Talking Points | Spring/Summer 2017

July 19, 2017

Engineering Mount UnionMount Union Introduces Three New Engineering Programs
Mount Union is proud to announce the addition of new majors in biomedical, computer, and electrical engineering beginning in the fall of 2018.

These three majors will be housed in the Department of Engineering and join already successful majors in civil and mechanical engineering, which are accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

“The majors were selected because there is a strong demand for their graduates, and they also are highly-paid professions that complement the thriving health sciences majors at the University,” said Dr. Osama Jadaan, professor and chair of the Department of Engineering. “We are graduating engineers who are technically prepared, globally aware, business savvy, and appreciative of the arts and literature.”


Nursing students Mount UnionNursing Program Graduates First Class, Earns Unconditional Approval From OBN, CCNE
Mount Union’s Department of Nursing graduated its first class of students at the 171st Commencement Ceremony. The program graduated 14 students, who were celebrated at the Inaugural Pinning Ceremony held on May 12.

The program also recently earned a full five-year unconditional approval from the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN), and full unconditional accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

“These milestone achievements are testaments to the quality and rigor of the nursing program at Mount Union,” said Dr. Nezam Al-Nsair, professor and chair of the Department of Nursing. “It also speaks to the commitment of the nursing faculty and the University to maintain quality education to graduate students who can meet the challenges of the profession.”


Education Mount Union

Department of Education Receives Prestigious CAEP Accreditation
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) recently announced that Mount Union is one of 16 providers from 10 states and the District of Columbia to receive accreditation for its educator preparation program. CAEP is the sole accrediting body for educator preparation.

“Our faculty and students should be very proud of their efforts,” said Dr. Melissa Askren-Edgehouse ’99, associate professor and chair of the Department of Education. “We set a high bar for our teacher prep programs, and CAEP accreditation validates the hard work we are doing.”

Mount Union is now one of only 50 preparation providers from 25 states and the District of Columbia to receive CAEP accreditation to better prepare tomorrow’s teachers.


Mount Union Commencement 2017Rev. Chalker ’71 Addresses Graduates at 171st Mount Union Commencement
Nearly 500 graduate and undergraduate students participated in Mount Union’s 171st Commencement Ceremony held on May 13 in the Peterson Field House of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth W. Chalker ’71 delivered the Commencement address, titled “Avoid Stepping in It.” Chalker is the senior pastor at University Circle United Methodist Church, a member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Union, and an active member of the Board of Trustees of University Circle Inc.

During his address, Chalker focused on the pursuit of passion and avoiding falling victim to the status quo. “I believe absolutely without any doubt or question that each of us in this room, and certainly you graduates today, have been blessed with unique gifts that inspire us to do great things, to stretch out our spiritual wings, and fly,” said Chalker. 

During Commencement, the Mount Union Choir performed In Meeting We Are Blessed by Troy Robertson, and the ceremony concluded with a speech from the Class of 2017 President Arthur J. Gioglio ’17.


Jan Webler Great Teacher Mount UnionWebler Named Great Teacher, Shimp ’17 And Simmons ’17 Outstanding Seniors
As part of the annual SCHOLAR Day and Honors Convocation, the Alumni Association presented Ms. Jan Webler, assistant professor of education, with the prestigious Great Teacher Award, and seniors Clinton Simmons ’17 and Caitlin Shimp ’17 were named the 2017 Outstanding Senior Man and Woman.

A member of the Mount Union faculty since 2011, Webler currently serves on the Teacher Education Subcommittee. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kent State University and pursued post-graduate coursework at both Walsh University and Ashland University. She holds certifications and licensures in elementary K-8, intervention specialist/special education, supervisor, elementary principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. 

Shimp, a psychology major from Hartville, Ohio, was on the Dean’s List seven semesters. She served as the president of Student Senate, social media chair and president of Black Student Union, and a Preview and Raider Guide coordinator. She also was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Diversity Council, Gender Equity Matters, Sophomore Service, STAND, and the Student Alumni Association, and joined the Social Responsibility Spring Break Trip to Nicaragua.

Simmons, a political science major from Lorain, Ohio, was on the Dean’s list five semesters. Simmons served as the program director of Interfraternity Council, president of the Ohio Collegiate Music Educators Association, vice president of Order of Omega, treasurer of Pi Sigma Alpha, coordination facilitator of Greek Member Academy, secretary of the Model UN club, parliamentarian and secretary of  Student Senate, recruitment chair of Common Sense Action, and coordinator of Raider Guides. He was also a member of Alpha Psi Omega, Concert Choir, GAMMA, Gender Equity Matters, Love Your Melon, Kappa Kappa Psi, Marching Band, Oasis, and Pre-Law Society, and also attended the Social Responsibility Spring Break Trip to Nicaragua. He was also named a recipient of the Carl D. Orwick Fraternal Values Award.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Schooler LectureKareem Abdul-Jabaar Draws Record-Setting Schooler Crowd
On April 4, Mount Union held its annual Schooler Lecture featuring NBA all-time leading scorer, New York Times-bestselling author, and U.S. Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. Due to an unprecedented crowd of more than 4,500, the lecture was moved from the Timken Gymnasium to the Peterson Field House for the first time in the history of the series.

