Talking Points Fall/Winter 2017

December 21, 2017

Nursing First graduate classMount Union Nursing Graduates Achieve 100 Percent Licensure Passage Rate
With an achievement that is rare among new nursing programs nationwide, the 2017 graduates of Mount Union’s nursing program achieved a 100 percent passage rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Mount Union, which recently graduated its first class of students in its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, bested the 2016 national average of 87.6 percent and the 2016 Ohio average of 85.5 percent in its students’ first attempt. 

“This is a testimony to the quality of education the nursing students received at Mount Union, as well as the hard work of the faculty and the challenge that the students have to endure during their tenure at Mount Union,” said Dr. Nezam Al-Nsair, professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Mount Union.  

NCLEX is an exam organized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which is “dedicated to developing psychometrically sound and legally defensible nurse licensure and certification examinations consistent with current practice.”

Community Gathers to Celebrate the Life of Ralph Regula '48
“He was a man who loved his wife, his family, his farm, and his country.” 

Regula Celebration of Life

That was simply one of the ways that Bill Blair, Esq. summed up the life of the late Ralph Regula ’48, retired United States congressman, at a Celebration of Life held in Regula’s honor following his passing on July 19 at the age of 92.

More than 250 people were in attendance at the event, which was held on campus, to share their condolences with the family and remember the life of the 19-term congressman. 

All three children of Ralph and Mary (Rogusky ’48), Martha, David ’74, and Richard, spoke at the event and remembered the impact their father had on both them and the community. 

“I didn’t get the public speaking gene, the political gene, or even the Republican gene,” Martha joked. “But everyone needs that person in the family to make Thanksgiving a little more interesting.” 

David ’74 followed in the footsteps of his parents in graduating from Mount Union. He spoke about the integral part the University played in his parents’ lives.

“Today we celebrate the life and the love he found on this campus at Mount Union,” David said. “Who knows, maybe my parents’ very first kiss was right beside us at the campus lakes.”

“Watching him campaign at the fair and talk to everyone gave me a role model for wanting to go into public service,” said Richard, Ralph and Mary’s youngest son and Stark County commissioner. “He was a true public servant who always just wanted to help people.”  

Ralph and Mary were married an incredible 67 years, and their love shone brightly through the remarks of those who spoke at the Celebration of Life. 

Ralph was a remarkable alumnus, supporter, and friend of Mount Union, and he will be dearly missed. His legacy on campus is one that will be reflected by the generations of past, present, and future students who have the ability to serve their own communities the way Ralph did for his entire life.  

Mount Union Ranked a Top College by U.S. News and World Report for 27th Consecutive Year
For the 27th consecutive year, Mount Union has been cited as a top college by U.S. News and World Report. 

Mount Union was ranked 11th among Midwest Regional Colleges in U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges rankings. The Midwest Regional category includes institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“We are pleased to be recognized, yet again, as an outstanding Midwestern institution,” said Mount Union President Dick Merriman. “We believe our commitment to limiting tuition increases while providing outstanding academic programs has helped make us an outstanding value in our region.” 

The University was also included in Forbes’ 2017 America’s Best Colleges ranking, Washington Monthly’s “Best Bang for the Buck” listing, and The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. 

University of Mount Union to Add Men’s Volleyball
Mount Union has decided to add men’s volleyball to the intercollegiate athletic program. The team will start competition in the spring of 2019.

“This addition advances our strategic plan,” said Dick Merriman, president of Mount Union. “An emerging and exciting sport like men’s volleyball is the perfect fit for our vibrant athletic program.”

Mount Union, an NCAA Division III institution, is a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), but the Purple Raider men’s volleyball team initially may compete as an independent as the OAC does not currently sponsor the sport.

The OAC, along with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Stark County Convention and Visitors Bureau, are the hosts for the 2022 NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship at Johnson Controls Pro Football Hall of Fame Village. 

The sport of men’s volleyball has seen tremendous growth in recent years, especially at the high school level.

The Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association (OHSBVA) serves as the governing body and has seen the sport split into two divisions, with almost 90 high schools in the state sponsoring men’s volleyball. 

In nearby Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) sponsors a boys volleyball championship with nearly 200 high school teams offering the sport.

The addition of the team will bring the total number of athletic teams at Mount Union to 24. Mount Union currently sponsors intercollegiate athletic teams in men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, wrestling, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track and field.

Matt MihelicMatt Mihelic Named Head Men’s Volleyball Coach
Mount Union has named Matt Mihelic as its first-ever head men’s volleyball coach.  

Mihelic spent the last two years as the boys’ program director for the Ohio Valley region of USA Volleyball. He has been responsible for the participation and growth of boys’ volleyball in a region that includes Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The program has seen substantial growth in many areas, particularly in the 12U and 14U levels and in the creation of a 12U regional championship.

