Spring/Summer 2016 Talking Points

July 21, 2016

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Accepting Applications

On October 30, the University of Mount Union announced the approval of a Doctor of Physical Therapy (PT) program by the Institutional Actions Committee of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Following the program’s approval, the University began accepting applications for the inaugural class to launch in fall 2016 (pending further appropriate approvals).

The mission of the PT program at Mount Union is to prepare responsive doctors of physical therapy to utilize evidence and practices for lifelong service to patients, the community and society. Relationships with the Alliance community and local area hospitals, plus new state-of-the art science facility Gallaher Hall, will help the new PT program at Mount Union thrive.


Informative Political Events Presented at the University This Spring

Mount Union hosted political speakers on campus this spring in an effort to inform students of the importance of letting their political voices be heard and to provide learning opportunities for the Mount Union community.

The events started with Chuck Todd, NBC News political director and host of “Meet the Press” and “MTP Daily,” who delivered the University’s Schooler Lecture. In his presentation, Todd encouraged audience members to involve themselves in order to renew widespread interest in public service. 

“To the many intellectuals studying here at Mount Union, think about public service,” said Todd. “We desperately need it.”

The unpredictability of journalism and the presidential campaign was realized as Todd broadcasted a segment for NBC Nightly News live from Mount Union.

Other political events included a UMU Experts presentation titled “The 2016 Elections: The Demise of the Republican and Democratic Parties?” by Dr. Jack DeSario, professor of political science and director of the legal studies program at Mount Union, and a symposium hosted by Mount Union, titled “The Barack Obama Presidency: Legacy and Record.” The symposium was planned in conjunction with The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron and presented different aspects of President Obama’s presidency.


Merriman Inaugurated As 12th President of Mount Union

Dick Merriman was inaugurated as the 12th president of Mount Union during a ceremony held May 6 in the University’s Peterson Field House.

During his inaugural address, Merriman discussed Mount Union’s history of success, the challenges facing the institution and his ideas for the University’s future path. One example of historical innovation, he said, took place during the late 1800s.  During that time, Mount Union awarded 11 master’s degrees and 16 doctoral degrees to students.

“Mount saw a need and met it,” Merriman said. “Because Mount Union has not made confining choices in the past, it is a strong, vital and relevant institution today.”

Merriman said the University’s enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students has remained strong and the addition of a new doctoral program in physical therapy, along with the accreditation of engineering programs, will stimulate further growth. Other strengths of the University, according to Merriman, are the growth of the number of faculty and academic programs, talented students and athletes, strong past presidential leadership, loyalty of alumni and the vision of the Board of Trustees.

During the ceremony, administration of the Oath of Office and investiture of the Seal of Office were performed by Allen Green ’77 and former Mount Union presidents Dr. Harold M. Kolenbrander, Dr. John L. Ewing, Jr. and Dr. Richard F. Giese. The Mount Union Concert Choir and brass quartet performed during the ceremony and representatives of the campus and Alliance communities offered greetings.

Visit mountunion.edu/inauguration to read Merriman’s Inaugural speech.


Michelle Lockhart Sundstrom Named Vice President for Enrollment Management

Michelle Lockhart Sundstrom was named vice president for enrollment management at the University of Mount Union, effective February 1, 2016.

Prior to coming to Mount Union, Sundstrom served as the associate director of client development for Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a higher education consulting firm located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Previously, she served as director of enrollment management for the school of professional and extended studies at American University in Washington, DC; senior strategic enrollment consultant for TWG Plus in Alexandria, Virginia; and in increasingly responsible enrollment management positions at both Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sundstrom earned an Associate of Arts degree from Highland Community College in Highland, Kansas, a Bachelor of Science degree in business with an emphasis in marketing from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas and a Master of Science degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.


Mount Union Celebrates 170th Commencement

More than 487 graduate and undergraduate students participated in the University of Mount Union’s 170th Commencement Ceremony held May 7 in the Peterson Field House of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.

International students and teaching assistants from Bolivia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Vietnam were among those participating in the ceremony, with flags of those nations displayed as part of the graduation regalia.

This year’s Commencement speaker was Dr. Richard Drake ’72, director of anatomy and professor of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.

“Throughout your life, you will be presented with many options,” Drake stated during his Commencement speech titled “Taking Advantage of the Next Opportunity.” “Weigh them carefully and be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”

Following the address, Metropolitan Opera tenor and Mount Union alumnus Eduardo Valdes ’83 performed a rendition of “You Raise Me Up” with the Mount Union Concert Choir featuring Kim Lewis ’80 on piano and Chair of the Department of Music Elaine Anderson on cello.

The ceremony featured a speech from senior class president Jena Finch ’16 titled “What Will Your Life Add Up To” and the Heaton W. Harris and Corinne Harris Smith Prize was awarded to Alison Feucht ’16 immediately after. Mak Xin Fang ’16 was awarded the Good Citizenship Prize.


Mount Union Nursing Program Receives CCNE Accreditation

The University of Mount Union’s Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) program has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

“Accreditation is a rigorous process that Mount Union chose to obtain for its BSN program,” said Dr. Nezam Al-Nsair, professor and chair of the Department of Nursing. “Mount Union believes in quality programs and obtaining and maintaining accreditation is one way of assuring the quality in those programs.”


Mount Union, Stark State Sign Articulation Agreements

In December, Dick Merriman, president of Mount Union, and Dr. Para (Heropoulos ’77) Jones, president of Stark State College, signed the first of several agreements that allow Stark State graduates with associate’s degrees to further their education and earn a bachelor’s degree at Mount Union. Stark State graduates can pursue degrees in psychology, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, biology, intervention specialist, early childhood education and national security and foreign intelligence analysis.

According to Dr. Raymond Posey, associate academic dean and professor in residence of management and finance, who is coordinating the effort on behalf of Mount Union, a typical associate’s degree program at Stark State requires completion of 60 credit hours. Mount Union requires 128 hours for a bachelor’s degree, so a student with an associate’s degree working toward a bachelor’s degree will have an additional 68 credit hours to complete.


Raiders Win Titles

Raider athletic teams brought home Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) titles and a football national championship in 2015-2016:

  • Men’s and women’s indoor track won its OAC championship at Marietta College. 
  • Men’s outdoor track and field claimed its sixth straight OAC title. 
  • Women’s outdoor track and field won its 7th straight OAC title.
  • Women’s lacrosse won its third straight OAC title.
  • Women’s golf won its second-ever OAC title and made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
  • Women’s basketball won the 2016 OAC Women’s Basketball Tournament for the fifth time in school history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. 
  • Women’s swimming and diving won its second straight OAC title at the 2016 OAC Swimming and Diving Championships.
  • Football won its 24th straight and 27th overall OAC title and its 12th NCAA Division III Football National Championship.


Scholar Day and Great Teacher Award

Students representing a wide variety of majors presented research at the annual SCHOLAR (Student Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research) Day event held on campus in April.

Also on SCHOLAR Day, Dr. Grant Cook III, professor of music and director of choral activities, was presented with the prestigious Great Teacher Award at the University’s Honors Convocation and Senior Awards presentation.

Cook earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal pedagogy from Heidelberg University and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in historical musicology/ethnomusicology from Kent State University’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. Cook has been a dedicated and active professor of the Mount Union faculty since 2011. At Mount Union, he conducts the Concert Choir and Cantus Femina, teaches choral conducting and literature and administers the University’s choral program.

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