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion, but his influence and experience extend beyond athletics. He is also one of a handful of influential and respected black men in America with a national platform as a regular contributing columnist for The Washington Post and Time Magazine. His most recent work is political book Writings on the Wall – Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, which was released in fall 2016.

During the lecture, Abdul-Jabbar delivered a talk titled “It’s All About the Rebound” on overcoming obstacles, touching on his experiences involving integrity, resilience, grief, loss, and health issues. This year’s lecture also included a moderated portion, conducted by ESPN SportsCenter Anchor Antonietta “Toni” Collins ’07.


Mount Union T and FPurple Raider Athletics Best In Ohio For Division III In 2016-17
After numerous incredible performances from Purple Raider athletes, Mount Union finished the 2016-2017 year ranked 18th out of 450 schools nationwide in the final 2016-2017 Learfield Sports Director’s Cup NCAA Division III standings.

This makes Mount Union the highest ranked NCAA Division III team in Ohio.

In the winter, Dana Lautenschlager ’18, a nursing major of Solon, Ohio, was an All-American in two events at the NCAA Division III Swimming Championships. Alec Cotton ’18, a financial mathematics major of Hartville, Ohio, competed at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.

The women’s soccer team claimed the institution’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, losing in the first round to the No. 3 team in the nation.

The men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams saw success in both seasons. The men’s indoor team placed fifth with four All-American performances, while the women had an All-American as well. The outdoor teams took home national championships in the women’s 4x100 meter relay and the men’s 4x400 meter relay. The men’s team placed third overall in the nation, totaling six All-Americans.

Women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, men’s cross country, and football all made NCAA Division III tournament appearances as well.

Baseball had a historic season, going 31-11 and winning the OAC regular season title. Coach Paul Hesse was named OAC Don Schaly Coach of the Year and pitcher Phil Mary ’19, a civil engineering major of Venitia, Pennsylvania, and outfielder Billy Goddall ’18, a mechanical engineering major of Canfield, Ohio earned All-OAC and All-American honors.


Michael Hayden

Mount Union’s 2018 Schooler Lecturer
Mount Union is proud to announce its 2018 Schooler Lecture speaker, General Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Administration (NSA).

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. He understands the dangers, risks, and potential rewards of the political, economic, and security situations facing the United States.

For more on General Hayden and Schooler Lecture ticket information, visit



Pat Draves

Dr. Patricia Draves Named President of Graceland University
Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University, has been named the 18th president of Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. 

Draves earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in biophysical chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1993, she joined the faculty at the University of Central Arkansas as an assistant professor where she was later promoted to associate professor and served as the associate dean of undergraduate studies. In 2002, Draves returned to the liberal arts environment when she moved to Monmouth College to begin a new biochemistry program. 

Draves joined Mount Union in 2006 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University. Under her leadership, the University achieved significant academic transformation and growth. She led the establishment of the first graduate education programs at Mount Union with the addition of physician assistant studies, physical therapy, and educational leadership. Additionally, she promoted and oversaw the development of three academic centers and 14 new undergraduate programs, including mechanical engineering and civil engineering; the implementation of a successful health and medical sciences initiative; and the enhancement of the performing arts. During her tenure, Draves also steered Mount Union to the adoption of a new general education program and a four-credit based undergraduate curriculum as well as the development of the first online graduate program. She also led efforts to increase experiential learning and establish a campus-wide SCHOLAR Day to celebrate students’ research.  

“We are grateful for Pat’s leadership and loyalty and congratulate her on this outstanding accomplishment,” said Dick Merriman, president of Mount Union. “She has been an engaged leader on campus and in the Alliance community, and she will be greatly missed. We wish her the best as she embarks on this wonderful new opportunity.” 

Draves began her new role at Graceland on June 15, 2017.


Dr. Jeffrey BreeseDr. Jeffrey Breese Named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean
Dr. Jeffrey Breese has been named vice president for academic affairs and dean of the University. The appointment comes as the result of a national search carried out in partnership with AGB Search of Washington, DC.

“After leading a national search, Jeff emerged as the successful candidate from an excellent pool,” said Dick Merriman, president of Mount Union. “He brings to us extensive, successful experience with a number of matters that are front and center for Mount Union’s future, including organization of the academic affairs unit as we continue our evolution into a comprehensive university, and evolving structures and processes for faculty participation in University governance.” 

Breese has spent his entire academic career at private colleges and universities. He currently serves as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, and will assume his new duties at Mount Union in early July.


Lou Zona and Butler exhibitButler Institute of American Art Showcases Works On Campus
Mount Union, through a partnership with The Butler Institute of American Art, brought 25 works from the American Masterworks Exhibit to campus April 8-13, with financial support from the Greater Alliance Foundation.

The Butler, founded in 1919, is the first museum in the world dedicated to American art. The institute is located in Youngstown, Ohio, and its original building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Lou Zona, executive director of The Butler and professor emeritus of art history at Youngstown State University, spoke to a packed Sally Otto Art Gallery on April 11, telling behind-the-scenes stories of the historic artwork.