From 2003 to 2015, Mihelic was the head boys volleyball coach at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio, where he led the Knights to five regional championships, two state runner-up finishes, and state championships in 2008 and 2010. He had a win-loss record of 211-90, winning the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Coach of the Year Award in 2008 and North Region Coach of the Year honor three times. He is a past regional director and former president of the Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association. 

Mihelic was a four-year starter and two-time captain on the men’s volleyball team at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications.  

Competitive Cheer and Dance to be Offered at Mount Union
The University has announced that it will add competitive cheer and dance to the institution’s student life offerings. The teams will begin practice in the fall of 2018 with plans to start competition in the spring of 2019. 


“We are pleased to add these programs to enrich our students’ experiences,” said Dick Merriman, president of Mount Union. “We look forward to the success of these teams and know they will be great ambassadors for Mount Union.” 

The addition of competitive cheer and dance is an expansion of the University’s current sideline cheerleading squad and dance team, both of which have played important roles in the Mount Union athletics tradition for decades.

The popularity of competitive dance and cheer at the high school level has been on the rise, with an estimated four million cheerleaders nationwide and about half as many involved with competitive dance teams. Additionally, an estimated 1.5 million are involved in all-star cheerleading outside of their high schools. 

The National Federation of State High School Associations ranks spirit squads as ninth in popularity among high school sports and activities.

The University will become only the second Ohio Athletic Conference institution to offer competitive cheer and the first to establish a competitive dance team. Since competitive cheer and dance is not an NCAA sport, Mount Union will be able to award talent-based scholarships for qualified students. 

Michael HaydenHayden to Present Schooler Lecture
General Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA), will present the 2018 Schooler Lecture at Mount Union. 

He will present “Hot Spots at Home and Around the World” at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 in the Timken Gymnasium of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex. The evening will consist of a discussion with Hayden, who is a retired four-star general. He served as director of the CIA and NSA when the course of world events was changing at a rapid rate. As head of the country’s premier intelligence agencies, he was on the front lines of global change, the war on terrorism, and the growing cyber challenge.

Hayden understands the dangers, risks, and potential rewards of the political, economic, and security situations facing us. He dissects hot spots around the world, analyzing the tumultuous global environment, the impact of the recent U.S. election, and what it all means for Americans and America’s interests. He speaks on the delicate balance between liberty and security in intelligence work, as well as the potential benefits and dangers associated with the cyber domain.

Complimentary tickets for the Schooler Lecture will be available beginning in January. More information about the 2017-2018 Lecture Series is available at 

M Club Hall of Fame
The Mount Union M Club Hall of Fame inducted its 2017 class and honored two special award winners. First row (l-r): Meghann Glass ’02 (women’s golf) and Keri Canning ’02 (women’s basketball). Second row (l-r): Dave Wolpert ’69 (Hugh Jae Award), William Gough ’71 (Duke Barret Award), Chuck Moore ’02 (football), and Jeff Geiss ’98 (cross country/track and field).

M Club Hall of Fame

Homecoming Aware Winners Announced
The 2017 Alumni Brunch welcomed back generations of alumni and featured an award ceremony honoring recipients for their work and dedication to the University. (l-r): Doug and Beth Bonnoront (McKinley Fellow Award), Kate (Fortney ’09) Horne (Young Alumni Award), and Steven Barr ’88 (Dodie Davis Alumni Service Award). Not pictured is Megan (Fortney ’11) Smith (Young Alumni Award). 

Homecoming Award Winners

Mount Union Earned National Recognitions from Colleges of Distinction
Because of its commitment to high-impact educational practices, Mount Union has been named one of the nation’s Colleges of Distinction.

Mount Union has created a unique learning environment where students not only earn college credit and valuable life experiences, but they also participate in character-building service-learning programs, interdisciplinary programs, collaborative projects, undergraduate research, study abroad opportunities, and internships.  

Mount Union was also recognized as a College of Distinction for its academic programs in business, engineering, education, and nursing.

The annual process of selecting the nation’s Colleges of Distinction requires that institutions adhere to the “four distinctions” - engaged students, great teaching, a vibrant community, and successful outcomes. This process also includes a review of each institution’s freshman experience, general education program, strategic plan, alumni success, satisfaction measures, and more.

To view Mount Union’s Colleges of Distinction profile, visit

Bluedorn editBluedorn Accepted into Competitive International Graduate Program
Jenna Bluedorn ’17 of Boardman, Ohio, was accepted into the International Business Culture and Languages program at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, United Kingdom.  

Bluedorn, a public relations and Spanish double major, is one of 10-15 students accepted into the program from across the world. 

She will study on the Oxford Brookes campus from September 2018 to January 2019 and take classes in international business, foreign affairs, and intercultural communication. For the following nine months, Bluedorn will work in a multinational organization anywhere in the world and write a 15,000-word dissertation. Upon completion of the work placement and dissertation, she will receive a Master of Arts degree. 

“From the day I began my study abroad program in Costa Rica, I knew that I was not meant to stay in the United States for the rest of my life. I knew I was meant to travel, explore, and become a citizen of the world,” said Bluedorn. 

