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Copeland Harvey and Sue Childress Dr. & Mrs. Robert Oglesby Dr. Roger Collins Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Bomar Mr. & Mrs. Ken Gibson Jim Crider Joyce Angle Joe Darrah Mr. & Mrs. Kerry McKeever Steve Dickerson Timothy Charlton Joy Fischer Don Fischer Roger Hawley Donna Roerig Dr. Arnold Killen Mr. & Mrs. Kerry McKeever Tyson Lewis Mr. & Mrs. Tim Lewis
Kirk Miller Mr. & Mrs. John Ratliff Dr. Mabrey Miller Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Copeland Madge Miller Dr. & Mrs. Ray Miller Connie Minnix Catherine Sims Elton and Orlia Morris Mr. & Mrs. James Huffman Leroy Murphy Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Amundson Mr. & Mrs. Duane Egle Mr. & Mrs. Brent Magner Judy Odom Bob Nossaman Mr. & Mrs. Dave Nossaman Mr. & Mrs. Steve Thompson Cathy Pearson Dr. & Mrs. Ray Miller LaVerne Rokey Don Fischer Sue Morris Roush Mr. & Mrs. Gary Gregg Mr. & Mrs. James Huffman Mr. & Mrs. Gayland Roberts Dr. Thomas Schulz Joel Osborne Mr. & Mrs. Gayland Roberts
June 2020 - October 2020 Avon Shields Dr. & Mrs. Ray Miller DeLos Sparks Mr. & Mrs. Rod Goben Mr. & Mrs. Miles Baum Charles Thompson Mr. & Mrs. Aaron Conyers Mr. & Mrs. Wayne French Southwest Church of Christ Ellis and Catherine Touchton Mr. & Mrs. Bryan Jacobs John Townsdin, Lisa & Jayden Bowen Elaine Schackmann Mr. & Mrs. Doug Townsdin Judy Truitt Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Hawley Dr. & Mrs. Ray Miller Mr. & Mrs. Gene Muehring Oakhaven Church
HONORARY GIFTS The following were honored with donations in their name: Dr. Steve Eckman Mr. & Mrs. Jamie Gray Mr. & Mrs. Ken Leopard Mr. & Mrs. Tim Neal Mr. & Mrs. Terry Quigley Mr. & Mrs. Steve Thompson Dr. Robert Lawrence Mr. & Mrs. William Peacock Chelli Cummings Morris Ann Cummings Mike Rush Family Barbara J. Rush-Armstrong Dr. Dorris Schulz Joel Osborne Class 1980 – 40th Reunion Gwen Carver Kerri Parsley Faculty & Staff 1977-79 Joan Stirlen
A major ice storm on November 10, damaged trees across campus and the community of York. Maintenance crews and volunteers immediately sprang into action to clear sidewalks and streets of debris. Elias Dallmann, a sophomore English teacher education major from York, captured these winter scenes as both the beauty and the reality of the storm sat in.
photos by Elias Dallmann ’23
Thank you for thinking of York College in bringing honor to those you love and appreciate.
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1125 E 8th Street York, NE 68467
New areas of concentration available in master's program. Learn more at online.york.edu. The women's soccer team gathered for a photo during the opening block party, anxious to get the year underway. Like the other fall sports, their season will extend into the spring semester.