Mount Union, Akron Law Partner for 3+3 Program
Mount Union and The University of Akron School of Law have entered into an articulation agreement for a “3+3 program” for students pursuing a Juris Doctor degree.

Under this program, interested students will be required to major in political science and be enrolled the first three years at Mount Union. Their undergraduate degree would thereafter be completed in year four, in conjunction with their first year at Akron Law. 

“The 3+3 program provides great benefits to Mount Union students who wish to pursue a legal career. It eliminates the costs and demands of a full year of academic programming,” said Dr. Francis Schortgen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at Mount Union.

“We are thrilled to see this program formalize a longtime relationship between these two outstanding institutions and create new opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Sarah M.R. Cravens, associate professor and interim co-dean of The University of Akron School of Law.


Becky StevensRemembering Dr. Rebecca Stevens ‘80
After a difficult health battle, Dr. Rebecca Stevens ’80, professor of criminal justice, passed away in January. Throughout her time at Mount Union, she greatly impacted her students, the criminal justice program, and the campus community.

Stevens earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and psychology before enrolling at The University of Akron, where she earned Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in sociology. After completion of her degrees, Stevens taught at Cuyahoga Community College and Notre Dame College of Ohio before returning to Mount Union in response to student interest in the development of a criminal justice program.

Stevens intended on joining Mount Union for only a year, but her involvement with the criminal justice program led her to apply for a full-time faculty position, which was granted in 1996. The program prospered under her direction, providing students with an area of concentration that has led them to careers with organizations like the Secret Service and the State Highway Patrol.

In 2001, she was awarded the University’s Great Teacher Award in recognition of her excellence in teaching as well as her efforts in developing and directing the criminal justice program.

Stevens also was a former chair of the Department of Sociology and Department of Criminal Justice. She served on many faculty and University committees during her tenure, and at the time of her passing, she served as a member of the Faculty Appeals Board and Brand Advocates Team.

Stevens was a beloved member of the Mount Union community, and she is dearly missed by family, friends, students, and faculty.

“Dr. Stevens was a central figure in my life, and I credit much of my success as a sociologist to her. Becky was my teacher, mentor, cheerleader, and, probably most importantly, my dear friend. I really can’t express enough the extent to which she changed my life, and those of the many others who had the privilege to be her student and friend.” - Dr. Jeannine Gailey ’00, associate professor of sociology at Texas Christian University

"Dr. Becky Stevens was a friend and colleague whose passing will prove a great loss. As a member of the teaching faculty, Becky provided a knowledge and understanding that afforded students an exceptional classroom experience. Becky was considered a caring mentor, respected by students and faculty alike. Although I knew her for only a few short years, her passion was evident in all that she did; constantly working for the betterment of the students, colleagues, and the university throughout her career. It was a pleasure to work along-side her and to learn from her vast experience of the criminal justice system in the United States, the work with offenders in the state of Ohio, and the importance of teaching excellence at the University of Mount Union. I will truly miss her spirit and enthusiasm in meetings and around the department." - Dr. Andy Bain, Director of Criminal Justice Studies at Mount Union

"Dear Becky,
When you passed, I lost my dearest friend. You and I were friends for nearly four decades. We met when we were students at Mount Union. We have such fond memories from our senior year on the third floor of Elliott Hall. Oh, how many times did we re-visit these memories and laugh about them together since then! You were always very generous; invited me, one of a few international students on campus, to your circle of friends, whom I hold dear even today decades later. Toward the conclusion of undergrad at Mount Union, we were offered a graduate assistantship together and went on to grad school together. Eventually because of you, I was able to join the faculty at our beloved Alma mater, and in turn I was able to bring you in to join us. Becoming a professor at Mount Union was your dream and you sure made a huge impact on so many students’ lives! Brilliant and funny, you were loved by students and colleagues. Within a few years of joining Mount Union faculty, you received the Great Teacher Award.  You were so deserving of this award. Becky, you were so extremely perceptive and concerned; I was often amazed at how you always cared for those who were often forgotten by many: your oldest great-aunts, neighbors in trouble, students who were struggling academically or personally. Also, you always gave me your support as a friend and as a colleague. Becky, thank you so much for making such a big difference in so many of our lives. Thank you for your friendship and you will not be forgotten; the lives you touched will go on, continue your legacy, and make a difference toward a community where every life matters. Miss you terribly."
- Dr. Naoko Oyabu-Mathis '80, professor of sociology at Mount Union

In honor of Becky, the Criminal Justice and Sociology Club, faculty members, and other students of Mount Union are raising funds to support a student scholarship in 2018. The Rebecca Stevens Criminal Justice Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time criminal justice major with financial need who shares the same love for the program, the same charismatic and caring attitude, and the same dedication and passion in their everyday lives as Becky did.

You may mail a check payable to the University of Mount Union, attention to the Office of Advancement, with “Criminal Justice Scholarship” in the memo line. You can also click here to donate electronically. Under “Designation,” select “Criminal Justice Scholarship 2017” and enter the amount you would like to donate.

Contact Sherrie Wallace, director of planned giving, at (330) 823-7803 with any questions. 

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