“I’ve respected Jenna’s international perspective on all she does,” said Dr. Jamie Capuzza, professor and chair of the Department of Communication. “From her study abroad experience in Costa Rica to her research on immigration and terrorism, Jenna has a mature and nuanced perspective on the world around her. The Oxford Brookes program is lucky to have her, and I’m convinced Jenna will make the most of this amazing experience. It is students like her that make me hopeful about our future, and I can’t wait to see how she makes a difference.” 

Biochemistry Major Mason ’18 Scores in the MCAT Top One Percent
Alliance native Thomas Mason ’18, a biochemistry and Spanish double major and captain of the varsity basketball team at Mount Union, proved that he excels both on and off the court by scoring in the top one percent on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). 

Mason editThis achievement came as a result of a lot of preparation. Mason studied from MCAT preparation books and even took part in a preparation class taught by Dr. Keith Miller, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Mason said he studied for an average of 30 hours per week over the summer while training and working a summer job.

A captain on the Mount Union men’s basketball team, Mason believes being part of the team has helped him when it comes to getting good grades in school and being prepared to work hard in all of his classes. 

“Hard work is a lifestyle,” Mason often tells his teammates. “If you’re lazy on the court, you’ll be lazy off the court. It applies to the classroom in the same way.”

After taking the MCAT, Mason is now preparing to apply to medical schools. So far, he has decided to apply to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Stanford University School of Medicine. 

“I’m a firm believer that God has given us all gifts,” he said. “My gift is that I’m pretty smart, and I love learning about physiology and the body.” 

His desire to go into the medical field stems from his passion for learning and his drive to help people as a career. 

Mason’s goal is to earn his doctorate in internal medicine. He would like to one day treat people dealing with sports injuries.

Larry Kehres ’71 Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
On Tuesday, December 5, the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame hosted its 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown with former Mount Union head football coach and current athletic director Larry Kehres ’71 as one of the inductees.

Founded in 1947, the NFF and College Football Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship, and athletic achievement in young people.

Other members of the class include Bob Crable, Marshall Faulk, Kirk Gibson, Matt Leinart, Peyton Manning, Bob McKay, Dat Nguyen, Adrian Peterson, Mike Ruth, Brian Urlacher, Danny Ford, and Steve Spurrier. 

Larry KehresKehres is in his 42nd year at Mount Union. He returned to his alma mater in 1974 as an assistant football coach and as the first head coach of the swimming program. In 1985, Kehres was named director of athletics and, in 1986, he added head football coach duties, which he continued until 2013. Now, he is an associate professor of physical education in addition to serving as the director of athletics.

Under Kehres, the football team won 23 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships (1986, 1990, 1992-2012) while posting 21 undefeated regular seasons (1986, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995-2004, 2006-2012) and claiming 11 NCAA Division III National Championships (1993, 1996-1998, 2000-2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012). 

In total, Kehres’ career coaching record of 332-24-3 (.929) makes him one of only 10 coaches in the history of college football to win at least 300 games.

For his efforts, he was named American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year a record 17 times, AFCA National Coach of the Year eight times, OAC Coach of the Year six times and, in 2008, became the second-ever NCAA Division III winner of the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year award. 

Kehres has been an active member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), serving on the board of directors and completing a term as AFCA president. He also lent his coaching talents to international competition in the summer of 2011 when he served as offensive coordinator for the U.S. National Football team as it won the gold medal in the World Championships in Austria.

Defense Dominates as Purple Raiders Claim 13th National Title
The University of Mount Union football team rode a herculean defensive effort coupled with just enough offense to capture its 13th NCAA Division III national title, a 12-0 victory over defending champion the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, in the 45th Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. 

It marked the first time Mary Hardin-Baylor was shut out since its first year of football in 1998. It was the first Stagg Bowl shutout since 1982 and the lowest scoring Stagg Bowl in history. 

Mount Union took the first lead of the game when Gabe Brown ’20 picked off a Robinson pass at the Crusader 47-yard line with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter. Eleven plays later, Louthan converted a 31-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead that they took into the locker room at halftime. It marked the first time Mary Hardin Baylor trailed all season. 

The two teams went toe-to-toe for three quarters with the Mount Union field goal being the lone score during that time frame. The Purple Raiders took control in the fourth quarter when D’Angelo Fulford ’20 hit Justin Hill ’20 with a 42-yard touchdown pass with 11:17 remaining. The extra point by Alex Louthan ’18 gave the Raiders a 10-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Nick Brish ’19 pinned UMHB quarterback Carl Robinson in the end zone to take a 12-0 lead. Brish was named the most outstanding player. From there, the defense continued its outstanding effort and the Crusaders never threatened. Mount recorded its highest sack total of the season with eight.

The Raiders yielded 144 total yards, 38 on the ground on 42 attempts and Brish led the team with 10 tackles. 

Seflie celebrationFulford scrambleTackle


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